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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Strollers Sing-a-Long Movies Fundraiser

Sing-Along Flier
The Strollers are thrilled to present two days of sing-a-longs sure to put the FUN in fund raiser, complete with costume contests and refreshments.
On Saturday, September 23 at 8pm, The Strollers will be showing Little Shop of Horrors and on Sunday, September 24 at 1pm, The Strollers will be showing Beauty and the Beast.
All sing-a-longs take place at
The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts
10 Durand Road
Admission is a suggested donation:
Adults - $10
Children - $5
Tickets available at
*Separate admission required for each night*
The Strollers
PO Box 83
Maplewood, NJ 07040

BCP to open its 85th Season with Tony Award Winning Musical, Spamalot


Bergen County Players, the New Jersey Association of Community Theater’s “2015 Community Theater of the Year”, is proud to announce its 85th consecutive season, running from September 2017 to June 2018.

From entertaining musicals to hilarious
comedies to intense dramas, BCP has garnered a reputation for
outstanding quality productions at affordable prices. As audiences
have been anxiously anticipating, the new season kicks off with the
Tony Award winning musical, Spamalot.

Tickets are on sale online at or by phone at 201-261-4200. The box office,
located at the Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack Road in
Oradell, NJ, will open on Thursday, August 17th for walk up and phone
sales. Special discounts for groups of 20 or more are also available
by calling the box office number (extension 6) or by emailing
September 16 – October 14, 2017
** No performances on Sept 29-30
Music by John Du Prez, Eric Idle and Neil Innes
Lyrics and Book by Eric Idle
Directed by Jacqueline Poquette
Tickets are $24 (all performances)

This side-splitting parody of the legend of King Arthur and his
clueless Knights of the Round Table is for all fans of absurd musical
comedy, not just those who are members of the Monty Python cult! A
three-time Tony Award winner (including Best Musical of 2005), “I defy
anyone to go and not have a really fun evening. It's the silliest
thing I’ve ever seen…”  John Cleese, Founding Member, Monty Python’s
Flying Circus.

October 28 – November 18, 2017
Written by Mary Chase
Directed by Jerry Hurley
Tickets are $21 Friday & Saturday / $17 Sunday
The 1944 Pulitzer Prize for Drama was rightfully awarded to this
delightful and gentle comedy about Elwood P. Dowd, a regular guy who
likes to spend time with his friend Harvey. Nothing unusual there,
except Harvey happens to be a six foot rabbit! “…a delectable
mid-century chestnut with an idiosyncratic personality that still

December 2 – December 17, 2017
Music by Jeanne Bargy and Jim Eiler
Lyrics and Book by Jim Eiler
Directed by Bill Kaufman
Tickets are $14 (all performances)
The Prince Street Players version of this timeless classic starts with
a Fairy Godmother asking her two helpers to identify the neediest
person in the kingdom. They introduce her to Ella, and with magic wand
in hand, Godmother throws in a dash of belief, a sprinkle of magic and
a pinch of true love. Voila! Cinderella has her life changed for good
in this frothy, fast-paced musical, specifically created for young

January 13 – February 3, 2018
Written by Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Dottie Fischer
Tickets are $21 Friday & Saturday / $17 Sunday
It’s Christmas Eve, 2004, and the Wyeth family is gathered together in
Palm Springs awaiting the arrival of daughter Brooke, a writer who
after a six year absence is finally returning home. Combining
emotionally charged recriminations, revelations and shifting loyalties
with sparkling wit, this Pulitzer Prize finalist is “A boldly
conventional yet altogether gripping work that knows individual
psychology as keenly as it understands the world around it.”  NEWSDAY

Next at Circle Players ‘Henry V’


A new, modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s classic history about the heroic and ruthless king, Henry V of England, determined to lay claim to the kingdom of France. Despite the self-doubt and diminished morale of his own army, Henry’s sheer determination and impassioned speeches ready his men for the bloodiest of battles — Agincourt.

Performances of the play will take place as follows:

◦ Fridays: September 15, 29 at 8:00pm

◦ Saturdays: September 16, 23, 30, at 8:00pm

◦ Sunday: September 23, October 1 at 3:00pm

A talkback will be held following the Sunday, September 23 performance.

The play will be directed by Jack Bathke of Robbinsville and produced by Diane Teichman of Flemington.

Appearing in the cast are:

Andrew James Gordon of West Windsor as Henry,

and the ensemble will consist of

Tess Ammerman of Princeton,

Phil Bramson of East Brunswick,

Lewis Decker of Millington,

Fred Dennehy of Cranbury,

Ed Faver of Roselle,

Mike Johnson of Hillsborough,

David Learn of New Brunswick,

Ruth Learn of New Brunswick,

Allison Mitchell of Somerset,

Daniel Nugent of Piscataway,

Liz Rapelye of South Plainfield,

Richard Tang of East Brunswick,

Mark Zobro of Roselle Park.

Audiences are invited to join in a special wine and cheese reception in the theater lobby following the opening night performance.

The theater is located at 416 Victoria Avenue, Piscataway. Please be advised: due to the unique layout of this theater in the round, latecomers cannot be seated after the performance has started. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before curtain.

For reservations, call (732) 968-7555, or buy tickets online at Tickets are $18 for adults and $17 for students and seniors.

Improv Comedy Classes for Adults & Teens

2017-2018 Improv Comedy Classes for Adults & Teens

Fall Class Open Level:

Date: Saturdays, Sept. 30 - Nov. 4, 2017 (six weeks)

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ

Course fee: $210 for six classes

Winter Class Open Level:

Date: Saturdays, Jan. 20 - Feb. 24, 2018 (six weeks)

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ

Course fee: $210 for six classes

Spring Class Open Level:

Date: Saturdays, April 7 - May 12, 2018 (six weeks)

Time: 12:00 - 2:00 pm

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ

Course fee: $210 for six classes

Summer Class Level 1:

Date: Wednesdays, June 6 - July 18, 2018 (six weeks - no July 4th class)

Time: 7:30 - 9:30 pm

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ

Course fee: $210 for six classes

Summer Class Level 2:

Date: Thursdays, June 7 - July 26, 2018 (eight weeks)

Time: 7:30 - 9:30 pm

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ

Course fee: $280 for eight classes (last class is a showcase)

Limited space available. Don't wait.

Register now!

I believe that anyone can improvise - anyone!  And if you're saying, "Nuh-uh, not me!" then I must respectfully disagree.  Sorry to be so blunt, but I've witnessed it time and time again.  ANYONE can improvise.  

-Lulu French, Instructor

Instructor * Improv

Lulu French first took improv classes at Gotham City Improv two decades ago and has been improvising ever since.  In addition to being a graduate of GCI, she has also studied improv under Amy Poehler, Matt Walsh, and Matt Besser - original members of the Upright Citizens Brigade, Armando Diaz - founder of the Magnet Theater, various Second City alumni such as Todd Stashwick (12 Monkeys), and improv masters Michael Gellman, Dave Razowsky, and Aretha Sills.  She has appeared in numerous improv performances in NYC improv theaters such as Gotham City Improv, the Magnet Theater, and Upright Citizens Brigade.

Lulu has been teaching improv since 2000 and has had the privilege to teach for organizations such as Gotham City Improv, The Queens Theater in the Park, Arts Horizons, The Theater Project, The South Orange Maplewood Adult School, IN Studios, Beyond the Bell, and Dreamcatcher Rep in addition to teaching corporate improv workshops for companies such as Pfizer, Novartis and AstraZeneca. She can currently be seen improvising in Dreamcatchers Rep's twice yearly improv show, Multiple Personality Disorder and with Gary Austin's the Classroom at the People's Improv Theater in NYcC.

     Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre

Oakes Center  *  120 Morris Avenue  *  Summit, NJ 07901

Tickets: 800-838-3006 | Info: 908-514-9654

Monday, August 14, 2017

Auditions: ‘The Marriage of Bette and Boo’ at Circle Players


PISCATAWAY – Circle Players is pleased to announce auditions for the second production of our 2017-2018 season, "The Marriage of Bette and Boo" by Christopher Durang.

Performances run from November 3, 2017 through November 19, 2017
Auditions will be held:
Monday, August 28th: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Thursday September 7th: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Callbacks by invitation only will be Saturday, September 9 at 11:00 am. Actors who attend the August 28th auditions will be notified within 48 hours if they are called back. September 7th auditioners will be notified within 24 hours.

Auditioners will be asked to read sides from the script, which will be provided.

Interested actors must attend auditions to be considered. Video submissions will not be accepted.

circleplayers004003Auditions will be held at Circle Players, 416 Victoria Avenue, Piscataway, NJ.
Please direct any questions to

The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Christopher Durang’s most autobiographical play, is a dark and absurdist comedy concerned with the everyday tragedy of a failed marriage surrounded by two dysfunctional families.  The play takes place over the course of 30 years, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. We are looking for a cast of 10 skilled actors (5 women and 5 men) who possess both excellent comedic skills and the ability to bring a sense of truth to the characters.   In reading the character descriptions below, please keep in mind that this play is first and foremost a comedy; though not without some pathos.

MATT (male - approx. early to late 20s): The play’s narrator, he is the only surviving child of Bette and Boo. Matt tries to make sense of the chaotic history of his family by analyzing it the way he analyzes famous works of literature. During the play, we see Matt grow from a quiet 4 year old child to a 30 year old adult.

BETTE BRENNAN (female - approx. late 20s to early 30s): A charming and vivacious woman, Bette has very strong ideas about how she wants her life to be, and doesn’t let other people’s reactions or simple reality get in her way. She can be childishly stubborn when events or family members don’t live up to her expectations. During the play we see Bette age from her mid 20’s to her mid 50’s.

MARGARET BRENNAN (female - approx. late 40s to early 50s): Bette’s mother; unfailingly cheerful and jovial, almost to the point of callousness. She is of the old school who feels that one should not talk about unpleasant things. During the play we see Margaret age from a gracious lady in her late 40s to a woman in her 70s in the throes of dementia.

PAUL BRENNAN (male - approx. late 40s to early 50s): Bette’s father; the most caring and sensible character in the play.  Unfortunately he suffers from the effects of a stroke which makes his speech quite unintelligible.  This causes him no end of (comic) frustration as he attempts to dispense common sense to his wayward family.

EMILY BRENNAN (female - approx. late 20s to early 30s): Bette’s sister; a childlike, kind, and gentle soul who is pathologically (and comically) concerned about unintentionally offending other people.

JOAN BRENNAN (female - approx. late 20s to early 30s): Bette’s sister; unhappy in her marriage, she is sullen, bitter, and jealous, with an acid wit.

BOO HUDLOCKE (male - approx. early 30s to mid 40s): A sweet man who steadfastly tries to avoid conflict and ends up seeking refuge in alcohol. Boo has been dominated by his father for most of his life. During the play we see him age from a passive aggressive 32 year old to a mentally unfocussed man in his early 60s  who is filled with vague regret.

KARL HUDLOCKE (male - approx. late 40s to early 50s): Boo’s father; he is successful, misanthropic, and cruel, but with a certain charm. He enjoys saying whatever he wants and doesn’t care if other people’s feelings are hurt. During the play we see Karl age from a vital man in his 50s to a slightly more cranky man in his 80s.

SOOT HUDLOCKE (female - approx. late 40s to early 50s): Boo’s mother;  she is aggressively (and comically) oblivious.  Soot has been laughing at her husband’s awful comments for so long that this survival technique has become unconscious. Yet there is a simmering resentment lurking underneath the jovial persona she usually shows to the world.

FATHER DONNALLY (male - approx. late 40s to early 60s): Bette’s beleaguered parish priest.  He tries his best to support his flock, but is frustrated by what he sees as people’s lack of basic common sense.  Does a spirited imitation of a slice of bacon sizzling in a pan. The same actor doubles as the doctor who delivers all of Bette and Boo’s children.

Circle Players

416 Victoria Ave

Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA

(732) 968-7555

Friday, August 11, 2017

Premiere Stages to Present 2017 Play Festival Winner ‘Foster Mom’ (September 7-24)


Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Foster Mom by Chris Cragin-Day, the winner of the 2017 Premiere Stages Play Festival, September 7-24 in Kean University’s Zella Fry Theatre (Vaughn Eames Hall, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.). A funny, surprising, and optimistic coming-of-age tale for adults, Foster Mom tells the story of Leslie, a woman whose decision to foster a child is complicated by two factors: a skeptical mother and an unexpected romance. The play was selected from over 400 submissions to the Play Festival, an annual competition for unproduced scripts by area playwrights. Foster Mom will be directed by longtime collaborator Kel Haney, and feature actors Stori Ayers, Kate Kearney-Patch, Kurt Uy, and Ariel Woodiwiss.

Playwright Chris Cragin-Day is a founding member of Firebone Theatre and an alumna of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and the O’Neill Center’s National Music Theater Conference. Her recent productions include A Woman at 59E59 (directed by Ms. Haney), The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph's Baby with Don Chaffer at River & Rail, and the National Tour of Martin Luther on Trialwith Max McLean, which also ran Off-Broadway and in Washington, D.C. A resident of Weehawken, Ms. Cragin-Day is an assistant professor of English and theatre at The King's College in New York.

Kel Haney previously directed My Lord, What a Night, Water by the Spoonful, and At Liberty Hall at Premiere Stages. Other recent directing credits include the world premiere of What Happens in Vegas at 59E59, the regional premiere of The Way We Get By at American Theater Group, and The Elephant in Every Room I Enter at La MaMa. Ms. Haney is an active member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and a former Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow and Lincoln Center Directors Lab participant.

The accomplished cast includes Newark resident Stori Ayers, who most recently appeared in Chautauqua Theater Company’s acclaimed production of Detroit '67; Kate Kearney-Patch, previously seen on television’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Person of Interest”;Princeton alumni Kurt Uy, who recent credits include Vietgone at Manhattan Theatre Club and The Oldest Boy at Lincoln Center Theater; and Ariel Woodiwiss, whose distinguished regional credits include Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf, and Long Wharf Theatre.

Audience members are invited to further engage with the issues raised by Ms. Cragin-Day’s heartwarming play through Premiere Stages’ 2017 Talk-Back Series, which offers free post-show discussions with community leaders and local experts after select matinee performances (September 9, 10, 17 and 23 at 3:00 pm). Featured speakers include Meghan M. Walbert, author of Phase Three of Life(Saturday, September 9); Ms. Cragin-Day (Sunday, September 10); Celines Garcia and Lynn Patmalnee of Foster and Adoptive Family Services (Sunday, September 17); and Elizabeth Williams-Riley and Gloria McDonald of the American Conference on Diversity (Saturday, September 23). Premiere will also offer a series of informal pre-show talks every Saturday evening 30 minutes prior to performance in the lobby of the theatre.

“We are proud to share Chris’s compelling and highly topical story,” stated John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “And the community partners we have engaged will provide additional perspectives on the challenges and rewards fostering affords.”

Foster Mom runs September 7-24 in the Zella Fry Theatre on the Kean University main campus in Union, N.J. Performances take place Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm.  Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of 8 or more apply. To make reservations or to order a season brochure, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit Premiere Stages online

Tickets are also available for Premiere Stages’ exclusive Foster Mom Opening Night Party on Friday, September 8. This event features a pre-show party with wine, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and breathtaking views of the New York City skyline in Kean’s North Avenue Academic Building event space, reserved seating for the performance, and a post-show champagne toast and dessert reception with the cast. Tickets for this exclusive event are $65.00, and may be purchased by calling 908-737-7469 or emailing

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

World Premiere of ‘F Theory’ at NJ Rep

F2 (1)

World Premiere August 17 - September 24

New Jersey Repertory Company presents the world premiere of F Theory, a funny, poignant, and uniquely thought-provoking play about the power and complexity of lifelong friendship. Co-written by and starring Megan Loughran and Alex Trow, and directed by Ethan Heard, F Theory runs from August 17 through September 24, 2017 at NJ Rep, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ.

Marianne and Ellie are bright, charming college roommates prone to break out in spontaneous tap dance routines in the middle of study sessions, when we first meet them. They come from very different backgrounds and are headed into very different futures—wealth, marriage, and anthropological adventures for one; family troubles, solo living, and a career as a musician for the other. But the bond they forged on meeting is that rare sort that transcends all circumstance and thrives across all time; even across several continents in their case. Or does it? What happens when you realize the friendship you have valued on the merit of its fortitude through everything for decades means something else entirely to the person on the other end? F Theory gives center stage to friendship, a relationship so often sidelined in both art and life to family, romance, marriage, though it is often stronger than them all.

Megan Loughran and Alex Trow are actors and writers based in New York City. They met at Yale University, from which they both graduated, as did director Ethan Heard. Also featured in the cast is Pheonix Vaughn, a regular at NJ Rep, who will be performing the role of "Marianne", September 15 – 17.

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces Open Auditions for Its Award-Winning Broadway Show Choir

Show Choir 2017

Tuition-Free Exhibition Show Choir for Students Ages 15 to 22

(Millburn, NJ) Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director), recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is proud to announce open auditions for the award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir. The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is a tuition-free, audition-based performance show choir that stems from Paper Mill Playhouse’s award-winning Arts Education and Outreach programs.  The choir consists of 60 singer/dancers between the ages of 15 and 22.  Auditions will take place at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 119 Main Street in Millburn, NJ, on the evenings of Sunday, October 15, Tuesday, October 17 and Wednesday, October 18 by appointment only. Callback and makeup auditions will be held at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, October 22rd. To make an audition appointment please fill out the online audition form at For more information please or call 973-315-1640. The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is presented by Overlook Medical Center.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir acts as ambassadors to Paper Mill Playhouse with an array of performance opportunities throughout the community and beyond. Over the past four seasons, the Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir has delighted more than 350,000 people across the region with rousing renditions of Broadway, pop and classics. The choir has performed at prestigious venues including MetLife Stadium, Lincoln Center, Sun Arena, Mayo Center in Morristown, Bergen PAC in Englewood, Paper Mill Playhouse, The Empire State Building, Asbury Park Convention Center, SOPAC in South Orange, among others. This January, the show choir will sing with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for their SCI-FI SPECTACULAR: MUSIC FROM STAR WARS, STAR TREK & BEYOND concert series.

Students selected to be a part of this talented group will have to opportunity to fine-tune their craft with free, intensive instruction that includes voice and dance training. The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir runs from October through June and rehearses Sunday evenings from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

“This talented touring troupe allows Paper Mill Playhouse to bring art to the people, while its participants receive professional training by industry professionals,” stated Mark S. Hoebee the Millburn theater’s Producing Artistic Director. “The award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is a wonderful opportunity for students to perform at impressive venues and share their talents with thousands of New Jersey residents.”

In addition to the Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir, there is a select group of singers chosen from the cast called "Voices of Paper Mill." This group specializes in a acapella music similar to Pitch Perfect.  “Voices of Paper Mill” rehearses on the same day and performs with the show choir.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is led by a professional staff of artists including: Shayne Austin Miller (Director), Matthew Lowy (Music Director), Tony Fania (Dance Director), Charles Santoro (Associate Music Director), Leah Killmer (Company Manager), Kathleen Murano (Audition Coordinator), Lisa Cooney (Paper Mill Playhouse Director of Education) and Carrie Rubino (Senior Manager of Education Programs).  The show choir will also be joined by Broadway talent throughout the season to choreograph pieces and offer master class instruction.



Sunday, October 15, 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Tuesday, October 17, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Wednesday, October 18, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

If you are not available during these times, you may attend callback auditions on Sunday, October 22.

To make an audition appointment please fill out the online audition form at For more information please email or call 973-315-1640.

FOR THE AUDITION: Prepare an upbeat pop or musical theater piece of approximately 32 bars that best demonstrates your vocal range. Bring sheet music, in the key you will sing it, in a binder or single sheet taped together that contains the full piano accompaniment. An accompanist will be provided. Students may not perform a cappella or to an audio recording. Students will be taught a brief dance combination, so please bring suitable footwear.

CALLBACK AUDITIONS: Sunday, October 22, 6:00pm-9:00pm

AUDITION LOCATION:  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 119 Main Street, Millburn, NJ

The Paper Mill Playhouse Broadway Show Choir is presented by Overlook Medical Center. 

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Todd Schmidt (Managing Director) and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, 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.



Featuring Oscar and Tony nominee Michael Shannon with members of A Red Orchid Theatre’s ensemble,
Simpatico runs September 8th – October 15th (extended by popular demand)

Buried secrets, blackmail, and false identities race onto the stage in this hard-driving tragicomedy about the slippery netherworld of thoroughbred racing from Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Sam Shepard. When a simple phone call causes Carter and Vinnie’s shady past to resurface, fierce loyalties that were once hot-blooded begin to run astray. McCarter is proud to collaborate with the acclaimed Chicago ensemble A Red Orchid Theatre to bring this riveting American drama to Princeton.

McCarter Theatre Center has a storied history of previous collaborations with other forward-thinking theatre companies across the country including Lookingglass Theatre, Steppenwolf, Fiasco, and Bedlam. In that tradition, A Red Orchid Theatre makes its debut at McCarter.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary season, A Red Orchid Theatre is a critically-acclaimed collective of artists operating out of a 70-seat theatre space in Chicago’s Old Town. Known for gritty, visceral performances and production styles, A Red Orchid Theatre’s 2013 production of Simpatico “evokes an American society with a divided soul, one part ‘civilized,’ the other primitive and intuitive.” (The New York Times).

In addition to Michael Shannon (Carter), the cast of Simpatico includes A Red Orchid Theatre co-founder (and full-time Chicago firefighter) Guy Van Swearingen (Vinnie), with A Red Orchid Theatre ensemble members Mierka Girten (Cecilia) and Jennifer Engstrom (Rosie). Kristen Ellis (Rosie) and John Judd (Sims), round out the cast. The design team features frequent A Red Orchid Theatre collaborators Grant Sabain (set design), Christine Pascual (costume design), Mike Durst (sound design) and Joe Court (sound design). Christa van Baale is the production stage manager.

About the collaboration with A Red Orchid Theatre and Sam Shepard’s recent passing, McCarter Artistic Director Emily Mann said “Sam Shepard, of course, is one of America’s iconic playwrights, and it's no surprise to me that an ensemble like A Red Orchid Theatre would thrive off of his idiosyncratic dialogue, raw and multi-faceted characters, and fevered exploration of American nostalgia and identity. Sam Shepard shaped the American theater from the moment his plays appeared on our stages Simpatico, like all of Shepard's plays, is a true feast for an adventurous company and a wild ride for any audience. His passing is a stunning personal loss to all of us who knew him and a devastating loss for the theater community at large. We dedicate our opening play of the season to his memory.”

Click through for a behind the scenes interview with director Dado.
Visit for more information.

Sam Shepard (1943 – 2017) was born in Fort Sheridan, Illinois. He moved to New York from California just as the off-Broadway theatre scene was emerging. He has written more than forty plays--of which eleven have won 'Obie' awards—besides collections of stories, prose writing and screenplays. His plays include Buried Child, The Late Henry Moss, Simpatico, Curse of the Starving Class, True West, Fool for Love, A Lie of the Mind, and States of Shock. His screenplay for Paris, Texas won the Golden Palm Award at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival and he directed his own screenplay, Far North, in 1988. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Shepard received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy in 1992, and in 1994 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. In addition to his career as a playwright, Shepard enjoyed success as a director and actor for stage, screen, and television.

Dado is a theater director/actor/visual artist from Chicago and an ensemble member from A Red Orchid Theatre. She is also this year's recipient of The Claire Rosen & Samuel Edes Foundation Prize for Emerging Artists from the University of Chicago. For A Red Orchid: The Room, The Mutilated, Red Handed Otter, The Hothouse, The Seahorse, The Grey Zone, The Unseen, The Fastest Clock in the Universe, as well as the world premiere of Brett Neveu's Megacosm. She has received a Jeff Citation, an After Dark Award, and is a Maggio Fellow of the Goodman Theatre. Education: MFA from the University of Chicago Department of Visual Art (DOVA). She has taught and directed at DePaul University, University of Illinois in Chicago, and AMDA (Los Angeles). She is collaborating this year with Facility Theatre to produce a sculptural installation of an experimental opera, David Lang's little match girl passion.


Kristen E. Ellis (Kelly) from the original Chicago cast, is making her debut at McCarter. Recent: the Midwest premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue (TimeLine Theatre). Other: What I Learned in Paris (Black Theatre Alliance Award nom. for Best Featured Actress, Congo Square Theatre), The Inside (Black Excellence Award nom. for Best Theatre Actress, MPAACT Theatre), Theatre Wit, Steppenwolf Garage Rep, Griffin Theatre, and Collaboraction Theatre. Kristin’s work in independent films has premiered vastly in Chicago film festivals. Kristin received her BFA degree in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul. Currently, Kristin can be seen in the short film Side Effects airing on Amazon Prime and Xfinity: Streampix. Kristin is represented by Stewart Talent Chicago.
Jennifer Engstrom (Rosie) is a Chicago-based actor, last seen in HIR at Steppenwolf Theatre (U/S Amy Morton). Off-Broadway:Excuse My Dust, A Dorothy Parker Portfolio. Regional: Angels in America Part I and II (Kansas City Rep), MacBeth (Norte Dame Shakespeare), A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Chicago: Death of A Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody, A Streetcar Named Desire (Writers Theatre); The North Plan, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Steppenwolf Theatre); Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman Theatre). Jennifer is a proud ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre, where she has appeared in The Mutilated, 3C, The Hothouse, Fatboy, and dozens more. Ms. Engstrom will be seen in the upcoming motion picture Slice and has appeared on Chicago Fire and The Onion Network.
Mierka Girten (Cecilia) was last seen in The Room at A Red Orchid Theatre where she is a proud ensemble member. She was recently seen in Master Class at A Human Race Theatre as Diva Maria Callas. Off-Broadway: Mistakes Were Made with Michael Shannon (Barrow Street). A Red Orchid Theatre: Mud Blue Sky, Becky Shaw, Mistakes Were Made, Weapon of Mass Impact, The Meek, Kimberly Akimbo, and The Treatment. Select Chicago credits: her one-woman show With or Without Wings, The Walls (Rivendell Theatre Co); A View from the Bridge (American Theatre Company); The Book of Liz (Roadworks); The Danube, Edmond, Marat Sade,A Blood Wedding (The Hypocrites); and many more. National tours: The Secret Garden. Film: The Manson Family, The Lake at Evening, The Drunk.
John Judd (Simms) returns to McCarter Theatre Center, last appearing there in Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of American Buffaloin 2010. A Chicago-based actor for over 30 years, he has appeared on most of the stages there as well as numerous regional and off-Broadway engagements. He last collaborated with A Red Orchid Theatre in the 2005 production of Gagarin Way, appearing alongside Mr. Van Swearengin and Mr. Shannon. He is most recently found on television recurring on Empire, Chicago Fire, and Sense8.
Michael Shannon (Carter) is a founding father of A Red Orchid Theatre, where he has been seen in Pilgrim's Progress, Simpatico, Mistakes Were Made, Gagarin Way, Mr. Kolpert, BUG, among others. He made his directorial debut at A Red Orchid Theatre with Ionesco's Hunger and Thirst and looks forward to directing the world premiere of Traitor by fellow ensemble member Brett Neveu this winter. Mike currently lives in NYC and recently performed in Ionesco's The Killer (TFANA), made his Broadway debut in Grace, and played Astrov in Annie Baker's adaptation of Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep). Select film: Groundhog Day, Chicago Cab, Pearl Harbor, 8 Mile, Revolutionary Road, Take Shelter, Mud, Premium Rush, The Iceman, Man of Steel, 99 Homes, Elvis & Nixon, Loving, Nocturnal Animals. TV: Nelson Van Alden on HBO's Boardwalk Empire.
Guy Van Swearingen (Vinnie) is the founding Artistic Director and Ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre where he has appeared in over a dozen productions, most recently The Nether, Red Handed Otter, Simpatico (Jeff nom.), The Sea Horse (Jeff nom.), and The Opponent (also produced at 59E59 in NYC). Regional: The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window (The Goodman); Taking Care, The Time of Your Life (Steppenwolf); Eleven Rooms of Proust (Lookingglass, About Face, Goodman co-production). Other Chicago theaters he has appeared at include Defiant, Plasticene, Famous Door, and Mary Arrchie. Film: Captive State (2018 release), The Dilemma, The Merry Gentleman, Take Shelter, Public Enemies, The Weatherman, Ali, Janie Jones, The Unborn. TV: Chicago Fire, Boss, Sirens, Detroit 1-8-7, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, The Beast, Turks, Early Edition.
Grant Sabin (Set Design) A native of rural Illinois, Grant blends his rural roots with urban art. He’s a recipient of the 2015 Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. He is known for his keen eye in capturing atmospheric detail and his ability to design “impressively executed sets” on a storefront-theater budget. His designs have been seen at Northlight, Victory Garden, Steppenwolf, Next, The Royal George, Overture Center, Theatre Witt, Gallagher Bluedorn, ATC, The House, The Hypocrites, and A Red Orchid. He was nominated for a Jeff Award for Yankee Tavern (American Blue Theatre), The Sea Horse (A Red Orchid Theatre), and Mr. Marmalade (Dog & Pony). He was recently named one of the Top 50 Players in Chicago Theatre by New City Magazine. Grant is currently a part-time faculty member at Columbia College.
Christine Pascual (Costume Design) is delighted to be designing at McCarter for the first time. Recent designs: Put Your House In Order (The Roustabouts), Paradise Blue (Timeline), Wit (The Hypocrites), East Texas Hot Links (Writers Theatre). For A Red Orchid Theatre: Trevor, Simpatico, Megacosm. Additional Chicago designs at American Theater Company, Timeline, Theater Wit, Teatro Vista, The Goodman, Next Theatre, Steppenwolf, Drury Lane, Victory Gardens. Regional: The Island (APT), Joe Turner’s Come and Gone(Centerstage), Fences (Virginia Stage). Off-Broadway: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (Second Stage – Henry Hewes Award nom. for best production design). Awards: Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Costume for Seven Guitars and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Congo Square), Jeff Citation for The Skriker (Defiant Theatre). Member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
Mike Durst (Lighting Design) Mike is a Chicago based lighting designer and ensemble member with A Red Orchid Theatre. Off-Broadway: Primary Stages, 59E59, Cherry Lane. Regional: The Huntington, Lookingglass, The Court Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, The Hypocrites, Cardinal Stage, A Red Orchid Theatre, Timeline Theatre. National tour: Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s The Nightman Cometh. Mike is a lecturer of Lighting Design at The University of Chicago and a consultant on theatrical renovations including the Gray Center at The University of Chicago and The Circle Theater in Los Angeles. He is a recipient of Chicago’s Jeff award, L.A.’s Ovation award, and San Diego’s Craig Noel award. Mike is a member of IATSE Local 2 and United Scenic Artists 829.
Joe Court (Sound Design) is excited to work with McCarter Theatre Center for the first time. For the last 10 years Joe was a freelance artist based in Chicago. His work has been heard in Chicago (Mary-Archie, A Red Orchid Theatre, The Hypocrites, Emerald City, and many more), New York (59E59, off-Broadway), Los Angeles (REDCAT at The Disney Concert Hall), The Clarence Brown Theatre (Knoxville), Great Lakes Theatre (Cleveland), Virginia Stage Company (Norfolk), and the Idaho, Lake Tahoe, and Illinois Shakespeare Festivals. He has taught at Ball State University (Muncie, IN) and the University of Chicago and is currently on faculty at Virginia Tech. Joe has received two Jeff Award nominations and a nomination for his work. Member of USA 829.

Simpatico - Behind The Scenes - McCarter Theatre Center

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Single tickets on sale for NJSO’s 2017–18 classical, pops and family programs

njso tix

Music Director Xian Zhang brings intense creativity and vision to compelling programs

‘America, Inspiring’ Winter Festival concerts and events celebrate foreign artists and composers who found creative inspiration in a welcoming America

Pianist Jeremy Denk headlines opening weekend with Zhang; season finale features violinist Gil Shaham

Jason Alexander retells his Broadway journey through song and comedy; Orchestra performs An American in Paris and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial scores live to picture

NJSO performs in six Garden State venues

All tickets are on sale for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s classical, pops and family programs for the 2017–18 season—Xian Zhang’s second as the Orchestra’s critically acclaimed artistic leader. The NJSO brings a diverse range of compelling programs to six venues across the Garden State, with highlights including classical masterworks, a Winter Festival celebrating foreign artists and composers who found creative inspiration on America’s welcoming shores, film-with-orchestra presentations of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and music- and comedy-filled performances with Tony Award-winning star Jason Alexander.

Tickets are available for purchase online at or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476). Patrons can use the NJSO’s online select-a-seat option to choose their seats for most NJSO concerts at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, bergenPAC in Englewood, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton and Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. Tickets for most concerts start at $20; all children’s tickets for family concerts are $10.

After an acclaimed first season with the NJSO, Zhang “has left her audiences wanting more,” NJ Advance Media writes. The Music Director “clearly made her mark … Now it’s time to see how high [the Orchestra] can soar.”

In 2017–18, Zhang expands upon her vision for the Orchestra by incorporating a diverse range of voices, from Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos to works by contemporary Chinese and Finnish composers. She continues to shape the NJSO’s sonic identity through core repertoire, with multiple works by Beethoven and Russian masters.

Underscoring her belief in bringing new works to NJSO audiences, Zhang conducts not only a world premiere by American composer Richard Danielpour, but also standard works of the canon from Respighi and Prokofiev that the Orchestra has not previously performed.

Zhang and the NJSO open the season in October with a pair of masterpieces—Beethoven’s “Emperor” Piano Concerto and Berlioz’s S ymphonie fantastique. Celebrated pianist and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Jeremy Denk joins the Orchestra for Beethoven’s iconic concerto.

In a blockbuster season finale, Zhang conducts Mahler’s monumental First Symphony, Bernstein’s Overture to Candide and Brahms’ Violin Concerto, with lauded violinist and NJSO audience favorite Gil Shaham.

The 2018 Winter Festival, “America, Inspiring,” celebrates artists and composers whose experiences connect them to the nation’s legacy as a source of inspiration and beacon of ideals for people from all over the world. The influence of American jazz runs through Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances; Czech composer Martinů pays homage to his adopted home in Thunderbolt P-47, heard in its NJSO premiere. The Festival closes with Dvořák’s “New World” Symphony—an embodiment of America’s embrace of creativity.

A May program of Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos celebrates the Orchestra’s own musicians, with Concertmaster Eric Wyrick as leader and NJSO members as featured soloists. In a program of unusual textures, the Montclair State University Singers perform two intimate a cappella works paired with Mozart’s epic Requiem.

Pops programs include concerts of song and comedy with Tony Award-winning star Jason Alexander; screenings of An American in Paris and E.T. the Extraterrestrial with live orchestral accompaniment; a program of Latin jazz with the Mambo Kings, and music of iconic sci-fi films hosted by “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Marina Sirtis.

RVCC Theatre Announces 2017-2018 Season

From musical theatre productions of Legally Blonde and A Chorus Line, to Flamenco dancing and The Capitol Steps’ timely political humor, to holidays favorites like A Christmas Carol and circus-style performances for young children—The Theatre at RVCC’s 2017-2018 season has something to entice audiences of all ages and interests.

The Theatre’s 2017-2018 Mainstage series, with reserved seating for most offerings, will include the following performances:

Aiken & Friends Fest, North BranchFriday, September 22, 7 p.m. (Songwriters-in-the Round, $20); Saturday, September 23noon(musical workshops, $10); 2-5 p.m. (free concert on the RVCC quad); 7 p.m. (Tall Tales & Troubadours with the Mike Aiken Band, $20)
Legally Blonde The Musical (Big League Productions), Friday, October 6, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Sense and Sensibility (Aquila Theatre), Saturday, October 7, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Tuesdays With Morrie featuring Jamie Farr, Tuesday, October 17, at 7 p.m.; $25 & $35

Babylon (Sandglass Theater), Friday, October 20, at 7 p.m., $20; Saturday, October 21, at 3 p.m., $15 (special matinee pricing)

The Capitol Steps, Saturday, October 28, at 8 p.m.; $35 & $45

Crankie Storytelling (Katherine Fahey)Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m., $20Sunday, November 12, at 3 p.m., $15 (special matinee pricing)

Nobunto, Sunday, November 19, at 2 p.m.; $25 & $35                                                               

The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) (Reduced Shakespeare Company), Saturday, December 2, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Christmas With The Annie Moses Band, Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m.; $25 & $35

Live from WVL Radio TheatreIt’s a Wonderful Life, Tuesday, December 5, at 2 p.m., $15 (special matinee pricing) & 7 p.m., $20

The Great Russian Nutcracker (Moscow Ballet), Friday, December 8, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; $40 & $50

A Christmas Carol (Nebraska Theatre Caravan), Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m.; $40 & $50

A Chorus Line (Big League Productions), Saturday, January 20, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Chousensha – The Challengers (Yamato – The Drummers of Japan), Friday, January 26, at 7 p.m.; $25 & $35

Paul Taylor Dance Company, Saturday, February 3, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

The Mountaintop (LA TheatreWorks), Friday, February 9, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

It’s Dark Outside (The Last Great Hunt), Saturday, February 10, at 3 p.m., $15 (special matinee pricing) & 7 p.m., $20

Peking Acrobats, Friday, February 16, at 7 p.m.; $25 & $35

Voces del Sur (Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana), Sunday, March 4, at 2 p.m.; $25 & $35

Tea For ThreeLady Bird, Pat & Betty (Elaine Bromka), Friday, March 9, at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; $15

Rhythm of the Dance (The National Dance Company of Ireland), Saturday, March 17, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Machine de Cirque, Friday, April 27, at 8 p.m.; $20 & $30

The Theatre’s CLUB 28 series will feature a variety of musical events, all on Thursdays with performances at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15 each. Each 1 p.m. performance is set in on-stage theatre-style seating and is approximately one hour in length. The evening shows, set in relaxed on-stage cabaret setting, include refreshments and are approximately two hours long. The following performances will be included, all with general admission seating:

North Sea Gas, September 14

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, October 19
Music of the Season (Tim Farrell), November 30

Evie Ladin & Keith Terry, March 1
Martin Taylor, April 12

The 2017-2018 Tuesdays With Stories series is a unique way to experience great stories. Performances begin at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.and include a discussion, as well as light refreshments. The series is recommended for individuals age 14 and older. Tickets cost $15 each. The following performances will be included, all with general admission seating:

The Other Mozart (Samantha Hoefer), October 24

The Elephant in Every Room I Enter (Gardiner Comfort), November 28

Call Mr. Robeson (Tayo Aluko), February 27

Everything Is Fine Until It’s Not (Doreen Oliver), March 13

UnFRAMED (Iyaba Ibo Mandingo), April 10

The Theatre also will be offering a Youth and Family series for youngsters and their families, all with general admission seating. The following shows will be offered:

Symphonie Dramatique (Cas Public), Saturday, October 14, at 7 p.m. (Recommended for ages 10 and older; all tickets $10)

The Gruffalo (Tall Stories), Sunday, February 25, at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. (Recommended for ages 3 and older; all tickets $10)

Hup (Starcatchers), Thursday, March 15, at 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.Friday, March 16, at 9 a.m. & 10:30 a.m.Saturday, March 17, at 10 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. (Recommended for infants to 24 months; all tickets $10)

Olive & Pearl (Treehouse Shakers), Monday, April 9, at 10 a.m.1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. (Recommended for ages 2 and older; all tickets $10)

The Young King (Slingsby), Sunday, April 15, at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. (Recommended for ages 8 and older; all tickets $10)

Air Play (Acrobuffos), Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. (Recommended for ages 7 and older; all tickets $10)
The Polar Bears Go Up (Fish And Game/ Unicorn Theatre), Saturday, April 21, at 10 a.m. & 2:30 p.m. (Recommended for ages 2 and older; all tickets $10)

Pss Pss (Compagnia Baccalà), Saturday, May 5, at 7 p.m. (Recommended for ages 8 and older; all tickets $10)

Farfalle (Compagnia TPO), Monday, May 14, at 9 a.m.10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.Tuesday, May 15, at 9 a.m.10:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.(Recommended for ages 4 and older; all tickets $10)

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at Subscribers’ packages are available for all Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for most performances.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For additional information,