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Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey to Present TOVARICH, Begin. 8/7

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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's 2013 Season continues with the provocative romantic comedy Tovarich. This long-forgotten treasure, by French playwright Jacques Deval, and adapted by the great American author Robert E. Sherwood, begins performances on August 7th at The Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage - The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. Tickets range from $35 to $70; student rush tickets are available 30 minutes prior to curtain for $15. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Four-play and three-play discount ticket packages are also available.

Written by Jacques Deval in 1933, Tovarich was adapted in 1935 by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning writer Robert E. Sherwood, author of numerous plays including Idiot's Delight and Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Rarely-seen since the first half of the 20th century, this delightful piece tells the improbable tale of an indomitable Russian Grand Duchess and her dashing Prince of a husband living in exile in Paris after the Russian Revolution. In the years between its premiere and the start of World War II, Tovarich was one of the most popular and widely produced plays in Europe and America.

Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs the production which is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. "We are thrilled and honored that the NEA recognized the need to not only breathe new life into this forgotten play but also to help us shine a spotlight again on Mr. Sherwood, his influence, and his elevated place in American arts and letters. Sherwood was one of America's most important playwrights and political writers," said Monte.

The original Broadway production of Tovarich premiered in 1936 at the Plymouth Theatre, starring Marta Abba and John Halliday. City Center's 1952 revival starred three-time Tony Award-winner Uta Hagen and Luther Adler. American Magazine described Tovarich's Broadway premiere, "The play's the thing, and the play is enchanting. It makes us laugh. It brings tears to our eyes. It warms the cockles of our hearts. What more can we ask of a play?" Variety called Tovarich "[an] expertly tailored romance." Warner Brothers brought Tovarich to the "silver screen" in 1937, with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer delivering delightful performances. A musical adaptation premiered in 1963 with book by David Shaw, music by Lee Pockriss, and lyrics by Anne Croswell. Vivien Leigh starred in the musical and took home the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.

Four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert E. Sherwood, a New York native, was an original member of the Algonquin Round Table, a New York City social group for actors, writers, critics, and wits. Sherwood began his career as an editor for Life magazine and went on to an illustrious career as a playwright. His notable works include The Road to Rome (1927), Waterloo Bridge (1930), and The Petrified Forest (1935). He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his plays Idiot's Delight (1936),Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938), and There Shall Be No Night (1940). His intense interest and involvement in politics led him to write speeches for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and later pen the intimate portrait, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (1948) for which he received his fourth Pulitzer Prize. Sherwood was also in high demand as a screenwriter in Hollywood. He wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock's Academy Award Winning film Rebecca (1940) and won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 1946 Best Picture-winner The Best Years of Our Lives.

Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.


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