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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Outdoor Stage production of Molière’s comedy The Learned Ladies Begins in June


The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Outdoor Stage production of Molière’s comedy The Learned Ladies brings theatre alive under the stars at the enormously popular summer venue on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township. This replica of an ancient Greek theatre nestled into the hillside of the bucolic campus offers a unique theatrical event.  The Learned Ladies begins on June 18th and continues through July 27th

Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 7:30 p.m., and a special twilight performance on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for students and $35 for adults. Children under age five go for free. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit  Groups of 10 or more are eligible for group discounts.

The large lawn surrounding the amphitheater is ideal for picnicking.  Audience members may bring their own food and beverages, or purchase snacks and soft drinks on-site.  Patrons are encouraged to bring low-backed beach chairs into the amphitheatre.   Stadium seats are available for rental for $3.00 while supplies last. Seating is general admission.

Molière’s satirical masterpiece follows the trials of the young couple Henriette and Clitandre while Henriette’s female relations voice their high-brow disapproval. These women fancy themselves culturally “learned” and are great patrons of the pseudo-scholarly Trissotin, a poet with lofty aspirations which include receiving Henriette’s hand in marriage.  The bourgeois family’s conflict provides the comic foundation for Molière’s signature farce.  As Henriette’s father Chrysale wearily exclaims, “Is there a stranger house in Christendom/Than mine, where women are as mad as hatters/And everything is known except what matters?”

Molière’s exceptional wit is on full display in this fun farce, filled with frolicking, flirting, and flaunting. Pulitzer Prize-winning American scholar and poet Richard Wilbur translated the work. The New York Times praised Wilbur’s skill when Roundabout Theatre Company revived his translation of The Learned Ladies in 1982, “Molière has had no better American friend than…Richard Wilbur, whose translations…are beautiful works of art in themselves.”

The Outdoor Stage is generously supported by Bank of America.  A partner of The Outdoor Stage since 2004, their committed and generous support has helped make The Shakespeare Theatre’s Outdoor Stage one of the most unique and anticipated summer theatrical events in the region.  “We are immensely grateful to Bank of America for their steadfast backing,” said the Theatre’s Director of Development Heidi Speckhart.  “This partnership makes it possible for tens of thousands of patrons to enjoy extraordinary world-class theatre under-the-stars.” 

“The Outdoor Stage is one of the most unique and anticipated summer theatrical events in the region,” said Bob Doherty, Bank of America New Jersey president. “Local nonprofits like the Shakespeare Theatre make arts and culture more accessible, and the Outdoor Stage never fails to deliver inspiring entertainment.”

Before each performance, audience members may visit the nearby Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery (located on the main floor of The College’s Annunciation Center to the left of the Outdoor Stage) and view the new exhibit Compiled and Composed: Sculptural Formations. This exhibition of contemporary sculptural practices reveals accumulations, assemblages, and excavations in the work of New Jersey and New York artists. Gallery director Dr. Virginia Fabbri Butera describes the exhibition, “Working with shape, color and juxtapositions of found objects or carefully formed materials, these artists create beautiful, humorous, and profound compositions reflecting the chaos of contemporary life.” The exhibit is on view June 18 - July 27, Tuesday – Sunday from 5:00 - 8:00 pm. For more information, visit or email

The Cast

Marion Adler plays Philaminte, the indomitable mother obsessed with “learning.” Adler’s Shakespeare Theatre credits include Our Town, The Winter’s Tale, Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as the musical Enter the Guardsman for which she wrote the lyrics. She regularly works with the renowned Stratford Festival in Canada where she has appeared in King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Twelfth Night. Off-Broadway, she starred as The Blonde in her own musical Gunmetal Blues.

As Trissotin, the scholar and aspiring poet, Clark Scott Carmichael returns for his twelfth season with the Theatre where he has appeared in Pericles, The Liar, A Christmas Carol, All’s Well That Ends Well, Henry VI, That Scoundrel Scapin, Carnival!, among others. He appeared on Broadway as Jumper in Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers, directed by David Leveaux and starring Simon Russell Beale. His film and television credits include the hit series House of Cards, Boardwalk Empire, Campbell Scott’s Hamlet and the forthcoming films Sweet Lorraine starring Tatum O’Neal and Hard Sell starring Kristin Chenoweth. 

Rachael Fox plays the headstrong young lover Henriette. Fox appeared last season at the Theatre as Hélène Dupont in Tovarich; her previous Shakespeare Theatre credits include Trelawny Of The Wells, Measure For Measure, and the 2012 Shakespeare LIVE! tour. Fox has worked with Emursive Theatre Company at The McKittrick Hotel, The Rita Morgenthau Theatre, and Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre. Her film credits include Never Forever, Prince Rama, and Campus Life, dir. Catherine Scorsese and Kenneth Waddell.

Shakespeare Theatre veteran John Hickok does “double duty,” portraying Henriette’s father Chrysale and the visiting scholar Vadius. Hickok has appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre as Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Polonius in Hamlet, and Gloucester in Henry VI: Blood and Roses. He has worked extensively regionally and on Broadway, playing opposite Frank Langella in Man and Boy at the Roundabout and originating the roles of Governor Slaton in Parade, Zoser in Aida, and Professor Bhaer in Little Women.

As Henriette’s paramour Clitandre, Maurice Jones makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut. His Broadway credits include the recent productions of Julius Caesar with Denzel Washington and Romeo and Juliet. Jones film and television credits And So It Goes directed by Rob Reiner, Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell, 30 Rock, and Conviction.

Susan Maris plays Henriette’s “learned” and embittered sister Armande. Her recent theatre credits include work with Manhattan Theatre Source, Toy Box Theatre Company; The Book of the Dun Cow, Prospect Theatre Company. Her film credits include She Gave Me Water, Limitless, and College Humor

Lindsay Smiling portrays Henriette’s uncle Ariste. He most recently appeared at the Theatre in Measure for Measure and as the title role in Othello. His regional credits include work off-Broadway and with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Dorset Theatre Festival, Two River Theatre Company, Wilma Theater, Victory Gardens Theater, ACT/The Hansberry Project, Walnut Street Theater, and New Freedom Theater.

As Henriette’s vivacious aunt Belise, Alison Weller returns to the Theatre for her sixth season where her credits include last season’s hit Tovarich, as well as The Cherry Orchard, and Julius Caesar.  She is an Associate Artist with the Obie Award-winning investigative theatre company The Civilians.  She has worked regionally at the Mark Taper Forum, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, The O’Neill, Lyric Stage Company, Cape Rep and Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre. She is a recent graduate of the London Film School’s Fast Forward Program for feature film producers. 

Felix Mayes and Christine Sanders round out the cast.

About the Director

Brian B. Crowe is in his nineteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre where he is currently a resident director and the Director of Education. At the Theatre, he has directed Pericles, Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Timon of Athens, The School for Wives, The Winter’s Tale, Henry VI: Blood & Roses, Julius Caesar, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Tempest (2002) and The Comedy of Errors (2001) on the Main Stage, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2007) and The Taming of the Shrew (2006) on the Outdoor Stage and the 1999 world premiere of his original script, Wonderland (...And What Was Found There) on the Other Stage. The Star-Ledger called Mr. Crowe “one of the state’s most ingenious directors” for his work on Love’s Labour’s Lost and named him Best Director of a Drama (Julius Caesar and Wonderland) as well as one of three “theatre artists to look for in the new millennium.” He has also directed over twenty Shakespeare LIVE! touring productions including Nevermore (his original piece based on the writings and mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe), among others. Other directing credits include Red Herring and A Perfect Ganesh at 12 Miles West;  Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest (DayTony recipient), Noises Off, the Midwest regional premiere of The Beauty Queen of Leenane, and Patient A with The Human Race Theatre Company.

The Artistic Staff

Creating the world of The Learned Ladies are scenic designer Charlie Calvert, lighting designer Hamilton E.S. Smith, and costume designer Paul Canada.  Denise Cardarelli and Christine Whalen are the production stage managers. 

Pay-What-You-Can Performance

The first preview performance of The Learned Ladies on Wednesday, June 18th at 8:00 p.m. offers opportunities for reduced-price tickets, as an incentive to first-time theatergoers.  For those who would otherwise not be able to afford a night at the theatre, the first preview performance is Pay What You Can night – pay what you are able for that evening’s 8:00 p.m. preview performance.  Offer is subject to availability.  Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 for details

Tickets & General Information

Performances are Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., Sundays at 7:30 p.m., and a special twilight performance on Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.  Tickets are $15 for students and $35 for adults.  Children under five go free. Seating is general admission. For tickets or more information, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Outdoor Stage, the amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth, is conveniently located at 2 Convent Road, off Madison Avenue (Rt. 124) in Morris Township, just minutes from Routes 287, 78, and 10.   Parking is free.   The Theatre is barrier free.  Wheelchair seating is available. Large Print programs are available. 

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely 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.

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