Tony Todd returns to Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival to star in August Wilson’s Fences
Center Valley, PA: March 8, 2022—Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival announces veteran stage, film, and television actor Tony Todd will return to play the role of Troy Maxson in August Wilson’s Fences. The Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play will open this summer at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA.
Mr. Todd returns to the Festival following his highly lauded performance last season in August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned. (Photo Credit: Tony Todd in August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at PSF (2021). Photo by Lee A. Butz.)
With an acting career spanning more than 30 years, Todd has an extensive list of credits in all genres. His films include Oliver Stone’s Academy Award-winning Platoon; Lean On Me with Morgan Freeman; Clint Eastwood’s Bird; and the voice of the Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen; among many others.
The charismatic six-foot-five actor is perhaps best known for his chilling performances in horror and sci-fi films including the title role in the Candyman franchise, as well as the Hatchet and Final Destination franchise hits, along with Night of the Living Dead, The Crow, and The Rock.
On stage he has received accolades for numerous roles including a coveted Helen Hayes Award nomination for his performance in Athol Fugard’s The Captain’s Tiger at the La Jolla Playhouse, Manhattan Theatre Club, and The Kennedy Center; and originating the title role in the world premiere of August Wilson’s King Hedley II in Pittsburgh, Boston, and Seattle. (Variety lauded, “Todd’s King Hedley dominates the stage.” His performance “was a memorable tour-de-force.”)
“Tony’s versatility, artistry, and craft as an actor, coupled with his rich experience with August Wilson’s plays, will prove invaluable in plumbing the depths of this force-of-nature leading role,” says Producing Artistic Director, Patrick Mulcahy. “We are so pleased to have an actor of Tony Todd’s caliber leading this cast as we bring this masterwork of the American theatre to life this summer.”
Fences will be helmed by director Ryan Quinn, co-founder and artistic director of Esperance Theater Company in New York City. He also serves as a company member with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. Directing credits include Twelfth Night, Youth and Ambition (a mash up of Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth) at Esperance Theater Company; Macbeth, two productions of Romeo & Juliet, and The Two Noble Kinsman at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival; So Thrive My Soul (an adaptation of Romeo & Juliet) at Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and many more. In addition to his directing credentials, Quinn is also an accomplished actor and educator. He earned his BA in Theater from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where he was awarded the Smith and Butt prize for artistic achievement. He received his MFA in Acting from Yale School of Drama. Most recently, Quinn was seen Off-Broadway performing in Second Stage’s world premiere of Whorl Inside a Loop.
Fences will preview at 7:30pm on July 27 and 28. Opening night is Friday, July 29 at 7:30pm, and the production runs through August 7. Single tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online at www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL .
Set in 1950s Pittsburgh against the backdrop of a rapidly changing America, August Wilson’s groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning drama depicts the yearnings and struggles of the Maxson family. Troy Maxson, a former home run king of the Negro baseball leagues now supports his family as a garbage collector, and builds fences around a world he has battled his entire life. An epic work of stunning poetry by a Pennsylvania native, Fences has been hailed by critics as “a blockbuster piece of theater” and “the strongest, most passionate American dramatic writing since Tennessee Williams.” A timeless story of fathers and sons, husbands and wives, dreams and realities, Fences is a true American classic.
Summer 2022 Season
Main Stage: Little Red (June 3 to Aug 6), A Chorus Line (June 22 to July 10), Fences (July 27 to August 7), Shakespeare for Kids (July 28 to Aug 6).
Schubert Theatre: Every Brilliant Thing (June 7 to June 19), Much Ado About Nothing (July 13 to Aug 7), The River Bride (a staged reading, July 1 to July 3).
The Festival’s 2022 Season Sponsor is Kathleen Kund Nolan & Timothy E. Nolan. The Associate Season Sponsors are Douglas Dykhouse, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, the Szarko Family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust.
The season will run June 3 to August 7 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic campus of DeSales University in Center Valley.
* Tony Todd in August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at PSF (Summer 2021). Photo by Lee A. Butz.
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival features acclaimed actors from Broadway, television, and film, and is summer home to over 200 artists from around the country, including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards.
About Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, is the only professional Equity theatre of its scope and scale within a 50-mile radius. PSF is one of only a handful of theatres on the continent producing Shakespeare, musicals, classics, and contemporary plays, all of which can normally be seen in rep and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF was among just a handful of theatres on the continent in recent summers to produce three Shakespeare plays in a single summer season. A patron would have to travel seven to nine hours from PSF to find a comparable range of offerings at a single theatre within a few weeks’ time.
The Festival’s award-winning company of many world-class artists includes Broadway, film, and television veterans, and winners and nominees of the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, Hayes, Lortel, and Barrymore awards. A leading Shakespeare theatre with a national reputation for excellence, PSF has received coverage in The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in recent seasons The New York Times has identified PSF as one of the leading summer theatre festivals in the nation. “A world-class theater experience on a par with the top Bard fests,” is how one New York Drama Desk reviewer characterized PSF.
Founded in 1992 and the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PSF’s mission is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of education and mentorship programs. A not-for-profit theatre, PSF receives significant support from its host, DeSales University, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Traditionally, with 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 30 years, PSF has offered 200+ total productions (82 Shakespeare), and entertained 1,000,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 34,000-40,000 in attendance each summer season, plus another 13,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour to schools. PSF is a multi-year recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare in American Communities, and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). In 2013, leaders of the world’s premier Shakespeare theatres gathered at PSF as the Festival hosted the international STA Conference.
The Festival’s vision is for world-class theatre.