Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Opens 2018 Season with Annual Luminosity Gala

Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival opened its 2018 season on Saturday, June 2, 2018 with Luminosity, the Festival’s annual fundraising Gala, in the University Center on the campus of DeSales University. Guests shared an unforgettable evening with the award-winning stars of PSF—enjoying performances by Broadway, film, and television veterans, a chef-curated dinner, and distinctive auction prizes.

Performances from the PSF season included previews of scenes from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night by artists Victoria Janicki, who makes her PSF debut following her run as Joan in the National Tour of Fun Home, and Eric Hissom who was most recently seen in PSF’s Troilus and Cressida (2017) and The Taming of the Shrew (2016). Broadway veterans Brandi Burkhardt, Nkrumah Gatling, Michele Ragusa, and Destinee Rea performed songs from their own repertoires as well as from this season’s spectacular production of Ragtime, who, joined by the full cast, concluded the event with a resounding finale number.

Complementing the evening, a chef-curated menu drew inspiration from the season’s upcoming productions, along with unique cocktails and interactive appetizer stations. A silent auction boasted exceptional prizes such as beach getaways, high-end jewelry and gift items, exquisite wine from private collections, and tickets or gift certificates to top-tier restaurants, theatres, and businesses. This year’s raffle prize included tickets to the Tony Award-winning Broadway production of Dear Evan Hansen with a backstage tour and round trip limousine transportation.

Robert and Susan Gadomski of Center Valley served as Honorary Chairs of the event with Jo-Ann Kelly of Macungie and Ingrid Russo of Macungie serving as Committee Chairs. As annual attendance continues to grow each year, reaching nearly 500 guests, this year’s Gala was PSF’s largest and most successful event to date. The proceeds from the evening will benefit PSF’s artistic and education programs at work in the community.

This year’s presentation of the Will Shakespeare Award went to The Century Fund. The award honors an individual, group, or organization who inspires others through luminosity of spirit and contributions to the Festival and the community. The Century Fund is a charitable trust created by the late Donald P. Miller, the former publisher and chairman of The Morning Call. The Century Fund invests proactively in initiatives that create opportunities for and positively impact the future of Allentown and its citizens. For more than a decade, The Century Fund has generously supported PSF’s artistic and education programs with special focus on The Linny Fowler WillPower Tour, which takes Shakespeare productions and workshops to more than 13,000 students in PA, NJ, and DE each fall. With the support of The Century Fund, the WillPower production of Romeo and Juliet toured to every middle school and high school in the Allentown School District in the fall of 2017.

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 theater 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.

PSF’s 2018 Season includes, on the Main Stage, Ragtime, now through July 1; Shakespeare in Love, July 11 to August 5 in repertory with King Richard II from July 19 to August 5; and Shakespeare for Kids from July 25 to August 4. In the Schubert Theatre, the Festival will present Twelfth Night, June 21 to July 15; All’s Well That Ends Well from July 25 to August 5, and Alice in Wonderland from June 1 to August 4.

One-night-only events include The Great Divorce, back by popular demand. Actor and Festival favorite Anthony Lawton delivers an allegorical journey that weaves philosophical imaginings with theatrical magic on Monday, June 25 at 7:30pm; as well as Dan Domenech – Bootleg Famous: To Broadway and Beyond, with the star of last summer’s hit, Evita. Dan Domenech returns to PSF with songs and stories from his 16-year career spanning Broadway, world tours, and unintentional internet theater fame on Monday, July 30 at 7:30pm.

For tickets, call 610.282.WILL [9455] or purchase online at www.pashakespeare.org.

For more information on Luminosity or becoming a sponsor, contact Melissa Kerr at Melissa.Kerr@pashakespeare.org.

Media contacts: for interviews and photos, please contact Tina Slak at Tina.Slak@pashakespeare.org.

BIOS:

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF’s surge in artistic excellence, financial stability, and national recognition. Accomplishments include first-ever grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, attracting a multitude of award-winning artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Barrymore, and Emmy awards, a 75% increase in annual attendance, a successful campaign to double the Festival’s endowment, and the expansion of the number of Actors’ Equity contracts per season. He led the strategic planning process that led to PSF’s Vision 2030, a commitment to world-class professional theatre, and coverage in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Washington Post. As a professional director, actor, and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television and radio. Mr. Mulcahy has acted with many industry luminaries including Don Cheadle, Angela Bassett, Cynthia Nixon, and Tony Shaloub at the New York Shakespeare Festival, The Roundabout Theatre, Hartford Stage, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, and the Walnut Street Theatre.  He served as fight director for A Few Good Men on Broadway, and multiple Off-Broadway productions starring Marcia Gay Harden, John Mahoney, Patrick Dempsey, and John Savage.  He directed Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga in The Real Thing, and, for PSF, directed The Winter’s Tale, Henry IV, Part 1, The Tempest, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Macbeth and Julius Caesar. Also, Head of Acting at DeSales University.

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