Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces the Cast of the Backstage, Murder-Mystery Musical "Curtains," April 27 - May 22

Guiding Light stars Robert Newman and Kim Zimmer will star in Paper Mill Playhouse's production of Curtains! Newman will play Lieutenant Frank Cioffi and Kim Zimmer will play Carmen Bernstein

(Millburn, NJ) Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) is proud to announce casting for Curtains. Directed by Mark S. Hoebee, with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, Curtains will run at the Millburn theater from April 27 through May 22, 2011. Family Week is April 27 through May 1 and during this period, children 18 and under receive half off the regular ticket price (certain restrictions apply). Curtains is generously supported by a gift from Allen and Joan Bildner. Curtains is a co-production with Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas.

Curtains will play the following performance schedule: Wednesdays at 7:30PM, Thursdays at 1:30PM & 7:30PM, Fridays at 8:00PM, Saturdays at 1:30PM & 8:00PM and Sundays at 1:30PM & 7:00PM. Single tickets are now on sale and range in price from $25 to $92. Student rush tickets are $25 and are available the day of performance in person with current student ID.  Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Box Office on Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Paper Mill Playhouse's website:  Paper Mill Playhouse gift cards, available in any denomination, can be purchased at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office.  Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express accepted.  Groups of ten or more can receive a 25% discount or more on tickets and should call 973-379-3636, extension 2438.

Aspiring actor and detective Lt. Frank Cioffi is investigating the rising body count on the set of a Broadway-bound show, and starting a romance with one of the actors. Can he solve the case without becoming one of the victims? This musical mystery-comedy was created by the team responsible for both Cabaret and Chicago. Curtains will have you on the edge of your seat. laughing!

Director Mark S. Hoebee comments, "I am thrilled to bring this fantastic cast and wonderful Kander and Ebb musical to Paper Mill Playhouse.  Curtains was a great success on Broadway and I am excited to revisit this work with television stars Kim Zimmer and Robert Newman, who will bring a new energy to this spirited musical comedy."

Curtains brings a superb cast to the Paper Mill Playhouse stage. Robert Newman and Kim Zimmer reunite onstage for Curtains after spending years as the on-screen, power couple Josh and Reva on Guiding Light. Robert Newman (Lt. Frank Cioffi) is a four-time nominee for the Soap Opera Digest Award and two-time Daytime Emmy Award nominee. He is best known for his role as Joshua Lewis on Guiding Light. Regional credits include: North Carolina Theatre's Annie; Algonquin Theater's Sessions, The Musical; Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's A Little Night Music, and extensive work in Los Angeles theatres. Kim Zimmer (Carmen Bernstein) won four Daytime Emmy Awards for 'Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series' for her portrayal of Reva Shayne on Guiding Light. Her theater experience includes off-Broadway's Love, Loss, And What I Wore and Four Dogs and a Bone

Ed Dixon (Christopher Belling) appeared in the Broadway productions of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical, Les Misérables and The Three Musketeers, among several others. National tours include: The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Pippin and Sunset Boulevard. At Paper Mill Playhouse, Mr. Dixon portrayed the Major General in Pirates!, King Charlemagne in Pippin, Max in The Sound of Music, Alfred P. Doolittle in My Fair Lady, among others.  

 Amanda Rose's (Niki Harris) credits include the Broadway production of Wicked and the national tours of Wicked, Dr. Doolittle and Oklahoma! 

Kevin Kern's (Aaron Fox) credits include: Broadway's Wicked, The Wedding Singer, and Les Misérables as well as the pre-Broadway runs of 9 to 5: The Musical and Next to Normal. Helen Anker (Georgia Hendricks) made her Broadway debut in the revival of Promises, Promises after appearing in recent West End (London) productions of Beautiful and Damned, On The Town and Parade.  

David Elder (Bobby Pepper) starred in the original Broadway production of Curtains and boasts credits that include; the national tour of Damn Yankees and Broadway's 42nd Street, Kiss Me, Kate! and Guys and Dolls. Aaron Galligan-Stierle's (Daryl Grady) Broadway credits include: Ragtime and Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.  

Dick Decareau's (Oscar Shapiro) Broadway credits include: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Raggedy Ann and the national tours of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Ragtime and Annie. Rye Mullis's (Johnny Harmon) credits include tours with Young Frankenstein and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Anne Horak (Bambi Bernstein) appeared in Broadway's Young Frankenstein and White Christmas.

Rounding out the cast are Monique Alhaddad, Ashley Arcement, Colin Bradbury, Joshua James Campbell, Lauren DeCierdo, Mathew DeGuzman, Taurean Everett, Becca Kloha, Mary Ann Lamb, Ian Liberto, Patrick O'Neill, Happy McPartlin, Molly Tynes, Kyle Vaughn and Dana Winkle.

Based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone and modified by Rupert Holmes, this Broadway gem features the razzle-dazzle musical style of celebrated songwriting duo John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (lyrics), the same pair behind hits like Cabaret and Chicago.  Additional lyrics by Kander and Holmes.

Curtains will be directed by Paper Mill Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Mark S. Hoebee, who directed last season's hit productions of Smokey Joe's Café and Peter Pan.    He has directed the Paper Mill productions of Disney High School Musical; Meet Me in St. Louis; Dreamgirls; The Will Rogers Follies; Victor/Victoria; The King and I; Miss Saigon; Grease; Harold and Maude: The Musical with Estelle Parsons; Hello, Dolly!, starring Tovah Feldshuh; Romance/Romance and Paper Mill Playhouse's critically acclaimed production of The Full Monty, featuring Elaine Stritch.  Mr. Hoebee directed the Actor's Fund Benefit Concert of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the August Wilson Theatre which starred Terrence Mann, Emily Skinner, and Jennifer Hudson. Hoebee has directed national tours of Company; Victor/Victoria; and Dreamgirls. His Broadway performance credits include: Victor/Victoria, Beauty and the Beast, Nick & Nora, and Jerome Robbins' Broadway.  He served as an Adjunct Professor in the Dance and Theatre Department at Northwestern University.

Curtains also features the work of choreographer JoAnn M. Hunter, whose productions include: Broadway's Spring Awakening, Curtains, The Wedding Singer and All Shook Up, as well as the national tour of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Joining Hoebee and Hunter on the creative team are: Tom Helm (Music Director), Randy Hansen (Sound Design), Charlie Morrison (Lighting Design) Robert Kovach (Scenic Design), and Tracy Christensen (Costume Design). The production stage manager is Thomas J. Gates.

In conjunction with Curtains, Paper Mill Playhouse is proud to announce a series of free audience enrichment activities including: The Director's Viewpoint, April 27th at 6:30pm, Conversation Club, every Thursday evening at 6:30pm and Q&A with the Cast on May 21st, following the matinee. Visit for more details on Paper Mill Playhouse's free audience enrichment activities.

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/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional support is provided by the generous contributions of numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.   

I Hate Hamlet Concludes Season of “Stage & Screen” at the Bickford!

The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, brings its 16th Season to a swash-buckling end with Paul Rudnick’s comedy hit, I Hate Hamlet, running April 28 through May 22, 2011.

Actor Andrew Rally seems to have it all: fame from his starring role in a hit TV series, a rich, beautiful girlfriend, the perfect New York apartment, and the chance to play the greatest role of all time--Hamlet in Central Park! There are, however, a couple of glitches in paradise: Andrew’s series has been cancelled, his 29-year-old girlfriend is clinging to her virginity, and he absolutely hates Hamlet!

A botched séance produces the ghost of the greatest of all Hamlets: theatre legend John Barrymore. Fortified by champagne, ego, and a cod piece, he tries to convince Andrew to accept the part and fulfill his actor’s destiny. The laughs come fast and furious as Andrew wrestles with his conscience, Barrymore, his sword, and his own codpiece in this Drama Desk and Tony Award-nominated screwball comedy, full of big laughs, romantic entanglements and even a duel!

Whether you're a die-hard Shakespeare lover or you've never understood a word he's written, you'll have a rollicking good time at I Hate Hamlet. "...hilarious... affectionately amusing about the theatre..." - The New York Times.

I Hate Hamlet stars Rick Delaney as John Barrymore, Andrew Rein as Andrew Rally, Kathleen Huber as Lillian Troy, Katrina Ferguson as Felicia Dantine, Madeline Orton as Deirdre McDavey, and Gary Martins as Gary Peter Lefkowitz.

Bickford Theatre Artistic Director, Eric Hafen, directs, with Set Design by Bill Motyka, Costume Design by Fran Harrison, Lighting Design by Chesapeake Westveer, Sound Design by Ric McAllister, and Fight Direction by Jacqueline Holloway. Heather Sehrt serves as Prop Mistress, and Yumi Matsuura serves as Production Stage Manager.

Performances of I Hate Hamlet are Thursday April 28 and May 5 at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays May 12 and May 19 at 2 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. A Special “SchoolTime” Performance will be offered on Thursday, May 19, at 10 a.m. There are no performances on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14.

On Sunday, May 15, the Bickford Theatre and the Morris Museum will be participating in “BE OUR GUEST,” as part of media Day for National Tourism Week. With a donation of canned goods for the Interfaith Food Pantry, the Museum will be offering free admission and the Bickford Theatre will be offering Buy 1/Get 1 Free tickets to I Hate Hamlet.

Reserved seats are $40 for General Public, $36 for Senior Citizens, $33 for Museum and Guild Members, and $20 for Students (18 or under or with valid college ID). To purchase tickets or for further information, please contact the Bickford Theatre Box Office at 973.971.3706 or visit us 24/7 at

About The Bickford…
The Bickford Theatre (Eric Hafen, Artistic Director; Stephen Kantrowitz, Asst. Artistic Director) is a professional theatre that produces and presents year-round entertainment, including a Main Stage Series, two Children’s Theatre series, and a Jazz Showcase. The theatre is a Senior Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization of 30 professional theatres throughout the state, and works in conjunction with Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). From its beginnings in 1994 to the present, tens of thousands of theater-goers from across the tri-state area have enjoyed the Bickford Theatre’s many entertaining and diversified offerings in theatre, music and dance. 

The Bickford Theatre is conveniently located within the Morris Museum and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Walk-up hours are Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Next at the Summit Playhouse-the musical 'Closer Than Ever'

SUMMIT, NJ – MAR. 31, 2011 - - Come out and catch CLOSER THAN EVER, a “bookless book“ musical revue, with words by Richard Maltby, Jr. and music by David Shire, at the Summit Playhouse running April 22 through May 7, 2011.
This two act musical revue features self-contained songs which deal with such diverse topics as security, aging, mid-life crisis, second marriages, working couples, and unrequited love. Maltby and Shire based many of the songs on the real-life experiences of their friends! The original revue won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway Musical and Maltby and Shire both garnered Drama Desk Award nominations for their respective contributions.

CLOSER THAN EVER features Arlene Britt, Cara Heary, Miriam Salerno, Jason Cesare, Sean Finnerty, and Peter Oliff .

The creative & production team for CLOSER THAN EVER includes Susan Speidel (Director), Bill Houpt (Musical Director), Kate Middleton (Producer), Betty Kaus (Associate Producer), Bill Roome (Lighting & Sound Designer), Justine Bailey (Stage Manager), Jaci McCoy (Asst. Stage Manager), Jim Mayfield (Set Builder), Travis McHale (Set Designer), Tina White (Set Décor), and Beverly Wand (Costume Designer).

Tickets for CLOSER THAN EVER are $25 for adults and $20 for students (18 and under). Performances run every Friday and Saturday April 22 – May 7 at 8p.m. There are also two additional performances: Thursday, April 28 at 8p.m. and Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m. The Sunday, May 1 performance is also a signed performance and an audio description is available if requested two weeks in advance. A loop-compatible Assisted Listening System is available for all performances.

Closer Than Ever is produced by special arrangement with Musical Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI (

For tickets: visit or call 908-273-2192.


The Playhouse Association was founded in 1918 as a World War I relief organization. Since then, we have mounted over 290 productions, making us one of the oldest continuously operating community theaters in the United States. We present three shows a year: a Fall show in November, a Winter show in February and March, and a Spring show in May. During the summer, Kaleidoscope, our theater for youth, presents a production for — and with! — students.
Our community service includes a benefit performance of each of our regular plays, scholarships for Dramatic Arts students, and donations of books on theater to the Summit Free Public Library.

Photo by Jordan Popalis.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Auditions: Vintage Gold-Maplewood New Jersey

Burgdoff Center, Maplewood, NJ
Audition Notice from Vintage Gold-April 10th & 11th

What: Vintage Gold Idol – Dude, You’ve Got Talent

Where: The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts,
10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ 07040 | 973-763-9357
When: April 10th & 11th

Production Dates: June 10th & 11th

Audition Times:

For ages 11yrs – 22yrs

2:00pm – 5:00pm (Sunday, April 10th)

5:00pm – 7:00pm (Monday, April 11th)

For Ages 5yrs – 11yrs (Pixie Dust Players)

7:00pm – 9:00pm (Sunday, April 10th)

7:00pm – 9:00pm (Monday, April 11th)

**11 year olds can audition for the main cast, Pixie Dust Players or both

About Vintage Gold Productions: Formed by opera singer/song writer, Alexander Kariotis in honor of his late brother who lost his battle with ALS. The goal of Vintage Gold is to use passion for the arts to benefit someone in need,who is suffering from ALS.

About the production:

Vintage Gold Idol – Dude, You’ve Got Talent is an original production created by the Vintage Gold Productions team. The script is written by the talented and hilarious Russ Crespolini, of Vintage Gold Supper Club fame. The theme will be a lampoon of all of the talent/reality shows that are so pervasive in today’s media, and will feature music from Broadway as well as popular songs.

Audition Requirements:

Ages 5-11 -please visit for audition requirements.

Ages 11-22 -Please prepare a short vocal audition for our production team. Your song choice can be either a Broadway show tune or a popular song, but please bring sheet music in the proper key for the pianist. Be prepared to sing 16 to 32 bars. Make sure your selections shows off your singing/acting ability, and your personality. You will also be asked to participate in a cold reading from the script. Although not necessary, if you have a head shot and resume reel free to bring them. Please bring your appointment calendars on that day so that you are prepared to state any rehearsal conflicts you may anticipate.

For further information or inquiries, please email us at

Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series continues next month with “Dumporama”,

The Centenary Stage Company Women Playwrights Series continues next month with a deliciously modern urban tale by Cheri Magid called “Dumporama”, which will be presented on Wednesday, Apr 13 @ 7:30 PM in the David and Carol Lackland Center on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown. 

When  busy NewYork newlyweds find themselves oversubscribed to an endless stream of social obligations, their efforts to carve out time for themselves set off a series of madcap events and remarkable revelations about the fast-paced times we live in.   “Dumporama” will be directed by Mikaela Kafka. 

Cheri Magid
 Cheri Magid’s plays, which  include  “Manna”, “The Cliffs of Moher”, and “The Lock”, have been seen at The New Group, The Women’s Project, Rattlestick, La Mama, Makor, and the West Bank Theatre in New York, M.Y.E Productions in Los Angeles, and South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa CA.  South Coast Rep commissioned her play “Et Al”,  and has also commissioned her to write an adaptation of the children’s book “The Rebellious Alphabet”.    “Lydia, or the Girl at the Wheel”, Cheri’s radio play, aired on National Public Radio in the summer of 2001. Susan Gallin, producer of “The Vagina Monologues,”optioned her play “Hot Yoga”.    “The Cliffs of Moher” is soon to be published by Pretty Things Press. Cheri is a member of The Women’s Project writers’ group in New York City. She also served as New Dramatists’ Literary Director from 1995-1999 and New York Creative Executive for Wildwood Productions, Robert Redford’s film company, from 1999-2001.

 The CSC Women Playwrights Series is dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and underserved voice of women writing for the theater today.     The Series offers emerging playwrights a chance to work with professional directors and actors in a short rehearsal period, followed by a staged reading of the work in front of a live audience, with audience feedback and discussion.   Each presentation features refreshments for all, and lively “talk-backs” with the playwright and cast following the performance. Now celebrating its 19th year, the Series features the finalists in the  Centenary Stage Company Susan Glaspell contest, which offers the winner further development support worth $30,000 in a full production on the CSC professional Equity main-stage, as well as a cash payment to the author.

 Admission to the Women Playwrights Series  is by donation, and reservations are requested for all events.   For reservations, a schedule of events and information, contact the Centenary Stage Company at 908-979-0900, or log-on to   

                The WPS is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the  Arts and CSC Members and sponsors.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is seeking volunteers

Volunteer Open House to be held Thursday, April 28

MADISON, NJ — The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is seeking volunteers to assist with ushering, concessions, and the Theatre’s gift shop during the 2011 Season which begins in June.  The Shakespeare Theatre will hold a Volunteer Open House on Thursday, April 28 at 6 p.m. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue, in Madison.   Community members interested in volunteering are invited to attend this open house to find out more about The Shakespeare Theatre and volunteer opportunities, meet the professional management staff, mingle with veteran volunteers, and learn about the 2011 Season from Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.  For more information, call 973-408-3694 or email

In return for each performance a volunteer works, they receive a ticket voucher good for one admission throughout the season.   Performances are held Tuesday through Sunday evenings and Saturday and Sunday matinees beginning June 1 at The Theatre’s Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison.  Volunteers are also needed for the Theatre’s production on its Outdoor Stage – the Greek Theatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, running June 22 through July 31.  For a full schedule, more information, or to sign up to volunteer, contact Heather Arney at 973-408-3694 or   Information about The Shakespeare Theatre can be found online at
The 2011 Main Stage Season includes Moliere’s comedy The Misanthrope (June 1 through June 26); William Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens (July 6 through July 24); Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo (August 3 through August 28); Othello by William Shakespeare (September 7 through October 2); To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee; adapted by Christopher Sergel (October 12 – November 20); and A Christmas Carol, adapted by Neil Bartlett (December 1 – January 1).   

The Shakespeare Theatre will once again present Shakespeare under-the-stars at its Outdoor Stage – the Greek Theatre at the College of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station.  William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream will run June 22 through July 31. 

For more information about volunteering, contact Heather Arney at 973-408-3694 or
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus), just minutes from Routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free.   The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors.   Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available.  Braille and large print programs are available.   Infrared listening devices are available free of charge.  Some performances are audio described, captioned and sign-language interpreted.  Contact the theatre for more information.   For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit

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

New Jersey Repertory Company to present world premiere of “Night Train”

NEWS FROM LONG BRANCH – The New Jersey Repertory Company, located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, is proud to present the world premiere of “Night Train” by John Biguenet, April 28 thru May 29, 2011.

 There is something mysterious about trains that has crept into our collective consciousness. Perhaps it is the idea of boarding a railroad car and then passively sitting back as it speeds down tracks that cross borders and are seemingly immune to barriers of terrain. Unfazed by day or night, snow or rain, up snow-peaked mountains, over lakes and tumbling rivers, through isolated forests, and meadows painted with flowers, rushing and clattering past the darkened windows of abandoned buildings, factories and tenements, and above deserted streets, providing a glimpse into the underbelly of foreboding and unfamiliar cities and towns. And then of course there are the anonymous passengers, wending their way to unknown destinations. Agatha Christie famously captured this atmosphere in her well-known mystery, “Murder On The Orient Express.” She found the setting of trains constantly inviting for telling a good thriller as she placed her illustrious protagonists, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, on other trains as well in “The Mystery Of The Blue Train” and “4:50 From Paddington.” Alfred Hitchcock capitalized on the story-telling possibilities of a train ride on the big screen when he adapted Patricia Highsmith’s novel, “Strangers On A Train,” and now New Jersey Rep perpetuates the genre by presenting the world-premiere of John Biguenet’s comic-thriller, “Night Train.”

Biguenet is a writer of varied talents who has gained prominence by publishing six books including “Oyster” and “The Torturer's Apprentice: Stories”, released by Ecco/Harper Collins. He has received an O. Henry Award for short fiction and a Harper's Magazine Writing Award, and his poems, stories and essays have appeared in “The Best American Mystery Stories”, “Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards”, “The Best American Short Stories”, “Best Music Writing”, and various anthologies. As a guest columnist for the New York Times, Biguenet chronicled his return to his home in New Orleans after the catastrophic flooding and efforts to rebuild the city. As a writer for the stage, his play “Rising Water” has won many awards and has been widely produced. He is currently the Robert Hunter Distinguished University Professor at Loyola University in New Orleans.

“Night Train” begins with Alex, a well-dressed, well-heeled banker, played by Michael Irvin Pollard, riding the midnight train alone in his first-class compartment. His starting point and his destination are unclear but we know that he will arrive by morning, anxious to rejoin his young wife. Into his compartment barges Max, a gregarious stranger played by Philip Lynch, who claims that he is seeking refuge from a noisy second-class compartment nearby. Like the speeding train the play takes many twists and turns and when Max introduces Alex to the sultry and mysterious Marta played by Maria Silverman, we know that we have boarded a train where all our expectations will be derailed and where our final destination will remain shrouded by the drifting smoke of the locomotive until the final jarring stop.

“Night Train” is directed by NJ Rep’s Artistic Director, SuzAnne Barabas. Performances are Thursdays, Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 pm, April 28 – May 29. Special reduced price previews are on Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Opening night with reception is Saturday, April 30 at 8:00 pm. There is no matinee April 30.
Tickets are $40; Previews are $35; Opening night with reception is $60. Discounts are available to seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more.
For tickets call 732-229-3166 or visit for online ticketing.

NJ Rep is a non-profit, professional theater located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, only minutes from the Jersey Shore. Free on-site parking and easy access from NJ Transit (North Jersey Coast Line) and Academy Buses.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Auditions: Chester Theatre Group-'Grey Gardens'

The Chester Theatre Group will hold open auditions for the musical, GREY GARDENS on Sunday, April 17th at 2.00pm and Monday, April 18th at 7.00pm at The Black River Playhouse (corner of Grove St & Maple Ave in Chester, NJ). 
Performances are planned for weekends in July, 2011 (Friday & Saturday evenings and 2 Sunday matinees).  Those interested in auditioning are asked to arrive in the first 30 minutes of the audition, and should bring music in an appropriate key (accompanist will be provided).  Each Auditioner will sing first and may be asked to stay and read from the script.  Call Backs (if needed) will be by appointment.   This CTG production will be co-directed by Jeffrey Fiorello and Mark Happel, with musical direction by Clifford Parish  and choreography by Billy Brisley.

Available Roles:
Edith Bouvier Beal (Act I) / ‘Little’ Edie Beal (Act II):  (Female: plays mid 40's - mid 50's).  Must be excellent actress and a singer with a large, flexible range (ability to sing both legit and belt).  
Edith Bouvier Beal 1970's (Act II):  (Female: plays 70's).  Must be an excellent actress and a singer with a strong belt style voice (and an ability to sing legit).  
‘Little’ Edie Beal (Act I) / Ensemble (Act II):  (Female: plays mid 20's).  Excellent singer, strong soprano mix.  
Joseph Patrick Kennedy, Jr. (Act I) / Jerry (Act II):  (Male: plays mid 20's).  Strong singer; lyric baritone.  
George Gould Strong (Act I) / Ensemble (Act II):  (Male: plays mid 30's - 40's).  Strong tenor voice; this character is accompanist of Edith Beal - piano skills are a plus, but NOT required.  
J.V. ‘Major’ Bouvier (Act I) / Norman Vincent Peale (Act II):  (Male: plays early - mid 70's).  Character Actor; baritone.  
Brooks Sr. (Act I) /Brooks Jr. (Act II):  (Male - African American: plays 30's).  
Jacqueline Bouvier:  (Female, 12-16 yrs old: plays 12 years old) Edith’s niece; will become Jacqueline Kennedy.  
Lee Bouvier:  (Female, 10-14 yrs old: plays 9 years old) Edith’s niece, a bit of a tom-boy; will become Lee Radziwell. 

 GREY GARDENS is based (in part) on the Albert & David Maysels documentary concerning the relationship between Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ eccentric aunt and cousin.  The touching and heart felt musical explores the unconventional mother-daughter relationship between former socialite Edith Bouvier Beal and her adult daughter Little Edie “body beautiful” Beal.  GREY GARDENS tells an entertaining and poignant story of two unconquerable women, once known as two of the brightest stars in the social register, who later become East Hampton’s most infamous “reclusive inhabitants”, sharing a rundown 28 room mansion with 52 stray cats and rabid racoons.  From the glittering high society of 1940's New York to the tabloid headlines that rocked the Kennedy clan in the 1970's, GREY GARDENS hurls you into American royalty and leaves you to ponder the questions: “when do private lives become public fascinations?; How much is too much?; and Where does it stop?”   

Centenary Stage Company to present world premiere of 'How to Pray'

A reminder: Winner of the 2010 Susan Glaspell Contest for best new play, “How to Pray” by Michelle Carter will enjoy its World Premiere at the Centenary Stage Company on Friday night April 1, 2011 in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

With a surly house cat, an irrepressible dog that Faith adopted from a local shelter, a social-networking boyfriend,  and a transgender, karaoke-singing friend, “How to Pray” is highly theatrical, and is filled with humor of the divine comedy that Faith’s life   is.  When her brother comes to Faith  for help, she  could not have imagined the complications which would ensue, which ultimately thrust Faith into a life-changing ethical and moral dilemma. 

“It is ultimately a play about choice,” Catherine Rust, Program Director of the CSC Playwright Series states, “ and the unique situation that women and men find themselves in  today’s culture of miraculous technology,  and the redefinition of the nature of  ‘family.’  It is the perfect complement to March’s Women’s History Month celebrations.”
A resident of San Francisco, playwright Michelle Carter  received the PEN USA Literary Award in Drama for her first two plays, Hillary and Soon-Yi Shop  for Ties and Ted Kaczynski Killed People With  Bombs, both of which premiered at San Francisco's Magic Theatre.  She was the first American playwright-in-residence at the Donmar Warehouse in London.   Her  PEN-Award-winning plays are published by Dramatic Publishing  and "Prometheus" appears in Plays for Actresses II (Vintage).   Her first novel was published by Penguin Books.

“How to Pray” received development in the 2010 CSC Women Playwrights Series, as well as in the Mark Taper Forum(a world-class venue for new American plays located in Los Angeles), where Carter was the recipient of the Forum Playwrighting Commission.   The Taper commission put Carter among the elite in contemporary American playwriting. Other writers selected for the honor include the Tony Award-winning David Henry Hwang, Naomi Izuka, Jon Robin Baitz, Lisa Loomer and the Latino performance group, Culture Clash.

Steven Patterson, Colin Ryan and Amanda Duarte   
Theatre Company in Washington, D.C..

The play will be directed by Margo Whitcomb, who shares credits at San Francisco’s Magic Theatre, which has also produced Carter’s earlier plays.  Whitcomb was the former Associate Artistic Director of the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and is a founding Artistic Director of the Hudson Valley’s Half Moon Theatre Company.

The cast of “How to Pray” will feature Amanda Duarte, Steven Patterson and Colin Ryan.  Duarte’s credits include theatres from California to New York, where she also directs and is a monologist and storyteller, performing at such venues as  Caroline's and the Upright Citizens Brigade.  Patterson’s credits include Shakespeare festivals from Orlando to Oregon, as well as performances in New York and regionally.  Ryan  returns to CSC where he played David Garrick in the American revival of “A Laughing Matter.  He is a MFA graduate of the Academy for Classical Acting, under the director of Michael Kahn and the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C..

Tickets for “How to Pray” range in price from $ 20 to $25, with special discounts for seniors, students and groups.  A special tradition locally for the economically-minded, Thursday evenings at CSC are “Family Nights” with two-for-one ‘rush’ ticket prices available at the door on the evening of the performance.

Tickets are available online at, and at the CSC box office 908-979-0900, Monday through Friday, from 1-5 PM.    Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2:30 PM, Thursdays at 7:30 PM, with matinee performances on Fri, Apr 1 at 2:30 PM (Preview), Wed, Apr 6  at 2:30 PM and  Wed., Apr 13 at 2:30 PM.  The play will be performed in the Edith Bolte Kutz Theater of the new David and Carol Lackland Center on the campus of Centenary College.

Performances at CSC are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, Heath Village Retirement Community, Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, Helga and Ed Coyne, Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Residence Inn- Marriott Mt Olive,  and CSC members and sponsors.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bergen County Players' Glengarry Glen Ross on until April 16

Bergen County Players (BCP) premiered on March 26th Glengarry Glen Ross, the hard-hitting portrait of cut-throat office politics and BCP’s first foray into the world of David Mamet. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Glengarry Glen Ross features sharp dialogue, compelling characters and strong social commentary. Under the direction of Alyson Cohn of Wyckoff, Glengarry Glen Ross will be performed at the Little Firehouse Theatre in Oradell from now through April 16th, 2011 with shows at 8pm on Friday and Saturday and 2pm on Sunday.  

Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 201-261-4200, or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office hours.  
Inspired partly by Mamet’s stint as a typist in a Chicago real estate office during the late 1960s, Glengarry Glen Ross is a scalding dark comedy, driven by the playwright’s trademark staccato and profanity-laced dialogue. The play won the 1983 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 1984 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. A 2005 Broadway revival won both the Drama Desk Award and the Tony Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play. A 1992 film adaptation by Mamet further solidified Glengarry’s place as one of the great masterpieces of 20th century drama.  Here is Mamet at his very best, writing with brutal power and the tough life of tough characters who cajole, connive, wheedle and wheel and deal for a piece of the action, where closing a sale can mean a brand new Cadillac but losing one can mean losing it all.
Scathingly funny, with a thrilling whodunit at its core, Glengarry exposes a dog-eat-dog world in which small-time real estate brokers vie for the hot leads at a Chicago firm selling shoddy properties. With money, egos and jobs on the line, the cut-throat salesmen will stop at nothing to get their fair share of the American Dream. This gritty story of shifting values in the male-dominated workplace is as potent and exhilarating as ever!

Glengarry Glen Ross is directed by Alyson Cohn of Wyckoff who says,Glengarry is a revolutionary piece of theater and one of the very best American plays of the 20th century. Mamet’s language has the visceral power of machine gun fire and the savage grace of a puma. In short, it’s theatrical perfection.” Alyson is both a seasoned BCP performer and director. Her directing credits at BCP include One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Angels in America: Millennium Approaches; Six Degrees of Separation; The Heidi Chronicles; Proposals; True West; Art; and Proof, which won the 2006 Perry Award for Best Production of a Play. She has appeared on the BCP stage in many productions including The Full Monty, A Year With Frog and Toad, Little Shop of Horrors, Into the Woods, and Vanities, among others. Alyson is the founder and director of Music Together of Northern NJ, an acclaimed music program for young children and their caregivers.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better cast,” says Cohn. “The connection and level of dedication among the cast members is truly amazing.” Ricky Roma, the most successful salesman in the office, is played by Larry Kadish of New Milford. Frank Osmers of Haworth plays Shelly “The Machine” Levene, an older, once-successful salesman who has fallen on hard times. Glengarry marks Larry and Frank’s fourth collaboration with Alyson. Larry appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Angels in America and Frank appeared in Proof and True West, among others. Frank’s most recent appearance was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Hackensack resident Rich Ardito appears as George Aaronow, a follower with low self esteem and no confidence in his sales ability. Jon Cole of Glen Rock appears as John Williamson, the office manager, who is despised but needed by the salesmen. This is Rich and Jon’s second collaboration with Alyson, both having appeared in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Dave Moss, a big-mouthed hothead with big dreams and schemes, is portrayed by Steven Reyngoudt of Hasbrouck Heights. Tom Lambrix of Franklin Lakes plays James Lingk, a timid, middle-aged man who becomes Roma’s latest client, with disturbing results. Glengarry Glen Ross marks Steven and Tom’s debut at the Little Firehouse Theatre. Jim Lugo of Congers, NY plays Baylen, the police detective who is investigating the office break-in around which the plot revolves. Jim’s most recent BCP appearance was in Curtains.

The production team includes Marisa Dolkart and Kathie Robitz (Producers), Meg Renton and Janica Carpenter (Assistants to the Director); Steve Moldt (Set Design and Construction); Lauren Zenreich (Décor); Allan Seward (Lighting Design); Rob DeScherer (Sound Design); Katie Lupfer (Costumes); Pat Bain, Rosella DeVincenzo, and Joanne Guarnaccia (Properties and Crew); John Kiely and Emily Nelson (Lighting Operators); Glenn Rombough and Rob DeScherer (Sound Operators); and Alan Zenreich (Photography).
This production contains mature themes and language.
  • All performances take place at The Little Firehouse Theatre at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, home to the Bergen County Players for 62 years.
  • Tickets for Glengarry Glen Ross are $19 for Friday and Saturday performances and $16 for Sunday matinee performances, and can be purchased online at, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office hours.  Visa, Master Card, and American Express are accepted.
  • Those interested in Group Sales of 20 or more tickets can call (201) 262-0515.
  • Student Rush tickets are available for $5 for students age 25 and under with valid ID, 30 minutes prior to curtain. One ticket per ID. Cash only. Students can also guarantee their seats in advance either online or through the box office for the special student price of just $14.00.
  • Parking is free at the Park Avenue municipal lot, across the street, one-half block north of the theater.
The Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small community theater when it was founded in 1932; today, nearly 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the nine productions presented each season.
Further information can be found at
The Bergen County Players, Inc. is a non-Equity, non-profit community theater company dedicated to presenting quality productions for the enrichment of the community and is a member of the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters.

McCarter Theatre's 2011-12 season


(Princeton, NJ)  McCarter Theatre announces its 2011-2012 Theater Season, which will feature three bold world premieres, a new romantic musical with music by Rodgers and Hart, and an intellectual high-speed rompby one of the most celebrated dramatists of our time.
Artistic Director Emily Mann will stage the world premiere productions of Phaedraby Marina Carr, one of Ireland’s premier contemporary playwrights, and The Convert by Danai Gurira, one of the most sought-after young playwrights in the country. The third world premiere of the season, John Guare’s newest play Are You There, McPhee?is a McCarter commission and will be directed by Sam Buntrock.  The two other productions will be Travesties, a comedy by legendary British playwright Tom Stoppard, and a new musical, Ten Cents A Dance, conceived and directed by Tony Award winning director John Doyle.
Emily Mann said that the 2011-2012 season “truly embodies McCarter’s mission to present an unparalleled variety of entertaining, diverse and thought-provoking programming with the most exciting of the world’s theater artists.”
“McCarter is also committed to commissioning, developing and producing ambitious new works that will become a vital part of the national and international repertoire. This season, for the first time, McCarter will be presenting three world premieres, which I find both challenging and absolutely exhilarating.  McCarter was one of the first theaters in this country to present Marina Carr’s work beginning in 1996 with The Mai, and it’s a privilege to present her newest play, Phaedra, to our audiences.”
“Finally,” remarked Mann, “it is thrilling to present the world premiere of theatrical giant, John Guare, in the same season as America’s rising star playwright, Danai Gurira, demonstrating the range of artists we are committed to supporting on our stage.”
To kick off the new season, Tony Award-winning director John Doyle will bring his trademark twist to the Rodgers and Hart songbook with Ten Cents A Dance, a stylish new production with a cast that doubles as the orchestra. Rodgers and Hart’s jazzy and sophisticated tunes will keep you bewitched, bothered, and bewildered in this inventive song-cycle.  A co-production with Williamstown Theatre Festival. September 9 through October 9, 2011 (Berlind Theatre).

The season continues with the world premiere of Phaedra by Marina Carr, directed by Emily Mann. The mythic and the modern collide in a lyrical and fierce new adaptation of the classic Phaedra myth. In a triumphant return to McCarter, Marina Carr, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary playwrights, pens a seductive, poetic, and brave work that explores the inexorable pull of fate, the labyrinth of legacy, and the danger of desire. October 18 through November 6, 2011. (Matthews Theatre)

McCarter will welcome the New Year with US-based Zimbabwean actress and playwright Danai Gurira’s powerful new play, The Convert, directed by Ms. Mann. Set amid the colonial scramble for southern Africa in 1895, The Convert tells the tale of Jekesai, a young girl who escapes from a forced marriage by becoming the newest convert of a well-meaning black catechist for the Catholic Church. When a civil uprising against colonial white rule disrupts their lessons, the girl and her teacher must find their place in a new world order that threatens their heritage, history, and faith.  Prodigiously talented playwright Danai Gurira (Eclipsed and In the Continuum) has written an unflinching, startling, and compelling new play, filled with humor and compassion. The Convert is a co-production with The Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL) and Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA), who also commissioned the work. January 13 through February 12, 2012. (Berlind Theatre)

Next up is Tom Stoppard’s classic comedy: Travesties, directed by Sam Buntrock. Take one part Wilde, a touch of Lenin, a dash of Dada, a pinch of Joyce and you’ve got Tom Stoppard’s absurdly hilarious Travesties. This is Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Shakespeare in Love) at his best: a dazzling medley of literature, philosophy, politics and history.  The wildest revolutionary minds of the 20th century come alive in this romantic and achingly funny modern masterpiece. March 13 through April 1, 2012. (Matthews Theatre)

Rounding out the 2011-2012 Theater Season will be the world premiere of Are You There, McPhee?  by master American playwright John Guare (House of Blue Leaves, Six Degrees of Separation) who takes us on an epic and suspenseful ride in his newest play. Trapped in a house with a mysterious past, Edmund Gowery knows the only way to escape is to change his life—he just doesn’t know how. Guare spins a darkly comic and spine-tingling tale in what promises to be an unforgettable theatrical experience.  May 4 through June 3, 2012. (Berlind Theatre)

To subscribe to the 2011-2012 Theater Season, call 609.258.5050 or visit McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ.

Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre Center, located in Princeton, New Jersey, (Emily Mann, Artistic Director; Timothy J. Shields, Managing Director) is recognized as one of the foremost performing arts centers in this country to serve as both a professional producing theater and a major presenter of the performing arts. McCarter achieves this distinction by commissioning, developing and producing ambitious new works that infuse the national and international repertoire with fresh vitality, while also creating provocative and original productions of classic plays and modern masterpieces. Beginning with the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in 1938, McCarter Theatre has consistently launched significant productions whose impact is felt long after the closing performance. Ultimately, McCarter strives to create work that engages in the questions of our time, producing stories that resonate across cultural divides and fostering dialogue between world events and the work on our stages.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway at the George Street Playhouse

Three words best describe the new farce "Ken Ludwig's The Fox on the Fairway" that opened this past Friday night at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.....Hilarious, hilarious, and hilarious. This is a very, very funny physical comedy directed by GSP Artistic Director David Saint  featuring an outstanding cast led by Peter Scolari (Emmy winner from the Newhart tv series), Michael Mastro, director of last month's "The Subject was Roses," Mary Testa, Amy Hohn (replacing the previously announced Nancy Opel) and newcomers Reggie Gowland and  Lisa McCormick, as young lovers. The play is written by the three time Tony nominee and Laurence Olivier Award winner Ken Ludwig (Lend Me A Tenor, Crazy For You, Moon Over Buffalo, etc.).
What's it about? As the title suggests, it is set on a golf course. In this case the Quail Valley Country Club... the scene of the annual inter-club golf tournament with arch rival Crouching Squirrel Country Club. The two rival country club executives, Peter Scolari as Bingham of Quail Valley, whose job is on the line since his team has not won in the past five years, and Michael Mastro as Dickie Bell of Crouching Squirrel, the pompous, arrogant, womanizer make an absurd personal that the Quail exec clearly cannot afford to lose. At the time of the wager each believes he has the advantage, but the tables keep turning at a mad-cap pace that may remind you of the Marx Brothers at their absolute zaniest.

Peter Scolari as Bingham
Peter Scolari is perfect as Bingham. He's fighting for his job at Quail Valley and just plain fighting with his battle-axe of a wife Muriel, played nicely by Mary Testa. Bingham's take on marriage is a bit grim, he states that "marriage is the state just above Alaska, with the same type of conditions....frozen with no drilling." 

The multi-talented (director-actor) Michael Mastro is, as the Brits say, 'spot on' in his portrayal of the stuffed shirt, somewhat venomous  Dickie, who, when not cheating with women or golf, is constantly misusing popular expressions, e.g. "You can't make straw without bricks". Throughout the play he sports the most outlandish golf-themed from a secret admirer.
Michael Mastro,Amy Hohn,Peter Scolari

The wonderful stage and film veteran Amy Hohn is the sexy club board member Pamela...who provides aid and comfort to the mostly distraught Bingham. She's been married several times and participates in only two sports...smoking and drinking. In regard to drinking, she says "I could never hold my liquor....2 or 3 bottles at most!" Reggie Gowland Is teriffic as Justin the young lover. And then there is the tiny enormous bundle of energy, Lisa McCormick. She's marvelous as Louise the club bar maid and fiancee to Justin.

The play takes place in the Tap Room of the Quail Valley Country Club (Terrific set). The time is now. Nice touch: the recorded musical breaks are appropriately from the wacky Pee-Wee Herman songbook.

Bottom line: This is a broad clever farce, tightly directed, beautifully performed and loaded with belly-laughs. The audience from the beginning to the brilliant ending was howling with joy. If laughter is truly the best medicine, treat yourself to a magnum of it at the George Street Playhouse.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  March 26, 2011

Note: Last week in our review of the Paper Mill's wonderful production of "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" we declared it "The comedy event of the season" after viewing "The Fox on the Fairway" we declare them tied. We are blessed with great theater, great talent in our own backyard.

Special mention is also in order for David Saint's excellent production crew:  scenic designer Michael Anania, costume designer David Murin and lighting and sound designer Christopher J. Bailey and production stage manager C. Renee Alexander. Plus, Kelly Ryman in the critical, but often over-looked, position of  Director of Marketing and Public Relations.

Tickets and flexible admission packages are now available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office, 732-246-7717, or online at  In addition, groups of 10 or more are entitled to a group discount.  For further information on booking your group contact the GSP Group Sales Department at 732-846-2895, ext. 134 or 155.  George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district, steps away from fine dining for every cuisine and budget, as well as convenient parking and public transportation.

Reggie Gowland as Justin and Peter Scolari as Bingham

More about the playwright and director:
Ken Ludwig is an internationally acclaimed playwright whose many hits on Broadway, in London’s West End and throughout the world have made his name synonymous with modern comedy. He has won the Laurence Olivier Award, England’s highest theatre honor, as well as three Tony Award nominations and two Helen Hayes Awards. His work has been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and has been performed in at least thirty countries in over twenty languages. His musical Crazy For You ran for over four years on Broadway and in London. Lend Me a Tenor, originally produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber and recently revived on Broadway, was called “one of the two great farces by a living writer” by The New York Times. Other plays and musicals include Moon Over Buffalo (Broadway & London’s Old Vic, starring Carol Burnett, Lynn Redgrave, Joan Collins & Frank Langella); Twentieth Century (Broadway, starring Alec Baldwin & Anne Heche); The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Broadway); Treasure Island (London, Theatre Royal, Haymarket; 2009 AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation); Shakespeare in Hollywood (commissioned by The Royal Shakespeare Company, Helen Hayes Award as Best Play); Leading Ladies; Be My Baby (starring Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter); The Beaux' Stratagem (adaptation with Thornton Wilder at the request of the Wilder Estate); The Three Musketeers (Bristol Old Vic); An American in Paris; Sullivan & Gilbert; The Fox on the Fairway; Sherlock!. He studied music at Harvard with Leonard Bernstein and theatre history at Cambridge University in England. For more information, please visit

David Saint Now in his thirteenth season at George Street Playhouse, Artistic Director David Saint has directed twenty-eight mainstage productions, most recently the world premiere of Joe DiPietro’s Creating Claire, Boyd Gaines, Rachel Dratch, Kathleen McNenny and Stephen De Rosa in A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia, Marlo Thomas and Keith Carradine in Arthur Laurents’ New Year’s Eve, Matthew Arkin in Donald Margulies’ Sight Unseen, Jack Klugman and Paul Dooley in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys; William Finn’s landmark musical Falsettos, the film noir musical Gunmetal Blues, Inspecting Carol, the world premiere of Arthur Laurents’ 2 Lives, The Last Five Years, Lend Me a Tenor, the world premiere of Charles Evered’s Celadine starring Amy Irving and Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick…BOOM!.  Mr. Saint’s time in New Brunswick has been marked by collaborations with such artists as Uta Hagen, A.R. Gurney, Arthur Laurents, George Grizzard, Chita Rivera, Eli Wallach , Frances Sternhagen, Anne Meara, Dan Lauria, Stephen Sondheim and Jack Klugman.

An ardent advocate for new work, Mr. Saint created the Next Stage Festival of New Plays at George Street where the recent Broadway hit and Tony Award-winner Proof by David Auburn was developed before moving on to Manhattan Theatre Club and Broadway, becoming the longest-running play in two decades and the most produced play in the nation during the 2002-03 season.  Another success story emerging from the Festival is The Spitfire Grill, which won the prestigious Richard Rodgers Award for New American Musicals and was produced under Mr. Saint’s direction at Playwrights Horizons in New York, winning Drama Desk, Drama-League and Outer Critics Circle award nominations, before becoming one of the most produced plays in the nation during the 2004-05 season, generating more than 100 productions across the country.  Another new work which began its life at George Street Playhouse is The Toxic Avenger, the musical by Joe DiPietro and David Bryan that moved to New York, won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best New Musical, and has gone on to multiple productions worldwide.

Mr. Saint was recently a panelist for the Philadelphia Theatre Initiative for the Pew Charitable Trust, has taught at Bennington College, and directed the short film Celebrity. He is the recipient of the Alan Schneider Award, Helen Hayes Award, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, and several Drama-Logue Awards.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the recent Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 60,000 students annually.   This production of Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway is made possible in part through the generosity of The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.  George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by its lead season sponsor Johnson & Johnson.  Continental Airlines is the official airline of George Street Playhouse.

Photos by T.Charles Erickson

Friday, March 25, 2011

A brief history of The Paper Mill Playhouse


How It All Began

In 1795, Samuel Campbell opened The Thistle Paper Mill on the site of the current Paper Mill Playhouse. Destroyed by a fire in the 1860’s, it was rebuilt and continued to operate for another 35 years. In 1934, Antoinette Scudder purchased the then-derelict paper mill with the vision of creating a permanent repertory theater.

1930’s & 40’s

Carrington ScudderIn November of 1938, Paper Mill Playhouse opens its doors with The Kingdom of God, a play by Martinez Sierra. Sixteen plays are produced over the next two years.
  • In addition, Frank Carrington and Antoinette Scudder put on the First New Jersey Theater Festival and established a theater school for children.
  • “The Paper Miller” becomes the Morris-Essex Railroad’s solution for limited travel due to gas rationing during war years. Patrons picked up the train in Newark and the railroad arranged to pick up audience members after the curtain went down at Paper Mill Playhouse.

1950’s & 60’s

  • In addition to operettas, more musicals and plays are incorporated into the Playhouse’s repertoire and guest directors are frequently employed along with many stars of stage and screen.  Angelo Del Rossi is hired as the casting director and later becomes Associate Producer.  
  • Antoinette Scudder, the matriarch of Paper Mill Playhouse, passes away in 1958 leaving behind a legacy as an arts philanthropist.  
  • The 60’s are filled with star power, including Donna McKechnie, Jane Fonda, Arlene Francis, Celeste Holm, Joan Fontaine, Eve Arden, Constance Bennett, Mike Nichols, Jean Stapleton and Shelley Winters, Tom Bosley, Walter Pidgeon, Eileen Brennan, Margaret O’Brien, Tallulah Bankhead and Myrna Loy, Chita Rivera, Carol Channing, Gene Wilder, Eva Gabor, Claudette Colbert, Cyril Ritchard, June Allyson, Dana Andrews, Betty White, George Hamilton, Bert Lahr, Beatrice Lillie, Dom DeLuise Maureen, Stapleton, George Grizzard, Piper Laurie, Barbara Cooke, Sandy Duncan, Nancy Walker, and Fabian.
  • By the end of the 1960’s, Paper Mill Playhouse had produced 145 productions.


  • Governor William Cahill proclaims Paper Mill Playhouse the "State Theatre of New Jersey" and The New Jersey Ballet makes its debut with Nutcracker Suite.  Frank Carrington passes on, leaving a legacy of producing great productions established over four decades at Paper Mill Playhouse.  Angelo Del Rossi assumes the leadership position as the new Executive Producer.
  • The star power continues through the 70’s. Multiple Tony® Award and Golden Globe® Award winner Bernadette Peters performs in Dames at Sea. Mickey Rooney stars in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Helen Gallagher reprises her Tony Award-winning role in No, No, Nanette. Future Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze dances in the chorus of The Music Man, Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller headline Prisoner of Second Avenue, and Ann Miller stars in Anything Goes.


  • Sadly, a major fire burns Paper Mill Playhouse to the ground on January 14,1980. However, in 1982 – The new Paper Mill Playhouse opens with an opening night gala that mixes celebrities and longtime Paper Mill supporters in the newly built theater, complete with accessible seating and an infrared listening system.  Jason Robards and Coleen Dewhurst headline the amazing cast of You Can't Take It With You which then transfers to The Kennedy Center and on to Broadway where it is filmed for "Broadway on Showtime."
  • The mid-80’s mark the start of sign-interpreted and audio-described performances and sensory seminars.  Robert Johanson is appointed Artistic Director of Paper Mill Playhouse.  Johanson creates new works, revisits classics, and adapts literature for the stage during his time at Paper Mill Playhouse.
  • In 1986, the National Endowment for the Arts ranks Paper Mill Playhouse second in the nation for artistic excellence, surpassed only by the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
  • The star power continues with Emmy Award winner Tony Randall performing in Two Into One and Lee Roy Reams heading the cast of La Cage Aux Folles.
  • Showboat is nationally broadcast on the PBS “Great Performances” series and receives two Emmy Award nominations.
  • The Paper Mill Playhouse’s Education Department is created.


  • The Wizard of Oz opens Paper Mill’s tenth season in the current theatre.  Academy Award nominee Rob Marshall (Chicago) makes his professional directing debut with a steller production of Chess.
  • Future Tony Award winner and television star Kristin Chenoweth makes her professional debut in Animal Crackers in 1993.
  • Mark S. Hoebee directs his first Paper Mill production with an acclaimed revival of Dreamgirls.
  • The Rising Star Awards are created to encourage and reward excellence in New Jersey’s high school musicals. In addition, the Summer Musical Theater Conservatory begins and the annual New Voices concert debuts.
  • In 1997, film actress Anne Hathaway is featured in Paper Mill Playhouse’s New Voices Concert after attending Paper Mill’s theatre school for several years. In addition, Rising Star Award-winner and future Tony Award-winning Broadway star Laura Benanti receives her Actors’ Equity Card in Man of La Mancha and the East Coast premiere of Stephen Schwartz's and John Caird’s Children of Eden results in Paper Mill’s first original cast album.
  • The critical acclaim continues. In 1998, Ann Miller and Donna McKechnie lead the all-star cast of the acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, generating international attention, and Gypsy starring Betty Buckley and Deborah Gibson is named one of the “Top Ten Theatrical Events of the Year” by USA Today. In 1999, Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of Crazy for You is nationally broadcast on the PBS "Great Performances Series" and nominated for an Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners Christine Ebersole and Kelly Bishop star in Mame.


  • Mark S. Hoebee joins the Playhouse staff as Assocate Director.  In 2003 Angelo Del Rossi retires as Executive Producer and Michael Gennaro leaves Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre Company to become Paper Mill's President and CEO.
  • In 2007, a financial crisis causes Paper Mill Playhouse to launch a “Save the Theatre” campaign to enable the 2006-2007 season to finish its productions of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Pirates!. The community comes together and donates more than one million dollars in four weeks.
  • In January of 2008, Mark S. Hoebee is promoted to Artistic Director and joins Executive Director Mark W. Jones in taking the reins of the theater. In June of the same year, Millburn Township votes to purchase Paper Mill Playhouse’s four-acre site and buildings for nine million dollars, marking the first time in New Jersey’s history that a municipality has supported an arts organization at such a high level. That September, Paper Mill Playhouse opened its 70th Anniversary Season, continuing with its commitment to the arts and education through high-quality, innovative theater performances and training programs