Thursday, March 31, 2016

'The Pillowman' at Black Box Studios

                                                                                                                                          



Black Box Studios presents a new production of The Pillowman, by award-winning Irish playwright Martin McDonagh (B'way: The Cripple of InishmaanA Behanding in SpokaneThe Lieutenant of InishmoreThe Lonesome WestThe Beauty Queen of Leenane), directed by Black Box Performing Arts Center's artistic director, Matt Okin. The Pillowman will play a two week engagement from April 7 through April 17th, 2016 at Teaneck's Black Box Performing Arts Center (200 Walraven Dr. (just off Palisade Ave), Teaneck, NJ 07666). Tickets are $18 ($15 Students) and are available at www.blackboxnynj.com/pillowman or by calling 201-357-2221.
  

The Pillowman is a dark comedy about the interrogation of a fiction writer, in an unnamed totalitarian state, whose gruesome Brothers Grimm style short stories have eerie similarities to local horrific child murders.

Featuring Laura AlbaHaia BchiriSam CancelarichHuey EsquireNate MurphyNava Plaut, and Jeffrey Roth.

With set design and lighting design by Frank Avellino, and Gerard Bourcier. The production stage manager, costume and special effects designer is Haia Bchiri; and Yonatan Gordon is the stage manager.

The Pillowman plays the following performances through Sunday, April 17th:

Thursday, April 7th at 8 pm
Friday, April 8th at 8 pm
Saturday, April 9th at 9 pm
Sunday, April 10th at 7:30 pm

Thursday, April 14th at 8 pm
Friday, April 15th at 8 pm
Saturday, April 16th at 9 pm
Sunday, April 17th at 7:30 pm

Tickets are $18.00 ($15 Students), and are now available atwww.blackboxnynj.com/pillowman/ or by calling 201-357-2221. Tickets may also be purchased at the venue.

Black Box Performing Arts Center is located at 200 Walraven Dr. (just off Palisade Ave), Teaneck, NJ 07666.

Advisory: The Pillowman contains mature language and violence is depicted on stage that is not suitable for children under the age of 14.

Direct link to purchase tickets

Madison Young Playwrights Take Center Stage!

New Plays from Madison Students, Touching Stories from Caregivers, and More
Madison Young Playwrights Take Center Stage!
Every Fall and Winter, our professional teaching artists go into Madison schools and teach local students how to write their very own plays. The children are taught about dramatic form and they study things like conflict, character traits, dialogue, and other literary elements that reinforce the concepts they're learning in their English and literature classes.

And, every Spring, we hire professional actors and directors to take the plays the students wrote and bring them to life on stage! Each school sees plays written by their own students and there is post-show recognition of all their hard work, including a certificate ceremony lead by our Director of Education, Jim DeVivo.

Well, it's that time again! This week we've already performed at two of the Madison elementary schools, Torey J Sabatini and Saint Vincent Martyr, and it was so wonderful to see the smiles and pride on the students' faces as they heard their peers laughing along with and clapping for their plays. Tomorrow, we'll be performing plays at Central Avenue and Kings Road elementary schools that were written by their students.
To make a reservation to see your student's play at Kings Road or Central Avenue Elementary, click here!
To find out more about our Madison Young Playwrights Program, click here!
Healing Voices
New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Atlantic Health System have come together to present Healing Voices OnStage: Caregivers Stories, a theatrical production weaving together stories about the experience of being a caregiver. Healing Voices OnStage is part of the Alliance’s Stages Festival, a month-long festival of theatre with dozens of free and low-cost theatre events throughout the state.

“The arts are an essential component to health, healing, and well-being,” said Maria Lupo, manager of the Healing Arts Program at Atlantic Health System. “In caregiving, there are aspects that are both unique to the individual and shared among many. Because it transcends the science of medicine, we felt these perspectives could make a compelling subject for performance art.”

The Alliance identified two theatres, Writers Theatre of New Jersey and Premiere Stages, and worked with Atlantic Health System to collect stories from professional caregivers, as well as from members of the general public who had a personal story to share.

John Pietrowski (Writers Theatre's Artistic Director) and John Wooten (Artistic Director of Premiere Stages) worked to turn the caregivers' stories into scripts that will be performed at The Bickford Theatre in Morristown tonight, March 31st, at 7 PM. The event is free and open to the public. To register, please call: 1-800-247-9580.
For more information, click here!

The Black Maria Film Festival Returns to Madison!
On April 1st at 8 PM, the Black Maria Film Festival returns to Madison! The presentation will be in The Chase Room at the Madison Public Library, and is sponsored by the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance.

The program features a collection of the Festival’s award-winning short films including animation, narrative, experimental, and documentary. Festival director Jane Steuerwald will present the program in person, and host a Q & A with the audience.

The Black Maria Film Festival has generous support from New Jersey City University, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the Hudson County Office of Cultural Affairs and Tourism. The Festival showcases the works of highly accomplished independent filmmakers and is a project of the Thomas A. Edison Media Arts Consortium, an independent non-profit organization in residence at New Jersey City University’s Department of Media Arts.

The festival was founded in 1981 as a tribute to Thomas Edison’s development of the motion picture at his laboratory, dubbed the “Black Maria” film studio, the first in the world, in West Orange, NJ. The Black Maria Film Festival has been awarded the New Jersey State Council on the Arts Citation for Excellence for eight consecutive years. Each program on the tour is custom curated so each evening is a unique event.

To make a reservation, click here!

Full Cast and Creative Team Announced for Pump Boys and Dinettes at Paper Mill Playhouse


Theater Kicks Off Spring with Tony Award-Nominated Musical


Millburn, NJ- Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) is proud to announce casting for its spring musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes. This Tony Award nominee features James Barry (Jim), Gabe Bowling (Jackson), Julie Foldesi (Prudie), Jason Ostrowski (L.M.), Alysha Umphress (Rhetta) and Sam Weber (Eddie). Pump Boys and Dinettes is conceived and written by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmel and Jim Wann. Pump Boys and Dinettes will be directed by John Foley with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter. 


Pump Boys and Dinettes will run eight times a week at the Millburn, New Jersey, theater from April 6 through May 1, 2016. The official press opening night is Sunday, April 10, at 7:00pm. Paper Mill Playhouse's 2015-2016 Season is proudly sponsored by Investors Bank.

Pump Boys and Dinettes premiered off Broadway in 1981 and moved to Broadway in 1982 where it garnered Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Musical. After the musical’s successful Broadway run, it transferred to London’s West End. Pump Boys and Dinettes had a record-breaking five year run at Chicago’s Apollo Theater. Most recently, the show was revived at New York City Center as part of the Encores! Off-Center series.

Pump Boys and Dinettes is a musical full of joy‚ a little bit of heartbreak‚ and lots of hilarity. This visionary tribute to life by the roadside takes place on North Carolina’s Highway 57. Somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna stands a rest stop. The four hardworking fellas at the gas station have been known to do some auto repairs‚ but only when aided by some great tunes and a few beers. Next door there’s the Double Cupp Diner‚ where the Cupp sisters offer up their famous home cooking and gift for song. This musical is a celebration of life‚ love‚ Dolly Parton‚ and catfish!

Pump Boys and Dinettes will be performed at Paper Mill Playhouse eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Performance schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm,Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm. Tickets are on sale now starting at $32. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, 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 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680. College students may order $20 rush tickets over the phone or in person at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office on the day of the performance.

“I’ve been a part of the Pump Boys and Dinettes family for over 40 years, so I’m thrilled to revisit the musical with this top-notch cast and creative team at Paper Mill Playhouse,” commented director and co-creator John Foley. “Pump Boys and Dinettes has a big heart, and all audiences can relate to the show’s universal themes in some way.”

James Barry (Jim) was seen on Broadway in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Mr. Barry appeared in the national tour of Million Dollar Quartet as Carl Perkins. Mr. Barry recently appeared off-Broadway inThese Paper Bullets.

Gabe Bowling (Jackson) was seen on tour in Million Dollar Quartet. Mr. Bowling appeared off-Broadway in My Big Gay Italian Wedding.

Julie Foldesi (Prudie) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where she was last seen in Newsies. On Broadway, Ms. Foldesi was seen in Newsies, South Pacific, Little Women and The Full Monty.

Jason Ostrowski (L.M.) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he was last seen in the 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables. Mr. Ostrowski was seen on Broadway in Company.

Alysha Umphress (Rhetta) recently appeared on Broadway as Hildy in On the Town. On Broadway, Ms. Umphress was also seen in Bring It On!, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, American Idiot and more. Some of Ms. Umphress’s television credits include Nurse Jackie, Royal Pains and Law and Order: SVU.

Sam Weber (Eddie), a resident of Bloomfield, New Jersey, was seen on tour in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and Dinosaur Zoo. Some of Mr. Weber’s regional credits include Million Dollar Quartet,Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof and more.

John Foley (Director and Music Director) has directed and musical-directed Pump Boys and Dinettes several times, in theaters from New England to the Ozarks. Mr. Foley has also performed in Hank Williams: Lost Highway; Ring of Fire; Smoke on the Mountain; Diamond Studs and more. When not playing and performing, Mr. Foley teaches on the North Shore of Chicago.

JoAnn M. Hunter (Choreographer) is back at Paper Mill Playhouse after previously choreographing Curtains, Oliver! and Grease. Ms. Hunter choreographed the world premiere of The Nutty Professor directed by Jerry Lewis (Broadway World Award, Best Choreography). On Broadway, Ms. Hunter choreographed School of Rock, Disaster! and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever and sheperformed in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Kiss Me, Kate, Chicago and more.

The Pump Boys and Dinettes design team includes:

Michael Schweikardt (Scenic Design) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he last designed sets for Thoroughly Modern Millie. Mr. Schweikardt has designed sets for many musicals including Carousel,Show Boat, 1776, Annie Get Your Gun, Camelot and more.

Brian Hemesath (Costume Design) designed costumes for Honeymoon in Vegas at Paper Mill Playhouse and on Broadway. Mr. Hemesath also designed costumes for Sesame Street on PBS and SaturdayNight Live.

F. Mitchell Dana (Lighting Design) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse, where he has served as lighting designer for many shows including A Christmas Story: The Musical, Boeing-Boeing, Guys and Dolls, The King and I and more. Mr. Dana served as lighting designer for Broadway productions of Oh Coward!, Mass Appeal, Once in a Lifetime and more.

Randy Hansen (Sound Design) has designed sound for more than 130 musicals and 40 plays. Mr. Hansen has many memorable moments working with opera star Jessye Norman, the Indianapolis and Baltimore Symphony Orchestras, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Jodi Mancuso (Hair & Wig Design) worked on Broadway with Cyrano, Show Boat, and Titanic. Jodi has been working at Saturday Night Live since 2002 and has been the key hairstylist for many years. She has eight Emmy nominations and five wins.

Telsey + Company (Casting) is an award-winning organization of casting professionals in New York City with local, regional, national and international clientele including Broadway and touring companies ofWaitress, If/Then, The King and I, Motown, Kinky Boots, Finding Neverland, Honeymoon in Vegas, Rock of Ages and Wicked. The lead casting director on this project is Cesar A. Rocha, CSA.

Gary Mickelson (Production Stage Manager) recently stage managed A Christmas Story: The Musical at Paper Mill Playhouse. On Broadway, Mr. Mickelson stage managed First Date, Memphis, Gypsy,Company, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, The Lion in Winter and Victor/Victoria.

Free Audience Enrichment Activities for Pump Boys and Dinettes

Wed. April 6 6:30pm Art Gallery The Director’s Viewpoint. Enjoy coffee on us as director John Foley discusses Pump Boys and Dinettes.
Thurs. April 7 6:30pm Mezzanine Conversation Club
Thurs. April 14 Learn more about the show you are about
Thurs. April 21 to see, led by members of Paper Mill’s
Thurs. April 28 Artistic and Education Departments.
Sat. April 30 Following Matinee Orchestra Q&A with the Cast
Meet the cast and ask actors questions about the show or the role they are portraying.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances of Pump Boys and Dinettes on Saturday, April 30, and Sunday, May 1, at 1:30 pm. Prior to these performances at noon, the theater will offer free sensory seminars. Sensory seminars offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show and hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes. There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sunday, May 1, at 7 pm.

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. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
  

Shakespeare LIVE! STNJ's touring company for young audiences enters its 20th season



The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s acclaimed touring company for young audiences enters its 20th season in 2016. Since 1997, Shakespeare LIVE! has presented more than 1,700 performances to more than 600,000 students at more than 850 schools and performing arts centers throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, traveling as far south as North Carolina and as far north as Maine.



Bonnie J. Monte, the Theatre’s artistic director, said, “We are thrilled that Shakespeare LIVE! has proven to be such a resounding success. It has been a thrill to watch this program grow and evolve over the years and we are so proud that we have had such a profound influence on the education landscape here in our home state. Over 550,000 New Jersey kids so far have seen Shakespeare performed live on stage before they graduated from High School because of our program and this is something of which Brian B. Crowe, our Director of Education, and I are very proud.”

Shakespeare LIVE! is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest. This is the 11th year of the Theatre’s inclusion in this prestigious NEA initiative, which represents the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. Through this program, Shakespeare LIVE! has been able to reach over 50,000 students in economically challenged districts who would otherwise not have the opportunity to bring a live performance of Shakespeare to their school. Additional funding for the touring company is provided by The Investors Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, The Provident Bank Foundation, and the Turrell Fund.

In this 20th anniversary year, there are still select opportunities to book the touring company for schools and/or other venues throughout the state and wider region with 60 to 75-minute versions of two of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. To inquire about bringing Shakespeare LIVE! to your school or venue, call 973-845-6745 or e-mail scarleton@shakespearenj.org.



For those unable to schedule a tour to their school, Shakespeare LIVE! will perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Romeo and Juliet on April 23 at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue, at Lancaster Road in Madison. Tickets are $16. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a thrilling first Shakespeare for youngsters, and a riotous rollercoaster ride for those already familiar with the Bard. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is recommended for ages six and up.

In Romeo and Juliet, two idealistic teens are pitted against their privileged families and a society consumed with senseless hatred and brutality. A lyric depiction of young love, Romeo and Juliet examines the effects of violence and the redeeming power of devotion and love. Romeo and Juliet is appropriate for students in middle school and up.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s 2016 Main Stage season begins in mid-May and continues through January. The ambitious line-up features works by Shakespeare, Noël Coward, Eugene Ionesco, Lolita Chakrabarti, and Dylan Thomas. For its annual Outdoor Stage production at the Greek amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth in Morris Township, The Shakespeare Theatre will present Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield’s comedy The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)(revised).

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth and the Theatre’s support and education facility is in Florham Park.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is received from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and CTW Foundation, as well as contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals. The 2016 Outdoor Stage production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)(revised) is sponsored by Bank of America.


Theater Project presents THE GROUNDLING, a comedy by Marc Palmieri.



The Groundling April 14 -24

In Marc Palmieri’s comedy, The Groundling, Long Island landscaper Bob Malone has been infected by the writing bug: after accidentally wandering into a low-rent production of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labor’s Lost, he feels compelled to write his own verse play about his troubled marriage. He pays a desperate New York director to make actors out of his landscape crew in order to present a single performance in the garage for friends and family – if only Bob’s angry wife doesn’t run them all over with the Land Rover first.
The comedy that ensues is unexpectedly laced with sharp insights about love and loss, life in and out of the theater, and about the power of drama to hold a mirror up to life -- even when the glass is slightly cracked.

After its premiere in New York, TheaterMania,com called The Groundling “one of the surprise downtown gems of the season” with “gut-busting laughs and a moving story.”
Known for presenting off-Broadway-quality theater in an intimate environment, Theater Project’s production of The Groundling features a talented cast of actors including company veterans Dennis DaPrile, Jeff Maschi, Barbara Guidi, and Gary Glor. Lori McNally, Jeff Newman and Marissa Peragine are new to the company.

Thanks to the generosity of the Lions Club and the cooperation of the Union County Association for the Blind, a special audio described version of the play will be performed on April 21. During the show, trained narrators will describe the visual element of the scenes in vivid detail for those in the audience who are visually impaired. For information about The Groundling and to purchase tickets visit The Theater Project’s website at www.thetheaterproject.org

About The Theater Project (TTP):

Founded in 1994, The Theater Project under the leadership of Mark Spina, Artistic Director has stimulated New Jersey audiences with award-winning thought provoking theater. The Theater Project offers venues for actors, writers and directors of all ages. In addition, TTP awards scholarships and incentives for young playwrights, young filmmakers, and young actors engaged in the tasks of organizing and telling a story.

Providing a forum to express ideas that spark the imagination, The Theater Project presents its main stage season and children’s classes at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood, New Jersey. TTP also maintains a strong presence in Cranford, New Jersey through a monthly staged reading and discussion series showcasing the work of TTP’s Playwrights Workshop. For more information, visit www.thetheaterproject.org

WHAT: The Groundling, a comedy by Marc Palmieri.


WHO: The Theater Project


WHEN: April 14 -24, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM; Sunday at 2 PM

Talk back with the actors after the Friday night performances.

WHERE: The Theater Project at the Burgdorff Center, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ


TIX: $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, $15 for students.
$7 discount for NJ Education Association members.
           
PHOTO:                                                                                   
 (standing) Mike Newman, Barbara Guidi, Jeff Maschi, Marissa Peragine
(seated) Dennis DaPrile, Gary Glor and Lori McNally (PHOTO CREDIT: Mary Iannelli)

CentStgCo announces cast for Rolling Premiere of START DOWN by Eleanor Burgess


Left to Right: Molly Densmore as “ Sandy” , Tim Liu as “Will”, Chris Young as “Adam” and Jeanine T. Abraham as “Karen”  (photo by Bob Eberle)




Centenary Stage Company continues its trend this season of featuring women playwrights and premieres by closing their main stage professional theater series with Eleanor Burgess’ Start Down April 8 through 24 in the Lackland Performing Arts Center.

This smart and funny look at work, love and get-rich-quick tech start-ups by emerging playwright Eleanor Burgess has already made huge splashes in the theater world. Developed during last year’s CSC’s Women Playwrights Series, recipient of the Susan Glaspell Award and winner of the Alliance/Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition, Start Down comes to CSC fresh off of an acclaimed run at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA.

No stranger to new play development, veteran theater artist, Margo Whitcomb is set to direct. Former Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, Whitcomb has directed numerous world premieres including How To Pray with Centenary Stage Company, and has collaborated with some rising playwright stars and veterans, among them: Alison Moore, Neena Beber, Michelle Carter, Kristen Greenidge, Caridad Svitch, Bekah Brunstetter (all at CSC) Charles Oyamo Gordon, Chay Yew, Robert O’Hara, Charles Randolph Wright, Connie Congdon and Pulitzer Prize winners Lynn Nottage, Tony Kushner and Suzan Lori Parks. 


Recent directing projects include the opera A Fleeting Animal from the award winning “Judevine”, east coast premiere The Kid Thing for the Vermont Pride Festival, Durang Bang, Bad Dates, Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lost Nation Theatre), Picasso at The Lapin Agile, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee , Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dibden Center for the Arts) and Eurydice, Vermont Stage Company. Nationally, she has directed at The Orlando Shakespeare Festival, The Alpine Theatre Project, and in development at The Long Wharf Theatre with Academy award winner Olympia Dukakis in the title role. Formerly the Associate Artistic Director at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Whitcomb is also the founding Artistic Director of Half Moon Theatre, the NY Hudson Valley’s resident professional theatre.

The young fresh-faced cast consists of many CSC new comers. Tim Liu (Kendall Park, NJ), Molly Densmore (Brooklyn, NY) , Jeanine T. Abraham (Brooklyn) , Donald Danford (Rockaway, NJ) , Gabriel Robinson (South Orange, NJ) all make their Centenary Stage Company debut. 


Liu plays San Francisco software developer and tech start-up hopeful, Will. Sandy, history teacher and girlfriend of Will, whose career hardships sparks Will’s idea for a technology based learning program is played by Molly Densmore. Jeanine T. Abraham plays Karen, the math teacher of the group and girlfriend of Adam, whom battles with the role technology may have in changing core values of education.

Rounding out the group of friends as Adam is CSC veteran Christopher J. Young. Audiences will most recently remember Young from The Nether (Woodnut), produced earlier this season. Other CSC credits include; Harvey (Dr. Lyman Sanderson), The Liar (Philiste) and Quartermaine’s Terms (Derek Meadle). 


Donald Danford joins the cast as bro-grammer and partner to Will’s start-up, Matty. A recent BFA graduate from Ohio University, Danford was most recently seen in The Lion in Winter (John), 12 Miles West Theatre Co. 

Finally, South Orange resident Gabriel Robinson plays Jesse, a struggling student. At age 17, Robinson is already a veteran, with multiple productions under his belt in plays such as The Beaux Stratagem, Trip to Bountiful, The Boys Next Door, The Seagull and Oedipus Rex.

Eleanor Burgess
Winner of the prestigious Kandeda Prize (which carries a presentation at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.) , Eleanor Burgess’ plays have been produced by the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta) , the Last Act Theatre Company, and the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival, and developed at Centenary Stage Company, the Huntington Theatre, the Kennedy Center/NNPN M.F.A. Playwrights Workshop, Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Luna Stage. She has been a playwriting fellow at Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company, a recipient of an EST/Sloan rewrite commission and a member of the writers’ group at the Arcola Theatre in London. Originally from Brookline, Mass., she studied history at Yale College.


Performances for Centenary Stage Company’s premiere of Eleanor Burgess’ Start Down are Wednesdays, April 13 and 20 at 2 pm; Thursdays, April 14 and 21 at 7:30 pm; Fridays, April 8, 15, and 22 at 8 pm; Saturdays,April 9, 16 and 23 at 8pm and Sundays, April 10, 17 and 24 at 2 pm. All performances are located in the Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.

Tickets are $25.00 for adults on Friday and all matinee performances. Saturday evening performances are $27.50 for adults. Thursday evening performances are $25.00 for all seats with a 2 for 1 rush ticket special when purchased in person at the CSC box office as early as two hours prior to the performance.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the CSC box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm and 2 hours prior to every performance. The CSC box office is located in the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. Centenary Stage Company can also be found on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The 2015-16 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, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Two River Theater lineup for 2016/17 Season




RED BANK, NJ— Two River Theater announced the lineup of productions for its 2016/17 Season, which will launch in September with August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, directed by Tony Award-winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Full-season 6-play subscriptions are on sale now from 732.345.1400 or 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank. Subscribers save 25% on tickets, receive prime seating and a number of additional benefits. Visit tworivertheater.org for more details. Single tickets will go on sale in August 2016.

“The mission of Two River has always been to produce theater that directs our attention to the most profound aspects of our shared human experience,” says Artistic Director John Dias. “This season, we have a collection of plays that does just that. These plays dive deep into essential elements of our contemporary lives—love, honor, racism, family conflict, climate change, war, and more. And yet they do so in a joyously human way, painting indelible, moving, hilariously funny, and most of all, deeply honest portraits of people at their best, worst, and everything in between. We are proud to have so many of our favorite theater artists returning to Two River Theater, and equally proud to introduce our community to artists we have long admired.”


TWO RIVER THEATER’S 2016/17 SEASON

August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson

Rechnitz Theater

September 10-October 9, 2016


Two River Theater opens its season with an extended four-week run of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Two River’s fourth American Century Cycle production following its acclaimed productions of Jitney, Two Trains Running, and Seven Guitars. August Wilson’s incendiary drama, set in the 1920s, takes audiences into the world of legendary singer Ma Rainey (the real-life “Mother of the Blues”) as she lays down tracks with her band in a Chicago recording studio. Tony Award-winning actor, playwright, and director Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Broadway’s Seven Guitars, Your Blues Ain’t Sweet Like Mine) directs.


THE LION IN WINTER

By James Goldman

Rechnitz Theater

November 12-December 4, 2016


“Well—what shall we hang? The holly or each other?” Tony Award-nominated actor Michael Cumpsty (End of the Rainbow, The Body of an American) stars in The Lion in Winter. This American classic depicts the ruthless scheming and power struggles between Henry II of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their three children during Christmas, 1183 as they fight over who will rule the land after Henry’s death.

A VERY ELECTRIC CHRISTMAS

Produced by Lightwire Theater

Rechnitz Theater

December 27-30, 2016

Music, movement, and neon lights fill the stage as dancers and puppets tell the story of a young bird named Max, who is trying to fly south for the winter. As he tries to make his way home, his adventures begin as he encounters friendly caroling worms, dancing poinsettias, Nutcracker soldiers, mischievous mice and an evil Rat King. This holiday tale for audiences of all ages is set to timeless holiday hits by Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey, Tchaikovsky, and more.


HURRICANE DIANE

By Madeleine George

Directed by Leigh Silverman

Marion Huber Theater

January 14-February 12, 2017


Set in a slightly larger-than-life version of Red Bank, Hurricane Diane is a “wild comedy” about climate change. An ancient god on an earthly mission, gardener Diane forever alters the lives of four New Jersey housewives when she sets out to convince each woman to implement her environmentally friendly landscape design. Two River commissioned Hurricane Diane from Madeleine George after the success of her play Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England in the 2011/12 Season. George is the winner of the 2016 Whiting Award in Drama; she received a Pulitzer Prize nomination and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for her play The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Tony Award nominee Leigh Silverman (Violet) previously directed Ethan Lipton’s No Place to Go at Two River.

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Eric Tucker

Marion Huber Theater

February 25-March 26, 2017


Shakespeare’s great comedy about marriage—which features one of his most beloved comic characters, Sir John Falstaff—will be performed by only three actors in an exuberant feat of imagination, energy, and theatricality. Director Eric Tucker and actor Jason O’Connell are frequent collaborators; their work together includes last season’s acclaimed Off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (named the Best Classical Production of 2015 by Terry Teachout in The Wall Street Journal) and Sense and Sensibility for the New York-based company Bedlam, for which Tucker is Artistic Director.

The Merry Wives of Windsor will be performed in Two River’s 110-seat Marion Huber Theater. In connection with this production, Two River will produce A Little Shakespeare, a 70-minute version of the play performed by high school students. Performances of A Little Shakespeare will be presented in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater from March 7-12.

THE WOMEN OF PADILLA

By Tony Meneses

Rechnitz Theater

April 8-30, 2017


Through the power of food, faith, laughter, and each other, eight women find a way to carry on life at home while their husbands are away at an unnamed war. Inspired by the heightened lyricism of playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, this new play shows there is always a way—even through the hardest of times—to set our love free. Playwright Tony Meneses made his Two River debut last season with Guadalupe in the Guest Room.


THE BALLAD OF LITTLE JO

Music by Mike Reid

Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger
Book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias
Based on the film The Ballad of Little Jo by Maggie Greenwald
Directed by John Dias

Rechnitz Theater

June 3-25, 2017


This soaring musical about the American West is inspired by the real-life story of Josephine Monaghan—a young woman from Boston who, in the late 19th century, made a new life in an Idaho mining town disguised as a man called “Jo.” Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter Mike Reid and lyricist Sarah Schlesinger previously collaborated on Two River’s productions of A Wind in the Willows Christmas and In This House. John Dias, Artistic Director of Two River Theater, is co-writing the book and making his directorial debut with this production.

Plays, artists, dates, and ticket prices are subject to change. For additional information, visit tworivertheater.org.

Ticket Information:

Full-season 6-play subscriptions are on sale now; prices range from $170 to $315. Subscribers save 25% on tickets, receive prime seating and a number of additional benefits. Visit tworivertheater.org for more details. Individual show tickets will go on sale August 2016. Ticket prices for individual shows range from $20 to $70.

Ticket prices for all productions except A Very Electric Christmas and A Little Shakespeare range from $40 to $70, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance.

Ticket prices for A Very Electric Christmas and A Little Shakespeare are $20 for adults and $15 for children under age 12.

Sponsors and Supporters

Two River Theater is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Monmouth University, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Meridian Health/Riverview Medical Center, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Saker ShopRites, National Endowment for the Arts, Investors Foundation, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, William T. Morris Foundation, Brookdale Community College, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.


Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst.  It is recognized in the national theater community for its new-play commissioning program, launched in 2010 to create a pipeline for developing work that contributes to the vitality and future of the American theater. Each season, the theater hosts numerous artist residencies, workshops, and readings, and presents an annual Cabaret of New Songs for the Musical Theater in association with NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program. The Crossing Borders Festival and Nosotros program foster a closer relationship between the theater and Latino artists and audiences, and Two River cultivates a new generation of theatergoers through innovative arts education programs that introduce young people to the theater and create opportunities for them to engage with renowned theater artists. Founded in 1994 by Joan and Robert M. Rechnitz, Two River Theater is located in Red Bank, New Jersey. Visit tworivertheater.org.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Chester Theatre Group's 'When We Are Married' an absolute delight





The Cast of J.B. Priestley's "When We Are Married"


Photo credit: Claudia Metz — with Rachel Dimichino, Jason Cilento,Lynn Hart, Bob Mackasek, Roxanna Wagner, Robert Longstreet, Judi Laganga, Frank Higbie, Matt Cotton, Jim Clancy, Carol Nesbitt Holland, Gloria Lamoureux, and Lauri MacMillan at Chester Theatre Group.

Directed by Cindy Alexander


Lauri MacMillan-Jim Clancy
Lynn Hart-Jim Clancy
Tale worth telling: Wonderful cast...Flu bug didn't stop them. 

Lynn Hart showed her huge talent by starting in the Mrs. Northrop role and then stepping in to the Mrs. Soppitt part. Dialect coach Cathy Braithwaite nicely replaced Lynn as Mrs. Northrop. Judi Laganga, Robert Mackasek, and Jim Clancy deserve a special nod. Oops, Lauri MacMillan can not be overlooked. This was a fun event...director Cindy Alexander and company are deserving of four stars.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Next at Centenary Stage Company: premiere production of 'Start Down'



Centenary Stage Company wraps up their professional mainstage series with another premiere production, Eleanor Burgess’ smart and funny look at work, love and get – rich – quick tech start-ups Start Down. Running April 8 through April 24 in the Lackland Center, Start Down was developed as part of Centenary Stage Company’s 2015 Women Playwrights Series. Winner of the 2015 Susan Glaspell Award, the 2016 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and fresh off of a production with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, Start Down questions the way we live, the way we educate our children and our core values surrounding technology.

Start Down is a funny and startling glimpse into the world of technology, education and its potential or consequences for educators and students alike. Influenced by his girlfriend's teaching career and driven to produce a cutting-edge product, a San Francisco software developer, Will, creates a program which will change the face of teaching forever. It's a brilliantly profitable idea until it threatens deeply held core values surrounding the introduction of technology into education and ultimately his own personal relationships.


Eleanor Burgess
A recent MFA graduate from the playwriting program at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, Burgess’ plays have been produced by the Alliance Theatre, the Last Act Theatre Company, and the Samuel French Off-Off-Broadway Festival, and developed at Centenary Stage Company, the Huntington Theatre, the Kennedy Center/NNPN M.F.A. Playwrights Workshop, Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Luna Stage. She has been a playwriting fellow at the Huntington Theatre Company, a recipient of an EST/Sloan rewrite commission and a member of the writers’ group at the Arcola Theatre in London. Originally from Brookline, Mass., she studied history at Yale College.

Performances for Centenary Stage Company’s premiere of Eleanor Burgess’ Start Down are Wednesdays, April 13 and 20 at 2pm; Thursdays, April 14 and 21 at 7:30pm; Fridays, April 8, 15, and 22 at 8pm; Saturdays, April 9, 16 and 23 at 8pm and Sundays, April 10, 17 and 24 at 2 pm. All performances are located in the Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.

Tickets are $25.00 for adults on Friday and all matinee performances. Saturday evening performances are $27.50 for adults. Thursday evening performances are $25.00 for all seats with a 2 for 1 rush ticket special when purchased in person at the CSC box office as early as two hours prior to the performance.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the CSC box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm and 2 hours prior to every performance. The CSC box office is located in the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. Centenary Stage Company can also be found on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The 2015-16 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, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Centenary Stage Company announces the 2016 Women Playwrights Series (WPS) line-up


Emma Stanton

The Centenary Stage Company announces the 2016 Women Playwrights Series (WPS) line-up, with the works of playwrights Patricia Cotter, Emma Stanton and Sonya Sobieski, and three distinctive new plays which will feature professional casts and directors and be presented in the Lackland Center on Wednesday evenings, April 13, 20th and 27th at 7:30 PM. 

Written with wit and poignancy, Emma Stanton’s “No Candy” will open the series on April 13. Humor, art and absurdity continue to persist in the face of the unimaginable in this story of wry, resilient survivors of genocide. The playwright explores how trauma inhabits the body and shapes the community, and how a group of women running a gift shop near the Srebrenica memorial find their way forward, with dreams of Julie Andrews, late-night Karaoke and lingering ghosts.

Stanton is a Chicago and New York theatre artist with an interest in site-specific theatre and documentary work. She has worked with several theaters, including the prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago) , EnGarde Arts (NY), About Face Theatre (Chicago) and Walkabout Theatre Company (Chicago), of which she is Associate Artistic Director. She is the recipient of a Civics and Arts Foundation Playwrighting Award, and has been a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award. Stanton holds an MFA in playwrighting from Columbia University.


The CSC Women Playwrights Series celebrates its 25th year in 2016, having featured the work of more than 60 emerging playwrights in the developmental WPS process, and having taken 15 plays to full production from the series, including “The English Bride” by Lucile Lichtblau, which transferred from CSC to New York City in 2013 (photo left). 

The program offers playwrights the opportunity to work with professional actors and directors in a workshop rehearsal process, and to hear their work in front of a live audience – a critical part of the development process. Lively talk-backs with the playwright and cast follow each presentation, and one play is selected each year as the winner of the Susan Glaspell Award, which promises a full production in the main-stage season at CSC. Centenary Stage Company is a professional AEA Regional Theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College.

Admission to the WPS is by donation and reservations are requested. For information and reservations, call the CSC box office at 908 979 0900, or log on to www.centenarystageco.org.

The WPS receives support from the Zonta Club of Morristown, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and season sponsor Heath Village.

Coming up in WPS :

On April 20, Dario Fo meets Woody Allen in the comedy “Perils of Human Discourse” by Sonya Sobieski .

On April 27th, Emmy and Ovation Award-winning California playwright Patricia Cotter brings her modern day comedy “The Surrogate” to the WPS.

Auditions: Aspire Performing Arts Company for upcoming summer musical theatre productions



Wayne, NJ-- If you live with a young thespian, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss! On Saturday, May 14, and Sunday, May 15, 2016, Aspire Performing Arts Company will hold auditions for its upcoming summer musical theatre productions: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr., for children ages 7-11, and The Wedding Singer, for children and teens ages 11 and up. Auditions and rehearsals for both productions will take place at Our Lady of Consolation on Hamburg Turnpike in Wayne.

Aspire PAC’s Junior Performing Ensemble (ages 7-11) will take on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. Based on the original Broadway production that ran for over thirteen years and was nominated for nine Tony Awards, and the Academy Award-winning motion picture, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. is a fantastic adaptation of the story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress.

Aspire PAC’s Senior Performing Ensemble (ages 11 and up) will travel back to the 80’s for The Wedding Singer. Based on the hit Adam Sandler movie,​ The Wedding Singer takes us back to a time when hair was big, greed was good, collars were up, and a wedding singer might just be the coolest guy in the room.

Aspire PAC has earned a strong reputation in the Wayne, NJ area for its high-quality theatrical productions and professional arts experiences for local youth. Lisa Beth Vettoso, Aspire PAC’s Artistic Director, also serves as Director of Education for The New York Pops, and has dedicated her life to arts education.  

Summer 2016 auditions are open to all local children and teens ages 7 through 18, with many opportunities for lead and featured roles. Pre-registration for auditions is preferred.

For more information and to register for auditions, visit www.aspirepac.com or call/email Aspire PAC at 201-220-4933 or aspirepac@gmail.com.

Summer 2016 Productions
Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr.
Junior Performing Ensemble: Ages 7-11
AuditionsMay 14 and 15, 2016
Production DatesAugust 5-7, 2016

The Wedding Singer
Senior Performing Ensemble: Ages 11 and up
Auditions: May 14 and 15, 2016
Production Dates: July 29-31, 2016
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Aspire Performing Arts Company was formed in January 2011 by Lisa Beth Vettoso (photo) and represents the culmination of her 20+ years of experience in the performing arts. Aspire PAC’s mission is to provide educational workshops and production opportunities for children and teens, offering a professional arts experience in a friendly atmosphere.

For more information on Aspire Performing Arts Company, please visit www.aspirepac.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aspirepac