Curtain Rises: ‘Henry IV’ the sequel at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
BY KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS
Special to The Press
The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival kicks off the summer theater season with William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part 2,” May 31 - June 11, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley.
“Henry IV, Part 2” marks the return of “Extreme Shakespeare,” with actors approaching the play the same way Shakespearean companies did, acting as director and designer, with lines already learned and improvised staging.
The play continues the coming-of-age tale begun in previous PSF seasons’ “King Richard II” and “Henry IV, Part 1.”
King Henry IV is in failing health as his kingdom is threatened by conspiracies and enemies at the borders. As the mantle of kingship passes from father to son, Prince Hal (Eli Lynn) must distance himself from his life of frivolity. The decadent Falstaff (John Ahlin) is forced out of the tavern to face his duty on the battlefield.
Shakespeare’s dramatic tale of family, betrayal and rebellion illuminates the magnitude of honor and duty in the making of a monarch.
Lynn, last seen in the PSF’s 2021 outdoor production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is fight director of “Henry IV, Part 2.”
Ahlin reprises his role as Falstaff following his performances in “Henry IV, Part 1” in 2019 and “The Merry Wives of Windsor” in 2010.
Also returning is PSF veteran actor Christopher Patrick Mullen who plays several roles in “Henry IV, Part 2.”
The cast includes Kimberly Gilbert, Eric Hissom, Jim Ireland, Gina Lamparella, Ty Lane, Anthony Lawton, Gabe Moses, Ian Merrill Peakes, Sabrina Lynne Sawyer and Patrick Toon.
Audiences can enjoy live music and dining options “on the green.”
There’s a free prologue for insights into the play held in the theater 45 minutes prior to curtain.
There will be a talk-back with the actors after the June 8 performance. An audio-described performance is at 2 p.m. June 10.
“Henry IV, Part 2,” 7:30 p.m. May 31, June 1, 2, 7, 8, 9; 2 p.m. June 3, 11; 2, 7:30 p.m. June 4, 10; 6:30 p.m. June 6, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, Schubert Theatre, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University, Center Valley. Tickets: 610-282-9455; http://pashakespeare.org
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival launches its “Play On!” free community touring program June 2 - June 18.
The tour takes Shakespeare’s classic comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to libraries, parks and community centers throughout the Lehigh Valley.
The performances will be an opportunity for everyone to enjoy Shakespeare’s hilarious mash-up of mistaken lovers, mischievous fairies and amateur thespians.
PSF present its first “Community Day,” July 1 on the campus of DeSales University in front of the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts.
“We are excited to collaborate and partner with local businesses to present a day full of fun, food, live performances and more for the entire family,” says Jason King Jones, PSF Artistic Director.
Children’s programming starts at 10 a.m. July 1 with story times, arts and crafts, and a meet and greet with the cast of the festival’s “James and the Giant Peach.”
The event includes food trucks. There will be information tables from organizations and programs spanning health, creative arts and accessibility services.
There’s a free performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Outdoor Trexler Library Stage, 3 p.m. July 1.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” 12:30 p.m. June 2, Allentown ArtsWalk Pocket Park; 11 a.m. June 3, Scott Park, Easton; 2 p.m. June 3, Allentown Arts Park; 1 p.m., June 4, National Museum of Industrial History, Bethlehem; 6 p.m. June 6, Allentown Public Library; noon June 7, Bucks County Courthouse lawn; 11 a.m. June 13, Moravian Village, Bethlehem; 6 p.m. June 14, Bethlehem Area Public Library; 6 p.m. June 15, Hills at Lockridge, Lower Macungie Township; noon June 17, Peddler’s Village, Lahaska.
Curtain Rises” is a column about the theater, stage shows, the actors in them and the directors and artists who make them happen. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, firstname.lastname@example.org