Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Subscriptions on Sale 3/11

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey announced that subscriptions to its 2005 Main Stage and Outdoor Stage season will go on sale to the public starting Friday, March 11.

The lineup for the company's forty-third Main Stage season features three plays by William Shakespeare: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar and As You Like It. Also on the Main Stage will be Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Choderlos De Laclos; Galileo by Bertolt Brecht; and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest. On the Outdoor Stage will be The Triumph of Love by Marivaux.

Following a successful campaign to renew its 2004 Season subscribers, The Shakespeare Theatre's Box Office will be accepting new subscription orders 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.

Discounted packages offer a savings of 15% to 20% off the regular ticket price, plus a variety of "subscribers-only" benefits including preferred seating, exchange privileges and more. Prices range from $92 for a four-show Mini-Pak of preview performances with balcony seating, to $257 for a Saturday night subscription with orchestra seats to all six Main Stage shows plus admission to the Outdoor Stage. For information or to order a subscription, call 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org or visit the Box Office, located in the lobby of the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue in Madison (at Lancaster Road, on the campus of Drew University).

The next generation of star directors

Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Bonnie J. Monte proudly notes that this season's shows, aside from the two plays which she herself will be mounting, will be directed by "the next generation of directorial stars." Ranging in age from 27 to 35, the group includes Brian B. Crowe, Joe Discher , Tamara Harvey, Jason King Jones and Craig A. Miller.

"This is a very gifted, very hot group of talented young directors who were each discovered, nurtured and mentored by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at different points in their professional development," says Ms. Monte. "We have made it our mission to cultivate extraordinary talent, so it makes me tremendously proud to present, all in one season, the work of these five young artists who have blossomed into stellar directors."

On the Main Stage

The Main Stage opens with The Merry Wives of Windsor, onstage May 31 through June 26 . Directing this raucous romp is Jason King Jones, whose credits include The Shakespeare Theatre's 2002 production of The Grouch, which inaugurated the company's Outdoor Stage. One of William Shakespeare's bawdiest, rowdiest comedies, Merry Wives features the not-so-desperate and very clever housewives of Windsor as they revolt against the lecherous advances of that infamous rogue, Sir John Falstaff. Portraying Sir John Falstaff will be Eric Hoffmann, who delighted audiences as the hilarious knight and braggart, Don Adriano de Armado, in last season's Love's Labour's Lost.

Next, Bonnie J. Monte will direct Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons), onstage July 5 through 24 . In a decadent cat-and-mouse game of love and revenge, the beautiful Marquise and the infamous Valmont deftly manipulate those around them — as well as each other — as they scheme to seduce two innocent victims: one a virginal young lady about to be wed, the other a pious, married woman.

Associate artistic director Joe Discher , who wowed audiences and critics with last season's highly acclaimed Of Mice and Men, will direct Galileo, onstage A ugust 2 through 21 . Galileo Galilei's unthinkable assertion that the earth revolved around the sun, and was therefore not the center of the universe, turned Renaissance Italy and the Vatican upside down. In the role of the revolutionary Galileo, The Shakespeare Theatre welcomes back Sherman Howard, who earned rave reviews for his powerhouse performance in the title role of Pirandello's Enrico IV in 2002.

From September 6 through October 2 is the insanely witty and ever-popular The Importance of Being Earnest. Helming this hilariously tangled web of alter egos and mistaken identities will be British director Tamara Harvey, who trained under Ms. Monte as part of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's 2000 Summer Professional Training Program, and whose directorial credits since include Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare's Globe in London and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest starring Christian Slater (which she co-directed with Terry Johnson).

From October 11 through November 13, cries of revolt rock the Roman Capitol in Shakespeare's brilliant revisionist history, Julius Caesar. Resident artist Brian B. Crowe, whose production of last season's Love's Labour's Lost prompted The Star-Ledger to hail him as "one of the state's most ingenious directors," will direct this searing tale of conspiracy and revolution.

Following her groundbreaking 2004 production of Macbeth, Bonnie J. Monte returns to Shakespeare on a lighter note with As You Like It. Onstage N ovember 29 through December 31 and suitable for all ages, this celebratory tale — filled with wintry delights, colorful characters and beautiful music — is certain to rouse the holiday spirit.

On the Outdoor Stage

Can passion reduce a famous stoic and rationalist to an ardent lover? Apparently so, according to Marivaux's lighthearted comic romp The Triumph of Love . >From July 19 through August 7 , it marks the fourth annual production at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Outdoor Stage, a breathtaking open-air amphitheatre that's nestled into a hillside on the College of Saint Elizabeth campus in Morris Township . Director Craig A. Miller, who is currently staging the company's Shakespeare LIVE! touring production of Henry V, received national acclaim in American Theatre magazine for his 2003 production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Trustus Theatre in South Carolina . The Triumph of Love will be his Shakespeare Theatre Outdoor Stage debut.

Ticket Information

A variety of discounted subscription packages are available. In addition to preferred seating and bargain-priced tickets, subscribers-only benefits include liberal ticket exchange privileges, a reduced rate on tickets for guests, and discounts on education programs. Enhanced benefits for full-season subscribers also include "insider invitations" to exclusive special events and discounts in The Shakespeare Theatre's gift shop, at area restaurants and on a variety of goods and services.

A Complete Works package, which offers the best bargain and the most benefits, includes all six Main Stage shows for 20% off the regular ticket price. Complete Works subscription prices for orchestra seating range from only $149 for preview performances to just $235 for a Friday or Saturday night series. A limited number of Opening Night subscriptions are also available at $293 to $312, including Champagne intermissions and after-parties with the actors, directors and other VIPs. Depending upon the performance day and time, Complete Works subscribers save between $37 and $78.

Four-show Mini-Paks allow you to choose four Main Stage shows, for $92 to $167.

The Outdoor Stage can be added to a Complete Works package for $22.40, or to a four-show Mini-Pak for $23.80 (regularly $28).

For those seeking the greatest flexibility, a FlexPass offers six admissions to the plays and dates of your choice (not valid for Saturday evening performances), plus basic subscriber benefits.

Student subscriptions are available to full-time students with valid ID for only $40 to $60 (not available for Saturday evenings; exchange restrictions apply).

Individual tickets and group tickets will be on sale as of April 22 .

For tickets or additional information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

All titles and dates are subject to change.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation. Serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is the state's only professional theatre company dedicated to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funds from the National Endowment for the Arts and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. American Airlines is the official airline of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Crystal Rock Water is the company's official water provider.

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