In an adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel that has traveled around the world from Off-Broadway to Bangladesh, Mark Brown’s Around the World in 80 Days will open at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, where the idea for the play originated. The production previews June 17 and 18, opens June 19, and continues through July 12 in the Festival’s intimate Schubert Theatre.
With a fast-paced script praised by the New York Times as “Smart enough to make sophisticated adults laugh out loud. And shamelessly silly enough to keep children ... interested and entertained,” the excursion begins with a bet by Phileas Fogg that takes him and the audience on a whirlwind tour of the world by train, boat, automobile and elephant (but no balloon).
Played by Festival veterans Richard B. Watson, Fogg and his servant Passepartout, Brad DePlanche, set out to win the world record. Directed by Russell Treyz, who directed PSF’s first production of the play ten years ago to rave reviews, …80 Days also features Eric Hissom and Christopher Patrick Mullen in multiple roles ranging from the detective who suspects Fogg of trouble to a troublesome Chinese Broker. Aouda, who is rescued by Fogg then accompanies him on his journey, is played by Anita Vasan.
Bob Phillips and Samina Vieth serves as set designers; Amy Best as costume designer. Eric T. Haugen designed lights and Stacy Renee Norwood is production stage manager.
The production sponsor is DeSales University; co-sponsors are Embassy Bank and Lutron. The season sponsor is Amaranth Foundation. Associate season sponsors are Henry C. Trexler Trust, Linda Lapos and Paul Wirth, Dr. James and Penny Pantano, and the Szarko Family.
For tickets, call 610.282.WILL  or online at www.pashakespeare.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday through Saturday at 8pm [excluding the 4th of July holiday, when there is not a performance], and 2pm Sundays. Sunday, June 21st and July 5th there are additional 7:30pm performances. Additional 2pm matinees are Saturday June 27th and July 11th and Wednesday, July 1st.
The Festival’s 24th season also features Les Misérables (through June 28); The Foreigner (July 8- August 2); Henry V (July 16- August 2); Pericles (July 22- August 2); Shakespeare for Kids (July 22- August 1) and Rapunzel (through August 1). One night events include The Rape of Lucrece, a one-man performance of Shakespeare’s epic poem by Dan Hodge in the Schubert Theatre on Monday, June 22 at 7:30pm. Jeremiah James, in addition to playing Javert in the opening production of Les Misérables, is performing a special concert, Choose Love, Monday, July 27 at 7:30pm on the Main Stage.
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