Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A VERY Important Update from STNJ's Artistic Director 




The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on a snowy, winter morning.


Dear Friends, Patrons, Volunteers, and Artists,

It’s been two months since my last update, but I’ve been waiting to reach out until I had some concrete news for you about the rest of the year; and now, I do, and it’s very good news indeed!

We’ve held off until now about making the decision whether to attempt re-opening the Main Stage this year. We needed to know more about the many things that would affect our ability to produce again in a viable manner. While we know that doing a show for the holiday season won’t be easy – in fact, it presents a long list of challenges that are very daunting – there are way more compelling reasons to meet those challenges, and to mount an inspiring show to celebrate the holidays with our fellow humans!

So, I am very excited to report that we will be presenting a brand-new production of Dylan Thomas’ A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, from December 8th to January 2nd at our beautiful F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of Drew University. I will be directing the show, and as always, am embracing the mantra that “necessity is the mother of invention.” We still have limited staff and limited resources, and the demands that the pandemic has imposed on us are burdensome, so I will be creating a landscape for this gorgeous piece of theatre that relies for the most part on the artistry of our actors, the power of music, the purity and appeal of the tale, the beauty of the language, the limitless power of our collective imaginations – along with a lot of shredded paper, which trust me, when you hit it with light becomes a most magical affair!

As this is the only Main Stage show that will occur in 2021, it is clearly not part of a subscription package, but we will be giving our loyal subscribers first dibs at reserving tickets for your preferred seats. As of today, October 12th, tickets are on sale for subscribers only, for the next two weeks. We will hold off on selling tickets to the general public until October 25th. This two-week Subscriber-Only sale period will give our most supportive patrons the chance to reserve their tickets for the night and seats they prefer, and we will do our best to give your first choice of seats, or as close as possible to your normal seat location. As of October 26th, all remaining seats will be up for sale.

Toward the end of October, each and every one of our subscribers, both auto-renewers and regular subscribers, will be contacted personally by our Box Office to discuss your subscription package arrangements for next year.

Here’s a bit of information about next year, and about A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES:

  • 2022 subscription ticket prices for current subscribers will remain at the same level as they were in 2020, with your discounts intact!

  • You can choose to apply any Will’s Bills that you have on account
    toward the cost of next year’s subscription package, or you can choose to use your Will’s Bills for the purchase of any tickets, gift items or Silent Auction bids in 2021, and pay for next year’s subscription separately. Or you can use your Will’s Bills for any 2021 purchases, then apply the remainder to next year’s subscription package, and we’ll bill your credit card for the remainder owed. Each and every patron’s situation will be different depending on how much they have on account, how they choose to use their money, whether changes to the subscription package are requested, etc. This is why we will be reaching out with a personalized phone call to each and every subscriber.

  • Ticket prices for A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS IN WALES will be the following:

    Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings: $40

    Thursday and Friday evenings: $45

    Saturday and Sunday matinees and Saturday evenings: $50 (except Opening Night at $55)

    Our Pay What You Can, and $30 Under 30 Tickets are also available for every performance.

    For this production only, most Tuesday and Wednesday nights will be designated as Limited Capacity Nights, and we will only be selling 50% of the house, so that those who are eager to adhere to more socially-distanced attendance may do so by purchasing seats for either of those nights.

  • I want to stress again that we will require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result upon entrance to the Theatre. The details of our current Attendance Policies are available on our website.
With the decision to do a full re-opening and a full production for the holidays, we had to sacrifice a few things. That means that we will not be able to do SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES this year, nor will be doing our annual COSTUME AND PROP SALE. Sorry! We just don’t have the personnel to do those events in addition to re-opening.

However, we do have our Autumn Night Music concerts at our Back Yard Stage. If you weren’t able to attend one of the shows this past weekend, you still have time to get your tickets to the Kate Baldwin concert on October 15th! We will also be conducting our Not-So-Silent-Silent Auction: Holiday Edition from November 10th to the 22nd, and it will feature some fantastic and unique holiday gift items! We are also excited to announce our first-ever Artisan Holiday Marketplace on December 3rd and 4th at our beautiful Kean Theatre Factory in Florham Park, which will feature wonderful items for sale, all made by STNJ artisans and members of our ShakesPurls Knitting Circle – again, a great source for unusual hand-made gifts for the holidays.

Best of all, we have an extra-special holiday gift that will make those who are unable or reluctant to come out to the theatre especially happy. We have been working on an adaptation of O. Henry’s classic THE GIFT OF THE MAGI for our Pandemic Playhouse Entertainment online platform. We are thrilled that Myra Lucretia Taylor, a Tony-nominee for her work in TINA on Broadway, and an STNJ company member from the early days of my tenure here, has lent us her amazing talent as the voice of the narrator for this moving tale. This little hybrid film/stage play stars company members Billie Wyatt and Isaac Hickox-Young as the young couple of the story, and fellow company member Léna Chilingerian as Madame Sofronie. I adapted and directed the piece, and it should be ready for your viewing pleasure before Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season.

Last but not least – I know I haven’t issued a new Diary of A Theatre entry since this summer, but things have been really crazy here as we continue to adapt to the changes that are still coming our way on a daily basis. I promise a new one soon!

With gratitude, and good will toward all, and with hope for a shining star of a holiday season, I look forward to seeing all of you soon!

Bonnie J. Monte

Artistic Director

P.S. If you have not yet made a gift toward our Annual Appeal, we ask that you consider all that we’ve managed to do since the start of the pandemic, and all that we have in store ahead. We’re pretty proud of the fact that we’ve managed to create so much over the course of these difficult two years, and we are so deeply grateful for your incredible support – both financial and moral! Some mailings are still going out, so some of you have not yet received my Annual Appeal letter, but they should all arrive by next week!

P.P.S. Much more news to come as we plan a spectacular 60th Anniversary “Diamond” Season for you in 2022! For now, mark our “Diamond Gala” on your calendars for April 23, 2022 – Shakespeare’s birthday!



Photos of author Dylan Thomas, and children sledding in Wales.