Henry VIII Commands the Stage at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

For Immediate Release

Contact: Lisa Higgins, 610.282.WILL

July 10, 2013  Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org
Center Valley, PA – The final play of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s 22nd season, Henry VIII, previews July 24, opens July 25, and runs through August 4 at the Labuda Center for the Arts at DeSales University.

Rehearsed the way Shakespeare’s company likely would have, this production will feature actors taking control, arriving with their lines learned and opening before an audience in a matter of days. There is no director – the position did not exist in Shakespeare’s time. And no designers, also a more recent invention.  Actors costume themselves after a costume shop “raid,” and commandeer props and elements from other Festival productions to fulfill a production that is uniquely of their invention.

This approach to Henry VIII creates a theatrical experience for patrons similar to audience experience in Shakespeare’s time. This is PSF’s third consecutive season employing what it calls “extreme Shakespeare.” Actors in Shakespeare’s time were believed to perform on short notice and present dozens of plays in the span of a few weeks.
Notorious for his habit of wedding and beheading, Henry VIII is played by Ian Bedford. Playing Henry’s scheming right-hand man Cardinal Wolsey is Richard B. Watson. Henry maneuvers through the political landscape of Renaissance England, hastening the rise and fall of cardinals and queens, one being Queen Katherine played by Susan Riley Stevens.

Shakespeare’s play about the life of England’s most famous monarch mixes history, tragedy, and romance – yielding great dramatic dimension and power.

Peter Schmitz plays Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Anthony Lawton, Prologue/Epilogue, and Christopher Patrick Mullen, Duke of Buckingham, takes on an array of characters throughout the play. Marguerite Price stage manages the production.

Henry VIII
By William Shakespeare

Previews: July 24

Opens: July 25

Closes: August 4

Performances: Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday – Saturday at 8pm; Saturday & Sunday at 2pm; Sunday at 7:30pm

Tickets: $25-34. Discounts for student rush and groups.

Box Office: 610.282.WILL [9455], ext. 1. Order online at: www.pashakespeare.org

The Festival’s current season also features Measure for Measure (July 18 - August 4) in rep with The Importance of Being Earnest (through August 4), and the children’s productions Beauty and the Beast (through August 3) and Shakespeare for Kids (July 24 - August 3).

The season sponsors are Dr. and Mrs. Frank J. Szarko, and associate season sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth.

The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival 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, Lehigh Valley Arts Council and the Shakespeare Theatre Association.

PRINCIPAL BIOGRAPHIES
IAN BEDFORD, King Henry VIII. 8th season with PSF: Henry V, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, The Two Noble Kinsmen, King John, Othello, As You Like It, and Henry IV, Part I. Alabama Shakespeare festival: title role in Macbeth and appeared in The God of Carnage and To Kill A Mockingbird. Recent Regional Credits: Of Mice and Men (People’s Light), Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare), Superior Donuts (Arden Theater), School of Night (Mark Taper Forum), The Beaux Stratagem and Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre), the title roles in Richard III (Lake Tahoe Shakespeare) and Macbeth (Orlando Shakespeare). TV: Law & Order: SVU and Nurse Jackie.

ANTHONY LAWTON, Prologue/Epilogue/Lord Sands/Gentleman/Earl of Surrey. Favorite roles include Feste in Twelfth Night (twice at PSF, once at Lantern), George in Of Mice and Men (Walnut St.), Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet (Arden), man in Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1812 Productions), Coleman in Lonesome West (Lantern), and Stephano in The Tempest (PSF). Since 1998, he has produced solo and small-cast works under the rubric of The Mirror Theatre Company, including C.S. Lewis' The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters, which he will perform at PSF on Monday, July 29, curtain at 7:30pm.

CHRISTOPHER PATRICK MULLEN, Duke of Buckingham/Old Lady/Griffith/Thomas Cromwell. PSF: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Dracula, Irma Vep, and his personal favorite: Charlie's Aunt. Other recent credits: A Little Night Music (Arden Theatre), The Runner Stumbles (Off-Broadway), and the First National Tourof West Side Story. He is a member of People's Light & Theatre Company where recent shows include: The Winter's Tale, Mr. Hart & Mr. Brown, The Emperor's New Clothes, Gossamer, and King Lear. Other credits: When You Comin' Back Red Ryder (Retro Productions); Dracula, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Hamlet (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre); and The Pavilion (Chester Theatre Company). TV: Law & Order.

MARGUERITE PRICE, Stage Manager. Recently completed her first season as the Stage Manager at Delaware Theatre Company. She spent 10 seasons as the Production Stage Manager at Act II Playhouse.

PETER SCHMITZ, Lord Chamberlain/Cranmer. Regional: Lantern Theater (The Liar), Wilma Theater (Curse of the Starving Class) Walnut Street Theatre (Amadeus and Oliver!), Arden Theatre (Winesburg, Ohio; The Dinosaur Musical), InterAct Theatre (When We Go Upon The Sea, Jihad Jones), and Act II Playhouse (Almost, Maine).  Elsewhere: Guthrie Theater, Childrens Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Yale Rep, Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC, New York Shakespeare Festival, and on Broadway in My Fair Lady.

SUSAN RILEY STEVENS, Queen Katherine. PSF: King John, Hamlet, Pride & Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet, King Lear and Othello. Recent credits: God of Carnage, Fallen Angels, A Streetcar Named Desire, Walnut St. Theatre, It's My Party; The Women and Comedy Project, This Is The Week That Is, 1812 Productions, Bad Dates, Act 2 Playhouse, (Barrymore Award). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arden Theatre, Peterborough Players, Bristol Riverside, Dallas Theatre Center, People's Light, Portland Stage Co., Asolo Rep.

RICHARD B. WATSON, Cardinal Wolsey. Recently closed the role of James Lawson in David Mamet's Race at Human Race Theater in Dayton, OH, and originated the role of Long John Silver in the world premier of Treasure Island, A New Musical at Arkansas Repertory. He was Henry Higgins with Kate Baldwin in My Fair Lady at Sacramento Music Circus and Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes & the West End Horror at the Asolo and Pioneer theatres. NYC: Devils Disciple at Irish Rep, Serendib at Ensemble Studio Theater, and Venus Flytrap at Active Theater. Film and TV: PS, I Love You, Law & Order: CI, Delocated, Onion Sports Network, Art=(Love) ², and a pilot, Powerless, for FX. He recently played George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and is an inaugural company member at American Stage Theater in St. Petersburg, FL.

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Media representatives: For review tickets, interviews and photos, please contact Lisa Higgins at Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org.