Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens season with The Misanthrope

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A continent away and exactly 345 years to the day after it premiered at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in Paris, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will officially open its production of Molière's The Misanthrope, translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur. Preview performances of The Misanthrope begin on June 1, and the official opening is June 4, the exact date the comedy premiered in Paris in 1666. Performances of The Misanthrope continue through June 26 at the Theatre's Main Stage - the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Discount ticket packages for the entire 6-play season, or 5 and 4 choose your own ticket packages are also available. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.

Considered one of the world's greatest masters of comedy, Molière is also the author of The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser and The Imaginary Invalid among many others. The Misanthrope, often considered Molière's finest achievement, features the misanthropic Alceste - a "fallen idealist" whose obsession with honesty and his rejections of society's often hypocritical social conventions wreak havoc on his life. Molière's enduring masterpiece bites as sharply and as hilariously now as it did in Paris in 1666, and while the play supplies a hefty dose of laughter and delight, it also delivers profound and sharp barbs about humankind's foibles and transgressions.

The Cast
John Patrick Hayden makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut in the title role of Alceste, the misanthrope. Hayden appeared on Broadway in Molière's Tartuffe with Brian Bedford, and has appeared in regional theatres throughout the nation including Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Northern Stage in Vermont.

Elizabeth A. Davis plays Célimène, the love interest of Alceste. Davis appeared off-Broadway in The 39 Steps, and in Wolves at 59E59 Theatre. She has also appeared at the Cleveland Playhouse and Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. On television, she has appeared in Fringe and All My Children.

Returning to The Shakespeare Theatre for his 5th season to play Philinte, Alceste's good friend, is Jon Barker. At The Shakespeare Theatre, Barker appeared in All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The School For Wives, The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, King Lear, and Amadeus. He has also appeared at the Kennedy Center, Luna Stage, and the Paramount Theatre.

Marcus Dean Fuller plays Oronte, another of Célimène's suitors. Fuller has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in Pride and Prejudice and King Lear. Regionally, he has appeared at Yale Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, and A Noise Within. He has also appeared on Guiding Light and General Hospital.

Returning to the Shakespeare Theatre to play the honest and pure Éliante is Kersti Bryan. Bryan appeared at the Shakespeare Theatre in Pride and Prejudice and appeared off-Broadway at Red Bull Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and with the Siti Company.

Shakespeare Theatre veteran Matt Bradford Sullivan plays Clitandre, a rival of Alceste who attempts to woo Célimène. Sullivan most recently appeared in I Capture the Castle at The Theatre and also appeared in Twelfth Night, Noises Off and King Lear. He appeared in Macbeth and Coriolanus at the New York Shakespeare Festival and The School for Wives at National Actor's Theatre.

Rounding out the cast are Roger Casey, Einar Gunn, Louisa Braden Johnson, and David Joseph Regelmann.

The Director
Now in her 21st season with the Theatre, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte has directed more than 40 productions in her two decades at its helm, including the recent No Man's Land, King Lear, Hamlet, and A Streetcar Named Desire. In addition, she has created and directed a number of original translations and adaptations for the stage including Enrico IV, Pride and Prejudice, The Triumph of Love, The Blue Bird, and The Servant of Two Masters which premiered in 2010 on the Outdoor Stage and was recently published by Playscripts, Inc. While associate artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, she was part of a writing team that collaborated with Tennessee Williams on an eight-hour, two part production entitled Tennessee Williams: A Celebration - a retrospective tribute to Williams' literary canon.

The Artistic Staff

Creating the world of The Misanthrope are set designer Adam Miecielica, lighting designer Tony Galaska, and costume designer Paul Canada. Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.

Tickets
Single tickets for The Misanthrope are now on sale and start at $32. Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain for $10 with a valid student ID. For tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org or email boxoffice@shakespearenj.org. Single ticket prices include a $2 facility fee not subject to discount.

Save with Discount Ticket Packages
Patrons can save up more than 40% off the cost of single tickets by purchasing discount ticket packages. Complete Works subscriptions, including tickets to all six Main Stage productions, as well as 5-play and 4-play choose-your-own discount ticket packages are now on sale. The discount ticket packages feature up to 43% percent savings off the cost of regular tickets, the best seats to all Main Stage productions; free, easy and unlimited ticket exchanges should schedules change; discounts on additional tickets; and the convenience of having tickets in hand and dates scheduled in advance. Complete Works subscriptions range in price from $108 for Previews to $378 for Opening Nights. Student subscriptions are available for $60. Choose-your-own 5-play and 4-play ticket packages start at $84. Call The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office at 973-408-5600. Look for more information at www.ShakespeareNJ.org. The 2011 Season features six Main Stage productions as well as a production on the Theatre's Outdoor Stage on the campus of The College of St Elizabeth.

Special Performances
Preview performances for The Misanthrope are Wednesday, June 1 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, June 2 and 3 at 8:00 p.m., and Saturday, June 4 at 2 p.m. These Preview performances offer opportunities for reduced-priced tickets while enjoying the excitement of the very first performances in front of an audience. As always, the first Preview performance is Pay What You Can night. Visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and curtain on June 1 and purchase a ticket for what you are able to pay for that evening's 7:30 preview performance (offer subject to availability). Pay What You Can is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Stone & Magnanini LLP/Smart Family Foundation, an independent family foundation.

 

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, three Symposium Series performances are offered for each show and include a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff. Symposium performances for The Misanthrope will be Tuesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 11 and 18 at 2:00 p.m.

 

For each production, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider's perspective on the production. Know the Show will be held on June 9 at 7:00 p.m. General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

 

The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, June18 will be audio described for those who are blind or have visual impairments. Audio description enables patrons with visual impairments to hear, through an FM transmitter, a live description of the action on the stage. A pre-performance sensory seminar is offered that allows patrons to feel props, costumes and set pieces to further enhance their live theatrical experience. The service is offered free of charge.

 

2011 Season

The 2011 Season includes five additional Main Stage plays and one long run show at the popular Outdoor Stage.

 

The Shakespeare Theatre's annual Outdoor Stage production at the Greek amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morris Township features the world's most popular comedy - Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This newly conceived, exuberant, 90-minute production is perfect for children and families of all ages and will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Outdoor Stage in jubilant style. A Midsummer Night's Dream will include new 4:30 pm twilight performances on select Saturdays and Sundays in addition to 8:15 pm performances Tuesdays through Sundays. Our Outdoor Stage productions have become a perennial favorite for families of all ages, and a perfect opportunity to see Shakespeare under-the-stars! A Midsummer Night's Dream runs from June 22 through July 31 at the outdoor amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth.

Back on the Main Stage is William Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. This taut 90 minute version of Shakespeare's rarely-produced play is an extraordinary explosion of imaginative staging and resonant themes. Resident director Brian Crowe mixes up a sublime blend of Grand Guignol, Vaudeville, and Brechtian theatricality in his inventive adaptation. Timon of Athens runs from July 6 through July 24.

Dario Fo's brilliantly funny, irreverent political farce, The Accidental Death of An Anarchist, embodies the modern Fo-brand of commedia theatre that has helped define him as a playwright of the people. The Nobel Prize Committee called him a writer "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden." Inspired by a real-life event involving a man who "fell" from the window of a police station, Fo has invented an outrageously sly and caustic comedy filled with physical and linguistic acrobatics. Accidental Death of An Anarchist begins performances on August 3 and continues through August 28.

William Shakespeare's Othello is next. Not seen on The Shakespeare Theatre stage since 2003, this tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal remains as compelling today as when it first exploded onto the stage in 1604. Often described as Shakespeare's most perfect play, the epic downfall of the Moor of Venice and his beautiful Desdemona at the hands of the uber-villain Iago, remains one of the world's most heartbreaking tales. Othello runs September 7 through October 2.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee and adapted by Christopher Sergel, is next and features an extended 6-week run. The characters of Atticus Finch, Scout, and Boo Radley have become iconic figures in the American consciousness and conscience. Harper Lee's Pulitzer-prize winning novel is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century, and it is a must for every new generation. The story's enduring spell stems in part from the juxtaposition of the simple, yet astute innocence of a child's point of view in the face of terrible and terribly complex adult problems and biases. The fundamental lessons about compassion, integrity, and courage are breath-taking and life-changing. To Kill A Mockingbird will run from October 12 through November 15. To Kill a Mockingbird is made possible in part by a generous grant from The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.

To celebrate the Holiday Season, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. Bartlett's unique and inventive adaption is ingenious in its approach to this timeless holiday tale, and profoundly captures the true essence of the original novel. With a cast of nine actors playing more than 50 roles, this production features a new visual landscape which conjures up this delightful, funny, haunted and haunting morality tale that, in the end is always beautifully touching. A Christmas Carol begins performances on December 1 and continues through January 1.

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 Drew University campus), just minutes from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free.

The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Braille and large print programs are available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Some performances are audio described. Contact the theatre for more information. The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road in Morris Township. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey's only professional theatre company dedicated solely 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.

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