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WHEN: July 8–August 1. All performances other than the 5:00 p.m. Sunday Twilight Shows will begin at 8:00 p.m. WHERE: Greek Amphitheatre, Saint Elizabeth University Campus, Convent Station TICKETS: The company is very pleased that they will be able to continue their Free Tickets for Kids 17 and Under program, as well as its $30 Under 30 ticket price for adults 30 and under. All other adult tickets will be $40 on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday evenings. Adult tickets for Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and the 5:00 p.m. Sunday Twilight Performances are $45. For more information about The Shakespeare Theatre’s Outdoor Stage performances, please call the Box Office at (973) 408-5600, or log onto www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
On July 8th, 2021, The Shakespeare
Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) will re-open the figurative doors to its
ever-popular Outdoor Stage venue, located on the bucolic campus of
Saint Elizabeth University. Since 2002, the company’s annual productions at
this Greek-style amphitheater have provided people throughout the region
with delightful productions under the stars. In 2020, the stone seats
remained empty as the pandemic necessitated its closure.
To re-launch the
venue in grand style, STNJ will, for the first time, be presenting two
productions in repertory, so that theatre-starved patrons can enjoy not
just one live performance, but two if they choose to do so. As always, this
season’s shows are comedies and appropriate for all ages – from the
youngest tots to venerable seniors.
The four-week run
will preview on July 8th, with Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors,
directed by resident director Brian B. Crowe, a regular at the company’s
Outdoor Stage. On alternate nights, STNJ will present the premiere of a new
play, Snug, written and directed by Bonnie J. Monte, the company’s
artistic director. The
performances will run until August 1st.
Ms. Monte said,
“There is such excitement about the re-opening of our Outdoor Stage, and we
wanted to start back up with a bang. So, partly to make up for the show we lost
last summer, and partly to kick things off again in high celebratory
fashion, we decided to give our audiences not just one, but two shows.”
Errors, one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, is the perfect show to
welcome people back,” said Brian B. Crowe, who is helming the production. “It is
a rollicking, fantastical, fun farce, with an outrageous plot and colorful
characters, and yet for all of its slapstick silliness, there is a
beautiful message about reuniting with people from whom we’ve been
separated and being with loved ones again. Its sweet and earnest ending
could not be more apt for this reunion with our audience.” Comedy of
Errors will be presented in a 90-minute version.
Snug, a brand-new play, was written this past
spring by Ms. Monte, and it was inspired not only by Shakespeare’s beloved
Mechanicals from A Midsummer Night’s Dream but also by the company
of actors that has been isolated with STNJ’s “skeletal pandemic staff”
since the start of the COVID shut-down. “Getting to know this group of nine
actors so well over the course of the past 14 months has been a privilege
and a blessing,” said Ms. Monte. “Their unstoppable energy, good hearts,
earnest desire to create art in the middle of the pandemic ‘desert’ as well
as their often delightful hijinks, made me want to write a play about them
in the guise of the characters they played for us in A Midsummer Night’s
Dream. I wanted to craft a piece that would delight both halves of our
audience—those who tend to avoid Shakespeare, and those who adore him.
What came out in ink was a kind of Secret Lives of the Mechanicals in Their
Off-Hours, capped with an Elizabethan Noises Off-like finale.” Snug
will run approximately 90 minutes.
While STNJ will
re-open its Outdoor Stage in compliance with all CDC and NJ State COVID-19 recommendations
and requirements, those recommendations are changing almost weekly. As of
now, people who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks at outdoor events
unless they wish to, and STNJ is waiting for new developments regarding the
social distancing requirements.