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The April Bard Bulletin

It’s only April—and Scranton Shakes has many things going on this month and next—but we

also can’t help but look forward to our upcoming summer season of the Scranton Shakespeare Festival. It is exciting to let you know that we have received 691 submissions for our Main Stage company auditions! Actors trying out for our 13th season include many of our past favorites as well as tons of new faces.

Our season opens on June 21 with a Youth Ensemble production of “The Tempest,” followed by the mainstage cast in the classic Broadway musical “Gypsy” on June 27; “The Winter’s Tale” on July 5; the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Next To Normal” on July 11; “Titus Andronicus” on July 19, and finishing with the Youth Ensemble musical “Into the Woods” on August 1. Lizzie Gumula, Education Director and Associate Producer, will direct the Youth Ensemble productions, while SSF Artistic Director Michael Bradshaw Flynn is directing both “Gypsy” and “Titus Andronicus.” Guest directors are Samantha Morales of New York for “The Winter’s Tale” and New Jerseyite Victoria Sook,--last in Scranton to helm “Love’s Labour’s Lost” two seasons ago--will direct “Next to Normal.”

Lizzie Gumula, who spearheads our Education department, wears many other theater hats,

working at the esteemed Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, and most recently as Associate Director for the Haddonfield Players’ rendition of “Bonnie & Clyde” by Frank Wildhorn, Ivan Menchel, and Don Black in New Jersey… Nicole Weitzman, who has appeared in such Scranton Shakes productions as “How To Succeed in Business,” “Ragtime” and “Into the Woods,” recently performed the song “When Do I Get Mine” from “Busker Alley” at the 54 Below in New York City, a favorite performing venue for top Broadway stars… Sevon Askew, who is in the company of the national tour of “Hadestown,” has stepped into the leading role of Hermes several times to enthusiastic reviews. Sevon has both acted and directed on such SSF productions at “Ragtime,” “Into the Woods,” “Hamlet” and “Othello.”

Ariana Valdes, who describes herself as a “mixed Cuban & Irish NYC-based multi-hyphenate performer, creative, & arts educator,” just finished playing Tammy in “Jimmy Buffett’s Escape to Margaritaville” at Mill Mountain Performing Arts Center in North Carolina. Ariana, who has appeared in tours of “The Sound of Music” and “My Fair Lady,” graced SSF with her talent in “Hamlet” as Gertrude during our 10 th season,…. In a delightful coincidence, Marissa Danielle Duricko served as Costume Designer for the “Jimmy Buffett" musical. Marissa is an actor, costume designer, director, and once-upon-a-time stage manager who has worked extensively in New York City, across the U.S., and Ireland. But Marissa’s most recent costume design credits include “Sweet Charity,” “Rent,” and “The Lightning Thief” for The Scranton Shakespeare Festival , where she also appeared in SSF’s Scranton Fringe production of “Strange America,” as well as costuming Mill Mountain’s productions of “Holiday Inn”, “Jersey Boys”, and “Elf, The Musical.”

Henry Howland, who played the title role in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” and Roger in “Rent” at the Scranton Shakespeare Festival last season is appearing as Sean in a world

premiere “dramedy” entitled “The Match Game” with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opening on April 13 and running through May. Scranton’s own Quinn Hemphill, who is planning her wedding for June, has other excitement in store that month as she has a featured role in “Bad Boys Ride or Die” from Sony Pictures which opens in In theaters June 7. The trailer for the movie dropped in March on various platforms….

Some of our favorite actors from ScrantonShakes are starring in “The Drowsy Chaperone”

opening this month at Music Box Dinner Playhouse in Swoyersville. Cate McDonald plays the leading role, while Kelly Jean Graham, Jimmy Williams, and Camille Reineke are also in the cast. You can reserve for the show or dinner-and-show. Brian McGurl of the groups Q Ball and East Coast Trio entertained at a Lunchtime Concert on April 3 at the Shakes Space, and will return for another free Lunchtime Concert along with Phil Rossi on Wednesday, May 1. Bring your lunch to the free event and sway along to the music!

Plan ahead to lend support to SSF and Scranton Shakes at some exciting events in April and

May. A fund-raising Pasta Party is planned for April 20 with seatings at 2 and 5 p.m. at Church of the Good Shepherd Hall, Washington Avenue in Green Ridge. Price is $13 per

meal—appropriately benefiting our 13 th season of free professional theater in Scranton! In

addition to the dinner, some fun entertainment is being planned…...Also mark your calendars for a must-see tribute to The Beatles on Saturday, May 18, with performances at 3 and 6 p.m. Entitled “Help!,” the production is designed to “help” subsidize our free summer season of professional shows. Cost is $30 for general show admission, or $60 including a cocktail hour featuring Beatle-inspired refreshments and drinks as well as priority seating for the show. Tickets are available at


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