Each summer, the campus of DeSales University is transformed into one of the nation’s top summer theatre festivals. The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival (PSF) offers up a wide variety of performances each year, all promising top-notch talent.
Recognized as a top outlet for summer theatre by the New York Times, PSF has been entertaining audiences for more than 25 years. But don’t let the name fool you - there’s much more than just Shakespearean plays happening here.
The 26th season of PSF encompasses everything from classic musicals to slapstick comedies, Shakespearean plays to kid-friendly entertainment.
On the Main Stage through early July, visitors can see Evita, a musical studying the life of Eva Perón as she comes to fame in Argentina. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this piece of theatre promises soaring melodies with quick-witted lyrics performed flawlessly by the orchestra and cast, respectively.
Unlike traditional musicals, Evita is performed as a rock opera with very little spoken lines throughout. Audiences will find bits of melodies that carry through multiple songs throughout the show, a technique that is used in many of Webber’s musicals.
The PSF production of Evita is comparable to something that you’d see on Broadway. The sets provide the perfect tone throughout the performance, providing just enough of a backdrop for the action without taking too much of the limelight. And the cast of the show shines throughout.
The role of Eva Perón is expertly played by Dee Roscioli, a DeSales alumna who has been seen in the starring role of Elphaba in productions of Wicked on Broadway as well is in the national tour. Her vocals command the stage, expertly showcasing the drive and passion that the role demands.
Cast standouts include Dan Domenech in the role of Che and Paulo Szot in the role of Perón.
Musicals not your thing? Never fear! On the Schubert Stage, you can catch The Hound of the Baskervilles, a roaring comedic take on the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes.
The cast is made up of three PSF veterans -- Greg Wood, Carl Wallnau, and Jacob Dresch -- playing a number of roles (15 in total) throughout the show. In addition to the many roles each cast member plays, they also serve as the crew throughout, moving in various set pieces to help dress the scene.
The antics of the characters, including fast-paced switches between characters, had the audience in hysterical laughter. Unlike most plays, the actors break the fourth wall as they play to the audience with topics at various points throughout the show and even come totally out of character(s) at various points to address the audience in real time.
The 26th season of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival continues through early August with performances of The Three Musketeers, As You Like It, and Trolius and Cressida. Kids (and kids at heart) will love Shakespeare for Kids and The Ice Princess. And, don’t miss special one-night-only concert engagements with Dee Roscioli and Mike Eldred.
Details on upcoming performances and ticket information can be found online.