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.
From left: Kristie Dale Sanders, Marion Adler, Jon Barker, Jesmille Darbouze, Brent Harris, and Greg Watanabe. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
From left: Kristie Dale Sanders, Brent Harris, Jon Barker and Jesmille Darbouze. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
From left: Jesmille Darbouze, Brent Harris, and Marion Adler. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
Kristie Dale Sanders and Brent Harris. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
From left: Jon Barker, Jesmille Darbouze, Marion Adler, and Greg Watanabe. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
From left: Marion Adler and Kristie Dale Sanders. (Photo: Jerry Dalia)
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.
“The Royal Family” is a 1927 play about people who think there’s nothing more noble than make a living in the theater and why they are crazy for doing so. And, to be honest, nearly a century later choosing to go on the stage is still crazy.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s current production of George S. Kauffman and Edna Ferber ’s play — a not very well disguised comedy about the famous Barrymore acting clan —continues through June 21 in Madison. If you’ve never seen it, catch this excellently staged, superbly acted version opening the theater’s 53rd season.