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Sunday, November 30, 2014

UCPAC-Rahway hosts search for New Jersey’s ‘Best Musical Theatre Voice’ Monday December First

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RAHWAY, NEW JERSEY — For 15 intrepid singers, the dream of emerging as The Best Musical Theatre Voice in New Jersey will move one step closer to reality as the semi-final round of the 2014 Fearless Icon Vocal Competition takes place Monday, Dec. 1 from 8-10 pm at Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway NJ.

First prize? The winner gets to sing the dream role of their favorite musical theatre show.

Fearless Productions, Rahway’s resident theatre company, will purchase full stage rights and present the winner’s chosen play at Hamilton Stage in Summer, 2015. 

Sound like An Impossible Dream for Some Enchanted Evening? Not if the judges Get a Kick Out of You.

General admission tickets for the semi-final round are $10 and available online at www.ucpac.org, by calling (732) 499-8226 or buying in person at the UCPAC box office, 1601 Irving Street, Rahway NJ.

Culled from an original field of 100 hopefuls, the 15 semi-finalists comprise a diverse group ranging in age from teens to late fifties hailing from towns big and small across the Garden State.

Vying for the five spots in the Dec. 14 final round are: Nikki Ashe (Lake Hiawatha), Lindsay Cherin (Manalapan), Darius Delk (North Brunswick), Michael Dooley (Cranford), Michael Ferlita (Sayreville), Kevin Hack (Parlin), Tim James(Somerset), Brianna Jarvis (Union City), Jessica Mennella (Montville), Taylor Patullo (Bridgewater), Kate Pentek(Sayreville), Suzanne Ramsey-Restivo (Monroe), Leslie Silverman (West Windsor), Kyrus Keenan Westcott(Hamilton), Kara Wilson (Rahway).

“The heart and soul of a great musical is a determined character giving everything they’ve got to achieve their dream,” says Fearless Productions artistic director Brian Remo. “With Fearless Icon, each contestant puts that heart and that soul on stage to attain their own theatre dream.”

Fearless Productions is a New Jersey drama ensemble who made an Off Broadway debut at the Snapple Theater Center this past Spring with Joelle Arqueros’ Sex, Relationships and Sometimes…Love. They’ll present To Kill a Mockingbirdat Hamilton Stage this Sept. 26-Oct. 5 and Nine: The Musical at Hamilton Stage from Mar. 6-22, 2015.

Brian Remo believes Fearless Icon will discover a rich, new mother lode of untapped musical theatre talent.

“The next great Broadway singer is living somewhere in New Jersey,” he says. “Our mission is to find help them find their way to the stage.”

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** For more information about the 2014-15 performance season at Union County Performing Arts Center and Hamilton Stage, visit www.ucpac.org.

The Story of the Nutcracker Returns to The Growing Stage

The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, located in the Historic Palace Theatre on Route 183 in Netcong, New Jersey is proud to present the holiday classic THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER from November 21st  through December 21st  with performances Friday evenings at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM.

THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER is adapted from the story by E.T.A. Hoffman that later inspired the ballet created by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky with a book by Stephen L. Fredericks & Perry Kroeger. THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, The Growing Stage’s Executive Director with choreography by Jillian Petrie.

THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER is The Growing Stage’s original adaptation which transforms the classic holiday ballet into a fully formed theatrical production laced with the music of Tchaikovsky. The mysterious Uncle Drosselmeir brings his niece, Clara, a very special gift, a Nutcracker. After the family has gone to bed, Clara sneaks downstairs to see her gift. As the clock chimes twelve, the adventure begins! Clara and the Nutcracker, who is really a prince, journey through the Land of Sweets, battle an army of mice, sail on the Lemonade Sea, rescue the Sugar Plum Fairie and finally reclaim the Prince’s crown from the Dowager Mouse Queen and her inept son. It’s a delicious holiday treat for the entire family!

THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER features the talents of five professional equity performers in the cast. Steven Etienne of Belvidere and Lucas Pinner of Rahway, last seen in Disney’s The Little Mermaid as Sebastian and Grimsby, play the Nutcracker and Uncle Drosselmeir respectively; Lori B. Lawrence of Hackettstown, last seen in The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel, plays Grandma and Madam Mouserinks; Danny Campos, who played the title character in The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel plays Captain Stahlbaum and Admiral of the Lemonade Sea; Jerielle Morwitz, who appeared in last season’s Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical plays Frau Yunquist and the Queen of Ice. Rounding out the cast are twenty two young performers and community artists.

Enhance your theatergoing experience with pre and post show-activities. Join  Friday, December 5th a post-show talkback session with the playwrights and director. Also, on Saturday, December 13th the company choreographer for a Pre-show Dance Workshop. Additional fee and reservations required for the dance workshop. The Growing Stage continues FUN-tastic Fridays with all tickets $15! Saturday and Sunday tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors. To purchase tickets, please visit website at www.growingstage.com or contact the Box Office at (973) 347-4946. Group rates and Birthday Party packages are available.

‘A Christmas Carol’ at Playhouse 22 in East Brunswick

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“A Christmas Carol” returns to Playhouse 22, East Brunswick’s Community Theater, for its annual production starting December 12. “A Christmas Carol” is directed and adapted by Tony Adase, based on the novella written by Charles Dickens. The show runs through December 21.

Fred Dennehy returns as the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol” is the immortal story the story of a miserable miser who learns to keep Christmas in his heart with the help of several ghostly spirits. Playing the Ghost of Jacob Marley is Peter Reimann, along with Jacqueline Master as the Spirit of Christmas Past, Christopher Rowland as the Spirit of Christmas Present and Samuel Moffett as Tiny Tim.

All performances are Friday evenings at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m.

All tickets are $15 and are available online at Playhouse22.org, by calling the Box Office at (732) 254-3939 or at the Box Office window. Playhouse 22 is conveniently located at the East Brunswick Community Arts Center at 721 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick.

(Photo)  (Jackie Master as the Spirit of Christmas Past and Fred Dennehy as Ebenezer Scrooge)

Playhouse 22. P.O. Box 181,East Brunswick, NJ  08816, (732) 254-3939

www.Playhouse22.org

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ticket sale at Women’s Theater Company

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Auditions: Chatham Players Seeks Versatile Actors for Neal Bell’s “Spatter Pattern”

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The Chatham Players will hold auditions for Neal Bell’s psychological drama, “Spatter Pattern” on Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9at 7:30pm. All auditions will occur at The Chatham Playhouse 23 North Passaic Ave., Chatham, New Jersey. Production dates are March 6 thru 21, 2015 with rehearsals to begin mid-December.

The play centers around a college professor accused of murdering one of his students meets a grieving writer in search of a story. The specter of truth hangs between them as the audience is propelled through the shadowy city they inhabit.

Director Shannon Barry O’Grady is looking for 6-7 actors unafraid to delve deep into the thrilling abyss of this incredible psychological drama with dark comedic accents. Those auditioning for Tate and Dunn should prepare one of those character’s monologues from the script, no more than 2 minutes long, and be prepared to read from sides. Those auditioning for supporting roles should prepare a comedic monologue, no more than 1 minute long, and be prepared to read from sides.. Sides and Auditions Form are available prior to the auditions. To access sides and form, please visit our website at www.chathamplayers.org/auditions.html.

Character Breakdown (4-5 actors will be cast to play multiple Supporting Roles)

EDWARD DUNN (38-55) A grieving writer, desperate for a story and salvation. His complex imagination often becomes indistinguishable from reality

MARCUS TATE (40-50) A college professor accused of murder. His despondent temper and web of lies make all question his innocence

SELMA (35-55) Edward’s heartless agent who sees only dollar signs

ELLEN (30-45) Tate’s wife, scared and angry. She is ready to leave her husband despite being unsure of his guilt

HOOKER (female, 38-50) Faded, jaded, weary and unimpressed

FISHER (male or female, 25-65) Disgruntled mortuary employee

MRS. ROTH (65-95) Tate and Dunn’s neighbor. Hard of hearing

ANDREA EVANS (18-23) Young, impulsive, naïve, curious, bitchy, sexy. Questions authority and humanity’s purpose

REALTOR (male or female 28-68) Impatient

DETECTIVE MUNOZ (male 30-60) Determined, passionate

MOXLEY (male or female, 25-65) Funeral parlor salesperson, nicknamed “Lurch” by co-workers

MANCHESKI (male 18-25) A student of Tate's Impulsive, mysterious, confused. Thinks he may be in love with Andrea

HUSTLER (male, 18-35) Confident, worldly, sexy

HOMELESS MAN (male 18-65) Desperate, destitute

imagesThe Chatham Players have an open call casting policy. ALL roles are open, none are precast, and everyone is encouraged to audition. Any questions, please call Leslie Reagoso at (973) 769-3886 or email her at ccpcasting@gmail.com. For directions or additional information, please visit www.chathamplayers.org

Friday, November 28, 2014

‘Ruthless! the Musical’ opens tonight at Chester Theatre Group’s Black River Playhouse

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Maria Brodeur and Molly Farrell in a scene from Ruthless! The Musical, opening Friday, Nov. 28th at Chester Theatre Group.

The Chester Theatre Group will present New York Outer Critics Circle award-winning musical Ruthless! The Musical at the Black River Playhouse on Grove Street in Chester, NJ. November 29 –December 7, 2014.

Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 2:00pm.Tickets are $25. Seniors over 65 and students under 18 are $23. Tickets may be purchased online at www.chestertheatregroup.org or call 908-879-7304.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ezra Barnes reports ‘Breakfast with Mugabe’ a Centenary Stage NJ premiere has made its West Coast debut

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Breakfast With Mugabe at the Aurora Theatre Company with L. Peter Callender and Dan Hiatt

Friends and Colleagues,

“Breakfast With Mugabe is enjoying a terrific run in its West Coast premiere: in the Bay Area, the Aurora Theatre Company's production has received accolades in the Examiner ("intense and engrossing"), the Chronicle ("incisive") and elsewhere. The run has already been extended through December 14. It is further proof that Fraser Grace's play remains trenchant and powerful. Please spread the word and help this play continue its remarkable journey.”

Kind regards,

Ezra Barnes
Two Planks Productions

About the play:

Fraser Grace's Breakfast With Mugabe is inspired by reports that Zimbabwe’s despot Robert Mugabe sought treatment from a white psychiatrist. In playwright Fraser's Grace's imagining of these sessions, it is "colonialism that is put on the couch."

Breakfast With Mugabe was first produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and transferred to the West End. It received its New York premiere in 2013 in aTwo Planks Production . A critics pick with the New York Times and Time Out NY, it ran Off-Broadway for 100 performances, played to over 9,000 people and was nominated for Best New Play by the Off Broadway Alliance.

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From the New York premiere of Breakfast With Mugabe, Michael Rogers as Robert Mugabe

READ OUR REVIEW: http://www.njfootlights.net/2010/11/review-award-winning-drama-gem-at.html

'A Christmas Story' at the Barn scores a box office knock-out!


"Extra tickets are available on a first come, first served basis"
“But please note: we aren't entirely sold out -- we just aren't taking reservations anymore. There still might be additional tickets available for each performance BUT in order to get them, you must come to the theater 1 hour before curtain (i.e. at 7pm for an 8pm evening performance or at 1pm for a 2pm matinee) to get your name on the waiting list. These extra tickets are first come, first served basis. So don't miss out on "A Christmas Story: The Musical" at The Barn Theatre!”  This is four star entertainment. 
READ OUR REVIEW: 
http://www.njfootlights.net/2014/11/review-christmas-story-musical-at-barn.html
The Barn Theatre of Montville, New Jersey is presenting A Christmas Story the Musical  through December 13. Remaining performances are on November 28, 29, December 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8 pm; and on November 30, December 7 at 2 pm. Tickets are $24 (senior/student tickets are $22 on matinees only).
The Barn Theatre is located on Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Exit 47 from Route 287. For more reservations, information or directions, call The Barn Theatre Box Office at (973) 334-9320, or visit The Barn Theatre on the web at www.barntheatre.org.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Very Special (Holiday) Special At Dreamcatcher in Summit

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2014 Xmas

Kick off the holiday season with the Dreamcatcher Company with their annual irreverent spoof of the holiday specials of yesteryear.  If you enjoyed the corny fun of those old-fashioned holiday variety shows starring Donny and Marie, Perry Como and The Mandrell Sisters, you’ll love A Very Special (Holiday) Special at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre on Friday and Saturday, December 12 and 13 at 8:00 p.m.  Located at their home at the Oakes Center in Summit, Dreamcatcher takes a break from their mainstage schedule to perform their affectionate send-up of traditional holiday entertainment.

The Dreamcatcher Resident Acting Company will entertain with holiday songs, comic sketches and improv, and lots of good old-fashioned fun.  Each year’s show is original; past years’ performances included Santa going Gangnam Style, commercials for ridiculous products and a post-holiday scene at the returns counter of a department store.  This year’s show will include musical spoofs, topical sketches, and unique silliness.  Performing in the show are Dreamcatcher Company members Nicole Callender, Clark Carmichael, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley, Jessica O’Hara-Baker, Jason Szamreta, and special guest Eli Ganias.

A Very Special (Holiday) Special, a unique and hilarious way to celebrate the holiday season, will take place at Dreamcatcher on Friday and Saturday, December 12 & 13 at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $20.00, and $15 for students 15 and younger. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.dreamcatcherrep.org, or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.

Performances are at The Oakes Center, located at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit.  Parking is available in the lot behind the theatre on Ashwood Avenue and at the Summit Recreation Center on Morris Avenue, as well as on the street.  The facility is wheelchair accessible. 

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 Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908-514-9654.

Tri-State Actors Theater celebrates its 27th Season with ‘A Christmas Carol’ at Bickford in Morristown

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A delightful new production comes your way in a new theater. Tri-State Actors Theater celebrates its 27th Season with its 10th annual presentation of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, adapted by Tri-State’s Artistic Director and Founder, Paul Meacham. A CHRISTMAS CAROL runs December 18 through December 28 in special guest performances at The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ.

This heart-warming holiday classic has delighted tri-state audiences since 2005, making it a well-loved holiday entertainment tradition for the tri-state region.

Joyous music! Festive dancing! Meacham’s adaptation joins our contemporary Christmas season with Dickens’ 19th century London. Our Christmas Carol is an intimate and warm retelling of Charles Dickens’ most famous Christmas Story and will appeal to those who love live theater and real Dickens. All your favorites from the classic tale will be there – Bob Cratchit and family, Tiny Tim; the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, beautiful Belle, nephew Fred, all the Londoners, young Scrooge, Jacob Marley, and of course the miser himself, Ebenezer Scrooge!

As well as adapting Dickens’ classic story, Paul Meacham* of Matamoras, PA, will direct A Christmas Carol and play Scrooge. Returning cast members include: Nicholas Wilder of Philadelphia and Tom Walker of Mahwah. New to the acting company this season are Albert Weitz of Sussex, Ashley Kowzun of Kenvil and Melissa Toomey of Montclair. Also, Yumi Matsuura* joins the company as the production stage manager. (*Denotes member of Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers.)

A Christmas Carol plays Thursday, December 18 through Sunday, December 28. The running time for A CHRISTMAS CAROL is approximately an hour and a half, with intermission. Appropriate for ages 6 and above.

Advance ticket purchases are always recommended. Tri-State/The Bickford Theater offers Group Rates and a special discount for Morris Museum members. Tickets for are all performances are available by calling the Bickford Box Office at 973 971-3706 or by going to the Box Office at the Morris Museum. Large print programs, accessible parking, and wheelchair access are available for patrons with special needs.

For tickets, information, and special services, please contact the Bickford at 973 971-3706. The Bickford Theatre Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00pm to 5:00pm. On day of performance, the Box Office opens one hour prior to curtain time.

A Christmas Carol

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES

December 18– December 28

Thursday, December 18 at 2:00 pm & 7:30 pm

Friday, December 19 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 20 at 2:00 pm

Sunday, December 21 at 2:00 pm

Friday, December 26 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, December 27 at 7:30 pm

Sunday, December 28 at 2:00 pm

TICKET PRICES

Friday & Saturday Evenings & Sunday Matinee
$28 General Public, $25 Museum Members/Seniors, $20 Students (18 & under)

Thursday Matinee/Evening & Saturday Matinee
$23 General Public, $20 Museum Members/Seniors $18 Students (18 & under)

Capture the holiday spirit when your family joins the Tri-State family for this timeless Dickens classic. Great for families!

Additional information about Tri-State Actors Theater and its programs and services is available on the web at www.tristateactorstheater.org. The Bickford Theatre and Tri-State Actors Theater are members of The New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Funding for Tri-State Actors Theater has been made possible by the generous support of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

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‘Ruthless the musical’ opens Friday at Chester Theatre Group’s Black River Playhouse

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The Chester Theatre Group will present New York Outer Critics Circle award-winning musical Ruthless! The Musical at the Black River Playhouse on Grove Street in Chester, NJ. November 29 –December 7, 2014.

Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25. Seniors over 65 and students under 18 are $23. Tickets may be purchased online at www.chestertheatregroup.org or call 908-879-7304.

Ruthless! The Musical, a hilarious parody of Broadway musicals and iconic Hollywood movies, tells the story of suburban housewife Judy Denmark and her daughter Tina, who is the greatest song-and-dance sensation to ever hit the third grade. She's cute. She sings. She dances. And she would KILL to get the lead role in her school play.

With book and lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird, this outrageously funny musical comedy deliciously skewers agents, stage mothers, critics, school drama teachers, over-sized theatrical egos, precocious showbiz brats and so much more. It’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” meets “The Bad Seed.”

The talented cast of Ruthless! includes:

Judy Denmark………Maria Ludwig Brodeur

Lita Encore…..Lisa Deane

Louise Lerman/Eve...Raven Dunbar

Miss Thorn/ Ms. Block…Beth Amiano Gleason

Sylvia St. Croix……Michael Foley

Tina Denmark…….Molly Farrell

The production team includes Cindy Alexander (Director), Cliff Parrish (Musical Director), Robert Longstreet (Assistant Director), Megan Ferrentinos (Choreographer), Ellen Fraker-Glasscock (Producer), Diane Butler (Stage Manager) and Steve Catron (Set Design/Construction).

Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Comedy romp ‘Social Security’ at the Bickford

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"What a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, I don't know when I've laughed so much." That is a comment overheard as we exited the Bickford theatre in Morristown Sunday afternoon. The event was the matinee performance of a very funny comedy, Social Security. The title gives you more than a hint that this is a play that will connect with the over-50 crowd, and it does bigtime. Not familiar with Social Security... the play of course? It is the work of Andrew Bergman that premiered on Broadway back in 1986 directed by the late Mike Nichols. It ran for more than a year. Bergman? Andrew Bergman? Did you see the films: Blazing Saddles, The In-Laws, The Freshman and Honeymoon in Vegas? They each have become cult classics. The writer (or co-writer) of all four is not Neil Simon or Mel Brooks, but Andrew Bergman, a boy from Queens (now 69). Social Security is his one and only stage effort. 

The Bickford edition of the play is directed by Eric Hafen, artistic director of the theatre based in the Morris Museum, and features a cast of five of the very finest pro and non-pro actors working in northern New Jersey. The professional cast members (i.e. Equity members) are Scott McGowan (Bickford credits- I Do! I Do!, Mack & Mabel, and Sherlock Holmes-Knight's Gambit). Scott is also a member of the Dreamcatcher Repertory Company in Summit; Laura Ekstrand (Artistic Director of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre) and Bev Sheehan (Bickford credit- The Last Days of Mickie & Jean). The non-Equity cast members are David C. Neal, Noreen Farley (Bickford credits:  The Last Romance). Noreen is also a member of the Dreamcatcher Repertory Company; and Jim Clancy (Summit Players, Chatham Players, and Theater Project).

Social Security presents a bit of a dilemma for a reviewer since it is loaded with rapid fire funny dialogue, hilarious situations and several plot surprises. How much to reveal here without spoiling an otherwise delightful theater experience?  To some the play might seem creaky, with unfamiliar references to New York of that period since it is set in early 1980's. But those of us with memories that go back a few decades will enjoy the mention of famous Manhattan restaurants, theater and film attractions and celebrities. For example, how many in the under-40 group even remember Elizabeth Taylor?

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The play is entirely set in a swank Upper East-Side apartment (impressive set by Bill Motyka) decorated with the finest in modern art. Appropriate since the apartment belongs to David and Barbara Kahn, modern art dealers. The Kahn's, played with nice style by Scott McGowan and Laura Ekstrand, live in blissful isolation from Mrs. Kahn's rather colorless but yet bizarre suburban relatives (Mineola, Long Island). First, there is sister Trudy Heyman (Bev Sheehan), then tax accountant husband Martin Heyman (David C. Neal),and finally Barbara and Trudy's impossible Jewish mother Sophie (Noreen Farley).

The entire first act concerns the Heyman's demand that it is now the Kahn's turn to share their home with "the creature from hell." The word consternation does not adequately describe their response. Hysteria, actually horrific hysteria is more on target. Further shocking to David and Barbara; the Heyman's are not suggesting next week or next month...but now! Guess who is downstairs waiting in the car? It all gets more complicated when Trudy and Martin reveal that they are leaving for Buffalo that evening to confront their college freshman daughter who has adopted a bizarre lifestyle, or has she? The remaining character is Maurice a famous modern artist (Jim Clancy) who comes to dinner. Any more details could ruin your enjoyment of this comedy romp. 

In other hands this might simply be a satisfactory production, but director Hafen earns a special bow for sharp direction, pacing and spot-on casting lifting Social Security to pure first rate entertainment.  Scott McGowan as David Kahn again shows that he is a fine versatile actor. As does Laura Ekstrand as his wife Barbara. Laura is an impressive, intelligent actress and particularly attractive in just a simple bathrobe, red silk pajamas or a knock-out red topped cocktail outfit (kudos to costume designer Fran Harrison). 

Bev Sheehan beautifully nails the dreary sister, as does David C. Neal as the nebbish brother-in-law. Jim Clancy does a fine turn as the aged artist. Then there is Noreen Farley...the "queen" of the senior actresses (she's actually younger than most of her characters). In our experience, Noreen makes every play special. 

Kudos also to the creative team: Set Designer:  William Motyka; Costume Designer:  Fran Harrison; Lighting Designer:  Roman Klima; Properties Designer:  Danielle Pietrowski; Production Stage Manager:  Yumi Matsuura.

We give the final word to director Eric Hafen: "This Broadway hit comedy will leave you smiling a little, laughing a lot, and going home feeling happier than when you came in" We could not agree more. Hurry...ticket info is below.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio   November 23, 2014

289369-morris_museumSocial Security is playing until December 7, 2014. The location: The Bickford Theatre, an integral part of the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Ave., Morristown, New Jersey.

TICKETS: $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. There is free parking and full accessibility.

Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Top photo: L-R Scott McGowan, Noreen Farley and Laura Ekstrand              Mid-photo: L-R David C. Neal, Laura Ekstrand, Scott McGowan and Bev Sheehan (photos by Tom Kelcec)

‘Absurd Person Singular’ by Alan Ayckbourn at Two River Theater in Red Bank starting Jan 10

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Auditions: ‘How the World Got Wisdom’ at Strollers of Maplewood

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(BIO: Yahaya Kamate has performed with Fotemoban Dance Company, Djensia Group, and Camodgen of N’guatta Dolikro Dance Company of Cote d’Ivoire and Affoubenou Sakassou Dance Company of Senegal.  For the past 11 years, he has worked as lead dancer and choreographer for several companies in the United States, including Kulu Mele Dance Company and The Seventh Principle; and he has taught dance with organizations such as Djoniba Dance & Drum Center, Mark Morris Dance Group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Harlem School of the Arts.)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Review: ‘The Fabulous Lipitones’ fun at George Street Playhouse

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Reviewed by Michael T. Mooney       Friday, November 21, 2015 at 8 pm

There's an old show biz adage: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” But in this case it might well be “Dying is easy, singing barbershop with just three voices is hard.” THE FABULOUS LIPITONES starts out with the funeral of Andy, whose surviving Lipitone cronies take the stage to mourn him by crooning “After You've Gone.” After that, the comedy comes quite easily in this new play with music by John Markus and Marc St. Germain.

Most of the play takes place in the basement rec room of Howard (Jim Walton), who's ailing off-stage wife Mavis is his main concern. Wally (Wally Dunn) optimistically wants the troupe to audition a new member – and hopefully get back on stage to win the upcoming big competition. Wally's got a woman in his life, too – his elderly mother. Druggist Wally's constant companion is his iPhone, and he's eagerly signed-up for a new online dating site exclusively for pharmacists looking for their ideal 'pharmacette'.

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Phil (Donald Corren) isn't quite as anxious to find a fourth, preferring to devote his energy to his successful gym and tanning salon. Besides, he isn't so sure the Lipitones can beat the Sons of Pitches, let alone the High Colonics, a rival group from (where else?) New Jersey. Enter Bob (Rohan Kymal), a possible replacement who musically sounds ideal – but physically might not fit the bill. You see, Bob's full name is Baba Mati Singh. Initially, the main concern seems to be whether Bob's turban will fit under his straw hat - but that soon gives way to more ominous misgivings.

If the above description garnered a few good natured groans just by reading it, you have a pretty good idea of the kind of humor that drives THE FABULOUS LIPITONES. The play often seems to operate on sitcom logic – especially when it comes to cell phones. When Bob's race comes into question, the play almost feels like a visit to Archie Bunker's living room circa 1979. Post 9/11 concerns fuel some questionable humor that feels a tad dated more than 13 years later. But the play's tone is suddenly jolted unconsciously into the present when Bob is revealed to be an illegal immigrant facing deportation. Coincidentally, THE FABULOUS LIPITONES opened just 24 hours after President Obama spoke to the nation on live television about immigration reform. Onstage, Bob decides that the American dream may be just that – a dream.

The Fabulous Lipitones GSP 11-14 107But that doesn't mean that all doesn't end happily – there's still the big competition and this is, after all, a comedy. Despite some creaky conventions, there's no denying that Markus and St. Germain have a knack with funny turns of phrase. When Bob compares barbershop to Doo Wop, Phil quips “Doo Wop is dead; we're extinct.” The play is chock full of such wry observations and they are expertly delivered by the talented cast, all of whom are just as adept at comedy as with musical comedy. Speaking of which, if barbershop harmonies evoke instant memories of “The Music Man,” a framed show poster on the set silently acknowledges its contribution.

The other main delight of the evening is of course the music itself. In addition to some barbershop standards, there are new tunes by St. Germain and Randy Court. And to answer another nagging question you may have, yes – the name 'Lipitones' does have an oblique connection to the much-advertised cholesterol drug. But to discover just what that link is you'll have to see THE FABULOUS LIPITONES.

The show is a fun, musical celebration of comedy and a loving tribute to the dying art of the barbershop quartet. And as the dearly departed Andy might attest, “Dying is easy, singing four part harmony is hard.”

THE FABULOUS LIPTONES continues through December 14th at George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. For tickets and information visit www.gsponline.org or call732-246-7717

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Photos: 1: Wally Dunn, Jim Walton and Donald Corren; 2: Rohan Kymal, Jim Walton, Donald Corren and Wally Dunn; 3; Jim Walton, Donald Corren, Rohan Kymal and Wally Dunn (Photos by T. Charles Erickson)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Andrew Bergman comedy ‘Social Security’ now at the Bickford

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SOCIAL SECURITY
by Andrew Bergman
directed by Eric Hafen
WHEN: November 20 – December 7, 2014*
WHERE:
The Bickford Theatre, Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Ave., Morristown
TICKETS: $45 General Public; $40 Seniors, Museum & Theatre Guild Members; $33 Groups (10+); $20 Students (under 18 or w/valid college ID).

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!

"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, Producing Artistic Director of the Bickford Theatre.

*Performances

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

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, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Cast

  • Scott McGowan of Maplewood, New Jersey (David Kahn) - Bickford credits:  I Do! I Do!, Mack & Mabel, Sherlock Holmes-Knight's Gambit
  • Laura Ekstrand of Livingston, New Jersey (Barbara Kahn) - TV:  Hack, Sex in the City; Artistic Director of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit, NJ
  • 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
  • Jim Clancy of Basking Ridge, New Jersey (Maurice) - NJ Credits: Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, Summit Players, Chatham Players, Theater Project, Baird Theater

Creative Team

  • Director:  Eric Hafen, Producing Artistic Director Bickford Theatre, Morristown, New Jersey
  • 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

Photo: Scott McGowan, Noreen Farley and Laura Ekstrand (Bickford)

Review: ‘A Christmas Story the Musical’ at the Barn Theatre is pure joy

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A Christmas Story the Musical had its New Jersey premiere last night at the Barn Theatre in Montville. It is directed by Scott Hart, one of the producers of the Broadway musical (a Tony nominee last year). We are doubtful if anyone not as intimately involved with the New York production as Hart could have pulled-off this amazing large scale production. The sheer size of the cast-- combining some of the most experienced, most talented, area performers with a sprinkling of talented novices, largely of the juvenile variety, has to have been a major challenge. Wow… did he with musical director Charles Santoro, choreographer Megan Ferentinos and producer Nancy Zeidenberg deliver in all areas. This production can best be described with two words...JOY and JOY--one for each act.  

Not familiar with the original Christmas Story? Back in the dark ages...the 1950's....radio station WOR in New York featured a lone late night gentleman Jean Shepherd. Jean was a master story teller who could weave a single fascinating story for the length of the program. Working largely with only notes, no formal script, he enlightened and entertained the late night radio audience (including this writer who was commuting at that hour from his stagehand job at WATV-13 in Newark to, of all places, Montville, New Jersey, home of the Barn Theatre.)

Jean's most popular story, possibly autobiographical,...The Christmas Story..was made into a film that has since become a tv cult-classic at Christmas time....and now developed into a musical for the stage.   It is the story of Ralphie and his family (Mom, Dad and brother Randy, and his "comic quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts-an Official Red Ryder, carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle."  In that period, many comic books had a display ad on the back cover for the Red Ryder, carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle. Red Ryder was a comic book hero the equal of the Lone Ranger. (see the ad below)

Please understand that part of the enjoyment of this musical version comes from being familiar with the movie....it is fun knowing what is Dad's special prize from the crossword contest, or what is Ralphie's Christmas gift from his distant aunt, or the Christmas turkey disaster, the tongue and the flagpole, etc. 

A XMAS

Bringing this fun tale to life is a wonderful, exuberant cast led by Bob Mackasek (photo above left) as Jean Shepherd. Mackasek is simply terrific. Not hard seeing him in the same role on any stage including NYC. His warm, at-ease style, with a twinkle in his voice, is the glue that holds the show together-a bit of a cliché, but appropriate. Like the narrator in Our Town, he breaks the fourth wall directing his comments to the audience. Ralphie and his family are each a marvelous bit of casting. Ralphie is played by Jeffrey Gallup, a Montville 7th grader with impressive credits. Playing younger brother Randy, reluctant eater, master of hiding under the sink and lack of snowsuit mobility, is Matthew Quirk. Fine voiced Cheryl Marocco Bookstaver, with 40's style hair and costume nicely projects a loving, caring, self-less mother and wife. Garnering many of the laughs as father, early painted as a "potty-mouthed" buffoon, but later showing his love for family when it counts, is the impressively talented Barn veteran Tom Schopper. Schopper, like his co-leads, is spot-on. They each project great pleasure in having this opportunity to perform in such an audience pleasing show.

That takes us back to the word that best describes the talented full cast of 30....exuberant. Leading the supporting cast is former Perry winner (NJ Community Theatre's Best Actress Award) Lynn Hart. Hart has great fun as Ralphie's school teacher. This multi-talented lady brightens every stage with her triple play of acting, singing and dancing talent. 

Other standouts in the supporting cast are: Jacob Lesser (Schwartz); Luke Mitchell (Flick); Liam Driscoll (Scut); James Ignacio (Grover Dill); Craig Stevens (Santa); Pearl Hart (Mrs. Schwartz); Katie Weigl (Head Elf); and Jonathan Galvez (Chinese Waiter).

Not to be over looked is the wonderful ensemble of adults and youngsters who sing and dance, including a neat tap number. Ayla Schwartz , Amanda Vogel, Dana Efron, Zachary Petzinger, Megan Bodmer, Anita Freedson-Jackson, Alan Van Antwerp, Roxanna Wagner, Salvatore Bellomo, Michal Efron, Vinnie Plantamura, Nikki Simz, James Lopez, Evie Turner-Salerno, James Russo, and Susan Hagen. The show's fun, bright dance numbers are choreographed by one of our areas leading dance creators Megan Ferentinos. Charles Santoro leads the ten member orchestra that includes Chris Curcio, Joe Mankin, Carol Hamersma, Rick Savage, Federico Perez, Jessica Miller, Melissa Encarnacion, John Ferrariand and Bill Trigg.

Director Scott Hart's creative team includes:  Assistant Director: Lauren Moran Mills, Producer: Nancy Zeidenberg, Stage Manager: Erin Gilgur, Assistant Stage Manager: Regina Novicky, Set Design: Greg Cilmi, Set Construction: Todd Mills, Stage Crew: Jeff Kinkead, Rita La Manno, Ron Mulligan, Daniel Schopper, Thomas Wertheimer, Lighting Design: Nicholas Marmo, Sound Design: Larry Wilbur, Props: William Ward, Props-Crew: Sarah Wertheimer-Lopez, Costumes: Janice Schopper.

The Barn Theatre of Montville, New Jersey will be presenting A Christmas Story the Musical with book by Joseph Robinette, and music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, through December 13. Remaining performances are on November 28, 29, December 5, 6, 12, 13 at 8 pm; and on November 22, 23, 30, December 7 at 2 pm. Tickets are $24 (senior/student tickets are $22 on matinees only).

“But please note: we aren't entirely sold out -- we just aren't taking reservations anymore. There still might be additional tickets available for each performance BUT in order to get them, you must come to the theater 1 hour before curtain (i.e. at 7pm for an 8pm evening performance or at 1pm for a 2pm matinee) to get your name on the waiting list. These extra tickets are first come, first served basis. So don't miss out on "A Christmas Story: The Musical" at The Barn Theatre!”  This is four star entertainment. 

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    November 21, 2014

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

P.S. I was 45 when I finally got my Red Ryder rifle (legal in Virginia where we lived).

Top photo: (Left to Right): Matthew Quirk (as Randy), Cheryl Marocco Bookstaver (as Mother), Tom Schopper (as The Old Man), and Jeffrey Gallup (as Ralphie) Photo by Anthony Michael Salerno

Mid-Photo: Bob Mackasek (as Jean Shepherd), Jeffrey Gallup (as Ralphie), Cheryl Marocco Bookstaver (as Mother), Matthew Quirk (as Randy) and Tom Schopper (as The Old Man) Photo by Anthony Michael Salerno

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Auditions: Chatham Players Seeks Versatile Actors for Neal Bell’s ‘Spatter Pattern’

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The Chatham Players will hold auditions for Neal Bell’s psychological drama, “Spatter Pattern” on Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9 at 7:30 pm. All auditions will occur at The Chatham Playhouse 23 North Passaic Ave. Production dates are March 6 thru 21, 2015 with rehearsals to begin mid-December.

The play centers around a college professor accused of murdering one of his students meets a grieving writer in search of a story. The specter of truth hangs between them as the audience is propelled through the shadowy city they inhabit.

Director Shannon Barry O’Grady is looking for 6-7 actors unafraid to delve deep into the thrilling abyss of this incredible psychological drama with dark comedic accents. Those auditioning for Tate and Dunn should prepare one of those character’s monologues from the script, no more than 2 minutes long, and be prepared to read from sides. Those auditioning for supporting roles should prepare a comedic monologue, no more than 1 minute long, and be prepared to read from sides.. Sides and Auditions Form are available prior to the auditions. To access sides and form, please visit our website at www.chathamplayers.org/auditions.html.

Character Breakdown (4-5 actors will be cast to play multiple Supporting Roles)

EDWARD DUNN (38-55) A grieving writer, desperate for a story and salvation. His complex imagination often becomes indistinguishable from reality

MARCUS TATE (40-50) A college professor accused of murder. His despondent temper and web of lies make all question his innocence

SELMA (35-55) Edward’s heartless agent who sees only dollar signs

ELLEN (30-45) Tate’s wife, scared and angry. She is ready to leave her husband despite being unsure of his guilt

HOOKER (female, 38-50) Faded, jaded, weary and unimpressed

FISHER (male or female, 25-65) Disgruntled mortuary employee

MRS. ROTH (65-95) Tate and Dunn’s neighbor. Hard of hearing

ANDREA EVANS (18-23) Young, impulsive, naïve, curious, bitchy, sexy. Questions authority and humanity’s purpose

REALTOR (male or female 28-68) Impatient

DETECTIVE MUNOZ (male 30-60) Determined, passionate

MOXLEY (male or female, 25-65) Funeral parlor salesperson, nicknamed “Lurch” by co-workers

MANCHESKI (male 18-25) A student of Tate's Impulsive, mysterious, confused. Thinks he may be in love with Andrea

HUSTLER (male, 18-35) Confident, worldly, sexy

HOMELESS MAN (male 18-65) Desperate, destitute

The Chatham Players have an open call casting policy. ALL roles are open, none are precast, and everyone is encouraged to audition. Any questions, please call Leslie Reagoso at (973) 769-3886 or email her at ccpcasting@gmail.com. For directions or additional information, please visit www.chathamplayers.org

Shakespeare Theatre’s Something Merry This Way Comes rings in the holiday season

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The One-Night-Only Event Celebrates the Spirit of the Season

Something Merry This Way Comes, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s specially crafted antidote to the holiday glitz and commercialism, returns this season on Monday, December 15th, at 7:30pm at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at www.ShakespeareNJ.org or by phone by calling the Shakespeare Theatre Box Office at 973-408-5600.

Harkening back to a time when families gathered around the hearth, Something Merry This Way Comes is a cornucopia of sparkling and inspiring holiday tales, songs, and poems read by members of the Theatre’s esteemed company of actors.  The holiday counterpart to the popular Halloween event, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Something Merry This Way Comes is “an evening to share with your family, friends, and theatre lovers of all ages, a heartwarming sojourn from the sometimes overwhelming madness of the season,” says Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.

Artistic Associate and Casting Director Stephen Brown-Fried will direct this year’s Something Merry This Way Comes. “I am thrilled to direct Something Merry for the first time. Weaving together holiday stories from around the world with classic poems is an exciting challenge. As a company, we offer this heartwarming holiday treat to our audiences—our gift to you!”

Something Merry This Way Comes will be performed at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124, at Lancaster Road) in Madison, just minutes from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Contact the theatre for more information. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

The Theatre’s ambitious 2014 Main Stage season closes with Much Ado About Nothing, a production which celebrates the winter holiday season, filled with music and dance that evokes the World War II, White Christmas era.

shakespeare-theatre (1)Performances begin December 3rd at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Road) in Madison.  Ticket prices start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. Student rush tickets for all performances are $15, available a half-hour before curtain for with a valid student ID.  Performances are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, The Shakespeare Theatre is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare’s canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

CTG’s ’Ruthless’ opening delayed until the 28th

 

OPENING POSTPONED UNTIL NEXT WEEKEND

November 28th - December 7th at Chester Theatre Group

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, CTG must regretfully postpone opening night until Friday, Nov. 28th. Ticket holders for the cancelled shows will be contacted. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

SPECIAL ADDED PERFORMANCE THURS., DEC. 4 AT 8PM

Music by Marvin Laird
Book and Lyrics by Joel Paley
Directed by Cindy Alexander
Music Direction by Clifford Parrish
Choreography by Megan Ferentinos

featuring
MARIA LUDWIG BRODEUR ~ LISA DEANE ~ RAVEN DUNBAR ~ MOLLY FARRELL ~ MICHAEL FOLEY ~ BETH AMIANO GLEASON

Tina Denmark, the greatest song-and-dance sensation to ever hit the third grade, will stop at nothing to win the title role in her school musical. Not even murder. This outrageously funny musical comedy deliciously skewers agents, stage mothers, critics, school drama teachers, over-sized theatrical egos, precocious showbiz brats and so much more.

TICKETS: $25.00

Senior citizens 65+ and students under 18: $23.00

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

54 Grove Street, at the corner of Maple Ave., in Chester, NJ ~ 908-879-7304

www.chestertheatregroup.org

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

‘The 1940’s Radio Hour’ next at Algonquin Arts Theatre

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Turn back the clock to Christmas time in 1942 with a dynamic musical that captures the spirit of a bygone era when radio was king, the world was at war, and popular music was really good music.

One of the Algonquin’s best-selling shows of all-time, “The 1940’s Radio Hour,” returns to the stage for seven performances from November 29 through December 7. The production’s previous run in 2011 played to sold-out crowds, and several of the show’s stars return.

“This a great way to start the holiday season — just sit back, relax, and have some fun,” said The Coast Star in review of the original production. “The audience will fall in love with the characters … From the hysterical announcer and general manager to the bubble-headed waitress turned singer, each character does a spectacular job with their individual part to keep you smiling throughout.”

Set, coincidentally, in the Algonquin Room of New York City’s Hotel Astor, “The 1940’s Radio Hour” recreates the evening radio broadcast of the “Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade” on WOV featuring era music, sound effects and dancing.

The music takes center stage, with a live big band on stage playing hit songs written or made famous by The Andrews Sisters, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, George Gershwin, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and more. Famous standards in the show include “Love is Here to Stay,” “Blue Moon” and “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

Tickets start at are $29 for adults, $26 for seniors and $20 for students and are available online at algonquinarts.org, by phone at 732-528-9211 or in person at the Algonquin Box Office at 173 Main Street in Manasquan from 12-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 12-4 p.m. on Saturdays. Premium seating in the first 14 rows is available for $7 more. Each ticket subject to a $2 processing fee.

Two of the Algonquin’s favorite leading ladies return from the 2011 production. Since last appearing in “Radio Hour,” Audra Mariel has continued to make a name as a jazz vocalist. She returns to the role of Ann Collier, the Cavalcade’s featured vocalist, and perfectly performs “That Old Black Magic” and “I’ve Got It Bad.” Ali Gleason, an Algonquin regular appears in her fifth Algonquin production again playing the former singing-waitress who loves the color red, Ginger.

Fresh off his appearance as Sitting Bull in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Eric McDonough returns to the “Radio Hour” cast as the sometimes harried producer and host of the Cavalcade, Clifton A. Feddington. Ian Moore comes back to play the cab driver by day, triple threat by night Neal Tilden.

The cast includes Algonquin regulars including Matt Giunco as Wally Fergusson, a hopeful from Altoona, Pa., who is looking for his showbiz break, and Terrence Berry as Stanley, who controls the control room. Courtney Elliott Anzalone features as Connie Miller, the bobbysoxer from Utah, and Joe Ficarra plays Lou Cohn, the sound effects man who runs the show.

A pair of New York City-based actors join the cast and make their Algonquin debuts. A leading man at prominent regional theatres including Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre and Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine, Matthew Ragas plays Johnny “The Tone” Cantone. Cantone, a featured vocalist in the Cavalcade, is a rough and tough former boxer from Brooklyn with a velvety voice that has him on the Frank Sinatra bandwagon. Adam T. Biner, a veteran of New Jersey’s biggest stages including NJPAC and Paper Mill Playhouse, features as B.J. Gibson, the squeaky-clean Yale undergraduate.

Other debutants include Andrew Kosinski as Biff Baker, the teenage trumpeter who is about to ship off to war; Perry Award-winner Tony Milillo as Pop Bailey, the full-time door man and part-time bookie; and DeGregorio who leads the on-stage band as Zoot Doubleman.

Veteran director David Leidholdt, most well-known at the Shore as the former co-artistic director at ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park, leads a team of musical director Nick DeGregorio, choreographer Casey Abel, lighting designer David Sexton, costume designer Jacquie Revier and stage manager Bryn E. Farace. Jan Topoleski and Gina Lupi co-produce.

The seven performances of “The 1940’s Radio Hour” include an 8 p.m. curtain on Saturday, November 29, Thursday, December 4 and Saturday, December 6. Traditional 3 p.m. Sunday matinees will be on November 30 and December 7. Additional matinees will be at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 5 and Saturday, December 6.

Cast List: Name (Hometown); Past Algonquin Credits

Ann Collier: Audra Mariel (Colts Neck); The 1940s Radio Hour (Ann)

Ginger Brooks: Ali Gleason (Lanoka Harbor); The 1940s Radio Hour (Ginger), Joseph … Dreamcoat (Narrator), Oliver! (Nancy), SPAMALOT (Lady of the Lake), Evita

Connie Miller: Courtney Elliott Anzalone (Monroe Township); Annie Get Your Gun

Stanley: Terrence Berry (Asbury Park); Wizard of Oz (Tin Man), Joseph … Dreamcoat (Judah), Oliver!, The Full Monty, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun.

Johnny Canton: Matthew Ragas (New York); Algonquin debut

B.J. Gibson: Adam T. Biner (Fanwood); Algonquin debut

Clifton A. Feddington: Eric McDonough (Pt. Pleasant); Annie Get Your Gun (Sitting Bull), The 1940’s Radio Hour (Clifton), The Wizard of Oz (Wizard), Oliver! (Mr. Sowerberry)

Lou Cohn: Joseph Ficarra (Pt. Pleasant); A Year With Frog & Toad (Frog), Man of La Mancha, Scrooge! (Ghost of Christmas Past)

Wally Fergusson: Matt Giunco (Manasquan); 13: The Musical (Evan), Oliver! (Artful Dodger)

Biff Baker: Andrew Kosinski (Wall); Algonquin debut

Pops Bailey: Tony Milillo (Tinton Falls); Algonquin debut  

Neal Tilden: Ian Moore (Brielle); SPAMALOT (Sir Bedevere), The 1940’s Radio Hour (Neal), Oliver! (Bill Sikes)

Zoot Doubleman: Nick DeGregorio (Livingston); Algonquin debut

algonquin-arts-theatreAbout Algonquin Arts Theatre
Algonquin Arts Theatre (AAT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1992 with the mission to provide cultural enhancement and arts education to all audiences at the Jersey Shore through high-quality performances and programs in theatre, music, film and dance. The end goal is to foster appreciation of the arts and promote lifelong learning, particularly among underserved audiences including the economically disadvantaged, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

Algonquin Arts Theatre's 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; by funds from the Paul F. Zito, M.D. Educational Foundation, by Simon Kaufman, Esq. & Maria Zito-Kaufman, and by Manasquan Savings Bank.

Miracle Reel Films Casting for Television Series ‘Clairvoyance’ in Atlanta

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Television Location: Atlanta Duration: July 2015, starts December 4, 2014

Audition Details: PRINCPLE SPEAKING ROLES/LEAD SUPPORTING ROLES:Clairvoyance Clairvoyance, a Thriller will be prepping and shooting in Atlanta November/December 2014 into January 2015. Currently seeking actors of all ages for extras, background and principle speaking roles. All interested candidates submit to: clairvoyanceseriescasting@gmail.com.

Please put “ Actor ' – followed by your name and age in the subject heading. List the following in the body of the email: (attach headshot and demo reel) NAME PHONE NUMBER (s) (XXX-XXX-XXXX format) Email address CITY and STATE where you live AGE Height Weight SIZES!!! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Vine Men : Jacket, Collar, Sleeve, Waist, Inseam and Shoe SIZES!!! Women: Dress, Skirt, Blouse, Waist , Inseam and Shoe

Please list if you have TATTOOS.  NOTE: YOU MUST BE WILLING TO WORK IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA

More Info: http://www.clairvoyancetvseries.com/ Apply to: Cindy Adams Created: 17 Nov 2014, Expires: 1 Dec 2014 User id: 1308915 Director: Carl Millender. Clairvoyance TV Series Payment is available for this project. (For SAG/AFTRA ACTORS this is a new media contract Non-Union will be mimimum Wage or more.)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

‘Peter Pan’ next at Centenary Stage with Osborn Focht and Lea Antonelli – Lid

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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 28th running through December 14th Centenary Stage Company will venture into “Neverland” for the family 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.

Directed by Broadway veteran, Michael Blevins, Peter Pan features a company of 72 actors, musicians and crew working in close collaboration to bring this tale to life. 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 College 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 Anderson in Kristina at Carnegie Hall.  No stranger to CSC, audiences will remember Focht as Bill Sykes in Oliver! and Scrooge in A Christmas Carol; to name a few.

Centenary Stage Company’s very own multi-talented Lea Antonelli – Lid graces (or flies) the CSC stage, once again, as the title character, Peter Pan.  As the Program Director for the Dance Conservatory, the Young Audience Series Tour Director and Professor of Dance/Theatre at Centenary College, Antolini – Lid will be recognized by CSC audiences for her performances in Oliver!, A Christmas Carol and The Wizard of Oz.

Tickets prices for Peter Pan are $27.50 for adults on Matinees and Fridays with discounts for seniors, students and children under twelve.  Saturday performance prices are $29.50 with discounts for seniors, students and children under twelve. Thursday evening tickets are $27.50 for all seats with a two-for-one Family Night discount when purchased at the door two hours prior to performance.

CSC is also offering a special “Scout Troop Night” on Friday, December 5th and Friday December 12th at 8pm.  Scout Troop Night is a group sales discount of $15 per ticket.  To be eligible for “Scout Troop Night”, scouts must attend with troop and appropriate scout attire must be worn, i.e. uniform shirt or vests (or sashes) with patches.  The special discount applies to the troop, it’s leader and co – leaders.  Regular ticket price applies to parents or siblings.  Reservations are required.  This offer cannot be combined with any other discount or promotions.

CSC’s production of Peter Pan is sponsored by The Holiday Inn of Budd Lake and the Fulton Bank.

For 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.

Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ at UCPAC in Rahway

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Master storyteller Jonathan Kruk (photo) brings to magical life A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens' timeless tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future on Sunday, November 30, 2014, 2:00 PM, at UCPAC's Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, in Rahway, NJ.

Using over thirty character voices, Jonathan delivers a dramatic retelling that distills Dickens to its essence. You'll experience this holiday classic as never before- complete with musical accompaniment by piano wizard Jim Keyes.

Jonathan Kruk has been inspiring active listening and vivid imagining at schools, libraries, parks and concert halls across the U.S. Recently honored as Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley, Jonathan's vast repertoire of tall tales, fairy tales, ancient myths and American History characters includes Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, Barkface and Rootnose, East of the Sun West of the Moon, The Minotaur, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight, The Rainbow Dragon and scores more! For more information, visit www.jonathankruk.com

Tickets are $18, General Admission. Please call 732-499-8226 or visit www.ucpac.org.  Photo below: the Hamilton Stage

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OPENING DELAYED: ‘Ruthless: The Musical’ at Chester Theatre Group delayed one week!

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Due to a last-minute casting change, CTG must regretfully postpone opening night until Friday, Nov. 28th. Ticket holders for the cancelled shows will be contacted. A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE HAS BEEN ADDED ON THURSDAY, DEC. 4th at 8PM. CTG apologizes for any inconvenience.

The Chester Theatre Group will present New York Outer Critics Circle award-winning musical Ruthless! The Musical at the Black River Playhouse on Grove Street in Chester, NJ. November 29 (new opening date)–December 7, 2014.

Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25. Seniors over 65 and students under 18 are $23. Tickets may be purchased online at www.chestertheatregroup.org or call 908-879-7304.

Ruthless! The Musical, a hilarious parody of Broadway musicals and iconic Hollywood movies, tells the story of suburban housewife Judy Denmark and her daughter Tina, who is the greatest song-and-dance sensation to ever hit the third grade. She's cute. She sings. She dances. And she would KILL to get the lead role in her school play.

With book and lyrics by Joel Paley and music by Marvin Laird, this outrageously funny musical comedy deliciously skewers agents, stage mothers, critics, school drama teachers, over-sized theatrical egos, precocious showbiz brats and so much more. It’s “Toddlers and Tiaras” meets “The Bad Seed.”

The talented cast of Ruthless! includes:

Judy Denmark………Maria Ludwig Brodeur

Lita Encore…..Lisa Deane

Louise Lerman/Eve...Raven Dunbar

Miss Thorn/ Ms. Block…Beth Amiano Gleason

Sylvia St. Croix……Michael Foley

Tina Denmark…….Molly Farrell

The production team includes Cindy Alexander (Director), Cliff Parrish (Musical Director), Robert Longstreet (Assistant Director), Megan Ferrentinos (Choreographer), Ellen Fraker-Glasscock (Producer), Diane Butler (Stage Manager) and Steve Catron (Set Design/Construction).

Monday, November 17, 2014

McCarter Theatre Center’s production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol runs December 5 through 28

Christmas Carol McC 2rz

The McCarter Theatre Center’s production of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has become a welcome holiday treat for families across the region. This heartwarming and powerfully honest musical adaptation of Dickens' classic novel is a wonderful way to honor tradition while experiencing the joys and warmth of a holiday favorite. A Christmas Carol runs from Dec. 5 through Dec. 28 on the Matthews Stage.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Graeme Malcolm-photo above) is not a fan of Christmas, not one bit. He relentlessly "Bah, Humbugs" every glimmer of holiday happiness. Cheer is costly and good-will is bad for business. This Christmas, however, things are going to be a little different. Ebenezer experiences a change of heart while traveling through his past, present and future on Christmas Eve. Scrooge’s miraculous transformation opens his eyes and his heart to the things that are truly important.

A McCarter Theatre Center tradition, A Christmas Carol is a perfect excuse for all families to unplug from the usual hustle and bustle and enjoy a production called “a must-see” by The New York Times.                              

BACKGROUND

Ever since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has come to embody everything that is good and right about the human spirit not only during the holidays, but all throughout the year. Originally written in rebuttal of the squalid working conditions of child laborers in Industrial Age England, A Christmas Carol remains a timeless tale of redemption, hope, and love.

The evergreen nature of Dickens story comes to life through its reintroduction to each new generation, and this quality is writ large on the McCarter stage through David Thompson’s skillful adaptation. Thompson, whose credits include the libretto for Kander and Ebb’s Tony Award-nominated Scottsboro Boys, knows a thing or two about giving a fresh perspective to classic works, having created the new script adaptation for the current revival of Chicago, the longest running American musical in history.

At the helm of this year’s holiday ghost tale is Director Michael Unger, returning for his 16th trip to 1840s England. Unger’s vision for the production has resulted in a story closer to Dickens’ original intent, without the sugarcoating found in so many other versions. At its core, A Christmas Carol is about experiencing all ranges of human emotion. According to Mr. Unger, “The tools of Scrooge’s redemption, as with ours, lay around us, if we just know how to pick them up and use them.” Mr. Unger’s deft direction is complemented by an original score from composer Michael Starobin, whose accolades include Tony Awards in 2004 and 2009 for his orchestrations of Assassins and Next to Normal.

The talents seen onstage are skillfully matched by those behind the scenes. The McCarter welcomes back Musical Director Charles Sundquist, returning for his 23rd production of A Christmas Carol. Mr. Sundquist is joined by Tony Award-winning (Thoroughly Modern Millie) Choreographer Rob Ashford, Lighting Designer Stephen Strawbridge, Costume Designer Jess Goldstein, Sound Designer Brian Ronan, and Set Designer Ming Cho Lee, whose career has spanned more than 50 years and includes a bevy of major awards including the Tony Award and the National Medal of Arts.

At the center of the production is Broadway veteran Graeme Malcolm as Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Malcolm’s turn as Dickens’ famous miser has been described by The Star Ledger as "one of the best Ebenezer Scrooges that McCarter has seen.”

Boasting a gigantic list of Broadway, regional and international credits, the cast of A Christmas Carol includes AJ Cedeño, Kimiye Corwin, Ali Ewoldt, Creed Garnick, David Kenner, January LaVoy, James Ludwig, Nikiya Mathis, Bradley Mott, Nancy Robinette, Michele Tauber, and Sari Weinerman. The Adult Ensemble includes Andrew Clark, Alex Domini, Kyle DuPree, Heather Gault, Samuel Ladd, Katie Mariko Murray, Patrick Roberts, Avery Sobczak, Daniella Tamasi, and Arielle Taylor.

The Young Ensemble is comprised of fourteen local children: Reyna Bae of Pennington, Hope Blair of Ewing, Russell Clark and Ivy Cordle of Princeton, Andrew Davis of Yardley, Madeline Fox of Lawrenceville, Noah and Jonas Hinsdale of Princeton Junction, Neha Kalra of Robbinsville, Christopher Levine of Hillsborough, Aynisha McQuillar of Ewing, Priyanka Nanayakkara of East Windsor, Sophia Telegadis of Princeton, and Troy Vallery of Yardley.


A CHRISTMAS CAROL – PRODUCTION FACTS
CREATIVE, PRODUCTION, AND DESIGN TEAM
Based on the story by CHARLES DICKENS
Adaptation by DAVID THOMPSON
Direction: MICHAEL UNGER
Original Music and Lyrics: MICHAEL STAROBIN
Musical Direction: CHARLES SUNDQUIST
Choreographer: ROB ASHFORD
Set Design: MING CHO LEE
Costume Design: JESS GOLDSTEIN
Lighting Design: STEPHEN STRAWBRIDGE
Sound Design: BRIAN RONAN
Choreography Supervisor: JENNIFER PAULSON LEE
Dialect Coach: GILLIAN LANE-PLESCIA
Casting Director: CALLERI CASTING
Supervising Stage Manager: CHERYL MINTZ
Stage Managers: ANTHONY O. BULLOCK, ALISON COTE
Artistic Director: EMILY MANN
Managing Director: TIMOTHY J. SHEILDS
Assoc. Artistic Director: ADAM IMMERWAHR
Director of Production: DAVID YORK


THE CAST (in alphabetical order)

Young and Old Marley/As Cast…………………....AJ CEDEÑO
Lily/Belle/As Cast…………………………......KIMIYE CORWIN
Fan/Solicitor #2/As Cast…………………………..ALI EWOLDT
Bob Cratchit/As Cast……………………..…..CREED GARNICK
Young Scrooge/As Cast…………………….....DAVID KENNER
Mrs. Cratchit/As Cast………………………....JANUARY LaVOY
Fred/Schoolmaster/As Cast………………....JAMES LUDWIG
Ebenezer Scrooge……………………...…..GRAEME MALCOLM
Ghost of Christmas Present/As Cast….….NIKIYA MATHIS
Mr. Fezziwig/Old Joe/As Cast……………...BRADLEY MOTT
Mrs. Dilber/As Cast…………………..…...NANCY ROBINETTE
Mrs. Fezziwig/Solicitor #1/As Cast….MICHELE TAUBER
Charlotte Fezziwig/As Cast………….…..SARI WEINERMAN

ADULT ENSEMBLE
ANDREW CLARK, ALEX DOMINI, KYLE DuPREE, HEATHER GAULT,
SAMUEL LADD, KATIE MARIKO MURRAY, PATRICK ROBERTS,
AVERY SOBCZAK, DANIELLA TAMASI, ARIELLE TAYLOR

YOUNG ENSEMBLE
REYNA BAE, HOPE BLAIR, RUSSELL CLARK, IVY CORDLE,
ANDREW DAVIS, JONAS HINSDALE, NOAH HINSDALE, NEHA KALRA,
CHRISTOPHER LEVINE, AYNISHA McQUILLAR, PRIYANKA NANAYAKKARA, SOPHIA TELEGADIS, TROY VALLERY

About McCarter Theatre Center

McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ. For more information,www.mccarter.org.

Ticket Information and Performance Schedule
A Christmas Carol
runs December 5 - 28 in the Matthews Theatre. Single tickets for The Understudy start as low as $25 and are on sale now online at mccarter.org, by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the McCarter Theatre Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton.
The production running time is two hours with one 15-minute intermission.

Construction Updates
Construction continues around McCarter for Princeton University’s Arts & Transit project and the expansion of the Lewis Center for the Arts. This will have an impact on parking, traffic, and transit in and around McCarter through early Fall 2014. Stay informed by visitingmccarter.org/VisitorInfo to get the latest construction updates.

Please visit McCarter website for more information on parking, directions, and mass transit options.

For more information on A Christmas Carol, please visit the production’s website.

Information on restaurants and other dining options near the McCarter Theatre Center may be found here.

Photo by T. Charles Erickson