Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Announces Cast for Twelfth Night

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival announces the cast for Shakespeare’s lilting love comedy Twelfth Night. Festival veterans return and an actress new to PSF debuts in the Festival’s Schubert Theatre production on June 22 to July 15 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the campus of DeSales University.

Victoria Janicki makes her PSF debut as Shakespeare’s radiant heroine Viola. Janicki comes direct to PSF following her run as Joan in the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Fun Home. Prior to the Broadway tour she played the role of Gwen in The Royal Family at The Guthrie Theatre. Other credits include guest-starring roles on the hit television series The Blacklist and Elementary.

The cast is comprised of several Festival veterans with numerous PSF credits, including: Greg Wood as the pompous steward Malvolio (PSF recents: Troilus and Cressida, Hound of the Baskervilles, and Julius Caesar); Scott Greer as the comic drunkard Sir Toby Belch (PSF: The Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Eric Hissom as the clown fool Feste (recent PSF: Troilus and Cressida, The Taming of the Shrew, and Pericles); and Akeem Davis as the lovesick Duke Orsino (PSF: Love’s Labour’s Lost and Henry V).

Rounding out the female roles are Eleanor Handley as the heiress Olivia (PSF recents: Blithe Spirit, The Taming of the Shrew, and Lend Me a Tenor); and Suzanne O’Donnell as Olivia’s sharp-witted lady-in-waiting, Maria (some PSF credits include: Pericles, MacBeth, and Lend Me a Tenor).

Director Matt Pfeiffer returns to the Festival for his 20th season. Recent PSF directing credits include As You Like It (2017), The Taming of the Shrew (2016), and Henry V (2015).

Pfeiffer is a 12-time Barrymore nominee, and two-time winner for his direction of The Whale and The Invisible Hand (Theatre Exile). He’s also a recipient of the F. Otto Haas Award. Other theatre credits include: Orlando Shakespeare Theater, InterAct Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, and Lantern Theatre. He is a 1999 graduate of the theatre program at DeSales University (then Allentown College).

Twelfth Night is my favorite play and I have never been more excited to direct it,” says Pfeiffer. “The play is about people trying to find their place in the world. Ultimately, I feel the play is about if you have the opportunity to grab happiness and love, grab it.”

Wit, music, romance and revelry are the food of love in Twelfth Night. Viola and her twin brother are shipwrecked in the magical land of Illyria, each believing the other drowned. Disguised as a young man, and entering the service of the lovesick Duke Orsino, Viola woos the wistful lady Olivia for her new master and finds herself in a most unusual and hilarious love triangle. Merry deceptions and mistaken identities abound until true love finds its way.

Twelfth Night will be full of music composed by Barrymore Award-winning actor and composer Alex Bechtel, who also composed music for PSF’s The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Henry V, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. In addition to composing for Twelfth Night, Bechtel will play the role of the Sir Andrew Aguecheek.

The creative team for Twelfth Night includes Steve TenEyck (scenic and lighting design), Olivera Gajic (costume design), and Maggie Davis (stage manager).

All performances will be held in the intimate Schubert Theatre. For tickets call the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455] or online at www.pashakespeare.org.

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 27th summer season launches with Ragtime on June 13, and features William Shakespeare’s King Richard II playing in repertory, with the same cast alternating performances daily and often on the same day, with the play Shakespeare in Love, based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard; and an actor-driven production of Shakespeare’s spirited and bittersweet comedy All’s Well That Ends Well.

The season will run June 1 to August 5 at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts on the bucolic Center Valley campus of DeSales University.

Children’s programming opens on June 1 with Alice in Wonderland and runs through August 4. Celebrating its ten-year anniversary is PSF’s Shakespeare for Kids, a one-hour production designed for pre-school and elementary age students to actively experience Shakespeare’s vibrant language and characters. On the Main Stage, July 25 through August 4.

The 2018 Festival Season Sponsors are Keith and Stefanie Wexler. The Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan, The Szarko Family, and Harry C. Trexler Trust. The Production Sponsor for Twelfth Night is DeSales University, sponsored in memory of Fr. Gerard J. Schubert, OSFS, by a grateful DeSales University Community.

New subscriptions and single tickets are now on sale at: www.pashakespeare.org or by calling the box office at 610.282.WILL [9455]. 

Summer 2018 Season:

Main Stage: Ragtime (June 13 to July 1), Shakespeare in Love (July 11 to Aug 5), King Richard II (July 19 to Aug 5), Shakespeare for Kids (July 25 to Aug 4).

Schubert Theatre: Alice in Wonderland (June 1 to Aug 4), Twelfth Night  (June 21 to July 15), All’s Well That Ends Well (July 25 to Aug 5).

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 all be seen in rep and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF will be among just a handful of theatres on the continent this summer 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, 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. With 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 26 years, PSF has offered 161 total productions (69 Shakespeare), and entertained 900,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 38,000+ in attendance each summer season, plus another 14,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour. 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, the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association. 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 work.

Questions? Tina.Slak@pashakespeare.org