Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof to Open at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lisa Higgins
610.282.9455, ext. 4
Center Valley, PA –Tennessee Williams’ favorite among his own plays, the Pulitzer prize-winning Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, opens Saturday, July 21st on the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival main stage, in rep with Much Ado About Nothing.
Featuring daytime television star Tom Degnan as Brick Pollitt and Eleanor Handley as Maggie, Cat previews July 19 and 20 and runs through August 5.
Degnan’s credits include Young Harry in the film Handsome Harry, with Jamey Sheridan and Steven Buscemi; Adam Munson in As the World Turns; and Joey Buchanan in the series One Life to Live. He has also made appearances on Law and Order, The Good Wife, and White Collar.
Eleanor Handley recently appeared as Maria in Twelfth Night, which was filmed and broadcast on PBS. She has also had roles on As the World Turns and Royal Pains. Handley was seen last season at PSF in The Comedy of Errors as Adriana and in The Two Noble Kinsman as Emilia.
Maggie “the Cat” still burns hot for her ex-football star husband, but Brick only has eyes for the bottom of a whiskey bottle. When his father, Big Daddy, returns home from a cancer clinic thinking he’s got a clean bill of health, the family swarms for slice of the inheritance pie. Emotional shockwaves intensify as truths are finally told.
Directed by Thomas Ouellette, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof features Joe Vincent as Big Daddy, and Jo Twiss plays his wife, Big Mama. Carey Van Driest and Rob Kahn play Mae Flynn and Gooper, while Anthony Reimer and Larry Bull play Reverend Tooker and Doctor Baugh, respectively.
Bob Phillips has designed the Pollitt’s Mississippi estate where the play takes place. Lisa Zinni has designed the costumes, and the lighting is designed by Thom Weaver. PSF’s resident designer Matthew Given designed sound and Hannah Woodward serves as stage manager. Dudley Knight is the dialect coach.
- Opens: July 21
- Previews: July 19 & 20
- Closes: August 5
- Performances: Tuesday July 31 at 7pm; Wednesday July 25 at 8pm; Thursday July 19 & August 2 at 8pm; Friday July 20, 27 & August 3 at 8pm; Saturday July 21 & August 4 at 8pm; Saturday July 28 at 2pm; Sunday July 22 & 29 at 7:30pm; Sunday August 5 at 2pm.
- Tickets: $25-$52; $10 student rush 30 minutes prior to curtain, subject to availability.
Tickets to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof are available at www.pashakespeare.org and by contacting the Box Office at 610.282.WILL .
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof will play in repertory with William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, featuring the same cast. The productions alternate performances, and on July 21, 28 and 29 and August 4 and 5, patrons can see both productions on the same day.
Much Ado About Nothing continues through August 5. The 2012 season also includes two other plays by Shakespeare, The Tempest (which closed July 15th), and King John (July 25th-August 5th). The Festival also features the children’s shows Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (through August 4) and Shakespeare for Kids (July 25-August 4).
The production sponsor for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is Breslin Ridyard Fadero Architects. The co-sponsor is Keenan-Nagle Advertising, Inc. The Season Sponsor is The Rider-Pool Foundation. The Associate Season Sponsors are Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Lutron Electronics Company, Inc., and the Harry C. Trexler Trust. Season Media sponsors are The Morning Call and Service Electric Cable TV & Communications.
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at DeSales University 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 ARTISTS’ BIOGRAPHIES
LARRY BULL, Doc Baugh, also Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. Broadway: Lincoln Center (The Coast of Utopia). New York: 78th St. (Kenneth – What is the Frequency?). Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Geva Theatre, Denver Center, Shakespeare Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Trinity Rep, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare and others.
TOM DEGNAN, Brick, also Don John in Much Ado About Nothing. Credits include Pride and Prejudice (Cleveland Play House), Anna Christie, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, You Can’t Take it With You (Monomoy Theatre). Film/TV credits: Handsome Harry, Magic City, The Good Wife, White Color, Law and Order, As the World Turns, and One Life to Live. Born in nearby Yardley, Pa.
MATTHEW GIVEN, Resident Sound Designer, Production Manager, PSF. Fifth season as production manager and ninth season as resident sound designer at PSF. PSF designs include: A Winter’s Tale, King Lear, Dracula, Romeo & Juliet (‘10), and The Mystery of Irma Vep. Others: Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Centenary Stage Company, and Arcadia University. He holds an M.F.A. in sound design from Ohio University.
ELEANOR HANDLEY, Maggie, also Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Second season with PSF: last year appeared as Adriana in The Comedy of Errors and Emilia in The Two Noble Kinsmen. She recently returned from Florida Studio Theatre, where she originated the role of Beth in the world premiere of Jack Canfora’s Jericho. Since completing her MFA at the New School for Drama in NYC, she has worked extensively for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, including Cressida in the critically acclaimed Troilus and Cressida, Lady M in the tour of Macbeth and Maria in Twelfth Night, which was filmed and broadcast on PBS. Off Broadway she appeared in the New York premiere of Charles Mee’s Limonade Tous les Jours opposite Austin Pendleton. TV: As the World Turns and Royal Pains.
ROB KAHN, Gooper, also Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. Rob has worked extensively in regional theatres, film and television. He is the former Artistic Director of the award-winning Interact Theater Company in Los Angeles. Theater credits include National Tours, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Second City, and Geffen Playhouse. In the area: Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, EgoPo Classic Theatre, Theatre Horizon, Temple Repertory Theater, and Act II Playhouse. TV/film credits include CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Numb3rs, and National Lampoon’s Dorm Daze.
PATRICK MULCAHY, PSF Producing Artistic Director. Since assuming leadership in 2003, Mr. 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. Further accomplishments include PSF’s first-ever award from the National Endowment for the Arts, and attracting a company of artists including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards to the Festival, growth in all income areas, a 50% increase in annual attendance, and the expansion of the number of Actors’ Equity contracts per season.
As a professional director, actor and fight director, credits include Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, and radio. Mr. 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, directedHamlet (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 M.F.A. from Syracuse University.
THOMAS OUELLETTE, Director. Thomas most recently directed Romeo and Juliet at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre; other OST directing credits include Pride and Prejudice, Arms and the Man, and I Hate Hamlet. Also an actor, he appeared this season as Adam in Next Fall and Hysterium in A Funny Thing… at Orlando’s Mad Cow Theatre. He has taught directing and acting at Rollins College since 1996, where he has directed more than a dozen productions in their storied Annie Russell Theatre, and where he received the Cornell Distinguished Faculty award in 2010.
BOB PHILLIPS, Set Designer. Bob designed The Comedy of Errors and Sleeping Beauty last year and more than three dozen PSF shows since 1995. Bob is celebrating his 18th season as resident designer for the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, where he has designed more than 70 productions. His television designs include Another World, Search for Tomorrow, and Sesame Street, where he has designed 21 seasons. Bob has received the Outer Critics Circle, Villager, Madison, and Lillian Stoates Awards for his stage work and 6 Emmys for his television designs.
ANTHONY REIMER, Rev. Tooker, also Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. New York: Cactus Flower, An Ideal Husband and three seasons with New York Classical Theatre. Regional: Paper Mill Playhouse, Capital Repertory, Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Film/TV: Rescue Me, Chasing Zero, Marvelous Miles and Whisper in the Dark.
JO TWISS, Big Mama, also Antonia in Much Ado About Nothing. PSF: Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice and the Player Queen in Hamlet (2011) in last season’s rep, and the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet (2010). Played the role of Big Mama on Broadway opposite Ned Beatty.Recent Philly credits include Steel Magnolias, Up, Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge, Always Patsy Cline, A Moon for the Misbegotten (Barrymore nomination), Dancing at Lughnasa (Barrymore nom) and The Borrowers. TV/film: Law and Order, Revolutionary Road and Disconnect.
CAREY VAN DRIEST, Mae, also Ursula/Verges in Much Ado About Nothing. National tours: Grace Farrell (Annie). New York: Reckless, The Importance of Being Earnest, Arms and the Man, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest (with Sonnet Repertory Theatre.)Regional: Denver Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Stamford Center for the Arts, others. Voice over credits include international documentaries, national commercials and radio.
JOE VINCENT, Big Daddy. Mr. Vincent’s career includes a combined 28 years at the Oregon, California, Old Globe, Alabama and Orlando Shakespeare Festivals. He has appeared in 33 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays, and in more than 40 major Musical Theatre roles. He has appeared in theatre companies all over the country and, in 2008, he made his Broadway debut as Max in Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll directed by Trevor Nunn. In his spare time, Mr. Vincent leads tours to Shakespeare’s Italy.
THOM WEAVER, Lighting Designer. Also serves as scenic and lighting designer for Much Ado About Nothing, in rep with Cat. PSF: Comedy of Errors, Playboy of the Western World, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Complete Works. Designs in the region include: Wilma, Arden, 1812, Azuka, People’s Light, DTC, Walnut, Theatre Exile, Curtis Opera, Lantern, and Flashpoint Theatre Company, where he is Artistic Director. Other theatre credits: Teller’s Play Dead in Las Vegas and NYC, Cal Shakes, Children’s Theatre Company, CENTERSTAGE, Folger Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Roundhouse, Portland Center Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Signature Theater Company, Berkshire Opera, Lincoln Center Institute, Lincoln Center Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, City Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, and Yale Rep. Awards include 9 Barrymore nominations (winning in 2011 for In the Next Room), 2-time City Paper’s Best Lighting Design, 2-time Helen Hayes Nominee, and the 2007 AUDELCO Award for King Hedley II, Signature Theatre. He is a member of Wingspace Design Group. Education: Carnegie Mellon and Yale.