The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 54th season kicks off in high style with Noël Coward’s final and semi-autobiographical play, A Song At Twilight. Performances begin May 11 and continue through May 29 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) in Madison. Tickets and subscriptions can be purchased through ShakespeareNJ.org or by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600.
Take a celebrated writer, his devoted wife, and a glamorous woman from his past – add a sprinkling of piano music and Coward’s delicious quips – and it’s the perfect recipe for this bittersweet comedy from the master of sophisticated wit. Veteran company members Edmond Genest and Laila Robins will appear in the leading roles, directed by Paul Mullins.
First produced in 1966, A Song at Twilight premiered at the Queen’s Theatre, London, and was planned as Coward’s final theatrical production. A Song at Twilight opened to celebratory reviews with Coward playing the part of Felix. Although a success in England, the show was not staged in New York City until 1974, a year after Coward’s death. On Broadway, the show was billed under the title Noël Coward in Two Keys alongside Come Into the Garden Maud where it ran for 140 performances at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
For this production, The Shakespeare Theatre is adding a special Wednesday matinee on May 25 at 2:00 p.m. providing a new opportunity for seniors and other members of the general public to see a performance during daylight hours.
Long-time company member, Edmond Genest will play the role of Hugo Latymer, Coward’s alter ego. Mr. Genest most recently appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre in last season’s The Royal Family and has been with the company since the early 90’s, playing leading roles in over 20 productions, including The Devil’s Disciple, The Playboy of the Western World, and No Man’s Land. Throughout his career, he has worked with many companies, including Portland Stage Company, The Kennedy Center, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Yale Repertory Company.
Last seen at the Theatre in Noises Off, Laila Robins, plays Carlotta Gray. Company credits include A Streetcar Named Desire, The Cherry Orchard, Macbeth, King John, Three Sisters, among many others. Laila has appeared on Broadway in Heartbreak House, Frozen, The Herbal Bed, and The Real Thing. Recently, Ms. Robins was a season regular on the hit series Homeland as Martha Boyd. Film and television credits include The Good Shepherd, True Crime, 30 Rock, Sex and the City, all three Law & Orders, and The Sopranos.
Alison Weller, who will be returning for her seventh season with The Shakespeare Theatre, will play the role of Hilda Latymer. Company credits include: Belise in The Learned Ladies, Fernande in Tovarich, Varya in The Cherry Orchard, Corine in Triumph of Love, Clara in Hay Fever, Calphurnia in Julius Caesar, and Lucy in The Country Wife. She is an Associate Artist with the Obie Award-winning investigative theatre The Civilians.
In his Shakespeare Theatre debut, Ben Houghton joins the cast to play Felix, the waiter. He has performed regionally with the Virginia Repertory Theater, Utah Festival Opera, Bucks County Playhouse, and the MCS Studio Theater.
Paul Mullins returns for his twenty-fifth season with the Theatre after directing Equivocation last year. His most recent company credits include The Devil’s Disciple, The Playboy of the Western World, The Liar, The Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Lion in Winter, Noises Off, Private Lives, and The Time of Your Life. Mr. Mullins has worked with The Old Globe, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, The Studio Theatre, DC, Portland Stage, Dorset Theatre Festival, and Connecticut Repertory Theatre.
The show’s visual elements will be brought to life through the work of set designer Brittany Vasta, lighting designer Michael Giannitti, and costume designer Nikki Delhomme. Serving as production stage manager is Alison Cote.
Single tickets for A Song at Twilight start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. This season, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is initiating their $30 Under 30 Program, which offers tickets for $30 for patrons aged 30 and under, with valid ID, tickets subject to availability. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit website.
Special Performances: For the same price as a regular ticket, the Symposium Series performances offer a post-show discussion with the cast and artistic staff. For A Song At Twilight these performances will be Tuesday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m., and Saturday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m.
The Know the Show pre-show talks are offered again in 2016 free-of-cost. Prior to the show, an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk providing background information and an inside perspective on the production. This program is free with the purchase of a performance ticket and for A Song at Twilight will be held Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m., with the show commencing at 8:00 p.m.