New Jersey Stage

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Shakespeare Theatre of New JErsey presents Exuberant Comedy under the stars

(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of its Outdoor Stage – the Theatre's enormously popular annual summer tradition of family theatre "under-the-stars" – with the world's most popular comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare.   Performances begin on June 22th and continue through July 31st.    Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays at 8:15 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. (beginning June 26) at the amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road (off Madison Avenue/Rt. 124) in Morris Township.   This replica of an ancient Greek theatre nestled into the hillside of the bucolic campus offers a theatrical event unique on the East Coast.  Tickets range from $27 - $33 for adults; tickets for ages 17 and under are $17.   Subject to availability, $10 student rush tickets are offered 30-minutes prior to the performance.  For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.  Groups of 10 or more are eligible for group discounts.

The Outdoor Stage is generously supported by Bank of America.  A partner of The Outdoor Stage since 2004, their continued support has helped make The Shakespeare Theatre's Outdoor Stage one of the most unique and anticipated summer theatrical events in the region.   "Our longstanding support of The Outdoor Stage reflects our belief that the arts, in all its forms, should be shared with the widest possible audience and leveraged to benefit communities," said Robert Doherty, Bank of America New Jersey president.  "This summertime tradition has allowed countless New Jersey residents and visitors alike access to amazing theatre in a bucolic setting."

Picnicking on the expansive lawn surrounding the theatre is welcomed.  Audience members may bring their own food and beverages, or purchase snacks and soft drinks on-site.  Patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket or low beach chair.   Stadium seats are available for rental for $3.00 while supplies last.  Complimentary hand-held fans will be provided courtesy of Air Group Heating and Air Conditioning Co., while supplies last.  Seating is general admission.  

This family-friendly, 90-minute version of the Bard's most famous comedy is directed by Cameron Watson, who directed last season's I Capture The Castle.  All ages will enjoy the antics of the fantastical characters that populate the magical forest in Shakespeare's comedy -- from the mischievous spirit Puck, to the whimsical fairies, to the spellbound young lovers, to the hysterical "rude mechanicals" who want to put on a play, to Nick Bottom, the weaver, who wants to perform all the roles.  

"For the 10th Anniversary of the Outdoor Stage, we knew there was no better choice than A Midsummer Night's Dream," said The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.  "For a decade, we have delighted family audiences at this truly unique outdoor theatre in this incredibly beautiful setting.  We are so grateful to the College of St. Elizabeth, our gracious host, for making it possible for this wonderful, annual 6-week event to occur.  This season, we will add new 4:30 p.m. twilight performances to make it possible for audiences that can't attend in the evening to experience this not-to-be-missed venue."



The Cast
Broadway and television veteran Robert Clohessy takes a break from his television roles on Boardwalk Empire and Blue Bloods to play Nick Bottom, the weaver, who has an unlikely spell cast upon him.  He last appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in A Streetcar Named Desire and most recently appeared on Broadway in Pal Joey and 12 Angry Men.  Another Broadway veteran John Hickok plays Peter Quince, the carpenter.  Hickok appeared in the original casts of the Broadway musicals Little Women, Aida, and Parade.  He has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in Hamlet and Blood & Roses: Henry VI.

Making her Shakespeare Theatre debut is Nitya Vidyasagar  who plays Titania, Queen of the Fairies.  Vidyasagar is a series regular on Sesame Street and has appeared as a guest star on The Good Wife.  She has also appeared at the New York Theatre Workshop and Lincoln Center Theatre. 

Shakespeare Theatre veteran Seamus Mulcahy plays renowned prankster, Puck – the "merry wanderer of the night."  Mulcahy appeared as Wally Webb in the highly acclaimed off-Broadway production of Our Town.  At The Shakespeare Theatre, he appeared as the Fool in King Lear, the boy in Henry V, and Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol.

Shakespeare Theatre company member Brian Cade plays Demetrius who loves Hermia but is pursued by Helena.  Cade has appeared in All's Well That Ends Well,  Richard III and The Cherry Orchard at the Shakespeare Theatre.  Rebecca Mozo, made her debut at The Shakespeare Theatre in I Capture The Castle, plays Hermia, Demetrius' true love.   Shakespeare Theatre veteran Jack Moran (The Taming of the Shrew, Noises Off, The Grapes of Wrath) and Emily Kunkel, who is making her Shakespeare Theatre debut, play the other pair of young lovers, Lysander and Helena.  

Portraying Oberon, King of the Fairies, is Josh Carpenter.  Carpenter appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in I Capture The Castle, Henry V, Pride and Prejudice and The Cherry Orchard.

Rounding out the cast, playing the rest of the "Rude Mechanicals" – the band of artisans who are rehearsing a special play for the Duke – are James Russell, Connor Carew, Stewart Schneck and Zach Fineblum.


About the Director
Cameron Watson returns to The Shakespeare Theatre after directing the East Coast premiere of  I Capture The Castle last season.  As an actor, he appeared as Demetrius in The Shakespeare Theatre's 1997 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Bonnie J. Monte.   Most recently, Watson directed the critically acclaimed production of I Never Sang for My Father, featuring Philip Baker Hall, in Los Angeles.  Watson directed the American premiere of I Capture The Castle at The El Portal Theatre in Los Angeles, and he directed Grace and Glorie, Educating Rita, and Trying at the Colony Theatre.  His production of Rolling With Laughter appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and Her Majesty's Theatre in London's West End.   Watson wrote, directed and produced the Miramax feature film Our Very Own starring Allison Janney, Jason Ritter, Keith Carradine, Autumn Reeser and Cheryl Hines.   He is a LA Ovation Award nominee, and a winner of the Backstage Garland Award and the Prism Award.    



Special Performances
The first preview performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on Wednesday, June 22th at 8:15 p.m. offers opportunities for reduced-price tickets, as an incentive to first-time theatergoers.  For those who would otherwise not be able to afford a night at the theatre, the first preview performance is Pay What You Can night – pay what you are able for that evening's 8:15 p.m. preview performance.  Offer is subject to availability.  Call the box office at 973-408-5600 for details.

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, Symposium Series performances include the addition of a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff, on Tuesday, June 28 at 8:15 p.m. and Saturday July 2 and 9 at 8:15 p.m.

On Thursday, June 30, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., members of the artistic staff will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider's perspective on A Midsummer Night's Dream.

General admission to Know the Show is $5 for the general public, $4 for subscribers and ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening's 8:15 p.m. performance may be purchased separately for $33 or $17 for young people 17 and under.  Single ticket prices include a $2.00 Facility fee not subject to discount.


The Artistic Staff
Creating the world of A Midsummer Night's Dream are costume designer Kara Harmon, lighting designer Tony Galaska and sound designer Steve Beckel.   Denise Cardarelli is the production stage manager.


Tickets & General Information
Preview performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday June 22, 23 and 24 at 8:15 p.m. Previews offer the thrill of seeing a work-in-progress before the show officially opens.

Additional performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 8:15 pm; and beginning June 26, Saturdays and Sundays at 4:30 p.m. 

Tickets are $27 - $33 for adults and $17 for young people under 17.  Children under 5 go free.  Seating is general admission.    For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.   Groups of 10 or more save up to 25% off the regular ticket price.