Shakespeare Theatre of NJ Subscriptions on Sale 3/11

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).

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