New Jersey Stage

Sunday, September 25, 2011

THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY'S 49TH SEASON CONTINUES WITH AMERICA'S BELOVED CLASSIC: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present the highly anticipated To Kill A Mockingbird beginning on October 12th and continuing through November 20th at The Theatre's Main Stage –the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.  Adapted for the stage by Christopher Sergel, Harper Lee's timeless and resonant story is a must-see for every generation.   For tickets or for more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.



To Kill a Mockingbird  is made possible in part by a generous grant from The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.



Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Great Depression, Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize novel is considered one of the most important works of the 20th century and features the beloved characters Scout, her brother Jem, and their father Atticus Finch, a lawyer who defends a black man accused of a crime against a white woman.  Scout recounts her father's struggle to inspire compassion in his community and her narrative proves that even the smallest acts of love have a profound impact on the lives of others.  The story's enduring spell stems in part from the juxtaposition of the simple, yet astute innocence of a child's point of view in the face of terrible and terribly complex adult problems and biases. The fundamental lessons about compassion, integrity, and courage are breath-taking and life-changing.



Brent Harris plays Atticus Finch.  Harris recently appeared in the Shakespeare Theatre production of Timon of Athens and prior to that appeared as Scar in the national tour of The Lion King.  He has also appeared at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Denver Center Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.  He was nominated for a Barrymore Award for Outstanding Leading Actor for his role in Orson's Shadow at Philadelphia Theatre Company.



Making her Shakespeare Theatre debut is seventh grader Emmanuelle Nadeau of Westfield who plays Scout. She played Puck in New Jersey Youth Theatre's musical comedy Midnight Madness and appeared in the Paper Mill Playhouse New Voices Concert I'll Take Manhattan.  She has also appeared in Stuart Little and Maurice Sendak and Carole King's Really Rosie.



Returning for his 10th Season, Jake Berger plays Boo Radley.  Berger appeared in The Theatre's productions of The Grapes of Wrath, The Taming of the Shrew and, on the Outdoor Stage, in The Tempest.  He has also appeared at the Maryland Shakespeare Festival and most recently with Fort Point Theatre Channel and Shakespeare & Company.



Nisi Sturgis returns to The Shakespeare Theatre to play Jean Louise Finch, the grown-up Scout.  Sturgis has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in I Capture the Castle, Arms and the Man, A Streetcar Named Desire and Pride and Prejudice.  Her Broadway and off-Broadway credits include The 39 Steps, Intimate Apparel, and Perfect Harmony.  This Fall, she can be seen in the HBO hit series Boardwalk Empire.   



Frankie Seratch, making his Shakespeare Theatre debut, plays Jem.   Seratch made his off-Broadway debut as Tony-nominee Kerry Butler's son in Pandora's Box at New York Musical Theatre Festival.  He has also appeared in The Family Shakespeare, Barrier Island, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, The Music Man, and A Christmas Story.



Marjorie Johnson makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut as Calpurnia.  Johnson appeared in the Broadway production of Little Foxes and off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and the Pearl Theatre.



Rounding out the cast of 20 are returning company members Maureen Silliman as Miss Maudie Atkinson, James Michael Reilly as Heck Tate, Conan McCarty as Bob Ewell, Don Meehan as Nathan Radley, Eric Rolland as Mr. Gilmer, Jean Burton Walker as Mrs. Dubose, Ray Fisher as Tom Robinson and Ben Sterling as the court clerk.   Making their Shakespeare Theatre debuts are Chase Newhart as Judge Taylor, Eileen Glenn as Miss Stephanie Crawford, Allan R. Walker as Reverend Sykes, Alexis Hyatt as Mayella Ewell, Ethan Haberfield as Dill and Rocio Alexis Mendez as Helen Robinson.  



Special Event

In conjunction with the Theatre's production, Academy Award-nominated actress Mary Badham who played Scout opposite Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most poignant films in cinematic history, will appear at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey on Monday, November 7 and Tuesday, November 8 at 7:30 p.m.  In Looking Back with Scout: A Conversation with Mary Badham, the actress will recall her memories on the set of the 1962 blockbuster film and discuss the book's themes of tolerance, justice, and compassion.  Each evening will feature an extensive question-and-answer session with the audience.



Over the years following the release of the film, Badham maintained close contact with Gregory Peck and occasionally accompanied him on his one-man-show lecture tours and to award ceremonies.   Besides To Kill A Mockingbird, Badham is also known for her role as Sport Sharewood in The Bewitchin' Pool, the final episode of the original Twilight Zone series. She also appeared in the films  Let's Kill Uncle and This Property Is Condemned with Robert Redford and Natalie Wood before retiring as an actress. In 2005, she was brought out of retirement to appear in the film Our Very Own with Allison Janney, Keith Carradine, and Jason Ritter and directed by Shakespeare Theatre company member Cameron Watson.  Looking Back with Scout: A Conversation with Mary Badham is sponsored, in part, by the Morristown law firm of McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney & Carpenter.



Tickets to the event are $40 and $50 and can be purchased by calling The Shakespeare Theatre box office at 973-408-5600 or visiting www.ShakespeareNJ.org.   The event will take place at The Shakespeare Theatre's F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. in Madison.



The Director

Joseph Discher is in his 21st season with The Shakespeare Theatre, where he oversees casting for The Theatre's various acting companies and aids in training program recruitment, outreach and education programs. His company directing credits include, The Grapes of Wrath (named Best Director by the Star-Ledger), The Tempest, Amadeus, The Play's the Thing, Cymbeline, Life of Galileo, Of Mice and Men (Best Revival of the Year, The Star-Ledger), A Midwinter Night's Dream, The Fantasticks (Best Director of a Musical, The Star-Ledger) and Twelfth Night on the Main Stage; That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage; Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare LIVE!; Brecht's The Visions of Simone Machard for the Next Stage Ensemble; and Travels With My Aunt, Much Ado About Nothing and The Compleat Wrks of Wllm Shkspr (Abridged) for the Other Stage.  Discher directed The Play's the Thing on the Main Stage in 2007, as well as Julius Caesar in 2006 for The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, which broke attendance records, playing to 50,000 in three weeks.  Discher is a member of the Actors' Equity Association and is a winner of the National Society of Arts and Letters acting competition (New Jersey chapter).  Discher has also starred in several productions with The Shakespeare Theatre. He sings professionally at St. Cassian Church in Upper Montclair and previously sang for four years at the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark. He is an alumnus of Drew University, and Delbarton School.



The Artistic Staff

Creating the world of Maycomb, Alabama are set designer Anita Tripathi Easterling; lighting designer Matthew Adelson; costume designer Maggie Dick, sound designer Steven L. Beckel and fight director Rick Sordelet.  Amanda Michaels is the production stage manager.



Tickets

Single tickets for To Kill a Mockingbird are now on sale and start at $32.   Student Rush tickets are available 30-minutes 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 To Kill a Mockingbird are October 12 at 7:30 pm, October 13 & 14 at 8 pm, and October 15 at 2 pm. 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 7:30 p.m. on October 12th 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 To Kill a Mockingbird will be October 18th at 7:30 p.m., October 22nd and 29th  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 October 20th 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 October 29th 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. 



The 2011 Season

Closing the 2011 Season is Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett.  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 begins performances on December 1 and continues through January 1.



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 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.   The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road in Morris Township.   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.