Despite a snowstorm that forced the cancellation of two performances, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s acclaimed production of To Kill A Mockingbird, which played its final performance on November 20, broke all-time box-office records, the Theatre announced today. More than 12,500 subscribers, single ticket buyers and students filled the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre to see the stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s beloved novel, surpassing the Theatre’s 2004 production of Macbeth to become the new record-holder.
“We knew this production would resonate with our audiences and teachers, but it certainly surpassed our expectations,” said Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. “We are thrilled that so many students were able to attend To Kill A Mockingbird and experience the extraordinary power of the story.” Nearly 2,700 students from 46 schools as far away as Lacey Township in Lanoka Harbor, NJ and South Orangetown Middle School in Blauvelt, NY attended the nine special school-time matinees held during the run of the production.
To Kill A Mockingbird also became the new record-holder for most individual tickets sold – a record previously held by the 2007 production of Neil Bartlett’s A Christmas Carol. More than one-third of all public performances of the critically acclaimed production were at standing room only capacity.
Directed by Associate Artistic Director Joseph Discher, the production featured a cast of 20 including Brent Harris as Atticus Finch, and Westfield’s Emmanuelle Nadeau as Scout Finch. During the run, Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout Finch in the award-winning film starring Gregory Peck, appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre for two special talks about her experiences. “We set out to create an event with this production,” said Ms. Monte, “and the response from the audience, our subscribers, and the students was extraordinary. We welcomed many new people into our theatre and we look forward to seeing them again!”
The Shakespeare Theatre’s 2011 Season concludes with Neil Bartlett’s A Christmas Carol which begins performances on December 1 and continues through January 1. This unique and ingenious production features a cast of eleven actors playing more than 50 roles, including some of literature’s most beloved characters. Bartlett’s A Christmas Carol contains only Dickens’ own words. “I wanted to do it using Dickens’ words, and nothing but,” wrote Bartlett. “Dickens himself prompted this decision; after all, he wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud for an audience. His words don’t describe; they enact.” In addition, Bartlett has included spoken and sung Victorian carols delivered a cappella throughout the play.
“I hope everyone gets their tickets soon, before we sell out!,” suggests Ms. Monte.
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. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.