(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) has announced its 2024 season, which features a wickedly funny musical comedy, the highly anticipated return of one of England's most-cherished novelists, and a Shakespeare masterwork not seen in the subscription series in 20 years. The season will include five shows on its Main Stage at The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of Drew University and one summer production on The Outdoor Stage — The Greek Amphitheater on the campus of Saint Elizabeth University in Florham Park.
“The Shakespeare Theatre is so much more than just Shakespeare,” says new Artistic Director, Brian B. Crowe, “and we’re eager for new and returning audiences to experience that this season. If you’ve been a longtime patron, you’ll continue to see the exceptional productions you’ve come to expect here. If you’ve never been to our theatre before or haven’t been in a while, we invite you to take a closer look at the wonderful offerings we have in store for you. There’s something for everyone: Broadway-caliber theatre without the bridge or tunnel or the Broadway prices. We know you’ll be glad you came.”
The 2024 season kicks off in May with the knock-‘em-dead, uproarious musical comedy: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder (May 15 – June 9). Filled with unforgettable music and non-stop laughs, Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak’s 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical is based on the 1907 novel The Autobiography of a Criminal and the 1949 film Kind Hearts and Coronets, starring Sir Alec Guinness. When low-born Monty Navarro discovers he is eighth in line of the wealthy D’ysquith family, he dares down a hysterically ghoulish path on his way to the earldom. This production is made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of the S. Dillard and Adrienne Kirby Family Philanthropic Fund.
Up next, audiences head under the stars for Shakespeare’s As You Like It on STNJ’s Outdoor Stage (June 19 – July 14). Saint Elizabeth University’s bucolic campus sets the stage for the Forest of Arden as Rosalind and friends venture into the woods to seek out her exiled father. Along the way they'll find comic confusion, unexpected redemption, and maybe even true love! Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and transformation comes to life in this unique picturesque setting. Don’t miss this delightful summer event which has become a cherished annual tradition for audiences of all ages!
Without Shakespeare there would be no “to be or not to be", but without a pair of Shakespeare’s loyal friends over half of his plays would have been lost forever. Lauren Gunderson’s The Book of Will places Shakespeare center stage in July on the Main Stage (July 10 - 28). This love letter to the Bard blends history, hijinks, and some of Shakespeare’s most famous passages in a celebration of theatre and friendship. After Shakespeare’s death, two actors from his company embark on a seemingly impossible mission to preserve his legacy and the poetry that shaped their lives. Four centuries later, their triumphant efforts continue to influence our world. Artistic Director Emerita, Bonnie J. Monte, will direct.
Long before Bridgerton sparked desires and ignited our screens, a young new writer was setting the hearts of England ablaze with the deep longing of her enduring characters. The genius of Jane Austen returns to STNJ’s Main Stage in September with Sense and Sensibility in an adaptation by Jessica Swale (September 4 – 22). When their father’s death leaves them penniless and socially vulnerable, sisters Elinor and Marianne must navigate the snares of society and determine where their values truly lie. How can they listen to their hearts when money dictates marriages? Will pragmatism or romance win out in the end? Austen’s celebrated first novel captures the twisting relationships and delicate emotions of the Dashwood sisters with humor and style.
“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes” to the Main Stage in October with Shakespeare’s electrifying and thrilling cautionary tale, Macbeth (October 16 – November 17). Spurred on by supernatural solicitings, a noble general and his wife embark on a bloody journey to gain the crown. Their ruthless quest for power rocks a war-torn nation as ambition grows to devastating madness in this epic tragedy which has not been presented as part of STNJ’s season in two decades.
Neil Bartlett’s bold and highly theatrical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol returns to the STNJ stage, (December 4 – 29) and caps off the season. Using a small ensemble of actors to bring the varied inhabitants (animate and inanimate alike) of Dickens' cherished tale to life — everything from the merry Fezziwigs to Scrooge’s complaining lightbulb — Bartlett's take on this perennial favorite is not to be missed. In his introduction to the play, Bartlett states, “(Dickens) wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud. His words don’t describe; they enact.” Scrooge's iconic journey from miser to humanitarian shines fresh and new in this imaginative production. Long-time company member, Paul Mullins will direct.
Complete Works Subscriptions and Memberships are now on sale! Smaller and flexible discount packages will be available in March, and single tickets will go on sale later in the spring. To ensure that they get the best seats at the best prices (with savings up to $8 off, or up to 20% off each ticket), patrons are encouraged to purchase Complete Works Subscriptions now.
In addition to the subscription series, audiences can look forward to many other exciting offerings this season with STNJ’s Short Shakespeare, Classics for Kids!, and Lend Us Your Ears programs as well as the Shakespeare Book Club.
For more information regarding The Shakespeare Theatre’s programs, subscription packages, and more, visit ShakespeareNJ.org or call the Box Office at 973-408-5600.