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Thursday, April 30, 2015

CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY’S YOUNG PERFORMERS WORKSHOP RETURNS WITH MUSICAL THEATRE FAVORITES FOR 2015 SPRING FESTIVAL OF SHOWS

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Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers work tirelessly to perfect their dance moves, learn all of their lines, and get their vocal harmonies just right for the culmination of their training session and this spring is no exception! These talented young thespians between the ages of 8 and 18 will fill the Little Theater with a variety of shows and musicals to entertain audiences of all ages May 29th – June 7th with their annual Spring Festival of Shows. The Young Performers Workshop (YPW) has been hailed as a “state treasure” by Peter Filichia of the Star Ledger and brings in youth from Morris, Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex counties.

This spring, the festival will feature How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Gypsy, and American Sampler: 100 Years of Broadway Dance.  Performances will be held on select dates in the Little Theatre on the campus of Centenary College at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown. 

A hysterical musical by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is based on Shepherd Meade’s 1952 book, of the same name.  The story follows a young, ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch, who, with the help of the book How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, rises from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company.  Performances are Saturday; May 30 at 8pm, Sunday; May 31 at 7pm, Friday; June 5 at 8pm, Saturday; June 6 at 2pm and Sunday; June 7 at 1pm.

Often referred as the greatest American musical, Gypsy, is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters and perform onstage.  It casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.  The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including "Everything's Coming up Roses", "Together (Wherever We Go)", "Small World", "Some People", "Let Me Entertain You", "All I Need Is the Girl", and "Rose's Turn". It is frequently considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form.  Performances are Friday; May 29 at 8pm, Sunday; May 31 at 1pm, Saturday; June 6 at 8pm and Sunday; June 7 at 4pm.

Created by Centenary Stage Company Producing Director, Carl Wallnau, for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s inaugural State-wide Theatre Academy and seen by hundreds of students from across the state, AN AMERICAN SAMPLER: 100 Years of Musical Theatre once again comes to life at the Centenary Young Performers Workshop. This dynamic group leads the audience on a lively song-and-dance tour of Broadway musicals from the early 1900 to the present in a revue of exciting selections of classic moments from the American musical stage.  Featuring the music of such legendary artists as Scott Joplin, Rodgers & Hartz, Paganini, George M Cohan, Rogers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Billy Joel, the company of young performers, depict the work and choreographic styles of such Broadway greats as George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Twyla Tharp, Susan Stroman, Savion Glover and many others. 

Performances are Saturday; May 30 at 2pm, Sunday; May 31 at 1pm, Saturday; June 6 at 5pm, Sunday; June 7 at 7pm.

The YPW program has been led by Broadway, film and television veteran, Michael Blevins, for over 20 years. YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people.

Tickets to the YPW Summer Festival of Shows are $12.50 for adults and $10 for children under 12.  Tickets may be purchased online at www.centenarystageco.org or by calling the CSC Box Office at (908) 979-0900.  All performances will take place in the Little Theatre at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown.

The Young Performers Workshop is part of the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College.  The 2014-15 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and CSC sponsors, including Premier Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Photo: YPW Spring Festival (Godspell; 2014)

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