ANNOUNCES

ITS 2004 MAIN STAGE & OUTDOOR STAGE SEASON

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The box office is now accepting advance orders on subscription packages, for priority processing and a savings of 15% to 20%
  
MADISON, NJ * Bonnie J. Monte, artistic director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, has announced the six Main Stage shows as well as the Outdoor Stage production that have been selected for the company's forty-second season, which opens in previews on Tuesday, June 8 and continues through Sunday, December 26, 2004.
 
The Main Stage lineup includes three plays by William Shakespeare -- a comedy, a history, and a tragedy; also on the Main Stage will be a "comedy of bad manners" by British phenom Noel Coward; an American classic by John Steinbeck; and a musical as the annual holiday offering. On the Outdoor Stage, the theatre will present the east-coast premiere of Nilo Cruz's new adaptation of a story by renowned Latin American author Gabriel Garcнa Merquez.
 
The season opens with William Shakespeare's bittersweet romantic comedy LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST, onstage June 8 through June 27. Resident artist Brian B. Crowe, who thrilled audiences with his 2002 production of THE TEMPEST, directs this hilarious coming-of-age tale -- an ode to the journey of growing up that exposes, with great affection, the follies, infatuations and desperate yearnings of youth.
 
From June 22 through July 11, the company presents its third annual production on the Outdoor Stage, a breathtaking open-air amphitheatre that's nestled into a hillside on the College of Saint Elizabeth campus in Morristown. Bonnie J. Monte will direct the east-coast premiere of A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS, adapted for the stage by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz, author of the celebrated new Broadway play ANNA IN THE TROPICS. Based on the story by Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcнa Merquez (ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE), this colorful tale of a mysterious, winged creature stranded on earth engages the imagination and delights the senses with its mythic imagery, magical phenomena and live music. The play will enchant young and old alike, and the setting is perfect for a family picnic, "date night," or get-together with friends.
 
Then it's back to the Main Stage for a 100th-anniversary celebration of Noлl Coward's wickedly witty HAY FEVER, onstage July 13 through August 1, directed by Gabriel Barre. A recently retired actress invites a young admirer to her country home for the weekend, to help assuage her boredom. She's livid when she discovers that her husband, son and daughter have -- without consulting her -- also invited weekend guests. The result is a maelstrom of stinging humor and outrageous behavior, as the self-absorbed and hilariously dysfunctional family members thrust their alarmed visitors into the midst of their edgy histrionics.
 
From August 10 through 29 is RICHARD II, Shakespeare's rarely produced history play. Following his triumphant success with KING JOHN, director Paul Mullins returns with the first "installment" of Shakespeare's royal tetralogy about the rise of the House of Lancaster. Richard's detachment from the common people -- combined with flagrant spending habits, questionable funding methods, and reliance on ill-chosen counselors -- ultimately results in his epic fall from power.
 
Nobel Prize-winner John Steinbeck's American classic OF MICE AND MEN follows, from September 7 through October 3. One of the most celebrated masterpieces in our nation's literary canon, this haunting and poignant tale of two lonely migrant workers who dream of a better life will be directed by associate artistic director Joe Discher.
 
Next is "the Scottish play," MACBETH, onstage October 19-November 19. Bonnie J. Monte will direct Shakespeare's great tragedy of unbridled ambition and powerlust, with celebrated actors Robert Cuccioli and Laila Robins in the leading roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
 
As always, the December slot is reserved for a theatrical gem that will delight all ages. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present the regional theatre premiere of ILLYRIA, an exuberant new musical based on Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIGHT. Girl, disguised as boy, steals the hearts of both the lord and the lady in this melodic and funny celebration of love and life, scheduled for November 30-December 26. Created by Peter Mills, an exciting young composer and lyricist whose work has garnered high honors, this contemporary operetta was met with critical acclaim when it debuted in Manhattan in 2002. ILLYRIA will be directed by Cara L. Reichel, who directed the original New York City production.
 
New this season: Know the Show and Opening Night at the Outdoor Stage
 
This season, the company inaugurates a new program called Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each run, The Shakespeare Theatre will present an insightful pre-performance talk by a Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey artist, providing fascinating background information and an expert's perspective on the play that follows. General admission for each 30-minute Know the Show program is $5 for the general public, $4 for Shakespeare Theatre subscribers. Tickets to the performance may be purchased separately.
 
Prompted by the popularity of its Main Stage "Opening Night" celebrations, which are among the most sought-after "hot tickets" in the state, for the first time The Shakespeare Theatre will offer Opening Night tickets to the Outdoor Stage as well. On Saturday, June 26 at 8:15 p.m., the curtain rises on an Opening Night performance of A VERY OLD MAN WITH ENORMOUS WINGS, followed by a private post-show reception with the actors, director Bonnie J. Monte and other special guests at The Madison Hotel and Rod's Steak and Seafood Grill, adjacent to the College of Saint Elizabeth campus. Tickets are only $40 for the performance and the reception, including light fare and a complimentary alcoholic beverage for adults.

 Ticket Information

 
The box office is currently accepting advance orders on subscription packages, which offer a savings of 15% to 20%. Patrons who pre-order their subscriptions now will receive priority processing on or shortly after April 1, when the box office officially opens to the public for subscription sales.

 Individual tickets and group tickets will be on sale as of May 1.

 
A variety of discounted subscription packages are available. In addition to preferred seating and bargain-priced tickets, subscribers-only benefits include liberal ticket exchange privileges, a reduced rate on tickets for guests, and discounts on education programs. Enhanced benefits for full-season subscribers also include "insider invitations" to exclusive special events and discounts in The Shakespeare Theatre's gift shop, at area restaurants and on a variety of goods and services.
 
A "Complete Works" package, which offers the best bargain and enhanced benefits, includes all six Main Stage shows for 20% off the regular ticket price. Prices range from only $152 for preview performances to just $320 for an Opening Night subscription - which includes Champagne intermissions and after-parties with the actors, directors and other V.I.P.s. Depending upon the performance day and time, "Complete Works" subscribers save between $38 and $80 - the equivalent of seeing one show FREE, with enough left over for coffee and dessert!
 
Four-show Mini Paks offer a "create-your-own" package featuring the four shows of your choice. A summertime Wednesday Matinee 3-Pak provides a weekday escape to see LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST (June 23), HAY FEVER (July 28) and RICHARD II (August 25).
 
Subscribers may add the Outdoor Stage to their package for only $22.40 to $34 (regularly $28 to $40).
 
For those seeking the greatest flexibility, a FlexPass offers six discounted admissions to the plays and dates of your choice (not valid for Saturday evening performances).
 
Student subscriptions are available to full-time students with valid I.D. for only $10 per show (not available for Saturday evenings; exchange restrictions apply).
 
For tickets or additional information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.
 
- All titles and dates are subject to change. -
 
The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation. Serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is the state's only professional theatre company dedicated 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 contemporary audiences.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from numerous corporations, foundations and individuals. American Airlines is the official airline of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Triumph Brewing Company is The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's official beer provider. Crystal Rock Water is the company's official water provider.