The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, located in Madison, has announced its roster of plays for 2014. The season includes six Main Stage productions at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison and one summer production on the Outdoor Stage on the campus of The College of Saint Elizabeth.
The Tempest, helmed by Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte, will open the season. Company veteran Sherman Howard (Gore Vidal's The Best Man) has signed on to play Prospero, the powerful magician who rules over his enchanted native island. Performances will begin on May 28.
Molière's The Learned Ladies, comically portraying the "It Girls" of the 17th century, will be the theater's summer offering. Directed by Brian B. Crowe, the production will open June 18 on the Outdoor Stage.
George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple, directed by company veteran Paul Mullins, will open July 2. Set during the revolutionary tumult of colonial America in 1777, an unlikely anti-hero, Richard Dudgeon, sacrifices himself, causing both Loyalists and patriots to question the true meaning of honor.
Next on the Main Stage will be Ben Jonson's The Alchemist, adapted and directed by Bonnie J. Monte. The comedy follows three con men in 1610, illustrating how little has changed about mankind's tendencies toward greed and gullibility over the centuries. Performances will begin August 6.
The Shakespeare Theatre will then produce the New Jersey premiere of Wittenberg, written by David Davalos and directed by Joseph Discher. Featuring an unusual quartet of characters — Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, Helen of Troy, and a young Hamlet — the play imagines a semester at Wittenberg University as the characters debate issues of faith, existence, and even tennis. The production is scheduled to open September 10.
Shakespeare's final work Henry VIII will follow, directed by Paul Mullins. Performances will begin October 15.
Closing the season will be the Shakespearean comedy Much Ado About Nothing, set in a post-World War II environment. Tony nominee Scott Wentworth (Welcome to the Club) will return to the New Jersey theater for the first time since 2005 to direct the production and perform in the role of Benedick opposite his real-life wife, Marion Adler, who appeared in the 2013 production of Our Town. Performances will begin December 3.