The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will launch its 2012 milestone 50th Anniversary season with William Shakespeare's saga of a young prince's reformation and ascent to manhood – Henry IV, Part One. Considered one of Shakespeare's most popular history plays, this rousing tale has not been produced on The Shakespeare Theatre stage in 20 years. Henry IV, Part One begins performances on May 30 and runs through June 24 at the Theatre's Main Stage – the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. All tickets, including discounted ticket packages are now on sale. 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.
Henry IV, Part One features Shakespeare's brilliant invention of Falstaff, the colorful character who appears in three of the Bard's plays. In Henry IV, Part One, we see him at the height of his rowdy and bawdy powers. Along with the delinquent Prince Hal, the fiery Hotspur, and a host of nobles and ner'er-do-wells, fact and fiction blend seamlessly under Shakespeare's sure hand in this stirring and exuberant evening of theatre.
The cast features a combination of Shakespeare Theatre favorites and newcomers making their Shakespeare Theatre debut. One of the Theatre's brightest, young leading men, Derek Wilson, returns to the Theatre for his seventh season to play the irresponsible Prince Hal, the Prince of Wales. Wilson appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre productions of No Man's Land, The Comedy of Errors, and Henry VI: Blood and Roses among many others. He has also appeared in several productions at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC., the NYFringe, The English Company and Human Race Theatre Company.
John Ahlin plays the hedonistic, witty and larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff. In his fifth season with the Theatre, Ahlin appeared most recently in A Christmas Carol, and All's Well that Ends Well. On Broadway, he appeared in Waiting for Godot with Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane and John Glover, the Tony Award-winning Journey's End, The Lieutenant of Inishimore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo' Time and Whoopee! Ahlin has played all the Falstaff's, except Verdi's, in more than 30 Shakespeare productions -- most recently in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.
Jon Barker returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his fifth season to play the warrior Henry Percy, also known as Hotspur. Barker played Cassio in last season's Othello and is a veteran of almost a dozen Shakespeare Theatre productions. He has also appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre and recently appeared in The Dangers of Electric Lighting at Luna Stage.
King Henry IV is played by Brent Harris who returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his second season. Last season, he played the iconic role of Atticus Finch in the Theatre's acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird and the role of Alcibiades in Timon of Athens. He recently played Scar in the national tour of The Lion King. He has also appeared at The American Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center Theatre among many others.
Other Shakespeare Theatre veterans returning for Henry IV, Part One include John Little (The Grapes of Wrath) as Earl of Westmoreland; Conan McCarty (To Kill A Mockingbird) as Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester; Doug West (Macbeth) as Lord Edmund Mortimer, Jeffrey M. Bender (Accidental Death of an Anarchist) as Poins, Patrick Toon (Othello) as Bardolph and Izzie Steele as the fiery Lady Percy. Making his Shakespeare Theatre debut is Maxon Davis as Archibald.