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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Here is the 2014-2015 theatre season at The Centenary Stage Company

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Classics and family favorites are mixed in with musical memoirs and two world premieres during the 2014-2015 theatre season at The Centenary Stage Company (CSC). This year will feature eight diverse theatre events with a touch of fantasy, magic, and drama in the Lackland Center providing something for everybody.

CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY PRODUCTIONS

image004The one and only Jimmy Stewart’s portrayal of Elwood P. Dowd in the 1950 film Harvey is forever etched in people’s memories. But CSC is up for the challenge of creating new memories using a little movie magic on stage when they present the classic play Harvey by Mary Chase running October 3-19 in the Sitnik Theater. Everyone wants to meet Elwood and his friend Harvey. When they enter a room, strangers soon become friends and people want to share a drink with them. But Harvey is a six-foot invisible rabbit and Elwood’s sister wants him gone. The question is, does the world need another “normal” chap, or more Harveys? Audiences won’t want to miss what the New York Times calls “a winsome comedy about a lovable eccentric!”

Flying in to the grand Sitnik Theater, this season’s Family Holiday Spectacular is Peter Pan, The Musical opening the day after Thanksgiving, November 28, and running through December 14. Join Peter Pan, Wendy, Michael, and John in this timeless Broadway musical that will whisk audiences away to a place where dreams are born and no one ever grows up. Based on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale with an unforgettable score by Morris “Moose” Charlap and Jule Styne and lyrics by Carolyn Leigh, Betty Comden, and Adolph Green, Peter Pan is one of the most beloved family stories of all time. Creating the flying magic to captivate audiences young and old is the top flying effects company in the world, ZFX Flying Effects.       

image006Celebrating some of the great (and not so great) performers ever to have acted in Shakespeare’s plays, the World Premiere of Then Came Each Actor with Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso runs from April 10-26 in the Kutz Theater. Born and raised in Hawaii, Mr. Kim made his stage debut at the age of eighteen playing Malcolm in Macbeth. His love of classics, especially Shakespeare, led him to a successful career in theatre where he received an Obie Award for “Sustained Excellence of Performance.” He co-founded American Players Theater in Wisconsin with Anne Occhiogrosso and Charles Bright in 1979, serving as Artistic Director and playing the title roles in innumerable classic plays. CSC Artistic Director Carl Wallnau stated, “We’re honored to be the artistic home of one of the world’s greatest classical actors and are excited to support this creative duo in building what will be a truly rewarding theatre experience for our audiences.”

Family dynamics can be the source of endless comedic material, as is the case with this funny and moving World Premiere In the Car with Blossom and Len by Joni Fritz. Running February 20-March 8 in the Kutz Theater, this comedic new play tells the story of chemical engineer Lenny Gold. One day a basket full of unpaid bills for his laboratory is discovered by one of his adult daughters, unveiling a lifetime of secrets, a mysterious silent partner, and familiar family challenges. This play is a delightful family saga about growing up, getting older, and where you put the keys. Playwright Joni Fritz has worked in theatre and television as a writer and actress, with appearances in NYC and regional theatre, film, television, and commercials. Catherine Rust, curator of CSC’s own Women Playwrights Series where the play was developed, said “There was overwhelmingly positive response to the staged reading held in April of this year and audiences were pivotal in helping us decide to produce this play in our new season.”

Renowned theater professionals Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso will also return to lead the popular The Great Authors Out Loud Series again this season. Quickly becoming a fan-favorite, audiences can get up close and personal with some of the classic works in theatre by the greatest writers in history. This free staged reading series will focus on playwrights whose mastery of language transcend time. The Great Authors Out Loud Series will take place on Sundays September 7th, November 23rd, and February 8th. All performances will start at 3pm held in the Kutz Theater. Each event is free and is followed by a lively discussion with the audience.

CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY PRESENTATIONS

CSC’s Kutz Theatre Series provides an opportunity for audiences to explore the many genres of theatrical entertainment in an intimate and visceral way. This year, the group of invited artists are presenting a medley of music, storytelling, poetry, and laugh-out-loud comedy spread throughout the season. Held in the Edith Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, the series will open with Up on the Roof starring the “Ultimate Performer” Tony Pace running October 23-26. This one-man, semi-autobiographical show combines musical-comedy, stand-up, and impressions to create a wonderfully entertaining and interactive package that recalls legendary entertainers such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Danny Kaye.

Then, November 13-16, audiences will be thrilled with this show that promises no two of its performances will ever be alike. Ken Waldman, Alaska’s Fiddling Poet will present Portrait of an Artist as Santa Claus. Waldman brings a show that is one-part Appalachian-string band concert, one-part riveting storytelling, one-part poetry reading, and one-part early Christmas gift exchange. Joining Waldman will be the multi-instrumentalist, Brian Vollmer, a banjo payer, fiddler, and guitarist. Waldman’s tales of Alaska, which includes surviving a plane crash, have been highly praised. Some lucky audience winners will even walk-away with presents from the artist.

image008Rounding out the festival is the internationally acclaimed and much-loved, Isle of Klezbos with their musical memoir J. Edgar Klezmer: Songs from My Grandmother’s FBI Files, running February 12-15. This musical theatre adventure is based on the true story of the late Dr. Adele Sicular, grandmother of bandleader Eve Sicular. From klezmer to Kodaly to jazz, baroque to boogie-woogie to gospel, from Hazel Scott’s cancelled TV show to derelict theories of homosexuality, exploring surveillance files leads in even more directions than the Department of Justice could have foreseen. New York City-based Isle of Klezbosis a soulful, fun-loving powerhouse that has toured from Vienna to Vancouver. J. Edgar Klezmer premiered to a sold-out house at New York’s Dixon Place in November 2008 and immediately became a Time Out NY Critics Pick.

Tickets for Centenary Stage Company productions range from $17.50-$29.50, and they may be purchased online at www.centenarystageco.org or by calling the CSC Box office at 908-979-0900. The Box Office is also opened for ticket sales from 1-5 PM in the Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown. Several subscriptions options are available now, with flexible date options and savings of up to 54%. Tickets are available to the public on July 10th. For patrons interested in dining before a performance, the popular Buffet Matinee Series for groups of 25 or more will be offered for CSC’s matinee performances, served onsite in the Lackland Center. Reservations are required.

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

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