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Broadway Actors Star in Macbeth at ShakespeareTheatre

From October 19 through November 19, "something wicked this way comes:" The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents William Shakespeare's brilliant psychological and political thriller Macbeth, directed by Bonnie J. Monte. The formidable talents of Broadway luminaries Robert Cuccioli (Jekyll and Hyde) and Laila Robins (Frozen) breathe new life into the doomed Macbeth and his "upwardly mobile" wife. Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays at the company's Main Stage in Madison. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

To take the high road, or the low road? That is the question facing the celebrated warrior Macbeth as his wife urges him to murder the King of Scotland, setting the doomed noble on an unstoppable course of tyranny and bloodshed. Unbridled ambition and moral impotence lead to the destruction of an entire nation, and send Macbeth and Lady Macbeth into a downward spiral of paranoia and madness in this chilling classic.

Powerhouse actors Robert Cuccioli and Laila Robins will appear for the first time together on The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey stage, though each has performed numerous times with the company. Ms. Monte commented, "Bob and Laila are two of my favorite actors. To have them together on the same show is a double thrill, particularly as we are making some bold conceptual choices in regard to the hearts of darkness that reside within these two characters."

Funding for Macbeth is provided, in part, by a grant from American Express Company.

In the artists' own words

Symposium Series performances include the additional bonus of a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff, following the 7:30 p.m. performance on Tuesday, October 26 and the 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday, October 30. Regular ticket prices apply.

On Thursday, October 28, The Shakespeare Theatre presents a new program called Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., director Bonnie J. Monte will present an insightful pre-performance talk, providing an insider's perspective on Macbeth and the company's production. 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.

A Halloween treat

There could be no more perfect show for Halloween than Shakespeare's sinister "Scottish play." Performances of Macbeth are offered at 2:00 and 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 31. Upon arriving at the Kirby Theatre on All Hallow's Eve, patrons will be greeted by jack-o-lanterns carved by the cast and crew of Macbeth. Audience members may also enjoy complimentary cider, candy and other goodies as a special Halloween treat. Tickets are $36 to $40 for the matinee, and $34 to $38 for the evening performance.

18th Biennial Shakespeare Colloquium

On Saturday and Sunday, November 13 and 14, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents the 18th Biennial Shakespeare Colloquium, examining "The Ethics of Power and Kingship in Shakespeare's Universe: 'Holding the Mirror Up' to Ours." With Richard II and Macbeth as the focus and catalyst, participants will delve into the Bard's lifelong obsession with the "ethics of the throne." Shakespeare enthusiasts, scholars and theatre professionals will gather for an invigorating weekend of exploration, discussion and debate. The registration fee is $75 general admission, $65 for Shakespeare Theatre subscribers and $50 for students, including materials, lunch on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. For additional information, or to register for the Colloquium, call 973-408-3806 or e-mail JBerger@ShakespeareNJ.org. Funding for the Colloquium is provided by Wyeth.

The Cast

As the famed Macbeth, acclaimed Broadway actor Robert Cuccioli returns to The Shakespeare Theatre after directing last season's The Glass Menagerie. His acting credits with the company include Carnival!, Antony and Cleopatra and Enter the Guardsman. He repeated his performance in Enter the Guardsman when it moved off-Broadway to the Vineyard's Dimson Theatre, and reprised his performance as Mark Antony in Antony and Cleopatra at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis with Laila Robins. Mr. Cuccioli earned a Drama Desk Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and a 1997 Tony Award nomination for his electrifying portrayal of mad scientist Dr. Jekyll and his sinister alter ego, Mr. Hyde, in the original Broadway production of Jekyll and Hyde. His most recent New Jersey turn was as Sky Masterson in Paper Mill Playhouse's Guys and Dolls.

As Macbeth's overly ambitious wife is award-winning actress Laila Robins, back for her eighth season with The Shakespeare Theatre fresh from a much-lauded run on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning Frozen. She received great praise for her riveting performance in last season's Shakespeare Theatre production of King John. Other company credits include Three Sisters, The Homecoming, Electra and Twelfth Night, among many others. On Broadway, she also appeared in The Herbal Bed and The Real Thing, opposite Jeremy Irons. Her off-Broadway and regional credits include Tiny Alice at Second Stage Theatre, which won a Lucille Lortell Award for Best Revival; Mrs. Klein at the Guthrie Theater, opposite Uta Hagen, for which Ms. Robins received a Joseph Jefferson Award; and The Merchant of Venice at The Public Theater, for which she won a Calloway Award.

The Macbeth cast also features many popular Shakespeare Theatre company members including Michael Stewart Allen as Banquo, Gregory Derelian as Macduff, Eric Hoffmann as Porter, Caralyn Kozlowski as A Witch and Raphael Nash Thompson as Duncan. Rounding out the cast of 23 are Leon Addison Brown, Austin Colaluca, Chloe Colaluca, Jimonn Cole, Dennis Ferenchick, Alexander Haynes, Duncan Hazard, Steven Jayson, Roderick Lapid, Melissa T. Miller, Seth D. Rabinowitz, Michael Rossmy, Brian Schilb, Aaron Shipp, Corey Tazmania and Doug West.

About the Director

Bonnie J. Monte marks her fourteenth season as artistic director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Since 1990, she has directed 30 productions for the company, including last season's smash-hit Pygmalion and acclaimed stagings of Pirandello's Enrico IV; Chekhov's Three Sisters and The Seagull; Arthur Miller's The Crucible; Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night and A Midsummer Night's Dream; Alexander Ostrovsky's The Forest and Diary of a Scoundrel; Tennessee Williams's Camino Real and Sweet Bird of Youth; Harold Pinter's The Homecoming; and Sophocles's Electra. Ms. Monte also directed an abridged production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which during the fall of 2003 and spring of 2004 was performed throughout the tri-state area by Shakespeare LIVE!, The Shakespeare Theatre's educational touring company.

The Artistic Staff

Creating the eerie Scottish highlands of the Dark Ages are costume designer Frank Champa, sound designer Richard M. Dionne, lighting designer Brenda Gray, set designer Michael Schweikardt and fight director Rick Sordelet.

Public Performances

Preview performances of Macbeth are at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19 and at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, October 20 and 21, offering the thrill of seeing a work-in-process before the show officially opens. Preview tickets are $26 to $30.

Beginning Friday, October 22 and continuing through Friday, November 19, regular performances are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. (with the exception of Opening Night at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 23); Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., beginning on October 30; and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., beginning on October 24. There are no public performances on Tuesday, November 9 or Wednesdays, November 10 and 17. Regular tickets range from $34 to $48, with substantial discounts for groups of 10 or more.

A limited number of tickets are available for Opening Night on Saturday, October 23 at 7:00 p.m. Opening Night tickets are $61 to $65, including the performance as well as a Champagne intermission and an after-party with the actors, director and other special guests.

For the spontaneous, a FlexPass, priced at $216, offers six discounted admissions to the 2004 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 performances of Macbeth and the upcoming musical Illyria (onstage November 30 through December 26), excluding Saturday evenings.

Student Matinees

For school groups, The Shakespeare Theatre will present ten Student Matinee performances of Macbeth. Many performances are already SOLD OUT, but seats are still available for 11:00 a.m. Student Matinees on Wednesday, October 27; Thursday, November 11; Wednesday, November 17; and Thursday, November 18. Tickets to these special on-school-time performances are only $15 for student groups of 10 or more, including a post-show discussion with the actors and a comprehensive study guide for each teacher. For Student Matinee reservations, call 973-408-3980.

General Information

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Main Stage, the 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. Parking is free. For tickets and information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.


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