Axelrod Arts Joins Shakespeare Theatre of NJ for Spring Outdoor Arts Festival THE BARD AT BELL WORKS

The event will feature performances by the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey & Axelrod Performing Arts Academy students.

By: Mar. 30, 2021
Axelrod Arts Joins Shakespeare Theatre of NJ  for Spring Outdoor Arts Festival THE BARD AT BELL WORKS

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center has joined The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey to celebrate the work of William Shakespeare, just in time for his 457th birthday. "The Bard at Bell Works" takes place on the Bell Works campus in Holmdel, NJ and will feature performances by the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theater, the Madison-based Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and the students of the Axelrod Performing Arts Academy. Since January last year, AXCBT and APAA have shared a studio at Bell Works, under the direction of Gabriel Chajnik, a Julliard-trained dancer and choreographer.

"We are delighted to be sharing live theater at Bell Works, bringing together two professional companies and dozens of amazingly talented young apprentices, all discovering the sheer genius of Shakespeare together," shares Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco. "In its second year of operation, our Academy is growing and excelling under the tutelage of Gabriel and his great ballet colleagues and the Broadway pros whom we've invited to participate."

A part of the New Jersey Theater Alliance's STAGES Festival, "The Bard at Bell Works" will run three weekends, beginning performances on April 11 and concluding on April 25. The festival includes three iterations of Shakespeare's most celebrated comedy "A Midsummer Night's Dream": an abridged version of the original play performed by the Shakespeare LIVE! touring company of STNJ; a reimagining of the ballet, choreographed by Chajnik and danced by the professional members of AXCBT; and finally a free screening of the 1935 Max Reinhart film starring Mickey Rooney.

Portraying Oberon in the AXCBT company is Gilbert Bolden III, a member of New York City Ballet, alongside Gillian Worek of the Saratoga Ballet, playing the role of Tatania, The role of the Bard himself will be played by professional New Jersey actor Patrick Poole.

The STNJ's company includes Jeffrey Marc Alkins (Theseus/Oberon), Ellie Gossage (Hippolyta/Titania), Katie Langham (Bottom) and Katja Yacker (Puck). The production is directed by Brian B. Crowe with costumes by Natalie Loveland and scenic design by Meri Lawson.

"Nothing says spring quite like the return to vibrant outdoor productions, and what better play for this time of year than the Bard's raucous and funny 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,'" said Crowe. "We are thrilled to be part of Axelrod's Bard at Bell Works festival, which is providing so many delightful inroads to the works of this master playwright - from music and dance to theatre and film."

The pre-professional students of APAA along with members of AXCBT will also present an original musical revue, "The Bard on Broadway," including songs and scenes from Shakespeare-centric Broadway musicals and the plays that inspired them, such as "West Side Story" ("Romeo and Juliet"), "Kiss Me, Kate" ("Taming of the Shrew"), and "Something Rotten!" ("Hamlet"). This showcase was created by APAA's professional Broadway staff, including Brian O'Brian ("Chicago"), Ross Lekites ("Disney's Frozen"), and Aaron Kaburick ("Something Rotten!"). Festival-goers can also sample Shakespeare-inspired food created by Bell Market, daily pop-up performances, and short educational talk-backs regarding all things Shakespeare.

Funding for "The Bard at Bell Works" provided by New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, the New Jersey Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Theater Alliance.

Seating is limited, due to social distancing requirements, so reservations are strongly encouraged.

For the complete schedule and tickets/passes for "The Bard at Bell Works", go to Tickets are offered for individual shows, multiple shows, and as a complete Festival package! Bell Works is located at 101 Crawfords Corner Rd in Holmdel.