In collaboration with Represent, the entertainment industries premiere merch partner, DC Comic and Warner Bros, award-winning actress Gal Gadot created the limited-edition collection titled, “80 Years of Wonder,” to honor a new era of Wonder Woman and offers fans of all ages a way to embody Wonder Woman’s qualities of strength, truth, courage and compassion, all with her signature style.
The 80 Years of Wonder collection includes seven unique designs including tees ($29.99), hoodies ($49.99), hats ($24.99), wristbands ($24.99), and a poster ($$24.99), featuring some of Gal Gadot’s favorite poses from the recent theatrical releases with contemporary illustrations featuring the iconic red, blue and gold color scheme. In addition to the merch capsule collection, to commemorate the momentous 80th anniversary occasion, Wonder Woman is being inducted into the Comic-Con Character Hall of Fame. She will be the third inductee alongside her Justice League colleague, Batman, and video game celeb, PAC-MAN. The virtual induction ceremony will allow fans from all over the world to watch the festivities online on Wonder Woman Day.
This is one of many partnerships between Represent and Warner Brothers, who recently collaborated for the highly successful cast collection for FRIENDS The Reunion merch. The Wonder Woman collection represents a continuation of intentional collaborations in conjunction with talent, to create a more authentic and engaging product experience for fans.
The 80 Years of Wonder collection is exclusively available at Represent for one month only from October 21st, 2021 through November 27th 2021.
OXYGEN’S “911 CRISIS CENTER” REVEALS THE FAST-PACED INNER WORKINGS OF AN EMERGENCY CALL CENTER AND THE UNSUNG HEROES EXPERTLY HANDLING REAL, HIGH-STAKES DISTRESS CALLS ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6 AT 9:00PM ET/PT
The New Series Gives Viewers a Front Row Seat to the High-Intensity Environment Dispatchers Thrive In During Emergencies
Oxygen, the home for high quality true crime programming, drops viewers in the middle of the action at a dynamic Chagrin Valley area emergency call center in Ohio. At the center, the responders’ calm demeanor, quick thinking and ability to draw out essential information from callers in the midst of extreme situations is often the difference between life and death. From gut-wrenching to heartwarming, these very first responders hear it all over the course of a 12-hour shift. The all new series “911 Crisis Center” premieres Saturday, November 6 at 9:00pm ET/PT.
Team members’ experience varies from those who are 20-year veterans to those who are just starting out. However, all dispatchers are primed and ready to respond to a wide array of panic-stricken callers. Hearing callers terrorized by shots fired, angered over stolen cars, tearfully pleading during life-threatening medical emergencies and anxiety ridden over lost children makes working efficiently critical. The dispatchers work to swiftly extract needed intel while calming the callers, providing them with detailed, life-saving instruction and relaying all pertinent details to law enforcement on the ground and en route.
“911 Crisis Center” also examines the friendships between the dedicated professionals. The bond this tight-knit group has formed goes deep. They support each other through challenging calls and lift each other up when they’re experiencing tough times personally. However, not every moment of a shift is rife with traumatic calls. The dispatchers celebrate birthdays, share homemade treats, and crack inside jokes that lighten the mood. They also try to heed the ever present warning to never, ever jinx a shift by saying things seem “quiet” at the call center.
From Warner Brothers Unscripted Television, “911 Crisis Center” is produced by Shed Media in association with Green Lakes Productions with Dan Peirson, Lisa Shannon and Adam Kassen serve as executive producers.
Oxygen is a multiplatform crime destination brand for women. Having announced the full-time shift to true crime programming in 2017, Oxygen remains one of the fastest growing cable entertainment networks with popular unscripted original programming that includes the flagship “Snapped” franchise, “Cold Justice,” “Killer Couples,” “Criminal Confessions,” and breakout hit event series such as “The Disappearance of Natalee Holloway,” “Dahmer on Dahmer: A Killer Speaks,” and “Aaron Hernandez Uncovered.” Available in more than 77 million homes, Oxygen is a network of NBCUniversal Entertainment & Lifestyle Group, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Watch Oxygen anywhere: On Demand, online, or across mobile and connected TVs.
About Warner Bros. Unscripted Television
Warner Bros. Unscripted Television is the leading unscripted studio in America with over 50 series totaling nearly 2,500 hours of programming annually across broadcast, cable, streaming, digital, first-run syndication and podcasts. Led by studio president Mike Darnell, the division’s leading franchises include ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette”; NBC’s multi-Emmy®-winning blockbuster “The Voice”; NBC’s returning Emmy® winner “Who Do You Think You Are?,” “Family Game Fight” and “Home Sweet Home”; Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of New York City”; E!’s “The Bradshaw Bunch”; “Extra”; “The Real”; and the multi-Emmy®-winning “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” among others. After producing HBO Max’s highly-anticipated “Friends: The Reunion,” the unit’s upcoming projects include NBC’s “The Wheel”; Peacock’s “Paris in Love” and “True Story”; and HBO Max’s “The Real Magic Mike,” to name a few.
New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:
To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions.
I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online.
The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward. There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic? Only time will tell.
As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules. At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place.
One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years.
One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations.
Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events. Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin.
Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year.
Mayor of Kingstown follows the McLusky family power brokers in Kingstown, Michigan, where the business of incarceration is the only thriving industry. Tackling themes of systemic racism, corruption and inequality, the series provides a stark look at their attempt to bring order and justice to a town that has neither.
Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios and 101 Studios, Mayor of Kingstown will be executive produced by Sheridan, Dillon, Renner, Antoine Fuqua, David C. Glasser, Ron Burkle, Bob Yari and Michael Friedman.
As part of Sheridan’s deal with MTV Entertainment and ViacomCBS, Mayor of Kingstown and 1883: the Yellowstone origin story are the first series from his exclusive multi-year pact, which includes scripted and procedural series for streaming and linear. 101 Studios serves as a production partner on all series.
Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service, combines live sports, breaking news, and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf, to football, to basketball and more. They also have exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world ‘s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Streaming’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.
The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) has awarded Blaine Harrington III top honors as the 2022 Photographer of the Year in the prestigious SATW Bill Muster Photo Awards. Eric Lindberg and Eric Stoen also scored high marks as the Silver and Bronze Photographers of the Year respectively.
Named for the late Bill Muster, a renowned photographer, and SATW member, the SATW Muster Photo Awards recognize excellence in travel photography featuring nature, people, and cultures. These awards are presented each year at SATW’s annual convention which took place in Milwaukee this year. The images are taken between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2021, and entrants must be SATW members.
“This award has become one of the most highly sought after in travel journalism,” said SATW President Larry Bleiberg, ”which is a testament to the extraordinarily high standard of excellence that the contestants, year in and year out, bring to their work. SATW’s Board of Directors values the Muster family’s passion for capturing the world’s monuments and people, its natural landscapes and culture, through the lens of a camera, and for their support of SATW’s photographers.”
After serving in WWII, Bill Muster graduated from the University of Illinois and devoted his life to capturing images for newspapers and media companies. He was a venerated member of the SATW community. Since 1981, SATW has presented the Muster Awards and cash prizes for travel photography in a range of categories awarded at the annual convention. After Bill Muster died in 1989, his children Nori and Bill Jr., have generously continued their father’s legacy with an annual gift that funds the cash prizes awarded for individual photos as well as portfolios.
The Winners of the 2022 SATW Bill Muster Photo Awards Are:
Photographer of the Year: Gold – Blaine Harrington III; Silver – Eric Lindberg; Bronze – Eric Stoen
Single Subject: Gold: – Gary Crall; Silver – Ellen Clark; Bronze – Art Meripol
Action/Adventure: Gold – Mark Downey; Silver – Bob Holmes; Bronze – Marlene Goldman
Animal: Gold – Paul Rubio; Silver – Greg Vaughn; Bronze – Karen Leperi; HM – Michael Snell
Culture: Gold – Lina Stock; Silver – Donnie Sexton; Bronze – Jim Ferri; HM – Stuart Dee
Natural Scenic: Gold – Greg Vaughn; Silver – Stuart Dee; Bronze – Mark Downey
People Portrait: Gold – Bob Holmes; Silver – Mark Downey; Bronze – Karen Leperi
Founded in 1955, SATW and its members have adapted continually to meet an-ever changing media landscape. Today, SATW remains the nationߣs premier professional travel media organization comprising 1,000 of the travel industryߣs most experienced journalists, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, media relations experts, and hospitality industry representatives from the United States, Canada and beyond. All members must meet and maintain the industry’s highest standards of productivity, ethics, and conduct, and support SATW’s mission of “Inspiring Travel through Responsible Journalism.” 360 Magazine is excited to see people getting recognition for their work, especially for photography.
SATW is a vibrant resource in and to the travel industry for bringing travel media and destinations together. Importantly it has become a community where professionals can network, learn through professional development, share peer-to-peer best practices and experiences, and build relationships. At its annual convention, SATW also presents the Phoenix Awards, given to destinations for cultural and natural preservation, and the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards, the industry’s highest honors in travel journalism.
SATW also champions the ongoing struggle for racial equality with formal statements of diversity, equity, and inclusion publicly welcoming all races, religions, ethnicities, physical abilities, and the LBGTQ community. This initiative is supported by an active Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Committee, which presents programs on diversity and seeks to ensure the membership is inclusive and welcoming to all professionals.
Mon Laferte premiered the video for “Amigos Simplemente” today, exclusively through Facebook. It’s a universally relatable love song as Mon sings of that moment when friendship begins to transform, and that simple affection you once felt becomes stronger.
“I want something with you, more than being friends… Let me love you or at least try. It is no coincidence to love you; it is not an accident,” the Chilean artist sings.
The latest single from Mon’s recent album Seis, “Amigos Simplemente” focuses on a young couple who slowly displays to us that there is something more to their relationship than being just simply friends. The premiere of the new video takes place ahead of Latino and Hispanic Heritage Month (LHHM), which is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. Throughout the month, Facebook will highlight stories from diverse artists and personalities from Latino and Hispanic communities that shape the culture of the United States. This year, Mon Laferte is one of the singers honored for her diverse contributions and achievements in America.
SEIS is an intensely personal album inspired by a documentary about Mexican-via Costa Rica singer Chavela Vargas, who is best known for revolutionizing Mexican ranchera music. The songs were born during the global pandemic and heavy isolation, and include carefully crafted lyrics, brought forth from self-reflection, allowing Mon to explore her deepest feelings, leaving nothing but vulnerability at this rare time.
Billboard calls SEIS, “Vulnerable and commanding” and VICE says, “It gives you chills, requiring no knowledge of Spanish to communicate its emotion… a gut-stomping triumph.” BBC Music says, “SEISis her most intimate and courageous yet; tackling complex topics such as misogyny, repression, and injustice, inspired by her lived experiences.”
Tickets are on sale now and a full list of tour dates can be found below.
Elton John and Stevie Wonder have unveiled “Finish Line,” the latest song to be released from forthcoming album The Lockdown Sessions. Listen HERE. A collection of collaborations recorded remotely over the last 18 months, The Lockdown Sessions is a dazzlingly diverse array of 16 tracks that celebrate togetherness and sees Elton collaborating with an unparalleled range of artists only he could draw together. It will be released on October 22nd via Interscope Records and is available to pre-order HERE.
Just last week Elton unveiled the second track to be taken from ‘The Lockdown Sessions,’ “After All” with Charlie Puth. A classic, soulful ballad, the track showed a delicious counterpart to previous single, and burgeoning global hit, “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix)” with Dua Lipa. And now, with “Finish Line”Elton and Stevie Wonder have revealed another fully realized side to the multifaceted ‘The Lockdown Sessions.’ A stunning gospel infused track, with Stevie’s unmistakable vocals and trademark harmonica, the song features The Sunday Service Choir, Kanye West’s renowned Gospel Choir. Previous collaborations between the pair have included “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” (featuring Stevie on harmonica) and the Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager penned “That’s What Friends Are For” (a 1985 charity record also featuring Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight), but “Finish Line” is the first time that these two undeniable greats of popular music have dueted together. The resulting track is well worth the wait, a timeless song worthy of either man’s oeuvre.
“Finish Line” is produced by GRAMMY Award winner Andrew Watt. In line with the rich and varied sonic palette that makes up ‘The Lockdown Sessions,’ the creation of the track was equal parts kismet and hard work, born out of mutual artistic respect and a fifty-year friendship. Watch HERE as Elton and Andrew Watt discuss the making of “Finish Line” in a preview of this Saturday’s Rocket Hour, airing on Apple Music 1.
Speaking of the collaboration, Elton said: “I couldn’t be more proud of ‘Finish Line’: I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the best records I’ve ever made. Stevie’s voice is as good as I can ever remember hearing him – he sounds like a 17-year-old again, he’s singing with a sheer joy and exuberance in his vocals. Andrew Watt has done an unbelievable job on the production. It was a magical process. I’ve always loved collaborating with Stevie, and I’m delighted that after fifty years of friendship we finally get to do a full blown duet. He has always been so kind and sweet to me, and his talent is beyond ridiculous. When you listen to what he does vocally and instrumentally on ‘Finish Line’ you think, this is a true genius here.”
Stevie Wonder said: “It is both a joy and honor to sing, play piano and harmonica for Elton! He has truly been one of the great spirits of music, life, friendship and love, who I’ve met on this life journey! True artistry and music like love equals a forever commitment lasting many lifetimes. And Elton, anyone who hears your voice singing “Finish Line”, will hear and feel your wisdom, your pain, your soul, your love, but also your resilience… I love it!! Congratulations to you and our forever and never, never-ending music, friendship, life-song! Long live Sir Elton John!!! (big smiley face!)”
In further Lockdown Sessions news, Elton and Charlie Puth appeared together on stage at the Global Citizen event in Paris last weekend to perform their duet “After All.” Watch HERE. This global charitable 24-hour event saw some of the world’s biggest artists and global leaders come together to defend the planet and defeat poverty. This is a part of Global Citizens campaign, a Recovery Plan for the World, which focuses on COVID-19, ending the hunger crisis, resuming learning for all, protecting the planet; and advancing equity for all.
Licorice Pizza is the latest from Oscar nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson and tells a romantic coming of age story. Starring Alana Haim, lead singer of the band Haim making her major film debut, Copper Hoffman, son of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Bradley Cooper who looks to be leaving it all out there in this performance.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Focus Features Present
LICORICE PIZZA is the story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and falling in love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973. Written and Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film tracks the treacherous navigation of first love.
Written and Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Produced by:Sara Murphy, Paul Thomas Anderson, Adam Somner
Executive Producers:Joanne Sellar, Daniel Lupi, Susan McNamara, Aaron L. Gilbert, Jason Cloth
This summer Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival became one of the first professional theatres to open its doors since the coronavirus pandemic closed venues nationwide more than a year ago.The Festival celebrated its 30th Anniversary season welcoming patrons back to in-person performances indoors at the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts and outdoors at the new Air Products Open Air Theatre on the campus of DeSales University.
As one of the few active professional theatres in the nation this summer, and despite reduced seating capacity due to COVID restrictions, the Festival successfully produced seven productions and events this season. PSF reached its attendance goals welcomingnearly 10,000 audience members to 64 performances in just four weeks, in contrast to a nine and a half week season in a typical year.
With state, local, and union rules shifting repeatedly in the months leading up to the season, PSF developed multiple scenarios for the summer season, ultimately selecting the scenario that allowed for the highest-level audience experience with the most productions.
“From Shakespeare to August Wilson, from intimate solo performances to large-cast celebrations on a new stage, from indoors, to outdoors, to virtual offerings, this was a season to remember,” says Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy. “And neither the occasional rain, heat, nor hot air balloon landing adjacent to an outdoor performance could quell the enthusiasm of our patrons in their return to the theatre. Kudos to our staff, our artists, our donors and our patrons for helping us to pull this particular rabbit out of this particular hat.”
When the state announced it would expand attendance capacity for outdoor gatherings the Festival designed a new outdoor space to accommodate additional attendees. With the support of DeSales University, PSF prepared the mall adjacent to the Labuda Center and built the new Air Products Open Air Theatre on the lawn just a few weeks in advance of opening A Midsummer Night’s Dream, marking a memorable debut as PSF’s first-ever outdoor Shakespeare production.
Safety protocols kept patrons, staff and artists safe. In-person productions ran 90-minutes with no intermission and seating capacity was tailored to smaller socially distanced audiences. The Festival programmed the indoor Main Stage theatre for 22% of capacity, where ticketed patrons sat socially distanced and masked. Attendees of the Air Products Open Air Theatre venue were socially distanced but not masked.
Artists quarantined upon arrival, weekly testing began immediately, the summer staff was nearly fully vaccinated, and actors and technicians generally worked in “bubbles.” Careful observance of these protocols helped the Festival achieve a COVID-free summer of performances.
Prior to the season launch the Festival held its Luminosity Gala outdoors under a tent, the first fundraiser held in-person by a major Lehigh Valley arts nonprofit after the pandemic shutdown. Attendance was 252 and the event raised more than $120,000 to help support PSF’s educational and artistic programs. The combination of community, foundation, and government support PSF received, including pandemic rescue dollars, proved crucial to the Festival’s financial strength and continued success in fulfilling its mission.
The Festival is now completing the planning process for summer 2022, and expects to open both indoor theatres to full capacity next summer. A season announcement will be made in October. “We are eager to return to a few of the plays we didn’t get to produce in 2020, and round out the season with a diversity of enriching offerings for an unforgettable summer,” says Mulcahy.
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival features acclaimed actors from Broadway, television, and film, and is traditionally the summer home to more than 200 artists from around the country, including winners and nominees of the Tony, Obie, Emmy, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, Jefferson, and Barrymore awards.
About Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival
Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Patrick Mulcahy, is the only professional Equity theatre of its scope and scale within a 50-mile radius. PSF is one of only a handful of theatres on the continent producing Shakespeare, musicals, classics, and contemporary plays, all of which can normally be seen in rep and in multiple spaces within a few visits in a single summer season. Similarly, PSF was among just a handful of theatres on the continent in recent summers to produce three Shakespeare plays in a single summer season. A patron would have to travel seven to nine hours from PSF to find a comparable range of offerings at a single theatre within a few weeks’ time.
The Festival’s award-winning company of many world-class artists includes Broadway, film, and television veterans, and winners and nominees of the Tony, Emmy, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Jefferson, Hayes, Lortel, and Barrymore awards. A leading Shakespeare theatre with a national reputation for excellence, PSF has received coverage in The Washington Post, NPR, American Theatre Magazine, Playbill.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and in recent seasons The New York Times has identified PSF as one of the leading summer theatre festivals in the nation. “A world-class theater experience on a par with the top Bard fests,” is how one New York Drama Desk reviewer characterized PSF.
Founded in 1992 and the Official Shakespeare Festival of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, PSF’s mission is to enrich, inspire, engage, and entertain the widest possible audience through first-rate productions of classical and contemporary plays, with a core commitment to Shakespeare and other master dramatists, and through an array of education and mentorship programs. A not-for-profit theatre, PSF receives significant support from its host, DeSales University, from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Traditionally, with 150 performances of seven productions, the Festival attracts patrons each summer from 30+ states. In 30 years, PSF has offered 200+ total productions (82 Shakespeare), and entertained 1,000,000+ patrons from 50 states, now averaging 34,000-40,000 in attendance each summer season, plus another 13,000 students each year through its WillPower Tour to schools. PSF is a multi-year recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts: Shakespeare in American Communities, and is a constituent of Theatre Communications Group, and the Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA). In 2013, leaders of the world’s premier Shakespeare theatres gathered at PSF as the Festival hosted the international STA Conference.
The first three episodes feature founding members of the Supremes Mary Wilson, Representative Ted Deutch (D, FL-22) and producer Jonathan Yunger (The Expendables, The Hitman’s Bodyguard), and Representative Maria Salazar (R, FL027) and Miami music legend Emilio Estafan. 360 Magazine is interested in the other podcasts that are going to be released by CreativeFuture and RIAA.
“While recording this podcast, Mitch and I had so much fun speaking with some of the world’s most acclaimed creatives and leading policymakers,” says CreativeFuture CEO Ruth Vitale. “Our guests on OffScript – in addition to being great conversationalists – share a passion for creativity and an appreciation for the massive economic contributions made by the creative communities. Their stories of hard work, passion, and dedication are certain to resonate.”
“OffScript brings creators and policymakers together to share stories – from life in the arts and coping with COVID to navigating politics in these strange and challenging times,” says RIAA Chairman & CEO Mitch Glazier. “Ruth and I had a blast talking with these legends and leaders and I think anyone who cares about music, politics, and our culture will find something in Off Script that lifts them up and makes them laugh.”
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