Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Launches Season with Record-Breaking Productions

With the 2017 summer season just reaching its halfway mark, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival boasts landmark attendance, record-breaking ticket sales, and critical acclaim throughout the Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia.

“Breaking attendance records is always delightful, but for us the deeper satisfaction is in the feedback we receive on the quality of the productions,” said Patrick Mulcahy, producing artistic director. “That’s where we put most of our energy, months and years in advance. This season is off to a great start and more excitement lies ahead.”

The Main Stage musical Evita broke the previous attendance record held by 2015’s Les Misérables. Over the three-week run Evita played to 103% capacity and brought in over 10,760 patrons.

Evita opened the season to critical acclaim with testaments to leading actress Dee Roscioli, director Dennis Razze’s staging, and PSF’s world-class mission. “At the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, art transcends history and truth,” wrote Jim Rutter in his review for The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Go with an open heart and it will overwhelm you.”

The Hound of the Baskervilles, currently playing in the Schubert Theatre, is also boasting a sold-out run and is on track to be the highest attended show in the 187-seat Schubert theatre—a goal set by director Jim Helsinger before rehearsals even began.

“I would like for this to be the highest selling show in the Schubert Theatre,” said Helsinger. “That means that audiences are having a great time.”

Festival audiences are howling at The Hound of the Baskervilles, a comedic retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic Sherlock Holmes novel helmed by veteran PSF actors Greg Wood, Carl N. Wallnau, and Jacob Dresch: “The kind of work that can only be pulled off by deceptively skilled, confident and wildly charismatic actors, and our triumphant trio comes through with flying colors,” wrote Daniel Friedman for The Morning Call.

The Festival’s 150 performances of seven productions feature professional Equity actors as part of a seasonal company staff of more than 200 artists and artisans from 23 states, including accomplished Broadway stars and award-winning directors and designers.

“Normally when you see this level of work you’re in a 2,000-seat house,” Mulcahy says. “Here, you are never more than 60 feet from the stage. I do think that is part of the magic.” The Main Stage has 473 seats and the intimate Schubert Theatre seats 187.

The remainder of the summer season includes: Ken Ludwig’s swashbuckling romp The Three Musketeers in repertory with Shakespeare’s most popular comedy As You Like It and PSF’s “Extreme Shakespeare” production of Troilus and Cressidanot often produced and a must-see for the Shakespeare enthusiast. (Extreme Shakespeare: Actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, wear what they can find, and open in a matter of days.)

PSF produces two original children’s productions this season: The Ice Princess, a new adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, now running thru August 5; and Shakespeare for Kids which opens July 26 thru August 5.

There will also be a one-night only concert. Dee Roscioli (Eva Peron in Evita) returns to the Festival on Monday, July 31 at 7:30PM. Join us for an eclectic evening of Broadway, pop hits, and new original work on the Main Stage. Tickets are $38.

Order tickets online at pashakespeare.org, or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455], ext. 1, or in person at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

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

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, a professional company in residence at DeSales University, is the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth and a professional, not-for-profit theatre company. An independent 501 c 3 organization, PSF receives support from DeSales University and relies on contributions from individuals, government agencies, corporations, and foundations.

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

2017 Summer Season
Main Stage Theatre
The Three Musketeers • Now – August 6
As You Like It • July 20 – August 6
Shakespeare for Kids • July 26 – August 5

Schubert Theatre
The Hound of the Baskervilles • Now  – July 16
The Ice Princess • Now – August 5
Troilus and Cressida• July 26 – August 6

One Night Only Event
Dee Roscioli • July 31

Questions? Tina.Slak@pashakespeare.org