Backing The Bard

une 22, 1993
by Irene S. Krause
Soap Opera Weekly

On June 18 MICHAEL TYLO (Blade, The Young And The Restless) will be donating his time and expertise to an event near and dear to his heart - the gala opening of the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, in Center Valley, Pa. The event, which takes place at Allentown College of St. Francis Sales, kicks off two three-week shows - Twelfth Night and Macbeth - at the school's La Buda Center for the Performing Arts.

"It's the only professional Shakespeare festival in Pennsylvania during the summer," explains Tylo. "They use professional Equity actors in the company to work with the students. The students get to hear their stories and learn their techniques."

Tylo, who serves on the festival board, has been working hard to enlist other daytime performers to join in this year's festivities. "I'm trying to get soap actors who have a background in Shakespeare," he says. "When you keep doing soaps, it's nice every once in a while to break out and do something different."

"So far I've found a lot of actors are interested in this festival. It's 50 miles north of Philadelphia and 95 miles west of New York. It's far enough from the New York Cities, yet close enough to come and rehearse," he adds with a smile.

Those scheduled to attend the gala include the actor's wife, Hunter Tylo (Taylor, The Bold And The Beautiful), who also serves on the festival fund-raising board, Kimberlin Brown (Sheila, B&B), Susan Keith (Shana, Loving), Mark LaMura (ex-Mark Dalton, All My Children) and James Kiberd (Trevot, AMC). Kibert, in fact, has the title role in the festival's production of Macbeth.

Tylo became involved in this event via his longtime friendship with Father Gerard J. Schubert, the founder and artistic director of the festival as well as the chair of the performing and fine arts department of Allentown College for 25 years. "Father Schubert and I have been friends since 1962," explains Tylo. "He was my teacher in high school. I tease Hunter all the time that I've known him longer than she's been alive."

"Schubert is the priest responsible for me making a change in myself in high school," Tylo explains. "I was a greaser back then with no interest in arts whatsoever. He showed me something to do other than hang out and play football. He turned me on to plays and to reading. We've been friends ever since. In fact, he's one of my oldest and dearest friends. I usually visit him a few times a year and we talk on the phone constantly."

All funds raised during this year's festivities go back into the festival. "It's a non-profit theater," explains Tylo. "And it's a lot better than 90 percent of the Broadway houses. This is a very personal project for me, because I love theater. It's my way of giving back, which is what most of us like to find ways to do."

Tylo admits that it will be difficult to kick off the festival and not actually take an active part in either of this year's productions. "They actually picked Macbeth because they thought I was going to be able to do it this year. But Bill Bell (Y&R's head writer) has come up with a story for me, and my commitment is there, to the show."

"But eventually I'd like to do a play there," he says enthusiastically. "My training is in classic theater. I've done almost all Shakespeare's plays. I'd also love to direct and become a permanent fixture there.

click to enlarge