Shakespeare Co. to perform 'A Few Good Men' live
By: Diana Schwaeble
The Hudson Shakespeare Company will be performing, over the next several weeks, A Few Good Men, written by Aaron Sorkin. Fans of the hit movie starring Tom Cruise, Jack Nicholson, and Demi Moore won't be disappointed by the live theater version.
The play has all the immediacy of the film, yet adds an intimacy that can only be captured by a live performance.
The HSC will perform a fast moving two-hour production under the talented direction of Jon Ciccarelli. The play runs this weekend and in early April. (See sidebar.)
The story follows two Marines (Dawson and Downey) from a base in Guatanamo Bay, who are accused of murder of fellow Marine in their unit. Dawson and Downey are sent to Washington to go to trial. Daniel Kaffee, played by Jon Crefeld (the Tom Cruise role in the movie), is the defense lawyer with a history of plea bargains who is appointed to represent them. Commander Joanne Galloway, played by Kerry Fitsgibbons, (the Demi Moore role) has the job of watching Kaffee before becoming co-counsel.
During their investigation, Kaffee and Galloway question Colonel Nathan Jessup (Jack Nicholson in the movie), played by Charles J. Roby, who commands the base in Cuba.
What becomes clear as the story unfolds is how deep the corruption and the cover-up goes.
Jon Crefeld gives an outstanding performance as the lead character Dan Kaffee. (Crefeld is pictured on top.)
According to Ciccarelli, the play, which is set in 1986, is perhaps more relevant today than when it first came out.
The story is set mostly in a courtroom with a few flashback scenes detailing what really happened. In the Hoboken production, the play is staged in the real Hoboken courthouse.
A few really good men
In this character-driven play, all the actors are interesting to watch and work well together. But it is the lead actors that really shine.
Jon Crefeld is outstanding in the lead role of Dan Kaffee. With incredible comic timing, he lands lines that lesser actors would flatten out. Crefeld also has an inside view of the military from having served in the Army for six years.
According to Ciccarelli, it was a great help to have Crefeld in the production with his knowledge of how things work.
Charles J. Roby, who plays Colonel Jessup, is a delightful villain. Roby looks and sounds the part of a Colonel with his booming voice and dynamic stage presence. There is never any doubt who is in charge when he's onstage.
Director Jon Ciccarelli plays the minor role of Captain Whitaker and is great in a scene with Crefeld. Part of their natural rapport comes from the experience of working together on past productions.
But perhaps the most surprising thing about the production is the quality performances from the entire cast. All the actors are engaging and give compelling portrayals.
The transitions from one scene to the next are seamless and build up suspense to the final courtroom drama.
Other actors include: Andre Stamford as Corporal Dawson, Patrick Fellows as Private Downey, Brant Cunningham as Lt. Weinburg, Kerry Fitsgibbons as Joanne Galloway, Kyle Baxter as Captain Markinson, Billy Weimer as Kendrick, David Sewell as Ross, Steve Bari as Corporal Howard, Jorge Enrique Rivas as Dr. Stone, and the play was produced by L. Robert Johnson.
The Hudson Shakespeare Company, which has been together for 14 years, has performances all year long.
This is the 10th year for Artistic Director Jon Ciccarelli. "A Few Good Men" is the seventh production he has directed.
For their summer season, the company will perform Shakespeare in local parks for free.
Ciccarelli's next play will be "Pericles" by William Shakespeare that runs from June 19 to July 8. For more information about their current production or future shows, please visit: www.hudsonshakespeare.org. Tickets are: $15/adult, $10/students, and $10/seniors. The exception is for the March 30 production, for which all tickets are $5 and are for charity.
Hudson Shakespeare Company presents "A Few Good Men" from March 24 through April. Because of the success of opening weekend, other dates will be added in April. For updates check out their website. For ticket information, please call (973) 626-3100.
'A Few Good Men'
March 30, St. Mary's Catholic School, Third & Erie streets, Jersey City, 9:30 a.m.
March 31, Kenilworth Municipal Court, 526 Kenilworth Blvd., Union County, 7:30 p.m.
April 1, St. Mary's Catholic School, 3rd & Erie streets, Jersey City, 8 p.m.
April 4 & 5, Medicine Show Theater, 549 West 52nd St., NYC, 8 p.m.
Hoboken Courthouse, Hoboken, dates TBA
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