The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival does not mess around. It's not even November and they have announced their summer 2019 season — and it's a sparkler.
Playbill.com recently listed PSF among its "Must Know Regional Theaters," and the mix of Bardic beauties, American plays and musicals, and family fare scheduled for this summer at DeSales University in Center Valley is especially intriguing.
For Americana, we have Ken Ludwig's American songbook tunefest Crazy for You (June 12-30), the two-man quick-change spoof The Mystery of Irma Vep – A Penny Dreadful (June 20-July 14), and Noël Coward's piquant adult comedy Private Lives, about exes who have remarried and are about to undo and redo everything (July 18-Aug. 4).
In a statement, producing artistic director Patrick Mulcahy says, "This season is designed to be transporting. The Shakespeare plays each feature characters in search of transcendence."
You can clearly see that in Antony and Cleopatra (July 10-Aug. 4), with kings who want to be emperors and empresses who want to be gods.
And Henry IV, Part 1 (July 24-Aug. 4) continues the festival's exploration of Shakespeare's second quartet of "Henry" plays, picking up from last year's Richard II. In this installment, a boy is transformed into a man — indeed, a prince among men. The play will be performed in what PSF calls "extreme Shakespeare," that is, pretty much as the original players did it in Shakespeare's day: Actors arrive with their lines learned, rehearse on their own, and wear what they can find, with no director and next to no scenery.
Antony and Cleopatra and Private Lives will be performed in repertory, with the same cast alternating between plays day to day.
The children's offerings are The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian (May 31-Aug. 3) and the yearly Shakespeare fantasia Shakespeare for Kids (July 24-Aug. 3).
Details are at pashakespeare.org.