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BWW Reviews: HENRY VIII at STNJ is Outstanding Theatre

"The burden of my sorrows fall upon thee."

Henry VIII

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) continues their triumphant season with one of the Shakespeare's rarely produced masterpieces, Henry VIII now onstage through November 9th. Tell a friend to tell a friend. This play will appeal to an audience far broader than those who enjoy classical works. It is one of the Bard's final plays and a departure from his late romances. It has not been seen on the STNJ stage for over 30 years.

Henry VIII is directed by Paul Mullins, who once again proves his theatrical brilliance enjoyed season after season at STNJ. The staging and pacing of this epic play is absolutely flawless.

Henry VIII is full of intrigue and totally absorbing. Shakespeare's prose illuminates the details of a life that was wrought with love, power and deceit. Henry VIII is one of the best known monarchs and was considered in history to be an absolute ruler. The play focuses on the early period of his reign and his first two wives, Catherine and Anne. Even at that early time, Henry was determined to produce a male heir to the throne. Drama ensues as the play highlights mounting tensions between church and state and Henry and his first wife, Catherine.

Henry VIII is a fast moving chronicle of the king's trials. The cast is ideally suited to their roles. David Foubert masters his role as a very robust, yet charming Henry. While Foubert succeeds at portraying this commanding character, he brings a real sense of humanity to the role. His contemplative disposition is particularly evident when he hears the pleadings of Catherine played by Jessica Wortham. And it is Wortham whose lovely, ladylike grace is complimented by an intelligent and thoughtful demeanor. There is a real contrast between the very regal Catherine and the young, alluring Anne Bullen played by Katie Wieland. Philip Goodwin as the overzealous Cardinal Wolsey is a pivotal character who typifies the pious, religious authorities of the day. Goodwin is precise in his handling of the role. His appearances breathe treachery into every occurrence. The king's court is well played with an extraordinary group of seasoned actors.

The creative team brings the 16th century to life. The pageantry of Henry VIII is captivating with scenic design by Charlie Calvert, sound design by Steven Beckel, lighting design by Michael Giannitti, costume design by Hugh Hanson and choreography by Gerry McIntryre.

Theatre enthusiasts and historians alike will be fascinated by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's production of Henry VIII. See it now through November 9th. For more information and ticketing, call their Box Office at (973) 408-5600 or visit

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia

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