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Bickford Theatre Announces Casting for 'Transit of Venus'

The Bickford Theatre opens its 14th Season with a line-up featuring the offspring of two show business greats as it announces complete casting for Maureen Hunter's Transit Of Venus, running Thursday, September 25, through Sunday, October 19.

Jake Robards heads the cast as astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil. Prentiss Benjamin co-stars as Margot, Le Gentil's housekeeper and former mistress. Mr. Robards is the youngest son of theatre legend, Jason Robards. Ms. Benjamin is the daughter of acclaimed stage and screen actors, Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, who was previously announced to co-star with her daughter, but will be unable to visit the Bickford this Season due to recent surgery.

James Glossman directs Transit of Venus, a love story that charts a celestial course between destiny and desire. Set in a French countryside home in 1760, this New Jersey Premiere is based on astronomer Guillaume Le Gentil and the women in his life, whose lives change during his multi-year absences seeking to observe a rare celestial event: Venus passing between the Earth and Sun.

Jake Robards made his Broadway debut as Howie Newsome in Thornton Wilder's Our Town at the Booth Theatre opposite Paul Newman, directed by James Naughton. Other New York stage credits include Johnny Mariani in Fred Pezzulli's new drama, Rattlesnake, at the WorkShop Theater. His numerous film and television credits include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, A Talent For Trouble, Alone in the Dark, Arranged, You and I, The Gold Digger's Rush, Thanksgiving, and Our Town.

Born and raised in Los Angeles and currently making her home in New York City, Prentiss Benjamin is a graduate of Northwestern University and a proud member of Actors' Equity. She appeared regionally at The Fulton Opera House, The Alley Theatre, The Cape Playhouse, and at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. She was also seen Off-Broadway in How to Build a Better Tulip at the Acorn Theatre and Romeo and Juliet at Theatreworks. Following Transit Of Venus, Ms. Benjamin will star opposite John Astin in Bluff at The Boarshead Theatre. Ms. Benjamin is the daughter of acclaimed stage and screen actors, Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss, who was previously announced to co-star with her daughter, but will be unable to visit The Bickford this Season due to recent surgery.

Completing the Transit Of Venus cast are Anthony Blaha as Demarais, Julie Sihilling as Celeste, and NJ theatre favorite Linda Setzer as Mme. Sylvie.

The creative team includes set designer Carrie Mossman, lighting designer Richard Currie, sound designer Jeff Knapp, costume designer Bettina Bierly, and stage manager Yumi Matsuura.

Main Stage Series performances are Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28 for Morris Museum and Bickford Theatre Guild members, $35 for general public, $30 for senior citizens, $15 for students 18 and under or those with a valid school ID, and $27 for groups of 10 or more. An additional Saturday Matinee has been added on October 4 at 2 p.m. Lunch packages at Cinque Figlie are available.

The next "Transit Of Venus" won't occur until June, 2012. Don't wait till then to make a discovery all your own!

Tickets for all 2008-2009 Season productions are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973.971.3706 or by visiting us at


Le Gentil:  Jake Robards of New York City

Margot:  Prentiss Benjamin of New York City

Demarais: Anthony Blaha of Atglen, PA

Mme. Sylvie: Linda Setzer of South Orange, NJ

Celeste:  Julie Sihilling of Montclair, NJ


Creative Team

Director:  James Glossman of Montclair, NJ

Set Designer:  Carrie Mossman of Jersey City, NJ

Lighting Designer: Richard Currie of New York City

Sound Design: Jeff Knapp of Randolph, NJ

Costume Designer: Bettina Bierly of Morristown, NJ

Stage Manager: Yumi Matsuura of Madison, NJ

The Bickford Theatre (Eric Hafen, Artistic Director) is a professional theatre that produces and presents year-round entertainment, including a Main Stage Series, two Children's Theatre series, and a Jazz Showcase. The theatre is a Senior Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the statewide association of 30 professional theatres; a constituent of Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for non-profit theatres; a member of ArtPRIDE New Jersey; and works in conjunction with Actors' Equity Association and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers. From its beginnings in 1994 to the present, thousands of theater-goers from across the tri-state area have enjoyed the Bickford Theatre's many entertaining and diversified offerings in theatre, music and dance.

The Bickford Theatre is committed to creating an environment that is accessible to everyone and is fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

The Bickford Theatre is conveniently located at 6 Normandy Heights Road, in Morristown, New Jersey, within the Morris Museum. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets for all 2009-2009 Season productions are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling 973-971-3706 or visiting the Bickford Theatre at

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