Liz on Theatre

Paying tribute to 'Shakespeare in Love'

c0104dcc149243d71db7_STNJ_SIL_15.jpg
bf2d4c85cc26a5a49224_STNJ_SIL_14.jpg
0048f255116f27869a37_STNJ_SIL_13.jpg
c19ae4e30fec8a10858d_STNJ_SIL_12.jpg
296eab68ac60940f8702_STNJ_SIL_11.jpg
46893f09650a818ab83f_STNJ_SIL_10.jpg
4ca0c635303a90437f55_STNJ_SIL_9.jpg
37fe21f99c63b0113af5_STNJ_SIL_8.jpg
db1d0dbf8d76d0b1c61c_STNJ_SIL_7.jpg
7b3b84f7497666424dd5_STNJ_SIL_6.jpg
23d01b5f07d356fd51a0_STNJ_SIL_5.jpg
6b66e2810c8596553819_STNJ_SIL_4.jpg
7db6d478de3a3d5e4514_STNJ_SIL_3.jpg
acbad8d43562e13f4855_STNJ_SIL_2.jpg
2bc127f5e63e95bab54d_STNJ_SIL_1.jpg
c0104dcc149243d71db7_STNJ_SIL_15.jpg

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey pays tribute to ‘Shakespeare in Love’

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – Many audiences loved the film version of “Shakespeare in Love,” which won the best picture Academy Award in 1999, with dialogue by Marc Noonan and Tom Stoppard. Adapted by Lee Hall for the stage, much of the dialogue remains. The production has a warmth and intimacy that gives the story an intensely appealing dimension.

Sign Up for E-News

Artistic Director Bonnie Monte has directed a first-rate cast, with Jon Barker as Will Shakespeare and Whitney Maris Brown as Viola De Lesseps. These star-crossed lovers will never have their own happy ending, but none-the-less she is his muse and his inspiration for “Twelfth Night.”  Will is married to Ann Hathaway and Viola is engaged to Wessex (Marcus Dean Fuller.)  Barker perfectly captures the frustrations of writing as well as love’s loneliness and longing. De Lesseps neatly conveys the young woman posing as a male actor and, of course, smitten by Shakespeare.

There’s grittiness and a bawdy atmosphere, as the itinerant players try to keep their acting efforts going. The always delightful Edmond Genest is Henslowe, keen on making Will’s latest play work out somehow or other. They’re in rehearsal for “Romeo and Juliet” which Will initially thought of as a comedy, named “Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter.” He gets considerable advice from Christopher “Kit” Marlowe, played with flair by Anthony Marble. Erika Rolfsrud is starchly commanding in the double role of Queen Elizabeth and Viola’s Nurse, stating her views in no uncertain terms. Especially as the queen, she insists she like plays with dogs in them. And, indeed, Shakespeare Theatre cooperates with Spot, an affectionate Dublin Delancy McFinnigan. When he acts up, one actor shouts, “Out, damned Spot.” What makes it all vastly entertaining are the familiar and unfamiliar Shakespeare lines that are tossed around, while the play itself has its own dialogue.

A number of actors are familiar faces on the NJST stage, including Ames Adamson, Patrick Toon and David Andrew Macdonald.

All the elements are smoothly integrated, with Brian Clinnin’s rough and sturdy scenery, Nikki Delhomme’s period costumes and musical interludes by Kris Kukul. Rick Sordelet directed the fight scenes, which have their own stylized intensity. There’s definitely a feel of Elizabethan England in every aspect of the production.

Monte has spoken lovingly of both the film and the play, noting she was “delirious with excitement” when she was able to get the rights for the stage play.

The only drawback to the play is its length, which is close to three hours with intermission. Some scenes could be tightened, but then again, this is an exciting and engaging new work.

“Shakespeare in Love;” continues at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, located on the Drew University campus in Madison, through Nov. 12. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.  

Liz Keill reviews professional theatre in the New Jersey area, ranging from the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. In addition to writing for Tapinto.net, she does theatre analysis for HometowneTV in Summit. She holds a Bachelor's in Journalism from Penn State and a Master's in Communication from Syracuse University. Liz is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, which holds seminars at regional theatres across the country as well as in New York City.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Clark

Upcoming Events

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

"All About Owls" Nature Presentation with The ...

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

"All About Owls" Nature Presentation with The ...

Arts & Entertainment

Earth Day Rahway River Cleanup

April 19, 2018

All volunteers are invited to celebrate Earth Day with Boy Scout Troop 330, Cub Scout Pack 30 and members of the Rahway River Watershed Association, Rahway Environmental Commission and Clark Environmental Commission in a clean-up of the Rahway River on Saturday, April 21st (with a rain date of Sunday, April 22nd). The clean-up will focus on areas upstream and downstream of the dam ...

Cranford Man Dies after Wrong-Way Crash on Route 9

April 10, 2018

WOODBRIDGE, NJ – A Cranford man died after his car collided with another vehicle on Route 9 on Sunday.

Thomas McHugh, 88, was driving north in the southbound fast lane on Route 9, where he crashed head-on into another vehicle. On impact, one of the cars caught fire, according to Sgt. Jim Chessere of the Woodbridge Police Department.

 McHugh was taken from the scene to Robert ...

Thank You, St. Joseph's Volunteers

April 16, 2018

Thank You from St. Joseph Social Service Center

In recognition of National Volunteer Week, we would like to express our gratitude to the countless volunteers that serve the poor and homeless at St. Joseph Social Service Center in Elizabeth (http://www.sjeliz.org).  Whether you make a sandwich, collect toiletries, tutor in the job program, make soup, wrap Christmas gifts, donate food, ...

Obituaries

- Apr 11, 2018
Clark—Carleen Nevargic, 81, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at her home ...
Read more