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Enter the Guardsman
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Broadway regulars complete the cast of the NJ Shakespeare Festival's premiere musical ENTER THE GUARDSMAN, artistic director Bonnie J. Monte announced today. Already gathering national attention, the musical, with book by Scott Wentworth, music by Craig Bohmler and lyrics by Marion Adler, will receive its American Premiere at the Festival beginning September 7 and continuing to October 3.

Previously announced cast members include Dana Reeve as the Actress and Robert Cuccioli as the Actor, her husband, who devises a plan to test his new wife's fidelity by disguising himself as an admiring suitor. Reeve last appeared at the Festival in the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona. She recently made her Broadway debut in the comedy More To Love and also in a nationally televised tribute to her husband, actor Christopher Reeve. She has also appeared on Law and Order, All My Children, and Feds, and sings the title song on the soundtrack of the Cable Ace award winning HBO drama In the Gloaming. She was also cited by CBS television as one of America's Outstanding Women of 1995. Cuccioli originated the roles of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the Broadway production of Jekyll & Hyde for which he was nominated for a Tony Award and earned Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. He also garnered an Outer Critics Circle Award for Kander and Ebb's And The World Goes Round and is featured on the original cast recording of that musical. Cuccioli made his Broadway debut as Javert in Les Miserables. He has also appeared on Baywatch, All My Children, and will be seen on an upcoming episode of Sliders. He has also appeared in several productions at the Paper Mill Playhouse.

Joining the cast, making his Festival debut, is Mark Jacoby as the Playwright who has interests of his own involving the Actor and Actress. Jacoby was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance as Gaylord Raveral in the Broadway revival of Show Boat. He also created the role of the Father in the hit Broadway musical Ragtime and played the title role in Broadway's Phantom of the Opera. Other Broadway credits include Sweet Charity and Grand Hotel.

Also making her Festival debut is Derin Altay, playing the Dresser. Altay played the role of Eva Peron in the hit Broadway sensation Evita and then went on to perform the role in the Scandinavian and European tours. She also played Julie in the award-winning Broadway revival of Show Boat.

Buddy Crutchfield as the Assistant Stage Manager, Rusty Ferracane as the Wig Master and Kate Dawson as the Wardrobe Mistress also make their Festival debuts in Enter The Guardsman. Crutchfield made his Broadway debut in The Most Happy Fella and toured playing Gus Growltiger in Cats. He can be heard on the recordings Lost in Boston II and The Most Happy Fella. Ferracane has appeared in numerous regional theatres throughout the country and performs for Fox Animation Studios as the live-action model for Zozi Bear in Bartok the Magnificent, and Preed in next year's science fiction animated film, Titan AE. Dawson has appeared as Emily in Madison Square Garden's production of A Christmas Carol. She also appeared in Steve Ross' cabaret I Won't Dance at Rainbow and Stars.

Enter The Guardsman, a witty and touching episode of life behind the stage curtain, is a premiere musical presentation based on the classic early 20th century boulevard comedy The Guardsman by Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnar.

The musical received international attention when it won the Musical of the Year Award in Aarhus, Denmark. In the Fall of 1997, it was presented at the Donmar Warehouse in London in association with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group. The production received a prestigious Olivier Award nomination for Best Musical. Charles Spencer, in the Daily Telegraph, said "the American team behind Enter The Guardsman may just have hit upon theatrical gold. It's tuneful, poignant and charming."

Book writer and director Scott Wentworth and lyricist Marion Adler have been Festival company members since 1996. Wentworth is a Tony Award nominated actor and has directed and this season's As You Like It for the Festival. His musical Gunmetal Blues, which he wrote with Adler and Craig Bohmler was produced off-Broadway and has received more than 20 productions throughout the country. Adler is represented as a lyricist off-Broadway with Gunmetal Blues and A…..My Name is Alice and has appeared on the Festival stage in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Winter's Tale.

The score is by Craig Bohmler, a composer, pianist and conductor whose works have been performed in the US and Canada including Carnegie Hall. His other musicals include Gunmetal Blues and Scrooge. He has worked for the Houston Symphony, the Aspen Music Festival and others.

The production is sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation which has been strong supporters of several theatre and arts organizations throughout the state. "The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation has helped many theatres in this state produce new and innovative works and we are proud to include them on our list of sponsors this season," said Michael Stotts, Festival Managing Director.

The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is the state's only professional (Actors' Equity) theatre dedicated to the presentation of Shakespeare's canon and other classic masterworks, and has a long-standing commitment to the development and education of young audiences. The remainder of the Festival's 1999 season includes Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (October 26 - November 21) and a holiday musical A Child's Christmas in Wales (Nov. 30 - December 23).

The new F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, the NJ Shakespeare Festival's new theatre, opened in June, 1998 to critical acclaim. The new facility, located on the campus of Drew University, features 308 seats with no seat more than 10 rows from the stage. The F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is fully accessible with ramp access and an elevator to all floors. Wheelchair seating is available in both the orchestra and balcony sections. An infrared hearing device is available free of charge at all performances. Large print and Braille programs are available upon request.

The Festival also has an in-school residency, "The Shakespeare Experience," which brings theatre professionals into the schools to collaborate on a fully-produced Shakespeare play; a touring program, Shakespeare LIVE!, which brings fully produced, professionally acted, one-hour versions of Shakespeare's plays to schools in the tri-state area and a Summer Professional Training program for artists, theatre administrators and theatre technicians.

The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is a not-for-profit organization. The Festival is funded in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as many corporations, foundations, businesses and individuals. American Airlines is the official airline of the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival.

The New Jersey Shakespeare Festival is located on the Campus of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey; three miles east of Morristown and easily reached by car, bus or train.

Enter The Guardsman, September 7 through October 3, 1999. Tuesday - Saturday at 8 p.m. Saturday/Sunday at 2 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Box Office (973) 408-5600.

See you Sunday!

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