Wednesday, October 29, 2014

High-Flying ‘Peter Pan’ next at Centenary Stage

peter pan cent

Join Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John in the high-flying timeless Broadway musical that will whisk you away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up!  On November 28thrunning through December 14th Centenary Stage Company will venture into “Neverland” for their holiday production of Peter Pan.  Based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale and featuring an unforgettable score by Morris “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne with lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden and Adolph Green.  Peter Pan is one of the most beloved family favorites of all time.

LeaAntoliniDirected by Broadway veteran, Michael Blevins, Peter Pan features a cast of 72 actors, young and old, hailing from New York and New Jersey. The holiday musical is meant to celebrate all the programs of the Centenary Stage, including talents from professional Equity actors as well as members of the acclaimed Young Performers Workshop, Centenary theatre students, and local performers. Osborn Focht returns to the CSC stage in the lead role of “Captain Hook”.  Focht is best known for his appearance in Paul Simon’s The Capeman on Broadway, and as Benny Andersson in Kristina at Carnegie Hall.  Centenary Stage Company’s very own multi-talented Lea Antonelli – Lid (photo right) graces the CSC stage again as the title character, “Peter Pan”.

            Tickets prices for Peter Pan are $27.50 for adults on Matinees and Fridays with discounts for seniors, students and children.  Saturday performance prices are $29.50 with discounts for seniors, students and children under 12. Thursday evening tickets are $27.50 for all seats with a two-for-one Family Night discount when purchased at the door.  CSC’s production of Peter Pan is brought to you in part by the generous contributions of The Holiday Inn of Budd Lake and the Fulton Bank.

1007LacklandBldgFor a comprehensive performance schedule and to purchase tickets visit us online at centenarystageco.org.  Tickets may also be purchased at the CSC Box Office in The Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, or by calling 908-979-0900. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m., and 2 hours prior to performance times. CSC also operates a second Box Office during the season at 217 Main Street in Hackettstown open Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m.

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, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Premiere Stages at Kean University Seeks Submissions for Acclaimed Annual Play Festival

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UNION, N.J. – Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, is now accepting submissions for the 11th annual Premiere Stages Play Festival.  This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental and production opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut).

Premiere will accept submissions through January 15, 2015, and select four finalists by March 2015. All four finalists will receive developmental readings, scheduled for March 19 – 22, 2015, with a winner and runner-up to be announced in April 2015. The festival winner will be awarded $2,000 and receive a full Equity production during Premiere Stages’ 2015 Season; the runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June 2015. The two remaining finalists will receive an honorarium of $500. 

“Premiere Stages is passionate about developing new works by emerging and regional American writers,” stated Clare Drobot, Premiere’s Resident Dramaturg. “We specifically look for topical scripts that explore or address contemporary issues, and challenge our audiences to examine the world around them."

Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and focused environment in which playwrights can see their work move quickly from page to stage. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers, helps playwrights reach out to other theatres to secure subsequent productions, and partners with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed.

“At Premiere Stages, American dramatists are afforded the opportunity to have their topical plays fast-tracked from sit-down readings to fully staged productions within a few short months, ensuring important new works are seen when they are vital and relevant,” stated John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director and founder of Premiere Stages.

Beautiful_Dark_logoIn the ten seasons since its founding, the Premiere Stages Play Festival has received over 2,500 submissions and developed more than forty plays. A number of Play Festival finalists have gone on to publication and successful productions at theatres across the country. Multiple plays developed through the Festival have been recognized by the American Theatre Critics Association, including Tammy Ryan’s Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (winner of the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize), Dominique Morriseau’s Follow Me to Nellie’s (runner-up for the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize), Kathryn Grant’s The Good Counselor (2011 Steinberg/ATCA Citation), and Erik Gernand’s The Beautiful Dark (nominated for the 2013 ATCA Steinberg Award).

All 2015 Play Festival entries will be evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with the Producing Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg.  Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. The submission deadline is January 15, 2015, and there is no fee to enter the competition. Complete submission guidelines are available at www.kean.edu/premierestages/play.asp. Interested playwrights are encouraged to review Premiere Stages’ production history, which is also posted on the website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Teen acting classes at Holmdel Theatre Company

CHARACTER AND SCENE EXPLORATION
FOR TEENS!

TWO Saturdays: NOVEMBER  8th and 15th 10am-12pm
Ages 13-18 $40
Using the body, voice and mind to create dynamic and believable characters, students will develop and strengthen their theatrical skills. Script work, improvisation, and monologue work will all be incorporated. This workshop is designed to help young actors find their voice, both literally and figuratively.

Melanie Taylor has over 25 years of experience in all aspects of theatre, and for the past 17 years has shared her knowledge as a teacher at Raritan High School. She is an accomplished and award winning director, stage manager, and makeup artist. Melanie is the Vice-President of the New Jersey Drama and Forensics League, and is the Artistic Director/Co-Founder of the former St. John's Community Playhouse in Hazlet, and current Artistic Director/Co-Founder of Stage Left Players in Hazlet.
Register now using the following link:
https://www.vendini.com/ticket-software.html?t=tix&e=f5b201d56e94cc823939a4b6c1fc0c95
Questions? Please write to info@holmdeltheatrecompany.org

Duncan Smith Theatre, 36 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel, NJ

(Located in front of the Holmdel High School)

For more information visit

www.holmdeltheatrecompany.org

***
Please join us for next FREE Reading:
Yasmina Reza's "ART."
Monday November 3, 2014 7:00 PM
As always, Admission is Free, Coffee is served!
***

Next at Bickford ‘Social Security’ by Andrew Bergman

Social-Security

The Morris Museum continues its 2014-2015 season with a production of Social Security by Andrew Bergman. An uproarious comedy where modern art meets family mayhem,Social Security will play at the Bickford Theatre from November 20 through December 7 of this year.

The ‘Chagall’ hits the fan in this razor-sharp comedy from the author of Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, and The Freshman! Art dealers, David and Barbara Kahn have it made. They live their ideal life in their swank New York apartment surrounded by the finest in modern art—and isolated from their bizarre relations. What could possibly go wrong? EVERYTHING! When Barbara’s dreary sister and her nebbish accountant husband show up from Long Island with their impossible Jewish mother in tow, the comic sparks fly!

EricH"This Broadway hit comedy will leave you smiling a little, laughing a lot, and going home feeling happier than when you came in"  said Eric Hafen (photo right), Producing Artistic Director of the Bickford Theatre.

Performances

Thursday, 11/20 AT 7:30PM; Thursday, 12/4 AT 2PM
Friday, 11/21, 11/28, 12/5 AT 8PM
Saturday, 11/22, 11/29, 12/6 AT 8PM; Saturday 11/29 AT 2PM
Sunday, 11/23, 11/30, 12/7 AT 2PM

Tickets

289369-morris_museum$45 General Public; $40 Seniors, Museum & Theatre Guild Members; $33 Groups (10+); $20 Students (under 18 or w/valid college ID).
Tickets may be purchased by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Bickford Theatre is an integral part of the Morris Museum, located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00am to 5:00pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Cast

Scott McGowan of Maplewood, New Jersey (David Kahn) - Bickford credits:  I Do! I Do!, Mack & Mabel, Sherlock Holmes-Knight's Gambit (photo below right)                                                                                                         Laura Ekstrand of Livingston, New Jersey (Barbara Kahn) - TV:  Hack, Sex in the City; Artistic Director of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit, NJ (photo below left)
Bev Sheehan of Maplewood, New Jersey (Trudy Heyman) - Bickford credits:  The Last Days of Mickie & Jean
David C. Neal of Fanwood, New Jersey (Martin Heyman) - NJ Regional credits:  McCarter Theatre, Two River Theatre
Noreen Farley of Clinton, New Jersey (Sophie Greengrass) - Bickford credits:  The Last Romance (photo below center)
Jim Clancy of Basking Ridge, New Jersey (Maurice) - NJ Credits: Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Summit Players, Chatham Players, Theater Project, Baird Theater

lauraNoreenFarley1Scott McGowan I Do I Do

Creative Team

Director:  Eric Hafen, Producing Artistic Director Bickford Theatre                Set Designer:  William Motyka of Newton, New Jersey
Costume Designer:  Fran Harrison of Summit, New Jersey
Lighting Designer:  Roman Klima of Howell, New Jersey
Properties Designer:  Danielle Pietrowski of Long Valley, New Jersey
Production Stage Manager:  Yumi Matsuura of Morristown, New Jersey

About The Bickford Theatre

Bickford lobbyThe Bickford Theatre is a professional theater that produces and presents year-round entertainment, including a Main Stage Series, two Children’s Theatre series, a Jazz Showcase, and Blues at the Bickford. The theatre is a Senior Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization of 30 professional theaters throughout the state, and works in conjunction with Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). From its beginnings in 1994 to the present, tens of thousands of theater-goers from across the tri-state area have enjoyed the Bickford Theatre’s many entertaining and diversified offerings in theatre, music and dance.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Theater Project next staged reading in Cranford

“The November 1 staged reading in Maplewood is cancelled --
please join us in Cranford on November 8!”

http://www.TheTheaterProject.org

Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage visits Premiere Stages at Kean University

Lynn Nottage

Premiere Stages, currently celebrating its 10th anniversary as the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University, will welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (photo right) to Kean’s campus on Sunday, November 16 as part of Premiere Artists, its acclaimed professional development program for Kean University students.

Premiere Artists brings world-class artists to the Kean University campus for master classes, offers exposure for student writers and actors through showcase performances, and provides students with professional experience and union credits as Premiere Stages actors, understudies, and interns in a variety of technical and arts administration fields.

Previous artists that have participated include Academy Award winners Richard Dreyfuss, Olympia Dukakis, and Ellen Burstyn; Tony Award winners David Henry Hwang, John Lee Beatty, William Finn, and Norbert Leo Butz; Pulitzer Prize nominee Lee Blessing; Emmy Award winner Kim Zimmer; and the Broadway company of Rent.

Ms. Nottage, whose acclaimed play Ruined will be directed by Ernest Wiggins and will be performed by students of Kean’s Department of Theatre November 14 – 22, will attend the November 16 performance and participate in an interactive discussion with the audience following the show, moderated by John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. Department of Theatre students and faculty involved in the production will also have the opportunity to interact with Ms. Nottage at a private reception after the “talk-back,” sponsored by Premiere Stages.

“We are extremely pleased to have Lynn attend Ruined and join the roster of Premiere Artists,” stated Mr. Wooten.  “The students are very excited about the prospect of engaging Lynn about the play.”

Lynn Nottage’s Lily Award-winning play, By The Way, Meet Vera Stark, enjoyed an extended run Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre. Her Pulitzer Prize-winning play Ruined, which involves the plight of women in the civil war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club and Goodman Theatre. It subsequently toured widely throughout U.S. regional theaters, premiering internationally at the Almeida Theatre in London, and has since been produced throughout the world, including Cambodia, Chad, the Caribbean, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Germany. Nottage earned the American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play for Intimate Apparel and the Obie Award forFabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine. Her other plays include Crumbs from the Table of Joy; Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and POOF!

Ms. Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play and the Helen Hayes Award for Ruined, the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama. She has held fellowships at the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. She is a co-founder and producer at the production company Market Road Films LLC.

Ms. Nottage is a board member for Theatre Communications Group, BRIC Arts Media Bklyn, Donor Direct Action, The New Black Fest, Voice and Vision, and the Dramatists Guild. She currently resides in New York City.

Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre, Kean University's Department of Theatre mirrors the university's mission to provide a core educational foundation based on the liberal arts. The department’s curricula are designed to educate theatre students to enter the realm of professional theatre, theatre education or advanced graduate studies. The production ofRuined marks the second show in the Theatre Department’s 2015 season.

"Having opened our 2014-2015 theatre season with Oscar Wilde's comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, we turn 180 degrees to provide our students and audiences with exposure to a Pulitzer Prize-winning contemporary drama,” stated Department of Theatre representative Holly Logue. “Sharing time with Ms. Nottage will be a particularly meaningful experience for all of us. The Department of Theatre is grateful to Premiere Stages for being our partner and supporting the work of Kean's students, the next generation of theatre artists.” “The cast, crew and I welcome this wonderful opportunity to talk with Lynn Nottage about her work and our rendering of her play,” added Director Ernest Wiggins.

Ruined runs November 14 – 22 in the Zella Fry Theatre, located in Vaughn Eames Hall. Ms. Nottage will be in attendance Sunday, November 16, and participate in a post-show discussion following the 2 p.m. matinee. Additional performances are scheduled for Friday, November 14 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, November 15 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Wednesday, November 19 at 8 p.m.;Thursday, November 20 at 5:00 p.m.; Friday, November 21 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, November 22 at 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Standard tickets are $15, with $12 tickets available for Kean faculty, staff, and alumni, and $10 tickets available for students. To purchase tickets or request a Department of Theatre season brochure, please call the Kean Stage box office at 908-737-SHOW (7469), email ticket@kean.edu, or visit http://www.keanstage.com/.

Hudson Theatre Ensemble Silly on Sixth Children’s Series to present Little Red and the Hoods

Little-Red-group-HTE-475px

Little Red and the Hoods and its all-adult cast will delight children ages 3 to 10 while entertaining their families in the 14th season of the Hudson Theatre Ensemble Children’s Series Silly on Sixth.  Our new version of this old favorite is wonderful for children and adults alike with its engaging, interactive audience participation and zany fun.  And for extra excitement, if your child volunteers and is selected to come up on stage, you can enjoy seeing your daughter or son become a part of the story!

And if your child has a November birthday, what an easy way to celebrate by incorporating Silly on Sixth and Little Red and the Hoods into your birthday plans!  The entire audience will sing Happy Birthday to your darling child, your group has a wonderful time seeing Little Red and the Hoods, the kids meet the actors after the show, and then off you go to one of Hoboken's many family-friendly eateries to continue the festivities.  Just call Florence for details at 201-377-7014.

Please note the beautiful, child-friendly, ground-floor theater is completely barrier-free & accessible to persons with disabilities.

Here’s what our audience says:  “We can’t wait for the next children’s show. Our family has seen every one of them!” “This was my almost 4 year old’s first exposure to theater and he loved it so much, I was nearly brought to tears. Thank you for putting on such a wonderful interactive show with such a talented kid-friendly cast!  “Knowing you are in Hoboken is such a big boon. It was a thrill to me that my 5-year old loved her first real introduction to theatre!”  “The shows are hysterically funny & the kids really love them. We definitely will be visiting you again!”  “I am once again looking forward to a great time. My daughter LOVES these shows.”  “We go to every Silly on Sixth show and the kids as well as the parents really enjoy them.” This is going to be our second time to see the show -  my little one loved it and still talks about it.”

Our Gold Sponsor for Little Red and the Hoods is the practice of Drs. Brescia, Migliaccio, Chinn, Moon, Picard, Lowe, & Tully, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Cast:  Laura DiCerto, Nicole D’Onofrio, Wendy Weber Eaton, Gregory Nye, Florence Pape

Producer/Artistic Director:  Diana London;   Director of Development/Publicity:  Florence Pape;   Director & Set Design: Ron Mulligan;   Stage Manager: Donna Gearhardt Healey; Lighting Design: Daniel Hodges;  Sound & Lighting Technician:  Donna Gearhardt Healey;   Additional Lyrics: Howard Richman;   Playbill:  Donna Gearhardt Healey;   Graphics/Webmaster:  Susan Newman Design, Inc.;  Photographer: John Crittenden/Show Me Your Faces; Videographer: Renny Lewis;  House Manager: Alan Welner;  Box Office: Harriet Tainsky;   Stagehand:  Keith Healey

Produced by special arrangement with PIONEER DRAMA SERVICE, INC., Englewood, CO

6 Performances only:

Saturday November 15, 2014 @ 11AM & 1PM

Sunday November 16, 2014 @ 11AM & 1PM

Sunday November 23, 2014 @ 11AM & 1PM

Show runs about 40 minutes

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Hudson School Performance Space   601 Park Ave    Hoboken, NJ    07030 

$8 for Kids; $10 for Adults;    201-377-7014 or reservations@HudsonTheatreEnsemble.com

‘Size Matters’ at American Theater Group in Rahway

ATG-Logo

size-matters

American Theatre Group, New Jersey’s newest professional theater company in residence at Hamilton Stage at Union County Performing Arts Center (360 Hamilton Street, Rahway), will open its 2014-2015 season with the East Coast premiere of Raymond McAnally’s one-man show, Size Matters. The production will run November 12 through November 23. (Opening: Saturday, November 15).

AmericanIn this East Coast premiere, heavy-set everyman, Raymond McAnally (photo right), weaves a comedic tale of his current life as a plus-sized actor, new husband, and uncle to an admiring overweight ten year old nephew, Morgan. Seeing a chance to save Morgan, as well as himself, Raymond searches his life for just how much, or how little size matters. Size Matters is a heartfelt and eye-opening comedy that will resonate for anyone – male or female – who’s every wrestled with body issues.

Size Matters is not a dieting play, a self help play, a do it yourself play, or any work that guides you on your way to slimness,” says Ed Stern, who directed the world premiere at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati . “Size Matters is about the relationship of husband to wife and uncle to nephew. It is filled with humanity and humor. And, fortunately, for all of us every moment is filled with the uniqueness and wonderfulness that is Raymond McAnally.”

As an actor, Raymond McAnally’s recent credits include One Man, Two Guvnors at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, and the world premiere of Size Matters at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Other credits include Defending the Caveman (Broadway National Tour), and off-Broadway in the original cast of God’s Ear, plus productions at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Long Wharf, Theaterworks Hartford, Two River Theater, to name a few. On television, he appeared on Law & Order: SVU, 30 Rock, Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains and Boardwalk Empire, among others. His film credits include Compliance, Ghost Town and I Don’t Know How She Does It. Raymond is a writer and actor for the online original comedy group Daily Fiber Films and is a faculty member at the Mason Gross School of the Arts Online Department at Rutgers University. Mr. McAnally holds an MFA in Acting from Mason Gross School of the Arts and a BA from Sewanee.

HamiltonArtsCenterPerformances of Size Matters at Hamilton Stage/Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway begin on November 12 and runs through November 23. Tickets at $35, can be purchased online at www.americantheatergroup.org, by calling 732-499-8226, or at the Union County Performing Arts Center box office located at 1601 Irving Street. The theater has ample well-lit parking and is a five minute walk from New Jersey Transit's Rahway station.

Student/Seniors/Military Personnel tickets: $20 with valid ID at the box office. Groups of 10 or more receive 10% off.

American Theatre Group, under the leadership of producing artistic director/co-founder James Vagias, along with co-founders/artistic advisors Rick Sordelet and Joseph Mancuso, makes it home in the new intimate 199-seat state-of-the-arts Hamilton Stage in Rahway, governed and operated by the Union County Performing Arts Center.

Performance Calendar:

Wednesday, November 12 8pm (Preview)

Thursday, November 13 8pm (Preview)

Friday, November 14 8pm (Preview)

Saturday, November 15 8pm (Opening Night)

Sunday, November 16 3pm

Thursday, November 20 8pm

Friday, November 21 8pm

Saturday, November 22 8pm

Sunday , November 23 3pm & 7pm

Meet the multi-talented Michael T. Mooney

1. Audio Description


Program Notes by Michael T. Mooney
OCTOBER 30, 2014 at 7:30pm
at
McCarter Theatre, Princeton NJ


presented by Middlesex County Plays-in-the-Park indoors at
THE STATE THEATRE, New Brunswick NJ
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27th at 2pm
~~~~~~
2. Now Online Theatre Critic for

New Jersey Footlights
BroadwayWorld

Check Out These Recent Reviews...
"One of Your Biggest Fans" (George Street Playhouse, 2/1/14)

"As You Like It"
(Two River Theatre Co., 2/2/14)
"Admit One" (NJ Rep, 1/27/14)
"Date of a Lifetime" (NJ Rep, 3/10/14)
"Trouble in Mind" (Two River Theatre Co., 4/11/14)
"Fiddler on the Roof" (Surflight Theatre, 7/15/14)
"Jekyll & Hyde" (Surflight Theatre, 6/24/14)
~~~~~~

3. NOW COACHING!


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Available in Monmouth County NJ Area
email Papermoon4@aol.com for rates and information!
**************************
4. Pre-Show Insights
at THE STATE THEATRE, New Brunswick NJ
Next!

December 12 at 7pm
December 13 at 1pm & 7pm

Rave Reviews!

  • "Michael is a great speaker and this was an awesome presentation and a lot of fun. Thank you!" 

"Informative and humorous at the same time."
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Visit his website: http://michaeltmooney.com/home.html or email: papermoon4@aol.com

‘tick, tick…BOOM! next at Skyline Theatre Company

tick

Danny Arnold, Nick Orfanella, and Lauren Palmeri in rehearsal for the Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM! at Skyline Theatre Company November 7-9 & 14-16 at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center. Tickets at skylinetheatrecompany.org or 800-474-1299

Review: ‘Angels and Ministers of Grace’ immensely satisfying at New Jersey Rep in Long Branch

Angels1

Reviewed by Michael T. Mooney (www.michaeltmooney.com)

When Hamlet sees his father's ghost for the first time he exclaims “Angels and ministers of grace defend us!” Family ghosts also loom large over playwright Elaine Smith's similarly titled freshman outing now playing at New Jersey Rep in Long Branch. Despite the season, these are not the haunted house type of ghosts, but the sort that haunt the soul.

Miriam (Dana Benningfield) and her sister Arletta (Maureen Silliman) share a rural North Florida farmhouse with their brother Jimmy Ray (David Van Pelt). The siblings are still reeling from recent losses and each has processed the passings in their own way – or, in the case of Miriam ('the smart one') – not. Arletta (the 'artistic one') has developed psychic powers and thrown herself into making craft angels, which cram every corner of the cluttered kitchen. Jimmy Ray (the self-described 'stupid one') just lives day-to-day, running errands for his sisters and helping maintain the failing farm. Miriam's practical ex-husband Franklin (James Earley) arrives to deliver the news that someone is looking to buy the land and home truths are revealed, including that Miriam may be ignoring some serious health issues.

With a title that quotes the Bard, Smith naturally follows through with more Shakespearean references. Franklin describes himself as “a little more than kin and less than kind” (Hamlet's first words). Other disclosures surface that equate the pair's only child with Hamlet's Ophelia. It is revealed that Franklin and Miriam first met in college and that she holds a part-time job driving the county bookmobile, nicely hinting of potential unfulfilled and justifying their classical banter. While Miriam and Franklin are besotted with the Bard, Auletta logically quotes the Good Book with such passages such as “And an angel of the Lord stood in the way” and “Take this cup away from me” when her psychic vibrations cause her distress.

The play brings to mind the Southern Gothic writings of Beth Henley, especially her Pulitzer Prize-winning “Crimes of the Heart,” a play also about three siblings haunted by family passed. The similarity is even more pointed when the iced tea and lemonade flow like a cure-all tonic. Like Henley, Smith shows a talent for the well-timed revelations of the characters' dark secrets. Of course, Smith and Henley both owe a great debt to Anton Chekhov and there's something vaguely Chekhovian about “Angels” as well: Three siblings living in an isolated location under the threat of eviction. There's even an offstage cow whose incessant mooing is due to separation from her calf. It's no cherry orchard, but even the most casual theater goer won't fail to recognize the symbolism.

All this might turn into pretentious claptrap in the hands of a lesser writer, but Smith handles her literary inspirations with great care and skill – especially for a novice playwright. If anything, the play might benefit from one more plot twist or some judicious editing, but for a first-timer Smith has an extraordinarily uncommon knack for dialogue and character. It helps that this production is also meticulously cast and performed. Benningfield and Silliman not only share a remarkable resemblance but a familial rapport that makes the play immensely satisfying and ultimately heartfelt. While the men seem secondary, they too are ideally cast. Van Pelt's farmer's tan and sweat-stained tee-shirt make a smart contrast to the starched, button-down success of Earley's outsider ex. Marc Geller's subtle, nuanced direction makes it all flow effortlessly toward its cathartic conclusion.

Smith is clearly a smart and talented new addition to the art of play writing. “Angels and Ministers of Grace” is a promising start to what will certainly be a unique voice in the American Theater. Her play is onstage now through November 23rd at New Jersey Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ. Call 732.229.3166 or visit www.njrep.org for tickets or information.

Reviewed by Michael T. Mooney

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Centenary Stages’ Lea Antolini to receive dance award

LeaAntolini

Congratulations to Lea Antolini, Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance at Centenary College, and regular choreographer, director and performer with the professional Centenary Stage Company, will be accepting the "Jete Award" at the 2014 Dance New Jersey Festival on Saturday, June 28 at the Mason Gross School of the Arts, located on the Douglass campus of Rutgers in New Brunswick.

The Jete Award is presented by the Dance New Jersey organization to someone who has made "a leap forward" for the dance community in the state. Antolini took her leap forward as curator of the Centenary Stage Company's annual Dance Fest over the past 3 seasons at Centenary's state-of-the-art performing arts facility, The Lackland Center. The CSC Dance Fest, which is funded in part by a generous grant from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, has featured a plethora of New Jersey's finest dance companies over the past three years, including the celebrated Nai Ni Chen Dance Company, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Lustig Dance Theatre, Nimbus Dance Works, Umoja Dance Company, The Art of Motion, Inc. and moe-tion dance theater.

In addition to the performances, each year the Centenary Stage Co.'s Dance Fest opens its doors to dancers in the community, offering workshops and classes open to the public, and taught by visiting artists, which is spearheaded and managed by Antolini. The workshops and performances of Dance Fest are part of CSC's mission to expand appreciation of and audiences for contemporary dance.

"I am very pleased to see Professor Antolini receive this award," says Carl Wallnau, Artistic Director of the Centenary Stage Company, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and Chair of the Communication and Fine Arts Department. "Lea is a passionate advocate for the art form, and she works tirelessly to advance appreciation of the dance arts.

Credit must also be paid to our funding partner, the visionary Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, whose commitment to contemporary dance and the performing arts in New Jersey has enormously enhanced the cultural landscape of our state and made our festival possible."

Antolini is a graduate of Brandeis University where she received her MFA in acting, after completing her undergraduate studies at University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has performed professionally in New York City and New Jersey as well as regionally on the east coast. She is a member in training of New York's Blessed Unrest theatre company, where she has also served as assistant director and choreographer this past season. As an educator in the arts, Antolini has taught at Brandeis University, James Madison University, and numerous Montessori schools in the area, as well as working as a teaching artist and performer with The Growing Stage for years, and in various schools in the area developing movement and music programs for young children. Currently, she teaches at Centenary College in the Theatre Department, as well as with the Centenary Stage Company's Young Performer's Workshop musical theatre program. Antolini also directs the Centenary Stage Company's Young Audience Series Tour program.

Centenary Stage Company is a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College in the new David and Carol Lackland Center for performing arts.

Information on the CSC Dance Fest and year round programming can be found on the CSC website at www.centenarystageco.org.

Alliance Repertory Theatre Company announces the cast for ‘BLUFF’ by Jeffrey Sweet

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The award winning theatre company, Alliance Repertory Theatre Company, has announced the cast for its fall comedy Jeffrey Sweet’s "Bluff”.  The cast includes Emily Williams (Wharton), Christopher J Young ( Wharton), John Pizzigoni (Green Brook), Alison Byrne (Metuchen), Julie Ann Nolan (Little Falls), and Louis Vetter (Union City).

Nominated for Chicago's Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Script, “Bluff” is an off-beat comedy where-in Boy meets Girl, starts dating Girl, and then loses Girl when Girl's family makes its presence felt. Mr. Sweet's play alternates between farce and drama as it breaks down traditional conventions to expose the underbelly of family relationships and the inherent differences in how men and women view the world around them.

‘Bluff’  Director Joseph Porter explains  " A paean to Lanford Wilson, a pioneer in the deconstruction of theatrical tradition, Bluff is a comically dark love story that depicts how early family life affects relationships later in life.  A dedicated and hardworking cast and crew have made the rehearsal process a pleasure.”

"Bluff” will open on Friday, November 7th  and run through Saturday, November 22nd at MONDO, 426 Springfield Ave., Summit NJ.  Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. There is also a matinee on Sunday, November 16th  at 2 p.m. and a Thursday, November 20thshow at 8 p.m. 

Tickets are $24 for adults and $19 for seniors, $15 for students ( must present an i.d. ) For reservations:: Online at http://www.alliancerep.org/ , tickets by email: info@mondosummit.com or by calling 917 969 4534

‘Good People’ next at Summit Playhouse-Frank Licato directing

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The Summit Playhouse’s first production of its 2014-2015 season is “Good People.” This play is by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, lyricist and librettist David Lindsay-Abaire and has the distinction of being the “Most Produced Play in America” in 2012-2013. (We reviewed the George Street and Chester Theatre Group productions).

“Good People” is a stark, yet frequently humorous depiction of people with insecurities driven by limited means and education. Set in South Boston, Lindsay-Abaire’s birthplace, the play juxtaposes two contemporaries – one held captive by her roots, another who “got out,” but can’t seem to reconcile who he is now with who he once was.

Victoria Steele of West Caldwell_edited-1Victoria Steele of West Caldwell (photo left) plays the lead role, Margie (with a hard “g”) Walsh, whose life has never been under her own control. She is rough around the edges, struggles to be optimistic, and yet is eternally working-class. A single mom, her mission in life is taking care of her adult daughter with disabilities – a mission that has made it difficult for her to hold a job or have any life of her own. She is at once desperate and determined. Her boss, Stevie, played by Daniel Hilt of Jersey City, manages the local Dollar Store, and also tries to make the best of a downtrodden existence.

debbi Bernstein

Terri SturtevantDebbie Bernstein of Maplewood (photo left) portrays Margie’s best friend, Jean. Jean doesn’t mince words, and could throw a good punch if pushed. She has a catering job at a banquet hall. Terri Sturtevant of Hillsborough (photo right) is Dottie, Margie’s landlady, who lives upstairs and unreliably sits with Margie’s daughter Joyce when Margie is at work.

wendytThe stark differences of lives that start out the same yet end so differently are brilliantly rendered by the introduction of Mike (Mikey) Dillon and his wife, Kate, played by Frank Blauer of Hewitt and Montclair’s Wendy A.Tiburcio (photo right). Mike never looked back when he left South Boston to become a doctor, and settled in the upper-class suburb of Chestnut Hill with Kate, part of an elite family from Georgetown. Mike has worked hard to refine himself, but he has a dangerous edge and lots of anger that he fights to keep hidden. When confronted with Margie, he battles to hold the different parts of himself together.

Produced by Arnold Buchaine and directed by Frank Licato, “Good People” will make you laugh, think, and tug at your heart.

About the Summit Playhouse

SummitcropSince its founding in 1918, the Summit Playhouse has produced over 300 productions, making it one of the oldest continuously operating community theaters in the United States. The historic institution is devoted to maintaining the practice of theatre arts and encouraging those interested in all aspects of the performing arts and its operations. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

News from the Kelsey Theatre

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COMING TO KELSEY:

The Great American Trailer Park Musical | May 16 - 25, 2014 | Kelsey Theatre | For Tickets Click or Call 609-570-3333

Shrek | May 30 - June 7, 2014 | Kelsey Theatre | For Tickets Click or Call 609-570-3333

CENTER STAGE

Dracula Ready to take a bite out of the Kelsey.

Maurer Productions OnStage begins its 10th season by sending shivers into your night with the Bram Stoker classic Count Dracula at the Kelsey Theatre on the West Windsor campus of Mercer County Community College. Dates and times for this production are Fridays, Oct. 24 and 31 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 at 2 p.m. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance.
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THE CALLBOARD

Open Auditions for Lend Me a Tenor

Maurer Procuctions OnStage is proud to announce open auditions for the Tony Award winning farce Lend Me A Tenor." Auditions are November 15 & 16 2014 12pm-5pm. Visit our online casting site for more information and to signup to audition. (MORE...)

Shrek the Musical was one big ugly ogre of fun!

Children laughed, dragons flew and a happy ending was had by all as the curtain finally came down at the Kelsey Theatre on Maurer Productions OnStage’s presentation of Shrek the Musical. (MORE...)

Where in the world is Clementine

Have you seen a 24 foot dragon that breaths smoke, has glowing eyes and a passion for singing? If you do… could you let us know? Clementine, the 24 foot long dragon created for the Maurer Productions OnStage presentation of Shrek the Musical last May has been very busy. (MORE...)

A Season of Classics at MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre

The Kelsey Theatre season is in full swing and is rolling out the classics. Long-time theater lovers can revisit their favorite musicals and dramas, while younger audiences will have an opportunity to see the greats for the very first time.  (MORE...)

For Kelsey Theatre Tickets Call 1-800-570-3333

ABOUT MP ONSTAGE

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