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Shakespeare’s Comedic Drama Measure for Measure Bursts Onto the Stage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Shakespeare once again takes center stage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Kirby Theatre with the Bard’s Measure for Measure this August. A prestigious cast brings the show to life for a 3-week run only.   Measure for Measure begins on August 8th with several discounted Preview performances.  The production continues through August 26th at The Theatre’s Main Stage - the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.  Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings, and Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m.  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.

This mercurial masterpiece could have been written just yesterday. Shakespeare’s dark comedy— a provocative mix of humor and intrigue — is an age-old tale of scandal, abuse of power and what happens when repression and profligacy get equally out of balance.   It is a story for all times and its contemporary relevance is provocative and palpable. 

Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs a cast of eighteen, including many veteran company members.    

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The Cast

Bruce Turk plays the secretive Duke of Vienna.   Returning after 13 years for his 5th season, Turk has appeared at the Shakespeare Theatre in Rhinoceros, Measure for Measure, Artists and Admirers, and Macbeth.  His Broadway credits include The Green Bird, and Juan Darien, and off-Broadway he has appeared in King John and Pericles at BAM. He has been a member of the Old Globe company in San Diego for a number of years. 

Longtime company member Erin Partin plays Isabella, desperate to save her brother Claudio from execution.   Returning for her 11th season, Partin’s Shakespeare Theatre credits include A Christmas Carol, Twelfth Night, The School for Wives, The Cherry Orchard amongst many others.  She recently played Clarice in the premiere of The Liar at The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC.  She has also appeared at The Delaware Rep, Milwaukee Rep and the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

Playing the duplicitous Angelo is Sean Mahan.  Mahan returns for his fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre where he appeared in Arms and the Man, The Time of Your Life, Pride and Prejudice and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  He has also appeared at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Indiana Repertory.  Television credits include Rescue Me, HBO’s John Adams and the upcoming movie-of-the-week Gunhill. 

Making his Shakespeare Theatre debut as Claudio is James Knight.  He has appeared at many regional theatres across the country including The Old Globe, Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Two River Theatre Company.

Claudio’s friend Lucio is played by returning company member Greg Jackson. Celebrating his 14th Season with The Theatre, Jackson appeared most recently in A Christmas Carol and in the title role of Timon of Athens.  Other Shakespeare Theatre credits include The School for Wives, The Winter’s Tale, Amadeus and The Bald Soprano among many others.  He recently appeared as Renfield in Dracula at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.  Off-Broadway, he appeared in The 39 Steps. 

Pompey, the bawd, is played by Raphael Nash Thompson who has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in Henry V, Othello, Macbeth and Measure for Measure.  He has also appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Red Bull Theatre and Hartford Stage.   

Playing the benevolent Provost is Lindsay Smiling who last appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in Othello and The Winter’s Tale.  He has also appeared at regional theatres across the nation including Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre and the Dorset Theatre Festival. 

Richard Bourg plays the merciful lord Escalus.  Bourg has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in The Comedy of Errors, Henry V, Cymbeline and The Rivals among others.  

Katie MacNichol returns to The Shakespeare Theatre, where she has appeared in Rhinoceros, to take on the role of Mariana.  Her Broadway credits include The Green Bird and Two Shakespearean Actors.  Off Broadway, she has appeared in Cider House Rules, King John and The Food Chain.

Rounding out the cast are Craig Bazan, Adam Burns, Rachel Fox, Darren Matthias, Brandt Roberts, Julia Skeggs, Ben Sterling, Michael Striano, and Jean Walker.    

The Director

2012 marks director Bonnie J. Monte’s 22nd season as Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.  Since 1990, she has directed 48 productions for the company, including productions of 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  Measure for Measure are set designers Bonnie J. Monte and Brian Ruggaber, costume designer Paul Canada, lighting designer Steve Rosen, and sound designer Karin GraybashChristine Whalen serves as production stage manager.   

Tickets

Single tickets for Measure for Measure are now on sale and start at $32.   Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour 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 Measure for Measure are August 8th at 7:30 pm, August 9th  and 10th at 8:00 pm, and August 11th at 2:00 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 curtain on August 8th and purchase a ticket for that evening’s 7:30 preview performance for what you are able to pay (offer subject to availability). 

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 Measure for Measure will be Tuesday, August 14th at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, August 18th and 25th at 2 pm.

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. The Know the Show performance will be held on August 16th at 8:00 p.m.  General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders and subscribers. Tickets to that evening’s 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

The 2 pm performance on August 25th 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.  

2012 Season

The 2012 Season includes three additional productions. 

To launch the Fall portion of the season, director Brian B. Crowe will set his imagination in motion for Neil Bartlett’s highly-praised adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist.  Featuring an ensemble of actors who play myriad roles, the visceral landscape of Victorian England’s dark and dangerous underworld comes to life in this dynamic theatrical vision of Dickens’ classic novel.  “The extraordinary energy and volatility, the sadistic black comedy and the sheer dramatic gust of Dickens’ actual sentences are the raisons d’être of this piece.” -- Neil Bartlett.   Oliver Twist runs September 12th through October 7th.

Not since 2004 has The Shakespeare Theatre produced a musical but, to celebrate its 50th Anniversary Season, the Theatre will present the award-winning musical Man of La Mancha, based on Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha, by Dale Wasserman with lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch Leigh.  Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte will direct.  Man of La Mancha will begin performances on October 17th and continue through November 18th

The Theatre’s 50th Anniversary Season will close with the rarely-seen classic gem Trelawny of the Wells by Arthur Wing Pinero.  This effervescent romantic comedy about life in the theatre in England at the turn of the 19th century is a giddy and moving homage to art and artists.  Directed by Bonnie J. Monte, Trelawny of the Wells runs December 5 – 30. 

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 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.

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