Wednesday, July 27, 2011

13 The Musical at The Pennington Players at Mercer's Kelsey Theatre

Now Playing: 13 The Musical
 July/August, 2011 
For Tickets Call 609-570-3333 
Tickets Now On Sale, Call or Click to Order
13 The Musical
13 The Musical
July 29, 30; Aug 5, 6, 2011 at 7:30pm
July 31, Aug 7, 2011 at 2pm

Adults $16, Seniors $14;
Students/Children $12

The Pennington Players present an all-teenage cast in "13 the Musical," a grown-up tale about growing up, at Mercer County Community's Kelsey Theatre. Dates and show times are: Fridays, July 29 and Aug. 5 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, July 30 and August 6 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, July 31 and August 7 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is conveniently located on the college's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night show on July 29.

With a lively rock 'n roll score by the Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown and librettists Dan Elish and Robert Horn, "13" follows 13-year-old Evan Goldman, who moves from New York City to Appleton, Indiana, in the wake of his parents' divorce. Evan is in survival mode -- just hoping to make friends and get through his first year at Dan Quayle Junior High School. But before he knows it, the school's star quarterback is on his case, his only new friend, Patrice, isn't talking to him, and the rumors are flying. This high energy musical about the pains of growing up is for anyone who has ever been a teen!

The show stars Tanner Mead, of Burlington, as Evan Goldman; Matthew Blazejewski, of Trenton, as Archie; Meredith Brandt, of Voorhees, as Patrice; Wesley Cappiello, of Hamilton, as Brett; Melissa Geerlof, of Mercerville, as Molly; Jared Kirsch, of Livingston, as Eddie; Natalia Maccaroni, of Robbinsville, as Lucy; Caroline Purdy, of Cranbury, as Cassie; Karaline Rosen, of Robbinsville, as Charlotte; Nicky Rosolino of Princeton as Simon; Ellen Rothfuss, of Roosevelt, as Kendra; J. Scott, of Allentown, as Malcolm; and Uvay Trivedi, of Columbus, as Richie.

Two local teen bands will be featured as pre-show entertainment prior to several performances. (A ticket to the show is required to hear the bands.) Read more about the bands and their performance dates and times here.

Director Laurie Gougher is thrilled to bring "13" to the Kelsey stage. "It's a wonderful story about that awkward phase in life when kids have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood. The show will appeal to everyone - current teens, younger kids anticipating their teen years, parents looking for insight into the teenage mindset, and nostalgic adults." Goucher adds that the music is contagious, with original rock numbers, get-up-and-dance R&B, and soulful ballads that explore a wide spectrum of adolescent emotions. The musical enjoyed a run on Broadway from 2008-09.

Gougher notes that the cast is delightful. "I really enjoy working with young actors, especially at this age. They are smart and talented and just coming into their own. Teenage actors are often dismissed as too old to play cute children, yet too young to play adult roles. It's the kind of show where a young actor can really blossom and I'm proud to be a part of that."
The "13" cast, front row from left, Jared Kirsch,
Caroline Purdy and Matthew Blazejewski; 
standing from left, J Scott, Melissa Geerlof,
Karaline Rosen, Tanner Mead (as Evan 
Goldman), Meredith Brandt, Wesley 
Cappiello,Ellen Rothfuss, Uvay Trivedi
and Natalia Maccaroni. Not pictured: Nicky
From left, Ellen Rothfuss as Kendra, Wesley 
Cappiello as Brett and Natalia Maccaroni as Lucy.
From left, J. Scott as Malcolm, Jared Kirsch as 
Eddie, Uvay Trivedi as Richie, Wesley Cappiello 
as Brett and Natalia Maccaroni as Lucy.
The production staff also includes Beverly Kuo Hamilton, producer and stage manager; Peter de Mets, musical director; John Boccanfuso, choreographer; Ben Burwell, lighting design; and Kathy Slothower, costume design.
Tickets are $16 for adults; $14 for seniors, and $12 for students and children. Free parking is available next to the theater. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible.
Closing out the Kelsey Summer Festival is "Forever Plaid," a musical homage to guy groups of the 50's, Aug. 19-28.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: Beyond Therapy at The Princeton Summer Theater

It is time for wacky fun at the Princeton Summer Theater's third production of the season, "Beyond Therapy" written by Christopher Durang and directed by Sarah Outhwaite. The play is a 1970's screwball comedy that's all about lampooning therapy. (Note: For mature audiences only.) 

At the center of the play is Prudence (Claire Helene), a writer for People Magazine, who answers a personal ad placed by Bruce (Jack Berenholtz), a lawyer, who just happens to be bi-sexual. He lives with his boyfriend Bob (David Bevis) and has placed the ad for female companionship at the urging of his flaky therapist, Charlotte (Katherine Grant-Suttie). 

The play opens with Bruce seated at a table in a small Manhattan restaurant presided over by a rarely seen waiter (Adam Zivkovic). Upon Prudence's arrival, Bruce starts the rapid downward spiral of the date by complimenting Prudence on her breasts and mentioning his 'lover' Bob. Time for Prudence to leave? No... she somehow stays, even after Bruce displays his 'talent' for crying on cue. 

Next...they both retreat to their respective therapists....and what a pair! Prudence is 'seeing' Stuart (Christopher J. Beard) a therapist badly in need of therapy who has a problem with premature ejaculation. Prudence is well aware of the problem since she slept with him after their second session, however somehow she continues to seek his  advice. His primary interest is in getting Prudence back into bed....even if it means marriage.

Bruce's therapist, Charlotte (Katherine Grant-Suttie) has her own problems, most of them with words.  She also conducts her sessions while clutching a large stuffed dog!

Claire Helene
The cast is excellent...they all give wacky over-the-top performances. Jack Berenholtz, as Bruce, nails perfectly the 1970's vision of a gay man; Claire Helene, as Prudence, is an absolute joy, particularly the scene in Bruce's apartment when she goes ballistic. She is the only non-member of the PST company. Katherine Grant-Suttie, as Bruce's therapist, is comedic delight. Rounding out the cast is Chris Beard, who was Cinderella's Prince in "Into The Woods' last month, but, now has fun as the absurd therapist, Stuart; David Bevis is fine as Bruce's gay lover, Bob (somehow David was omitted from the program's cast of characters); Adam Zivkovic makes the most of his brief scene in the restaurant.

The program also lists Lovell Holder as 'Sadie.' We assume this is Bob's mother who was intended to be heard via a telephone, however, there was apparently a  technical glitch that Claire Helene nicely covered.

Katherine Grant-Suttie
The play is pure fun, clearly populated by a quirky cast of characters who truly are 'beyond therapy.' You will be amused, have some laugh out-loud moments and enjoy the zany performances, particularly from Claire Helene and Katherine Grant-Suttie.

The play is presented in just under two hours with one ten minute intermission. To have or not to have an intermission is always an important question to a producer and director, in this case I think it was an error to have the intermission. We attended the Saturday matinee, and several people who sat near us in the first act, evidently departed at the intermission. This play, not unlike many others, has a stronger, funnier second act. Sorry they missed it, particularly for the actors.

Director Sarah Outhwaite's production staff includes; set designer/technical director Jeff Van Velsor; lighting designer Chris Gorzelnik; sound designer Liz Eisenstein; costume designer Kimberly Saunders; and production stage manager Jenell Manzi.

"Beyond Therapy' is at the comfortable Hamilton Murray Theater on Princeton University's beautiful campus. There will be one performance today... Sunday July 24, 2011 at 2pm. Plus, Thursday through Saturday (July 28-30) at 8pm and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday (July 30-31). 

TICKET PRICES: General Admission $25.00, Student Tickets $20.00, Saturday Matinee (2 pm) General Admission $20.00, Saturday Matinee (2pm) Student Tickets $18.00... e-mail if you are interested in group ticket rates.  To buy tickets online, or more info visit:

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  July 23, 2011

Here are three photos from "Beyond Therapy" (T. Bayer)

David Bevis as 'Bob' and Claire Helene as 'Prudence'

Claire Helene and Chris Beard as 'Stuart'
Claire Helene and Jack Berenholtz as 'Bruce'

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crossroads Theatre Company Membership sale continues

One Night Event- Broadway Tomorrow- Sunday July 24

Princeton Summer Theater weekend schedule -July 22-24

Auditions: Chester Theatre Group-'The Cocktail Hour'

The Chester Theatre Group will be holding auditions for its November 2011 production of The Cocktail Hour by A. R. Gurney. The production will be directed by Cindy Alexander and will have performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. beginning November 4, 2011 thru November 20,

Auditions will be held on Sunday August 28 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, August 30 at 7 p.m. at the Black River Playhouse located at the corners of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester, NJ.
Readings will be from the script. Needed are two female and two male actors

Bradley – early 70’s (70-74) –WASP patriarch of a wealthy up-state NY family. (Buffalo) Dresses well, plays golf, goes to “the club” and presides over the bar at the evening’s cocktail hour.

Ann – His wife- could be a couple of years younger than her husband but not by much. Also very tastefully dressed, Ann is an elegant lady who is skilled at handling the tasks of running a household. (i.e. managing the servants) She is also very refined and seemingly a little dotty. However, she is the northern version of a Steel Magnolia –stronger than she looks.

John – Their son- early 40s (42-44) Lives in NYC and works as an editor in a publishing house. However, his true calling is as a playwright. He has had several plays produced, but is by no means successful at it. He is in the midst of evaluating his life thus far.

Nina – Their daughter – two years older than her brother John. Happily married
daughter who stayed in her hometown. She is obsessed with animals, particularly dogs and longs to change her life. She should have a repressed edge.

THE STORY: The time is the mid '70s, the place a city in upstate New York. John, a playwright, returns to his family's house, bringing with him a new play which he has written about them. His purpose is to obtain their permission to proceed with production, but his wealthy, very proper parents are cautious from the outset. For them the theatre is personified by the gracious, comforting era of the Lunts and Ina Claire, and they are disturbed by the bluntness of modern plays. And there is also John's sister, Nina, to contend with, although her reservations have to do with the fact that John has given her character such a minor role. Their confrontation takes place during the ritual of the cocktail hour, and as the martinis flow so do the recriminations and revelations, both funny and poignant. In the end it is evident that what John has written is closer to the truth than his family has heretofore been willing to admit, and that beneath their WASP reserve his parents and siblings are as beset with uncertainties and frustrations as their presumed "inferiors." But while they seem shackled by the past, and tantalized disappointments and, with unfailing warmth and humor, converting pained resignation into cautious but hopeful anticipation.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award as Best Off-Broadway Play. A long-run New York
success, this witty, perceptive play blends mordant humor with moments of affecting poignancy. "THE COCKTAIL HOUR is as funny and moving as The Dining Room…it could be the best play he has done so far." —The New Yorker. "It makes for a deliciously funny and also occasionally touching evening, as Gurney's family sit around raking over old coals and settling old scores with a quite new and beguiling freshness."
—NY Post. "The lines in the play crackle and pop with an electricity all their own." —
Drama-Logue. "…when I watch Gurney at his best, as he is here, I laugh through the tears." —NY Daily News.

GSP's casting complete for musical It Shoulda Been You

George Street Playhouse and its Artistic Director David Saint have completed casting for the New Brunswick, New Jersey, theatre’s 2011-2012 season opener, It Shoulda Been You.

Richard Kline, from Broadway’s November and City Of Angels, as well as the classic sitcom, Three’s Company, and two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin , Broadway’s longest running Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, as well as stage veterans Tom Deckman, Carla Duren, Jessica Hershberg, Curtis Holbrook, Lisa Howard, Mylinda Hull, Matthew Hydzik and David Josefsberg comprise the cast. Running October 4 – November 6, 2011, the musical, whose book and lyrics are by Brian Hargrove, and score is by New Jersey native Barbara Anselmi, will be marking the directorial debut of Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce.

They will join the previously announced Tyne Daly, Harriet Harris and Edward Hibbert.

It Shoulda Been You, is a musical comedy for anyone with parents. The bride (played by Ms. Hershberg) is Jewish. The groom (played by Mr. Hydzik) is Catholic. Her mother (played by Ms. Daly) is a force of nature, his mother (played by Ms. Harris) is a tempest in a cocktail shaker. And when the bride’s ex-boyfriend (played by Mr. Josefsberg) shows up, the perfect wedding starts to unravel faster than you can whistle “Here Comes the Bride!” Plots are hatched, pacts are made, secrets exposed – and the sister of the bride (played by Ms. Howard) is left to turn a tangled mess into happily ever after! Thrust in the middle of the marital mishegas is Albert, the wedding planner (played by Mr. Hibbert).

Mr. Kline will portray the bride’s father Murray, and Mr. McGillin will portray the groom’s father playing opposite Ms. Daly and Ms. Harris, respectively.
The remainder of the creative team consists of choreographer Noah Racey, music director Greg Anthony and three-time Tony Award-winning orchestrator Douglas Besterman.

Creating the world of It Shoulda Been You is scenic designer Anna Louizos, five-time Tony Award-winning costume designer William Ivey Long, lighting designer Paul Gallo and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

While Richard Kline is probably best known to TV audiences for his work on Three’s Company, he has also appeared on Broadway in November, City of Angels and on tour in Wicked, Do I Hear a Waltz?, Oliver! and Jake’s Women.

Howard McGillin
Howard McGillin’s Broadway credits include Phantom of the Opera, The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations, Theatre World Award), Anything Goes (second Tony nomination opposite Patti LuPone) and The Secret Garden, will also be making his debut at Feinstein’s in September. Tom Deckman has been seen on Broadway in Good Vibrations and the national tour of Spamalot.

Carla Duren was seen in the recent Broadway revival of 110 in the Shade starring Audra McDonald. Jessica Hershberg understudied both of the Ingalls sisters on the national tour of Little House on the Prairie. Curtis Holbrook’s Broadway credits include the recent revival of West Side Story, Xanadu and All Shook Up.

Lisa Howard can be seen in Silence! The Musical, and her Broadway credits include 9 to 5 and the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific. Mylinda Hull’s Broadway appearances include Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Sweet Charity. Matthew Hydzik was recently seen as Tony in the recent Broadway revival of West Side Story. David Josefsberg from Broadway’s The Wedding Singer and Grease returns to George Street Playhouse after originating the role of “White Dude” in The Toxic Avenger.

Full season and flexible admission subscription packages, as well as a select block of individual tickets, are now available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office, 732-246-7717. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more may be purchased by calling 732-846-2895, ext 134.

George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district, and easily accessible by car or public transportation. 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 four issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 70,000 students annually. 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.

IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU Book and Lyrics by Brian Hargrove Music by Barbara Anselmi Based on a concept by Barbara Anselmi Directed by David Hyde Pierce Produced in Association with Scott Landis, Michael Hanel and Daryl Roth sponsored by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation October 4 – November 6, 2011 George Street Playhouse 9 Livingston Avenue, New Jersey • Box Office 732-246-7717

Thursday, July 21, 2011

This week's professional plays from The New Jersey Theatre Alliance-July 20-31


Including information about performances through July 31
Cape May Stage, Cape May
East Lynne Theater Company, Cape May
New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch
Premiere Stages, Union
ReVision Theatre, Asbury Park
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison
Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven
Associate Theatres - Your Discount Ticket to the Best of NJ's Performing Arts

Cape May Stage, Cape May
The cast of The Understudy
The cast of The Understudy
The Understudy
By Theresa Rebeck
Now through July 30

Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes of a Broadway play? A smash hit Off-Broadway, The Understudy is the latest comedy from Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck (Omnium Gatherum, Bad Dates, Mauritius), one of the most produced female playwrights in America. When a smug Hollywood action star lands a prestigious role in Franz Kafka’s newly discovered play on Broadway, things couldn’t be better…until he meets his understudy. Can a love-sick, charmingly ditsy stage manager prevent a battle royale from developing between the two rival actors? Will the show go on? Spirited and laugh-out-loud funny, The Understudy places the backstage friction of a frenzied rehearsal center stage with vivacious satire and Kafkaesque theatrics.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (609) 884-1341
Visit the Cape May Stage website

East Lynne Theater Company, Cape May
Tom Burn and Molly O'Neill in He and She.
Tom Burn and Molly O'Neill in He and She.
He and She
by Rachel Crothers
Final performances this weekend!

A married couple vie for the same artistic prize at a time when their teenager needs guidance. First produced in 1920, decades ahead of its time, this thought-provoking comedy-drama deals with challenges of working women. When East Lynne Theater Company produced it in 1997, The Star-Ledger called it the Best Play of the New Jersey season.
And opening on July 27 ...
The World of Dorothy Parker
Based on the writings of Dorothy Parker; adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth
July 27 - September 3 (World Premiere)

This ensemble potpourri of adapted work by the famous Algonquin Round Table wit includes A Telephone Call - where a woman anxiously waits to hear from a man, Here We Are - an awkward conversation for a newlywed couple on the way to their honeymoon, and The Lovely Leave - about life during World War II, among other famous tales and poems.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (609) 884-5898
Visit East Lynne Theater Company's website

New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch
Bonnie Black, Mark Evans, Pheonix Vaughn, Adam Harrington and Catherine LeFrere in Just in Time
Bonnie Black, Mark Evans, Pheonix Vaughn, Adam Harrington and Catherine LeFrere in Just in Time
Just in Time - The Judy Holliday StoryBy Bob Sloan
Now through August 14 (New Jersey Premiere)

This fast-paced romp through the life of the original dumb-blond - and one of the funniest actresses of all time - features Holliday's exalted cohorts Orson Welles, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Gloria Swanson and Jimmy Durante, among others, in a buoyant valentine to a bygone era.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, call (732) 229-3166.
Visit the New Jersey Repertory Company website

Premiere Stages, Union
Lynda Gravátt in Follow Me to Nellie-s. Photo by Roy Groething.
Lynda Gravátt in Follow Me to Nellie’s. Photo by Roy Groething.
Follow Me to Nellie's
By Dominique Morisseau
Now through July 31

Follow the road to the infamous Madame Nellie Jackson's, where a hopeless blues singer is looking for a way out, a brave freedom fighter is looking for a way in, and a house of downtrodden women are looking for a new day. In 1955 Mississippi during the reign of segregation, the price of attaining their dreams may cost them everything they have. This winner of the 2011 Premiere Play Festival is directed by John Wooton.

For more information, or to purchase tickets: (908) 737-7469

Performances are held in Zella Fry Theatre
Vaughn Eames Building, Kean University's Main Campus

Visit the Premiere Stages website

ReVision Theatre, Asbury Park
Alyse Alan Louis and Ralph Meitzler in Xanadu. Photo by Jason Meehan Photography.
Alyse Alan Louis and Ralph Meitzler in Xanadu. Photo by Jason Meehan Photography.
Book by Douglas Carter Beane; music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar
Final performances this weekend! (New Jersey Premiere)

This campy, delightful roller skating musical adventure is about following your dreams in spite of the limits others set for you.

In 1980, Kira - a magical and beautiful Greek muse - descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California to inspire a struggling artist to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time: the first roller disco! (hey, it's 1980!) When Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters take advantage of the situation and chaos abounds.

It's hilarity on wheels for adults, children and anyone who has ever wanted to feel inspired, as one of Broadway's master storytellers, Douglas Carter Beane, weaves a moving, electrifying tale of endless fun that will keep you in stitches, while the original, legendary chart-topping tunes by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne and John Farrar - including "Magic", "All Over The World", "Suddenly", "I'm Alive", "Evil Woman", "Have You Never Been Mellow" and "Xanadu" will make it hard for you to stay in your seat.

"I laughed, I cried ... I got glitter!" Audience member at ReVision's production of Xanadu.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (732) 455-3059
Visit ReVision Theatre's website

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison
Theatre under the stars at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Outdoor Stage
Theatre under the stars at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Outdoor Stage
On The Outdoor Stage ...A Midsummer Night's Dream
By William Shakespeare
Now until July 31                      Read our review

The world's most popular comedy is performed under the stars at The Shakespeare Theatre's Outdoor Stage - the Greek amphitheater at the College of St. Elizabeth. This newly conceived 90-minute production is perfect for children and families of all ages, and celebrates the 10th Anniversary of The Outdoor Stage. Bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before the performance and enjoy a summer evening at this pastoral venue.
On the main-stage ...

Timon of Athens
By William Shakespeare
Final performances this weekend!         Read our review

The benevolent nobleman Timon graciously lavishes his fair-weather friends with gifts and money, only to have them ridicule and abandon him when he hits hard times. This taut 90-minute version of Shakespeare's rarely-produced play is an extraordinary explosion of imaginative staging and resonant themes. Resident director Brian Crowe mixes up a sublime blend of Grand Guignol, Vaudeville, and Brechtian theatricality in his inventive adaptation .
Watch a preview of the production here.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (973) 408-5600
Visit the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's website

Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven
By Yasmina Reza
Now through July 31

Oscar-nominated, Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Judd Hirsch ("Numb3rs," "Taxi," "Ordinary People," "A Beautiful Mind") directs and stars in this internationally acclaimed, Tony Award-winning comedy. This smart and funny play explores the value and meaning of both friendship and art when a (nearly) all-white painting ignites an escalating argument among three men, threatening to destroy their long friendship.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (609) 492-9477
Visit Surflight Theatre's website

Associate Theatres
The Theater Project, performing in West Orange

Penny PenniworthBy Chris Weikel
Now through August 7

A comic send-up of everything Dickens. At the New Jersey Arts Incubator, West Orange.

For more information, go to The Theater Project’s website. To purchase tickets, call (800) 838-3006 or visit Brown Paper Tickets. - Your Discount Ticket to the Best of NJ's Performing Arts
Click the logo above to visit and get the hottest discount tickets to theatre, dance and music performances around the state is New Jersey's own TKTS booth on the web

Discounts are ALWAYS 25% OR MORE 48 hours in advance of showtime
... or you can buy discount tickets up to a week in advance with a $30 yearly tax-deductible donation/VIP membership.)


Show titles and dates may change.
Please call the theatre or check their websites to confirm.

The Pennington Players chose two local teen bands as opening acts for “13”

The Pennington Players have announced that two local teen bands have been selected to be the pre-show entertainment at selected performances of their upcoming production of “13, The Musical,” at Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College.  

Fast Forward, featuring Zachary Manno, Noah Manno, Grace Manno and Karlee SanGiovanni, all from Burlington Township, will be playing on Saturday August 6th at 6:40 pm and Sunday August 7th at 1:10 pm.   

The Cretins, featuring Jahmar Beaubrun, Riley Byrne, and Louis Gramma, all from Hamilton Township, will be playing on Friday August 5th at 6:40 pm. 

Each of the bands will play a 20-25 minute set before the scheduled performance of “13.”  Tickets for the performance are required in order to hear the bands play.  

“13,” a grown-up story about growing up, featured the only all-teenage cast ever to hit Broadway!   The show features lyrics and music by Jason Robert Brown and a book by Dan Elish, with Robert Horn as co-librettist.  Dates and show times are Fridays and Saturdays, July 29, July 30 and August 5, 6 at 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, July 31 and August 7 at 2 p.m.  Kelsey Theatre is located on the college's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.  A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on July 29th.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $12 for students and children. To order tickets online, visit the Kelsey website or call the Kelsey Theatre Box Office at (609) 570-3333.

Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on July 29th.   Theatre is wheelchair accessible; free parking is available next to the theater.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CSC's Young Performers Workshop to present the Summer Festival of Shows

YPW "The King and I"
The Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop will present the Summer Festival of Shows running from August 6-14 at the David and Carol Lackland Center in Hackettstown, NJ.

The Festival will feature performances of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Seussical the Musical, Blood Brothers, Brighton Beach Memoirs and the One Act Play Festival.

Based on the beloved characters and stories of Dr. Seuss, Seussical the Musical incorporates elements from 15 Dr. Seuss books including appearances by many of his most famous characters.  Featuring Brendan Fogherty of Hackettstown as The Cat in the Hat, Neil Ianniello as Horton the Elephant of Lebanon and Melissa Barrow of Flanders as Gertrude McFuzz, Seussical the Musical follows the adventures of Horton, an elephant, who one day hears voices coming from a speck of dust. He soon discovers that within this tiny speck exists the smallest planet in the universe.  With a book by Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens, Co-conceived by Stephen Flaherty, Lynn Ahrens, and Eric Idle, Music by Stephen Flaherty, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The performances of Seussical will be August 5th at 8pm, August 6th at 2pm, August 7th at 1pm, August 13th at 8pm and August 14th at 4pm.

 You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, starring Dan Marion of Newton in the title role and Nicolette Policastro of Lebanon as Lucy Van Pelt, glides through a day made up of little moments picked from all the days of Charlie Brown - from Valentine's Day to the baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair, all mixed in with the lives of his friends and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening. Based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schultz, with book, Music and Lyrics by Clark Gesner, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown will perform August 6th at 5pm, August 7th at 4pm, August 12th at 8pm, August 13th at 8pm, and August 14th at 1pm.

 Blood Brothers
, tells the story of the Johnstone twins, Mickey(Alex Evans of Hackettstown)  and Eddie(Andy Calderone of Blairstown), brothers separated at birth who reunite and become friends in their childhood, unaware of their relation to each other or of the consequences their relationship will bring about.  According to the London Evening Standard, Blood Brothers “rings out as a rich, detailed and desperately moving piece of work”. Written by Willy Russell, with music and lyrics by Willy Russell, Blood Brothers performs August 6th at 8pm, August 7th at 7pm, August 13th at 2pm and August 14th at 7pm.

Brighton Beach Memoirs, Neil Simon’s coming-of-age comedy, focuses on the life of a poor boy in a crowded house.   Eugene, a young teenage Jewish boy, recalls his memoirs of his time as an adolescent youth, living with his parents, his aunt, two cousins, and his brother, Stanley. Performances of Brighton Beach Memoirs will be August 9th, 10th and 11th at 7pm.

The One Act Play Festival will include three One Act Plays and is free to the public.  It will perform August 13th and 14th at 11am.

To purchase tickets for the YPW Summer Festival of Shows, contact the box office at (908) 979-0900 or visit<>. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children.
The YPW is the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, an Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College. 

Programs at the Centenary Stage Company are made possible through generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts  and the following local businesses: Heath Village Retirement Community ( the CSC Platinum Sponsor), Panther Valley Pharmacy, Skylands Community Bank, and the Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, as well as individual CSC members and sponsors.

CAST:  Melissa Barrow (Flanders), Jenna Black (Hackettstown), Allyson Borgstrom (Hackettstown), Andy Calderone (Blairstown), Zack Clark (Hackettstown), Izac Cruz (Blairstown), Gracelyn Donovan (Blairstown), Alex Evans (Hackettstown),

Tom Farber (High Bridge), Brendan Fogarty (Deland, FL), Monica Gallagher (Budd Lake), Neil Ianniello (Lebanon), Rachel Lee (Flanders), Sarah Lee (Flanders),

Jaclyn Lutz (Hackettstown), Daniel Marion (Newton), Laura Mocker (Annandale), Joy O’Brien (Blairstown), Quinn O’Hara (Hackettstown), James O’Rourke (Glen Rock), Tom O’Rourke (Glen Rock), Raphael Pelczmann (Morristown),

Nicolette Policastro (Lebanon), Brian Rigney (Great Meadows), Hanna Rose (Blairstown), Anthony Sica (Sparta), April Rose Sigler (Stanhope), Christina Stanton (Hackettstown), 

Julie Ullman (Newton), Kali Wright (Stockholm), Michaela Yanosy (Hackettstown), Meghan Yarussi (Hackettstown), Anthony Zas (Hackettstown)

Paper Mill Playhouse announces Newsies creative team

The Paper Mill Playhouse has announced the creative team behind its season opener,  the premiere of a new Disney stage musical, Newsies.  Featuring music by eight-time Academy Award®-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Sister Act, The Little Mermaid), lyrics by Jack Feldman and a new book by four-time Tony® Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy), Newsies is adapted for the stage from the 1992 live-action Disney feature film musical.  The show begins performances on Thursday, September 15.   The official opening is scheduled for Sunday, September 25.  

The production will be directed at Paper Mill by Tony® nominee Jeff Calhoun.  Calhoun made his Broadway debut in the stage adaptation of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1982). He also starred opposite Twiggy in My One and Only (1983). Calhoun's collaboration with Tommy Tune resulted in the 1991 Tony Award for Best Choreography for The Will Rogers Follies. His Broadway directing debut was Tommy Tune Tonight! (1992). Calhoun began his association with Deaf West Theatre in 2000 when he directed and choreographed a world premiere adaptation of Oliver! Calhoun continued his work with Deaf West Theater with Big River the following season. Big River subsequently played Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre in 2003 on Broadway and garnered the 2004 Tony Award honor for Excellence in Theater.

Calhoun directed both the world premiere and international productions of Disney's High School Musical: On Stage and Disney's High School Musical 2: On Stage. Calhoun's additional Broadway credits include: the first Broadway revival of Grease (1994), Annie Get Your Gun (1999), Bells Are Ringing  (2001), Brooklyn The Musical (2004), and Grey Gardens (2006). Calhoun is an Associate Artist at Ford's Theater, Washington, DC, where he directed both the 2008 Presidential Gala presentation of Frank Wildhorn's The Civil War and a new production of that same work as part of the Ford's Theater 2009 reopening season. Calhoun recently collaborated with composer Frank Wildhorn, lyricist Don Black and librettist Ivan Menchell on a new musical entitled Bonnie & Clyde which had its world premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in November 2009 and will open on Broadway December 1, 2011.

Newsies will be choreographed by Tony® nominee Christopher Gattelli. Christopher Gattelli is a choreographer, performer, and director. He has been nominated for the Tony® Award for Best Choreography for South Pacific, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Choreography for Altar Boyz. Other Broadway credits include: Sunday in the Park with George; Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; The Ritz; Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me; 13; High Fidelity.  He won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for Altar Boyz and Bat Boy: The Musical.  He is currently represented off-Broadway with Silence! The Musical as director/choreographer. Gattelli also directed the world premiere of Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas, the first Jim Henson musical at Goodspeed Opera House. At Paper Mill Playhouse Gattelli choreographed the critically acclaimed production of A Baker's Wife in 2005.

Michael Kosarin (Music Supervisor/Vocal and Incidental Music Arranger) has worked steadily on Broadway since 1982, starting with the original production of Nine - The Musical. He then music directed, arranged, and/or conducted Grand Hotel, Mayor, The Secret Garden, King David, Triumph of Love, Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, and, currently, Sister Act. International productions include Hunchback of Notre Dame (Berlin) and A Chorus Line (first international tour). He has been composer Alan Menken's music director for nearly twenty years, and films they did together include Tangled, the recent Captain America, as well as Enchanted, Hercules, Home on the Range, Shaggy Dog, and Pocahontas. Kosarin won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Direction for his work on A Christmas Carol, and was nominated for another Emmy  for The Music Man. His recording and concert work is also extensive, having concertized, arranged for, and recorded with the Boston Pops, Carly Simon, Barbara Cook, Jane Krakowski, Kristin Chenoweth, Eddie Fisher, and many others.

David Holcenberg will serve as Music Director on Newsies.  Holcenberg's Broadway credits include: Mamma Mia!, Show Boat, Titanic, Seussical (as music director) and Good Vibrations (musical  arrangements).  Other  shows  include  the Aherns and Flaherty shows Dessa Rose and The Glorious Ones at Lincoln Center  and  the  US  premiere  of  Ragtime (LA  Drama  Critics  Award: Distinguished  Achievement in  Musical  Direction)  as  well as the  Toronto production of The Phantom of the Opera. Holcenberg's show Bingo, written with Ilene Reid and Michael  Heitzman,  just  finished  a  successful run  off Broadway  and  is  currently  playing  around  the  country.  On  the  concert stage,  Holcenberg  is  conductor  for  Irish  tenor  Ciaran  Sheehan  (Carnegie  Hall, PBS and recordings). He has served as guest conductor for the Cleveland Pops,  conducted  for  PBS Great  Performances:  Tribute  to  Hammerstein and toured  the  country  with  Theodore Bikel.  Holcenberg is currently the associate music supervisor for Mamma Mia! (North America and Moscow).

Scenic Designer Tobin Ost will design the set for Newsies.   Ost created the costumes and served as associate set designer on the Broadway musical Brooklyn. Also on Broadway Ost served as costume designer on The Philanthropist.  Other New York credits include: The Overwhelming (Roundabout Theatre - costume/associate set design); Nightingale (Manhattan Theatre Club - set design); Grace (MCC - set design); Zanna, Don't! (co-set/costume design); Almost Heaven (costume design) and Fighting Words (set design). Most recently Ost served as set and costume designer for the new musical, Bonnie and Clyde at LaJolla Playhouse.

Jess Goldstein will provide original costume designs for Newsies.  Goldstein won the 2005 Tony® Award for Best Costume Design of a Play for The Rivals. Broadway credits include: Cymbeline, Henry IV (with Kevin Kline), The Rivals (all at Lincoln Center Theater), Jersey Boys (also in London), The Homecoming, The Apple Tree (with Kristin Chenoweth), Julius Caesar (with Denzel Washington), Take Me Out, Proof, Sight Unseen, Brooklyn Boy, Judgment at Nuremberg, Love! Valour! Compassion!, Tintypes, The Most Happy Fella, Inherit the Wind, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Rainmaker. Goldstein's work was last seen on the Paper Mill Playhouse stage for Little House on the Prairie: The Musical

Jeff Croiter joins the Newsies creative team as Lighting Designer.  Croiter's Broadway credits include:  The Pee Wee Herman Show; Next Fall; Kiki and Herb: Alive on Broadway; and concerts at the New Amsterdam including Chess, Hair and On the Twentieth Century. Other NYC credits include A Lie of the Mind; Ordinary Days; Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Streamers; Family Guy Sings!; Jerry Springer: The Opera; Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall; Love Child; Adrift in Macao; The Voysey Inheritance; The Internationalist; Burleigh Grime$; Drumstruck; Jacques Brel; I Love You Because; Almost, Maine; Trumbo; Matt & Ben; Cam Jansen; Miss Witherspoon; Privilege; The Dazzle; Fiction; and Jennifer Muller/The Works.  Croiter's work as a lighting designer was recently featured in Paper Mill Playhouse's 1776.

Sven Ortel is the Projection Designer for Newsies.  Ortel designs artwork and projections for theatre, musicals, opera, dance and beyond. On Broadway, Ortel designed projections for WonderlandWoman on the Verge, The Little Mermaid, Deuce, Jumpers, Faith Healer and The Woman in White (projection realization). Off-Broadway: Hamlet (TFANA). Other critically acclaimed designs include: A Disappearing Number (with Complicite at LCF 2010, West End, three world tours), Rebecca (Vienna), Marguerite (West End, Tokyo), The Sea (West End), Measure for Measure (with Complicite at NT,London, world tour), The Ring Cycle (Mariinsky, Covent Garden), Tiefland (Zurich, Barcelona) and Swan Lake (San Francisco Ballet).

Rounding out the creative team are: Randy Hansen (Sound Design), Chuck LaPointe (Hair and Wig Design), J. Allen Suddeth (Fight Director) and Shane Ann Younts (Dialect Coach).   Thomas J. Gates will serve as Production Stage Manager.

The film Newsies has grown into a cult phenomenon with a generation having grown up on the movie's driving, infectious score since its 1992 theatrical release and subsequent DVD, released in 2002 in response to demand from fans.  Its popularity has grown so dramatically, in fact, that - of all the Disney film musicals not yet adapted to the stage - Newsies has for years been the single most requested title by professional and amateur theater groups, according to the world's largest dramatic licensing agent MTI.  This new stage version keeps many of the film's beloved songs and adds several new numbers by the original team of Menken and Feldman.

Newsies is inspired by the real life 'Newsboy Strike of 1899,' when newsboy Kid Blink led the ragged orphans and runaways known as newsies on a two-week-long action against Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers.  Set in New York City at the turn of the century, the musical is the tale of newsie Jack Kelly, who dreams of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when Pulitzer and Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsies' expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies his army of newsies to strike.

Newsies begins at Paper Mill Playhouse on Thursday, September 15, and will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday, through Sunday, October 16. Three, four and five show subscription packages are available now, starting at $84.   Single tickets are now on sale and range in price from $25-$96. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, or at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at  Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted.  

Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 35% discount on tickets and should call 973-315-1680Newsies is generously supported by a grant from The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Investors Savings Bank is the proud sponsor of Paper Mill Playhouse's 2011-2012 season.

Additional Bios:

Alan Menken (Composer): Theatre scores: God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater; Real Life Funnies; Atina: Evil Queen of the Galaxy; Little Shop of Horrors; Kicks; Patch, Patch, Patch; The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz; Beauty and the Beast; A Christmas Carol; King David; Weird Romance; Der Glöckner von Notre Dame; The Little Mermaid; Leap of Faith; and Sister Act. Film scores: Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Newsies, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Life with Mikey, Hercules, Home on the Range, The Shaggy Dog, Noel, Enchanted and Tangled. Honors: eight Academy Awards, seven Golden Globes, ten Grammys, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk, two Tony nominations, the Olivier Award, London's Evening Standard Award, membership in the Songwriters' Hall of Fame, a doctorate in fine arts from New York University and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Upcoming: Stage adaptations of Aladdin, Newsies and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Harvey Fierstein (Book): Four-time Tony Award and Drama Desk Award-winning writer and actor. His plays include Torch Song Trilogy, A Catered Affair, Legs Diamond and Spookhouse. He won the Humanitas Award for his HBO animated special, "The Sissy Duckling," which is also available as a children's book. His film and TV acting credits include Mrs. Doubtfire, Independence Day, "Nurse Jackie," "Cheers." On Broadway he's starred in Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, Torch Song Trilogy and Safe Sex. Mr. Fierstein was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 2008. Recently, Fierstein returned to Broadway to play the role of Zaza in the revival of his own show, La Cage Aux Folles.

Jack Feldman (Lyrics): Theatre - Broadway and Off-Broadway: The Madwoman of Central Park West; Isn't It Romantic, by Wendy Wasserstein; Beyond Therapy, by Christopher Durang; Coming Attractions, by Ted Tally; Miami, (book by Ms. Wasserstein); Regional: music for Mr. Durang and Albert Innaurato's Idiots Karamazov at the Yale Repertory Theatre.  Film - Oliver & Co., Tribute, Thumbelina, Newsies, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Used People, Life with Mikey, A Goofy Movie, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and 102 Dalmations.  Television - Music and lyrics for the PBS "Theatre In America" production of Eve Merriam's Out of Our Father's House, The Magic Hat, Little Mermaid TV special, Polly, Sesame Street, Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, and Out of the Box.  Pop Music - Many pop songs, including the Grammy award-winning "Copacabana," the top-10 hit, "I Made It Through the Rain," and songs and special material for Sarah Vaughn, Carmen McRae, Liza Minnelli, Lily Tomlin, Dionne Warwick, and the Muppets.