For many people, the term “musical comedy” conjures up the latest Broadway spectacular. But the term can also apply to some of the works of William Shakespeare from nearly 400 years ago, particularly for the spring production of Monmouth University’s Dept. of Music & Theatre, “Twelfth Night”.
Directed by Professor Nicole Ricciardi, “Twelfth Night, or What You Will” is a delightful comedy about mistaken identities, love, loss, and surprise reunions. Originally written for the Christmas season (“12 days of Christmas”), this play features several songs with words written by Shakespeare with new music by Professor George Wurzbach, who also serves as the production’s musical director. Monmouth students who help guide the production are Lauren Lambert, stage manager; Megan Roberts, assistant stage manager; and Jamee Shea, prop manager.
The action takes place in and around a massive sailing ship, designed by Professor Ferdinando DelGuercio. Viola and her identical twin Sebastian are separated in a shipwreck. Viola, fearing for her safety as a young girl alone, disguises herself as a young man, Cesario, and finds employ with Duke Orsino. He is in love with the Countess Olivia who finds herself strangely attracted to the young man who brings messages of love from the Duke, not knowing she is actually a woman. Other characters who interact in their lives include some of the best names Shakespeare invented: Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Sir Toby Belch, Malvolio, Feste, Valentine, Curio, and Fabian.
A stage crew headed by Professor Sheri Anderson features Moly Mantell, Jen Puleo, Meg Santalla, Charlotte Crane, Samantha Myers, Rosie Belonis, Dan Adelson, and Anna Maynard. Gavin Keenan is the house manager.
“Twelfth Night” runs for eight performances: March 6 – 9 and 12 – 14 at 8 p.m., and March 10 at 3 p.m. Performances will take place in the Lauren K. Woods Theatre, located at the intersection of Norwood and Cedar Avenue on the Monmouth University campus. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $5 for non-MU students. For tickets or more information, go to www.monmouth.edu/arts or call the box office 732-263-6889.