Reviews:


Trelawny of the 'Wells'
By Terry Teachout
 | The Wall Street Journal
One hundred years ago, Arthur Wing Pinero was one of the most successful playwrights of the Vicwardian era. Today he's a footnote, if that. Might it be time to check him out again? Several British companies have mounted Pinero revivals in recent months, and now the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has taken the plunge with "Trelawny of the 'Wells,' " an 1898 backstage "comedietta" (Pinero's word) that hasn't been seen in New York since 1975. I feared that it would be a stale period piece, but I couldn't have been more wrong: "Trelawny of the 'Wells' " is charming and fresh, and this production, staged with total sympathy by Bonnie J. Monte, the company's artistic director, is convincing in every way. Click here to read more.


A Tribute to the Theater, Done From the Stage
By Michael Sommers
 | The New York Times
The ghost light — a safety lamp that illuminates a stage whenever a theater otherwise is dark — glows before the start of “Trelawny of the Wells,” the current production of the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. It is an appropriate harbinger for this 1898 comedy by Arthur Wing Pinero, which affectionately resurrects the picturesque phantoms of bygone theater days.

Hundreds of plays have been written about actors, but few are as charming as “Trelawny of the Wells,” which is now receiving a rare and loving revival in Madison. Bonnie J. Monte, the director, who notes in the program that she has wanted to stage the work for 30 years, provides a production that gently underscores the notion of creating theater. Click here to read more.


Making the scene: 'Trelawny' presents bird's-eye view of theater and its denizens
By Ronni Reich
 | The Star-Ledger
Bonnie J. Monte, artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey waited 30 years to stage Sir Arthur Wing Pinero’s 1898 “Trelawny of the Wells” — a show she became enamored with as an assistant director at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

A show that glories in everything about theater — especially the lives, temperaments and camaraderie of actors — “Trelawny” has now reached the Madison stage with a more-than-worthy cast. Monte, the theater’s artistic director, leads an endearing production.

The play begins at a boarding house for actors in the Sadler-Wells Theatre Company. The company’s prized flower — named Rose, naturally — is plucked (as one character says) from their home and profession to be turned into a real lady. Click here to read more.


Oh, the humanity: 'Trelawny of the Wells' a wellspring of warmth and humor
By C. W. Walker
 | The Daily Record
You’ve probably never heard of “Trelawny of the Wells” by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, never mind seen it presented on stage. In the notes for the current production at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, Bonnie J. Monte admits that back in 1982, she’d never heard of the play either. But then her old mentor, the famed director Nikos Psacharopoulos of the Williamstown Theatre Festival, decided to do it and Monte, who served as his assistant, fell in love with the work. She always hoped to direct it herself.

Now here we are, 30 years later, and for the last offering of the theater’s 50th anniversary season, Monte has finally realized her dream. This is fortunate for us, her audience, because “Trelawny” is a lovely play, brimming with finely observed humanity, warmth, and gentle humor. Click here to read more.


'Trelawny of the Wells' Pays Tribute to Theater, Audience
By William Westhoven
 | Madison Patch
The first half-century at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is coming to a close this month with a production that pays homage not only to the players on the stage, but the people in the seats.

Calling it a play she’s wanted to do for 30 years, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte’s rare revival of Arthur Wing Pinero’s “Trelawny of the Wells” gives us actors playing actors and, as this milestone season concludes, a glimpse into why they do what they do. Click here to read more.


The Shakespeare Theatre wraps up its season with a love letter to theater folk
By Bob Brown
 | The Princeton Packet
For the final production of its 50th-anniversary season, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey celebrates the acting profession with Trelawny of the Wells, a hilarious comedy about actors, on stage through Dec. 30. Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte has chosen a show that not only features a large part of the company regulars, but it’s a project she has wanted to direct for decades: “...the play is a love letter to theatre folk,” she writes in production notes.

Playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero knew well the life of a stage actor. He had been a supporting player in the late 1870s with London’s Lyceum Theatre Company and went on to write dozens of plays. Some of these, like the work of his contemporary George Bernard Shaw, featured strong female characters. Click here to read more.


Trelawny of the Wells
By Simon Saltzman
 | CurtainUp
What a treat it is to encounter for the very first time a vintage play that has eluded me— for a very good reason. Sir Arthur Wing Pinero’s 1898 Trelawny of the Wells, is rarely revived but (now that I have seen it) I can attest that it is as sweet a relic about theater and theater people (notwithstanding the more acidic contemporary aspects of 1950s film All About Eve) as you are likely to encounter. I also can’t think of a better way for you to be introduced to this play’s charms than through Bonnie J. Monte’s comically bubbly final production of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey 50th anniversary season. 

While Monte is not only earning her credit for stylishly directing a play that has (according to her program note) been on her wish list to direct for thirty years, but also for serving as co-scenic designer (with Anita Tripathi Easterling) and for the sound design, all of which is proof that she needn’t be concerned that her ambitious efforts have been spread too thin. Costume designer Hugh Hanson didn’t need an assist in creating an eye-filling array of late Victorian attire. Click here to read more.

Shakespeare Theatre's 'Trelawny of the Wells' Serves Up Tribute to Theatre Artists
By Liz Keill
 | The Alternative Press
Shakespeare Theatre Artistic Director Bonnie Monte calls “Trelawny of the Wells,” “a love letter to theatre artists that celebrates admirers and patrons as well.” On opening night at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, she said she has wanted to do this play for 30 years, ever since she was first involved with it at the Williamstown Festival Theatre. NJST’s 50th anniversary seemed like the ideal time.

Written by Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, this stylish production takes place in Victorian London, contrasting the lives of artists in their careless lodgings with the proper home of the Gowers on Cavendish Square. Arthur, the grandson of Sir William Gower, has fallen in love with Rose Trelawny, an actress and one of the ‘gypsies’ who travels about the countryside. Click here to read more.

Trelawny of the Wells — STNJ’s Winter Rose
By Sherri Rase
 | QOnStage
Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's "Trelawny of the 'Wells'" puts the finishing touches on Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's (STNJ) brilliant 50th Anniversary season. Bonnie J. Monte has directed this production that is a love letter to theatre people in the front of house and back of house. The victories and bitter realities of being part of a theatre company are depicted in a way that was most uncommon when Pinero first penned his paean back in the late 1800s. Click here to read more.

'Trelawny of the Wells' fine romantic comedy at STNJ
By Rick Busciglio
 | Examiner
Oscar Wilde's comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest" is from the same Victorian period as The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's season ending production "Trelawny of the Wells" by the Victorian playwright Sir Arthur Wing Pinero known for writing strong parts for leading ladies.

Unlike Wilde's iconic comedy of the late 1800's, "Trelawny of the Wells" has been rarely produced on this side of the Atlantic. Its last major New York production was at Lincoln Center in 1975 with Meryl Streep and Mandy Patinkin. The play was adapted in 1928 by M-G-M as an early sound film for Norma Shearer.

"Trelawny" is an amusing, affectionate "bonbon" for anyone who ever experienced the cry "curtain" from behind it, or ever dreamed of a life on stage. Or as Bonnie J. Monte states: "it is a love letter to artists, their admirers, and the art of theatre all at once! If you never had the "bug" to act, don't fear, there is much to enjoy in this relatively straight forward plot. No need for Sherlock Holmes' powers of observation to recognize the plot's obvious, but charming and romantic direction. Click here to read more.

"Trelawny" opening at Shakepeare Theatre of NJ is filled with surprises
By Janine M. Torsiello
 | Morris Beats
It was not just another opening night for the official kickoff of the final show of the 50th season for The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. When “Trelawney of the Wells” debuted on Saturday night there were some special guests in the audience – former NJ Gov. Brendan Byrne and his wife, along with former NJ Gubernatorial candidate and current President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Chris Daggett. It turned out that Daggett was in attendance partly because he had an important announcement to make. He was there to honor a retired Dodge board member, Barbara Debs, with a gift in her name to someone in the arts and it turned out the honoree was none other than STJ's own Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte, who received a $25,000 award. Monte, who also directed “Trelawney,” seemed genuinely moved as she was presented the gift along with a standing ovation in the theater. Click here to read more.

Features:


'Trelawny' ends Shakespeare Theatre's 50th season
By Bill Nutt
 | The Asbury Park Press
Even though it’s set more than 100 years in the past in a country an ocean away, the play “Trelawny of the Wells” offers a peek into a world that some audiences may think they know: the world of the theater itself. The comedy focuses on an actress, Rose Trelawny, who specializes in the melodramas that were popular in late 19th century England. Though she enjoys a successful career, Rose gives up the stage to marry Arthur Gower, an aristocrat. Complications ensue.

“Trelawny of the Wells” is the last play in the 50th anniversary season of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. The show runs Dec. 5 through 30. For Nisi Sturgis, who plays Rose, the chance to play an actress offers a delicious challenge. Click here to read more.


A couple on and off stage in Shakespeare Theatre's 'Trelawny of the Wells'
By Ronni Reich
 | The Star-Ledger
Nisi Sturgis and Jordan Coughtry met six years ago at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. As she was finishing up a production of "Pride and Prejudice," he was beginning rehearsals for "Cymbeline." "We saw each other on a porch and our hearts sort of chronicled that moment," Sturgis said in a phone interview from her home in New York..

Now together for four years, the couple is about to star in Arthur Wing Pinero’s "Trelawny of the Wells" at the Shakespeare Theatre. Artistic director Bonnie J. Monte helms the production. Click here to read more.


Previews:


Nisi Sturgis to Play Title Role in Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Trelawny of the Wells
By Bethany Rickwald
 | TheatreMania.com
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will conclude its 50th anniversary season with Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's Trelawny of the Wells, December 5-30 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. Bonnie J. Monte will direct the production.

The play tells the story of Rose Trelawny, a young star of the London stage, who gives up her career to marry Arthur Gower, her aristocratic suitor. Click here to read more.


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Presents Trelawny of the Wells
Broadway World

Rose Trelawny, a young star of the London stage, gives up the theatre in order to marry Arthur Gower, her devoted suitor and a member of the aristocracy. When Rose discovers just how stuffy, stiff and repressed her new life will be, she flees back into the arms of her theatrical family and the warm glow of the footlights. From thence, the plot unfolds.

“I assisted my mentor on a production of this play 30 years ago, and fell in love with it,” said Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. “I’ve long wanted to direct a production of Trelawny…but have been waiting for a very special occasion; the finale of our 50th anniversary season is that perfect opportunity, for it’s a love letter to artists, their admirers, and the art of theatre all at once! It is especially fitting as a tribute to the thousands of actors who have graced our stages over the past five decades, and who have brought some of the world’s greatest plays to life for generations of audiences.” Click here to read more.