Features:

 

‘The Tempest’ in Madison
By BILL NUTT
| The Daily Record
Most people consider “The Tempest” (along with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”) to be
Shakespeare’s most magical play. Its characters include Prospero, an aging sorcerer, and
his two supernatural servants, Ariel and Caliban.

But actor Sherman Howard feels that the real “magic” in “The Tempest” springs from a
very human emotion: mercy.

“At its heart, this is a play about forgiveness,” says Howard, who is playing Prospero in
the production that opens Wednesday, May 28. Click here to read more.

 

“THE TEMPEST” RAGES AT SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NJ
Discover Jersey Arts -
Culture Vultures
Sometimes a story is just so powerful, its characters so memorable, its themes so compelling that it just “goes viral” straight throughout the culture.

This is definitely true for Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” (1610-1611), a magical play, literally, with lots of magic in it. Over the centuries “The Tempest” has been adapted as an opera many times. The play has inspired composers, choreographers, painters and novelists. Movie versions include the 1956 sci-fi classic “Forbidden Planet” and Peter Greenaway’s jaw-dropping “Prospero’s Books” (1991). More recently, Julie Taymor did a gender-bending film, starring Helen Mirren as a female Prospero, and Cirque du Soleil adapted the play as “Amaluna,” a touring production. Click here to read more.

 

Reviews:

 

Deep in the Heart of Prospero
By MICHAEL SOMMERS
| The New York Times
The shipwreck that opens Shakespeare’s “Tempest” is often staged with billowing sails, splintering masts and despairing sailors lurching across heaving decks amid blasts of rain and wind. Yet that is not the way the play begins in the current production by the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey in Madison.

Bonnie J. Monte, the director, virtually eliminates this initial scene. Instead, Prospero, the sorcerer who is the story’s central figure, appears alone onstage as he conjures up the storm with his magical staff and a grim smile. A rising cacophony of anguished voices and tumultuous noises wells up around him to depict the chaos.

Such a radical beginning immediately puts the audience on notice that Ms. Monte will be less concerned with producing flashy stagecraft and more intent upon fleshing out the emotions that dwell within Prospero’s heart. Click here to read more.

 

'The Tempest' opens at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By RONNI REICH
| The Star-Ledger
The skies shift from pale morning to blue twilight, from Chagall-like washes of bright colors to a full-on rainbow. Mysterious, celestial chimes twinkle in the calm that follows the sea's harsh surge.

The setting is just right for a paradise that shows its inhabitants a "majestic vision" that can be conjured, a "brave new world," and the beauty of mankind.

"The Tempest," opening the 2014 season at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey and helmed by artistic director Bonnie J. Monte, presents a world of enchantment -- but does not get mired in it. Click here to read more.

 

Belly Laughs From the Bard?
By ERIC LEVIN
| New Jersey Monthly
Aye, many. And at the end, tears of joy, too. The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey's
new production ofThe Tempest keeps the signature sorcery subtle, letting one of its finest
actors, Sherman Howard, give us a warts-and-all sorceror--Prospero--we can yet warm
to.

I'm not overstating the belly laughs. You can count on Shakespeare to send in the clowns
when they're needed most. Here the boffo buffoons are a trio of drunken connivers who
literally get tangled up together:Jon Barker (as Prospero's slave, Caliban), Patrick Toon
(as Trinculo, a court jester) and Jeffrey M. Bender(as Stephano, butler to the King of
Naples). Click here to read more.

 

A CurtainUp New Jersey Review: The Tempest
By SIMON SALTZMAN
| CurtainUp
William Shakespeare's The Tempest is the play that launched Bonnie J. Monte as artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in 1991. After twenty-three years of contemplating and considering the many ways there are to interpret the Bard's fantastical tale of forgiveness and reconciliation (based on her director's notes), she has returned to it with renewed appreciation for its complexity and for the play's aim to "please" (quoting Prospero). 

With commendable if not startling results, Monte's vision and perspective is above all both personal and pleasing. Only Bardologists and others who have seen the play numerous times can say whether or not she has approached it with a new or previously unexplored insight. For the rest of us, it is a visually arresting production that doesn't attempt to either awe us with special effects or embroider its psychological subtext. Nevertheless, the aura of magic and mysticism looms over it as impressively commandeered by Sherman Howard's tempestuously tempered performance as Prospero. Click here to read more.

 

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens its new season in triumphant fashion
By BOB BROWN
| The Princeton Packet
THE Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens its 52nd season with one of Shakespeare’s late and greatest works, The Tempest, on the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre stage through June 22.

On opening night, director Bonnie J. Monte, now in her 24th season as the company’s artistic director, reminisced about the challenges of directing such an iconic and often-performed work. The Tempest was, in fact, her first directing job with the company in 1991. She noted the various possible approaches to a play that presents, as she describes it in production notes, an “infinite universe of ideas.” Click here to read more.

 

Shakespeare Theatre Opens 2014 Season with The Tempest
By BOB RENDELL
| Talkin' Broadway
Prospero is up to his old tricks harnessing the magical powers and spirits of the island off the coast of Italy where he and his fifteen-year-old daughter have been marooned for twelve years to brew up a storm in the pleasing Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey production of the Bard's likely final play, The Tempest.

This gentle storm safely shipwrecks onto the island Prospero's wicked brother, who has usurped the Dukedom of Milan from him: Alonso, The King of Naples; and his nubile son, Ferdinand, along with sundry members of their entourage. Over the course of two and a half hours, Shakespeare and his players treat us to magic, melodrama and comedy as Prospero sets matters aright for all. Click here to read more.

 

BWW Reviews: THE TEMPEST, a Theatrical Jewel at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
By MARINA KENNEDY
| Broadway World
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep."
-Prospero

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is presenting William Shakespeare's The Tempest through June 22nd. It is the ideal production to open their 53rd Season. Magic, adventure, intrigue, and romance are just some of the captivating elements of this classic play that will appeal to a broad audience.

Directed by the theatre's Artistic Director, Bonnie Monte, The Tempest features a stellar cast, wonderful staging, and distinctive touches. This play was the first production Monte directed when she joined the theatre more than 23 years ago. With impressive directing credits, Monte is an artist who develops dramatic works to their fullest potential. Click here to read more.

 

STNJ’s Towering “Tempest”
By SHERRI RASE
| QOnStage
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) launches its new 2013/2014 season with a breathtaking production of “The Tempest,” with performances through June 22. The moment you step into the theatre, you will know you’re in for something special. Brian Clinnin’s set and Tony Galaska’s lighting combine their genius for a set that has its own personality–sometimes stormy, sometimes luminescent and always a silent character in every scene.

Bonnie Monte’s vision is brilliantly realized and many of us had gotten a taste a bit over a year previously. STNJ and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra had partnered for the Winter Festival early in 2013 to present excerpts from “The Tempest” that featured returning Prospero, Sherman Howard, and Caliban, Jon Barker, giving us a glimpse of what was to come. Combined with Sibelius’ incidental music for a 1925 production, it was magic. But it only heralded the magic of this full production. Click here to read more.

 

REVIEW: “THE TEMPEST” TAKES MADISON BY STORM IN STNJ’S INAUGURAL PRODUCTION OF 2014 SEASON
By RUTH ROSS
| NJ Arts Maven
If The Tempest is William Shakespeare's swan song, then the Bard really went out with a bang—at least that's the impression given by The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's robust inaugural production of the troupe's 52nd season. Eschewing fancy special effects, Director Bonnie J. Monte relies on sound and light to suggest the magic on Prospero's island and focuses on the beautiful language and the motivations behind the characters' actions, thus turning them into rounded characters.

Beginning but three hours before the story ends, The Tempest involves Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, ruler of an enchanted island, as he sets out to avenge the wrongs brought upon him by his evil brother Antonio, who usurped his kingdom 12 years before. With the help of his enslaved spirit, Ariel, Prospero has conjured up a storm that leaves Antonio’s royal ship and its passengers shipwrecked on his island. Once safely ashore, the courtiers and crew members are manipulated by Prospero like pieces on a chess board and are soon caught up in a tempest of emotion and reason that will change them forever. Click here to read more.

 

A play about magic, forgiveness and revenge
By THOM MOLYNEAUX
| Pascack Valley
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey opens its season with a spirited production of "The Tempest." The first scene of the opening production is simply stunning. The powerful figure of Sherman Howard, playing Prospero, stands atop a rocky precipice, dark ominous clouds crowd the sky. Prospero wields the large magic staff to command thunder to roar, lightning to flash, a tempest to erupt and wreck a ship sailing off the coast of this island he rules. We hear — amidst the thunder and the howling winds — the screams and terror of the passengers and crew and the cracking snapping timber as the vessel is destroyed. Then lights up and we are on the craggy, rocky terrain of the island with Prospero and his young daughter, Miranda, (Lindsey Kyler) and into a lengthy exposition scene as Prospero fills in for Miranda (and the audience) who, why, and where they are. Click here to read more.

 

What She Did For Love: The Tempest at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By STEPHEN WELLS
| Baristanet
It’s rare in today’s world to encounter someone who has remained in the same position by choice for more than two decades, or whose thoughts more naturally turn to the subtleties of staging classic plays than toward more self-focused material ambitions. Yet when we do, as is the case with Bonnie J. Monte, who is entering her 24th season as artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison, there can’t help but be a sense of refreshing respect for her near-purist’s dedication to her art.

After years of study and thought about it since introducing herself at STNJ with a production of “The Tempest” in 1990, Monte has staged Shakespeare’s farewell to his art once again as the opening production of the current season. And what she’s learned through the years, in its simplest reduction, is to trust the words and avoid the gimmicks and manifestations of magic that the play lends itself to. Click here to read more.

 

The Tempest at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By PATRICK MALEY
| Exeunt Magazine
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has given itself a challenge in opening  its season with The Tempest.Director Bonnie J. Monte has met the play’s challenges and gives us a graceful Tempest with a keen eye towards the play’s most compelling characters.

The most immediate difficulty facing a director of The Tempest is how to keep the bear of an opening scene lively and compelling. In truth it’s a clunky exposition dump: on the occasion of the shipwreck that will bring Prospero his chance at redemption, he decides the time is meet to tell his daughter Miranda all the details of his personal and political history, and the conditions of their exile. Just when that heap of information has been adequately presented, Ariel and Caliban enter and we must then hear their stories in great detail. Finally, after the twists and turns of the plot roll out, the long final scene takes its sweet time unravelling the several disparate knots into which the plot has been wound. It is a play that teeters at all times on the precipice of tedium. Click here to read more.