A Portrait of Eternally Beguiling Americana
By MICHAEL SOMMERS | The New York Times
During the two intermissions of a recent performance of “Our Town” at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, I overheard a number of older patrons remark that they had never before seen it. That was a bit surprising, because this great, enduring play by Thornton Wilder has been staged countless times since its 1938 premiere in Princeton.
It must be lovely to discover the cosmic wonders of “Our Town” for the first time. It certainly is lovely to encounter the play again in such a beautiful production as the one in Madison. Click here to read more.
'Our Town' opens at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By RONNI REICH | The Star-Ledger
The locale of Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" is hardly an exotic one for theatergoers. But Grover’s Corners, where the simple pleasures of gazing at the moon or watching the sun come over the mountain are the only entertainment needed, has long maintained its hold on audiences, and understandably so.
This year, the play celebrates its 75th birthday, and it is on more than one list of the most regularly staged high school productions. Premiered at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, it also holds a special place in New Jersey’s dramatic history. Click here to read more.
'Our Town' Stirs Audience Emotions at Shakespeare Theatre
By LIZ KEILL | The Alternative Press
MADISON – No matter how long Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” has been around, it never ceases to pull our heart strings and take us back to a time when life had a certain simplicity, a predictability that most of us never really knew.
Director Joe Discher has woven that spell anew. This beautifully crafted play, with the simplest of sets and pantomimed props, continues to pulse with human emotions, intergenerational conflicts and all the ups and downs of everyday life. Click here to read more.
A CurtainUp New Jersey Review: Our Town
By SIMON SALTZMAN | CurtainUp
The Halloween season presumably puts one in the mood for visiting a grave where dead spirits are known to get restless, this by either turning over or perhaps knowing that it is traditionally the time of year to climb out and scare the living. I suspect, however, that it isn't Halloween when Emily Gibbs nee Webb, the young wife who has recently died during childbirth and is now buried in the hilltop cemetery in Grover's Corners, is not ready to settle down just yet and makes a short visit to her parent's home in Grover's Corners. Click here to read more.
Our Town: Enduring American Classic Lovingly Revived
By BOB RENDELL | Talkin' Broadway
Thornton Wilder's 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning Our Town is the quintessential and most timeless American play. Even as our values have changed over the 75 years that have passed since it was written, there remains a bedrock foundation of independence and values upon which America was built—the primacy of the family unit (even as the definition of family has altered), individual freedom, caring for members of one's community, duty to country, and the determination to survive and carve out a fruitful life no matter how difficult the landscape—which is brilliantly captured in this play. No matter what your politics and, especially if these seem like empty words to you, I strongly recommend that you see Our Town because it has the ability to make manifest the potency of the values and spirit on which the America which so many of us love was built. Click here to read more.
Wilder’s “Our Town” at STNJ
By SHERRI RASE | QOnStage
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s current offering of its 2013 season is Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town.” I blush to admit that, while it was a play that was done at one of the high schools that I attended, it is only now that I’ve seen it performed. And a dazzling performance it was.
For those who are unfamiliar with the play, we are looking at different times in the lives of the denizens of Grover’s Corners New Hampsha–uh–Hampshire and especially at two neighboring families, the Gibbs and the Webbs. Predictably, their two respective eldest fall in love and George Gibbs and Emily Webb will marry in Act Two, as people did in the early 1900s, prior to the rise of Internet dating. Nisi Sturgis and Jordan Coughtry play Emily and George with such aching youth and stormy innocence that, several times before it’s articulated in Act Two, you will contemplate the quote most often attributed to George Bernard Shaw that “youth is wasted on the young.” Click here to read more.
Review: Luminous “Our Town” Shines @ Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By RUTH ROSS | News Record | NJ Arts Maven
There oughta be a law: every 10 years, theatergoers/lovers should be required to attend a production of Thornton Wilder's ground-breaking Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Our Town. Why? Well, at each performance, because of the passage of time, we see the events unfolding onstage through a new lens of experience, making its themes reverberate differently for us at various stages in our lives.
That is exactly what happened to me at Tuesday night's performance of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's emotionally satisfying production ofOur Town. I saw the play in 1996 and later in 2001, yet, I was totally unprepared for the profound effect the play's simplicity and honesty had on me. Despite the oddity (for us) of its scenes of rural life and eschewal of colorful language, Our Town resonates anew to show that Wilder still has something important to say. Click here to read more.
BWW Reviews: A Fun, Faithful OUR TOWN at the NJ Shakespeare Theatre
By PATRICK KENNEDY | Broadway World
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Our Town, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has offered a faithful and finely-worked rendition of Thornton Wilder's beloved play. This is a very standard-issue version of Our Town-no interpretive frills, no turns of staging that Wilder himself couldn't have foreseen. But objecting to a standard Our Town is like objecting to a standard apple pie or a standard gray suit. Who cares if it's conservative, so long as it's put together gracefully? What director Joseph Discher and his cast have devised is a well-calibrated performance that honors Wilder's intentions simply by proceeding at a fine clip through Wilder's script. Again, there aren't any wild interpretive touches-but there isn't any "75th Anniversary" commemorative rigmarole either. Just a crisp, satisfying performance. Click here to read more.
Review: Thorton Wilder's 'Our Town' at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By RICK BUSCIGLIO | Examiner.com
‘The ordinary people of the ordinary town of Grover’s Corners, New Hampshire’ are alive and well (again) and in good hands on the stage of the Kirby Theatre, home of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. One of the true theater treasures in the state, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, renown for the quality of its productions, has mounted an impressive retelling of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner, Thorton Wilder's homage to small-town American life, Our Town. The now great American classic may be set in a small New England town at the turn of the last century, but it has an important New Jersey connection. Our Town was originally produced at The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey and premiered on Broadway in 1938 to great acclaim. Click here to read more.
It’s time to pay a visit to “Our Town” for a simply great production at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
By JANINE M. TORSIELLO | Morris Beats
If you are one of those people who fell in love with George and Emily and the people of Thornton Wilder's play “Our Town” in high school or some time long ago then you need to see it again. If you have never seen it then you are in for a singular treat. As it happens The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has once again taken a favorite old play and brought it back to life in a wonderful way. The company's production of this most beloved play is a perfectly paired down and raw version that sticks true to the playwright's original vision of the piece. And the show and its director and cast make a great argument for needing to see this play in every stage of your life because it speaks new truths at every stage. Click here to read more.
‘Our Town’ a brilliant, boldly theatrical play
By THOM MOLYNEAUX | NorthJersey.com
The first thing you notice when you enter The F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre to see Thornton Wilder’s "Our Town" is that set designer Charlie Calvert has transformed the bare, empty stage of this theater into a meticulously detailed version of the bare, empty stage of a theater. It turns out that this is not an ironic "gilding the lily" sort of choice, but the key to director Joseph Discher’s stunning visual staging of this classic American drama.
"Our Town" has been around for 75 years and we tend to think of it as an old-fashioned play by an old-fashioned author — a safe choice for high school drama clubs and community theaters. But it’s not simply a nostalgic chronicle of some lives in a small American town; it’s a brilliant, boldly theatrical play that has meaningful philosophical depth beneath its charming homespun surface. Click here to read more.
An Unsentimental Education: Our Town at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey
By NOAH MILLMAN | The American Conservative
Amazingly enough, until this past Sunday I’d never actually seen a production of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, nor even read the play. I think I assumed that it was an exercise in sentimentality – a love letter to a lost world – as well as a theatrical museum piece, using techniques that might have been avant-guard in 1938 but that would seem quaint today. After taking in Stratford’s magnificent production of The Matchmaker back in 2012, you’d think I would have learned that I have an affinity for Wilder, but apparently not yet. Now, having just seen the very traditional production on view at the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, I think I won’t forget. Although, if I take Wilder’s own play to heart, I know I eventually will. Click here to read more.
HomeTowne TV: Theatre Review of NJ Shakespeare Theater's Our Town
'Our Town' returns to NJ for Madison staging
By BILL NUTT | The Daily Record
“There is something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
Joseph Discher feels that this observation – at once simply stated but profoundly complex – is the key to understanding “Our Town.” That “eternal” truth is the reason why Thornton Wilder’s play, first performed 75 years ago, still resonates today.
“It’s a play that’s so often performed that we feel we know it,” he says. “But we don’t. Every day at rehearsal, we’re hit with something new. At every different phase of your life, your perspective on the play changes.” Click here to read more.
BWW Interviews: Jordan Coughtry and Nisi Sturgis in The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ's OUR TOWN
By MARINA KENNEDY | Broadway World
Romance and drama come to The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey stage this week in the 75th Anniversary of Thornton Wilder's classic play, Our Town. Broadwayworld.com had the unique opportunity to discuss the show with Jordan Coughtry who plays George Gibbs and Nisi Sturgis who has the role of Emily. Both Coughtry and Sturgis have performed in numerous company productions and have impressive acting credits.
This talented pair will portray a loving couple on stage. And, it should be known that they share a real life romance as well. The two were engaged on The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Stage during the 50th Anniversary Season when they were in the cast of Trelawney of the Wells. Recently married on September 21st, they were already in rehearsals for Our Town when they flew to Arkansas for the ceremony at Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs. Click here to read more.