Saturday, May 14, 2005

"THE Starlight Theatre Company are preparing their own distinctive take on Shakespeare.

The company, run by veteran performers Don Monroe and Anton Copley, will perform a version of A Midsummer Night's Dream over two consecutive nights at the end of May.

The production promises to be an impressive spectacle, with the company creating their usual stunning scenery with meticulous attention to detail. Don Monroe said: 'The show will be Shakespeare with the magic Starlight touch.

'We have an electric fountain and gliding swans and things like that. The music will be from the 1930s the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire era.'"

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Shakespeare’s bawdy comedy is onstage May 31 through June 26

MADISON, NJ —The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens its forty-third season with William Shakespeare’s comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Jason King Jones and featuring Eric Hoffmann, Allison Daugherty and James Michael Reilly. In one of the Bard’s bawdiest, rowdiest comedies, a pair of not-so-desperate housewives revolt against the lecherous advances of that infamous rogue, Sir John Falstaff. Performances are Tuesdays through Sundays, May 31 through June 26, on the company’s Main Stage in Madison. Tickets are $27 to $65 with discounts available for subscribers and groups of 10 or more. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit

The Cast
Eric Hoffmann returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his sixth season to play Sir John Falstaff. He delighted audiences last season as the hilarious knight and braggart, Don Adriano de Armado, in Love’s Labour’s Lost and in 2003 as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. Mr. Hoffmann is a longtime company member and instructor at The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., where his credits include Camino Real, Measure for Measure, Henry V and Coriolanus.

In her first season with the company is award-winning actress Randy Danson as Mistress Margaret Page. She recently appeared on Broadway in Wonderful Town. Her classical credits include leading roles in Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of the Shrew. Ms. Danson is the recipient of a Helen Hayes Award, Barrymore Award and an OBIE.

Her partner-in-mischief is Mistress Alice Ford, played by Allison Daugherty. She was last seen on the Madison stage in 1995 in the title role in The Country Wife. Ms. Daughtery’s Broadway credits include An Ideal Husband, directed by Sir Peter Hall, and Holiday. Among her many regional credits is The Legend of Oedipus directed by Nikos Psacharopoulos at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Audience favorite James Michael Reilly will play Frank Ford. In his fourteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, he was last seen as the title character in That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage. Among his many company credits are Glyn and Constable Lloyd-Jones in A Child’s Christmas in Wales, Bottom in A Midwinter Night’s Dream and Kulygin in Three Sisters, for which The Star-Ledger named him Best Featured Actor in a Play in 2001.

Rounding out the cast of 24 characters are Actors’ Equity Association members Ames Adamson as Sir Hugh Evans, Joseph Costa as Host, Dana Smith Croll as Mistress Quickly, David Foubert as Doctor Caius and Pistol, Robert Hock as Robert Shallow and John Little as George Page. Additional cast members include Jordan Coughtry as Simple, Holley Fain as Anne Paige, Ed Flynn as a Servant to the Fords, Joshua Herrigal as Robin and William, Chris Landis as Nym and Fenton, Jake O’Connor as a Servant to the Fords, Ethan Saks as John Rugby, Brian Schilb as Bardolph and a Servant to the Fords and Patrick Toon as Abraham Slender.

About the Director
Directing The Merry Wives of Windsor is Jason King Jones. Now in his sixth season with the company, he has directed The Grouch, which inaugurated the company’s Outdoor Stage; Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Shakespeare LIVE!, The Shakespeare Theatre’s educational touring company; and Timon of Athens and Les Fouberies de Scapin for the Next Stage Ensemble. Other credits include Twelfth Night at Shakespeare Festival/LA, The Good Daughter at New Jersey Repertory, A Doctor's Visit at Vital Theatre and Master Harold ... and the Boys at the Public Theatre of Kentucky. He recently served as the staff repertory director for The Acting Company's national tour of Murder By Poe and Richard III.

The Artistic Staff
Creating the world of Windsor are set designer Brian Ruggaber, lighting designer Bruce C. Auerbach, costume designer Maggie Dick and sound designer Steven L. Beckel, fight choreographer Jeffrey M. Bender and dialect coach David McDonald.

Tickets & General Information
Preview performances of The Merry Wives of Windsor are at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 31 and at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, June 1 and 2, offering the thrill of seeing a work-in-progress before the show officially opens. Preview tickets are $27 to $31.

Beginning Friday, June 3 and continuing through Sunday, June 26, regular performances are Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. (excluding Opening Night at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 4); Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m., beginning June 5; and Sundays June 5, 12 and 19 at 7:00 p.m. Regular tickets range from $35 to $49, with substantial discounts for groups of 10 or more.

A limited number of Opening Night tickets are available for $61 to $65, including a Champagne intermission and a post-show party with the actors and other VIPs.

A variety of ticket packages are available, offering substantial discounts as well as subscribers-only benefits including ticket exchange privileges, preferred seating and more. A Complete Works subscription offers 20% off tickets to all six Main Stage shows: Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, Julius Caesar (October 11 through November 13) and As You Like It (November 29 through December 31); plus Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Christopher Hampton, based on the novel by Choderlos de Laclos (July 5 through 24); Bertolt Brecht’s Life of Galileo, translated by John Willett, (August 2 through 21); and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (September 6 through October 2). A Complete Works package ranges from only $149 to $235 (just $25 to $40 per ticket). Four-Show Mini-Paks range from $106 to $166, offering a discount of 15% off the regular ticket price.

Add the Outdoor Stage production of The Triumph of Love (onstage July 19–August 7), adapted and translated by Bonnie J. Monte from Marivaux, to your subscription and save 15% off the already low ticket price of $28.

For the spontaneous, a FlexPass, priced at $222, offers six admissions to the 2005 Season — you choose the shows, you choose the dates, then simply call or visit the Box Office for reservations. The FlexPass is valid for all Main Stage and Outdoor Stage plays, excluding Saturday evenings. Seating is subject to availability.

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 scenic campus of Drew University), just minutes by automobile from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The theatre is also convenient to shopping and restaurants in charming downtown Madison, and a 15-minute walk from the Madison Train Station (via NJ Transit’s M&E Morristown line).

For additional information, or to purchase tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit

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Visit The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s online Press Office at

Sunday, May 01, 2005

BSA Seminar:
Shakespeare on Location
Deadline Extended to May 15 2005

BSA Conference: 1-4 September 2005

What is the relationship between performance location and play-world setting? Increasingly, Shakespeare's plays are being performed in "alternative" or non-traditional settings, in parks, on beaches, in forest clearings. In addition, the performance of Shakespeare's plays in Asia, Africa, South America and Eastern Europe is another aspect of how Shakespeare's plays are now being performed in an increasing variety of locations. Issues to be explored may include how these performance spaces affect audience understanding of the play world and what adaptation is required for a play to be performed in a particular space.

This seminar welcomes all approaches to the relationship between theatre location and play-world setting. Please send proposals of 300 words or less to Reina Green (

The New York Times Theater: Shakespeare Here, Shakespeare There
Flowers of Shakespeare

Sometimes there’s a need for special kinds of floral arrangements. For example, one might be organizing a medieval or Elizabethan event and want flowers to go with the party theme. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. In some cases quite a bit is known about the kinds of flowers and plants that were commonly used for various purposes during certain historical eras.

As a jumping off point, let’s look at some of the blossoms that were widely grown and used during Shakespeare’s time. He mentioned quite a few in his various works. You could make a lovely mixed bouquet or arrangement by combining some of these different flowers. Among these are buttercup, calendula (also called pot marigold), carnations, columbine, crab apple, daffodil, daisies, the Florentine iris, honeysuckle (also known as woodbine), lilies, and various kinds of primroses and their relatives, such as the cowslip. During the Elizabethan era, people were familiar with different kinds of violets. They often referred to these as heartsease or johnny-jump-ups.

So far as roses are concerned, they were widely grown during Shakespeare’s time. Apparently this would have been one of his favorites. He does mention them about seventy times. He wrote about the musk-rose, the Provencal cabbage rose, and the eglantine or sweet-brier rose in particular. In addition, he alludes to the white rose of the House of York and the red roses that symbolized the House of Lancaster. He also makes reference to the Tudor rose—which resulted when the two roses were united to create this rose.

In addition to these blooms, Shakespeare mentioned any number of herbs that would be suitable for such arrangements. Examples include fennel, rue, thyme, lavender, savory, marjoram, mint, and wormwood.

During Shakespeare’s time, people wore garlands and chaplets of blossoms made from flowers for special occasions. They were especially popular for funerals and weddings. They symbolized grief during funerals, and joy for nuptials.

For additional details on these flowers and their use in Shakespeare's works, I refer you to a classic book, "Shakespeare's Flowers." Written by Jessica Kerr with wonderful illustrations by Anne Ophelia Dowden, this was published by Johnson Books, a division of Johnson Publishing Co. Originally published in 1969, it was reprinted in 1997. Kerr was educated at the Roedean School in England, and studied at the Royal College of Music in London. She placed all the plants within the historical context of their time. Part of the royalties from the sale of this title go to the Folger Library in Washington.DC as stipulated by the wishes of the Kerr estate. Pleaes see the link at the top of the page on the right.