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Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey to Present THE ALCHEMIST, Begin. 8/6


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, a rowdy tale of con artists and their gullible prey. This production marks the premiere of Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte's new adaptation of the 17th century work. Performances begin August 6 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Tickets start at $25 for all preview performances. All regular performances offer tickets starting at $32. Student rush tickets for all performances are $15, available a half-hour before curtain for with a valid student ID. Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

When the merchant Lovewit flees London to avoid the plague, wild antics ensue as Lovewit's opportunistic butler reimagines himself as Captain Face, a clever character with a "get rich quick" mentality. Face joins forces with fellow con man Subtle and a local prostitute Dol Common. Together, the trio baits a parade of colorful dupes with the promise of gold, including a lawyer's clerk, a tobacconist, a nobleman, a widow, and religious fanatics. Written in 1610, Jonson's bawdy, lunatic comedy demonstrates how little has changed about greed or gullibility in the affairs of mankind.

With an ingenious con man plot line, The Alchemist was one of British playwright Ben Jonson's most successful plays. Along with Shakespeare, Jonson towers above the many influential leaders of English Renaissance literature. Through his plays, poetry, and elaborate masques for James I's court, Jonson was well-known in his day. He achieved early success with a 1598 production of his Every Man in His Humour, a production which featured a young William Shakespeare as an actor. Though few written records remain, The Alchemist is thought to have premiered in 1610 and was one of the first plays to be produced by the King's Men (formerly the Lord Chamberlin's Men) theatre company when they reassumed control of the Blackfriars' Playhouse in 1610.

Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of her adaptation of Jonson's play. She admits to avoiding the play for most of her theatrical life. "Despite my passion for classics, The Alchemist was just one of those scripts I kept pushing aside for years. It wasn't until last winter that I finally sat down, waded through the complex language, and truly gave Jonson's story a chance. I found myself laughing aloud! I realized, with a stream-lined adaptation, this story must be told on our stage. To bring this work to life, we have gathered an unprecedented ensemble of some of the Theatre's most skilled comedians."

Shakespeare Theatre veteran John Ahlin portrays the English gentlemen Lovewit. His numerous Broadway credits include Waiting for Godot with Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane and John Glover, Journey's End (2007 Tony Award for Best Revival), The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo' Time, Whoopee!, and Macbeth. Ahlin's television and film credits include Late Night with David Letterman, The Education of Max Bickford, the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis.

As Lovewit's butler who masquerades as the charlatan Face, Jon Barker returns after portraying Caliban in this season's production of The Tempest. Previous Shakespeare Theatre credits include Pericles, Tovarich, Henry IV, Part One, Othello, The Misanthrope, All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and The School For Wives among many others. He has also appeared at the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre, and Luna Stage.

Bruce Cromer plays Face's partner in mischief, Subtle. With The Shakespeare Theatre, Cromer played both Dukes in last season's As You Like It, Apemantus in Timon? of Athens, Arnolphe in The School For Wives, In September, Cromer will play The Poet in a one-man version of An Illiad with Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati in September and then returns (for his tenth year) as Scrooge in the Cincinnati Playhouse's A Christmas Carol in December. Cromer also serves as the head of Acting for Wright State University's Professional Actor Training Program.

As the saucy lady of ill repute-Dol Common, Aedin Moloney returns to the Theatre for her second season after appearing last year as George Eliot in the world premiere production of A Most Dangerous Woman. Most recently, she starred alongside Peter Gerety and Dana Ivey in Dubliners by Arthur Yorinks for WNYC Public Radio. She has worked with Irish Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Theatre, Hartford Stage, Bristol Old Vic, Sheffield Crucible, and Battersea Arts Center. Her film and television credits include Nora with Ewan McGregor, Far and Away, The Captives, Agnes Brown, Ballykissangel, The Moth, and Vanity Fair. Moloney is a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin and the founder/producing artistic director of New York's Fallen Angel Theatre Company.

Shakespeare Theatre veteran Jeffrey M. Bender, in his fifteenth season with the Theatre, plays the wittless tobacconist Abel Drugger. Bender recently appeared on Broadway in A Time to Kill at the Golden Theater and in Cymbeline at Lincoln Center. He has also worked at Denver Center Theatre, Arena Stage, the Old Globe, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.

As the wealthy nobleman Sir Epicure Mammon, Brent Harris returns for his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre where his credits include Henry IV, Part One, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Timon of Athens. Brent is currently playing Screwtape in the national tour of The Screwtape Letters. He also recently played Scar in the national tour of The Lion King and the title role in AJAX at the American Repertory Theatre (IRNE award nomination). His regional credits include work with Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Theatre Company D.C, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Pearl Theatre, The Actors Company Theatre, among many others.

As Sir Mammon's friend, the skeptic Pertinax Surly, Kevin Isola returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his sixth season where he most recently appeared in The Liar, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and Around The World in Eighty Days. His New York credits include Brooklyn Boy on Broadway and work with Second Stage, Transport Group, 59E59 Street Theatre, The Women's Project, The Play Company, Playwrights Horizons, NYSF/The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, The Cherry Lane. His film and television credits Passing Harold Blumenthal, Frank the Rat, The New Bozena, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Uninvited, 24 Nights, Academy Boyz, The New Yorker, Fringe, Damages, and many others.

Seamus Mulcahy portrays the angry youth Kastril. In his sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, his company credits include last season's Tovarich, A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear (as The Fool), A Christmas Carol, Henry V, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He appeared Off-Broadway in Our Town directed by David Cromer. Mulcahy's film credits include One Fall, Killing Lincoln with Tom Hanks.

Shakespeare Theatre veteran James Michael Reilly, in his twenty-second season, plays the zealot Anabaptist Ananias. Notable Shakespeare Theatre credits include last season's Our Town, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, The Comedy of Errors, The Rivals, Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged), Arms and the Man, The Tempest on the Main Stage, and That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage. In addition to extensive Broadway, off-Broadway, and regional credits, Reilly has recently appeared on television in Boardwalk Empire, Elementary, Person of Interest, and Louie.

Longtime company member Raphael Nash Thompason plays the Anabaptist Pastie Tribulation Wholesome. Thompson's recent credits include Morocco in The Merchant of Venice at Theater for a New Audience with F. Murray Abraham as Shylock, as well as work with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Red Bull Theatre, Hartford Stage, Clurman Theater, and Wilma Theatre. His television credits: Ed (NBC), Third Watch (NBC) and Soul Food (Showtime).

James Costello, Kristen Kittel, and Jon Sprik round out the cast.

2014 marks adapter and director Bonnie J. Monte's 24th season as Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Since 1990, she has directed more than 50 productions for the company, including most recently The Tempest, Tovarich, As You Like It on the Outdoor Stage, Trelawny of the Wells, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Misanthrope and Othello, No Man's Land, The Taming of the Shrew, and Hamlet. Her many adaptations of classic works, including Enrico IV, The Cherry Orchard and Pride and Prejudice have earned her critical acclaim. Her adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters is published by Playscripts, Inc.

Creating the world of The Alchemist is scenic designer Jonathan Wentz, costume designer Nikki Delhomme, sound designer Karin Graybash, and lighting designer Steven Rosen. Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.

Tickets start at $25 for all preview performances. All regular performances offer tickets starting at $32. Student rush tickets for all performances are $15, available a half-hour before curtain for with a valid student ID. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600, visit or email

Discount preview performances for The Alchemist are Wednesday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday and Friday, August 7 and 8 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, August 9 at 2 p.m. These Preview performances offer opportunities for reduced-priced tickets while enjoying the excitement of the very first performances in front of an audience. As always, the first Preview performance is Pay What You Can night. Visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and curtain on August 6 and purchase a ticket for that evening's 7:30 p.m. preview performance for what you are able to pay (offer subject to availability).

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, three Symposium Series performances are offered for each show and include a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff. Symposium performances for The Alchemist will be Tuesday, August 12 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, August 16 and 23 at 2 p.m.

For each production, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider's perspective on the production. The Know the Show performance will be held on Thursday, August 14 at 7:00 p.m. General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders and subscribers. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, The Shakespeare Theatre is New Jersey's largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

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