New Jersey Stage

Thursday, June 23, 2011

THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY CONTINUES ITS 49TH SEASON WITH SHAKESPEARE'S RARELY SEEN TIMON OF ATHENS

(MADISON, NJ) -- For the first time under the 21-year leadership of Bonnie J. Monte, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present William Shakespeare's rarely produced work, Timon of Athens.  Performances of Timon of Athens begin on July 6th and continue through July 24th at the Theatre's Main Stage – the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.  For tickets or for more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.    Five-play, 4-play and 3-play discount ticket packages are also available.  The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.

This inventive, 90-minute version of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens is an extraordinary explosion of imaginative staging and resonant themes.  The adaptation, by Brian B. Crowe, mixes a sublime blend of Grand Guignol, Vaudeville, and Brechtian theatricality to tell the story of Timon, the play's title character, and his psychological transition from childlike innocence to bitter despair.


The Cast

Versatile company veteran Greg Jackson plays the tragic protagonist, Timon of Athens. Jackson returns for his thirteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre where he appeared most recently in The School for Wives, The Winter's Tale, Amadeus, The Comedy of Errors, A Christmas Carol and The Bald Soprano. He appeared off-Broadway in DUET! with the Actors Playhouse, and at many regional theatres including The Acting Company and the Tennessee Repertory Theatre.

Bruce Cromer plays Apemantus, a cynic who mocks Timon for his gullibility. Cromer returns for his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, having appeared in The School for Wives, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Life of Galileo. Cromer has also appeared at the New Stage Collective, Human Race Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival.

Making his Shakespeare Theatre debut is Brent Harris, who plays Alcibiades, the banished general. Harris recently played Scar in the national tour of The Lion King. He has also appeared in several regional theatre productions and won the Drammy award for Outstanding Leading Actor in The Beard of Avon with the Portland Center Stage. His television credits include Out of the Box and Guiding Light.

John Seidman plays Flavius –Timon's most loyal servant. Seidman returns for his fourth season with the Shakespeare Theatre where he appeared in The Taming of the Shrew, The Tempest, and Richard III. On Broadway, Seidman appeared in Eva LeGallienne's revival of Alice in Wonderland. Off-Broadway, he starred in the American premiere of Brian Friel's Give Me Your Answer, Do! at Roundabout Theatre Company. His television and film credits include, Spin City Law & Order, PBS's Bedtime Playhouse, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Jeffrey.

Ames Anderson plays Lucullus, a lord who happily enjoys Timon's hospitality but refuses to do anything for him in return. Anderson returns for his ninth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, having appeared in Hamlet, King Lear, A Christmas Carol, Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor, Illyria, Love's Labour's Lost, King John, and Arms and the Man.

Lucius, a flattering lord who refuses to help Timon pay off his debts, is played by Scott Whitehurst. Whitehurst returns for his ninth season with The Shakespeare Theatre where he appeared in As You Like It, Henry V, Henry VI: Blood & Roses, King Lear, The School for Scandal, The School for Wives, and The Winter's Tale. Whitehurst's television and film credits include All My Children, The Kitchen, Kyoko, Law & Order, Law & Order: CI, Malcolm X, Simple Justice, and 6 Degrees.

Benard Cummings returns for his fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre to play Titus, a servant to one of Timon's creditors. Cummings appeared in the Theatre's productions of The Tempest (Outdoor Stage and Main Stage), Pericles, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Cummings has also been a teaching artist with The Shakespeare Theatre for many seasons. Also a playwright, his plays have been produced in Los Angeles, Chicago, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, The Philadelphia Theatre Company, Yale Repertory Theatre, St. Louis, New York City and London.

Television, film and stage veteran Geoffrey Owens makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut as a Poet.   Owens played Elvin, Bill Cosby's son-in-law, in the long-running hit television series The Cosby Show.   He has also appeared in Flash Forward, The Secret Life of the American Teenager and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia .  On stage, he has appeared at the NY Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf Theatre and Walnut Street Theatre among many more. 

Rounding out the cast are Jasmine Batchelor, Eric Hoffman, Dan Lawrence, Allison Layman, Quentin McQuiston, and Jessica Morris.


The Director
Resident Director Brian B. Crowe, in his 16th Season with The Shakespeare Theatre, directs Timon of Athens.  At The Shakespeare Theatre, Crowe directed The School for Wives, The Winter's Tale, Henry VI: Blood & Roses, Julius Caesar, Love's Labour's Lost, The Tempest and Comedy of Errors on the Main Stage as well as A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Taming of the Shrew on the Outdoor Stage.  The Star-Ledger called Crowe "one of the most ingenious directors" for his work on Love's Labour's Lost and named him Best Director of a Drama for Julius Caesar and Wonderland. 


The Artistic Staff
Creating the world of Timon of Athens are set designer Brian B. Crowe and Brian Ruggaber; costume designer Pamela A. Prior; lighting designer Andrew Hungerford; sound designer Karin Graybash; and composer Peter Fleming. Christine Whalen serves as production stage manager.


Tickets

Single tickets for Timon of Athens are now on sale and start at $32.   Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain for $10 with a valid student ID.   For tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org or email boxoffice@shakespearenj.org.  Single ticket prices include a $2 facility fee not subject to discount.   

Special Performances

Preview performances for Timon of Athens are July 6th at 7:30 p.m., July 7th and 8th at 8 p.m., and July 9th 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 July 6th and purchase a ticket for what you are able to pay for that evening's 7:30 preview performance (offer subject to availability).  Pay What You Can is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Stone & Magnanini LLP/Smart Family Foundation, an independent family foundation.

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 Timon of Athens will be July 12th at 7:30 p.m. and July 16th and 23rd 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.  Know the Show will be held on July 14th at 7:00 p.m.  General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

The 2 pm performance on July 23rd will be audio described for those who are blind or have visual impairments.  Audio description enables patrons with visual impairments to hear, through an FM transmitter, a live description of the action on the stage.  A pre-performance sensory seminar is offered that allows patrons to feel props, costumes and set pieces to further enhance their live theatrical experience.   The service is offered free of charge.