The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is celebrating its 50th Anniversary season, making it the longest running Shakespeare Theatre on the East Coast, with a bit of Dickens and Cervantes joining Shakespeare in the May-to-December lineup. The theater, located in Madison, N.J., will also stage David Ives’ adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s The Liar, a hilarious French classic that, when it played at the Shakespeare Theater Company in Washington, D.C., found an enthusiastic fan in Shakespeareances.com.
The season opens with Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, which has not played on the Shakespeare Theatre stage in two decades. Associate Artistic Director Joseph Discher will direct. That production will be followed by The Liar, directed by long-time company member Paul Mullins, and the summer Main Stage season concludes with Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.
For its annual Outdoor Stage production at the Greek amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morris Township, the Shakespeare Theatre will present Shakespeare’s raucous slapstick The Comedy of Errors. This outdoor production will be directed by Shakespeare Theatre veteran Jason King Jones.
To launch the fall portion of the season, Director Brian B. Crowe will set his imagination in motion for Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, featuring an ensemble of 12 actors who play multiple roles. In its first staging of a musical since 2004, the Shakespeare Theatre will mount Man of La Mancha—based on Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha—by Dale Wasserman with lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh. Monte will direct with Broadway veteran and longtime Shakespeare Theatre company member Robert Cuccioli in the iconic role of Don Quixote. The 50th Anniversary Season will close with the rarely seen classic gem Trelawny of the Wells by Arthur Wing Pinero, also helmed by Monte.
A series of special events is planned for the 2012 Season. Back by popular demand are “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Something Merry This Way Comes.” Titled from a line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, “Something Wicked This Way Comes” features actors from the Shakespeare Theatre company as well as guest artists presenting a 90-minute collage of dramatic readings from the classic canon of the macabre. This one-night-only event will be October 29. Hearkening back to a time when families read to each other, “Something Merry This Way Comes” is a cornucopia of sparkling and inspiring holiday tales, songs, and poems read by members of the Shakespeare Theatre’s company of actors and will be presented on December 10.
“Lend Us Your Ears,” the Theatre’s play reading series, returns for the 2012 season and provides patrons the opportunity to join the Shakespeare Theatre’s directors, actors and artistic staff in exploring diverse and exciting plays. These script-in-hand readings feature members of The Shakespeare Theatre’s company of actors as well as guest artists. Kicking off the series is David Blixt’s Eve of Ides, which imagines Caesar and Brutus on the night before Caesar’s assassination debating politics, family, history, and the future. The Eve of Ides reading will take place on the actual eve of the Ides of March, March 14 at 7 p.m. Following on the heels of the Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, will be a reading of Henry IV, Part Two, July 16 at 6 p.m. Closing the “Lend Us Your Ears” reading series is Wittenberg by David Davalos, September 24 at 7 p.m.
Advance orders for Complete Works discount subscriptions, including tickets to all six Main Stage productions, are now being taken. Complete Works discount subscriptions start at $117 for previews. Student subscriptions are available for an amazing deal at only $60 for all six Main Stage productions. Call the Shakespeare Theatre Box Office at 973-408-5600. The Complete Works discount subscription features up to 42 percent savings off the cost of regular tickets and the best seats to all Main Stage productions; free, easy and unlimited ticket exchanges should schedules change; discounts on additional tickets; and the convenience of having tickets in hand and dates scheduled in advance. Call the box office at 973-408-5600.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus), just minutes from routes 287, 78, and 10. Parking is free. The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier-free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Braille and large print programs are available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Some performances are audio described. Contact the theatre for more information.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare’s canon and other world classics.
Febraury 17, 2012