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Friday, May 19, 2017

Centenary Stage Company’s 2017 – 18 professional theater line-up

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Theater fills the Lackland Performing Arts Center as Centenary Stage Company announces its 2017 – 18 professional theater line-up.  The Sitnik Theatre is set to burst as this season’s main stage professional theater series includes four exciting CSC produced plays; The Learned Ladies, Newsies, Art and Hitler’s Tasters.  Centenary Stage Company’s Fringe Festival also welcomes three incredibly unique guest productions; Song and Dance Men, Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show and My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually as the festival returns for its third installment in the Kutz Theatre.

                Centenary Stage Company launches its professional theater series with Freyda Thomas’ hysterically 20th century styled adaptation of Moliere’s penultimate comedy The Learned Ladies October 6 – 22 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.   "The show’s most consistently enlivening presence is that of translator and adapter Freyda Thomas, who translates the playwright’s alexandrine verse of 1672 into vital musical forms marked by crisp and unexpected rhymes, period echoes and cheerfully clanging anachronisms….Thomas harmonizes the classical and the contemporary to make us hear Moliere’s wit in an appealing new key." (San Francisco Chronicle).

During the Salon movement of the 17th century, women, thirsty for knowledge and freedom, began to read, discuss and absorb all the learning they could now get their hands on. Frequently, into that mix came sycophants and opportunists, to take advantage of the budding but not fully formed intelligence of the Women's Movement. Enter a mediocre poet with a lot of sex appeal and little literary talent, who all but seduces the leading lady, determined to be at the forefront of the movement. Equally determined to marry him off to her younger daughter (who just wants to marry her sweetheart and raise children), she bullies her meek husband into tacitly agreeing, and the machinations that follow between family members, visiting poets and maids who refuse to learn proper French are predictably and delightfully Molière.

               newsies (1)                                                                                         Centenary Stage Company continues its tradition of the Family Holiday Musical with Broadway’s smash hit musical Newsies November 24 through December 10 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Based on the 1992 motion picture, Disney’s Newsies features a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman with a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy). While on Broadway, Newsies received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged "newsies," who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.  Newsies is inspired by the real-life "Newsboy Strike of 1899," when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. Timely and fresh, the fictionalized adaptation of Newsies addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices and David-versus-Goliath struggles as the young learn to harness their power against a corrupt establishment. High-energy with non-stop thrills, the stage version introduces eight brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Santa Fe.”

artNext, Centenary Stage Company presents Art by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton February 16 through March 4 in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Winner of the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play and 1996 Olivier Award winner for Best Comedy, Art is “…a nonstop cross-fire of crackling language, serious issues of life and art expressed in outbursts that sound like Don Rickles with a degree from the Sorbonne… Reza is a fiendishly clever writer… ‘ART’ sounds like a marriage of Moliere and Woody Allen…” (Newsweek).

How much would you pay for a white painting? Would it matter who the painter was? Would it be art? One of Marc's best friends, Serge, has just bought a very expensive painting. It's about five feet by four, all white with white diagonal lines. To Marc, the painting is a joke, but Serge insists Marc doesn't have the proper standard to judge the work. Another friend, Ivan, though burdened by his own problems, allows himself to be pulled into this disagreement. Eager to please, Ivan tells Serge he likes the painting. Lines are drawn and these old friends square off over the canvas, using it as an excuse to relentlessly batter one another over various failures.

Finally, CSC wraps up their mainstage professional theater series the World Premiere of Michelle Kholos Brooks Hitler’s Tasters.  Developed in last season’s Women Playwrights Series and winner of the 2017 Susan Glaspell Award, Hitler’s Tasters runs April 6 through 22 in the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Inspired by the true story.  Three times a day, every day, a group of young women have the opportunity to die for their country. They are Adolph Hitler’s food tasters. And what do girls discuss as they wait to see if they will live through another meal? Like all girls, throughout time, they gossip and dream, they question and dance. They want to love, laugh, and above all, they want to survive.

Fringe Theatre returns to the Edith Kutz Theatre for the 2017 – 18 season as Centenary Stage Company presents three exciting performances in the third installment of the CSC Fringe Festival.  This year’s festival includes Song and Dance Men, Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show and My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually.

                Centenary stage Company’s Fringe Festival launches with Song and Dance Men October 26 – 29 in the Kutz Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Direct from New York City, Song and Dance Men features famous tunes by George Gershwin, Irving Berlin, George M. Cohan, and the dance stylings of Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and many more. Award-winning director/choreographer, Justin Boccitto is joined on stage by the talented Nicky Romaniello and Eddy Francisco while accompanied on the keys by Sol Bloch. "It's The Rat Pack with tap shoes...New York's best variety show!"  Individual performances are Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:00pm.

The CSC Fringe Festival continues with Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show November 9 – 12 in the Kutz Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Pete Seeger, America’s beloved folksinger/activist, plays a multimedia benefit concert in Washington, D.C. advocating free speech in Cuba, using his greatest songs to tell of his personal struggles for free speech in America, and how a sailboat helped clean up the Hudson River.  After his audience favorite turn as Woody Guthrie in last season’s Hard Travelin’ with Woody, Randy Noojin returns to the CSC Fringe Festival with this brand new multimedia solo show.  Individual performances are Thrusday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:00pm

Finally, the CSC Fringe Festival wraps up with My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually November 16 – 19 in the Kutz Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  After a 5-STAR run at the Edinburgh Fringe, an armful of awards, 504 living room performances and an acclaimed NYC run Gideon Irving brings his warm humor and tremendous heart to Centenary Stage Company.  Hailed as, “Eccentric and exhilarating.  The best possible combination” by Stephen Sondheim and “A cabinet of curiosities that charms and subtly plucks at your heartstrings” (theeasy.com), Gideon Irving is a theatrical couch-surfing troubadour.  He has hopped from one town to the next on bike, rollerblades, and automobiles, performing and sleeping in the homes of perfect strangers. Now, with his banjo Rossana under his arms, Gideon invites audiences into his own living room for an evening of eclectic instruments and astonishing stories as the spell he casts transports you out of this world.  Individual performances run Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 8:00pm and Sunday at 2:00pm.

Centenary Stage Company also offers a variety of “flex pass” and season subscription options.  Become a Season producer and gain access to all CSC events in the 2017 – 18 season.  Additionally, Season Subscribers gain early access to ticket sales.  Tickets are available to Season Subscribers on June 1, 2017.

CSC also offers a “Series A Flex Pass” which grants entry into ANY 7 events.  Mix and match with a combination of theatrical, music and dance events during the 2017 – 18 season.  A “Series B Flex Pass” grants entry to all four main stage shows (Learned Ladies, Newsies, Art & Hitler’s Tasters) and all three fringe shows (Song and Dance Men, Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show & My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually).  Flex passes are valid for CSC events only and do not include the NJ Civic Youth Ballet Nutcracker.  Tickets are available to the general public for purchase on June 26, 2017.

For more information, a complete listing of all 2017 – 18 Centenary Stage Company events or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900.  The box office is located in the Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ and is open Mondaythrough Friday from 1 – 5pm and two hours prior to every performance.  Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.  Like and follow to receive the latest in CSC news and special offers.

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