Monday, March 2, 2015

Auditions: ‘The Spitfire Grill’ at Barn Theatre in Montville


The Barn Theatre in Montville, New Jersey continues its 87th Season by holding open auditions on Sunday, March 15 and Monday, March 16 for its upcoming production of "The Spitfire Grill", a musical written by James Valcq (music and book) and Fred Alley (lyrics and book), based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff. The production will be produced by Carla Kendall and directed by Claudia Metz with Musical Direction by Clifford Parrish.
AUDITION DATES: Sunday, March 15 at 6 PM and Monday, March 16 at 7 PM.  Callbacks (by invitation only) will be held on Wednesday, March 18 at 7 PM.

PERFORMANCE DATES: May 15 – June 6 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays with possible Thursday performances)

Percy Talbott, a young woman just released from prison, is looking to make a fresh start. Based on the description in an old travel brochure that once adorned her jail cell, she chooses the rural town of Gilead, Wisconsin. The local sheriff finds a place for her to work at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill where the town “welcomes” her with suspicion and distrust and she quickly finds that the town itself is in despair. Through an unusual contest, friendships are formed and hope grows, transforming the futures of the characters as they learn to trust one another with their pasts.

4 Women, 3 Men:

PERCY TALBOTT - early to mid-20s.  Strong-minded parolee determined to start over.  Kind but feisty and perhaps a bit rough-edged, her past has given her wisdom and sadness beyond her years. Her accent has a southern Appalachian cadence (she is the only character with an accent). Mezzo, strong folk/country belt to 'D', some head voice required.
HANNAH FERGUSON – late 50s to 70.  The tough-skinned owner of the Spitfire Grill.  A fiery old bird with a short, no-nonsense manner bordering on the bitter. Mezzo/alto chest range.
SHELBY THORPE – early to mid-30s.  Caleb’s meek, but soulful, wife.  She begins to show confidence under Percy’s influence.  A plain, soft-faced creature with a shy, almost ethereal manner. Shimmering folk soprano with strong high belt to 'D'.
EFFY KRAYNECK – 40s to 50s. Gilead’s Postmistress and resident busybody, a nosy and opinionated woman with narrow eyes and a sour tongue. Solid singer in mezzo/alto chest range.  Must be able to carry close harmony.
CALEB THORPE – mid-30s to early 40s. Hannah’s bitter nephew, an out-of-work foreman of the stone quarry.  Fiercely protective of his aunt, he is frustrated as he loses control over most aspects of his life and tends to exert control over his wife.  Solid folk/rock baritone with an edge (Top 'G').
JOE SUTTER – mid-20s to 30s.  The local sheriff and Percy’s parole officer.  A likeable sort with an appealing intensity and a restless nature, eager to leave the town of Gilead for good.  Strong folk tenor to a 'G' (touches an 'A').
THE VISITOR – mid-40s.  An important, central, nonspeaking role requiring very strong acting ability.  An actor with powerful eyes and a very strong sense of his body.  Actors auditioning for this role are asked to prepare a short monologue.

The audition will consist of a vocal audition and readings from the script.  There will be no dance audition.  The music is inspired by rural folk music traditions with tones of bluegrass/country/folk/pop sounds so please prepare a song in the style of the show.  Auditioners are asked to prepare a 32 bar vocal selection that shows their range and to bring their own sheet music for the accompanist. Those familiar with the show’s score are encouraged to audition with a selection from the show (scores will be available at the auditions).  We are looking for individuals to tell a story – and convey emotion -- through song so please let that be your guide even if it is not a traditional Broadway showtune.

Those invited to the callbacks will be taught selections from the score and may be asked to sing harmony with other auditioners.

To read a complete synopsis of the show and hear samples of the music, please visit  Feel free to contact the director with any questions or concerns at

Actors are asked to arrive to sign in within the first hour of the audition start time. All roles are available. Casting is open, and newcomers are especially welcomed. Crew and other volunteers are also needed for the event. If interested, please contact

The Barn Theatre is located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Route 287 (Exit 47). For more information or directions, call 973-334-9320 ext. 5, or visit


Saturday, February 28, 2015

NJTA’s current professional schedule

(In chronological order of opening)

The Garage Theatre Group
Landscape of the Body
February 12 - March 1

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
The Most Deserving
(New Jersey Premiere)
February 12 - March 1

Two River Theater
Guadalupe in the Guest Room
(World Premiere)
February 14 - March 15

Centenary Stage Company
In the Car with Blossom and Len
(World Premiere)
February 20 - March 8

Crossroads Theatre Company
Repairing a Nation
(World Premiere)

February 26 - March 8
New Jersey Repertory Company
The M Spot
(World Premiere)
February 26 - March 29

George Street Playhouse
Buyer and Cellar
March 3 - 29

Paper Mill Playhouse
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(US Premiere)
March 4 - April 5

The Growing Stage: The Children's Theatre of New Jersey
And Then Came Tango
(World Premiere)
March 6 - 29

McCarter Theatre Center
Ken Ludwigs' Baskerville:
A Sherlock Holmes Mystery

(World Premiere)

March 10 - 29

Premiere Stages
11th Annual Spring Reading Series
March 19 - 22

The Eagle Theatre
Tick, Tick...BOOM!
March 20 - April 25
Click here to view full member theatre performance details

Shows and dates are subject to change; call theatres or check the NJTA website to confirm.

‘Inherit The Wind’ next at Barn Theatre in Montville

Inherit the wind

The Barn Theatre of Montville, NJ will be presenting the play "Inherit The Wind" written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee and directed by Todd Mills. Performances will be on March 13, 20, 21, 27, 28, April 3 and 4 at 8pm; and on March 14, 15, 22, 29 at 2pm. Tickets are $18 (senior/student tickets are $16 on matinees only).

The play is a fictionalization of the courtroom tale of the intriguing genesis of the famous Scopes Monkey trial,' debating creation versus evolution being taught in schools.

The cast of "Inherit The Wind" features: Hank Barre (of Basking Ridge), Cheryl Bear, (of Montville), Roy Bogert (of Lincoln Park), Michael Burkett (of Hackensack), Kevern Cameron (of Hamburg), Payton Casarico (of Montville), William Darche (of Morristown), Gianna Esposito (of Ledgewood), Cy Friedman (of Rockaway), Steven Frommeyer (of Long Valley), Christopher Gibbs (of Fanwood), John Hawes (of Denville), John Hopko (of Denville), Brad Ireland (of Towaco), Laura Kennedy (of Denville), Robert Loucks (of Newton), Dave McDonald (of Arlington), Greg Moran (of Dover), Sharon Moran (of Dover), Kim Mullaney (of Maplewood), Sam Mullaney (of Maplewood), Lauren Pinto (of Wayne), Elizabeth Sherpa (of Boonton), and Francis Tomitz (of Minehill)

The Barn Theatre is located on Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Exit 47 from Route 287. For more reservations, information or directions, call The Barn Theatre Box Office at (973) 334-9320, or visit The Barn Theatre on the web at


PHOTO (From Left to Right) Chris Gibbs (of Fanwood), Greg Moran (of Dover), and Kevern Cameron (of Hamburg) in "Inherit The Wind" at The Barn Theatre[Photo by Tom Schopper]


Friday, February 27, 2015

Jersey City Children’s Theater Joins New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Jersey City kids

New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a service organization for the state’s Equity producing theatres, is proud to announce that Jersey City Children’s Theater (JCCT) has been accepted for membership in the Alliance. JCCT is now recognized, together with the 34 other professional theatre companies that are members of the Alliance, as a major force in bringing the joy and power of professional theatre to all residents and visitors of New Jersey.

“JCCT is an exciting addition to the New Jersey Theatre Alliance for many reasons,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “Their programming focuses on young people, instilling in them a familiarity with and love of theatre from an early age. Also, they are located right in the heart of the state’s most diverse community. Working with JCCT will help us fulfill our goal of making theatre accessible to all.”

New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the hub for the state’s not-for-profit, professional theatres, providing assistance with audience development, fundraising, advocacy, and capacity building. The Alliance also serves as a catalyst for collaboration among member theatres, and provides public programming such as the annual Stages Festival (a statewide festival of theatre in March), the discount ticketing service NJArtsTix, and the Cultural Access Network Project, which helps arts and cultural institutions make their venues and events accessible to people with disabilities.

Kathy Hendrickson, Artistic Director and Founder, considers JCCT’s membership an opportunity to become more fully immersed in the New Jersey professional theatre landscape: “It is important to give jobs to New Jersey artists—to focus on bringing more actors and educators with diversity into the community. I look forward to our theatre becoming more Jersey-centric—becoming a deeper member of the New Jersey theatre family.”

Founded in March, 2011, and located in the historic Barrow Mansion at 83 Wayne Street, JCCT is a not-for-profit production and educational theater company that has served over 11,000 children and their families in the Jersey City community. Hendrickson founded JCCT to address the community’s need for world-class theatre-arts programming and education for the city’s growing, young, and diverse population.

With a population of over 250,000, Jersey City is the second largest city in the state of New Jersey, and, according to a 2013 article in, the second most diverse in the nation. Like its hometown, JCCT is multicultural, with a curriculum that utilizes the literature and poetry of different eras and cultures from around the world, such as multicultural fairy tales, Shakespeare, Greek and Roman Mythology, the Brothers Grimm, and Native American legends. JCCT’s dual-language program launched in January 2014, and the theatre collaborates with teaching artists and performers from around the world.

Affordability of theatre is another core value of JCCT. In 2014 the theatre launched Play in the Parks (in cooperation with the Jersey City Parks Coalition), which allows the theatre to present its main-stage shows in the parks of Jersey City, free of charge. In partnership with the Jersey City Board of Education, JCCT offers 100 “gift tickets” to each of their main-stage productions, allowing families to have theatrical experiences regardless of financial means. In addition, JCCT has awarded over $30,000 in scholarships to its students.

JCCT has a very distinct mission: to enrich youth, families, and the community by engaging them physically, intellectually, and intuitively through play, offering performance and training based on the games of Viola Spolin and the “Story Theater” technique of Paul Sills.

“The focus in all we do is spreading the word of Viola and Paul,” said Hendrickson. “Their philosophy is to start with the physical, and not depend on the emotional or intellectual. Viola believed that when you engage the physical, then and only then can you get to intuition. That is what we are all striving for—the players, the audience, the guides: collective intuition.”

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is now a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation, and audience development. For arts patrons, the Alliance provides a variety of services, such as The Stages Festival, a statewide festival of theatre in March offering free or discounted performances and programs. 

Funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Bank of America, New Jersey Cultural Trust, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

‘Anything Goes’ at Morristown’s MPAC Community Theatre

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Special touring production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes

This Saturday, February 28 at 3 pm & 8 pm

Tickets: $39 - $79

Winner of three 2011 Tony Awards® including 

Best Musical Revival and Choreography!

This Cole Porter comedy features some of musical theater's most memorable standards, including "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," and "Anything Goes." Based on Roundabout Theatre Company's production, The New York Times hails it a "MUSICAL-COMEDY JOY" and USA TODAY calls it "GLORIOUS and EXUBERANT!"

                                Click here to learn more and buy tickets! 

Anything Goes Montage

                                 Anything Goes Video Montage


Mayo Performing Arts Center | 100 South Street | Morristown | NJ | 07960

The Sad End of the Surflight Theatre on Long Beach Island

Sad day for NJ theatre fans-Sandy’s damage was the final blow.


“To Our Loyal Patrons, Donors and Volunteers:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I regret to advise you that due to continuing difficult financial circumstances, Surflight Theatre is forced to cease operations after 65 seasons and file for bankruptcy.

This was an extremely difficult decision, and it was not made without trying every possible action to save the theater we all love. Over the past few months, we and Surflight staff have worked tirelessly to improve the theater’s financial condition through a variety of means, including appeals for emergency funding, seeking refinancing of our burdensome debt and making cost reductions. Unfortunately, these efforts were unsuccessful.

We sincerely thank you and all in our community who have supported Surflight through the years. This generous support has enabled Surflight to impact the careers of aspiring actors and others involved in live theater – a large part of our theater’s mission. We thank you for supporting Surflight’s youth programs, which have helped children become confident in front of an audience and attain other life skills. Your patronage has filled the theater’s beloved Show Place Ice Cream Parlour with laughter over the antics of our singing waiters.

And, of course, your support has allowed Surflight to provide quality live stage performances to our residents and visitors for 65 years.
Finally, we wish to recognize all the members of the Surflight staff, who have worked extremely hard and with great dedication to bring everyone the best Surflight experience possible. We applaud them and wish them well as they continue their extraordinary careers.”
Dave Kreines, chairman

Surflight Board of Trustees

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces Groundbreaking Lineup for Its 2015-2016 Season

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New Jersey Theater Presents Two World-Premiere Musicals

Paper Mill Welcomes Robert De Niro, Jerry Zaks, Andy Blankenbuehler, Alan Menken, among others!


Bandstand       A Christmas Story: The Musical   A Bronx Tale

Pump Boys and Dinettes      West Side Story


Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) has announced the lineup for its 2015-2016 season, featuring five musicals and two world premieres. Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2015-2016 season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank. Paper Mill Playhouse will open its 2015-2016 season with the world-premiere musical Bandstand, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler.  This sizzling new big-band musical is the story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans who dream of a better life. They join together to compete in a national radio contest with a prize that will guarantee instant stardom to the winners.

Just in time for Christmas, Paper Mill Playhouse will present A Christmas Story: The Musical, straight from Broadway, based on the legendary 1983 movie. Join Ralphie and friends as this classic Christmas film comes to life on the Paper Mill stage in a dazzling musical that captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike.

In February, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the world premiere of a new musical A Bronx Tale. With music by Tony and Oscar winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater and written by Chazz Palminteri, based on his acclaimed one-man show, it is a complex love story set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s. A Bronx Tale will be directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo.

Next spring, Paper Mill Playhouse heats up the northeast with Pump Boys and Dinettes, a musical full of joy, a little bit of heartbreak and lots of hilarity. A little rest stop on Highway 57 in North Carolina is where all the action is—once the boys get that guitar and bass fiddle revved up, you won’t want to be anywhere else. Pump Boys and Dinettes is a countrified musical packed with highly entertaining toe-tappers.

Finally, Paper Mill Playhouse will close its 77th season with the stunning, trailblazing and legendary musical that set the bar for all musical theater, West Side Story. The score is a musical masterpiece by Leonard Bernstein with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.  The songs of West Side Story have become part of American culture.  You must not miss this passionate and magnificent new production, only at Paper Mill Playhouse.

“What a thrill to produce two world-premiere musicals in one season,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director for the Millburn theater.  “Paper Mill Playhouse is honored to bring so many incredible artists to work in New Jersey next season.  The list is remarkable and includes Oscar winner Robert De Niro, Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler, Academy and Tony Award winner Alan Menken and Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo, to name a few.  We are proud to have created an irresistible lineup of stories you will love, glorious music that will warm your heart and many memorable moments of theater magic.”

“Paper Mill Playhouse is truly Broadway in your backyard,” remarked Managing Director Todd Schmidt. “Paper Mill Playhouse has once again established itself as a leader in American musical theater, the place where the stars of today and tomorrow come together to practice their craft. Of course, none of what we do would be possible without the generous support of our donors, subscribers, patrons, foundations and corporate partners, including season sponsorship from our friends at Investors Bank.” 

“Investors Bank is proud to continue our support of Paper Mill Playhouse for their 2015-2016 season,” said Kevin Cummings, President and CEO. “Paper Mill Playhouse continues to be one of the country’s premier not-for-profit theaters, and provides a fantastic venue for the showcasing of American musical theatre. We wish Paper Mill the best of luck in their upcoming season and I urge everyone to come out and see a show.”

Paper Mill Playhouse will produce eight performances a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Three, four and five-show subscription packages are available now starting at just $104. Each subscription package includes a different level of special benefits (see for details).  Single tickets will go on sale in August starting at just $32. Student rush tickets are $20 and available the day of the performance in person or by phone and will only be distributed with current student ID.  Tickets and subscriptions may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. Titles, casting and dates subject to change.

Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2015-2016 Season

Bandstand  (World Premiere)

October 8 through November 8, 2015

Music by Richard Oberacker

Book and Lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker

Direction and Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler

Paper Mill Playhouse produces this sizzling new big-band musical with an amazing original score and a plot that is full of surprising twists and turns.  Emotionally charged and beautifully crafted, this is the story of a mismatched band of WWII veterans.  Battle-scarred and broke, dreaming of a better life, they join together to compete in a national radio contest with a prize that will guarantee instant stardom to the winners. Directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Andy Blankenbuehler.  See it first here at Paper Mill Playhouse.

A Christmas Story: The Musical

November 25, 2015, through January 3, 2016

Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

Book by Joseph Robinette

Straight from Broadway, this holiday musical is based on the classic 1983 movie. Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: An Official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas.    It’s funny, heartfelt, and captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike.  Bring the whole family, again and again.

A Bronx Tale  (World Premiere)

February 4 through March 6, 2016

Book by Chazz Palminteri

Music by Alan Menken

Lyrics by Glenn Slater

Direction by Robert De Niro and Jerry Zaks

Choreography by Sergio Trujillo

Paper Mill produces the world premiere of this explosive new musical. Written by Chazz Palminteri and based on his acclaimed one-man show, A Bronx Tale is a complex love story set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s. It is the story of an Italian-American teenager finding his path in life as he must choose between the father who raised him and a mob-boss father figure who fascinates him. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime event!  Contains strong language and adult themes.

Pump Boys and Dinettes 

April 6 through May 1, 2016

Book, Lyrics and Music by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann

A raucous good time! A musical full of joy, a little bit of heartbreak and lots of hilarity. This tribute to life by the roadside, takes place on North Carolina’s Highway 57. Somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna stands a rest stop. The four hard-working fellas at the gas station have been known to do some auto repairs, but only when aided by some great tunes and a few beers. Next door there's the Double Cupp Diner, where the Cupp sisters offer up their famous home cooking and gift for song. A celebration of life, love, Dolly Parton, and catfish!

West Side Story

June 1 through June 26, 2016

Music by Leonard Bernstein

Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by Arthur Laurents

Direction by Mark S. Hoebee

Original Direction and Choreography by Jerome Robbins

The stunning, groundbreaking and legendary musical that set the bar for all musical theater!  Amazing dancing with music and a story that will stir your soul and set your pulse racing!  Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, it’s The Sharks and The Jets like you’ve never seen them before.  The score is a musical masterpiece by Leonard Bernstein and the lyrics are by Stephen Sondheim, songs that have become part of our very culture.  You must not miss this passionate and magnificent new production, only at Paper Mill Playhouse.

Paper Mill Playhouse offers its audience an opportunity to enhance their theater experience with behind-the-scenes views of mainstage productions.  Have you ever wanted to sneak a peek behind the curtain? Or wondered what the director was thinking, or how the cast prepares for a show? Join us for one of many revealing insider’s experiences.  Visit the Paper Mill Playhouse website at for dates for our Director's Viewpoint Series, Conversation Club Series, Q&A’s With the Cast and more.

Paper Mill Playhouse offers people with disabilities the opportunity to see live theater with dignity and independence through a myriad of award-winning access programs and services, including audio description and sensory seminars for the blind, Braille and large-print programs, American Sign Language interpretation for the deaf, open-captioning for those with hearing loss, and assistive listening devices.

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.                     

Registration is open for Centenary Stage’s TYRO Acting Program

csc kids

The Centenary Stage Company continues their tradition of nurturing young artists by offering the TYRO Acting Program again this spring. The TYRO Theatre Program provides an introduction to theatre skills for children ages 8 – 10.  This 10 week program runs March 18 to May 20 and meets on Wednesday of each week in The Little Theatre located on the campus of Centenary College.  Registration is $200 per student and limited to ten students.  The registration deadline is March 11.

in the car maria b The TYRO Program is led by Maria Brodeur, the CSC Education Director.  Brodeur (photo right) is a professional actress and arts educator with experience in children’s theatre who holds a BA in Theatre and Education from Rutgers University.  One TYRO parent recently exclaimed, “I saw so much growth in Christine this summer as a result of the wonderful handling given by all of you.”  TYRO, along with the critically acclaimed Young Performers Workshop programs, represents the youth educational arm of the Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence at Centenary College.

For additional information regarding TYRO program, to see a full listing of all CSC programs or to register visit, call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900 or stop by the David and Carol Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave. located on the campus of Centenary College.  The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm.



See what the critics are saying about ‘The Most Deserving’ at Dreamcatcher-Final weekend


"A pretty funny comedy about a somewhat angry conflict gets an above-average staging."

Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

"The most enthusiastic of the show's laughs belong to the ever-charming Noreen Farley."

Ronnie Reich, Star-Ledger

"Trieschmann has a lively and off-kilter sense of humor which she employs to provide much laughter, which is fully amplified by director Laura Ekstrand and her fine company."

Bob Rendell, Talkin' Broadway

This weekend is your last chance to see what all the buzz is about!

The Story:

The Ellis County Arts Council is giving away the largest artist grant in its history; now if only they could agree on who is the most deserving.
This uproarious comedy by Catherine Trieschmann recently played Off-Broadway at The Women's Project, where it was called a "frisky new comedy" by The New York Times and "smart, hilarious, riveting" by The New Yorker. (New Jersey premiereRead more.

Remaining Shows: 

Thursday, February 26: 8pm

Friday, February 27: 8pm

Saturday, February 28: 8pm

Sunday, March 1: 2pm

PRICE: $35 adults, $30 seniors 65+, $30 students 25-. Buy in advance; no fees!

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901 (Directions)

SAVE 10% (advance only) Enter code ART10 at checkout on the Brown Paper Tickets site.

Purchase tickets now!

Brown Paper Tickets

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Review: World premiere play about the challenges of aging is a gem at CSC

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The Centenary Stage Company has a gem of a new play currently on stage. The play is In the Car with Blossom and Len by a "Jersey Girl" Joni Fritz (Pompton Plains, N.J.). Ms. Fritz' play is a spot-on take on the challenges presented to our senior citizens and their caregivers that most of us can easily relate to-from finance to health. It is presented in a warm, loving and amusing manner by an exceptional cast of Equity actors under the sure hand of  director Lynne Taylor-Corbett.

The Blossom and Len in the title are Lenny (Peter Levine) and Blossom Gold (Emily Jon Mitchell). They are 80 plus and live a quiet life in their long time home. Looking out for their increasing needs is their 40ish, unmarried, daughter Holly (Patricia Randell). Holly's older sister Fern Gold-Dumas (Kathleen M. Darcy) with her own obligations of family and career as a lawyer provides limited assistance to her parents and sister Holly. In a supporting role as social worker Susan Anderson is a Centenary favorite,  Maria Brodeur.

in the car 3

                      L-R: Kathleen Darcy, Emily Jon Mitchell, Patricia Randell & Peter Levine

The plot centers on the Gold's dire financial situation developed after years of dealing with a mysterious silent partner in Lenny's chemical testing lab. Lenny at 85 can't bring himself to close the unprofitable business that was to be his legacy. His loyalty to his two employees is such that he pays them with his and Blossom's social security checks! The "In the Car" in the title refers to several amusing scenes of Holly transporting her parents about the community. The opening scene (in car-top photo) touchingly covers Blossom's memory loss (Example-Blossom: "We’re going to watch TV.  It’s a good TV night.   (Beat)   What night is it? ) and Lenny's on again-off again relationship with his very necessary hearing aids.

The play is presented via a series of 12 vignettes or blackouts with each segment beautifully and tightly written.... the dialogue and the situations ring absolutely true without a wasted word.  Back to the actors: all five of the cast members are excellent. Patricia Randall in the sympathetic lead role of Holly is marvelous, an absolutely 'spot-on' performance. 

Director Lynne Taylor-Corbett's production team includes: Bob Phillips who designed the impressive set (the Gold home); Ed Matthews light design; Dustin Cross costume design; Lee Kinney sound design; and Danielle Constance stage manager.

Joni Fritz has created a well written, delightful, entertaining play about the challenges of growing old that is destined for wide exposure in both professional and community theaters. This is a wonderful gem. Don’t miss it.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    February 22, 2015

Some background on the play: In the Car with Blossom and Len was work-shopped at Centenary Stage Company's annual Women Playwrights Series last season and received the top prize, the Susan Glaspell Award. Now in its 24th year the CSC Women Playwrights Series, under the direction of CSC's general manager, Catherine Rust, is a developmental program dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and underserved voice of women writing for the theater today. According to Ms. Rust’s pre-performance comments, only about 17 percent of all plays presented in the US are written by women.

In the Car with Blossom and Len began on February 20 and will run until March 8 in the Sitnik Theatre of the David and Carol Lackland Center.

Performances are Wednesday and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm, Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm and Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm.  Tickets for In the Car with Blossom and Len range from $27.50 to $25.00 for adults and $17.50 for children under 12 with discounts for students and seniors.  Thursday evening performances are the popular Family Nights; $25.00 for all seats with a special 2 for 1 rush discount when purchased at the door 2 hours prior to the performance.

1007LacklandBldg - Copy For a comprehensive performance schedule, a full listing of all CSC events or to purchase tickets visit on-line at, call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900 or stop by the beautiful David and Carol Lackland center located on the campus of Centenary College at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  Box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5 pm and two hours prior to every performance.  CSC also operates a second box office during the season at 217 Main Street in Hackettstown, NJ open Monday through Friday 3 – 6 pm.

The 2014-15 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and CSC sponsors, including Premier Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Cast photos by Bob Eberle


Auditions: Circle Players for ‘Reasons to be Pretty’

reasons to be pretty banner

Circle Players will hold auditions for “Reasons to be Pretty,” a contemporary play written by Neil LaBute, the third in a trilogy by the playwright. The first two were “The Shape of Things” and “Fat Pig.”

All three plays address society’s obsession with physical appearance. “Reasons to be Pretty” concentrates on the tyranny of beauty in the minds of the pretty, in the minds of the not-so-pretty, and in the minds of observers and critics.

The play will be directed by Rick Holloway of New York, and produced by Laura Lindson of Sayreville.

Roles being cast are:

Greg:  the classic “everyman,” a nice guy with a tendency to say the wrong thing without being aware of it. He is well read (enjoys classic American literature in an effort to better himself) but remains in his dead end job. Does his best to avoid conflict whenever possible. Works in a warehouse with Kent and Carly.

Steph: Greg's girlfriend. She has a hair-trigger temper and is argumentative, particularly when she feels emotionally wounded. One of Greg’s unsuspecting remarks causes her to end their relationship. She is close friends with Carly, but doesn't care for Kent.

Kent:  A quintessential jerk.  Stereotypical chauvinistic jock who values women only by their appearance. Winning in sports and with beautiful women are his sole focus in life, emphasizing his one-dimensional character.  Loves having the ‘trophy wife’ but is not faithful and always on the prowl to prove his manhood.  Married to Carly.

Carly:  She knows she’s attractive and not above using it to her advantage; however, also recognizes the burden of being ‘pretty.’ Vulnerable, but can be manipulative if necessary. Only has her job because of how she looks. Works at the same warehouse as Kent and Greg.

All characters are in their late 20s to late 30s.

Sides will be provided. Also, those who audition are invited to perform a 1-2 minute contemporary monologue if they have one prepared, but this is not mandatory. 

Auditions will be held 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, March 8 and 9. Please plan to arrive and sign in no later than 8 p.m. Invited callbacks are 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 10.

Circle Players is located at 416 Victoria Ave., Piscataway.

The days and times of rehearsals have not yet been decided upon for this play.

The show dates are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, June 12-June 27, with a 3 p.m. matinee on Sunday, June 28.

For more information, email director Rick Holloway at

Monday, February 23, 2015

New Jersey Theatre Alliance adds new member to Board of Trustees


Laura Hay, Principal at KPMG, Joins Board of New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Laura NJTA New Jersey Theatre Alliance has announced that Laura Hay of Hartsdale, New York, has been elected to the Alliance’s Board of Trustees. Hay is a Principal in KPMG’s Insurance Practice, serving as the Americas Sector Leader for Insurance in the firm’s New York headquarters. She is also a member of KPMG’s Board of Directors and a member of the KPMG Foundation Board, elected in 2011 after joining KPMG in 1993.

“Laura Hay is an excellent addition to our board,” said Natalie Watson, Esq., partner at McCarter and English and president of the Alliance’s Board of Trustees. “Her financial acumen combined with her genuine passion for theatre will be of great benefit to the Alliance and our members. I look forward to working with her as we fulfill our mission to unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate the professional theatres of the Garden State.”

Mathematics, statistics, and actuarial science are not Hay’s only aptitudes. She has been involved in the world of theatre since age 10, so is excited to be serving on the Board of New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a service organization which assists the state’s 35 professional, non-profit theatres in a variety of ways, including audience development and capacity building.

“New Jersey Theatre Alliance is an amazing organization supporting professional theatre, arts education, and a strong culture of diversity and inclusion,” said Hay. “I am thrilled to be part of such a great group of people of all backgrounds who work together collaboratively to strengthen and support theatre for all to enjoy.”

Hay has been in love with the theatre as long as she can remember, including countless hours of plays imagined and developed in her family basement. She got “hooked” at age 10 when she participated in her first show, The Wizard of Oz. Throughout her teen years and her 20s, she was involved in over 100 shows, mostly musicals. She has been on stage in many capacities, from chorus to leading roles in classics such as Oklahoma and Bye Bye Birdie. She has also worked backstage as stage manager, musical director, conductor, and director. 

While a student at the University of California, Berkeley, Hay noticed a lack of musical theatre, so she and a friend started a student-run organization focused on musicals. After college, Hay joined the Ridgewood Gilbert & Sullivan Company, where she started in the chorus, moved up to choreographer (and cast member), and then finally became the company's director, at age 27.

In 2012 Hay was named to Consulting Magazine’s Women Leaders in Consulting List. She is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in statistics from UC Berkeley.

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is now a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation, and audience development. For arts patrons, the Alliance provides a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience, such as The Stages Festival, a statewide festival of theatre in March offering free or discounted performances and programs. 

Funding for New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Prudential Foundation, Bank of America, New Jersey Cultural Trust, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. 

Stages Festival Event: Dreamcatcher’s Summer Theatre Conservatory Sample Class Day

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Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, professional Theatre in Residence at the Oakes Center in Summit, will hold its Summer Theatre Conservatory for students aged 10 to 17 from July 6 through July 31, 2015.  Students in this varied program will take classes in subjects like acting, improv, clowning, stage combat, voice, and dance and will have the opportunity to create and put on a show.  Classes are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 pm (with a special performance July 31 at 7:30 pm) at Dreamcatcher’s home at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue in Summit.

A free Sample Class Day for the summer program will be held on Saturday, March 21 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Oakes Center. This event is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theatre festival that provides discounted and free theatre performances, workshops and events for all ages throughout the month of March.  The preview day will provide a taste of Dreamcatcher’s Summer Theatre Conservatory; this event will be free, but registration is required.

The STC is a fun way for students to explore their interest and deepen their skills in the performing arts during their summer vacation.  Emphasis is placed on collaboration, freeing your own creativity, and exploring new skills in a supportive environment.  Participants can tailor the program to suit their preferences and their family’s schedule, attending the Conservatory for one, two, three or all four weeks.  Professionals in their field teach all classes, and students receive individual attention, constructive feedback, and the support needed to achieve their personal goals.

Week 1, the Actors’ Workshop (July 6 – July 10), provides a strong foundation in the building blocks of acting:  Acting Technique, Improvisation, Scene Study, Clowning and Stage Combat.  Week 2, the Musical Theatre Workshop (July 13 – 17), will include classes in Acting Technique as well as in Musical Theatre dance and singing, with the chance to put all three skills together each day in an ensemble class.  Weeks 3 and 4, Dreamcatcher Junior (July 20 – 31), will be a combination of skill-building and rehearsal, as the students put together their own show under the guidance of a professional direction staff.  Past shows have included an original show about the misadventures at “Camp Dreamcatchawaka,” the story of a fledgling television network entitled “Don’t Touch That Dial!” and “A Vaudeville Calamity,” a new-fangled, old-fashioned entertainment. 

Reservations are required for the Sample Class Day, and enrollment is strictly limited.  To register, please call 908-514-9654 or email The cost of the Summer Theatre Conservatory is $275 for one week, $495 for two weeks, $700 for three weeks, and $880 for all four weeks, with limited scholarships available.  Discounts are provided for those who register before April 15.  Admission is on a first come, first served basis until the program is filled or until the deadline of June 1, and applications for the Summer Theatre Conservatory and more information on the program may be obtained by calling Dreamcatcher’s business office at 908-514-9654, emailing or may be downloaded at

The Stages Festival offers over 100 performances, workshops, classes, and events at the states professional theatres, performing arts centers, libraries, schools, senior centers, museums and other community venues.  The program was developed to encourage New Jersey’s residents to attend their local professional theatres by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun. Since its inception 18 years ago, the program has served over 90,000 people. To receive a full schedule of events for The Stages Festival please visit

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation and audience development. The Alliance provides member theatres and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs, assists member theatres in their growth and development – as well as in the promotion of their programs – helping them reach their full potential. For arts patrons, the Alliance provides a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience. 

The Stages Festival is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional program sponsors are Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, PSE&G Foundation, and The Smart Family Foundation.

Additional program support has been provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Prudential Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation, and The George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust Foundation.

‘Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine’ next at Two River Theater in Red Bank

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The cast and creative team for Two River Theater’s production of Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine, written and directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson has been set. The production will run April 11-May 3, 2015, with the opening night on April 17, 2015. Single tickets starting at $20 are now available from 732.345.1400 or Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine is sponsored by lead sponsor WBGO Jazz 88.3FM and

Brandon J. Dirden and Merritt Janson will star as Zeke and Judith in Two River’s commissioned world-premiere drama about America’s relationship to race—and the power of hope and possibility in all of our lives. Zeke is a highly educated, once-homeless man who describes himself as a “walking outburst.”  Judith, a self-described “seeker of knowledge,” is a writer who decides that his life would make a great feature for The New York Times Magazine. As the story progresses and their worlds collide, Zeke and Judith discover the price of history, sacrifice, and legacy.

Brandon J. Dirden (Zeke) most recently appeared on Broadway as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. opposite Bryan Cranston’s LBJ in All the Way. His other New York theater credits include Clybourne Park and The Piano Lesson; at Two River Theater, he starred in Jitney and Topdog/Underdog. His television credits include The Americans and The Good Wife.

Merritt Janson (Judith) was most recently seen in Theatre for a New Audience’s production of Tamburlaine the Great and The Last Will with Abingdon Theatre Company. She has appeared in numerous productions with Shakespeare & Company, American Repertory Theatre, and the Moscow Art Theatre.

Also featured in the cast are Andrew Hovelson (Broadway’s Lucky Guy and An Enemy of the People) as Randall, Judith’s boyfriend; Roger Robinson (Tony Award winner for August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, Two River’s Trouble in Mind) as Zebedee, a recluse who has chosen to live for the past 40 years in a book-lined room under Grand Central Station; and Roslyn Ruff (Two Trains Running at Two River Theater, Lortel Award winner for The Piano Lesson at Signature Theatre, All the Way on Broadway) as Janeece, Judith’s best friend.

Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s directing credits include August Wilson’s Jitney and Two Trains Running at Two River Theater and The Piano Lesson for Signature Theatre. He won an Obie Award and critical acclaim for his solo show Lackawanna Blues, and his screenplay for the HBO adaptation received the Humanitas Prize and other honors. As an actor, his credits include August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, for which he received the Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play; August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned at Signature Theatre; and the feature film Selma.

The creative team for Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine includes scenic designer Michael Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Driscoll Otto, and sound designer Robert Kaplowitz. The production will feature original music by Bill Sims Jr. The fight director is Thomas Schall, the casting is by Heidi Griffiths and the production stage manager is Laura Wilson.

redb7 Two River Theater is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division within the Department of State and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Monmouth University, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Durso Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley, Investors Bank, Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, Brookdale Community College, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, William T. Morris Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor, , and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, creates great American theater performed by award-winning artists. We produce American and world masterpieces, and new plays and musicals. Two River Theater offers new-play commissions and artistic development activities that support the most adventurous artists in the American theater; invites its audience to be part of the creative process through readings and open rehearsals; and cultivates students and young people to participate in innovative arts-education programs and become a new generation of theatergoers. Founded in 1994 by Joan and Dr. Robert M. Rechnitz, Two River Theater is easily accessible by car, train, or bus, with great restaurants and shopping within walking distance of the theater. For more information, visit or call 732.345.1400.

Friday, February 20, 2015

World Premiere Production at The Growing Stage


The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, located in the Historic Palace Theatre on Route 183 in Netcong, New Jersey is proud to present the world premiere production of AND THEN CAME TANGO from March 6th through the 29th with performances Friday evenings at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM. AND THEN CAME TANGO, written by Emily Freeman, is the winner of our 2014 New Play-Reading Festival. This production is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, The Growing Stage’s Executive Director with choreography by Jillian Petrie and original music by Paul Marbach. 

AND THEN CAME TANGO  tells the story of a 10 year old girl, Lily that forms a friendship with the zookeeper of the penguin exhibit at the Central Park Zoo after participating in a summer enrichment program. Together they experience the reaction of the community when two male penguins establish a bond to hatch an unclaimed egg. Inspired by a true story, AND THEN CAME TANGO is a tender story that celebrates both tolerance and the inherent desire of one generation to foster the growth of the next. The production is a non-musical that is enhanced through modern dance in bringing the penguins to life.

AND THEN CAME TANGO features the talents of professional equity performers and dancers in the cast.  John Patrick Cleary of High Bridge, a veteran Growing Stage actor, returns to the Palace Theatre in the role of Walter the Zoo Keeper; Savannah McLaughlin of Flanders makes her debut as 10 year old Lily; Melissa Cox of Summit plays Mom; Nikole Rizzo, last seen as Arista in Disney’s The Little Mermaid plays Wendy the Penguin and the Reporter.  Rounding out the cast are dancers Geovanny Fischetti of Phillipsburg, Matthew Varvar of Belvidere, Heather Elizabeth Fleischman of Holland, Lauren Santarelli of Hackettstown, Matthew Fralley of Netcong and Mackenzie Miller of Rockaway as our Penguins.

Enhance your theatergoing experience with pre and post show-activities.  Join us Opening Week March 6th through the 8th for post-show talkback sessions with the playwright and creative team.  The Growing Stage continues FUN-tastic Fridays with all tickets $15! Saturday and Sunday tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors.  To purchase tickets, please visit our website at or contact the Box Office at (973) 347-4946.  Group rates and Birthday Party packages are available.

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