"Shakespeare's Mighty Sorority:" Tina Packer's Women of Will to Open at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Lisa Higgins, 610.282.WILL [9455], ext. 4?
July 17, 2014 Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org

Center Valley, PA— From Juliet to Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare's heroines command the same stage in Tina Packer's Women of Will, running at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival July 20 through August 3.

Proclaimed as "Shakespeare's Mighty Sorority" and lauded by Ben Brantley of The New York Times, Women of Will both celebrates Shakespeare's heroines and explores themes of love, loss, freedom, and power.

While tracing the chronological evolution of Shakespeare's female characters the play also examines Shakespeare's own journey and growth as a writer. Packer, a veteran of the Royal Shakespeare Company who became the founding artistic director of the renowned Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., received a special Guggenheim fellowship to develop Women of Will.

Packer and her co-star Nigel Gore create a Shakespeare experience the Associated Press hailed as "boundless and irresistible" in the production's New York premiere last year. (Packer and Gore have starred opposite each other in several productions, including Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Antony & Cleopatra, and Hamlet.)

A national tour follows immediately after the PSF run. "We chose to include Women of Will in our season to offer our audiences a powerful theatrical experience by one of the world's most highly regarded Shakespearean artists," says Patrick Mulcahy, PSF producing artistic director. "It's a great privilege to have Tina here and I know she will be impressed by how engaged our audiences are."

Directed by Eric Tucker, artistic director of New York's Bedlam theatre company, Women of Will previews July 22 and 23, opens July 24 and continues through August 3. Luisa Ann Torres is stage manager. Kathleen Kund Nolan and Timothy E. Nolan are production sponsors; Keenan-Nagle Advertising is co-sponsor.

A special one-day-only two-part extended version will be presented Sunday, July 20: "Force and Heat: The Early Plays" at 2pm and "Chaos and Redemption: The Later Plays" at 7:30pm. These can be seen separately as each is individually complete, or together for a broader experience.

Performances are Tuesdays at 7pm, Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm and 7:30pm. There is an additional 2pm matinee on Saturday, August 2. Tickets range from $25 to $42 and are available by calling the box office at 610.282.9455 or online at pashakespeare.org.

The Festival's 23rd season continues with Lend Me a Tenor (through August 3) in repertory with Macbeth (July 17 – August 3); Cinderella (through August 2); and Shakespeare for Kids (July 23 - August 2).

Monday, July 28 at 7:30pm PSF offers a performance by the world-renowned Baltimore Consort, which will premiere "The Food of Love: Songs for Shakespeare."

The season sponsor is Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects. Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, The Szarko Family and the Harry C. Trexler Trust. Media sponsors are The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.

Bios

TINA PACKER (Actor/playwright) is the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass. She has directed most of Shakespeare's plays, acted in seven of them, and taught the whole canon at 30+ colleges, including Harvard, M.I.T. and NYU. At Columbia, she taught in the MBA program, resulting in the publication of Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management. For Scholastic, she wrote Tales from Shakespeare. She began her career in England, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She is the recipient of 20+ awards, honors and fellowships, including the Ronson Award and Guggenheim and Bunting Fellowships. She is the subject of the WGBH documentary "Sex, Violence and Poetry: A Portrait of Tina Packer" and Helen Epstein's biography "The Companies She Keeps."

NIGEL GORE (Actor) played the title role in Macbeth and Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream last summer at Colorado Shakespeare Festival. He received the Eliot Norton Award for outstanding actor for his portrayal of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Publick Theatre in Boston. Credits include: Richard in Richard III at Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Squeers, Hawke in Nicholas Nickleby at Lyric Stage Boston (Eliot Norton outstanding actor nomination); Claudius in Hamlet at Prague Shakespeare Festival; Volumnia in Coriolanus at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, UK; Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra; Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night (both with Shakespeare & Co.). Film: Last Knights. TV: Brotherhood on Showtime.

ERIC TUCKER (Director) Off Broadway directing credits include: Tina Packer's Women of Will: The Overview and Women of Will: The Complete Journey, The Libertine, The Belle of Belfast, 86'd. Off Off Broadway: Closer, The Libertine, 16 East. Regional: Hamlet (with William Hurt, Stella Adler Theatre, Los Angeles); Mate (The Actors' Gang, L.A.), Macbeth (nominated Best Overall Production and Best Director by LA Weekly); Uranium + Peaches (with Ed Asner, L.A.); Pinter's Mirror, Bad Dates, Women of Will the Complete Journey (Shakespeare and Co., Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Prague Shakespeare Festival, The Nora Theatre - Boston); Women of Will the Overview (Shakespeare and Co. and Mercury Theatre in Colchester, England); Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet (Trinity Repertory Company); Saint Joan (L.A. Critics Circle top 10); Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Measure for Measure (Redlands Shakespeare Festival); Man of La Mancha, Sanctuary (North American Premiere, Veterans Center for the Performing Arts); Watership Down (World Premiere, Burning Coal); Macbeth, Closer (The Gamm); The Voyage of the Carcass (World Premiere, Brown Playwrights Festival); Angels in America Parts I & II, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, Richard III (Beowulf). The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (University of Utah). As an actor, Eric's Shakespeare roles include: Hamlet, Iago, Henry V, Macbeth, Romeo, Malvolio, Orsino, Prince Hal, Master Ford, Benedick, Orlando, Laertes and Demetrius. Eric received his M.F.A. from the Trinity Rep Conservatory.

PATRICK MULCAHY (Producing Artistic Director, PSF; Director, Macbeth) Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mulcahy has led PSF's return to artistic excellence and financial stability, rebuilt the professional company of artists, and achieved increasing national recognition for the Festival. As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mulcahy has acted with Angela Basset, 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 Street Theatre. 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 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 Julius Caesar (1997). As head of acting at DeSales, Patrick directed ten productions for Act 1, including I Hate Hamlet, The Grapes of Wrath, The Foreigner, and The Diary of Anne Frank. He holds an MFA from Syracuse University.

Media representatives: To schedule reviews and/or interviews or request photos, please contact Lisa Higgins at Lisa.Higgins@pashakespeare.org or call 610.282.9455, ext. 4.

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