Wine and Words toast finale of 2017 Morristown book fest


Polonius to Hamlet:  “…. What do you read my lord?”  Hamlet: “Words, words, words.”  (Act 2, Scene 2).

Beer was the drink of choice in Shakespeare’s day.  Wine, usually brandy, was available too, though imported and expensive.

Jonathan Finnegan of The Shakespeare Theater of NJ reads David Sedaris’ The Drama Bug

So when you learn that the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will be performing readings at Words & Wine at the Morristown Festival of Books,  it’s not clear quite what to expect.

Will we understand what’s being said?  Will the wine be that Communion-y sort?

Happily the answers are:

Yes, Saturday’s readings at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church were clear and fun.

No, we were treated to two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Chardonnay. Shadowland was the label, which apparently is a line of wines blended from a single varietal from any number of Washington vineyards.

The Drama Bug by David Sedaris was the first performance.

John Keabler of The Shakespeare Theater of NJ, reading The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern

Jonathan Finnegan, an actor in his second season with the Shakespeare Theatre, provided the dramatic reading.  The story involved a production of Hamlet in which young David played an (increasingly) minor role.

Meanwhile, David adopts Shakespearian verbiage to “communicate” with his mother, a high school drop out.  You can imagine how that went over.

Next up: The Greatest Gift, A Christmas Tale by Philip Van Doren Stern. This short story, spurned by publishers, went on to become the basis for Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful LifeJohn Keabler, also in his second season with the Shakespeare Theatre, gave the reading.

The theater company in Madison now is presenting Shakespeare in Love.  Use code MFOB for $5 off all 7:30 performances.


[interactive_copyright_notice float='left']
[icopyright_horizontal_toolbar float='right']


  1. For anyone thinking of attending the closing session of MFOB in 2018 – by 5 PM there was plenty of street parking available.
    That there will be some event that includes wine is a safe prediction. This year it was Wine & Words.
    2016 it was Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen hosting a food and wine tasting
    2015 Eric Asimov, wine critic for the NYT, spoke about each wine we tasted – and his new book.