Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival Gala: Let the season begin
The “Luminosity” Gala, capstone of fund-raisers in the Lehigh Valley, heralds the start of The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
An estimated 500 attended the annual gala June 2 at University Center, DeSales University, Center Valley. The theme of the gala was the red rose, a reference to the 2018 PSF season play, William Shakespeare’s “King Richard II,” July 19-Aug. 5, in repertoire with “Shakespeare in Love,” July 11-Aug. 5, Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, DeSales University.
The “War of the Roses” took root when King Richard II was deposed. And, of course, the red rose symbolizes love, a theme that courses through “Shakespeare in Love,” as well as “Twelfth Night,” June 21-July 15, and the season-concluding “All’s Well That Ends Well,” July 25-Aug. 5. The 27th annual PSF season opens with “Ragtime,” June 13-July 1.
Following a silent auction and cocktail hour, the dinner began with remarks by PSF Managing Director Casey Gallagher, PSF Director of Development Melissa Kerr, Gala Honorary Chairs Robert and Susan Gadomski, and PSF Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, who quoted Shakespearean welcomes from 2018 season plays.
Of PSF founder Gerard J. Schubert, said Mulcahy, “Everything we’re doing tonight began with that twinkle in his eye.”
Mulcahy; Atty. Judith A. Harris, PSF Board of Directors President, and PSF Photographer Lee A. Butz presented PSF Board Member Joan Miller Moran, representing The Century Fund, with PSF’s annual Will Shakespeare Award.
The Century Fund, founded by the late Publisher of The Morning Call Donald P. Miller, has provided some $40 million in funding in its 33 years of existence. Attending the gala was original Century Fund Board Member David K. Bausch, former Lehigh County Executive.
For more than a decade, The Century Fund has supported PSF artistic and educational programs with emphasis on The Linny Fowler WillPower Tour, which annually takes Shakespeare productions and workshops to more than 13,000 students in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
“I’m going to accept this award on behalf of my father, who would be very pleased and honored with this award from The Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival,” Miller Moran said.
The invocation was given by Rev. James J. Greenfield, OSFS, DeSales University President.
The dinner included an entree of char-grilled filet with sauce au poivre and florentine stuffed flounder with lemon caper sauce.
A live auction was emceed by Suzanne O’Donnell, a PSF 2018 season actress.
Entertaining with songs and verse at the dinner were 2018 PSF season performers Michele Ragusa, Eric Hissom, Amy Rose Johnson, James Stapb, Nkrumah Gatling, Destinee Rea, Brandi Burkhardt and Victoria Janicki.