When Bernard Pomerance’s biographical play, The Elephant Man, debuted in London in 1977, it took the theatrical world by storm—not only for its fascinating subject matter, but for one daring, risky choice. For some, the story of John Merrick, a Victorian-era circus freak, cries out for spectacular makeup and prosthetics to depict his severe deformities. But the show’s creators took the opposite approach—using no makeup whatsoever on the actor portraying Merrick, and instead allowing the audience to imagine “The Elephant Man’s” grotesque afflictions.
The Chester Theatre Group follows this wonderfully inventive stage convention while presenting its own unique production of the Tony® Award-winning play from November 15th to the 30th. Eight performances will be presented on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM plus two Sunday matinees (Nov. 17th through the and 24th at 2 pm).
The production stars Dale Monroe (photo) of Morristown in the challenging title role. Monroe was last seen on the CTG stage in the dark comedy “The Beauty Queen of Leenane” last year. Frank Blauer of Hewitt portrays Dr. Frederick Treves, the man who both befriends and exploits Merrick, and Ruth Morley of Ridgewood plays Mrs. Kendal, an actress whom Treves hires to interact with Merrick.
Also rounding out the cast are Jon-Luc Bourget, Kevern Cameron, Zachary Catron, Lewis Decker, Robert Dumpert, Rosanne Ferrara, Staci Gelatka, William Horwitz, James Houston, Kathy Mierisch, and Paul Rivellese. Many of these actors portray multiple characters.
Audiences should note that there is one brief scene of partial nudity in the play.
Tickets are $20 with a $2 discount available for seniors aged 65 and over and students under 18. Tickets can be reserved by calling the theater box office at 908-879-7304 or by visiting www.chestertheatregroup.org.
Chester Theatre Group is located at 54 Grove Street in downtown Chester, NJ at the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue.