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Rutgers Theater Company Presents "The School for Scandal"

Broadway Director Helms Comedic Tale of Bad Behavior From February 6-15
David Esbjornson
David Esbjornson Mason Gross School of the Arts

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Now through Sunday, February 15, the Rutgers Theatre Company will be performing “The School For Scandal,” at the Philip J. Levin Theatre, located on Douglas Campus in Rutgers University.

The show, which takes place in 18th century London focuses on the art of gossip, both in real life and celebrity gossip.

According to Christopher Cartmill, assistant director of the play and a Mason Gross theater faculty member, “We live with it particularly in the age of Twitter and Instagram and celebrity culture, knowing what everybody’s up to."

"What Sheridan was writing about is just as important now as it was then.”

The play is directed by David Esbjornson, a Broadway Director and the chair of the Rutgers University Theatre Department.

His Broadway resume includes the likes of “Driving Mis Daisy” and “The Goat” and “ Or Who is Sylvia”.

This play, however, is presented through a “modern filter,” says Cartmill.  Characters will don 18th-century clothing with a contemporary twist by costume designer and Mason Gross faculty member David Murin, whose work has appeared in a number of Broadway productions.

New Jersey residents involved in the production include cast members Allegra Heart of Highland Park and Jerry Sanchez of Jersey City, as well as scenic designer Matthew Crane of Franklin Lakes, lighting designer Jason M. Flamos of Murray Hill, and stage manager Joanne Pan of Paramus.

The play centers around gossip queen, Lady Sneerwell, who has tasked herself with breaking up the relationship between Maria, a young heiress, and Charles Surface, whom she wants for herself.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s comedic tale of bad behavior among the British upper class is timeless because gossip and scandal never go out of style, Cartmill says.

With characters competing for love, deception through disguises, and rumors constantly flying, “Sheridan is showing how awful and dangerous—and funny—gossip can be,” Cartmill says.

According to Cartmill, the reason that the play is so widely accepted and appreciated two centuries after it was written is because, “There’s not much difference between London of the 1770s and New Brunswick or New York now in the way in which we deal with one another.”

“That’s one of the things that’s so incredible about this play, and why it’s survived.”

The School for Scandal runs from February 6-15 at the Philip J. Levin Theater, located at 85 George Street.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for Rutgers alumni and employees and seniors, and only $15 for students with valid ID.

More information about events hosted by the Mason Gross School of the Arts can visit www.masongross.rutgers.edu or call the Mason Gross Performing Arts Center ticket office at 848-932-7511.