New Jersey Stage

Friday, July 26, 2013

THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO THE LONG-BURIED THEATRICAL GEM TOVARICH

(MADISON, NJ) -- 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.


The Cast
In his sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, leading man Jon Barker plays Prince Mikail Alexandrovitch Ouratieff. His Shakespeare Theatre credits Henry IV, Part One, Othello, The Misanthrope, All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and The School For Wives among others. He has also appeared at the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre, 12 Miles West, and Luna Stage.



Carly Street makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut in the role of the Grand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna. She has appeared on U.S. stages in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Geva Theatre), Clybourne Park (Broadway), Theresa Rebeck's Dead Accounts (Cincinnati Playhouse World Premiere), Brief Encounter (Broadway - Roundabout Theatre Company), and Becoming Tennessee (The Director's Company). She has also appeared at The Canadian Stage Company, Theatre Calgary and The Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Her film and television credits include The Good Wife, Eternal Kiss, and The Time Traveler's Wife. 


Playing Chauffourier-Dubieff, Colin McPhillamy is in his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre. He has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of Servant of Two Masters, Amadeus, and The Play's the Thing. He appeared on Broadway in Waiting In The Wings, The Importance of Being Ernest, and Off-Broadway in House and Garden at the Manhattan Theatre Club.


In her fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Alison Weller plays Fernande Dupont. At The Shakespeare Theatre she played Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Corine in Triumph of Love, and Clara in Hay Fever, among others. She appeared on Broadway in Coram Boy. She is an Associate Artist with the Obie Award-winning investigative theatre company The Civilians, with whom she was an original collaborator on the critically acclaimed This Beautiful City (Vineyard Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre) and the long-running Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre, Gate London).


Shakespeare Theatre veteran Matt Sullivan plays Charles Dupont. Sullivan has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of The Playboy of the Western World, Trelawny of the Wells, The Comedy of Errors, I Capture The Castle, Othello, The Misanthrope, Noises Off, Twelfth Night, and King Lear. Most recently he performed in the off-Broadway production of Standing on Ceremony at The Minetta Lane, and Hay Fever at the Guthrie Theater.


Performing the role of Georges Dupont is Seamus Mulcahy. In his fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, his company credits include A Midsummer Night's Dream, King Lear (The Fool), A Christmas Carol, Henry V, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He also appeared Off-Broadway in Our Town directed by David Cromer.

Mary Dierson returns for her sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre to play the role of Madame Van Hemert, Dierson has appeared as Louise in Private Lives, the Abbess in The Comedy of Errors, Fairy Berylune in The Blue Bird, Mrs. Eynsford Hill in Pygmalion, and Gertrude in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Her Broadway credits include Amadeus with Mark Hamill, Mary Elizabeth Mastriantonio and Frank Langella; The Elephant Man with Bruce Davidson and then David Bowie; and Dracula with Raul Julia and Martin Landau.


Anthony Cochrane makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut as Commissar Gorotchenko. Cochrane appeared on Broadway in War Horse, Cymbeline and The Coast Of Utopia, and off-Broadway in Nikolai and the Others. He has appeared in 18 productions with the Aquila Theatre Company, and at regional theatres throughout the nation including the Old Globe, The Folger, LaJolla, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. 


The cast also includes, Blythe Coons, John Greenbaum, Einar Gunn, Christy Richardson, and Rachael Fox.

About the Director
2013 marks director Bonnie J. Monte's 23rd season as Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Since 1990, she has directed more than 50 productions for the company, including most recently As You Like It, Trelawny of the Wells, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Misanthrope and Othello, No Man's Land, The Taming of the Shrew, and Hamlet. Her many adaptations of classic works, including Enrico IV, The Cherry Orchard and Pride and Prejudice have earned her critical acclaim. Her adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters was recently published by Playscripts, Inc.


The Artistic Staff
Creating the world of Tovarich are set designer Brittany Vasta, costume designer Paul Canada, sound designer Karin Graybash, and lighting designer Steven Rosen. Alison Cote serves as production stage manager.



Special Performances
The first preview performance of Tovarich on Wednesday, August 7th at 7:30 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 7:30 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 free post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff, on Tuesday, August 13th at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday August 17th; and Saturday August 24th at 2:00 p.m. 

On Thursday, August 15th, 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 Tovarich. General admission to Know the Show is $5 for the general public, $4 for subscribers and ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately. 

The 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday August 24th will be audio described for those who are blind or have visual impairments. Audio description enables patrons 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 explore props, costumes and set pieces to further enhance their live theatrical experience. The service is offered free of charge. 


Tickets & General Information
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


The Shakespeare Theatre's 2013 Season

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's 2013 season continues with A Most Dangerous Woman. Tony Award-winner Richard Maltby, Jr. makes his Shakespeare Theatre directorial debut with the world premiere of Cathy Tempelsman's A Most Dangerous Woman which explores the extraordinary life of Mary Ann Evans better known by her pen name George Eliot the infamous and groundbreaking author of the Victorian era. A Most Dangerous Woman will run September 18th through October 12th. 


This Fall, The Shakespeare Theatre will celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the iconic and beloved American classic Our Town by Thornton Wilder. Our Town runs October 16th to November 17th and features several school-time matinee performances.

The 2013 season will close with William Shakespeare's Pericles, a fantastical odyssey epic filled with perilous adventures, courageous acts, and a thrilling and climactic rejuvenation. Pericles will begin performances on December 4th and continues through December 29th. 


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. 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 largest 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.