Hi, Lili! Cuccioli Stars in NJ Shakes' Carnival, June 1-30

News   Hi, Lili! Cuccioli Stars in NJ Shakes' Carnival, June 1-30 Jekyll & Hyde veteran Robert Cuccioli plays the bitter, misanthropic puppeteer, Paul Berthalet, in the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival staging of Carnival, the Bob Merrill musical, opening June 1.

Jekyll & Hyde veteran Robert Cuccioli plays the bitter, misanthropic puppeteer, Paul Berthalet, in the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival staging of Carnival, the Bob Merrill musical, opening June 1.

Previews began May 28 and performances continue to June 30 in Madison, NJ.

Artistic director Bonnie J. Monte, directing her first musical, oversees a cast that includes Paul Mullins (Marco the Magnificent), Kate Dawson (Lili), Michael Medeiros (Jacquot), Bernie Sheredy (B.F. Schlegel) and Tina Stafford (The Incomparable Rosalie). Jan Rosenberg directs.

Gower Champion first helmed the 1962 Broadway show, which has a book by Michael Stewart based on material by Helen Deutsch. The show concerns the rag-tag Schlegel's Grand Imperial Cique de Paris.A young girl, Lili, enters the lives of the showfolk and is pulled between Marco and Paul (who only speaks through his puppets). The score includes "Loves Makes the World Go Round."

Original Carnival star Anna Maria Alberghetti, who won a Tony Award for her work, will appear at the festival's 40th season gala June 8. Cuccioli's past work at NJ Shakespeare Fest includes Antony and Cleopatra and Enter the Guardsman.

Designers for Carnival are Janie E. Howland (set), Steven Rosen (lighting) and Molly Reynolds (costume). Keely Garfield choreographs.

Performances are at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, on the campus of Drew University in Madison, NJ.

Tickets range $42-$51. For information, call (973) 408-5600 or visit njshakespeare.org.

— By Kenneth Jones