The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison (Morris Township) recently announced its 2014 season line-up of plays by Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Ben Jonson, Molière, and contemporary playwright David Davalos. The works comprise both the familiar and the obscure, all of them classics.
As in last season, the Company this year will present six productions on its Main Stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison, one summer production on the Outdoor Stage–the Greek amphitheater on the campus of The College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township–and several special events and programs. The 2014 season, which runs from late May through December, comprises these works:
“The Tempest,” by William Shakespeare, will be directed by Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte, who began directing at the Theatre with this same work in 1991. Actor Sherman Howard will head the cast as Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan who rules over his enchanted island home. “The Tempest” will begin performances on May 28.
“The Learned Ladies,” by Molière, is up next on the Outdoor Stage. Its 17th-century comedic characters seem plucked directly out of this 21st century. Brian B. Crowe, who staged Shakespeare’s “Pericles” to crown the 2013 season, will direct. Performances begin June 18.
“The Devil’s Disciple,” by George Bernard Shaw, is his only play set in America. The year: 1777. The time: the American Revolutionary War (or, the rebellion of the North American colonies, as it is known in Great Britain). An unlikely anti-hero makes the ultimate sacrifice, causing Loyalists and patriots alike to question the true meaning of honor. Paul Mullins will direct. “The Devil’s Disciple” opens July 2—just in time for Independence Day and the celebration of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary.
“The Alchemist,” by Ben Jonson, as adapted by director Bonnie J. Monte, is a rowdy, bawdy comedy about con men in 1610 and demonstrates how little has changed about greed or gullibility in the affairs of mankind. The playwright’s astute portrayal of three tricksters and the parade of outrageous characters they gull exemplifies the satirical wit of one of Shakespeare’s greatest contemporaries. “The Alchemist” opens Aug. 6.
“Wittenberg,” by David Davalos, premiered in 2008 and is a witty contemporary classic-inspired play directed by Joseph Discher. The work 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. Performances begin Sept. 10.
“Henry VIII” is a rarely-produced work by Shakespeare. About it Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte says, “I have always maintained that if a director would be willing to create a smart and very streamlined version, then the many brilliant aspects of the play could shine more brightly.” Longtime company director Paul Mullins took on the challenge; he returns 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 Oct. 15.
“Much Ado About Nothing,” by Shakespeare, closes the 2014 season. It has not been seen at the Theatre in over a decade. Renowned actor and director Scott Wentworth, returns to the Theatre for the first time since 2005 to direct the production, also portraying Benedick opposite his real-life wife, Marion Adler, who appeared in the Theatre’s 2013 production of “Our Town.” The director updates the play to post-World War II. “Much Ado About Nothing” begins Dec. 3.
For tickets or to know more regarding the 2014 season, visit ShakespeareNJ.org or call 973-408-5600.