The Phoenix Theatre rises in Chester County this summer with its inaugural production. In residence at SALT Performing Arts in Chester Springs, this brand-new company dedicated to re-envisioning classics, producing bold contemporary pieces, and forging new works, debuts with a production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. This magical production is set to run July 5-21. Opening night is July 6 at 7 p.m. All shows will be performed at SALT Performing Arts, 1645 Art School Road, Chester Springs. Tickets for The Tempestare already on sale online at www.thephoenixtheatrepa.com. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $17 for students and seniors, and anyone under 18 will be admitted for free to The Tempest.
“With this being our inaugural season and thinking about the phoenix rising from the ashes, it seemed liked The Tempest was the perfect choice,” said Phoenix Theatre Artistic Director Seth Reich. “Prospero is rebuilding himself and taking a whole new direction with his life. In this story, revenge, anger and frustration give way to a beautiful forgiveness. We wanted to really explore those elements. I wanted to do something very visceral to have our dreams come to fruition. The Tempest did that.”
It has long been a dream of the company’s founders to run their own company. William Shakespeare’s The Tempest begins their inaugural “Season of Dreams” directed by company co-founder and Artistic Director Seth Reich. This will be a contemporary re-imagining of Shakespeare’s final play utilizing modern design concepts to create magic along with strong movement work and dynamic music. A full immersion experience of Prospero’s island, where creatures, spirits and people alike crave connection and understanding – reminding audiences of the many strengths and fragilities of being human.
Phoenix Theatre co-founder and Managing Director Michael Hajek is Prospero. The theatre’s co-founder and Development Director Jessica Myhr is Ariel. Also in the cast is Lorenzo Landini as Stephano. Lydia Joy Carswell is Caliban. Dani Joy Foley is Alonso. Trina Tjersland is Antonio, Katrina Hall is Gonzalo, and Sebastian is played by Tiffany Bacon.
This production of The Tempest will feature a Young Company. The Young Company are apprentices who are receiving intensive training while preparing for the show. The Young Company features: Amanda Clark as Miranda; Ryan Cassidy as Ferdinand; Marcus Barainyak as Trinculo; Becky Advena, Bailey Denmark, Lauryn Swavely, Becca Stehle, and Hannah Cohen as extensions of Ariel; Emma Apple as Ceres; Kelsey Hébert as Juno; Taylor Morgan as Iris; Mikey Roman as Adrian; Dylan Erdelyi as Francisco; and Samantha Smith as Boatswain.
The Phoenix Theatre’s Resident Designer Stephan Morvaski is the Set Designer. Lily Prentice is the Costume Designer and Paul Hudson is the Lighting Designer. The Assistant Director/Choreographer is Andres Gallardo and the Music Director is Brigitte Rottman. The director Seth Reich will compose original music for the show.
As Reich and Company re-imagine this production, audiences can expect some changes. The company cast gender-blind so there are many female government officials in this world. The role of Caliban, usually cast as a male, will be played by a female. Ariel will not be portrayed as an athletic wood sprite but a celestial goddess with five ensemble members, strong movers, serving as extensions of her magical reach.
“Audiences can expect a much more contemporary version. They will see The Tempest in a way they have never seen before. They will see a lot of movement and lots of theatre magic. It’s going to be a lively experience and moving.” said Reich.
The Company really values accessibility in theatre and has vowed to keep its tickets affordable. It also sees value in making this show accessible for students by offering free tickets for anyone under the age of 18.
“I think we have gotten to a place where we’ve made Shakespeare high-brow literature. That was never his intention – it was always meant to be acted out, not read. It’s filled with action and adventure and really delves into the heart of human nature,” said Reich. “It is important that we are exposed to the classics. It helps us remember our past and appreciate what has come before us. Theatre is for the people. It’s about bringing us together in one space on one night, no matter who you are. This is why it’s incredibly important to us to make our theatre affordable to all.”
Then, the company kicks off 2020 with Tennessee Williams’ classic memory play, The Glass Menagerie. Michael Hajek will direct. Running January 17-February 2, The Glass Menagerie is an intimate portrait of a young man trying to escape his destiny and reliving his past. The Glass Menagerie, written by one of the great American playwright’s Tennessee Williams, holds a mirror up to illusion and truth. The family looks into the glass wondering if their individual realities will shatter or remain intact.
About The Phoenix Theatre
The Phoenix Theatre is a professional, non-profit theatre company dedicated to building and inspiring community. We strive to tell stories that encourage our audiences to see the world in a new light and rise to action. We are committed to making people laugh, cry, and cheer by re-envisioning classics, producing bold contemporary pieces, and forging new works.