The stage version of the 1998 Oscar-winning (7) film “Shakespeare in Love” will be staged for the first time in the northeast region of the USA this fall as part of the 55th season of the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre. Zounds!
Longtime artistic director Bonnie Monte will direct. The NJST plans to transform its 308-seat theater into an Elizabethan playhouse. Sounds good to me. A non-profit NJ regional theater with a small house gets dibs on what I think is a “get.” Only two other American theaters so far have it booked this year. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, productions are being done in repertory at the Utah Shakespeare Festival (June 30 – Sept. 8) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Feb. 18 – Oct. 29). The show begins previews Oct. 11 in New Jersey. Continue reading ‘Shakespeare in Love’ joins Moliere, Joe Orton on NJ Festival stage 2017 season
I have been on a quest, since my kids were old enough go to the theater, to make sure they see productions of all 38 plays by Shakespeare before I die (even though this quest probably is taking years off my life).
My son (23) couldn’t decide which performance opening weekend of “Richard III” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey he wanted to attend — mostly because hanging out with Mom on a Friday or Saturday night was a fate worse than death.
I gave up and took a friend, a Shakespeare lover. Later I told my son the title character was wondrously played by Derek Wilson, who plays Donnie Schenck on AMC’s “Preacher,” one of my son’s favorite shows, and … well, his reax wasn’t pretty. Oh, well.
This is the last weekend to catch the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s “Red Velvet,” a fascinating play about American actor Ira Aldridge, the first black man to play Othello on a London stage. Covent Garden, in fact.
Aldridge’s story is not well known and “Red Velvet” combines history and art for an entertaining — but sometimes emotionally painful — theater experience. Painful because of the bigotry and hate that denied him his due as a human being and a gifted actor.
New Jersey Repertory’s new play “Iago,” about a post-World War II love affair amongst three needy London stage actors and their love triangle, tonight is joined by the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s NJ premiere of “Red Velvet,” set in the mid-1800s about the true-life story of Ira Aldridge, the first black actor to appear as Othello on the London stage.
This is so cool. When you’ve seen the entire Shakespeare canon multiple times, getting a new look at one of the world’s favorite playwright always is interesting . Continue reading London’s first black Othello in ‘Red Velvet’ at NJ Shakespeare Theatre
If you want real-life Theater of the Absurd this summer season, keep following the American Presidential race. If you want to experience some on a smaller stage, a play penned by one of the masters of the art of zany, delusional characters in hopeless situations they refuse to accept, check out “Exit the King” by Eugene Ionesco at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey through August 28.
If you are working your way through the Shakespeare canon via performances — and who isn’t — “Coriolanus” at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one way to cross off a little-done play receiving a very fine staging. The only problem you may have is with the actual story.
Helmed by longtime STNJ director Brian B. Crowe, “Coriolanus” is one of Shakespeare’s last plays and not among his best. It focus on Caius Marcius, a legendary Roman soldier-turned-politican. Following his brilliance during the successful battle and siege of Coriolis against the Volscian forces — in which he does one-on-one combat with their leader Aufidius — Marcius is given the nickname Coriolanus.
On his return, he is urged by his ambitious mother Volumnia to listen to the advice Menenius Agrippa, a Roman senator, to run for the position of consul, the highest office in the Roman Empire.
After all, if yo are a successful soldier you obviously would make a great politician, right? You obviously see where I’m going with this. Meanwhile, Roman citizens are rioting in the streets because they are not being given shares of the grain in storage and fear going hungry.
The tribunes Brutus (John Adlin) and Volutes (Corey Tasmania) are on the side of the starving people, whom Coriolanus dismisses as undeserving riffraff because they did not serve in the military. Ultimately things go from bad to worse between the haves and have-nots to the point that Coriolanus loses his temper again, lashes out against the plebeians and tribunes and condemns popular rule.
The tribunes label Coriolanus a traitor and banish him from Rome and, in his anger, he banishes them right back. It’s huge. Especially since he runs to Aufidius in the Volscian capital of Antium, where he joins their army and plans to attack Rome. You know. The place where the people didn’t recognize his genius.
An exciting and dynamic first act, “Coriolanus” has a talky and static second act as the Volscians plan their attack and emissaries from Rome, including mom Volumnia (Jacqeline Antaramian), wife Virgilia (Amaia Arana) and friend Menenius (Bruce Cromer) try to reason with Coriolanus to get along with his fellow Romans and return to the fold. Greg Derelian gives a finely nuanced performance as the title character. The final moments are very well-staged, theatrical and worth the wait.
For more info, visit the theater or call 973-408-5600.
While the world may be acknowledging the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death (April 23, 1616) this year, closer to home the The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is celebrating its 54th season with seven productions and an exhibition of the Bard’s First Folio.
The Madison-based Shakespeare Festival produces six shows at its indoor space at Drew University and one outside in the College of St. Elizabeth’s (Morristown) Greek Theatre (replica of the Theater of Dionysius in Athens).
In October, a partnership between Drew University and The Shakespeare Theatre has resulted in Drew being chosen as the New Jersey site for the national First Folio Tour. Published in 1623, only 233 known copies exist. and theatergoers can see one of them at Mead Hall, across from the Kirby Theatre. To be announced special events are planned, too.
Here’s a quick look at the upcoming season:
Looking for a costume no one else will have? How about some knee-high cavalier boots? Have no fear, the Bard is here. Rather the stuff the creative people who mount the plays (written 500 years ago through today) made for the stage will be making many of those items available to us. All items are priced to sell.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will hold its Costume, Prop, and Scenery Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24 at the theater’s production facility at 3 Vreeland Road in Florham Park. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, call 973-408-5600. The sale will be held at the Theatre’s administration/production facility, 3 Vreeland Road, Florham Park.
All proceeds benefit The Shakespeare Theatre’s artistic and educational programs. Only 58 percent of the not-for-profit regional theater’s budget (productions and educational programs) comes from the box office.
NOTE: The sale originally was to run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m but has been pushed back to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Contributions from corporate, foundation, and government sources and individuals donations also help support its Main Stage, Outdoor Stage and educational programming including Shakespeare LIVE! which brings Shakespeare and other classic works to schools throughout the mid-Atlantic region; the Student Matinee Series, which enables middle- and high-school students and teachers to attend school-time performances of Main Stage productions; and the Summer Professional Training Program, which offers young actors, designers, technicians, and administrators hands-on professional training.
You’ll laugh a lot, think a lot (but not too much) because all the wildly modern ideas expressed in George Bernard Shaw’s 1910 comedy “Misalliance” that were new then — equal rights for men and women, outrage over exploitation of the working classes, anger about the gap between rich and poor, exercise and healthy lifestyles — all are well established and accepted in 2015. Right?