“Wicked” Doings at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

This October 30, check out "Something Wicked This Way Comes," a staged reading of classic horror tales from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker.

A dramatic moment from last year's performance of "Something Wicked This Way Comes."
A dramatic moment from last year's performance of "Something Wicked This Way Comes."
Photo courtesy of Samantha Gordon

Mondays are referred to as dark days in theater, with the company taking a breather. But on one Monday every October, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey goes darker than most.

On that bone-chilling occasion—this year October 30—the company presents Something Wicked This Way Comes, with staged readings of classic horror tales from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Bram Stoker.

“The inspiration for this was this idea that families used to gather and just read to each other—that was kind of the popular entertainment,” says Brian B. Crowe, the company’s longtime director of education. “In the digital age, I think we’ve gotten far away from that.”

For Something Wicked, actors dress in street clothes and hold their scripts—which they receive just one week prior to showtime—as they perform. The readings are accompanied by musician John Hoge on theremin, an electronic instrument that emits an eerie, high-pitched, violin-like sound. Crowe says the audio effects can be just as important as the acting. Indeed, audience members visibly flinched at the sound of thunder at last year’s performance of Victor Gialanella’s Frankenstein.

The Shakespeare Theatre, on the Drew University campus in Madison, offers a series of less spooky one-night events throughout the year, including Something Merry This Way Comes, a collage of holiday tales, songs and poems performed each December.

“When a lot of people think about Shakespeare or classic theater of any kind, they feel intimidated,” Crowe says. “But this is such an easy, comfortable, fun way to get into the theater and get to know the joys of storytelling again.”

For tickets, visit the company’s website.

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