A continent away and exactly 345 years to the day after it premiered at the Theatre du Palais-Royal in Paris, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will officially open its production of Molière's The Misanthrope, translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur. Preview performances of The Misanthrope begin on June 1, and the official opening is June 4, the exact date the comedy premiered in Paris in 1666. Performances of The Misanthrope continue through June 26 at the Theatre's Main Stage - the intimate F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Discount ticket packages for the entire 6-play season, or 5 and 4 choose your own ticket packages are also available. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.
Considered one of the world's greatest masters of comedy, Molière is also the author of The School for Wives, Tartuffe, The Miser and The Imaginary Invalid among many others. The Misanthrope, often considered Molière's finest achievement, features the misanthropic Alceste - a "fallen idealist" whose obsession with honesty and his rejections of society's often hypocritical social conventions wreak havoc on his life. Molière's enduring masterpiece bites as sharply and as hilariously now as it did in Paris in 1666, and while the play supplies a hefty dose of laughter and delight, it also delivers profound and sharp barbs about humankind's foibles and transgressions.
John Patrick Hayden makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut in the title role of Alceste, the misanthrope. Hayden appeared on Broadway in Molière's Tartuffe with Brian Bedford, and has appeared in regional theatres throughout the nation including Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Northern Stage in Vermont.
Elizabeth A. Davis plays Célimène, the love interest of Alceste. Davis appeared off-Broadway in The 39 Steps, and in Wolves at 59E59 Theatre. She has also appeared at the Cleveland Playhouse and Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. On television, she has appeared in Fringe and All My Children.
Returning to The Shakespeare Theatre for his 5th season to play Philinte, Alceste's good friend, is Jon Barker. At The Shakespeare Theatre, Barker appeared in All's Well That Ends Well, The Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, The School For Wives, The Winter's Tale, Romeo and Juliet, A Streetcar Named Desire, King Lear, and Amadeus. He has also appeared at the Kennedy Center, Luna Stage, and the Paramount Theatre.
Marcus Dean Fuller plays Oronte, another of Célimène's suitors. Fuller has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in Pride and Prejudice and King Lear. Regionally, he has appeared at Yale Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, and A Noise Within. He has also appeared on Guiding Light and General Hospital.
Returning to the Shakespeare Theatre to play the honest and pure Éliante is Kersti Bryan. Bryan appeared at the Shakespeare Theatre in Pride and Prejudice and appeared off-Broadway at Red Bull Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and with the Siti Company.
Shakespeare Theatre veteran Matt Bradford Sullivan plays Clitandre, a rival of Alceste who attempts to woo Célimène. Sullivan most recently appeared in I Capture the Castle at The Theatre and also appeared in Twelfth Night, Noises Off and King Lear. He appeared in Macbeth and Coriolanus at the New York Shakespeare Festival and The School for Wives at National Actor's Theatre.
Rounding out the cast are Roger Casey, Einar Gunn, Louisa Braden Johnson, and David Joseph Regelmann.
Now in her 21st season with the Theatre, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte has directed more than 40 productions in her two decades at its helm, including the recent No Man's Land, King Lear, Hamlet, and A Streetcar Named Desire. In addition, she has created and directed a number of original translations and adaptations for the stage including Enrico IV, Pride and Prejudice, The Triumph of Love, The Blue Bird, and The Servant of Two Masters which premiered in 2010 on the Outdoor Stage and was recently published by Playscripts, Inc. While associate artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, she was part of a writing team that collaborated with Tennessee Williams on an eight-hour, two part production entitled Tennessee Williams: A Celebration - a retrospective tribute to Williams' literary canon.