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The January Bard Bulletin

Sevon Askew, who played Coalhouse Walker in “Ragtime” during SSF’s 10 th anniversary season, has been understudying the role of Hermes in the national tour of “Hadestown” and recently got to go on in the leading role for the first time in Boise, Idaho….

Really exciting news from SSF fave Gianna Porfano, who is heading to the Utah Shakespeare Festival to play the role of Ophelia in USF’s touring production of “Hamlet.” Gianna, who was a powerhouse in our 2022 production of “We Will Rock You,” says, “I’m excited for this new challenge and to see how much I grow during this process. I know Ophelia has a lot to teach me. Above all, I’m excited to collaborate, travel, and make memories with so many talented artists!” “Hamlet” will tour the Intermountain West from February-April. For more about USF:

Lizzie Newcomb Gumula, SSF’s innovative director of education and associate director ,is

currently associate director for an upcoming production of the new musical “Bonnie and Clyde” by the Haddonfield Plays and Players in New Jersey. The show will run March 8-23 and tickets are available at:

Also ,exciting news from Samantha Morales who has been called back to repeat her role on the television series “Blue Bloods.” Sam played Lady Macbeth and multiple other roles for Scranton Shakespeare Festival and resides in NYC with her husband Anthony Mercado and their adorable son, Leo. Both are graduates of the University of Scranton.

Quinn Hemphill, a Scranton native and SSF alum, working steadily on the West Coast can be seen on all digital platforms (including Amazon, Apple TV, Vudu and more) in “The Mental State.” It takes place in the heart of rural Kentucky when a teenager uncovers a conspiracy behind a dangerous town shooter…

Nominations have been announced for the 2023 Broadway World Central Pennsylvania Awards where Rachel Luann Strayer has been nominated as Best Direction for a Play for “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at People’s Shakespeare Project as well as for “Puffs” at Millersville University Theatre, while her husband Jonathan Strayer is a nominee in the same category for “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Millersville University Theatre and also for Best Direction for a Musical for “Carrie The Musical” at the same theater. The multi-talented Rachel also has her play “The Last Daughter” being produced at the University Theatre at Central Michigan University…Ariana Valdes is also a nominee for Best Supporting Performer in a Musical for “In the Heights” at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. All three nominees have been featured at Scranton Shakespeare Festival…

Among the performers in Ballet Theater of Scranton’s “Nutcracker” last month were newly-

engaged couple Isabella Snyder and Joshua Lim. Immediately after, Isabella performed in our Panto production of “Jack and the Beanstalk”….and also appeared as Princess Elsa at

December’s First Friday event for children.

Veteran SSF board member Ray Lynady was spotted at the Pennsylvania Society 2023 event

in New York City last month….SSF board vice president Katie Blaum Farrell had a whirlwind trip to Italy recently to visit her daughter, Willa, who was studying in Florence and Rome. Willa, a classic major, was able to give her mom personalized tours of the sites, including the ruins of Pompeii!


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