Two lovers from different worlds. They were destined for tragedy. But their love would transcend all opposition. It was a Shakespeare classic. Yes, Antony and Cleopatra.
Shakespeare's tale of the two other star-crossed lovers will play at the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival Sept. 5-30 to start the fall season. Starring as the ill- fated duo will be Broadway's Robert Cuccioli and stage & screen's Tamara Tunie.
Best known for his Tony-nominated performance in Jekyll & Hyde, Cuccioli, who will play Antony, made his Broadway debut as Javert in Les Misérables. He has also played in shows such as Phantom, Camelot, and Enter the Guardsman which ran at NJSF last season and Off Broadway this May.
Tunie will don the crown as Cleopatra. She has been seen on Broadway in Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, as Helen of Troy in the other ShakesFest across the Hudson, NYSF's Troilus and Cressida, and
The other cast members of A+C include Mark Elliot Wilson, Jeffrey M. Bender, Christian Conn, Walter E. Cupit, Brian Dowd, Michael Earle, Richard Gallerani, Grant Goodman, John Kennedy, David Lomax, Abigail Lopez, Donnie Mather, Dawn Michelle, Michael Nichols, Darren Page, Kevin P. Rolston, Darrill Rosen, T.R. Shields, Andrew Schwartz, and Veronica Watt. Heading the creative team is NJSF artistic director-director Bonnie Monte. The production includes sets by Harry Feiner, costumes by Miranda Hoffman, lights by Steve Rosen, and compositions by David Maddox.
The NJSF's Rock Thy Brain season continues with the newly added production of The Merchant of Venice Oct. 24-Nov. 19, (which replaces Othello) and concludes with Maurice Maeterlinck's The Blue Bird Nov. 28-Dec. 17.
The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is located at 36 Madison Ave (Route 124) on the campus of Drew University in Madison. For ticket and travel information, call the box office at (973) 408-5600. Visit NJSF online at www.njshakespeare.org
-- by Ernio Hernandez