Eight years strong, Scranton Shakespeare Festival continues to offer the Northeastern Pennsylvania community exciting, free professional theater. Scranton Shakes is a non-profit organization, supported by the generosity of national and state-run organizations, local fund-raising, and audience donations.
To get in the mood for this season, Scranton Shakes is hosting an elegant fundraiser, A Night At The Tonys on Sunday, June 9, at 7:30 p.m. at The Scranton Club. This glamorous viewing party for the coveted Tony Awards is complete with red carpet entry, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment. Tickets are $35 and will be available at the door and at http://www.ScrantonShakes.com. The event will benefit the Scranton Shakespeare Festival.
Kicking off this year’s season at Scranton Prep on June 27-30 and again on Aug. 3 is the upbeat Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat which will be directed by Billie-Aken Tyers.
Local musician and lead singer of Black Tie Stereo, Stephen Murphy, last seen with SSF in its production of The Pirates of Penzance, will take on the leading role of Joseph. He will be sharing the stage with one of the region’s most treasured voices, Michele Conaboy McGrath, as the Narrator. A special performance on Friday, June 28, will also welcome the hearing-impaired community by feature sign language interpreters.
SSF Artistic Director, Michael Bradshaw Flynn, will direct Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare’s epic of love and sex during the Trojan War. Michael, raised in Scranton and co-founder of the festival, has always had a finger on the pulse on what the community will respond to. He’ll be adding his unique spin on this famous story that explores conflict in the war-rooms and the bedrooms of Troy’s golden days. With both local and New York City actors playing legendary roles such as Helen of Troy and Achilles, this production will be presented at Scranton Prep, July 12 – 14 and Aug 3.
Emma Rosa Went’s deceptively simple and heart-warming production of As You Like It last season was a favorite of audiences. This year she will be turning her directing skill to Shakespeare’s Richard III, featuring England’s infamous royal villain. Set in a straight-laced, buttoned-down, Victorian-esque metropolis, audiences will revel in Richard’s violent, rebellious and horrifying campaign to becoming King of England. He’s the evil king everybody loves to hate, which might be why Richard III remains the second most produced Shakespeare play ever! Scranton Shakes’ version will be presented at the Royal Theatre of the University of Scranton from July 19 – 21 and again on Aug 4.
Each year Scranton Shakes has featured a daring, site-specific production to its season. In 2017, it was Damn Yankees, the baseball musical presented at PNC Field, and last year was How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying in downtown’s Marketplace at Steamtown mall (complete with glass elevator and sweeping staircases).
And this year is no different. The Broadway musical Cabaret, with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, feels like a night out in 1929’s Berlin’s Kit Kat Club, with a backdrop of racial tension and the pre-war Nazi’s rise to power. Liza Minnelli climbed to stardom playing Sally Bowles in the movie. SSF will use Scranton’s new downtown, secret speakeasy, Madam Jenny’s at the Bittenbender, as an immersive venue for a titillating night out. Simone Daniel, a native of Scranton, is directing this classic show with a fresh, contemporary lens that audiences are sure to enjoy from their plush velvet booths while sipping delicious cocktails. This show, which is for mature audiences, will run July 25 – 28 and Aug 4.
To close the season will be a very exciting production from Broadway legend and Tony- nominated playwright Douglas Carter Beane, who presented Fairycakes with SSF in 2014 and premiered Robin Hood: The New Musical in 2015. He returns to Scranton Shakes with a brand new play set right here in Pennsylvania. The Behavior Of Light charts the adventures of shy, amateur artist Teddy, who despite living in 1970’s Reading, Pa., with his television-tending mom, spends his days lost in a whirlwind of love, color, light, and creativity. The show will run at the Royal Theatre, University of Scranton, July 31 – Aug 2.
Make your reservations for the shows with our box office. Though tickets are free, reserving them is highly recommended. You’ll find more information about the shows and the festival here at www.ScrantonShakes.com