Thursday, October 23, 2014

PL@Y from MITM Theater set for the Strand in Lakewood late November


MITM Theater has announced the second run of its hit original production PL@Y which is being performed at the historic Strand Theater in Lakewood for three performances this November 21st and 22nd.

MITM Theater made its debut splash last November at the Algonquin Arts Theater in Manasquan where PL@Y sold out both performances. This year, PL@Y comes to the Strand with a new look and some new faces, but with the same creative spirit that made last year’s production a success.

PL@Y tells the heartwarming, hilarious tale of Ashley, a young woman whose obsession with technology leads her down the proverbial rabbit hole to a strange and distant land. Ashley encounters colorful characters as she tries to find her way back home in a music-and-dance-filled comic romp for the whole family. Inspired by and featuring the original songs of the Amboys who will be performing live, PL@Y was written by two local playwrights during the 10-day electrical blackout following Hurricane Sandy.

The resulting play fittingly explores the uniquely 21st century way that people interact with technology and each other in an uplifting, musical, and lightly satirical way. PL@Y is directed by Jessica Berger, choreographed by Sarah McCuiston of Let’s Dance Studios, and features performances by a talented cast including Jennifer Townsend, JD Wilson, eleven-year old Sean Haugh who will be reprising his performance from last year’s production as Johnny the nematode, along with many other talented local performers.

Performance Days/Times: Friday November 21st at 8 p.m. Saturday November 22nd at 3 p.m., and at 8 p.m. All three performances will be at the Strand Theater

Tickets: Available at, by phone at 732.730.5925, or at box office on days of performances. General admission, Adults: $10, Children & Seniors: $5

Preferred seating package: $25 (includes pre-show appetizers and drinks at the Strand along with premium loge seating)

About Music is the Medicine Foundation: Music is the Medicine Foundation is a locally run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been in existence since 2010. Over the last four years, Music is the Medicine has raised over $50,000 for various charities including the Ashley Lauren Foundation, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital, the Wounded Warrior Project, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Oceans of Love, Providence House, and Hurricane Sandy relief. MITM Theater is a subsidiary of MITM Foundation and sponsored last year’s production of PL@Y, proceeds of which were donated to the Ashley Lauren Foundation.

Auditions: ‘Carousel’ at Off Broad Street Players


The Off Broad Street Players will be holding auditions for performers, ages 8-80, for Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s musical, “CAROUSEL”

Levoy Theatre 126-130 North High St. illville, NJ 02332
Phone: 856-327-6400

Auditions will be held on November 4th & 6th at 7pm. Callbacks will be on Monday, November 17th, at 7pm.

Performance Dates:
The production will run February 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, and 15. All those interested in auditioning must be available for all performances as there will be no understudies for this production.

Additional Info: There are NO production fees for this show.
Some rehearsals may be held off-site, 10mins away from the theatre.

All those auditioning should be prepared to sing up to 32 bars from a Broadway musical (other than Carousel) in the style of the show that reflects their vocal range and shows their personality. No a capella pieces. A CD player and/or piano accompaniment will be provided. Those auditioning MUST supply their own sheet music and/or CD.
The Choreographer may be present at auditions and reserves the right to request those auditioning to perform some minor dance steps – which will be demonstrated for their benefit.

PLEASE bring your conflict schedule or calendar. Weekday evenings and weekend conflicts for the entire rehearsal period will be requested of you.
Contact Derek Davis with any questions at

If available, please provide a stapled headshot & resume at auditions.
Also, there will definitely be a dance-combo taught during call-backs. So please wear appropriate shoes!

Off Broad Street Players Theatre Company

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Powerful new play premieres at Luna Stage in West Orange

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"Line in the Dust' is a play is about segregation in NJ Public first the topic may be of minor interest or even a turn-off...not quite what you are looking for in an evening's theater entertainment, however would you be wrong! This a beautifully written, powerful, exciting, thought-provoking play impressively directed (Reginald L. Douglas) and performed by three exceptional actors (Erin Cherry, Rick Delaney and Dorcas Sowunmi).  

"Line in the Dust" is now having its world premiere at the Luna Stage in West Orange, one of our Garden State theater treasures. The play that has launched Luna's 22nd Season was commissioned by Luna from Obie-Award winner and Bloomfield NJ resident Nikkole Salter in commemoration of the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.  This was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The Court's unanimous (9–0) decision stated that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This ruling paved the way for integration and was a major victory of the civil rights movement.

The title "Line in the Dust" refers to the famous quote about segregation by 1960s Alabama Governor George Wallace, an ardent segregationist. The play focuses on residential districting in New Jersey public schools and examines how this controversial and emotional issue has affected the dream promised through the landmark ruling. 

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Ms. Salter uses just three characters to illustrate the issue. A black single mother Denitra Morgan (Erin Cherry) whose teen-age daughter is attending Millburn High School. Morgan is fiercely proud of her daughter's academic success and dreams of an Ivy League education ahead and all that that implies. A black interim Millburn High School principal Dr. Beverly Long (Dorcas Sowunmi) who has great compassion, in particular, for her disadvantaged black students. A racist private investigator Mike DiMaggio (Rick Delaney) working to expose resident fraud for the school system. DiMaggio was raised in Newark and laments the city's decline. 

Here is the writer's dilemma-- to go any further in plot description would destroy the impact of this play. As stated earlier, these are three exceptional actors who transform what might in other hands be a very good play into exciting theater. The Luna main stage is an intimate venue where no seat is more than a few feet from the actors. This closeness and the power of these performances added to the relevant emotional material takes the viewer (at least this viewer) beyond a mere theatrical presentation to almost active participation, in short, you forget this is a play and almost experience it as reality.

As in real life, there are no easy answers to the conflict or challenges examined in "Line in the Dust."

If you appreciate theater beyond chuckles and high notes, I urge you to journey to West Orange to see "Lines in the Dust." You will be discussing this play and the subject for far more than the ride home.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  October 19, 2014

Some background: Luna Stage commissioned Ms. Salter to write a play inspired by the life and work of Justice Robert L. Carter, who spent his youth in East Orange and Newark and was one of the architects of the NAACP's legal strategy behind Brown v. Board of Education. This is the second play Luna Stage has commissioned that centers around history or issues specific to New Jersey. Ms Salter chose to look specifically at residential districting in Essex County because "We, as a nation, are losing out." says Ms. Salter. "Collectively, we continue to demonstrate that we believe in our hearts that some people are better than others; some people are inherently more capable than others; some people, based on where they live, are more valuable and more worthy of our investment than others.   Nowhere does this make itself more apparent than in our system of public education."

SONY DSCCheryl Katz, Luna's Artistic Director (photo right), deserves the last word: "Theatre should be entertaining. Theatre should be illuminating. But to me, the most exciting theatre is theatre that is acutely relevant: theatre that holds a mirror up to our society and forces us to confront our history, our triumphs and our failures. And no where is this reflection more important than in regard to how we educate our children."

"Lines In The Dust"  runs Thursdays through Sundays through November 9th. Tickets range from $25-$35.  Individual tickets and Luna Stage 2014-2015 Season Passes can be purchased at, by calling 973-395-5551 or in person Tuesday-Friday 10 am-3 pm.

Luna Stage, a member of Valley Arts, is located at 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ 07052. The theatre is handicapped accessible and offers assistive listening devices.

Top photo: Erin Cherry and Rick Delaney Mid-photo: Erin Cherry and Dorcas Sowunmi Photo Credit:Steven Lawler

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Shakespeare’s rarely produced ‘Henry VIII’ provides great theater


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The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey premiered this past weekend the fifth of its six play main stage schedule for the 2014 season, the rarely produced "Henry VIII." The play is presented in STNJ's always impressive epic style, with sterling casting, dazzling costumes, dramatic setting, perfect mood creating music and lighting. 

Why rarely produced? It was one of the Bard's most popular plays a century ago, however the authorship of this tale of the young Henry VIII is in question.  Many Shakespeare scholars are of the opinion that the work is a collaboration between William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, a fellow dramatist.  We should note that the play's notoriety is also partly due to a tragic incident during a performance at the Globe Theatre in 1613. The theatre burned down....a cannon shot employed for special effects ignited the theatre's thatched roof, burning the  building to the ground.  None of these concerns, however, alters the fact that this reworked, streamlined version in the hands of STNJ's veteran  director Paul Mullins is a marvelous, fascinating, entertaining story. 

This is not the story of Henry VIII and his six wives, or the split with Rome creating the Church of England. The play instead is centered on Henry's desire to divorce first wife of 20 years, Katherine of Aragon, the daughter of the Spanish King. The replacement, already a member of the court, is Anne Bullen (Boleyn) Katherine's maid of honor. Henry (David Foubert) is successful in his quest for divorce from Katherine and marriage with the young Anne (Kate Wieland). Queen Anne gives birth, not to the desired son who would insure Henry's legacy, but to the girl who is to be England’s future Queen Elizabeth I. The play was written and produced shortly after the death of Elizabeth, who was Shakespeare’s patron and first performed as part of the ceremonies celebrating the marriage of Princess Elizabeth in 1613 (apparently sucking up to patrons is not a recent development).

In this production, Katherine (Jessica Wortham) does not go quietly. She does great verbal battle (in a losing cause) with both Henry's Royal advisors and one of history's master vile schemers Cardinal Wolsey, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor (Philip Goodwin).  Wolsey who, initially is, Henry's chief advisor, commits the fatal error of going against Henry's wishes for the divorce by petitioning the Pope to rule against Henry. This act produces a rare pleased response from the former Queen.

h8 3The cast, consisting of mostly STNJ veterans, is excellent, with the three leads each having a star turn. David Foubert, impresses as the powerful monarch, blind to much of the court intrigue and outright political treachery. Philip Goodwin, a long way from his recent role in 'Our Town', dressed in his red cardinal robes dominates the stage in his every scene. His finest scene comes when Wolsey realizes that Henry has turned on him...stripped him of all his lands and possessions.  Then there is Jessica Katherine. Wortham's performance alone is worth the price of admission, She brilliantly displays the fiery anger of the faithful wife, daughter of a King, who is to be discarded for a younger, more fertile, commoner. 

The supporting cast includes:  Clark Scott Carmichael in a stand-out performance as Thomas Cranmer; Thomas Michael Hammond as the Duke of Buckingham and Griffith; Eric Hoffmann as Earl of Surrey, a STNJ treasure; Matthew Simpson as Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Campeius; Matt Sullivan a STNJ favorite as the Duke of Norfolk; Michael Earley also a stand-out as Lord Chamberlain; Damien Baldet as the Duke of Suffolk. Blythe Coons, Joseph Hamel, Alexander Korman, Katie Wieland, and Elisabeth Willis round out the cast.

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Director Paul Mullins' artistic staff also delivered star-turns: scenic designer Charlie Calvert; costume designer Hugh Hanson; sound designer Steven L. Beckel; lighting designer Michael Giannitti; choreography Gerry McIntryre;  and production stage manager Kathy Snyder.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio      October 18, 2014

Tickets start at $32 for regular performances. Student rush tickets for all performances are $15, available a half-hour before curtain for with a valid student ID.  Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Top photo: David Foubert as Henry VIII and Jessica Wortham as Queen Katherine.

2nd photo: left to right: Philip Goodwin as Wolsey, Matthew Simpson as Cardinal Campeius and Jessica Wortham as Queen Katherine.

3rd photo: left to right: Michael Early, Eric Hoffmann- seated, Damien Baldet, Matt Sullivan.

Photos by © Jerry Dalia, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Monday, October 20, 2014

Strollers to present ‘Clybourne Park’ in November


The Strollers, the Community Theater in Residence at the Burgdorff Center for The Performing Arts in Maplewood, is presenting in November the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Clybourne Park, by Bruce Norris, directed by Cynthia S. Ross.

Taking characters from Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun", this razor-sharp new dramedy takes a jab at race and real estate in a fictional Chicago neighborhood.

The play begins in 1959 as a black family moves into a white enclave. Act Two takes us back to the same house in 2009 as gentrification sets in and the roles are reversed. One agile ensemble of actors play two sets of characters in the play The Washington Post deemed "one of its feistiest, funniest evenings in years."

Performance Dates
Friday, November 7th at 8pm
Saturday, November 8th at 8pm
Sunday, November 9th at 2pm*
Friday, November 14th at 8pm
Saturday, November 15th at 8pm
*The Sunday matinee will be signed for the hearing impaired.

c1301d73fcffb60e5d51cbd019dfaa3cPerformance Venue ; The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ 07040

Tickets ; Adults - $20, Seniors/Students - $15
To purchase tickets .org or or call the Box Office at 973-761-8453

Skyline Theatre Company’s production of ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ to play six dates in November

Boom skyline

Nick Orfanella, Lauren Palmeri, and Danny Arnold will star in Skyline Theatre Company’s production of tick, tick…BOOM! running for six performances this November at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center. Tick, tick… BOOM!  is the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning composer of RENT. It is the story of an aspiring composer who questions his life choices on the eve of his thirtieth birthday. First performed as a solo rock monologue by Larson in 1990, it was later revamped by playwright David Auburn as a three-actor piece and premiered off-Broadway in 2001.

Directed by New York City’s Trey Compton, Mr. Orfanella, Ms. Palmeri, and Mr. Arnold were cast from hundreds who auditioned for these three prized roles.

New York’s Nick Orfanella, who is making his Skyline debut, stars as Jon, a role based on the composer of the show. Mr. Orfanella recently toured the USA in the National Tour of Henry and Mudge and has performed with Stages St. Louis, freeFall Theatre, the Reduxion Theatre, the Show Palace Dinner Theatre, Oklahoma Children's Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, The June Havoc Theatre, MARS Theatricals, Theatreworks/USA, and the Midtown International Theatre Festival. He is a proud graduate of Oklahoma City University and holds a Bachelor’s degree of Music in Music Theatre.

Co-starring as Susan is New York actress Lauren Palmeri, who is originally from Bergen County. Ms. Palmeri returns to Skyline having starred as Fanny Brice in last season’s Funny Girl. She has also toured the USA in the national tours of Elf the musical and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. She holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from University of the Arts. Danny Arnold, also originally from NJ, is playing Jon’s best friend Michael. Mr.Arnold, making his Skyline debut, has starred regionally as Leo Frank in Parade and Bobby in Sondheim’s Company.

Tick, tick…BOOM! will run November 7th-9th and 14th-16th at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center in Fair Lawn. Tickets are $29 for adults, $24 for seniors, and $20 for students.  For ticket reservations or for more information about Skyline, visit or call 800-474-1299.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Midtown Direct’s Theatre in the Loft reading of Jack Canfora’s ‘The Road Down the Mountain’


MIDTOWN DIRECT REP (MDR), the company that brought New Jersey the award-winning Rated P for Parenthood and Listen to Your Mother: North Jersey, returns to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) with a Theatre in the Loft reading of Jack Canfora’s The Road Down the Mountain. Directed by MDR company member Michelle Tattenbaum, The Road Down the Mountain premieres on Sunday, November 2 at 7 pm at SOPAC (One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079).

The reading is $15 and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). Same day student tickets are available for $10 at the Box Office only (subject to availability, one ticket per ID, two-hours prior to curtain).

About The Road Down the Mountain:
A rock journalist with one last shot at redemption travels to interview a legendary musician living in seclusion with his caregiver wife and a live-in assistant. Public legend collides with private realities in this new play from Jack Canfora (Jericho, Poetic License) that explores love, art, and intimate secrets.
The cast is led by MDR member Stephanie Kurtzuba (The Wolf of Wall Street), with special guests Ella Dershowitz (Intimacy) and Andrew Rein (Jericho), with more casting to be announced.

About the Creative Team

Jack Canfora’s (playwright) plays have been read and performed throughout the United States and England since 2001. His first full length play, Place Setting, was read in Los Angeles in September, 2005 and starred Steven Weber and Jon Cryer. In June, 2007, the New Jersey Repertory Theatre staged Place Setting where it received excellent notices. The New York Times wrote that the play has “unusually punchy writing” while the New Jersey Star-Ledger raved that the play is “funny and fascinating,” had “wonderfully incisive wit” and “tells the truth about how 21st century men and women view relationships.” The paper named it, along with plays by Teresa Rebeck, Elaine May and Edward Albee as one of the best plays of 2007.

Jericho was named a winner of the 2010 National New Play Network and premiered at The New Jersey Repertory Company as one of three theaters producing it as part of the NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere series. The New York Times wrote the play is “a lovely, humorous work with laughs that resolve into a meditation on the pains and satisfactions of living after a tragedy,” adding “Mr. Canfora has delivered a smart, hard-hitting drama filled with biting wit.” The Newark Star –Ledger raved “Canfora’s dialogue shows a true writer at work.”

His play Poetic License, after debuting at New Jersey Rep in 2008, opens this fall Off-Broadway at 59E59. The Abingdon Theatre awarded him their 2011 Playwriting Award forPoetic License.

Michelle Tattenbaum (director) directs extensively in New York City and regionally. She directed the New York premiere of the musical Nobody Loves You by Itamar Moses and Gaby Alter at Second Stage Theatre after directing the show's world premiere at the Old Globe Theatre (Craig Noel Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical). Other projects with Itamar Moses include directing his play Fucked at the Flea Theater, following up on her twice-extended production of Moses's Love/Stories (Or, But You Will Get Used To It) also at the Flea. She directed and co-produced The Sublet Experiment, a site-specific, touring production that played to sold-out crowds in New York City for over six months.

Other projects in New York include: Mother Jones and the Children's Crusade for the New York Musical Theatre Festival (Best Director, Honorable Mention); The Chromium Hookfor Manhattan Theatre Club, and Lincoln Center Directors' Lab; Untitled Short Play and Szinhaz for Naked Angels; Gallathea (which she also adapted) at Here Arts Center; An Archipelago Of Clouds and Laughing All the Way From the Sperm Bank at FringeNYC; 'Til Sunday for Loeber Entertainment at the Abingdon Theater Arts Complex; Sunday on the Rocks for Yolo! Productions; Hands in Me for the Women of Color Festival; Stand Up Girl at Center Stage; Too Much Information at Ars Nova; Idea and Authorial Intent at Manhattan Theatre Source; Dia de los Muertos for New Directors/New Works; and Guyler Beguiled at the Maverick Theater.

Regionally, she directed the Los Angeles premiere of Itamar Moses's The Four of Us. She has directed staged readings of the musicals Reality! (now titled Nobody Loves You) at the Cape Cod Theatre Project and Goodspeed Musicals, and Tales From the Bad Years also at Goodspeed Musicals. She has directed Dov and Aliby Anna Ziegler at the Chester Theatre,Pinocchio, Anatol, and Gallathea at the Hangar Theatre; Educating Rita, The Tale of the Allergist's Wife, Cats, Little Shop of Horrors, The Secret Garden, and Baby at the New London Barn Playhouse; The Miss Firecracker Contest at the Clinton Showboat; and The Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window and Souvenir at the Women's Theater Company.

She spent two summers directing at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. From 2000 to 2007, she was a member of the First Look Theatre Company, in residence at NYU's Dramatic Writing Program, and she continues to direct and develop musicals at NYU's Musical Theatre Writing Program. She was a two-time Drama League Directing Fellow and is an SDC member. Michelle graduated from Yale with a degree in Theatre Studies.

sopac2-2About Theatre in the Loft
Midtown Direct Rep presents Theatre in the Loft at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) in South Orange, New Jersey. This series of public readings of new plays and musicals showcases new work in development in an elegant and safe setting in front of a sophisticated and engaged audience. The series focuses on works that reflect the complexities of a uniquely diverse community; writers or subjects with a local connection; and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble. Recent projects include work by Jeremy Desmon, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchinson, David Johnston, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, and others. In January, Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis joined company members Sebastian Arcelus, Jenny Bacon, Stephanie Kurtzuba and others in Absence, a new play by Peter Flaherty.

About Midtown Direct Rep
With perhaps more professional theater artists than any suburb of NYC, Maplewood/South Orange (NJ) is “where Broadway comes home to sleep.” MDR, a theatre company created by and for these NJ-based artists, develops and presents relevant, world-class theatre for its community.
Midtown Direct Rep company members include two-time Tony Award®-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award® nominee Stephanie J. Block, Tony Award® nominee Christiane Noll, Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, Michele Pawk, and many others. The Company is led by Managing Director Jeffrey Shubart, Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin, Producing Director Evan Fleischer, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, and Literary Manager Marni Raab.
For more information, visit

This program is 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 and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Review: Outstanding Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera at Light Opera Company of New Jersey


We are constantly amazed by the exceptional quality of the theater talent that resides here in the Garden State. Our proximity to Manhattan the world center for much of the performing arts is, of course, a major factor. This Thursday evening, we had the opportunity to hear and see some of the outstanding classical vocal talent performing in our area. The venue was a church, St. Mark's, in the community of Basking Ridge. St. Mark's is the home of the Light Opera Company of New Jersey. Until several seasons ago it was known as the Ridge Light Opera Company. The company was founded 20 years ago by the husband and wife team of William and Lauran Corson. Bill is the lead producer/director with Lauran serving as the Artistic Director.  Lauran is a soprano with impressive credits having sung professionally throughout the country in both opera and musical theater.

SONY DSC                       The production is Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Gondoliers,or the King of Barataria" noted for not only being the most tuneful but also  having the most dancing of all their works. Unlike many of the plots in opera or operetta, "The Gondoliers" has a surprisingly complex plot that at times seems to be a case for Miss Marple to sort out. Fortunately, a detailed synopsis is provided in the program right down to revealing the 'surprise' resolution. Don't let that concern you, the joy is in the performances of the very impressive leads: John-Andrew Fernandez as Guiseppe Palmieri; Alex Corson as Marco Palmieri (Ben Krumreig alternates with Corson- each doing three performances); William Remmers as The Duke; David Perper as Luiz; Ryan Allen as The Grand Inquisitor; Hanne Dollase as The Duchess; Lyssandra Stephenson as Casilda (photo right); Kathleen Shelton as Tessa; Elena Bird as Gianetta (Samantha Dango alternates); and Katerina Nowik as Constanza and The Duchess.

Others in the large supporting cast are Mike Baruffi; Josh Berg; Jack Broderick; Daveda Browne; Luke Chiafullo; Laura DeFelice; Donna Lee Donelan; Tom Donelan;Sophia Donelan; Beth Gleason; Chang-Kuo Hsieh; Emma Peterson; C. Paige Porter; Frank Skokan; Susanna Su and John Lamb as the understudy for The Grand Inquisitor

William Remmers and Ryan Allen (photo right) are delights in their character roles, with the ladies: Hanne Dollase; Lyssandra Stephenson ; Kathleen Shelton; Elena Bird and Katerina Nowik all possessing marvelous voices. Kathleen Shelton and Elena Bird were particularly effective as the wives of the gondoliers in the amusingly choreographed  "In A Contemplative Fashion." John-Andrew Fernandez and Alex Corson are well paired as the brothers. Both fine actors, first class voices, and not bad on their feet (dancing). Other standout moments were provided by  David Perper as Luiz (the drummer); Frank Skokan's humorous gondolier; and Susanna Su as a leader of the peasant girls.

A very fine six piece orchestra is lead by music director  Lois Buesser (piano). The others are: Serena Huang, flute; Ginny Johnston and Jenny Branch, clarinet; Andrew Pecota, bassoon; and William Remmers, percussion.

The creative staff members are: Lauran Corson, artistic director; William Corson, co-director and producer; William Remmers, co-director; Joanna Hoty Russell, assistant director. 

You have only two chances to see this outstanding production of one of Gilbert and Sullivan's musical masterpieces...tonight and Saturday night.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  October 16, 2014

Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Gondoliers, or the King of Barataria” is presented in two acts with a total of 22 musical numbers. It is presented over 2 weekends in October: evenings at 8 p.m. The remaining dates are October 17 and 18. Tickets are available online at or by calling 908-903-0702.

A special 20th Anniversary celebration of Light Opera of New Jersey, with Dinner will be held on Saturday evening the 18th. Tickets for the dinner are $25. Location: St Mark’s Church, 140 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge, NJ 07920.

Some background: LONJ performs works from composers such as Gilbert & Sullivan, Mozart, Offenbach and Romberg. Musical Theater favorites such as My Fair Lady and Carousel and a wide variety of musical concerts and cabarets round out the repertoire. The company includes professional singers as well as highly skilled amateur performers and an outstanding ensemble known for its “wall of sound”! LONJ is a registered, non-profit performing arts ensemble based in Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

Top Photo: L-R  Elena Bird, Alex Corson, John-Andrew Fernandez and Kathleen Shelton (LONJ)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

‘3 Men’ at Hudson Theatre Works in Hoboken


"3 MEN"







OCTOBER 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 AND 26




(Click for Directions)

3 Men is a monologue play comprising three interwoven monologues. Although autobiographical in nature and based on three real men who had a strong influence on Mr. Folie's life and development as a writer, the stories have been fictionalized.  Mr. Folie likes to say that 3 MEN is about 90% truthful, but only about 65% factual.

All three of the men are driven, Type-A personalities determined to be successful in their careers. Each man achieves prominence as, respectively: a Broadway theater and feature film producer; a lawyer; and a senior executive and major force in the magazine industry. But each encounters set-backs and challenges that prompt them to re-examine their
idea of what constitutes real success in life.

The Producer, the Lawyer and the Magazine Editor all interact with the narrator to present a complicated, bitter sweet tale of art, life, death and resurrection.

The production produced by Hudson Theatre Works, New Jersey's newest Equity theater company, is the second production of their 2014 season which began with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.  It is the second time that the company has used the historic Water Tower for theatrical purposes.

3 Men grew out of HTW's annual fall festival of new play readings, PlayWorks.  This is the first play to be given a full production as a result of the PlayWorks process and the first new play produced by Hudson Theatre Works. 

Mike Folie (Playwright/Actor)

Mike Folie's plays have been produced Off - and Off-Off-Broadway, regionally around the U.S. and internationally, winning several awards. Dramatists Guild

Magazine named him one of Fifty Playwrights to Watch.  His play The Adjustment was produced Off-Broadway by Ted Snowdon, starring Tony nominee Liz Larsen.The Adjustment's original six-week L.A. run extended to six months, with The L.A. Times calling it, "The kind of play the American Theatre desperately needs."  The Adjustment also toured Great Britain starring Stefanie Powers.  Naked by the River has been produced in London and at several theaters in the U.S.; staged readings in L.A. have featured actors Tim Allen and Dana Delany, Scott Bakula and Nancy Travis. A German language version Nackt am FlussC continues to be produced in that country.  Panama was produced at the Dublin Fringe, NJ Rep, The Edison Theatre (Long Beach), Oregon Stageworks (Ashland) and elsewhere. Love In the Insecurity Zone, published by Original Works Publishing, Los Angeles, has been produced in New York, London, Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S.  An actor for ten years prior to becoming a playwright, Mike is also a freelance speechwriter for senior executives at Fortune 500 and other companies.

Directed by Frank Licato, Scenic and Lighting design by John Shimrock. Sound and music design by Donald Stark, costumes by Ann Lowe, Stage Managed by Gina Chedid and produced by Karen Brady and Gregory Erbach.

Hudson Theatre Works is a not for profit, equity theatre committed to ensemble collaboration as well as artistic risk through its work with its permanent company, guest artists, partner institutions and the surrounding community.  It is dedicated to a rugged aesthetic and will seek to tell stories, both new and old, classic and contemporary, which reflect our lives, relationships and world today.

Hudson Theatre Works primary focus is in bringing a living theatre community to the area of Hudson and North Jersey through performance, outreach and theatre arts instruction.

This program is made possible by the City of Weehawken and Mayor Richard Turner and in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

World Premiere of Angels and Ministers of Grace by Elaine Smith at NJ Rep in Long Branch


New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch will present the World Premiere of Angels and Ministers of Grace by Elaine Smith on October 23 through November 23, 2014. A poignant and compelling story of a close-knit, yet eccentric family’s struggle to overcome life’s ups and downs, Angels and Ministers of Grace captures the struggles that confront families today throughout the heartland and urban centers of America, and reveals the forces that threaten to destroy the American dream. 

The cast includes Dana Benningfield, James Earley, Maureen Silliman, and David Van Pelt and is directed by Marc Geller. Angels and Ministers of Grace begins preview performances on Thursday, October 23 and celebrates its opening night on Saturday, October 25 at New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ). The play runs through Sunday, November 23. Tickets may be purchased by calling 732-229-3166 or online at

The production team includes: Jessica Parks (Set Design & Props), Jill Nagle (Lighting Design), Merek Royce Press (Sound Design), Patricia E. Doherty (Costume Design), Michael Carroll (Technical Director), and Jennifer Tardibuono (Stage Manager).

Angels and Ministers of Grace by Elaine Smith

at New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ)
Sneak Previews: Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24 at 2pm;

Audience Appreciation Nights with Reception: Thursday, October 23 at 8pm And Friday, October 24 at 8pm

Opening Night with Gala Reception: Saturday, October 25 at 8pm

Regular Performance Schedule through November 23

Thursdays & Fridays 8pm; Saturdays 3pm & 8pm;

Sundays at 2pm & select Sundays at 7pm

Ticket Prices: Sneak Previews $35

Audience Appreciation Nights: $42
Opening Night: $60

Regular Ticket Price: $42

Tickets are available at or by calling 732-229-3166

Discounts and coupons not valid on Saturday nights

For more information about New Jersey Repertory Company please visit

Photo: Maureen Silliman and David Van Pelt (by SuzAnne Barabas)