Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival opens The Hound of the Baskervilles: An Uproarious Comic Adaptation of a Classic Mystery Thriller

Three actors portray 16 roles in “Brit-Wits” Steven Canny and John Nicholson’s comedic retelling of a classic Sherlock Holmes story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, which will open at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts at DeSales University in Center Valley, Pa.

The Hound of the Baskervilles previews June 21 and 22, opens June 23, and runs through July 16 in PSF’s Schubert Theatre. Jim Helsinger, artistic director at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, returns to PSF to direct Hound, “a comedy atlas using slapstick, witty wordplay, disappearing pants, and physical comedy.”

Greg Wood, a Festival favorite, plays the famous role of Sherlock Holmes who attempts to solve the mystery of a curse linked to the Baskerville fortune—a curse that causes sudden death at the fangs of a mysterious beast that lurks on the moor. His loyal counterpart Watson (played by Carl N. Wallnau) and Baskerville heir Sir Henry (Jacob Dresch) embark to the moor to let the sleuthing commence.

As the plot thickens and suspicions rise, these three veteran PSF actors become sinister servants, boisterous ladies, escaped convicts, and butterfly collectors as Holmes and Watson attempt to unlock the mysteries unfolding in and around Baskerville Hall.

“It’s very similar to PSF’s 2013 production of The 39 Steps,” says director Jim Helsinger. “We are taking a famous piece of literature, keeping to the original story, and then spoofing it at the same time. And that’s what’s really fun.”

The design team features Steve TenEyck, who boasts national and international set and lighting design credits (and whose set designs were previously seen this season during Evita). He returns to PSF for his 12th season. Lisa Zinni, associate costume designer for Broadway’s An American in Paris and School of Rock (and PSF’s Evita) will create the costumes for the farce. Sound design is by Don Tindall. Maggie Davis is the production stage manager.

Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan are the production sponsors for The Hound of the Baskervilles; production co-sponsors are Embassy Bank and Lutron; and actor sponsors are Lee and Dolly Butz.

David B. Rothrock and Patrina L. Rothrock are the 2017 season sponsors. Associate season sponsors are the Szarko Family, Harry C. Trexler Trust, and Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

Performances are in the Schubert Theatre and are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Tuesdays at 7 p.m. (excluding July 4); Sundays June 25, July 9, and 16 at 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinees are Saturdays July 1, 8, and 15 and Sundays 2, 9, and 16.

Single tickets start at $25; youth, military, and group discounts are available.

The Festival’s 26th season also includes: The Ice Princess (through August 5); Evita (June 14-July 2); The Three Musketeers (July 12 – August 6); As You Like It (July 20-August 6); Troilus and Cressida (July 26-August 6); and Shakespeare for Kids (July 26-August 5).

One-night-only events include The Tenor Moments, an exciting evening of the most beloved tenor songs with Mike Eldred, recording artist, Broadway veteran, and star of PSF’s 2015 production Les Misérables, on Monday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m.; as well as Dee Roscioli in Concert, a fun, eclectic solo evening of Broadway, pop hits, and new original work with Broadway veteran Dee Roscioli, star of this season’s Evita, on Monday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m.

PSF is a constituent of the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for American theatre, and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the Shakespeare Theatre Association, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council, and Discover Lehigh Valley.

For tickets, contact PSF at 610-WILL[9445], ext. 1, or www.pashakespeare.org.

Principal Artist Bios:

JIM HELSINGER (Director) Jim’s past directing credits at PSF include The Foreigner, Lend Me a Tenor, The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Sleuth, The Imaginary Invalid, Charley’s Aunt, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Other directing credits include: Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, Florida Repertory Theatre, New York Fringe Festival, Prague Shakespeare Company and Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF (where he serves as Artistic Director). Jim has acted at PSF in the roles of Lady Bracknell, Master Ford, Don Armado, Parolles, Bassanio, Malvolio, Arnolphe, Dogberry and Bottom. He is a member of the National Theatre Conference (NTC), National New Play Network (NNPN), Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and past president of the Shakespeare Theater Association (STA).

GREG WOOD* (Holmes, Stapleton, Cecile Stapleton, Mr. Barrymore, Mrs. Barrymore, Yokel#3) Numerous productions at PSF. Film: The Sixth Sense. Television: How to Get Away with Murder.  Recent credits: Happy Birthday (1812 Productions), directing The Gift (Walnut St.) , Stupid F*%king Bird (Arden), playing Scrooge in McCarter Theatre’s new production of A Christmas Carol, and Barrymore nominations for The Nether and White Guy On The Bus.

CARL N WALLNAU* (Dr. Watson/Yokel #1) PSF: Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Cyrano De Bergerac, Amadeus, The Tempest, and A Funny Thing…Forum. Selected Regional Theatre: Paper Mill Playhouse, Second Stage in NYC, York Musical Theatre in NYC, and Hartford Stage. He is currently Artistic Director of the Centenary Stage Company, an equity theatre located on the campus of Centenary College. MFA from Rutgers University.

JACOB DRESCH* (Sir Charles Baskerville, Sir Henry Baskerville, Mortimer, Cabbie, Yokel #2, Wise Yokel). PSF: Julius Caesar, The Foreigner and Lend Me a Tenor. Off-Broadway:  The School for Scandal, The Way of the World (Red Bull Theater). Acting Instructor at the New York Film Academy. MFA, U.C. Irvine.

STEVE TENEYCK (Set Designer and Lighting Designer). Twelfth season at PSF. Design work: Dallas Theatre Center, The Gulfshore Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, TACT NYC, Big Art Group, Tri-Cities Opera, Madison Opera, Syracuse Opera, Anchorage Opera, Minnesota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Mill City Summer Opera, The Kitchen Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Hope on Stage and The Hangar Theatre. Steve is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and teaches design at Ithaca College in New York.

LISA ZINNI (Costume Designer). PSF: Les Misérables, Macbeth, Sweeney Todd, The Importance of Being Earnest, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Antony and Cleopatra. Regional: How to Succeed in Business, Grease (Walnut St); Pericles, Henry V, Titus Andronicus, King Lear (Orlando Shakespeare); Lizzie: the Lizzie Borden Musical (TUTS  Houston TX).   Arden, Two River, People’s Light, Riverside Theatre Vero Beach,  Bristol Riverside, Syracuse Stage, Roundabout.  BROADWAY: Associate Costume Designer An American in Paris, Cats, School of Rock, The Glass Menagerie, The Play That Goes Wrong, A Christmas Story the Musical, Hair and Rent.  LisaZinni.com

DON TINDALL (Sound Designer) is a free-lance sound designer and an associate professor of sound design at Ithaca College. Previously, he designed sound for the 2016 PSF production of Julius Caesar. He has also designed for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Hangar Theatre, Signature Theatre Company, Bridge Rep., and others. World premieres include: The Quick Change Room by Nagle Jackson, A Lesson Before Dying by Romulus Linney, Disguises by Craig Warner; and Strangerhorse, The Two of You, and Selling Out by Brian Dykstra.

MAGGIE DAVIS* (Stage Manager). Second season with PSF. Stage and production management credits include: Yours, Anne, among other productions (Half Moon Theatre); Seven seasons with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, including A Midsummer Night’s Dream (with The Pearl Theatre Company); Christmas Rappings (Judson Memorial Church), Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Florida/Texas Tour), Mike Birbiglia’s My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Tribes, and Hit the Wall (Barrow Street Theatre); Emotional Creature (Signature Center); Measure for Measure (Fiasco/New Victory Theater).

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF’s return to artistic excellence and financial stability, built the professional company of artists, oversaw the quadrupling of the endowment, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. Further accomplishments include PSF’s first-ever awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and attracting a company of artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards to the Festival, growth in all income areas, a 75% increase in annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors’ Equity contracts per season. As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Bassett, Peter MacNicol, Hal Holbrook, Joan Cusack, Don Cheadle, Anne Meara, Milo O’Shea, Cynthia Nixon, Tony Shaloub, Bradley Whitford, and others at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, Roundabout Theatre Company, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, Syracuse Stage, and the Walnut St. He served as a fight director for Tom Hulse and Timothy Busfield in A Few Good Men on Broadway and for Off-Broadway productions starring John Savage, John Mahoney, Marcia Gay Harden, and Patrick Dempsey. He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed Julius Caesar (2016), Macbeth (2014), Hamlet (2011), Antony and Cleopatra (2009), The Winter’s Tale (2007), Henry IV, Part I (2005), The Tempest (1999), and acted in and served as fight director for The Taming of the Shrew (1998) and JuliusCaesar (1997). Also head of acting at DeSales, Patrick holds an MFA from Syracuse University.

Questions? Tina.Slak@pashakespeare.org