Shakespeare Theatre of NJ to Open Season with Merry Wives of Windsor

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens its forty-third season with William Shakespeare's comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Jason King Jones and featuring Eric Hoffmann, Allison Daugherty and James Michael Reilly. In one of the Bard's bawdiest, rowdiest comedies, a pair of not-so-desperate housewives revolt against the lecherous advances of that infamous rogue, Sir John Falstaff. Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays, May 31 through June 26, on the company's Main Stage in Madison. Tickets are $27 to $65 with discounts available for subscribers and groups of 10 or more. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

Madison Night

Tuesday, May 31 is Madison Night. Residents of Madison, New Jersey are invited to visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between 12:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on that date for a special "buy one, get one half price" offer. Show proof of Madison residency (driver's license, utility bill, etc.) and the second ticket is 50% off with each ticket you buy at regular price for that evening's 7:30 p.m. performance (regularly $27 for balcony seats, $31 for orchestra). Seating is subject to availability.

In the Artists' Own Words

For no more that the cost of a regular ticket, Symposium Series performances include the additional treat of a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff, on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 11 at 2:00 p.m. Regular ticket prices apply.

On Thursday, June 9, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., director Jason King Jones will present an insightful pre-performance talk that provides background information and an expert's perspective on the play that follows. General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for subscribers. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately for $37 to $41.

The Cast

Eric Hoffmann returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his sixth season to play Sir John Falstaff. He delighted audiences last season as the hilarious knight and braggart, Don Adriano de Armado, in Love's Labour's Lost and in 2003 as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Mr. Hoffmann is a longtime company member and instructor at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., where his credits include Camino Real, Measure for Measure, Henry V and Coriolanus.

In her first season with the company is award-winning actress Randy Danson as Mistress Margaret Page. She recently appeared on Broadway in Wonderful Town. Her classical credits include leading roles in Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. Ms. Danson is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award, Barrymore Award and an OBIE.

Her partner-in-mischief is Mistress Alice Ford, played by Allison Daugherty. She was last seen on the Madison stage in 1995 in the title role in The Country Wife. Ms. Daughtery's Broadway credits include An Ideal Husband, directed by Sir Peter Hall, and Holiday. Among her many regional credits is The Legend of Oedipus directed by Nikos Psacharopoulos at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Audience favorite James Michael Reilly will play Frank Ford. In his fourteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, he was last seen as the title character in That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage. Among his many company credits are Glyn and Constable Lloyd-Jones in A Child's Christmas in Wales, Bottom in A Midwinter Night's Dream and Kulygin in Three Sisters, for which The Star-Ledger named him Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2001.

Rounding out the cast of 24 characters are Actors' Equity Association members Ames Adamson as Sir Hugh Evans, Joseph Costa as Host, Dana Smith Croll as Mistress Quickly, David Foubert as Doctor Caius and Pistol, Robert Hock as Robert Shallow and John Little as George Page. Additional cast members include Jordan Coughtry as Simple, Holley Fain as Anne Paige, Ed Flynn as a Servant to the Fords, Joshua Herrigal as Robin and William, Chris Landis as Nym and Fenton, Jake O'Connor as a Servant to the Fords, Ethan Saks as John Rugby, Brian Schilb as Bardolph and a Servant to the Fords and Patrick Toon as Abraham Slender.

About the Director

Directing The Merry Wives of Windsor is Jason King Jones. Now in his sixth season with the company, he has directed The Grouch, which inaugurated the company's Outdoor Stage; Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream for Shakespeare LIVE!, The Shakespeare Theatre's educational touring company; and Timon of Athens and Les Fouberies de Scapin for the Next Stage Ensemble. Other credits include Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Festival/LA, The Good Daughter at New Jersey Repertory, A Doctor's Visit at Vital Theatre and Master Harold ... and the Boys at the Public Theatre of Kentucky. He recently served as the staff repertory director for The Acting Company's national tour of Murder By Poe and Richard III.

The Artistic Staff

Creating the world of Windsor are set designer Brian Ruggaber, lighting designer Bruce C. Auerbach, costume designer Maggie Dick and sound designer Steven L. Beckel, fight choreographer Jeffrey M. Bender and dialect coach David McDonald.

Tickets & General Information

Preview performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor are at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31 and at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, June 1 and 2, offering the thrill of seeing a work-in-progress before the show officially opens. Preview tickets are $27 to $31.

Beginning Friday, June 3 and continuing through Sunday, June 26, regular performances are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. (excluding Opening Night at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 4); Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m., beginning June 5; and Sundays June 5, 12 and 19 at 7:00 p.m. Regular tickets range from $35 to $49, with substantial discounts for groups of 10 or more.

A limited number of Opening Night tickets are available for $61 to $65, including a Champagne intermission and a post-show party with the actors and other VIPs.

A variety of ticket packages are available, offering substantial discounts as well as subscribers-only benefits including ticket exchange privileges, preferred seating and more. A Complete Works subscription offers 20% off tickets to all six Main Stage shows: Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar (October 11 through November 13) and As You Like It (November 29 through December 31); plus Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Choderlos de Laclos (July 5 through 24); Bertolt Brecht's Life of Galileo, translated by John Willett, (August 2 through 21); and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (September 6 through October 2). A Complete Works package ranges from only $149 to $235 (just $25 to $40 per ticket). Four-Show Mini-Paks range from $106 to $166, offering a discount of 15% off the regular ticket price.

Add the Outdoor Stage production of The Triumph of Love (onstage July 19–August 7), adapted and translated by Bonnie J. Monte from Marivaux, to your subscription and save 15% off the already low ticket price of $28.

For the spontaneous, a FlexPass, priced at $222, offers six admissions to the 2005 Season — you choose the shows, you choose the dates, then simply call or visit the Box Office for reservations. The FlexPass is valid for all Main Stage and Outdoor Stage plays, excluding Saturday evenings. Seating is subject to availability.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the scenic campus of Drew University), just minutes by automobile from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The theatre is also convenient to shopping and restaurants in charming downtown Madison, and a 15-minute walk from the Madison Train Station (via NJ Transit's M&E Morristown line).

For additional information, or to purchase tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

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