(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) will bring two very different but superb one-act plays, Florence and Mojo, by Alice Childress to its Main Stage. Alice Childress, often acknowledged as the only 20th-century African-American woman to have written, produced, and published plays for four decades, was at the height of her powers in the 1950s and 60s. Her broad literary universe spanned over 40 years and earned her a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her novel A Short Walk. Florence and Mojo will be on the Main Stage from October 26 – November 13.
In early 2020, while searching for one-acts to produce for the company’s Pandemic Playhouse Entertainment online productions, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte read Florence and fell in love with the script. Part of STNJ’s mission is to bring rarely-seen classics to life and though Childress’s full-length play Trouble in Mind recently finished a long-overdue run on Broadway, her work is still largely unknown. Veteran company actor Lindsay Smiling who is making his directorial debut with STNJ said, "I'm thrilled to drive into Alice Childress' work. While putting the ordinary lives of Black people in America on stage, she writes characters that demand their full humanity to be seen. It's not just a political argument that she presents. She shows the fullness of a life. This insistence of humanity feels radical in many ways." STNJ is proud to be among the many theatres welcoming the works of Alice Childress into the classical canon and introducing audiences to plays that are vital to the progress and future of American theatre.
The cast of Florence: Newcomer April Armstrong will be making her STNJ debut as Mama. Carey Van Driest, previously seen in Enchanted April (2022), will be playing Mrs. Carter. Billie Wyatt, last seen in The Metromaniacs (2022), will play the role of Marge. Eric Mills will play the role of the Porter.
The cast of Mojo: Darlene Hope is returning after being a part of STNJ’s 2007 Shakespeare LIVE! company and is playing the role of Irene. Chris White, last seen in Titus Andronicus (2018), will be playing opposite Ms. Hope in the role of Teddy.
The Director: Lindsay Smiling is in his seventh season with STNJ. He was last seen on the Main Stage in the 2019 production of A Christmas Carol and is now making his directorial debut with the company. He is based out of Philadelphia where he is a member of the Wilma Theater’s HotHouse Company, an Adjunct Professor at Temple University, and a founding member of the Black Theatre Alliance of Philadelphia.
The Creative Team: The design team for Florence and Mojo includes the creative talents of Set Designer Harlan D. Penn, Lighting Designer Brian Sidney Bembridge, Sound Designer Steven Beckel, and Patrice N. Trower is designing the costumes. The Production Stage Manager is Jackie Mariani.
Tickets: Single tickets for Florence and Mojo range in price from $39 to $69. 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 a 10% discount for Bank of America customers and employees, members of television’s THIRTEEN, AAA members, and others. For more information or to purchase tickets, patrons can call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit ShakespeareNJ.org.
Special 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 Florence and Mojo, Symposium performances will be held on Tuesday, November 1 at 7:30pm, Saturday, November 5 at 2:00pm, and Saturday, November 12 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, November 3 performance, at 7:00pm, there will be a pre-show discussion 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 Florence and Mojo will be on Thursday, November 3 at 8:00pm. The Audio-Described performance will be on Thursday, November 10 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, The Hearst Foundations, The Edward T. Cone Foundation, CTW Foundation, The Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge 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.
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