On the heels of its critically acclaimed 2013 Season, for which The Washington Post applauded The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as one of the few “companies with classical traditions that are not towing a conventional line,” the Theatre has announced its remarkable 2014 Season.
The ambitious lineup demonstrates the Theatre’s unwavering dedication to all classic literature, from the familiar to the forgotten, the recognizable to the rediscovered, with works by Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Ben Jonson, Molière, and contemporary playwright David Davalos.
The Shakespeare Theatre’s varied and inspired selections demonstrate once again that “presenting great art isn’t about safety—it’s about commitment,” as The Princeton Packet described the Theatre’s dedication to both popular and lesser-known classics.
The 2014 roster includes six productions on its Main Stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison and one summer production on the popular Outdoor Stage – the Greek amphitheater on the campus of The College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township – as well as several special events and programs.
The Shakespeare Theatre’s 2014 season begins in late May and will continue through December. Complete Works, 5-Play, and 4-Play discount ticket packages are now available. For information or to purchase a subscription, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
The 2014 season kicks off with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. “This was the first show that I directed at this Theatre in 1991, and this June I am excited to once again explore the play with a new vision.” Prestigious company veteran Sherman Howard, an actor Ms. Monte describes as “a force of nature in himself,” will portray Prospero, the powerful magician who rules over his enchanted island home.
The Tempest will begin performances on May 28th.This summer, the Shakespeare Theatre’s Outdoor Stage will ring with laughter as the “It Girls” of the 17th century (who bear a hilarious and uncanny resemblance to the “It Girls” of the 21st century) frolic and flirt in Molière’s comedic delight The Learned Ladies. Directed by Brian B. Crowe, who created the last season’s holiday masterpiece Pericles, The Learned Ladies will open June 18th at the beautiful, family-friendly amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth.
Just in time for Independence Day and the celebration of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary, company veteran Paul Mullins will direct George Bernard Shaw’s only play about America — The Devil’s Disciple. Set in the revolutionary tumult of Colonial America in 1777, an unlikely anti-hero makes the ultimate sacrifice, causing Loyalists and patriots alike to question the true meaning of honor. The Devil’s Disciple will open July 2nd.
Next on the Main Stage, Ms. Monte will direct her adaptation of the side-splitting but rarely-produced Ben Jonson masterpiece The Alchemist. The rowdy, bawdy comedy about con men in 1610 demonstrates how little has changed about greed or gullibility in the affairs of mankind. Mr. Jonson’s astute portrayal of three tricky gullers and the parade of outrageous characters they gull exemplifies the satirical wit of one of Shakespeare’s greatest contemporaries. The Alchemist will begin August 6th.
The Shakespeare Theatre will produce the New Jersey premiere of Wittenberg, written by actor-turned-playwright David Davalos and directed by Joseph Discher. Davalos’s play imagines a semester at Wittenberg University and features an unusual quartet—Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, Helen of Troy, and a young Hamlet. Together, the characters pose queries and arguments about faith, existence, and even, tennis.
When the work premiered at the Arden Theatre Company in 2008, Davalos wrote, “I was always intrigued by imaginary meetings between historical figures…how they might interact and clash in the period leading up to the stories that we already know of them.” Shakespeare Theatre audiences responded enthusiastically to the witty contemporary classic-inspired piece which was given a staged reading in the company’s Lend Us Your Ears series. Wittenberg will open September 10th.
Next, the Theatre will present the Bard’s rarely-produced final work, Henry VIII. “I have always maintained that if a director would be willing to create a smart and very stream-lined version, then the many brilliant aspects of the play could shine more brightly,” said Ms. Monte. Longtime company director Paul Mullins took on the challenge; he will return in the fall to direct this historical epic about the young King Henry and the first two of his six wives. Henry VIII will open October 15th.
The 2014 season concludes with the of Shakespeare’s delightful comedy Much Ado About Nothing, which has not been seen at the Theatre in over a decade. Renowned actor and director Scott Wentworth, who recently met with tremendous acclaim for his portrayals of Shylock and Tevye at the Stratford Festival, will appear at the Shakespeare Theatre for the first time since 2005. He will not only direct the production, but will also portray Benedick opposite his real-life wife Marion Adler, who appeared in the 2013 production of Our Town. Wentworth’s vision sets the play post-World War II, à la “White Christmas,” perfect for the holiday season. Much Ado About will begin December 3rd.
Advance orders for Complete Works ticket packages, including tickets to all six Main Stage productions, are now being taken. Complete Works discount packages start at $162. Audiences can “Choose Your Own” tickets package with 5-Play packages at $140 and 4-Play packages at $120. 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 ticket package features tickets as low as $27 per show, 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. Look for more information at www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Dates and titles are subject to change.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently 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 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. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.