Monday, September 26, 2016

'Single Black Female' Opens October 6 at Crossroads

7 LIVINGSTON AVE. NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901 | 732-545-8100

Crossroads Theatre Company thanks its major supporters:
American Express
Johnson & Johnson
Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
New Brunswick Cultural Center
New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts 

Through The Looking Glass: Alice and Her Wonderland Adventure Opens in Jersey City

A young girl follows a White Rabbit into a dreamlike world were animals talk and eating mushrooms can change your size. When this realm’s tyrannical ruler accuses the rabbit of stealing tarts – for which the punishment is decapitation – the girl must stand up to injustice by using logic and virtue.

As you probably guessed, the world is wonderland and the heroine is Alice. On October 2, JCTC-KIDS and Puppetworks return to the Merseles Studios puppet theater with Alice in Wonderland, the timeless Lewis Carrol tale, which runs every Sunday at 1 pm through December 11.

Tickets: Child: $8 Advance or $11 At The Door / Adult: $9 Advance or $12 At The Door. School & Group sale discounts available.  Special private party booking prices available. Alice in Wonderland by Puppetworks runs October 2 to December 11. To purchase online tickets visit:

Merseles Studios is at 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City 07302. 

Soon after the first Alice books appeared – they have never been out of print since their 19th century publication and are considered the “Harry Potter” of the Victorian era – this beloved children’s fantasy has remained in the public’s imagination. The story’s best-known versions range from the classic 1951 Walt Disney animated movie to the more off-beat, 2010 Tim Burton live-action film. The numerous retellings of Alice’s often bizarre yet ultimately triumphant odyssey all have their merits, but often surrealistic special effects overshadow the genuine wonder this imaginative tale was meant to inspire.

“This is a great story and we keep it about Alice,” said Michael Leach, Chief Puppeteer and Executive Director of Puppetworks. “The story of Alice that is in the original books can sometimes get lost in the movie versions because of too much over-indulgent symbolism. The Puppetworks story moves quickly and focuses on the plot of Alice – a smart, curious girl with a good heart who enters a world were everyone seems insane. She overcomes what is essentially madness incarnate by relying on her bravery and by using logic. This is a lesson all girls and boys can learn from.”

Since 1980, Puppetworks has been committed to preserving the tradition of live-theater presentations through the art of Marionettes. According to Leach, Alice in Wonderland is one of the strongest and most popular titles in the company’s repertoire of 15+ plays based on classic fairytales, folklore and children’s literature. Alice in Wonderland by Puppetworks is also part-musical, with lyrics based on the poems and rhymes in the original books. The actual script, adapted for the stage by Nicolas Coppola, even predates Puppetworks, whose roots go back to 1938 when its founding company, Suzari Marionettes began performing in the U.S. Coppola, a member of the original company, is the founder and Artistic Director of Puppetworks.

Alice in Wonderland by Puppetworks combines the two Alice Stories – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Alice Through the Looking Glass (1871) – into a concise, fast-pace yarn of a stranger in a very strange land. The strings-attached cast of well-known Wonderland residents include: the White Rabbit (of course); The Queen of Hearts, who rules this land and strikes fear in the hearts of her subjects with her famous decree: “Off With Their Heads!”; Mad Hatter (yes, there’s a puppet tea party); March Hare; the Caterpillar; Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum; the Knave of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat and his enigmatic grin. Alice herself both shrinks and enlarges on stage, depending on what she eats.

JCTC-KIDS, the children’s arm of Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC), provides professional theater and other arts programming to young people (Alice in Wonderland is recommended for ages 3-to-12). Thousands of children and their families have experienced traditional marionette puppetry and classical storytelling since JCTC-KIDS and Puppetworks brought this enduring art form to Jersey City two years ago. In addition, JCTC’s Art-4-All program subsidizes tickets – made possible by the generous support of Jersey City Businesses and other funders – for under-served children. Hundreds of families have experienced Puppetworks performances at Merseles Studios through this Art-4-All program.

Alice in Wonderland is the 5th JCTC-KIDS/Puppetworks production. The most recent show, Beauty & The Beast was the most successful yet for this collaboration: Most of the shows during its Spring 2016 run were sold out or near sell outs. “Beauty & The Beast had a strong finish,” said Leach. “We’ve built a growing Northern New Jersey audience at Merseles Studios. It’s nice that we’re opening Alice to such a strong demand from an enthusiastic following. Jersey City has become an amazing theater and arts destination in a relatively short time. It is very satisfying that traditional puppetry and children’s theater is part of that landscape.”

For Olga Levina, Artistic Director of JCTC, presenting Alice in Wonderland is a labor of love. “Both children and adults can relate to Alice in Wonderland,” she said. “The story of Alice is about adventure, overcoming fear and the discoveries you make along the way.”

Visit website:
Jersey City Theater Center Merseles Studios
339 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 795-5386

Top Photo: Alice in Wonderland_JCTCpuppetworks

Mid Photo: Alice in the court of the Queen & King of Hearts defending the White Rabbit against a false accusation of stealing the tarts. (photograph by Bang Chau)

Audition at Holmdel Theatre Company

Audition Like a Pro! 
with Jessica Sherman
October 1 10am-1pm
October 8 10am-1pm

$30 a class or both for $50

Do you have an audition coming up and have no idea how to prepare or are you looking to improve your audition skills?  

Most auditions and callbacks ask you to either read from the script or present a prepared monologue. But where to begin? In this two-part master class, Jessica Damrow Sherman will help you sharpen your audition technique.

The first class will focus on how to hone your cold reading skills – identifying a clear character objective for the scene, making bold character choices, listening to your scene partner and taking direction in an audition situation.

In the second class, Jessica will discuss how to select appropriate, vibrant material and prepare an audition monologue. Students will be asked to bring in an audition monologue and Jessica will provide each student with personalized feedback and direction.

Jessica Damrow Sherman (MFA, MA) holds twenty years of experience as an actor, director and educator. Professional acting credits include Dogeaters (La Jolla Playhouse), Hedda Gabler (Century Center for the Performing Arts) and Beautiful Thing (Society Hill Playhouse). Ms. Damrow Sherman has worked with acclaimed artists including Christopher Durang, Michael Greif and Mac Wellman. She has also designed and instructed undergraduate courses in performance at several colleges and conservatories, including Purchase College, Pace University, Muhlenberg College and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. Ms. Damrow Sherman serves as Managing Director at Circle Players in Piscataway, NJ. At Circle, she has directed As You Like It, Prelude to a Kiss, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Hamlet. She is currently directing her adaptation of Richard III, which will open Circle’s season this fall.

October 2nd, 7pm

Uncle Vanya

by Anton Chekhov
Adapted by Annie Baker

Directed by Laurie DEvino
Featuring: Elena Chalcraft, Brian Craig, Jeff Cox,
Carole Darche, Tom Frascatore, Dave Murray,
Casse Westcott, Rebecca Zaccagnino

This intimate, immersive new adaptation of Chekhov's classic from critically-acclaimed playwright Annie Baker, author of Body Awareness, Circle Mirror Transformation, and The Flick, brings colloquial language to this internationaly beloved story of human relationships and yearning. Written with the “goal of creating a version that sounds to our contemporary American ears the way the play sounded to Russian ears during the play’s first productions in the provinces in 1898”, Ms. Baker's Uncle Vanya introduces 21st century audiences to Chekhov's enduring wit, insight, and emotionl depth.

Performed with permission from Samuel French
Coffee is served. $5 Suggested Donation

36 Crawfords Corner Rd

Holmdel, NJ 07733

Bergen County Players' longtime member receives NJACT Lifetime Achievement Perry Award.

A loyal member of the Bergen County Players in Oradell for nearly half a century, Jerry Hurley was recently awarded the NJACT Lifetime Achievement Perry Award.

At BCP, Hurley, of Hackensack, has been an executive board member, director of about 10 shows and helped build the set of virtually every show since he joined the volunteer organization in 1967.

Hurley also taught theater at Westwood Regional Jr. Sr. High School, in Washington Township, for 36 years until he retired in 1997. The district named one of the two high school theaters in his honor.

“We’re keeping live theater totally living and breathing. Go break a leg!” Hurley said with a smile during his acceptance speech. The awards were presented recently at the 43rd Annual Perry Awards ceremony at the Doubletree by Hilton Somerset Hotel and Conference Center in Somerset. The Lifetime Achievement Award is a special Perry award given to a theater organization volunteer who has made a significant contribution to the community.

The New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT) is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting local theater around the state. Perry awards are often nicknamed the Tony Awards of community theater.

The Bergen County Players was awarded NJACT Community Theater of the Year last year. BCP, on Kinderkamack Road, Oradell, has more than 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage. They make possible the nine productions presented each season. Further information can be found at

Photo caption: (Center) Winner Jerry Hurley, of Hackensack, stands with (left) BCP President Lynne Lupfer of Tenafly, and (right) BCP Board of Governors Chair Margie Druss Fodor of Westwood. Photo by Michael Smith

Attachments area

London Theatre Trip: Experience The British Theatre With Ocean County College


Experience the British theater on Ocean County College’s 38th Annual Theatre in London Seminar/Trip: January 4-15, 2017. Members of the community are welcome to participate on a non-credit basis. Students will be enrolled for three college credits. A number of scholarships are available for OCC students. Registration Deadline: October 4.

Seminar/Trip: See 10 plays at the Royal National Theatre, West End, Fringe, and other venues! Take a backstage tour at the Royal National Theater. Enjoy talk-back sessions with actors, directors, or technical staff. Visit Shakespeare's Globe Theater. Plenty of free time for sightseeing, museums, shopping, and dining.

Tour Package: round trip airfare on United Airlines, 10 nights accommodations at the conveniently located Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel (four star hotel), theatre tickets, day trip to Stratford-Upon-Avon, full English breakfast daily, round trip airport transfers, most tips, taxes, OCC instruction, tuition, and fees.

Not Included: lunch and dinner, personal expenses, trip cancellation insurance, and any items not specifically listed.

Cost: $3,975 per person, double occupancy.

Single room supplement: $840. Out-of-county fee: $69. Out-of-state fee: $339.

NOTE: The program cost is based on the exchange rate and the prevailing price in effect at the time of printing. Should airfare, land costs, and the dollar/pound exchange rate become less favorable, participants may be billed accordingly.

For more information or to register for the trip, contact Gary Shaffer, Assistant Professor of Humanities, at or 732-255-0400, ext. 2296.

Acting Class with Frank Licato Starts Thursday

6 Week
Scene Study and Monologue Classes
Starting Thursday, September 29 from 11am to 1pm 


"Frank works within that rare environment where creativity is a balance of seriousness and playful freedom, rooted in a trustworthy sense of truth and expanded and challenged by boundless imagination." -  
Michael Ornstein, Chuck Marstein on Sons of Anarchy

"Frank Licato is a wonderful director, actor and teacher in that his stage and TV career has been a stellar combination of acting and directing. He gives his colleagues first hand knowledge because he has been there and done that. His work is gritty, truthful and on the money." - Richard Vetere, Pulitzer nominated playwright/screenwriter

There is still room in my Thursday, September 29, class, from 11am to 1pm

The fee for each session is $350.00. 

Classes will be at Shetler Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 12th floor between Broadway & 8th Avenue . 
I am also available for grad school coaching, private sessions, Skype sessions and audition coaching.  

If you have any questions please contact
me at 646-522-5689 or email me at

"Frank Licato is about the WHOLE truth. When working with Frank, I seem to waste no time finding the courage to explore my craft with abandon. To have presence enough to trust my own organic impulses rather than trying to play an idea in my head." - James Georgiades - Actor - Gotham/The Americans


Sunday, September 25, 2016

Singers, Apply to NJ Association of Verismo Opera's 28th Annual International Vocal Competition

Artistic Director Lucine Amara invites vocalists of all ages worldwide to apply now to the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 28th Annual International Vocal Competition. The application deadline is October 31, 2016.

The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera (Verismo Opera) is the house opera company of the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC) in Englewood, New Jersey. The nonprofit opera company is recognized for providing opportunities for artists to learn and perform in a professional environment with a live orchestra.

The company is offering a free master class to vocalists accepted to audition in the preliminary round. Amara, a Met Opera legend, and Verismo Opera's General Manager, Evelyn La Quaif, will teach the master classes. "Our free master class will give young artists the opportunity to learn deportment, language, style and presentation at auditions. This was offered at the Metropolitan Opera many years ago and, unfortunately, has not been presented for some time. We encourage singers to apply to the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 28th Annual International Vocal Competition, take advantage of this opportunity, and attend the master class. This information and participation is crucial to advancing a singer's audition abilities and professional career," said Amara, who performed for over 40 years at the Metropolitan Opera in 882 on stage performances in 56 roles.

"It was a great experience with the competition. Especially, the master classes were very helpful to figure what I do more or less because you have a lot of experience singing on stage," said Sol Jin, first prize winner in the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera's 27th Annual International Vocal Competition.

Preliminary auditions will take place in 2016 on November 7 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m., November 9 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., November 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., November 14 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and November 19 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Yeoryia Megremis Studios in New York City at the Epic Building located at 2067 Broadway, 5th floor, Otello Room. Final auditions will be held at The Liederkranz Foundation, 6 East 87 Street in New York City, on January 4, 2017 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Luminary Judges

At the preliminary auditions, a luminary panel of judges will officiate, including Metropolitan Opera legend Lucine Amara; Maestra Lucy Arner, Music Director/Principal Conductor, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera; Maestro Anthony Morss, Emeritus Music Director/Principal Conductor, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera; and Evelyn La Quaif, General Manager and Stage Director, New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera. If requested, the judges' comments will be sent to all preliminary participants and finalists.

A professional accompanist will be provided to all participants at the preliminary and final auditions. Finalists selected to perform in the vocal competition will be invited to attend three four-hour free master classes. During the master classes led by Amara and La Quaif, artists will learn deportment, language, style and presentation at auditions.

Finalists will be given feedback; extensive free coaching on language, style and presentation; and the opportunity to perform in Verismo Opera's fully staged upcoming productions. Winners will receive cash awards totaling $3,500 ($2,000 first prize, $1,000 second prize and $500 third prize).

Vocal competition winners and finalists performed in several of Verismo Opera's productions. On April 19, 2016, Nathan Resika, a finalist in the 27th Annual International Vocal Competition, performed in the company's premiere of Amilcare Ponchielli's La Gioconda. The 26th Annual International Vocal Competition's first prizewinner, tenor José Heredia, performed in Verismo Opera's productions of Carmen and La Bohème at bergenPAC and will return on October 23, 2016 to sing in Rigoletto. Baritone Youngjoo An, the 2013 Verismo Opera Vocal Competition's second prize winner, performed in the company's productions of La Bohème, Lucia di Lammermoor and La Gioconda.

The registration fee is $75. Payment may be made securely online at located at the bottom of the pageor by check made out and sent to Verismo Opera, P.O. Box 3024, Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024-9024.

All applicants are required to send a resume, bio, a MP3 file or a CD containing at least three arias, an 8 x 10 black and white photo, and the application fee. Applicants will be notified if they are accepted into the competition. An application may be downloaded at For further information or to schedule an audition appointment, contact info@verismopera.orgor call (201) 886-0561.

About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera

For 28 years, the New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera has been an integral part of the region’s classical music culture. Led by Metropolitan Opera luminary Lucine Amara, Verismo Opera delivers a rich, grand opera experience for performers and viewers.

As the Bergen Performing Arts Center's house opera company, Verismo Opera provides performing opportunities for young musicians and artists through its semi-annual productions at the theatre and concerts held in community settings. Community members are invited to get involved as supernumeraries and volunteers.

An annual international vocal competition is conducted in November with finals generally drawing artists throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Verismo Opera also organizes opera workshops, master classes and concerts and offers affordable, highly professional productions.

For more information, visit Verismo Opera's web site,; follow the company on Facebook,, or Twitter @NJVerismoOpera; or call (201) 886-0561.

Photo caption: 27th Vocal Competition winners received their awards from Lucine Amara Left to right: Vocalists Janani Sridhar, third place winner, and Sol Jin, first place winner.  Photo Credit: Marilyn Monsanto

Patricia Durante and 'Her Boys' wow Chester audience with Patsy Cline tribute

Patricia Durante, Regan Ryzuk and Tim Metz

Last year, in our selections for the 2015 Footlights Awards we wrote this about Patricia Durante: "The musical 'Always…Patsy Cline' starring Patricia Durante as Patsy with Barbara Babbitt as her fan and friend Louise Segar. These two ladies are a "dynamic duo." First, Patricia Durante, one of our most talented actresses, demonstrates her fine vocal ability in singing 27 songs, including Patsy's biggest hits Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, Sweet Dreams and Walking After Midnight.

For the better part of 90 minutes she IS Patsy Cline....the costumes, the brunette wig, the movements and, of course the voice. This is the same Patricia Durante that four years ago on this very same stage starred in "Enchanted April." In our review, we wrote "Ms. Durante, who bears a striking resemblance to Deborah Kerr including the red hair, is in one word "enchanting." Well, she enchants us again in "Always...Patsy Cline." (RB)"

Now jump forward to last night, Patricia with Tim Metz and Regan Ryzuk presented an equally terrific one hour salute to Patsy Cline at our Community Clubhouse in Chester Township. The audience showed their appreciation with a well deserved standing ovation.

Patricia Durante and "her boys" would be a marvelous crowd-pleaser at your next club or community center event.   

The 'Boys" are:

Tim Metz has long been a first call bassist in the New York metro area. He is fluent on upright bass, electric bass and tuba and in any style. He has been featured at dozens of major jazz festivals from coast to coast and has been fortunate enough to play with some great musicians including; Bob Crosby’s Bobcats, Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Maxine Sullivan, Tony Orlando, Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Sarah Partridge, Grover Kemble and many others. He has appeared at two Presidential Inaugural Balls in Washington D.C., played Carnegie Hall with Connie Francis and was the original bassist for the ‘American Musical Theatre Ensemble’ at Manhattan School of Music

Regan Ryzuk is a composer, orchestrator, arranger and pianist – with formal training at Manhattan School of Music and Juilliard. He has composed music for more than 500 television programs and films with such credits as Kissing Jessica Stein, Chasing Papi, The Night Listener, 60 Minutes and American Idol. He has recorded for The Wu Tang Clan, Russell Simmons and Quincy Jones, to name a few.

​Maurer Productions OnStage to present Neil Simon's Jake's Women

This wildly comic and moving play features Jake’s flashbacks about the women in his life – that are occasionally interrupted by the actual women! Jake's women include a revered first wife, Julie, who died years earlier in a tragic accident; his daughter, Molly, who is recalled as a child but is now a young woman; his boisterous and bossy sister, Karen; an opinionated analyst, Edith; his current wife, Maggie, who is contemplating her future with, or possibly without, Jake; and the newest arrival, Sheila, a woman who just may be part of Jake's future.

The cast features Kurt Penney of Pennington as Jake; Erin Leder of Bordentown as Maggie; Michele Kallman of Hightstown as Karen; Makenna Katz of West Windsor as young Molly; Gina Migliaccio of Hamilton as adult Molly; Laurie Hardy of Hamilton as Edith; Jessica Braynor of Lawrenceville as Julie; and Kathy Liebars of Langhorne, Pa., as Sheila.

The show is directed by Diana Gilman Maurer, co-founder of MPO with her husband, John M. Maurer. She notes that “Jake’s Women” is considered one of Mr. Simon’s hidden gems and that the cast for this production is proving very talented at juxtaposing moments of high comedy and high drama. “The show is both moving and funny and takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions,” Maurer said. “I am really proud of this cast and how well they navigate the moods and nuances of each character.” 

Directed By: Diana Gilman Maurer

Fridays, Sept. 30 & Oct. 7, 2016 at 8 pmSaturdays, Oct. 1 & 8 at 8 pm

Sundays, Oct. 2 & 9 at 2 pm

The Kelsey Theatre at MCCC
1200 Old Trenton Road
West Windsor, NJ 08550 U.S.A

Cast set for WTC's SPIN by Robert William Sherwood

"We are pleased to announce our cast for our opening show of the 2016-2017 season!

SPIN by Robert William Sherwood tells the tale of a presidential candidate and his campaign manager discovering some potentially damaging information about the candidate's wife. However, this information may not be true. The truth may be even worse. It's all in how you spin it..."


Jonathan Fishman as Jerry
Meridith Johnson* as Elizabeth
Tom Morrissey as Henry
Lauren Moran Mills as Alexandra
Nancy Kutzer* as Mary

Directed by Barbara Krajkowski
*denotes member of AEA

Friday, September 23, 2016

Paper Mill Playhouse Quiz

The Growing Stage Kicks Off 35th Season with NJ Professional Premiere of 'Peter and the Starcatcher'

The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, located in the Historic Palace Theatre on Route 183 in Netcong opens its 35th Anniversary Main Stage season with PETER AND THE STARCATCHER. The show runs October 7th through the 23rd with performancesFriday evenings at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4 PM.

Tony Award Winning PETER AND THE STARCATCHER upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (Peter Pan). A wildly theatrical adaptation of Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson’s best-selling novels, the play was conceived for the stage by directors Roger Rees and Alex Timbers and written by Rick Elice with music by Wayne Barker. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty, and love. Featuring a dozen actors portraying more than 100 unforgettable characters, PETER AND THE STARCATCHER uses ingenious stagecraft and the limitless possibilities of imagination to bring the story to life. This production is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, The Growing Stage’s Executive Director, with musical direction by Stephen Fox and Choreography by Jillian Petrie.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER features the talents of five professional equity performers in the cast.

Returning to the Palace are Growing Stage favorites: Josh Carpenter of Brooklyn, NY, last seen in The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel, as BlackStache; Jeremy Hilgert of Delaware Water Gap, PA, last seen in Peter Pan, as Bill Slank; Lucas Pinner of Glen Gardner, NJ, last seen in The Story of the Nutcracker, as Mack; Izzy Figueroa of Old Bridge, NJ, last seen in How I Became A Pirate, as Sanchez. Making his Growing Stage debut is Richard Stillman of Montclair, NJ as Smee. 

Rounding out the cast are Davis Lemley of Cedar Grove, NJ, as Boy (Peter); Nikki Miller of Hampton, NJ, as Molly; Julie Galorenzo of Verona, NJ, as Mrs. Bumbrake; Marcelo Leal of Jersey City, NJ, as Alf; Robert Allan of Flanders, NJ, as Lord Aster, Dalton Allison of Byram, NJ, as Prentiss and Justin Watt of Hackettstown, NJ, as Ted.

The Growing Stage continues FUN-tastic Fridays with all tickets $15! Saturday and Sunday tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $15 for children. To purchase tickets, please visit or call (973) 347-4946. Group rates and Birthday Party packages are available. The Growing Stage’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.

PETER AND THE STARCATCHER is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI, 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019, Phone: 212-541-4684, Fax : 212-397-4684,

The Theater Project producing new version of Regina Taylor’s CROWNS

Daaimah Talley

Expectations are high -- The Theater Project had previously produced CROWNS in 2010, so “In 2016, we expect to raise the roof at each and every performance in Maplewood,” says artistic director Mark Spina. “The music in CROWNS makes you want to join right in – and people do!”

The production, starring 
Daaimah Talley and Andre DeSandies, is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, begins its four-week run September 29.

In Regina Taylor’s CROWNS, the hats worn by African American church women become a springboard for exploration of black history and identity through story and song. “Sometimes under those hats, there’s a lot of joy and a lot of sorrow.” The show uses gospel music to describe the journey of Yolanda, a young woman who travels down South to stay with family after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. As she deals with her loss, she finds strength by learning about her roots from her grandmother’s community of church women. Gospel music, rap and dance underscore her story as she discovers the history and significance of cultural traditions in a colorful, energetic depiction of African-American life.

Gail Lou
The production’s musical director is Gail Lou, an accomplished recording artist, actress, songwriter, and arranger. She performed off-Broadway as Lena Horne in MAMA I WANT TO SING and has received critical acclaim from the Grammy Committee for her recordings. Choreographer Colleen Hawks’ Broadway performance credits include SHREK, THE BOY FROM OZ, and SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ. The production is directed by Mark Spina.

CROWNS is being presented by the award-winning professional company The Theater Project at its home base in Maplewood’s Burgdorff Center for the Arts, September 29 – October 23rd. It was originally produced in New York City by McCarter Theatre in association with Second Stage Theatre in 2002. CROWNS is based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marbury and adapted by Regina Taylor.

Tickets, group rates and information are available at

About The Theater Project (TTP):

Andre DeSandies
Founded in 1994, The Theater Project presents its main stage season and children’s classes at the Burgdorff Cultural Center, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, New Jersey. TTP also maintains a strong presence in Cranford and Union, offering readings and events in several locations. For more information, visit

Tickets and further information are available at

WHAT: CROWNS, the gospel musical by Regina Taylor
WHEN: September 29 – October 23, 2016
Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM.
WHERE: The Theater Project at the Burgdorff Center for the Arts,
10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ
TIX: $40 - $20; discounts available for groups and advance sale.
Discounts also available for students, seniors, and NJEA members.
INFO:, 908 809-8865

PHOTOS: Daaimah Talley, Andre DeSandies, and Gail Lou, from TTP.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Opening tonight at Dreamcatcher: 'The How and the Why'

The 2016-2017 season starts tonight!

The How and the Why- September 22 - October 9, 2016
Evolution and emotion collide in Sarah Treem's thought-provoking and sharp play about science, family, and survival of the fittest. On the eve of a prestigious conference, an up-and-coming evolutionary biologist wrestles for the truth with an established leader in the field. This intimate and keenly perceptive play explores the difficult choices faced by women of every generation.
"Sarah Treem's play brims with ideas and emotional colors that eddy and refract like rivulets in a lively, plunging stream." -Washington Post.
" exhilarating, intellectual evening out." -Star-Ledger. 
"A moving portrait of a woman meeting with equanimity an unexpected, often painful series of questions about the choices she made in the past." -NY Times. 
"Two absorbing hours with two finely formed, interesting, smart, and captivating women...a very rare achievement indeed for women in and at the theatre." -Feminist Spectator.
Buy Your Tickets Now Online.  
Brown Paper Tickets

You can also call Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006
Use Code TREEM to receive a $3 discount. (Advance purchase only.)
Harriett Trangucci plays Professor Zelda Kahn, an eminent scholar, opposite Jessica O'Hara-Baker's Rachel, a graduate student.
Don't forget about our special Spa / Theatre package and our Season Pass offer. Scroll down for details.
The How and the Why of Pampering 
Enjoy a full, fun day out with your friends with a Spa/Theatre package! 
When you purchase as a package, receive a discount on both your Sunday matinee ticket to The How and the Whyat Dreamcatcher and a spa service at Woodhouse Day Spa.
  • Buy a ticket for any 2 pm Sunday matinee of The How and the Why: select 9/25, 10/2, or 10/9 then select "Woodhouse Spa" as your ticket level.
  • Call Woodhouse Day Spa to schedule your appointment for your spa service, either on the same day as the show, or any Monday - Thursday. Show your receipt for the Spa/Theatre package.
  • Incredible value at $120 for the complete package!
  • Spa services available include:
Swedish Massage - 50 minutes
This classic stress-relieving massage utilizes long, flowing strokes to reduce tension, increase circulation and induce relaxation.  An introductory massage that's great for unwinding!
Timeless Anti-Aging Facial - 50 minutes
Dare to defy time!  Ideal for dehydrated, dry or mature skin, this facial delivers visible results with cutting edge ingredients and microcurrent technology.  Fight the signs of visible aging and reduce those well-earned fine lines and wrinkles.  You will leave refreshed, and glowing...Timeless.

420 Springfield Avenue * Summit, NJ * 908-608-1120
Season Pass Available until the October 9, 2016performance of The How and the Why.  

Season Passes available now for the upcoming 2016-2017 Dreamcatcher Repertory Season.
Visit our website for more.

     Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
Oakes Center  *  120 Morris Avenue  *  Summit, NJ 07901
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all in one place!