Landau, Adkins, McLaughlin, Goede, DeLaria and GrooveLily Conjure NJ Midsummer March 21

News   Landau, Adkins, McLaughlin, Goede, DeLaria and GrooveLily Conjure NJ Midsummer March 21
The McCarter Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse's co-production of director Tina Landau's A Midsummer Night's Dream — sweetened with music and live performances by the pop trio GrooveLily — comes to life March 21 in Princeton.

The two New Jersey not-for-profits are partnering for the first time to co-produce William Shakespeare's magical comedy about lovers lost (and transformed) in a forest, as lovers in Shakespeare comedies tend to be.

McCarter performances continue through April 9, prior to traveling to Paper Mill Playhouse where performances resume April 19, for a limited engagement through May 21.

The cast includes Guy Adkins (a favorite of Chicago theatres, including Goodman, Steppenwolf and Chicago Shakes) as Puck, Lea DeLaria (Broadway's On the Town, The Rocky Horror Show) as Bottom, Will Fowler as Demetrius, Jay Goede (A Year With Frog and Toad, Sex and Longing) as Oberon/Theseus, James Martinez as Lysander, Ellen McLaughlin (Angels in America) as Titania/Hippolyta, Stacey Sargeant as Hermia and Brenda Withers as Helena.

The ensemble also features Karl Christian, Demond Green, Reginald Holden Jennings, Adam Lobato, Christopher Mai, Jess Nager, Ryan Overberg and Stephen Payne.

Joining the ensemble on stage and performing the original music composed for this production is the pop-folk-rock trio GrooveLily: percussionist Gene Lewin, who hails from Princeton and is a graduate of Princeton High School and Princeton University; keyboardist Brendan Milburn; and electric violinist Valerie Vigoda, who is also a graduate of Princeton University. (The team created the hip holiday musical, Striking 12, seen regionally and in New York City, and available on CD.) The creative team for A Midsummer Night's Dream is Louisa Thompson (set design), Michael Krass (costume design), Scott Zielinski (lighting design), GrooveLily (Original Music), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (Sound), Deena Burke (vocal coach), and Christopher Harrison (aerial design). The production stage manager is Alison Cote.

According to McCarter notes, "A Midsummer Night's Dream contains some wonderfully lyrical expressions of lighter Shakespearean themes, most notably those of love, dreams and the creative imagination. The plot involves two sets of lovers whose romantic escapades are complicated by their entrance into the play's fairyland woods where the King and Queen of the Fairies preside. The impish character Puck creates mischief when he meets a merry band of players and the star crossed lovers."

The McCarter opening for A Midsummer Night's Dream is March 24.

As writer and director, Tina Landau's original pieces include Theatrical Essays (Steppenwolf), Beauty (La Jolla Playhouse), Space (NYSF/Public Theater, Taper, Steppenwolf), Floyd Collins with composer Adam Guettel (Playwrights Horizons, Goodman, Old Globe, AMTF), Dream True (Vineyard Theater), States of Independence (AMTF) with composer Ricky Ian Gordon, Stonewall (En Garde Arts), and 1969 (Humana Festival). She is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf Theater Company where she has directed Cherry Orchard, Time of Your Life, Ballad of Little Jo, Maria Arndt, Berlin Circle and Time to Burn. Other New York productions include Miracle Brothers (Vineyard), Bells Are Ringing (Broadway), Saturn Returns (Public), Orestes and Trojan Women (En Garde), Cloud Tectonics (Playwrights Horizons), and Of Thee I Sing (Paper Mill).

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From Left: Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, Demond Green, Lea De Laria, Stephen Payne and Gene Lewin in <i>A Midsummer Night's Dream</i>.
From Left: Valerie Vigoda, Brendan Milburn, Demond Green, Lea De Laria, Stephen Payne and Gene Lewin in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Photo by T. Charles Erickson
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