2000 Season- Rock Thy Brain

A Message from the Artistic Director

A pretty hip phrase from a guy who's been around for four centuries. Then again, this is a man who's managed to traverse the 16th Century to the 21st with no decline in popularity. Indeed, Shakespeare has never been so hot.

Since the moment his words were first spoken upon the stage, they have risen into the air and infiltrated the consciousness of the entire planet. Shakespeare has, without a doubt, rocked the world. His phrase from Hamlet seemed such an apt slogan for the historic 2000 season, during which we celebrated my tenth anniversary as artistic director. It was an ambitious and unusual line-up of extraordinary plays, three of which represent some of Shakespeare's greatest work -- a comedy, a historical romance, and a provocative tragi-comedy.

In addition, we launched the season with another gem from the "Shakespeare of Russia," Alexander Ostrovsky, whose plays are a kind of speciality item here at NJSF. Making that selection even more exciting was the fact that we presented the American premiere adaption of this play by famed British playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

Interspersed were two rarely produced masterpieces -- one from France's adopted son Eugene Ionesco, whose brilliant post-war allegory, RHINOCEROS, remains the late Zero Mostel's great signature piece; and last but not least, THE BLUE BIRD, a very special offering that signaled the launching of a new initiative here at the Festival to present, each season, one epic classic for children and adults alike. To inaugurate this new undertaking, we chose to create a new adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck's The BLUE BIRD, a great symbolic tale of the search for happiness.

2000 Season Plays

Click each title below for more info

The Forest

By Alexander Ostrovsky
a new translation by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Bonnie J. Monte

A rich middle-aged widow schemes to win the love of a young bachelor. A young couple plots their elopement. Wily servants connive on behalf of their mistress. A local merchant contrives to increase his fortune, and two vagabond actors concoct a plan to fill their empty stomachs. This scathing and hilarious comedy of manners by the "Shakespeare of Russia" will split your sides with laughter!

THE FOREST closed to rave reviews. The New York Times called THE FOREST "enchanted...(it) breathes with the magic of probing, enriching theatre." The Star-Ledger applauded the Festival for "unearthing a neglected treasure," and called Paul Mullins’s performance as the penniless tragedian "most remarkable -- his finest hour," and that of his counterpart, Malcolm Tulip "hilarious."

The Crew

Settings by Charles Wittreich Jr.
Costumes by Molly Reynolds
Lighting by Bruce Auerbach
Production Stage Manager - Alison Cote*
Assistant to the Director - Jake Berger

The Cast

Raisa Pavlovna Gurmyzhskaya - Judith Anna Roberts*
Aksinya Danilovna - Jennifer Curfman
Pyotr - Greg Derelian*
Aleksey Sergeyevich Bulanov - Tom Biglin*
Yevgeniy Apollonych Milonov - Darrill Rosen
Uar Kirilych Bodayev - Tom Brennan*
Ivan Petrovich Vosmibratov - Dudley Knight*
Karp - Jim Mohr*
Ulita - Debbie Lee Jones*
Gennadiy Neschastlivtsev - Paul Mullins*
Arkadiy Schastlivtsev - Malcolm Tulip*

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

In Memoriam
The artists of the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival dedicate this production of The Forest in honor of Sir John Gielgud, for whom our Green Room is named. A 1997 letter from Sir John, in which he bestows his good wishes and blessing upon our new theatre, graces our wall, where it hangs next to a plaque bearing his name. We celebrate his great theatrical legacy and the inspiration which he provided for so many of us with his eight decades of great performances.

Twelfth Night

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joseph Discher


The height of comic genius. One of the greatest examinations of the power of love. It picks up where Shakespeare in Love left off! Journey with the disguised Viola, the love-sick Count Orsino and the drunken Sir Toby Belch through the labyrinth of Shakespeare's brilliant and hilarious ode to truth and partnership. Its music, poetry and beauty will soothe your soul.

The Crew
Director: Joseph Discher
Set Design: Troy Hourie
Costume Design: Isabel Rubio
Lighting Design: Bill Berner
Production Stage Manager: Martin Lechner
Fight Director: Rick Sordelet

The Cast
Orsino - Tom Delling*
Curio - Jared Zeus
Valentine - Andrew Schwartz
Viola - Lauren Lovett*
Sea Captain - Kevin Rolston
Sir Toby Belch - Malcolm Tulip*
Maria - Ryan Dunn*
Sir Andrew Aguecheek - Jeff Bender
Feste - James Michael Reilly*
Olivia - Caralyn Kozlowski*
Malvolio - Edmond Genest*
Antonio - T.R. Shields*
Sebastian - Kevin Henderson*
Fabian - Walter E. Cupit
Gentlewoman - Masha Obolensky
First Officer - Jared Zeus
Second Officer - Andrew Schwartz
Priest - Kevin Rolston
Sailor - Walter E. Cupit
Servant to Olivia - Natasha Badillo
Servants to Orsino - Nayan Panchal, Seth Rabinowitz
Bouzouki Player - Vasilis Tsoukalas

* Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Rhinoceros

By Eugène Ionesco
Directed by Paul Mullins


A rare treat. A masterpiece of absurdist theatre. Inspired writing, biting social commentary, a plea for the struggle of the individual amidst the power of the "herd." A cry against the totalitarian state, peppered with the tart wit of one of Europe's greatest post-World War II playwrights. You'll drop your jaw at the transformation of these all too human "animals."

The Crew
Directed by Paul Mullins
Settings by Michael Schweikardt
Costumes by Jonathan Bixby and Gregory Gale
Lighting by Michael Giannitti
Sound Design by Richard Dionne
Production Stage Manager - Alison Cote*

The Cast

Jean - Andrew Weems*
Berenger - Paul Niebanck*
Daisy - Katie MacNichol*
Dudard - Bruce Turk*
Mr. Papillion - Helmar Augustus Cooper*
Botard - Herman Petras*
Logician - Roy Cockrum*
Old Man - Robert Hock*
Mrs. Boeuf - Debbie Lee Jones*
Waitress - Veronica Watt
Housewife with Cat - Masha Obolensky
Grocer’s Wife - Beth Bailey
Grocer - John Kennedy
Café Proprietor - Walter Cupit
Fireman - Jared Zeus
Another Jean - Andy Schwartz

Additional Staff for Rhinoceros:

Assistants to the Director - Mindy Beers and Jason Bohon
Assistants to the Stage Manager - Pauline Milano and Alexandra Paquette
Rhinoceros Costume Construction - Euro Co. Costumes NYC

Special Thanks:
Bucknell University
Brian B. Crowe
TDF The Costume Collection
TheaterWorks

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

Antony & Cleopatra

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Bonnie J. Monte


The great warrior and statesman Mark Antony. The exotic and powerful Queen Cleopatra.Their passion creates a culture clash of epic proportion and sets the empires of Rome and Egypt aflame with strife. The destruction of the private lives of these very public figures will ignite your passion as their love defeats even death. Featuring Robert Cuccioli as Mark Antony and Tamara Tunie as Cleopatra.

The Crew
Directed by Bonnie J. Monte
Settings by Harry Feiner
Costumes by Miranda Hoffmann
Lighting by Steve Rosen
Production Stage Manager - Gillian Duncan*
Sound Design - Richard M. Dionne

The Cast

Mark Antony - Robert Cuccioli*
Cleopatra - Tamara Tunie*
Charmian - Abigail Lopez*
Octavius Caesar - Grant Goodman*
Enobarbus - Mark Elliot Wilson*
Mardian - David Lomax*
Octavia - Veronica Watt
Lepidus/Proculeius - Brian Dowd*
Agrippa - Michael Nichols*
Iras - Dawn Michelle
Alexas - Michael Earle
Maecenas - T.R. Shields*
Ventidius/Dercetus - John Kevin Kennedy
Messenger #1/Eros - Andrew Schwartz
Scarus - Kevin P. Rolston
Messenger #3/Soldier #1 - Christian Conn
Messenger#2/Thidius/Watch #1 - Donnie Mather
Messenger #4/Taurus - Richard Gallerani
Soothsayer/Schoolmaster - Darrill Rosen
Pompey/Messenger #5/Sentry - Darren Page
Menas/Soldier #2 - Walter Cupit
Varrius/Cleo’s Messenger/Clown - Jeffrey Bender

*Denotes members of the Actors’ Equity Association

The Merchant of Venice

By William Shakespeare
Directed by Richard Corley


Just added to the fall lineup — the most oft-requested play by Festival audiences! A provocative, controversial and mercurial “comedy”, rich with paradox, it explores the challenging issues of intolerance, prejudice and materialism, and — as in all of Shakespeare’s plays — the quest for a balanced and harmonious existence.

The Crew
Directed by Richard Corley
Settings by Larry W. Brown
Costumes by Linda Cho
Lighting by Matthew Adelson
Music and Sound Design by Obadiah Eaves
Production Stage Manager - Marcos Dinnerstein*

The Cas
t - in order of apperance
Antonio - Mark Elliot Wilson*
Salerio - Christian Conn
Solanio - Michael Esper
Bassanio - Stevie Ray Dallimore*
Lorenzo - Ramon de Ocampo*
Gratiano - Gareth Saxe*
Portia - Kate Forbes*
Nerissa - Veronica Watt
Shylock - Nicholas Kepros*
Morocco - TBA
Launcelot Gobbo - Jonathan Uffelman*
Old Gobbo - Robert Hock*
Leonardo - Donnie Mather
Jessica - Joy Hooper
Arragon/Duke of Venice - Conan McCarty*
Tubal - Darren Page
Balthasar - Michael Earle
Stephano - Walter E. Cupit
Jailer, Magnificoes, Messengers, Servants - Members of the Ensemble

Assistant to the Stage Manager - Michael Beckwith

* denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association

The Blue Bird

By Maurice Maeterlinck
Directed by Bonnie J. Monte


Embark upon a mystical journey in the quest to capture the blue bird of happiness. Take a journey with a brother and sister whose lives are changed forever one Christmas Eve. Their epic journey is one of mythic scope, filled with danger, heartbreak, and all the mysterious lands that exist secretly beyond the realm of understanding. This great symbolic tale of the quest for happiness will open the hearts and souls of children and adults alike. A new adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck's classic fairy tale, for all ages.

The Crew
Directed by Bonnie J. Monte
Settings by Harry Feiner
Costumes by Molly Reynolds
Lighting by Phil Monat
Sound Design by Richard M. Dionne
Composed by John Hoge
Production Stage Manager - Gillian Duncan
Guest Scenic Artist - Mary Kay Samouce

The Cast - in order of apperance
Daddy Tyl - Michael Nichols*
Mummy Tyl - Caralyn Kozlowski*
Tyltyl - Paul Molnar*
Mytyl - Holly Haire*
Fairy Berylune - Mary Dierson*
Bread - Jeffrey M. Bender*
Fire - Veronica Watt*
Tylo, the Dog - Andy Paterson*
Tylette, the Cat - Sarah Murphy
Water - Beth Bailey
Milk - Michael Stewart Allen*
Sugar - Christian Conn
Light - Caralyn Kozlowski*
Granny Tyl - Mary Dierson*
Gaffer Tyl - Jim Mohr*
Tomas - Austin Colaluca
Night - Chantal Jean-Pierre
Shades - Beth Bailey, Michael Beckwith
Terror - Walter E. Cupit
Sleep - Austin Colaluca
Sleep's Sister - Julie Sasso
The Stars - Janna Zimmermann, Sophie Marshall, Ryan Angel
Moonbeams - Austin Mahler, Katherine Zimmermann
Cold-in-the-Head - Charles Aden
Oak - Michael Nichols*
Oakling - Ian Mahler
CrabApple - Jim Mohr*
Fir - Walter E. Cupit
Beech - Veronica Watt*
Birch - Michael Stewart Allen*
Willow - Beth Bailey
Rabbit - Charles Aden
Wolf - Jeffrey M. Bender*
Wild Boar - Christian Conn
Fox - Michael Beckwith
Bear - Michael Chernus
Squirrels - Janna Zimmermann, Katherine Zimmermann, Austin Mahler
Porcupine - Julie Rose Sasso
Ivy - Sophie Marshall
Guardians - Beth Bailey, Walter E. Cupit, Chantal Jean-Pierre
Blue Child #1 - Austin Colaluca
Blue Child #2 - Charles Aden
Blue Child #3 - Ian Mahler
Blue Child #4 - Sophie Marshall
Sleeping Blue Child - Austin Mahler
Justice - Julie Rose Sasso
Tiny Blue Child - Katherine Zimmermann
Tiny Blue Child's Sister - Janna Zimmermann
Time - Jim Mohr*
The Little Girl (Lover) - Ryan Angel
The Little Boy (Lover) - Michael Chernus
Neighbor Berlingot - Mary Dierson*
Neighbor Berlingot's Daughter - Ryan Angel

Assistant to the Stage Manager - Michael Beckwith
Assistant to the Stage Manager - Dawn D'Arrigo

* denotes members of Actors’ Equity Association