Individual Tickets to NJ Shakespeare Theatre on Sale April 22

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey announced that single tickets to its 2005 Main Stage and Outdoor Stage season will go on sale Friday, April 22 — the eve of the Bard's 441st birthday.

Previously open only for subscription sales, beginning on this date the Shakespeare Theatre box office will be accepting orders for tickets to individual shows, by phone and in-person, weekdays from noon to 6:00 p.m. (phones open at 10:00 a.m.), and online 24 hours a day. For tickets or information call 973-408-5600, go to www.ShakespeareNJ.org or visit the box office, located in the lobby of the company's Main Stage venue, the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Road (on the campus of Drew University) in Madison.

The company's forty-third season begins on May 31 with the not-so-desperate housewives of William Shakespeare's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, on the Main Stage in Madison through June 26. The production features Eric Hoffmann as the infamous rogue Sir John Falstaff.

Next is Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Choderlos de Laclos, from July 5 through 24. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit regular Tamara Tunie returns to The Shakespeare Theatre stage as the scheming Marquise de Merteuil. David Conrad, who turned in a passionate performance in the title role of last season's Richard II, returns as Valmont, the Marquise's partner in crimes of the heart.

Meanwhile, from July 19 through August 7 at the Outdoor Stage in Morris Township — a spectacular grass-and-stone amphitheatre on the College of Saint Elizabeth campus — the company presents the French comedy The Triumph of Love by Marivaux. Translated and adapted by Shakespeare

Theatre artistic director Bonnie J. Monte, the enchanting, pastoral romp celebrates the unquenchable power of love. The Triumph of Love is suitable for all ages, and picnics are welcome at the Outdoor Stage.

Back at the Main Stage, the stars align for Bertolt Brecht's Galileo, from August 2 through 21. Framed by Brecht's unique theatricality, this gripping tale transports the audience to a time when revolutionary ideas were springing to life as quickly as the inquisitions that tried to squelch them. The commanding Sherman Howard (Much Ado About Nothing, Enrico IV) will appear in the title role.

The autumn lineup begins with Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, from September 6 through October 2. This insanely witty and ever-popular classic is literally a comedy of revelations — all emanating from a tangled web of alter egos and mistaken identities.

From October 11 to November 13 is a must-see production of Julius Caesar. In Shakespeare's brilliant history play, loyalty, honor and betrayal collide as omens of doom and deadly conspiracies erupt into civil war.

In the holiday slot is As You Like It, from November 29 through December 31, including five special family matinees (call the Box Office for dates and times). Filled with wintry delights, colorful characters and brilliant revelations about life and love, Shakespeare's celebratory tale is certain to warm the hearts of children and adults alike, and to rouse the holiday spirit with its humor and beautiful music.

Single ticket buyers seeking the best seats on their preferred performance dates are encouraged to book their tickets early. The Shakespeare Theatre's ticket sales have been steadily increasing every season since 2000, with many performances in the intimate, 308-seat theatre filled to capacity. "It is never too early to order tickets," says Ms. Monte, "especially now that we offer ticket exchanges to individual ticket buyers — an option previously available only to subscribers." For only $3 per ticket, patrons may exchange into another performance of the same production if a change in schedule arises (up to 24 hours in advance).

Regular tickets range from $27 for a preview performance with balcony seating to $49 for a Saturday night orchestra seat. A limited number of in-demand Opening Night seats are available for $65, including a Champagne intermission and a post-performance party with the actors, artistic staff and other special guests.

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