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Monday, February 28, 2011

Monty Python's 'SPAMALOT' coming to NJPAC

Monty Python's Spamalot, the outrageous musical comedy lovingly "ripped-off" from the beloved motion picture, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, comes to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Prudential Hall for eight performances from March 29th to April 3rd. Spamalot tells the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table as never before, with everything from a chorus line of dancing divas to flatulent Frenchmen, killer rabbits and one legless knight.
Monty Python's Spamalot opens at NJPAC at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29th and continues Wednesday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, March 31 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, April 1 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, April 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 3 at 2 p.m. Ticket prices range from $24 to $100 and may be purchased by telephone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722), by visiting the NJPAC Box Office at One Center Street in downtown Newark, or online at www.njpac.org.
Monty Python's Spamalot is made possible in part by Cadillac, TDBank, New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Discover Jersey Arts. It is the second production to come out of NJPAC's Broadway series partnership with New York-based Nederlander Organization.
The cast includes West Milford native Matt Ban, who will be returning to NJPAC in this professional tour four years after training in NJPAC's 2006 summer musical theater production of 'Ragtime,' a collaboration with the New Jersey Youth Theatre. In Spamalot, Ban plays Sir Bedevere, one of the knights of the roundtable.
Monty Python's Spamalot is the winner of three 2005 Tony Awards(r)  including Best Musical and Best Director (Mike Nichols), as well as the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for Best Musical.  The original Broadway cast recording won the 2006 Grammy Award(r) for Best Musical Show Album.
This production is based on Nichols' direction and the choreography of Casey Nicholaw. Monty Python's Spamalot features a book by Eric Idle, based on the screenplay of Monty Python and the Holy Grail by Monty Python creators Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, with music and lyrics by the Grammy Award(r)-winning team of Mr. Idle and John Du Prez.
Monty Python's Spamalot is produced by Stephen B. Kane, Michael McFadden and Phoenix Entertainment.
Mike Nichols has been acclaimed as one of the great American directors in film, theater and television.  He has won the Academy Award and eight Tony Awards.  He recently received the Directors' Guild of America Award for Lifetime Achievement as well as a DGA Award for the direction of the HBO adaptation of Angels in America.
Casey Nicholaw's outstanding work on Monty Python's Spamalot earned him nominations for the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. He followed up Monty Python's Spamalot with another smash hit Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, for which he earned numerous nominations as director and choreographer.
Aside from his work with Monty Python in films and on TV, Eric Idle has written a West End play, Pass the Butler; three novels, including The Road to Mars, The Rutles - A Mockumentary; and many songs too rude to mention.  He has sung opera, acted in movies, appeared on television and crossed America performing comedy on The Greedy Bastard Tour. His diary of his 15,000 mile journey by bus was recently published by Harper Collins, and his long awaited sequel The Rutles2: Can't Buy Me Lunch was released by Warner Video in March.  There's no saying what he might do next...
John Du Prez has composed over 20 feature film scores including A Fish Called Wanda, A Private Function, The Meaning of Life, Personal Services, UHF, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II & III. He has worked with Eric Idle since 1978.
Monty Python isn't a person, but a group of British actors and writers (and one American) that performed their famous comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus on the BBC from 1969 to 1974, with subsequent international fame and success.
For more information, go to www.MontyPythonsSpamalot.com
The Nederlander Organization was established in 1912 by David Nederlander and is a privately held and owned company by James M. Nederlander and James L. Nederlander Jr. who own and/or operate world renowned legit theatres in the United States and England including in New York; the Brooks Atkinson, the Gershwin, the Lunt-Fontanne, the Marquis, the Minskoff, the Nederlander, the Neil Simon, the Palace and the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway.  In addition, the company is a major producer of national touring theatre productions. For more information go to www.nederlander.com or www.nederlanderconcerts.com.
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States. As New Jersey's Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.

Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over 6 million visitors (more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. Visit www.njpac.org for more information.

Programming has been 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, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Discover Jersey Arts.

NJPAC is a wheelchair accessible facility and provides assistive services for patrons with disabilities. For more information, call 888-GO-NJPAC.

RVCC Theatre to present NJ Ballet’s Peter & the Wolf/Beauty & the Beast

RVCC Theatre
The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg will present NJ Ballet’s Peter & the Wolf/Beauty & the Beast, Sunday, March 20, at 1 and 3:30 p.m. The offering is part of the Theatre’s Sampler Series and is recommended for youngsters age four and older. Tickets cost $10 and $12 each.

Introduce youngsters to the beauty of ballet with this delightful double-bill full of wonderful dancing, colorful costumes and splendid music. In Peter & the Wolf, based on a Russian folktale, brave Peter saves his animal friends from the wolf. The ballet features the familiar Prokofiev score. In the well-known tale of Beauty & the Beast, goodness and love break a magic spell and turn an enchanted Beast back into a handsome prince. The ballet features music by Ravel.

For the seventh year in a row, Courier News readers voted The Theatre at RVCC as the “Best of the Best” in 2010 in the “Playhouse/Theater” category.

In addition to the Sampler Series, the Theatre is presenting this season the Major Artists Series; the 19th annual Merck Series, made possible by a generous grant from The Merck Company Foundation; Tuesdays with Stories, which features great American literature performed by solo actors from The American Place Theatre; School-Time Performances, a series for teachers and students grades pre-K to 12; and the Family Series, for families with children ages eight and older.

A variety of subscribers’ packages are available for all Theatre series. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at www.rvccArts.org. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for a variety of performances.

The Theatre offers birthday parties for both the Family and Sampler Series. For further information, call 908-725-3420.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

NJ actress to host 2011 Academy Awards telecast

'Jersey Girl' actress Anne Hathaway, born in Brooklyn, grew up in Millburn NJ and graduated from Millburn High School in 1998 will co-host the 2011 Academy Awards tonight on WABC 7 with James Franco.

Anne was a star pupil when she attended New Jersey's distinguished Paper Mill Playhouse's theater school and summer conservatory. In fact, she was nominated for the Paper Mill Playhouse's "Rising Star Award" for the best high school performance by an actress in New Jersey. The play was "Once Upon A Mattress."

Note that Millburn is adjacent to the town of Summit, NJ, which is the birthplace of her The Devil Wears Prada (2006) co-star Meryl Streep. Meryl grew up in Bernardsville, N.J. (Ber-nerds-ville).

The 2011 Academy Awards will be broadcast live on WABC tonight starting at 8 pm.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

State Theatre to present Say Goodnight Gracie starring Joel Rooks

State Theatre to present the hilarious, heart-warming hit Broadway play, Say Goodnight Gracie starring Joel Rooks on Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 3pm. Tickets range from $22-57.

Say Goodnight Gracieis a heart-warming evening in the uplifting company of the world’s favorite and funniest centenarian, George Burns. Burns, who spanned 100 years of American entertainment history, is now miraculously alive and kicking in a stunning tour de force starring Broadway actor Joel Rooks.  

Say Goodnight Gracie was Broadway’s third longest running solo performance show, nominated for a 2003 Tony® Award for Best Play, and a winner of the 2003-04 National Broadway Theatre Award for Best Play.

Say Goodnight Gracieis a multimedia presentation that also features the skillful vocal talents of actress Didi Conn (“Frenchie” from Grease) as well as evocative music and moving images from George’s long life and good times. The play has been created with the approval and cooperation of the estate of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Its author is multiple Tony® Award-winning playwright Rupert Holmes, whose Broadway credits include the Tony® Award-winning musical The Mystery Of Edwin Drood.

In Say Goodnight Gracie, we discover George in limbo between this world and the next, unable to join his beloved wife and partner Gracie Allen until he gives the command performance of his lifetime for God. He looks back upon his impoverished, plucky youth on the lower east side of New York, his disastrous but tenacious career in Vaudeville, the momentous day ( in Newark, New Jersey) when he met a fabulously talented young Irish girl named Grace Ethel Cecile Rosalie Allen, their instant chemistry, with his flawless timing a perfect mate to her dizzy delivery, his wooing of her, their marriage and their rise to the pinnacles of vaudeville, movies, radio and television. Gracie’s demise forced George to start from square one in life and in his career, eventually achieving an equal level of success as a solo raconteur and Academy® Award-winning actor, portraying everything from a Sunshine Boy to, Oh, God.

About Joel Rooks
Joel Rooks has appeared on Broadway in Say Goodnight Gracie, Taller Than A Dwarf, and The Tenth Man.  His Off-Broadway credits include Iron, Rocket To The Moon, Under The Bed, The Secret Order, Louis Slotin Sonata, Comic Potential, More Stately Mansions, Requiem For A Heavyweight, Richard II, School For Scandal, and many others. He has toured in the national companies of The Sisters Rosenweig and Say Goodnight Gracie. His regional theater productions include Once In A Lifetime, Street Scene, God Of Vengeance (Williamstown Theater Festival), The Great White Hope (Arena Stage), Brightwings (Long Wharf), Astapovo (Yale Rep), Sheer Boredom (George Street Playhouse), The Rainmaker (Clarence Brown Theater), The Archbishop’s Ceiling, The Last Night of Ballyhoo (Vineyard Playhouse), A Thousand Clowns (Dorset Theater Festival), Three Sisters, Bus Stop, A Streetcar Named Desire (River Arts Rep).  Film and TV work includes It Runs In The Family, The Sightseer, On The Run, His & Hers, American Blue Note, Mark Of The Bear, Ed, Law & Order, Law & Order-SVU, and Law & Order-Criminal Intent. He has taught at the William Esper Studio for many years and is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, Circle East, and The New River Dramatists.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Urinetown: The Musical opens at The Chester Theatre Group

Urinetown opens tonight at the Black River Playhouse in Chester;
“The Poor” 
Back Row: Chris Mortensen, Roxanna Wagner, Dixon Stearns, Tariq Aly, Christine Pirog
Middle: Elaine White, Martha Riley
Front: Ericka Traugh, Billy Brisley (Photo: Lamont Hill)

Last week to see Liz McConahay Wanfried in 'Bad Dates' at Centenary Stage Company

Less than one week to see Theresa Rebeck’s play “Bad Dates” which opened at the Centenary Stage Company on Feb 18, and will run through March 6 in the new David and Carol Lackland Center in Hackettstown. Read our review

In "Bad Dates," transplanted Texan Haley Walker tries to balance the pressures that come with her new career as a fashionable New York City Restaurateur, raising a teenage daughter, and the too-close-for- comfort relationship with the Romanian mob, all while never neglecting the opportunity to always find the perfect pair of shoes.  Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Blahnik all are represented, as Haley journeys through a motley array of suitors, looking for the man who will fit her like a great pair of shoes.

  "Bad Dates” stars Broadway veteran Liz McConahay Wanfried (Photo) .  McConahay Wanfried’s Broadway credits include “The Full Monty” (Estelle), “Cabaret” (Fraulein Kost), and “Titanic” (Alice Beane), and she has appeared in numerous commercials and television episodes, as well as the CSC World Premiere of Neena Beber’s “The Dew Point”.    “Bad Dates” is directed by Carl Wallnau, who originally met McConahay Wanfried when they both performed in the first national tour of  “Titanic.”

 Tickets for “Bad Dates ” range in price from $ 20 to $25, with special discounts for seniors, students and groups.  A special tradition locally for the economically-minded, Thursday evenings at CSC are “Family Nights” with two-for-one ‘rush’ ticket prices available at the door on the evening of the performance.   Tickets are available online at www.centenarystageco.org, and at the CSC box office 908-979-0900, Monday through Friday, from 1-5 PM.    Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, with one remaining  matinee performance on Mar 2 at 2:30 PM .

BRUNCH:  A special Centenary Brunch is now open to the public on Sundays,  in the new dining halls of the Lackland Center.   Serving from 11-1:30 PM, the brunch includes a traditional Breakfast Buffet, plus a Carving Station, Deli Counter, Luncheon Entrée, and  is priced at only $8, with no  advance reservations required.   Luncheon Buffets are available through CSC for weekday matinee performances for groups of 20 or more.

            Performances at CSC are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Heath Village Retirement Community, Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, Helga and Ed Coyne, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Residence Inn- Marriott Mt Olive,  and CSC members and sponsors.

George Street Playhouse to present new comedy 'Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway'

George Street Playhouse announced today that three comic veterans – Michael Mastro (Inspecting Carol, The Sunshine Boys), Peter Scolari (Inspecting Carol and TV’s Newhart) and Mary Testa (Lend Me a Tenor) – will return to the New Brunswick theatre in the new comedy Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway.  GSP Artistic Director David Saint will lead his cast through the sand traps and water hazards of this new farce by the author of Lend Me a Tenor.  Joining the merry band will be comic stage and screen actress Amy Hohn (replacing the previously announced Nancy Opel) and newcomers Reggie Gowland and  Lisa McCormick.  Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway begins in New Brunswick on Tuesday, March 22 and closes Sunday April 17.  Opening night is set for Friday, March 25.

“Amy Hohn, Michael Mastro, Peter Scolari and Mary Testa all working on a new Ken Ludwig farce is like The Perfect Storm of Comedy!  Hang on to your hats,” said Mr. Saint.  “They are sure to blow the roof off the place with laughter.”

Creating the Country Club style of Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway are scenic designer Michael Anania, costume designer David Murin and lighting and sound designer Christopher J. Bailey.

Tickets and flexible admission packages are now available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office, 732-246-7717, or online at www.GSPonline.org.  In addition, groups of 10 or more are entitled to a group discount.  For further information on booking your group contact the GSP Group Sales Department at 732-846-2895, ext. 134 or 155.  George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district, steps away from fine dining for every cuisine and budget, as well as convenient parking and public transportation.

Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway opens as underdog Quail Valley Country Club prepares to take on archrival Crouching Squirrel in this year’s Annual Inter-Club Tournament.  With a sizeable wager at stake, the contest plays out amidst three love affairs, a disappearing diamond, objectionable sweaters and an exploding vase.  Sex and water hazards collide in this artful madcap adventure on love and golf.

Reggie Gowland is honored to be making his first appearance at George Street Playhouse.  Recent credits include Seussical the Musical at The Summer Theater of New Canaan and Baristas in New York’s Fringe Festival as well as many summers with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival.  Reggie is a founding member of The Filament Theatre Ensemble in Chicago and has appeared in their productions of Six Impossible Things and A Muse in Love.  He holds a BA in Theater from Northwestern University.

Amy Hohn’s most recent New York credits include appearances in the Broadway productions of November, directed by Joe Mantello and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Other New York credits include The Country Club for The Drama Dept., Dream True at the Vineyard Theatre, Blue Window for Manhattan Theatre Club and All Things Considered at Atlantic Theater Company.  Regional credits include productions at Baltimore Center Stage, The Old Globe, Paper Mill Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, The Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey, Syracuse Stage and Cortland Rep.  Film credits include You Don’t Know Jack, College Road Trip, War of the Worlds, Along Came Polly and Hitch.  Ms. Hohn has been seen on the small screen  in appearance in the series, The Good Wife, Law & Order, Ed, Law & Order:SVU and The Guiding Light.

Lisa McCormick has been seen in New York in The Acting Company’s productions of Two Gentlemen of Verona and Love, Shakespeare.  Other credits include War in Paramus directed by Austin Pendleton, as well as appearances regionally at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Guthrie, American Conservatory Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Portland Stage and Playhouse on the Square.  Lisa has also appeared in national tours of Othello, Twelfth Night and The Roaring Girl  for the American Shakespeare Center.  She received her MFA in Acting from the American Conservatory Theatre.

Michael Mastro was director of this season’s The Subject Was Roses.  As an actor he is a veteran of three George Street Playhouse productions:  Inspecting Carol, The Pillowman and The Sunshine Boys.  Michael has just completed two years in the Broadway revival of West Side Story.  Other Broadway credits include: Twelve Angry Men; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (with Ashley Judd/Ned Beatty/Jason Patric); Mamma Mia!, Judgment at Nuremberg; Side Man; Barrymore (with Christopher Plummer); Love! Valour! Compassion!  Off-Broadway he appeared in The Water Children (Playwrights Horizons) and Escape from Happiness (Naked Angels). In addition to his roles at George Street, he has appeared regionally in Guys and Dolls (Paper Mill), Taming of the Shrew (Old Globe), The Dinner Party (Paper Mill/Coconut Grove), Buffalo Gal (Williamstown), Substance of Fire (Coconut Grove), Italian American Reconciliation, Two Rooms, and Hate Mail (all at Penguin Rep). Film: Kissing Jessica Stein, The Night We Never Met, Jungle 2 Jungle, Borough of Kings.  TV:  “Alias,” “Hack,” “Deadline,” “Cosby,” lots of “Law & Order.”  He is a proud member of four unions, including Actors Equity and SDC, and he is also a proud member of Naked Angels, a New York City-based theatre company celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year.

Peter Scolari  was last seen on the GSP stage as Wayne Wellacre in the 2005 production of Inspecting Carol.  Other credits include Broadway: Sly Fox, Hairspray, Out of This World, Ziegfeld Follies (City Center Encores!). The Foreigner (Berkshire Theater Festival, Best Actor Award). Film: The Polar Express, That Thing You Do, From the Earth to the Moon, Perfect Harmony. TV: Bosom Buddies, Newhart (Three Emmy Nominations, Viewers for Quality Television Emmy Award) Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  Episodes of Family Ties, ER, West Wing, Ally McBeal, Twilight Zone, The Nanny, The Drew Carey Show, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Today Show, Good Morning America. Film:  Perfect Harmony. Cartoons – Batman, Family Guy, Animaniacs, Tiny Toons, Pinky and the Brain, and Mr. Scolari's critically acclaimed performance as Mr. Tightrope in Koko the Clown. 

Mary Testa’s most recent appearance in New Brunswick was in the GSP production of Lend Me a Tenor, where she played the tempestuous wife of Tito, the opera singer.  Other recent credits include Michele Lowe’s String of Pearls at Primary Stages  and Michael John LaChiusa’s R Shoman at Williamstown Theatre Festival.  On Broadway Ms. Testa has appeared in the recent revival of Guys and Dolls, Xanadu, 42nd Street (2001 Tony Award nomination, Outer Critics Circle nomination), Marie Christine, On The Town (1999 Tony Award nomination), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Rink, Marilyn: An American Fable and Barnum.  Off-Broadway credits include Love, Loss and What I Wore; First Ladies Suite (Drama Desk nomination); The Vagina Monologues; The Wax; From Above (OBIE Award); The Knife; A New Brain;  Scapin and Daughters.  Film work includes Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, The Business of Strangers, The Out-of-Towners, Sleepers, Queens of the Big Time, Two Bits, Mac, Stanley and Iris and Goin’ In Style.  Television credits include Whoopi, Sex and the City, Linc’s, Cosby, Witness to the Mob, Cagney & Lacey: The Return, City Kids, Law & Order, ADifferent World, True Blue, Our Group and Disney at the Smithsonian.  Mary can be heard on the original cast recordings of Marie Christine, A New Brain, the Broadway revival casts of Forum and 42nd Street as well as In Trousers, Lucky Stiff and Infinite Joy: The Songs of William Finn recorded live at Joe’s Pub.

Ken Ludwig is an internationally acclaimed playwright whose many hits on Broadway, in London’s West End and throughout the world have made his name synonymous with modern comedy. He has won the Laurence Olivier Award, England’s highest theatre honor, as well as three Tony Award nominations and two Helen Hayes Awards. His work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been performed in at least thirty countries in over twenty languages. His musical Crazy For You ran for over four years on Broadway and in London. Lend Me a Tenor, originally produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and recently revived on Broadway, was called “one of the two great farces by a living writer” by The New York Times. Other plays and musicals include Moon Over Buffalo (Broadway & London’s Old Vic, starring Carol Burnett, Lynn Redgrave, Joan Collins & Frank Langella); Twentieth Century (Broadway, starring Alec Baldwin & Anne Heche); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Broadway); Treasure Island (London, Theatre Royal, Haymarket; 2009 AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation); Shakespeare in Hollywood (commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company, Helen Hayes Award as Best Play); Leading Ladies; Be My Baby (starring Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter); The Beaux' Stratagem (adaptation with Thornton Wilder at the request of the Wilder Estate); The Three Musketeers (Bristol Old Vic); An American in Paris; Sullivan & Gilbert; The Fox on the Fairway; Sherlock!. He studied music at Harvard with Leonard Bernstein and theatre history at Cambridge University in England. For more information, please visit www.kenludwig.com.

David Saint Now in his thirteenth season at George Street Playhouse, Artistic Director David Saint has directed twenty-eight mainstage productions, most recently the world premiere of Joe DiPietro’s Creating Claire, Boyd Gaines, Rachel Dratch, Kathleen McNenny and Stephen De Rosa in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, Marlo Thomas and Keith Carradine in Arthur Laurents’ New Year’s Eve, Matthew Arkin in Donald Margulies’ Sight Unseen, Jack Klugman and Paul Dooley in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys; William Finn’s landmark musical Falsettos, the film noir musical Gunmetal Blues, Inspecting Carol, the world premiere of Arthur Laurents’ 2 Lives, The Last Five Years, Lend Me a Tenor, the world premiere of Charles Evered’s Celadine starring Amy Irving and Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM!.  Mr. Saint’s time in New Brunswick has been marked by collaborations with such artists as Uta Hagen, A.R. Gurney, Arthur Laurents, George Grizzard, Chita Rivera, Eli Wallach , Frances Sternhagen, Anne Meara, Dan Lauria, Stephen Sondheim and Jack Klugman.

An ardent advocate for new work, Mr. Saint created the Next Stage Festival of New Plays at George Street where the recent Broadway hit and Tony Award-winner Proof by David Auburn was developed before moving on to Manhattan Theatre Club and Broadway, becoming the longest-running play in two decades and the most produced play in the nation during the 2002-03 season.  Another success story emerging from the Festival is The Spitfire Grill, which won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New American Musicals and was produced under Mr. Saint’s direction at Playwrights Horizons in New York, winning Drama Desk, Drama-League and Outer Critics Circle award nominations, before becoming one of the most produced plays in the nation during the 2004-05 season, generating more than 100 productions across the country.  Another new work which began its life at George Street Playhouse is The Toxic Avenger, the musical by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan that moved to New York, won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and has gone on to multiple productions worldwide.

Mr. Saint was recently a panelist for the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative for the Pew Charitable Trust, has taught at Bennington College, and directed the short film Celebrity. He is the recipient of the Alan Schneider Award, Helen Hayes Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, and several Drama-Logue Awards.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the recent Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 60,000 students annually.   This production of Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway is made possible in part through the generosity of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.  George Street Playhouse programming 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 by its lead season sponsor Johnson & Johnson.  Continental Airlines is the official airline of George Street Playhouse.

Dreamcatcher's N J premiere of DISTRACTED

DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE, professional Theatre in Residence at the Baird Center in South Orange, will present the New Jersey premiere of DISTRACTED by Lisa Loomer from March 4 through 20 at the Playwrights Theatre of NJ in Madison.

While the Baird Center is closed for repairs, Playwrights Theatre has generously allowed Dreamcatcher to relocate its spring mainstage production to their home, becoming a co-producer of the project.  In addition, friends at Luna Stage in West Orange have provided rehearsal space for the production.


DISTRACTED was a hit Off-Broadway last season, where audiences responded to its humor and relevance, making it one of the year’s most popular shows.  The play tells the story of nine-year-old Jesse, who has a problem, according to his teacher and a slew of specialists.  But is it ADHD, or just normal boyishness?  As his parents navigate the complicated world of medical and alternative treatments, they confront the possibility that it’s not just Jesse that’s distracted: it’s our entire culture.  The Associated Press called it “a smartly comic, sharply observant and surprisingly humane play.”  The reviewer at Time Out New York proclaimed it “my favorite comedy of the year!”

Dreamcatcher’s last production, Melissa James Gibson’s THIS, was chosen as one of the Ten Best theatrical experiences in the state last year by Peter Filichia of the Star-Ledger.  

Harriett Trangucci (credit: Steve McIntyre)
The cast of DISTRACTED features more of the Resident Acting Company members:  Harry Patrick Christian (Montclair), Noreen Farley (Clinton), Scott McGowan (Maplewood), Jessica O’Hara-Baker (New York), and Harriett Trangucci (Summit).  Completing the cast is Beth Painter (Westfield), making her first appearance at Dreamcatcher after being a long-time favorite at Alliance Rep in Rahway.  The Stage Manager is Yumi Matsuura and the Assistant Stage Manager is Gloriann Figenshu (both of Madison).  The show is directed by Laura Ekstrand (Livingston), Dreamcatcher’s Artistic Director.

DISTRACTED will run at Playwrights Theatre of NJ from Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 20.  Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m.  Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and students, with special rates for subscribers and groups.  To save $3, purchase tickets online at www.dreamcatcherrep.org or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.  Students pay only $15 on Student Saturday, March 5, and seniors pay only $15 on Senior Sunday, the March 6 matinee. 


Performances are at the Playwrights Theatre of NJ, 33 Green Village Road, in the heart of downtown Madison.  The facility is wheelchair accessible.  As always, Assistive Listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available by prior arrangement.  To purchase tickets or for information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Baird, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-378-7754, ext. 2228.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

CSC Children’s Theater Series on the Centenary Stage this spring.

The CSC Children’s Theater Series is back on the Centenary Stage  by popular demand this spring.   With even more  plays and performances, the  Children’s Theatre Series is part of the professional Centenary Stage Company’s mission to serve the region’s youth with dynamic performances and workshops throughout the year.
  Based on the beloved book by Laura Numeroff Joffee,    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is adapted for the stage by Jody Davidson, and is an adventurous, fun-filled performance appropriate for ages pre-k through 5th grade.   When a rather demanding  mouse in  coveralls wearing a backpack shows up in a curious boy’s kitchen one day, the boy soon finds himself figure skating on scrub brushes, wrestling a boa constrictor, and climbing mountains, as  an innocent milk and cookie snack time goes from mishap to calamity to catastrophe faster than the twitch of a whisker.
From  the Laura Numeroff Joffee repertoire, If You Give A Pig a Pancake follows the enterprising journey of a young girl who accommodates the demands of a quirky piglet after eating pancakes;  an escapade which becomes embroiled in  taking a bubble bath, a little tap dance, taking a photo, mailing a letter, building a tree house, and of course, going back for more pancakes.
            A Thousand Cranes  is  based on the true story of  the young Japanese girl Sadako Sasaki who inspired an international peace movement .    A poignant and  highly stylized piece, A Thousand Cranes combines Japanese and American language, music and dance,  and highlights  Japanese society in the after- math of World War II.  
The musical, A Year with Frog and Toad   remains true to the spirit of the original stories as it follows two great friends, the cheerful  Frog and the  grumpy Toad, through four fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation in the spring, they proceed to plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, and go sledding, learning life’s lessons along the way, including a most important one about friendship and the unique attributes that make every individual different and special.  A Year with Frog and Toad is adapted for the stage by Robert and Willie Reale from the book by Arnold Lobel.    
Performances of the CSC Childrens’ Theatre Series are as follows:
·         If you Give A Mouse A Cookie:  Sat., Mar 5 at 11 AM, Saturday Mar 26 @ 2:30 PM, and Sunday Mar 27 @ 2:30 PM.
·         A Thousand Cranes:  Saturday, Mar 5 @ 1 PM
·         A Year with Frog and Toad:  Friday, Mar 25 @ 7 PM, Saturday, Mar 26 at 11 AM. 
o    SCHOOL MATINEE Performances: Tuesday Apr 19 through Thursday, Apr 21 at 10 AM
·         If You Give a Pig a Pancake:  Saturday April 16  at 11 AM    and  1 PM  (two performances)

The Centenary Stage Company Children’s Theater series was developed  in collaboration with The Centenary College Theater Department with the mission to produce an affordable  theater outreach program for New Jersey Schools and youth.  The productions are directed by Carl Wallnau (Artistic Director of Centenary Stage Company, and Chair of the Centenary College Fine Arts program) and Lea Antolini, Asst. Professor of Theatre Arts at Centenary College. 
Also on tour statewide to schools and community organizations, the Centenary Stage Children’s Theater Series educates and entertains young audiences with performances,  along with hands-on workshops inspired by  NJ core curriculum standards.  
Tickets for the Hackettstown performances in the CSC Children’s Theatre Series are $10 for adults and $8.50 for children under 12, and they are available through the Centenary Stage Company Box office at 908-979-0900 and online at http://www.centenarystageco.org/.
   For more information  on Hackettstown performances or booking a Tour performance,  contact the Centenary Stage Company Box office at 908-979-0900 or log on to http://www.centenarystageco.org/.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review: Centenary Stage Company's 'Bad Dates'


Friday night, February 18, 2011 The Centenary Stage Company premiered its production of Theresa Rebeck’s comic one-woman play “Bad Dates.” This is a very enjoyable 90 minutes of theater. The key reasons are certainly not all in the somewhat slim plot, Hamlet it is not, but in the impressive solo performance by the very talented actress Liz McConahay Wanfried...and the excellent staging by Centenary Stage Company's Artistic Director Carl Wallnau. 

Liz McConahay Wanfried
whose Broadway credits include “The Full Monty” (Estelle), “Cabaret” (Fraulein Kost), and “Titanic” (Alice Beane), is simply delightful...and oh yes, very attractive. In a series of monologues separated by blackouts, she plays to perfection Haley Walker, a 40- something Texan divorcee, who has relocated to New York City with her 13 year old daughter, Vera, and taken a job as a waitress and is new to dating. 

The restaurant turns out to be run by Romanian mobsters who have been using the restaurant as a front for money laundering. After they are caught and sent away at government expense, Hayley becomes the restaurant’s very successful new manager.  We learn all this and the rather intimate details of her disastrous, ill-fated attempts at dating as she dresses and undresses, tastefully, in the bedroom of her rent-controlled Manhattan apartment.


Haley Walker has a passion...for collecting dress shoes, Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Blahnik, etc., she has over 600 pairs. Shoes are so much of her world that In her quest for 'Mr. Right' she tells us that she's "looking for the man who will fit her like a great pair of shoes." I say 'us' because the entire play involves Hayley talking directly, and effectively, to the audience.

Note that the plot has a surprising twist and is performed in one 90 minute act. You have until March 6th to see the very talented, and irresistible Liz McConahay Wanfried (photo) work her magic.

Director Wallnau's fine production team includes Set Designer Bob Phillips, Lisa Zinni Costume Design, Ed Matthews Lighting Design, Colin Whitely Sound Design and Dave Smith Technical Director. Catherine Rust is the Centenary Stage Company's General Manager.



If you have not yet visited the Sitnik theatre at the Lackland Center, this is the premiere season, you are in for a very pleasant experience. It is a very comfortable venue with not a bad seat in the house. Parking is free and immediately in front and to the side of the Center. 

Tickets for “Bad Dates ” range in price from $ 20 to $25, with special discounts for seniors, students and groups. A special tradition locally for the economically-minded, Thursday evenings at CSC are “Family Nights” with two-for-one ‘rush’ ticket prices available at the door on the evening of the performance. 

Tickets are available online at www.centenarystageco.org, and at the CSC box office 908-979-0900, Monday through Friday, from 1-5 PM.    Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, with additional matinee performances on Weds, Feb. 23 and Mar 2 at 2:30 PM .

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    Feb. 18, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Paper Mill's casting for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum


Paper Mill Playhouse Welcomes Television Star Paul Vogt
 
Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) has announced casting for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Directed by Mark Waldrop, with choreography by Vince Pesce, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will run at the Millburn theater from March 16 through April 10, 2011. Family Week is March 16 to March 20 and during this period, children 18 and under receive half off the regular ticket price (certain restrictions apply).

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is generously supported by a grant from The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum was selected by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts as part of the American Masterpieces Series in New Jersey.  American Masterpieces is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will play the following performance schedule: Wednesdays at 7:30PM (except March 23), Thursdays at 1:30PM & 7:30PM, Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays at 1:30PM & 8:00PM and Sundays at 1:30PM & 7:00PM. Single tickets are now on sale and range in price from $25 to $92. Student rush tickets are $25 and are available the day of performance in person with current student ID.   

Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Box Office on Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Paper Mill Playhouse's website: www.papermill.org.  Paper Mill Playhouse gift cards, available in any denomination, can be purchased at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive a 25% discount or more on tickets and should call 973-379-3636, extension 2438.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart (the award-winning writer of the film "Tootsie" and the "M*A*S*H" TV series), this hilarious, slapstick farce is regarded by many as a high point in the history of Broadway musical comedy. Be prepared to laugh early and often - as the signature show tune puts it, "Tragedy tomorrow, Comedy tonight!"

Paul Vogt
"We are excited to welcome Paul Vogt to Millburn for the first time," said Producing Artistic Director Mark S. Hoebee. "His hilarious characters on the hit show 'MADtv' have made lasting impressions with fans worldwide."

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum brings an uproariously talented cast to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage. Paul Vogt (Pseudolus) made his Broadway debut as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. Film credits include: Garry Marshall's "Valentine's Day" and "Princess Diaries 2." Audiences know Mr. Vogt from "MADtv." This is Mr. Vogt's first Paper Mill Playhouse production. 

Stephen Berger (Marcus Lycus) returns to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage, where he appeared in Little Shop of Horrors, Rumors, and The Student Prince. Broadway credits include: Little Me, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, True West, The Dinner Party, Into the Woods and The Pajama Game. 

Justin Bowen (Hero) is thrilled to be making his Paper Mill Playhouse debut. Previous credits include: Big River, High School Musical, and Into the Woods, as well as CBS' "My Broadway Debut."
Stephen Buntrock (Miles Gloriosus) recently starred opposite Bernadette Peters in Broadway's A Little Night Music. Other appearances on Broadway include: Oklahoma!, Beauty and the Beast, Jane Eyre, and Titanic.  

Chet Carlin's (Erronius) Broadway credits include: Gore Vidal's An Evening with Richard Nixon and First Monday in October starring Henry Fonda. 

Chelsea Krombach (Philia) appeared in Broadway's Wicked and Promises, Promises

Beth McVey's (Domina) Broadway credits include: Nine, Phantom of the Opera, and Beauty and the Beast.  

John Scherer (Hysterium) has appeared on Broadway in Lovemusik, By Jeeves, Sunset Boulevard, The Most Happy Fella (NYC Opera) and the Actors Fund benefit performance of Funny Girl.  

 Greg Vinkler (Senex) was recently seen as Doc in the Broadway revival of West Side Story. He has performed at Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Writers', and Marriott theaters.


Rounding out the A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum cast are: Kristine Bendul, Nicole Benoit, Krisitine Covillo, Ryan Dietz, Michael Timothy Howell, Anthony Johnson, Liz McKendry, Anne Otto, Chondra L. Profit, Lara Seibert, and Bret Shuford.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum will be directed by Mark Waldrop. Mr. Waldrop directed Bea Arthur on Broadway in 2002. This is his fourth time directing at Paper Mill Playhouse, having directed Gypsy in 1998, Romeo and Bernadette in 2003, and Little Shop of Horrors in 2008.  Mr. Waldrop's off-Broadway credits include: When Pigs Fly!, Pete 'n' Keely, and Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 at City Center "Encores." Vince Pesce joins the creative team as Choreographer. Mr. Pesce made his Paper Mill Playhouse debut with Little Shop of Horrors in 2008. Regional credits include: White Christmas, Grease, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story. He was the Associate Choreographer to Kathleen Marshall on the Broadway productions of Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, Wonderful Town, and Little Shop of Horrors.

Ray Klausen will serve as scenic designer. Costume Designer is Matthew Hemesath. Lighting Design is by F. Mitchell Dana. Sound Design is by Randy Hansen. Tom Helm is Music Supervisor, Ed Goldschneider is Music Director, and Robert Meffe is Associate Music Director. The Production Stage Manager is Lois Griffing.

In conjunction with A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Paper Mill Playhouse is proud to announce a series of free audience enrichment activities including: The Director's Viewpoint, March 16 at 6:30pm, Conversation Club, every Thursday evening at 6:30pm and Q&A with the Cast on April 9 following the matinee. Visit www.papermill.org for more details on Paper Mill Playhouse's Free Audience Enrichment Activities.

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, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional support is provided by the generous contributions of numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.   

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bo Eason’s one man play, Runt of the Litter next at the Crossroads Theatre

NEWS FROM NEW BRUNSWICK:
The State Theatre is presenting Runt of the Litter featuring former NFL player Bo Eason, on Saturday, March 5 at 8pm. Runt of the Litter is the semiautobiographical story of Eason’s life growing up. This performance takes place at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick. All tickets are $30.
 
Former Oiler’s defensive safety from 1984-89, Bo Eason’s one man play, Runt of the Litter, is the semiautobiographical story of Eason’s life growing up , struggling to overcome hurdles and achieve athletic success. Though resolutely American in its themes (the competitiveness and violence of sports, sibling rivalry, underdog makes good), it also contains elements of ritual theater and blood sacrifice that give the material a mythic resonance and power. The story draws on Eason’s real-life experience growing up in the shadow of his bigger, stronger, older brother, and is more a tale of the importance of following one’s dreams than of athletics.  

Playwright and performer Bo Eason, was a professional football player in the National Football League (NFL), playing defensive safety for the Houston Oilers for five seasons from 1984-89. After retiring from football, Bo pursued his longtime interest in becoming an actor, appearing in the film Pride and Glory as well as in A Bright Shining Lie, ER, and Boston GraceRunt of the Litter marked his writing debut, premiering in Houston followed by a successful Off-Broadway run at the MCC Theatre in New York in 2002 and returned to New York in 2007.

Bo is currently adapting Runt of the Litter as a feature film to be directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile).  He has also written a screenplay based on the 1924 U.S. Olympic Rugby Team to be produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company, Appian Way. His next project is a remake of the 1977 movie, Something for Joey, the true story of Heisman Trophy winner John Cappellitti. 

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517. Note: The Crossroads Theatre is located on Livingston Avenue adjacent to the George Street Playhouse and three doors from The State.

The Paper Mill Playhouse 's 2011-2012 schedule to include four musicals

Paper Mill Playhouse will open its 2011-2012 season with the premiere of a new Disney stage musical, Newsies (September 15, 2011 – October 16, 2011).  Featuring music by eight-time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Jack Feldman and a new book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy), Newsies is adapted for the stage from the live-action Disney feature film musical. The production will be directed at Paper Mill by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun (The Will Rogers Follies, Grey Gardens).

“It’s been thrilling to return to my beloved Newsies and to revisit, revamp and expand upon the score Jack Feldman and I wrote; especially with the exciting addition of a new book by brilliant Harvey Fierstein,” says legendary composer Alan Menken. “This collaboration has been a total joy. And I can’t wait to see our new baby come to life.”

Newsies is inspired by the real life ‘Newsboy Strike of 1899,’ when newsboy Kid Blink led the ragged orphans and runaways known as “newsies” on a two-week-long action against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.  Set in New York City at the turn of the century, the musical is the tale of newsie Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when Pulitzer and Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsies' expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies his army of newsies to strike.

“We are thrilled that Disney Theatrical has chosen Paper Mill Playhouse to premiere this new musical,” says Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director for the Millburn theater.  “This is an important project for Paper Mill Playhouse as we help to bring this brand new Disney musical to our stage and beyond.”

May your ‘holi’days be merry and bright. Paper Mill Playhouse brings in the 2011 holiday season with the New Jersey premiere of White Christmas (November 16, 2011 – December 18, 2011).  Based on the beloved Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye film, this merry musical tells the tale of two famous song-and-dance men who stage a show in a scenic, snow-topped Vermont inn — and end up finding love with two singing sisters under the mistletoe. With laughter, crazy plot turns, Broadway-size production numbers and the unforgettable music and lyrics of the legendary Irving Berlin.

Brightening the winter season in January, Paper Mill Playhouse showcases the hit comedy Boeing-Boeing (January 18, 2012 – February 12, 2012).  Bernard, an American playboy in swinging ’60s Paris, juggles three flight-attendant fiancées — one American, one French and one Italian. With the help of airline timetables and a phenomenally efficient housekeeper, he convinces each she is his only love. But then — mon dieu! — a fast new Boeing jet puts the flight attendants on a collision course, hurtles his cunning deception toward disaster, and provides the lift-off for laugh after laugh.

Just in time for spring training, Paper Mill Playhouse presents the legendary musical comedy Damn Yankees (March 7, 2012 – April 1, 2012).  Joe Boyd loves the Washington Senators baseball team a little too much. The proof: When a devilish dealmaker offers the chance to beat the “damn Yankees” in return for Joe’s soul, Joe takes it. But as the Senators’ stats soar, Joe realizes he’s losing his beloved wife and looks for a loophole. Enter sizzling-hot temptress Lola, a charter member of the Homewreckers Hall of Fame. “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets,” goes the well-known song.

To close the 2011-2012 season comes a musical from the award-winning writer-composer team behind Ragtime, telling a tale of romance, tragedy, redemption and rebirth with sunny songs, captivating choreography and an irresistible Calypso beat in Once on This Island (May 30, 2012 – June 24, 2012).

“Paper Mill Playhouse is delighted to produce a season that appeals to a wide audience,” says Managing Director Todd Schmidt.  “We could not produce such a season without the continued support of our partners at Investors Savings Bank.”   Investors Savings Bank is the proud sponsor of Paper Mill Playhouse’s 2011-2012 season renewing its support for the fourth consecutive year.

“The Investors Savings Bank-Paper Mill Playhouse relationship continues, and Investors is pleased to be the proud season sponsor for its 2011-2012 shows,” said Kevin Cummings, President and CEO. “Paper Mill Playhouse is a performing arts treasure for the tri-state area, with productions that rival Broadway. Investors is glad to help keep live theater alive and well for our residents.”

Paper Mill Playhouse will produce eight performances a week, Wednesday through Sunday. (Newsies begins at Paper Mill Playhouse on Thursday, September 15, 2011).  Three, four and five-show subscription packages are available beginning February 17, starting at $84. Each subscription package includes a different level of special benefits (see www.papermill.org for details). 

Single tickets will go on sale this summer and range in price from $25 to $96. Student rush tickets are $25 and are available the day of the performance in person 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 www.papermill.org.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 25% discount on tickets and should call 973-379-3636, ext. 2438.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Shakespeare LIVE schedule

NEWS FROM THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY-MADISON NJ:


F.M. Kirby Theatre home of the STof NJ
 The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s acclaimed educational touring company, Shakespeare LIVE!, will present several one-hour family performances of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Theatre’s Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue, at Lancaster Road, in Madison.   

Since 1997, Shakespeare LIVE! has presented more than 1,300 performances to more than a quarter of a million young people, at over 750 schools and other venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and Connecticut. Tickets are $15 for adults which includes one free ticket for a child under age 18 with each ticket purchased. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit http://www.shakespearenj.org/ 

One-hour family performances of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar will be held Friday March 11 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m.. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.  Shakespeare LIVE! presents a brand-new staging of Shakespeare’s searing drama about a nation at a political crossroads. Rome’s leaders are faced with a choice between loyalty and duty, between patriotism and propaganda—a choice that will have fatal consequences. As retold by Shakespeare, history has never been more exciting!

One-hour family performances of Shakespeare’s most popular comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be held Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Saturday March 12 and April 16 at 11 a.m. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.   

 Shakespeare LIVE! always offers a fresh, imaginative take on this perennial audience favorite.  When starry-eyed young lovers and zany would-be actors cross paths with mischief-making fairies in a magical forest, the result is one of the world’s most uproarious comedies. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the ideal “first Shakespeare” for elementary grades, and a riotous roller-coaster ride for teens (and adults).

For tickets to or more information about Family performances of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, call the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s box office at 973-408-5600, via email at Boxoffice@shakespeareNJ.org  or visit http://www.shakespearenj.org/

The March performances are part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Family Week at the Theatre program cosponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Shakespeare LIVE!, celebrating its 15th season, travels to schools and other venues throughout the state and wider region with 60-minute versions of two of Shakespeare’s most popular plays: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and JULIUS CAESAR.   To inquire about bringing Shakespeare LIVE! to your school or venue, call 973-408-3980 or e-mail jbrink@ShakespeareNJ.org.

Shakespeare LIVE! is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare for a New Generation. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation, bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to thousands of middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. This is the eighth year of Shakespeare in American Communities, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. For more information on Shakespeare for a New Generation, please visit http://www.ShakespeareInAmericanCommunities.org/.

Funding for Shakespeare LIVE! is provided, in part, by Investors Savings Bank, The Turrell Fund, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Ambrose and Ida Frederickson Foundation, Provident Bank Foundation and the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation.

Family Performances:
           
Julius Caesar – March 11 at 7 p.m; April 16 at 2:00 p.m..

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – March 9 at 7:00 p.m.; March 12 and April 16 at 11:00 a.m.        

Pricing:  $15 per adult
              1 free ticket for children under 18 with each adult ticket purchased

To Purchase Tickets:  Call the box office at 973-408-5600 or http://www.shakespearenj.org/

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Jersey Theatre Alliance awarded a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts


The New Jersey Theatre Alliance – the service organization for the state’s professional theatres – was awarded a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  The award is given to a select number of organizations in the state who receive the highest assessment in the annual independent peer review process. The Alliance, known throughout the nation as an exemplary service organization, has achieved this honor for an unprecedented twenty-two consecutive years.  Designation as a Major Impact Arts Service Organization was also awarded to the Alliance at the same time by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, along with State Arts Council leadership.  Legislators from across the state also participated in this celebratory occasion.

John McEwen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, was on hand to accept the two prestigious awards from the Lieutenant Governor and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
”On behalf of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Board, membership and staff, I am honored to accept these awards,” said McEwen.  “We are fortunate to have the support and commitment of our state’s leaders who place a high value on the arts, and a State Arts Council who is viewed as a national role model.  We are also grateful to have a legislature that recognizes the arts as economic engine for our state, and one of the essential elements that make New Jersey a superior place to live and work.”

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the only 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. It provides its member theatres and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs. The Alliance assists member theatres in their growth and development, as well as the promotion of their programs, helping them reach their full potential. For arts patrons, the Alliance is able to provide a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience.  For more information, and to find out about its programs and services, visit the Alliance website at http://www.njtheatrealliance.org/ or call (973) 731-6581 ext. 14.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a division of the NJ Department of State. It receives funding in direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish.

Funding for the 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 foundations, corporations, businesses and individuals.  Continental Airlines is the official airline of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Hooray For Hollywood! with Broadway's Gay Willis at the Bickford


The Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, opens its 2011 “A La Carte Series” on Sunday, March 6, at 2:00 p.m. with Hooray for Hollywood: Celebrating the Golden Years at the Movies! with Broadway veteran Gay Willis.


Gay Willis

The incomparable Gay Willis has starred in Broadway’s Showboat, The Phantom of the Opera, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, and on PBS’ From Galway to Broadway. She has performed to sold-out houses all over the world and has been universally heralded by critics: "As Christine (in The Phantom of the Opera), Willis' voice has an almost ethereal quality...transporting the audience to unexpected heights emotionally as well as vocally.” Variety. Gay will be joined by noted baritone, James Michael, and accompanied by David Maiullo on piano.

Growing up in North Carolina, Miss Willis received her musical education from the movies and will share her great love of Hollywood’s Golden Years by saluting film greats such as Julie Andrews, Judy Garland, Mario Lanza, and even Carol Channing! Audiences can expect to hear such favorites as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Over the Rainbow,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and more!

The A La Carte Series continues on Sunday, March 13, at 2:00 p.m. with A Tribute to Gershwin featuring The David Leonhardt Jazz Group and the Shelly Oliver Tap Dancers. Please Note: this performance is completely sold-out.)

The Series concludes on Sunday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. with Before the Crash: America in the 1920’s, a fascinating and entertaining look at the dance, music, and words from this remarkable period in America’s history. The controversy of Sacco & Vanzetti, the Charleston dance craze, unguarded optimism, the plight of the immigrants, and finally the crash will be all brought to life by director Daniel P. Quinn and choreographer Heather Johdos, collaborators of the Bickford’s previous A La Carte Series success, After the Ball.

Hooray for Hollywood replaces the previously announced Carol Channing in Concert due to a scheduling conflict on the part of its star, Richard Skipper.

Tickets for all A La Carte Series performances are $30 General Public, $28 for Museum/Guild Members and Seniors 65 & up, $26 for Groups of 10 or more, and $20 for Students (18 & under or with valid college ID)

Tickets may be purchased online 24/7 at http://www.bickfordtheatre.org/, by phone at (973) 971-3706 or in person at the Bickford Box Office. The Bickford Theatre is conveniently located within the Morris Museum, 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 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-up hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

'Bad Dates' opens this week at the Centenary Stage Company

Theresa Rebeck’s play “Bad Dates” will open at the Centenary Stage Company on Feb 18, 2011 and will  run through March 6 in the new David and Carol Lackland Center in Hackettstown.

In "Bad Dates," transplanted Texan Haley Walker tries to balance the pressures that come with her new career as a fashionable New York City Restaurateur, raising a teenage daughter, and the too-close-for- comfort relationship with the Romanian mob, all while never neglecting the opportunity to always find the perfect pair of shoes.  Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and Blahnik all are represented, as Haley journeys through a motley array of suitors, looking for the man who will fit her like a great pair of shoes.


Liz McConahay Wanfried  in “Bad Dates”

 "Bad Dates” will star Broadway veteran Liz McConahay Wanfried .  McConahay Wanfried’s Broadway credits include “The Full Monty” (Estelle), “Cabaret” (Fraulein Kost), and “Titanic” (Alice Beane), and she has appeared in numerous commercials and television episodes, as well as the CSC World Premiere of Neena Beber’s “The Dew Point”.    “Bad Dates will be directed by Carl Wallnau, who originally met McConahay Wanfried when they both performed in the first national tour of  “Titanic.”

 Tickets for “Bad Dates ” range in price from $ 20 to $25, with special discounts for seniors, students and groups.  A special tradition locally for the economically-minded, Thursday evenings at CSC are “Family Nights” with two-for-one ‘rush’ ticket prices available at the door on the evening of the performance.   Tickets are available online  and at the CSC box office 908-979-0900, Monday through Friday, from 1-5 PM.

Catherine Rust is the General Manager. Carl Wallnau is the Artistic Director of the CSC.

Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, with additional matinee performances on Fri, Feb 18 at 2:30 PM (Preview), and Weds, Feb. 23 and Mar 2 at 2:30 PM .

BRUNCH:  A special Centenary Brunch is now open to the public on Sundays,  in the new dining halls of the Lackland Center.   Serving from 11-1:30 PM, the brunch includes a traditional Breakfast Buffet, plus a Carving Station, Deli Counter, Luncheon Entrée, and  is priced at only $8, with no  advance reservations required.   Luncheon Buffets are available through CSC for weekday matinee performances for groups of 20 or more.

Performances at CSC are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Heath Village Retirement Community (the CSC Platinum Sponsor), Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, Helga and Ed Coyne, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Residence Inn- Marriott Mt Olive,  and CSC members and sponsors.