World Premiere of New Musical Penelope Co-Written by Grace McLean Finds Its Star | Playbill

Regional News World Premiere of New Musical Penelope Co-Written by Grace McLean Finds Its Star

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has announced casting for its 2023 season which includes the work penned by Alex Bechtel, Grace McLean, and Eva Steinmetz.

Grace McLean

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has revelaed casting for its 2023 season productions of Shakespeare's Henry V and Love's Labor's Lost as well as the world premiere of Alex Bechtel, Grace McLean, and Eva Steinmetz's Penelope. The Shakespeare works will be performed in rep over the summer while Penelope will begin its run September 2 and open September 3 for a run through September 17.

Broadway's Tatiana Wechsler (Mr. Saturday Night) will star as Penelope, with Christine Bokhour serving as understudy. The musical re-imagines the ancient Greek story The Odyssey by telling it from point-of-view of Penelope, Odysseus's wife.

Penelope features music and lyrics by Alex Bechtel with a book by Bechtel, Grace McLean,and Eva Steinmetz. Steinmetz will direct the production which will feature costume design by Rebecca Kanach and lighting design by Oona Curley. Daniel Kelly will serve as music director.

The piece has been in development for several years, including with the Founders' Club Residency within the Orchard Project.

Davis McCallum will direct Henry V which will star Emily Ota in the title role, joined by Duane Boutté, Timothy Bright, Carl Howell, Lennon Hu, Phoebe Lloyd, Melissa Mahoney, Sean McNall, Francis Pace-Nunez, Luis Quintero, Kurt Rhoads, Mayadevi Ross, Omar Shafiuzzaman, Stephen Michael Spencer, and Nance Williamson. The company in full will also star in Love's Labor's Lost.

Henry V will begin May 31 and run through August 21 with a June 4 opening night while Love's Labor's Lost will begin July 12 and run through August 27 with a July 15 opening night.

Shakespeare's history play Henry V follows the charismatic warrior king as he pursues the French crown. But with a cohort of comrades in tow, Henry must face the costs of war and his destiny in this play about what kind of leadership it takes to unite and instill resilience. The creative team will feature scenic designer Sandra Goldmark, costume designer Anya Klepikov, and movement director Susannah Milonzi. Sound design and compositions will be by Fitz Patton and properties by Buffy Cardoza.

Four young noblemen swear off women as they dedicate themselves to their studies. But  their commitment is tested when the Princess of France shows up with three ladies in tow. The comedy about being young and in love is presented with a pop rock score, and will feature lighting design by Reza Behjat, sound design by Ken Travis, and properties by Buffy Cardoza.

Additional cast and creative team members for the season will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival will also host the second annual Highland Lights, and a series of developmental readings including Medea: Re-Versed by Luis Quintero and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Heidi Armbruster as well as an educational tour of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.


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