(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s (STNJ) 61st season will begin on May 31st with The Rose Tattoo by Tennessee Williams. This exuberant, extravagant tale of Serafina Delle Rose, a Sicilian widow living on the turbulent Gulf Coast outside of New Orleans, is an astonishing and poetic ode to this irresistible force of sensuality and the power of longing, hope, and desire. Replete with a Greek chorus-like cast of colorful characters, the play is a boisterous and beautiful celebration of life and love. The production runs through June 18, 2023.
Though not attempted often, the play has enjoyed great success both on film and on stage. Winning the Tony Award for Best Play in 1951, along with a number of other Tony’s, the film also garnered numerous awards, including the Best Actress Oscar for Anna Magnani. Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte, who is directing this production, is thrilled to bring this play to STNJ’s audience for a multitude of reasons.
Ms. Monte has said this about directing the production, “I began my 33-year journey here at The Shakespeare Theatre with Shakespeare 'by my side' directing his masterpiece, The Tempest. Ironically, I began my time here with a tale about departures, and I am now departing with a tale of new beginnings, now with Tennessee Williams by my side. Shakespeare and Williams are my two favorite playwrights, and it feels not only fitting but exhilarating to start my final season with this play for it is one that I have yearned to do for so many years. It is a massive undertaking, and I am so privileged to have a staff and Board who have encouraged and enabled me to do three shows this year that I have long wanted to direct. The Rose Tattoo has been generously sponsored by The S. Dillard and Adrienne Kirby Family Philanthropic Fund (CFNJ), and I could not be more grateful for their support, as it is allowing one of my theatrical dreams to come true.”
Antoinette LaVecchia was born in southern Italy and has had the role of Serafina Delle Rose on her “want-to-do list” for many years. Her Broadway credits include Torch Song and A View From The Bridge. She has appeared in many other productions in New York City including shows at Playwrights Horizons, the Mint, Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages, 59E59, and The Cherry Lane Theatre. She has also performed in prominent regional theatres across America including Hartford Stage, The Old Globe, Cleveland Playhouse, George Street Playhouse, Cincinnati Playhouse, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Two River Theatre. Her Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits have earned her multiple awards. Along with theatre, she has worked on numerous television shows and films including the Mad About You 2019 reboot, Bull, The Deuce, FBI, Blindspot, L&O: SVU, Blue Bloods, and The Sopranos. Ms. LaVecchia has also received a Fox Fellowship award, Drama League Fellowship, and she is a member of the Dramatist’s Guild.
Tony Marble returns for his eighth season with STNJ to play the role of Alvaro Mangiacavallo. He was last seen in the 2022 production of Enchanted April, and in 2019 wowed audiences with his portrayal of Starbuck in Monte’s production of The Rainmaker. His prodigious list of credits includes scores of productions across America as well as numerous film and television projects.
Billie Wyatt, who has risen to be one of the company’s most versatile, young leading ladies, will play the role of Rosa Delle Rose. In the 2022 season alone, she appeared in three productions — The Metromaniacs, Florence and Mojo, and Twelfth Night. Also in 2022, she played the title role in Camille and Minnie in Flyin’ West at Quintessence Theater Group in Philadelphia.
Isaac Hickox-Young will return to STNJ after his memorable and deeply affecting performance in last season’s The Caretaker. This is Mr. Hickox-Young’s sixth season with the company, and like Ms. Wyatt, has risen to the status of major player, appearing in almost 20 productions since he joined the company in 2018.
A number of other familiar and new faces comprise this extraordinary, colorful, and large cast. They include Celeste Ciulla as Peppina (last seen in Enchanted April, 2022), Dino Curia as The Salesman (last seen in Twelfth Night, 2022), Rachel Fox as Estelle Hohengarten (last seen in Trelawny, 2012), Robert Gregory as Father De Leo (last seen in The Winter’s Tale, 2018), Aurea Tomeski as Violetta (last seen in The Servant of Two Masters, 2018), Sofia Villani as Giuseppina, Angela Della Ventura as Assunta, and Susie Wall as Miss Yorke. Casting for a number of other roles will be announced soon.
Bonnie J. Monte is in her 33rd season as the company’s Artistic Director. Under her leadership for over three decades, the Theatre has evolved into one of the most respected classical theatres in the nation. Since 1990, she has directed over 90 productions for The Shakespeare Theatre. 2023 marks her last season as Artistic Director, though she will continue to stay very much involved as she moves into her new role as Artistic Director Emerita in 2024.
The Creative Team:
The design team for The Rose Tattoo includes the creative talents of Set Designer Sarah Beth Hall, Costume Designer Hugh Hanson, Lighting Designer Matt Webb, and Sound Designer Steven Beckel. The Production Stage Manager is Jackie Mariani.
Single tickets for The Rose Tattoo begin at $34 for preview performances and begin at $55 for regular performances. Prices range from $34 to $65. The Theatre offers various cost-saving opportunities, including $15 student rush tickets, which are available 30 minutes prior to each performance, with a valid student ID, and a limited number of Pay What You Can tickets for every performance on a first-come, first-serve basis. STNJ also has a $30 Under 30 ticket option, which offers $30 tickets for patrons aged 30 and under, with valid ID. Other discounts are available including subscription discounts, a 10% discount for members of PBS/Thirteen and AAA members. For tickets, patrons can call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.
Audience Enrichment & Accessible Performances:
For the same price as a regular ticket, the Symposium Series performances offer a post-show discussion with the cast and artistic staff. For The Rose Tattoo, Symposium performances will be held on Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30pm, Saturday, June 10 at 2:00pm, and Saturday, June 17 at 2:00pm.
The Know-the-Show pre-show talks are offered free of cost with the purchase of a performance ticket. Prior to the Thursday, June 8th performance, at 7:00pm, Ms. Monte will conduct a pre-show talk and Q&A for interested patrons. The performance that night follows at 8:00pm.
The Shakespeare Theatre also offers Closed-Caption performances and Audio-Described performances throughout the season. The captioned performance for The Rose Tattoo will be on Thursday, June 8th at 8:00pm. The Audio-Described performance will be on Thursday, June 15 at 8:00pm. For more information, please contact the Box Office.
The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company whose Main Stage is located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, it is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare’s canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for a diverse and contemporary audience.
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, as well as funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is received from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, MacMillan Family Foundation, The Hearst Foundations, The Edward T. Cone Foundation, CTW Foundation, The Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Bank of America, Shakespeare in American Communities: National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, E.J. Grassmann Trust, Hyde and Watson Foundation, New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund at the Princeton Area Community Foundation, Union Foundation, The Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation, Turrell Fund, The Jack K. Ayre & Frank Ayre Lee Theatre Foundation, The John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation, and the Howard Gilman Foundation, as well as contributions from numerous other foundations, corporations, government agencies, and individuals.