Liz on Theatre

Paying tribute to 'Shakespeare in Love'

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

Edison

Upcoming Events

Mon, November 20, 7:00 PM

Piscataway Public Library , Piscataway

Saving Your Future, Basic Principles of Building ...

Business & Finance

Wed, November 22, 8:00 PM

State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick

Get The Led Out

Arts & Entertainment

Fri, November 24, 12:00 PM

Galeria West, Westfield

11/24/2017 at 7:30PM: Flamenco Nights @ Galeria ...

Arts & Entertainment

Mascola for Council

October 31, 2017

Candidate: Wayne Joseph Mascola Sr.

Age: 62

Edison Resident: 36 years

Married to Carol Mascola

Father of Four Children:  Nadia age 40, Tara age 39, Wayne Jr. age 36, Kristin age 33

Grandfather: Four grandchildren and two on the way Krystal 20, Alyssa 18, Damian 5, Luke 23 months, two more due January and February

Education: 

Metuchen High School class of ...

Edison Councilman Robert Diehl: An Advocate For Our Environment, Education & Fiscal Responsibility

Name: Robert C. Diehl

Age: 64

Family: My wife, Anne, are the parents of two adult children and two grandchildren.

Profession: Principal, Roosevelt Elementary School, South Plainfield.

Education: Kean College; B.A., Political Science; M.S, Supervision/Administration.

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Government Experience: Edison Township Council (2001-17); Served six times as Council ...

Mayor Tom Lankey Keeps Edison Township Moving Forward

Name: Thomas Lankey

Age: 57

Profession: JFK Health Systems; Senior Vice President 

Education: University of Delaware; B.S. Accounting

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Public Service: Edison Township Council (2010-13); Council’s Finance Committee, past-Chairman; Mayor of Edison (2014-present).

Community Involvement: Magyar Bank, Board of Directors; Huntington’s ...

South Brunswick Social Worker Charged With Sexual Assault Of Highland Park Juvenile

November 20, 2017

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – A township social worker is charged with sexually assaulting and smoking pot with a Highland Park juvenile under his care, the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office announced Saturday.

Miguel Garrido, 23, of Monmouth Junction faces multiple sexual assault counts including first degree aggravated sexual assault of a child under the age of 16, police ...

New Jersey Tech Council Hosts its 21st Anniversary Awards Celebration

November 18, 2017

SOMERSET, NJ - Hundreds of New Jersey's leaders in technology and life sciences gathered to celebrate the New Jersey Tech Council's 21st Anniversary Awards Celebration, at the Palace of Somerset, Thursday night. 

Statewide and regional companies were recognized and honored for their contributions to the communities they serve. 

"On this stage, we’ll honor some ...

Wardlaw + Hartridge Community Joins Interfaith RISE Walkathon

November 19, 2017

On Sunday, November 12, members of the community from The Wardlaw + Hartridge School in Edison joined to help support Interfaith RISE’s annual walk-a-thon.  Upper School students helped direct participants, worked the registration table, and held signs during the walk. 

Families and students who attended heard from several speakers along the walk, and had the opportunity to ...

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (St. Martins Griffin, 2016)

 

Author Lynda Cohen Loigman states, “The Two-Family House is a story I thought about for at least ten years before I ever wrote a word. I spent countless hours over a full decade thinking about how Rose, Helen, Abe, and Mort would behave in difficult situations, and how they would feel when faced with ...