News of a performance extension came from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey this week when it announced it will be adding dates to the run of "Tovarich" through September 1st. The added performances are perfect for those looking to go to the theater over the Labor Weekend. The additional shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 29th, 30th and 31st at 8 p.m.; and Saturday August 31st and Sunday, September 1st at 2 p.m.
“Our audiences and the critics have raved about this production and we are thrilled to be able to extend its run so that even more people can experience this rarely-produced and extraordinary theatrical gem,” said Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. “There has not been a significant revival of “Tovarich” in more than 50 years, and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is the only theatre in the nation and perhaps the world where this play can be seen! It’s a special gift for our audiences and I am delighted by the enormously enthusiastic response that it’s getting.”
“Tovarich” was written by Jacques Deval in 1933 and adapted in 1935 by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning writer Robert E. Sherwood. The story takes place around 1925, years after the Russian Czar and his family had been removed from power. It tells the story of a Russian Grand Duchess and her dashing Prince of a husband living in exile in Paris after the Russian Revolution. They live as paupers and yet they have an enormous sum of money in a bank that they never touch. The money was put there under their name for the purpose of being used when the Russian monarchy got restored to power to regain its former opulence.
The couple reaches such desperation to survive that they re-invent themselves as house servants complete with writing their own references claiming to have been servants in the Grand Duchess’ home. They go under assumed names as they secure employment at the home of French family with a grown but not mature son and daughter. And as luck has it, they quickly become the hit of the household. They finally feel somewhat secure and good about their lives again, that is, until that night when they are recognized.
The play up until this point is a comedy with many light hearted moments. But suddenly a kind of Russian pathos sets in as the couple must determine what to do with their large bank account. The result is a truly touching theatrical moment; one that allows them to maintain their dignity as well as their continued survival as ousted members of a ruling body that no longer exists.
The cast features Shakespeare Theatre leading man Jon Barker as Prince Mikail Alexandrovitch Ouratieff and Carly Street, making her Shakespeare Theatre debut, in the role of the Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna. Shakespeare Theatre veteran Colin McPhillamy plays Chauffourier-Dubieff; Alison Weller and Matt Sullivan play Charles and Fernande Dupont, and Seamus Mulcahy plays their son Georges. Mary Dierson plays Madame Van Hemert and Anthony Cochrane is Commissar Gorotchenko. The cast also includes Blythe Coons, John Greenbaum, Einar Gunn, Christy Richardson, and Rachael Fox.
Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Main Stage which is the Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124), Madison, NJ. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.