The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey breathes new life into the Long-Buried Theatrical Gem Tovarich
MADISON, NJ —The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 2013 Season continues with the provocative romantic comedy Tovarich. This long-forgotten treasure, by French playwright Jacques Deval, and adapted by the great American author Robert E. Sherwood, begins performances on August 7th at The Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage – The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. Tickets range from $35 to $70; student rush tickets are available 30 minutes prior to curtain for $15.For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visitwww.ShakespeareNJ.org. Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Four-play and three-play discount ticket packages are also available.
Written by Jacques Deval in 1933, Tovarich was adapted in 1935 by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning writer Robert E. Sherwood, author of numerous plays including Idiot’s Delight and Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Rarely-seen since the first half of the 20th century, this delightful piece tells the improbable tale of an indomitable Russian Grand Duchess and her dashing Prince of a husband living in exile in Paris after the Russian Revolution. In the years between its premiere and the start of World War II, Tovarich was one of the most popular and widely produced plays in Europe and America.
Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs the production which is made possible, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. “We are thrilled and honored that the NEA recognized the need to not only breathe new life into this forgotten play but also to help us shine a spotlight again on Mr. Sherwood, his influence, and his elevated place in American arts and letters. Sherwood was one of America’s most important playwrights and political writers,” said Monte.
The original Broadway production of Tovarich premiered in 1936 at the Plymouth Theatre, starring Marta Abba and John Halliday. City Center’s 1952 revival starred three-time Tony Award-winner Uta Hagen and Luther Adler. American Magazine described Tovarich’s Broadway premiere, “The play’s the thing, and the play is enchanting. It makes us laugh. It brings tears to our eyes. It warms the cockles of our hearts. What more can we ask of a play?” Variety called Tovarich“[an] expertly tailored romance.” Warner Brothers brought Tovarichto the “silver screen” in 1937, with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer delivering delightful performances. A musical adaptation premiered in 1963 with book by David Shaw, music by Lee Pockriss, and lyrics by Anne Croswell. Vivien Leigh starred in the musical and took home the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical.
Four-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert E. Sherwood, a New York native, was an original member of the Algonquin Round Table, a New York City social group for actors, writers, critics, and wits. Sherwood began his career as an editor for Life magazine and went on to an illustrious career as a playwright. His notable works include The Road to Rome (1927), Waterloo Bridge (1930), and The Petrified Forest(1935). He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his plays Idiot’s Delight(1936), Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1938), and There Shall Be No Night(1940). His intense interest and involvement in politics led him to write speeches for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and later pen the intimate portrait, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (1948) for which he received his fourth Pulitzer Prize. Sherwood was also in high demand as a screenwriter in Hollywood. He wrote the screenplay for Hitchcock’s Academy Award Winning film Rebecca (1940) and won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the 1946 Best Picture-winner The Best Years of Our Lives.
In his sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, leading man Jon Barker plays Prince Mikail Alexandrovitch Ouratieff. His Shakespeare Theatre credits Henry IV, Part One, Othello, The Misanthrope, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, and The School For Wives among others. He has also appeared at the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre, 12 Miles West, and Luna Stage.
Carly Street makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut in the role of theGrand Duchess Tatiana Petrovna. She has appeared on U.S. stages in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Geva Theatre), Clybourne Park(Broadway), Theresa Rebeck’s Dead Accounts (Cincinnati Playhouse – World Premiere), Brief Encounter (Broadway – Roundabout Theatre Company), and Becoming Tennessee (The Director’s Company). She has also appeared at The Canadian Stage Company, Theatre Calgary and The Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Her film and television credits include The Good Wife, Eternal Kiss, and The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Playing Chauffourier-Dubieff, Colin McPhillamy is in his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre. He has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of Servant of Two Masters, Amadeus, and The Play’s the Thing. He appeared on Broadway inWaiting In The Wings, The Importance of Being Ernest, and Off-Broadway in House and Garden at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
In her fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey,Alison Weller plays Fernande Dupont. At The Shakespeare Theatre she played Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Corine in Triumph of Love, and Clara in Hay Fever, among others. She appeared on Broadway inCoram Boy. She is an Associate Artist with the Obie Award-winning investigative theatre company The Civilians, with whom she was an original collaborator on the critically acclaimed This Beautiful City(Vineyard Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre) and the long-running Gone Missing (Barrow Street Theatre, Gate London).
Shakespeare Theatre veteran Matt Sullivan plays Charles Dupont. Sullivan has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of The Playboy of the Western World, Trelawny of the Wells, The Comedy of Errors, I Capture The Castle, Othello, The Misanthrope, Noises Off,Twelfth Night, and King Lear. Most recently he performed in the off-Broadway production of Standing on Ceremony at The Minetta Lane, and Hay Fever at the Guthrie Theater.
Performing the role of Georges Dupont is Seamus Mulcahy. In his fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, his company credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, King Lear (The Fool), A Christmas Carol, Henry V, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He also appeared Off-Broadway in Our Town directed by David Cromer.
Mary Dierson returns for her sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre to play the role of Madame Van Hemert, Dierson has appeared as Louise in Private Lives, the Abbess in The Comedy of Errors, Fairy Berylune in The Blue Bird, Mrs. Eynsford Hill in Pygmalion, and Gertrude in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Her Broadway credits include Amadeus with Mark Hamill, Mary Elizabeth Mastriantonio and Frank Langella; The Elephant Man with Bruce Davidson and then David Bowie; and Dracula with Raul Julia and Martin Landau.
Anthony Cochrane makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut as Commissar Gorotchenko. Cochrane appeared on Broadway in War Horse, Cymbeline and The Coast Of Utopia, and off-Broadway in Nikolai and the Others. He has appeared in 18 productions with the Aquila Theatre Company, and at regional theatres throughout the nation including the Old Globe, The Folger, LaJolla, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
The cast also includes, Blythe Coons, John Greenbaum, Einar Gunn, Christy Richardson, and Rachael Fox.
About the Director
2013 marks director Bonnie J. Monte’s 23rd season as Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Since 1990, she has directed more than 50 productions for the company, including most recently As You Like It, Trelawny of the Wells, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Misanthropeand 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.