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Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey kicks off Outdoor Stage season with the comedy 'As You Like It'

originally published: 06/03/2024

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey kicks off Outdoor Stage season with the comedy

(MADISON, NJ) -- Romance and laughter abound in Shakespeare's delightful comedy As You Like It, which kicks off the summer season at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.  The beloved play, one of the most popular in Shakespeare's canon, will be presented on the Outdoor Stage at St. Elizabeth University from June 19 - July 14, 2024.

“There’s nothing like Shakespeare under the stars in the summer,” says Brian B. Crowe, the Theatre’s newly minted Artistic Director.  “The Outdoor Stage has become a hallmark of the summer season in the area and an annual tradition for many families. Patrons from across the region arrive early to picnic on the beautiful grounds before enjoying a lively family-friendly performance.  Our “Free Tix for Kids” program, generously sponsored by the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation, provides free admission to patrons 17 years old and younger.”

Inhabited by a multitude of colorful characters (royal and rustic), As You Like It has captivated audiences for centuries and contains some of Shakespeare’s most eloquent passages and enchanting music.  Saint Elizabeth University’s bucolic campus sets the stage for the Forest of Arden as Shakespeare’s witty heroine, Rosalind, ventures into the woods to seek her exiled father. Along the way she and her friends find comic confusions, unexpected redemption, and maybe even true love!  Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and transformation will come alive in the University’s unique picturesque setting, transporting audiences to the Forest of Arden amidst the twilight, where nature and art come together to create an unforgettable experience.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey kicks off Outdoor Stage season with the comedy

The cast features several faces familiar to Shakespeare Theatre audiences, including Jeffrey M. Bender (Love’s Labour’s Lost, Twelfth Night) as Duke Senior; Clark Carmichael (Love’s Labours Lost, The Learned Ladies) as Jaques and Duke Frederick; Emily S. Cheng (A Midwinter Night’s Dream) as Phoebe; Christian Frost (And a Nightingale Sang…, A Midwinter Night’s Dream) as Oliver; Brianna Martinez (A Man for All Seasons) as Celia; Billie Wyatt (The Rose Tattoo, A Midwinter Night’s Dream) as Rosalind; and Jason Schlaman (2023 Shakespeare LIVE! tour) as Silvius.  Newcomers to The Shakespeare Theatre include Jennifer Joplin (Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Human Race Theatre) as Audrey and Corin; Matthew Radford Davies (Chesapeake Shakespeare, American Shakespeare Center) as Touchstone; and Jose Gamo (NAATCo’s Romeo & Juliet) as Orlando.

The production will be directed by Jemma Alix Levy, a 25-year veteran stage director, founder and former Artistic Director of Muse of Fire Theatre Company, playwright, and Associate Professor of Acting and Directing at Washington and Lee University. Early in her career, Levy was an intern with STNJ and directed for the company’s Shakespeare LIVE! touring program.

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As You Like It is full of well known show-stopping set piece monologues,” says Levy, “and some of the most amazing and memorable characters Shakespeare wrote.  I love the characters in this play – their realness, their messiness, and their confusion – because they are us in all our various stages and experiences in life.  We look forward to welcoming audiences into their world of silliness, love, and hope.”

The design team includes scenic design by Gabbi Trice; costume design by Paul Canada; lighting design by Jason Flamos; original music by Alexander Sovronsky; and fight direction by Doug West.  The production stage manager is Jenna Gregson.

Tickets for As You Like It are typically $40-$45.  The Theatre is proud to continue its $30 UNDER 30 discount program for patrons under 30 years of age (with a valid ID), as well as its FREE TIX FOR KIDS initiative once again this summer.  Patrons can reserve their tickets now by calling the STNJ Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting their website at

Performances run Tuesday - Sunday at 8:00pm; with special twilight performances on Sundays at 4:00pm. Performances take place at The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison, New Jersey.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) is one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving approximately 75,000 adults and children annually. It is New Jersey's largest professional theatre company dedicated to Shakespeare's canon and other classic masterworks. Through its productions and education programs the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, CTW Foundation, The Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, Hyde, and Watson Foundation, Jack K. Ayre and Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation, The John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation, Turrell Fund, The Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation, and the Howard Gilman Foundation, as well as contributions from numerous other foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals.

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