The Tempest thunders to life at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
MADISON, NJ — The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 52nd Season opens with The Tempest, Shakespeare’s final great work. Performances begin May 28th and continue through June 22nd at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Road) in Madison. Individual tickets are now on sale and can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Individual tickets range from $15 to $75.
“I am thrilled to open the season with The Tempest which has not appeared on the Main Stage in over ten years. A passionate, visceral, fierce, and magical play—The Tempest contains some of the worlds most glorious poetry,” says Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.
As one of Shakespeare’s late romances, The Tempest, while not technically his last play, is considered the Bard’s farewell masterpiece. The character of Prospero, the exiled Duke turned powerful magician, appears semi-autobiographical—Shakespeare’s aging alter-ego who must also bid farewell to his “art.”
The play opens in the midst of a raging storm, conjured by the magician Prospero to wreck a passing ship. The ship carries the conspirators who deposed Prospero twelve years earlier, forcing him from Milan with his infant daughter Miranda. Set adrift at sea, father and daughter came to live on the faraway island, on which the play takes place, inhabited by the elemental spirit Ariel and the feral Caliban. When the shipwrecked men come to shore, worlds collide as clowning drunkards meet the enslaved monster Caliban, handsome Prince Ferdinand encounters the lovely Miranda, and Prospero faces his past and his enemies.
Longtime company member Sherman Howard will play Prospero. “Sherman and I first explored the character together last winter when we worked on parts of The Tempest in collaboration with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Sibelius’ The Tempest was intertwined with Shakespeare’s text. Even in those brief scenes, it was evident what a force of nature Sherman’s Prospero truly was and I was inspired to stage a full production with Howard brining Prospero to full life,” Monte explains.
As Prospero, leading man Sherman Howard returns for his seventh season at the Theatre, where he has appeared as Henry II in The Lion in Winter, Spooner in No Man’s Land, Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, Lopakhin in The Cherry Orchard, Galileo Galilei in Life of Galileo, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and as the title role in Enrico IV. Howard’s Broadway and Off-Broadway credits include All My Sons, Inherit The Wind, and productions at the Public Theatre, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, and Roundabout Theatre Company. Howard’s television credits include Homeland, Person of Interest, and Seinfeld.
Jon Barker portrays Shakespeare’s famous “monster” Caliban. Barker appeared last season in the title role in Pericles and as Prince Mikhail in Tovarich. Previous Shakespeare Theatre credits include 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 many others. He has also appeared at the Terrace Theater in the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre, and Luna Stage.
As Prospero’s innocent daughter Miranda, Lindsey Kyler returns for her second Shakespeare Theatre season after making her debut last season as Marina in Pericles. She recently performed at Arena Stage in the world premiere of Legacy of Light and, regionally, at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre.
Shakespeare Theatre veteran Erin Partin plays the delicate spirit Ariel. Most recently, she played Ophelia in The Resident Ensemble Player’s production of Hamlet (Delaware). She has also appeared at Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.
As the King’s son Ferdinand, Jackson Moran appears in his tenth season with the Theatre where he has performed in Comedy of Errors on the Outdoor Stage, The Grapes of Wrath, Noises Off, The Winter’s Tale, Henry V, Richard III. Moran is an alumnus of the 2007 Next Stage Ensemble and 2008 Shakespeare LIVE! touring companies. He is a graduate of Yale School of Drama.
Shakespeare Theatre veteran Jeffrey M. Bender, in his fifteenth season with the Theatre, plays the drunken butler Stephano. Bender recently appeared on Broadway in A Time to Kill at the Golden Theater and in Cymbeline at Lincoln Center. He has also worked at Denver Center Theatre, Arena Stage, the Old Globe, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.
Company member Richard Bourg portrays Gonzalo. Off-Broadway, Bourg wrote and performed Hallowed Ground, an Off-Broadway one-man piece about Abraham Lincoln, under the direction of the late Gene Frankel. He has appeared at The Pearl Theatre, Princeton Repertory Shakespeare Festival, The Florida Studio Theatre, and The Boarshead Theatre.
As Antonio, the usurping Duke of Milan, V. Craig Heidenreich makes a Shakespeare Theatre debut. V. has directed or appeared in productions across the nation including Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Old Globe Theatre, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Other credits include Henry V, Betrayal, Don Juan in Hell, Lion in Winter, Hedda Gabler, Rough Crossing and Jon Jory’s adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Tom Jones.
As Alonso, the King of Naples, Rob Krakovski returns for his fifth season with the Theatre; he previously appeared in A Most Dangerous Woman, Around the World in Eighty Days, Measure for Measure and Julius Caesar. Krakovski performed recently in Secret Order at San Jose Repertory and A Christmas Story at Geva Theatre Center. Off-Broadway, he originated the role of Bill Wilson in Bill W.
Patrick Toon portrays the fool Trinculo. Most recently, Toon appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre’s production of The Playboy of the Western World. Other Shakespeare Theatre credits include Henry IV, Part One, Othello, Merry Wives of Windsor, and Amadeus.
Andy Baldeschwiler, Adam C. Burns, and James Costello round out the cast.
2014 marks production director Bonnie J. Monte’s 24th 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 Tovarich, As You Like It, Trelawny of the Wells, Man of La Mancha, Measure for Measure, 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 The Tempest are set designers Brian Clinnin, costume designer Murell Horton, sound designer Karin Graybash, and lighting designer Tony Galaska. Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.
Single tickets for The Tempest are now on sale and range from $15 to $75. Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain for $15 with a valid student ID. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.