Monday, October 11, 2010

Meet Our Sweets!

By Natalie Lebert

For the Shakespeare fan, Halloween, the season of sugar and spirits, inevitably evokes the character of Mercutio who rhapsodizes in Romeo and Juliet about the nightly comings and goings of Queen Mab, our favorite faeries’ midwife.

…She gallops night by night
O'er ladies' lips, who straight on kisses dream,
Which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues,
Because their breaths with sweetmeats tainted are

Plaguing ladies with blisters because their breath is scented with the odor of candy? Ouch. Steady on Mercutio – many of us like candy. In fact, the ladies of ASC at NJCU would like to take this opportunity to speak on behalf of their favorite sweet…

Colette Rice, ASC at NJCU’s Artistic Director and Play Master for the upcoming productions of Logomaniacs and The Tempest, shared the following: It’s been said to me that you can take the girl out of California, but you can’t take the California out of the girl. This is certainly true as far as candy is concerned. My sweet tooth comes from my mother, as does my favorite candy. Every Christmas I visit family in northern CA, where Mother and I make an assortment of candies that friends and family drool over. Fudge, English toffee, divinity, peanut brittle… everyone has their favorites. But when the confections are complete, Mother and I package up our homemade delicacies and open her box of See’s chocolates – Nuts & Chews. She almost always has a box of See’s because everyone knows it is her favorite. Last Christmas she had four pounds in the freezer by January 2. Scotch Mallows are her chief weakness, though anything with caramel elicits moans of bliss from both of us. Personally, I have a penchant for the cashew brittle – a salty, sweet delight of crunchy caramel and cashews dipped in velvety white chocolate. See’s is only available in the Western U.S., so it’s a pleasure associated largely with home and family. Maybe that’s why it is such a sentimental favorite. Still, having eaten a lot of chocolate in my time, I can also say it’s some of the finest candy one can buy. Eating it with your mum? Well, that’s just an extra layer of sweetness.

Bethany Reeves, Voice Master for ASC at NJCU and soon to appear as Ariel in ASC at NJCU’s production of The Tempest, was almost unable to choose, but finally settled on “a luscious, rich, dark chocolate filled with creamy caramel. High class. Godiva at the least.”

Denise Hurd has choreographed many a thrilling swordfight during her years with ASC at NJCU. She helmed last season’s reading of Madness in Valencia and will be in charge of Shakespeare’s Queens, an ASC Lab coming your way in February, 2011. Denise’s favorites showcase her artistic bent: “Although I am very [fond of] walnut fudge, especially from Lilac chocolates, I really love Marzipan. I love the taste of almonds and the cool shapes you can twist it into.”

Jessica Myhr will be appearing in ASC’s upcoming Logomaniacs and gets her fix from… “The cupcake - What's not to love about an individual cake with frosting in a cozy little wrapper? The word alone conveys cuteness! My favorite is the red velvet cupcake...much like the yummy roles I play - it is colorful, in a deep red color, and has a rich cream cheese frosting (if done correctly) that is indulgence at its finest. Cake is after all a sweet for queens!”

Jessica Weiss has appeared in several ASC at NJCU main stage productions including last season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and will be playing Miranda in this season’s production of The Tempest. Jessica broke with our resident chocolate fans, but like Colette, her sweets elicit memories. “Some of my favorites are apple and cherry jolly ranchers, because my grandfather used to carry them in his pockets – we called him the candy man. He passed away when I was eight, that's about all I remember about him.”

Susannah Baddiel, a longtime Company member and part time UK resident, played Titiania in last season’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her preference in sweets carries a distinct across-the-pond bias –go figure. “Favorite candy: Fudge - the English variety, which is confectionary. US fudge is often a hot chocolatey sauce, or chocolate syrup? English fudge is very sweet. Cornish or Devonshire fudge (from the counties of Cornwall and Devon) is the best. Maybe because their milk is so good, which has something to do with the cows, which'll have something to do with the grass...”

Elizabeth Belonzi played Puck in ASC at NJCU’s recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and serves as the company’s Director of Education. Liz provided what might have been our most unorthodox sweet: Cheese! She explains “since my 30's I have all but lost my taste for sweets. I would much rather order an extra appetizer or, even better, glass of wine then a desert when I go out to dinner. Whenever I tell people that fact, [they think] my lack of sweet tooth is some super power. I think a love of cheese, specifically ‘night cheese’, has replaced sweets as my comfort food.”

There you have it. Sweets (and cheese) vindicated. If you’re sweet on Shakespeare, you can catch Actors Shakespeare Company at New Jersey City University’s production of Romeo and Juliet from November 5–21, 2010 at the West Side Theater. Tickets are available through

Natalie (Nate) Lebert has been an ASC member since 2004, happily crossing the gender divide with roles as Celia (As You Like It) and Banquo/Porter/Lady MacDuff (Macbeth). She has also played Feste (Twelfth Night) and Grumio (Taming of the Shrew) for The Queens Company (

1 comment:

Aida said...

Chocolate, Ladies! Delicioso, verily.