Parnassian Society finds its muse with ‘Shakespeare in Love’

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MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Columbia High School’s drama club, the Parnassian Society, is participating in the Disney Theatrical Productions pilot program to produce “Shakespeare in Love,” based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, from Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18, in the CHS Black Box Theatre. The fictional play combines how the Bard may have found his muse to write “Romeo & Juliet” with the peculiarities of Elizabethan Era theater. Performances will be 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The romantic comedy closely follows the 1998 Oscar-winning film, with romance, mistaken identities, ruthless scheming, and backstage theatrics all part of the fun, as adapted for the stage by playwright Lee Hall with music by Paddy Cunneen. Originally performed in London’s West End, Columbia’s Parnassian Society has been selected to produce this piece with high school actors to help promote the work to high schools across the country, according to CHS English teacher Janet Bustrin.

The CHS production features a large cast. “Eighteen men and nine women. If you’ve seen the backstage area of the Black Box, we will be packing them in to dressing rooms like sardines,” Bustrin said.

This will be the 17th season Parnassian has been produced by Bustrin and directed by Steve Stubelt. Presented with the opportunity to participate in the pilot program, “Stubelt accepted and here we are!” Bustrin said.

The ensemble cast includes: Sam Magdanz, Jordan Muhammad, Stephen Lehren, Emma Hankey, Skyler Jones, Max Goldstein, Jasper Kransdorf, Sylvie Schuetz, Aaron Yanda, Golan Mandel, David Goetz, Kene Amobi, Cyrus Shields, Declan Rohrs, Isabella Yagid, Marcus Michaud, Noah Kariotis, Olivia Bongiorno, Lily Hawryluk, Dylan Boyd, Kermit Cohen, Merav Mandel, Nate Kianovsky, Jessica Cannin, Zaria Berry, Anthony Degourville and Max Sundue.

To purchase tickets or make reservations, call 973-713-6866.

Photos Courtesy of Marilyn Lehren

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