BWW Review: SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ is Awe-Inspiring
"Love denied blights the soul"
by Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has reason to celebrate. Their awe-inspiring production of Shakespeare in Love is a real hit. This rousing new play has been adapted by Lee Hall and is based on the 1998 Oscar-winning screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard. Those who are familiar with the movie will find this story ideal for the stage. The elaborate production features a marvelous cast and splendid direction by the Theatre's Artistic Director, Bonnie J. Monte. The show's music is by Paddy Cunneen with live musical direction by Kris Kukul. Be part of the experience and see the Metropolitan debut of Shakespeare in Love now through November 12.
William Shakespeare has writer's block as he attempts to pen a new comedy. Even with the encouragement of a fellow playwright, Christopher Marlowe, the Bard makes little progress with his writing. Things change when Will falls madly in love with the charming and beautiful, Viola de Lesseps. The two share a romance and a love for poetry and prose that inspires some of Shakespeare's greatest works. But personal commitments and class differences hamper their affair. With humor and heart, this extraordinary tale pays tribute to creative processes and the theater.
Shakespeare in Love includes the storyline of a play within the play that brings vibrant characters to the show that include royalty, townspeople, actors and even a lively pup. The fast moving and fascinating scenes keep the story on the move. Leading the cast as Will Shakespeare is company veteran, Jon Barker who masters every aspect of his demanding role. Whitney Maris Brown is wonderful in the spirited and passionate role of Viola de Lesseps. The grand, ever-talented troupe includes Marcus Dean Fuller as Lord Wessex; Edmond Genest as Henslowe; Ames Adamson as Fennyman; David Andrew Macdonald as Burbage; Anthony Marble as Christopher Marlowe; Colin McPhillamy as Tilney; Erika Rolfsrud as Queen Elizabeth/Viola's Nurse; Seamus Mulcahy as John Webster.
Rounding out the cast are Quentin McCuiston, Patrick Toon, Aurea Tomeski, Javon Johnson, Garrett Lawson, Julian Blake Gordon, Joelle Zazz; Ryan Halsaver, Spencer Lackey, and David H. Littleton. A special mention for company newcomer, Dublin the Dog.
The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre stage has been transformed into an Elizabethan theatre by the creativity of Scenic Designer, Brian Clinnin; Lighting Designer, Steve Rosen; Costume Designer, Nikki Delhomme and Wig Designer, Emilia Martin. Julie Foh is the Dialect Coach, Danielle Liccardo is the Period Dance Consultant, and Rick Sordelet is the Fight Director. The Production Stage Manager is Denise Cardarelli.
Bonnie J. Monte addressed the audience on the show's opening night. She commented, "I love this play so much, I have poured myself into it." We applaud both her talent and dedication that has brought Shakespeare in Love to the metro area. See this artistic gem while you can on the Madison Stage.
Shakespeare in Love runs for approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes with one intermission. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey offers various cost-saving opportunities for theatergoers including $15 student rush tickets, which are available 30 minutes prior to each performance, with a valid student ID, and a limited number of Pay What You Can tickets for every performance on a first come, first serve basis. Season Memberships are also available and provide significant cost savings. Patrons can purchase tickets at The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre located at 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by going online at http://www.shakespearenj.org/.
Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia