(MADISON, NJ) — The Smart Family Foundation of Wilton, CT has awarded the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey a grant to support its Pay What You Can performance series, the Theatre announced today. The Smart Family Foundation is an independent family foundation with a core mission to support primary and secondary school education. In their most recent reporting year, the Foundation reported assets of more than $84 million.
"The Smart Family Foundation is proud to support The Shakespeare Theatre in its efforts to make theatre accessible to people of all means," said David S. Stone, Managing Partner of the Short Hills commercial litigation firm Stone & Magnanini, and Trustee of The Smart Family Foundation.
Pay What You Can performances offer the opportunity for those who might not be able to attend the theatre to purchase a ticket at The Shakespeare Theatre for a price they are able to pay. The first performance of each production is designated Pay What You Can. Patrons can visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and curtain on the day of the first performance and purchase a ticket for what they are able to pay for that evening's 7:30 p.m. performance.
The Smart Foundation funds a variety of organizations, many of them arts and education related, including NJPAC, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Paper Mill Playhouse and Harvard Law School. "We are very grateful to the Smart Foundation for their gift to support this very important program," said Shakespeare Theatre artistic director Bonnie J. Monte.
The Shakespeare Theatre's 2011 Season – the 49th Anniversary Season of New Jersey's only professional theatre dedicated to Shakespeare's cannon and other classic masterworks – includes six Main Stage productions and one production on its Outdoor Stage.
The 2011 Season begins with the 17th century comedy of manners The Misanthrope. Moliere's enduring masterpiece about the hypocrisy of polite society bites as sharply and as hilariously now as it did in Paris in 1666 where overzealous honesty proves as destructive as overwhelming sycophancy. Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs The Misanthrope which runs June 1 through June 26.
For its annual Outdoor Stage production at the Greek amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morris Township, The Shakespeare Theatre will present the world's most popular comedy, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. This newly conceived, exuberant, 90-minute production will be perfect for children and families of all ages. A Midsummer Night's Dream which will run from June 22 through July 31 and will include new 4:30 p.m. twilight performances on select Saturdays and Sundays in addition to 8:15 p.m. performances Tuesdays through Sundays.
Back on the Main Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre will present Timon of Athens. This taut 90- minute version of Shakespeare's rarely-produced play has been created by Brian B. Crowe and in his inventive hands will feature imaginative staging and a sublime blend of Grand Guignol, Vaudeville, and Brechtian theatricality. Timon of Athens will run July 6 through July 24.
Dario Fo's brilliantly funny, irreverent political farce, The Accidental Death of An Anarchist, embodies the modern Fo-brand of commedia theatre that has helped define him as a playwright of the people. The Nobel Prize Committee called him a writer "who emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden." Inspired by a real-life event involving a man who "fell" from the window of a police station, Fo has invented an outrageously sly and caustic comedy filled with physical and linguistic acrobatics. Accidental Death of An Anarchist begins performances on August 3 and continues through August 28.
The Fall portion of the season will launch with Shakespeare's great tragedy Othello. This tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal remains as compelling today as when it first exploded onto the stage in 1604. Othello will begin performances on September 7 and continue through October 2.
Christopher Sergel's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved American classic To Kill A Mockingbird will begin performances on October 12 and continue through November 20.
Featuring the characters Atticus Finch, Scout, and Boo Radley who have become iconic figures in the American consciousness and conscience, this Pulitzer-prize winning tale is considered to be one of the most important novels of the 20th century.
The season will close with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. Neil Bartlett's unique and inventive adaption is ingenious in its approach to this timeless holiday tale, and profoundly captures the true essence of the original novel. With a cast of nine actors playing more than 50 roles, this production features a new visual landscape which conjures up this delightful, funny, haunted and haunting morality tale that, in the end is always beautifully touching. A Christmas Carol will begin performances on December 1 and continue through January 1.
Complete Works subscriptions, the best available seats to all six Main Stage productions, are now on sale. Complete Works subscriptions range in price from $108 for Previews to $378 for Opening Nights. Student subscriptions are available for $60. Call The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office at 973-408-5600. The Complete Works subscription features up to 43% percent savings off the cost of regular tickets, the best seats to all Main Stage productions; free, easy and unlimited ticket exchanges should schedules change; discounts on additional tickets; and the convenience of having tickets in hand and dates scheduled in advance.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus), just minutes from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Braille and large print programs are available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Some performances are audio described. Contact the theatre for more information. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey's only 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.