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'The Liar' opens at Centenary Stage this week

Scene from The Liar

Love and laughs are in the air at Centenary Stage Company (CSC) in this season’s romantic comedy The Liar by Pierre Corneille, adapted for modern audiences by celebrated playwright David Ives and starring a vibrant cast of classical and Broadway luminaries. Running February 21st through March 9th at The Lackland Center, this story of mistaken identity and half-truths has delighted audiences and critics time and again. The Wall Street Journal says, “I laughed so hard that I was sore the next day…By wedding [Ives'] verbal prestidigitation to Corneille's mistaken-identity plot, Mr. Ives has come up with a play in which the laughs flow freely and joyously."

Dorante is a charming young man newly arrived in Paris, and he has but a single flaw: He cannot tell the truth. In quick succession, he meets Cliton, a servant who cannot tell a lie, and falls in love with Clarice, a charming young woman whom he unfortunately mistakes for her friend Lucrece. What the hero regrettably does not know is that Clarice is secretly engaged to his best friend. Nor is he aware that his father is trying to get him married to Clarice, whom he thinks is Lucrece, who actually is in love with him. From all these misunderstandings and a series of breathtakingly intricate lies springs one of the Western world's greatest comedies, a sparkling urban romance as fresh as the day Pierre Corneille wrote it, brilliantly adapted for today by David Ives of Venus in Fur and All in the Timing fame.

The Washington Post says, “The Liar and its mischievous adapter, David Ives, want you to savor every meticulously groomed conceit, every stylishly turned-out couplet, every assiduously manicured joke.”

The liar himself is actor Brian Sheppard (New York, NY), who recently played Hamlet with The Tennessee Shakespeare Company. Playing the role of Dorante’s servant Cliton is Tom Morin (Queens, NY), returning to CSC after starring in last spring’s The Cripple of Inishmaan. Having performed at the legendary Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, UK Native Dana Gartland is making her CSC debut as Clarice. The role of Lucrece is being played by young yet experienced Shakespearean actress Erica Knight (Berkeley Heights), who has worked regularly with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and The American Globe Theatre in New York.

The role of Dorante’s father is played by Broadway and CSC veteran Alan Coates. Mr. Coates’ Broadway credits include the Tony award winning productions of Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and Scapino, and he regularly performs at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. Phil E. Eichinger (Rahway) returns to CSC to play Alcippe after being featured in CSC’s 2008 production of You May Go Now, and he was recently in an episode of NBC’s Law & Order. Rounding out the cast is Centenary College Theatre alum Christopher J. Young (Wharton) returning to the CSC stage after completing his MFA in Acting at Ohio University, and current Centenary student in her CSC debut, Morgan Mack (Old Bridge).

Directing this production is CSC’s “Master of Comedy” Carl Wallnau. Emmy Award-winning designer Bob Phillips has once again been chosen to beautify the stage of the Sitnik Theatre with his stunning and life-like set designs. Resident Costumer and Centenary College Professor of Fashion Julia Sharp lends her expertise to dress the cast in period garb.

Tickets for The Liar range from $25 to $27.50 with discounts for students and seniors. Every Thursday night is “Family Night,” which offers a 2-for-1 rush ticket price when purchased at the door. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. There are 2 p.m. matinées on Wednesdays February 26th and March 5th and for the Preview Performance on Friday, February 21st. The Liar is sponsored by Bea McNally’s Irish Pub and Heath Village Retirement Community.

Tickets may be purchased online at, at the CSC Box Office located in the David and Carol Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, or by calling 908-979-0900. The Box Office is open 1-5 PM Monday through Friday, and 2 hours prior to performance times.

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