The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will launch the Fall portion of its 50th Anniversary Season with the critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist by British playwright, author, and director, Neil Bartlett. The production begins on September 12, with several discounted Preview performances, and continues through Oct. 7 at The Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage - the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.
Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings, and Saturday and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $70. Student rush tickets are available for $10. For tickets or for more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.
Using only Dickens' words, and featuring an ensemble of 13 esteemed actors who play more than 30 roles, the visceral landscape of Victorian England's dark and dangerous underworld comes to vivid life in this dynamic vision of the classic novel.
In addition to writing Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist for the stage, award-winning writer Neil Bartlett has also adapted works by Marivaux and Moliere, as well as Dickens' Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. In all of his adaptations, Barlett only uses text from the original source material.
About Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Bartlett wrote "the first decision taken was that the adaptation would be made out of Dickens' original language and nothing but. Indeed, the extraordinary energy and volatility, the sadistic black comedy and sheer dramatic guts of Dickens' actual sentences are the raisons d'etre of this piece. I wanted the show to be as alarming, compelling and as wickedly comic as Dickens' words are."
Longtime company member Ames Adamson plays Fagin. Adamson has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of A Christmas Carol, Timon of Athens, Hamlet, King Lear, Henry V, Arms and the Man, and Illyria, among many others. He has also appeared at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and in Macbeth at the Wilma Theatre.
The brutal thief Bill Sikes is played by Jeffrey M. Bender. Bender is returning to the Shakespeare Theatre for his 13th Season having appeared in Henry IV, Part One, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Rivals, Life of Galileo, The Servant of Two Masters and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), among many others. He has also worked at the Denver Center Theatre, Arena Stage, The Old Globe and Seattle Rep.
Corey Tazmania plays Nancy, the soft-hearted but doomed anti-heroine of the piece. Tazmania, in her fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, has appeared in The Tempest and Macbeth on the Main Stage as well as on the Outdoor Stage and with the educational touring company Shakespeare LIVE! She recently appeared in I Will Come Like a Thief at the 78th Street Theatre Lab, Les Conquerantes at the ACT French Festival at 59E59 and Neil Genzlinger's adaptation of The Last Detail. She has also appeared at Theatre Rhinoceros, the Magic Theatre, and New Jersey Repertory Theatre.
Quentin McCuiston returns for his second season at The Shakespeare Theatre toplay the orphan Oliver Twist. He previously appeared in Timon of Athens on the Main Stage and in A Midsummer Night's Dream with the Shakespeare LIVE! educational touring company. His New York credits include Chains of Dew at the Zephyr Repertory Theatre. He has also appeared in Romeo and Juliet at the Carolinian Shakespeare Festival and at the Red Clay Theatre.
Robbie Collier Sublett, in his fourth season at the Shakespeare Theatre, plays the Artful Dodger. Sublett has previously appeared in The Cherry Orchard and Life of Galileo on the Main Stage and with The Shakespeare LIVE! touring company. On Broadway, he appeared in Other Desert Cities at Lincoln Center. His off-Broadway credits include You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce at The Flea, American River at Theatre for A New City, and Adventures in Reality, with Michael Friedman, at American Songbook at Lincoln Center. He has also appeared with Mabou Mines, Actors' Theatre of Louisville, and Chicago Shakespeare. His play, You Better Sit Down…, will be published by Dramatists Play Service this Fall.