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BWW Review: THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR at STNJ Will Raise Your Spirits

"What cannot be eschewed must be embraced."

-The Merry Wives of Windsor

Welcome The Merry Wives of Windsor to The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ). Superbly directed by the theatre's Artistic Director, Bonnie Monte, the production is an ideal choice to close the company's successful 53rd season. Metropolitan area audiences will delight in the Bard's rollicking comedy about love, marriage, jealousy and revenge. Gather your group for this theatrical treat, just right for the holiday season. It will be performed on the Madison stage through December 27th.

Set in and around Windsor, England, the roguish Sir John Falstaff is down on his luck and plots to woo several wealthy married ladies, Mistress Alice Ford and Mistress Margaret Page. The clever women are aware of Falstaff's scheme and play him for a fool. But Alice's husband, Frank Ford becomes jealous believing that his wife is enamored with Falstaff. In the meantime, young Anne Paige is the object of three different men's romantic attentions, Dr. Caius, Abraham Slender and Fenton. Mishaps are made all the more hilarious by a variety of lively characters from all walks of life. And while the show is laced with stereotypes and some predicable outcomes, it's all part of the play's charm and amusement. There are just the right touches of comedy, sexual innuendo and sarcasm in The Merry Wives of Windsor to keep you enthralled in each and every scene.

STNJ has assembled a fine cast of company members that shine in their roles. They master the fast-paced dialogue and rapid scene changes to bring the tenor of the play's humor and intrigue to the stage. The cast includes David Cryer as Robert Shallow, Jonathan Finnegan as Abraham Slender, Ames Adamson as Sir Hugh Evans, Joey Collins as George Page, David Andrew Macdonald as Sir John Falstaff, Javon Johnson as Bardolph, Jason Paul Tate as Pistol, Ryan McCarthy as Nym, Julian Gordon as Peter Simple, Rachel Felstein as Anne Page, Raphael Nash Thompson as the Host of The Garter Inn, Kristie Dale Sanders as Mistress Quickly, Felix Mayes as Robin, John Barker as Dr. Caius, Saluda Camp as Mistress Margaret Page, Caralyn Koslowski as Mistress Alice Ford, Matt Sullivan as Frank Ford, James Costello as Fenton and William Harding and Sam Mulick as William Page.

The design team has brought 15th century England to life with scenic design by Jonathan Wentz, lighting design by Tony Galaska, costume design by Yao Chen and sound design by Bonnie Monte. The Production Stage Manager is Kathy Snyder.

Give your holidays more cheer with The Merry Wives of Windsor. We guarantee you will leave the theatre in high spirits and remember the fun and frivolity long after the curtain call.

The show is onstage at through Sunday December 27th. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) on the Drew University Campus in Madison. Individual tickets and subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973.408.5600 or by visiting www.shakespearenj.org.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia


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