Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Family fun at the Growing Stage with the 'Diary of a Worm, A Fly and a Spider'

Attention all parents and grandparents of children ten and under. Enjoy with them the magical experience of live theatre at the extraordinary Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey.  We had the pleasure of attending the Sunday at 4 p.m. performance of The Growing Stage's current, and last of the season,  musical production of Diary of a Worm, a Spider & a Fly.  

We sat in a position to easily observe the junior members of the audience and rarely have we observed an adult audience as attentive, and yes, well behaved  On stage they were observing a group of six young inhabitants of the insect world; a worm, a spider, a fly, an ant, a beautiful butterfly and a bee who has a teaching degree. The lessons of the thin but charming story are of kindness and respect for others and the realization that their problems from the dreaded homework to social acceptance are not terribly different from ours. Naturally, there are a few exceptions; Is Spider getting too big for his own skin? Will Fly find her superhero powers in time to save her Aunt Rita from peril? Will Worm learn to stand on his own two feet, even though he doesn‘t have feet?

The cast features the talents of six professional (Equity) performers. Brandon Lavon Hightower of Jersey City as Worm, J.D. Kellman of Brooklyn as Spider,  Emily Cara Portune of Jersey City as Fly, young Becky Nitka of Long Valley as Ant; Katelyn Spinosa of Bayonne as Butterfly and Katie Horn of Manhattan as Mrs. McBee. Each of the performers is excellent in their role, or should I say "skin."  

Two, in particular, project "star" quality; Brandon Lavon Hightower as Worm and Emily Cara Portune as the Fly. Both come to the Growing Stage with very impressive credits. Brandon has a long list of regional play credits, plus an acting gig on HBO's hit series about Atlantic City in the 1920's "Boardwalk Empire." Emily too has a long list of credits, this obviously versatile performer with an exceptional voice has toured as Janis Joplin, was Bianca in "Kiss Me Kate," and the hot Lola in "Damn Yankees." 

As you can see, this may be a production for young families, but the talent is not juvenile. These performers are the equal of the marvelous talent we enjoy at the major New Jersey theatres such as the Paper Mill, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Center, etc.

The play is based on the very popular children's books by Doreen Cronin with book, music and lyrics by Joan Cushing. The set is inspired by the book illustrations of Harry Bliss.  The director is Lori B. Lawrence, the Growing Stage’s Director of Educational Programming, with musical direction by Laura Petrie.  The fun, energetic choreography is by Jillian Petrie.

Pre-show photo of "Diary" set
The production staff includes Stage manager-Steve Graham, Set & Props-Perry Arthur Kroeger, Costume design-Lori B. Lawrence, Lighting design-S.L. Fredericks, Light board operator-Natalie Kane, Backstage assistant-Matthew Fralley. The Artistic director of the Growing Stage is Stephen Fredericks.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  April 29, 2012
The play runs about 90 minutes with one intermission for popcorn.

Diary of a Worm, A Fly and a Spider runs to May 20, with performances only on Saturdays and Sundays at 4:00 p.m. The Growing Stage, currently celebrating its 30th season, is a professional (Association of Actor’s Equity) theatre for young people and their families. It is located in the Historic Palace Theater on Route 183 in Netcong, New Jersey with free parking behind the theatre. Several restaurants are in the immediate area.
Tickets for Diary Of A Worm, A Spider And A Fly are only $18 for adults, $14 for children and seniors, with group rates available.  School Matinee performances are also available throughout the week.  Tickets can be purchased by calling the TGS Box Office at (973) 347-4946 or logging onto their website at  

Photos: TOP L-R J.D. Kellman, Emily Cara Portune and Brandon Lavon Hightower

 Set photo by Rick Busciglio

The Players Guild of Leonia presents The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Julia Heaney, Ridgefield; Alan Pines, Fair Lawn
It's The Bard meets "Jersey Shore" this May as The Players Guild of Leonia presents Shakespeare's classic comedy of mistaken identity, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS. 
Freely adapted and staged by director Ray Yucis, the play centers on the comic misadventures of two sets of identical twins, separated in infancy, who find themselves in the same beachfront town on the same day. As the saying goes: "Mayhem ensues." Filled with Shakespeare's traditional comic blend of slapstick, clever wordplay, eccentric characters and romance, COMEDY OF ERRORS is the perfect show for the "Shakespeare-phobic" or for those encountering The Bard for the very first time.
The Director is Ray Yucis.  The Assistant Director Linda Taub.

-- The Cast --

Antipholus of Syracuse...................Allen Pines
Dromio of Syracuse.........................Matthew Fennelly
Antipholus of Ephesus......................Stavros Adamides
Dromio of Ephesus..........................Jonathan McDevitt
Adriana..........................Jean Marie Garver-Gaydos
Luciana....................................Julia Heaney
Angelo.....................................James Lesko
Courtesan..................................Joanne Guarnaccia
Abbess/Emilia..............................Patricia Phillips
Egeon......................................Neil Kahn
Policeman..................................Paul Ritnauer
1s Merchant/Balthasar/Pinch................Robert Klein
2nd Merchant/Duke..........................John Villa
Luce.......................................Irene Hort

Location: The Players Guild of Leonia , Civil War Drill Hall Theater, 130 Grand Avenue, Leonia, NJ. 
Performances: May 4th thru May 20th. Fridays & Saturdays at 8 P.M., Sundays at 3 P.M. Tickets $20/$18 Senior and Students.

Call 201-947-9606 or visit for reservations and information.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review: The hilarious '39 Steps' at the George Street Playhouse

Howard McGillin and Stacie Morgain Lewis

George Street Playhouse's final production of the 2011-12 season, The 39 Steps is absolutely hilarious! This is the London and Broadway success that spoofs Alfred Hitchcock's first 'man-on-the run' thriller 'The Thirty-Nine Steps.'  It was adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow.

Leading the fun parade is two-time Tony Award nominee Howard McGillin. McGillin is perfect as the John Cleese like 'man-on-the run' Richard Hannay. Whether comedy or drama, McGillin always impresses (he just finished as The Devil in the Paper Mill's 'Damn Yankees' and of course,
his record-setting performance in the title role of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway). He is supported by two masters of broad, slapstick comedy Michael Thomas Holmes and Mark Price.  The two play all the male and several female parts from London stage performers in tux' to Scottish inkeepers (husband and wife!) to international spies and much more. The principal female parts are played with marvelous style, tongue planted firmly in her cheek, of course, by the very attractive Stacie Morgain. Lewis.  The director of this mad-cap three-ring circus is Mark Shanahan who was a member of the original Broadway cast.

The clever use of the set, props, sound effects and sight gags in 39 Steps provides many of the belly-laughs that this fast-paced fun event delivers. Just what are the 39 steps? Why is Hannay on the run? How does he prove his innocence? Who is the man with the partial finger? Who wears a kilt? Does he get the girl?

Sorry, you'll have to visit the George Street Playhouse (very comfortable stadium seating) no later than May 20 to find out. When you do, don't blink or you will miss some of the fun in this five star event. The play with one intermission runs about two hours. Warning: there are several gunshots, flashing strobe lights and a man wears a kilt.

 Director Mark Shanahan's production team includes scenic designer Yoshi Tanokura; lighting designer Rui Rita; costume designer David Murin, wig and hair design Rob Greene and J.Jared Janas, sound designer Ryan Rumery, dialect coach Chantal Jean-Pierre, fight director Rick Sordelet, movement director Jen Waldman, so necessary in this whirlwind of a comedy. The production stage manager is Jane Pole.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio     April 28, 2012

The 39 Steps has performances  through Sunday, May 20. Tickets are priced from $26.50, and may be obtained by contacting the George Street Playhouse Box Office by phone at 732-246-7717. Tickets may also be purchased online via the Playhouse website: George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick’s Dining and Entertainment district, steps away from dining for every cuisine and budget. Visit for directions as well as parking and restaurant recommendations.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Review: 'Copenhagen' at Luna Stage

Ian Gould and Paul Murphy in "Copenhagen," at Luna Stage (Amanda Faison)
The Luna Stage Company, of West Orange, is noted for producing intelligent, thought-provoking plays. The selection for the final production of the 2011-2012 season delivers on all counts. It is a fascinating revival of  Michael Frayn's 'Copenhagen', winner of the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play.

The always impressive director/actor James Glossman has nicely staged this most unusual play. First, he has perfectly cast this production with three marvelous actors, Ian Gould, Paul Murphy and Linda Setzer. Their performances, and Glossman's direction, breath fire into, and make fascinating what could, in lesser hands, be a deadly evening of theatre, at least the first act. Second, is the maximum use of theatre space, including a simple, highly effective circular set that the two men race around for most of the two hours (are they orbiting like electrons?).

This is the story of two actual nuclear scientists who first met as student and mentor in Copenhagen in the early 1920's and meet again in 1941. Paul Murphy plays the renowned Danish physicist Niels Bohr, Linda Setzer is Margrethe, Bohr's wife, principal confidant and commentator to the audience, Ian Gould is Werner Heisenberg, the former student, who now in 1941 is the leading German atomic physicist.

The 1941 meeting in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen between the two friends and fellow scientists, but on opposite sides of the war, has been debated for many years since no one knows exactly what happened. What was Heisenberg's motive for the brief visit? He departed abruptly following an eleven minute stroll. Was he visiting to determine if the rumors about the U.S. progress on an Atomic bomb were true? How far had it been developed? Did Heisenberg sabotage the German efforts to develop the bomb on moral grounds or did he miscalculate the amount of plutonium required for a bomb or the crucial calculation for the critical mass of U-235 that would have given Germany the key to the bomb?

Michael Frayn uses a clever device to tell the story. He presents the three in an imagined meeting that takes place after all three characters have died. They attempt to explore what happened or didn’t happen at that meeting in 1941. Bohr is friendly to Heisenberg, at least more than Margrethe, who despises the German and everything he represents. Heisenberg admits he is a German patriot, but never joined the Nazi Party, and always got along with his Jewish colleagues. “I am not a Nazi, but a German!. Germany is where I was born. Germany is where I became what I am. Germany is all the faces of my childhood, all the hands that picked me up when I fell, all the voices that encouraged me and set me on my way, all the hearts that speak to my heart. Germany is my widowed mother and my impossible brother. Germany is my wife. Germany is our children."

This is the point to insert the primary question....What if?  Suppose Germany had developed the bomb before the Allies? Prime targets surely would have been London and Paris.

Michael Frayn has written a very complex drama that will demand your full concentration. It is hard to believe that this is the same author of one of the wildest, funniest, broad comedies....'Noises Off.'

James Glossman's production staff deserves special recognition; Lighting design-Richard Currie, Costume design- Deborah Caney, Sound design-Jeff Knapp, Set design-Carrie Mossman, and Stage Manager- Mary Ellen Allison. The lighting and sound were particularly effective.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    April 27, 2012

Copenhagen runs through May 20. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are $35 each (Thursday performances are $25), and can be purchased in person, on the phone at 973-395-5551, or on the Luna Stage website: The 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, April 29th will be followed by a talkback with director James Glossman and other members of the creative team.

Ian Gould, Paul Murphy and Linda Setzer (photo: Amanda Faison)

Alan Ayckbourn’s My Wonderful Day next at the Two River Theater Company

The Two River Theater Company concludes its 2011-2012 Season with Alan Ayckbourn’s My 
Wonderful Day, directed by Nicholas Martin. 

Performances will begin on Tuesday, May 15 and continue through Sunday, June 3 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank.

Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or Single ticket prices start at $37. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and patrons aged 30 and under.

In My Wonderful Day, a comedy about the British middle class, Ayckbourn looks at the adult world—with all of its foibles, and failed hopes and dreams—through the eyes of a child. Winnie Barnstairs, a nearly nine-year old Anglo-Caribbean girl from south London, has a school assignment to write about her day. She is spending it with her mother, a house cleaner who works for a minor television celebrity. Instructed to get on with her homework, Winnie observes and records everything happening around her—even as the day turns into an increasingly frenetic domestic farce of marital infidelity, volcanic egos, and comic misunderstandings. 

Danielle Skraastad
The company includes Alison Cimmet (Tiffany), Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Laverne), Susan Heyward (Winnie), Kevin Isola (Josh), Danielle Skraastad (Paula), and Marc Vietor (Kevin).

Says Artistic Director John Dias, “Alan Ayckbourn is bitingly, yet lovingly, honest about the British middle class, which in this play is seen through the eyes of a watchful, Anglo-Caribbean child. And, he is always hilarious—which is why Nicholas Martin is the perfect director for this production.  I think this is the perfect coming together of two great artists with enormous craft and exquisite comic sensibilities.”  

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony and Molière Award-winning playwright who has written 76 plays. My Wonderful Day (number 73) premiered in 2009, the year of both the 50th anniversary of his first play, The Square Cat, and his 70th birthday. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Luna Stage’s final production of season 'Copenhagen'

Luna Stage’s final production of the 2011-2012 season is a revival of Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen, winner of the 2000 Tony Award for Best Play. Directed by James Glossman, Copenhagen officially opens tonight (April 27), and runs through May 20. Performance times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m.

Tickets are on sale now, $35 each (Thursday performances are $25; opening night with reception is $45 per ticket), and can be purchased in person, on the phone at 973-395-5551, or on the Luna Stage website: The 3 p.m. performance on Sunday, April 29th will be followed by a talkback with director James Glossman and other members of the creative team.

In wartime 1941, German atomic physicist Werner Heisenberg traveled to Nazi-occupied Copenhagen to see his old friend and mentor, renowned Danish physicist Niels Bohr. Side by side, almost as father and son, Bohr and Heisenberg had revolutionized nuclear science in the 1920s, but they had since been pulled apart as they found themselves on opposite sides of a World War.   Why did Heisenberg meet with Bohr in the middle of the war, at a time when the Germans and the Allies were racing against each other to develop atomic weapons?  The play Copenhagen allows Heisenberg and Bohr, along with Bohr’s wife Margarethe, to reunite beyond time and explore what happened or didn’t happen at that meeting, as they wrestle with the powerful yet often uncertain bonds of country, conscience, love and loss in a world whose very core is on the verge of being split apart.

“Some questions may be ultimately unanswerable”, says Luna Stage Artistic Director Jane Mandel, “but since the threat of nuclear devastation is now a very real part of our lives, it is vital that we continue to seek understanding of each other, our motivations, and the world we share. The play is very relevant to the current headlines, issues of our national security, and to our global humanity.”

Luna Stage’s production of Copenhagen is directed by veteran stage director, James Glossman (Read our review The Dangers of Electric Lighting) and features a cast of three including Ian Gould, Paul Murphy and Linda Setzer. The set is designed by Carrie Mossman, lighting is by Richard Currie, sound by Jeff Knapp and costumes by Deborah Caney. The production is stage managed by Mary Ellen Allison.

James Glossman directs all over the United States and has staged countless productions at Luna Stage. Most recently at Luna, as we mentioned, he traded in his director’s chair for an acting role and played Thomas Edison in Luna’s world premiere production of The Dangers of Electric Lighting by Ben Clawson.

Ian Gould is new to Luna Stage. His New York credits include Richard III and The Merry Wives of Windsor at The Pearl Theatre Company, The Devil’s Disciple and The Scarecrow at The Metropolitan Playhouse, and When Is a Clock at The Blue Coyote Theater Group.

Paul Murphy, who teaches Improvisation at Luna Stage, has appeared in numerous productions with the company, most recently Under Glass by Kristine Thatcher.  Some of his New York credits include Finnegan in Finnegan's Wake; Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor; Autolycus in The Winter's Tale and The Prince in Cole Porter's Jubilee.  He is a member of the Improv troupe, Lunatic Fringe.

Linda Setzer has also been in a number of Luna Stage productions, and also was most recently seen in the company’s production of Under Glass. Some of Ms. Setzer’s other credits include Transit of Venus at The Bickford Theatre and three productions of Bluff with John Astin at Shadowland Theatre and The Boarshead Theatre.

For information on Copenhagen and all other events and programs at Luna Stage, visit the company website: Luna Stage is located at 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ 07052. 973-395-5551. The theatre is handicapped accessible and assisted listening devices are available.

'Once On This Island' cast set for Paper Mill

Paper Mill interior
Paper Mill Playhouse has just announced full casting for the Millburn, New Jersey, theater's production of Once On This Island (book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, music by Stephen Flaherty). 

More than 20 years after its premiere, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens are re-inventing their first musical with Tony-nominated director Thomas Kail (In the Heights, Lombardi, Magic/Bird), choreographer Bradley Rapier (So You Think You Can Dance, Jesus Christ Superstar) and new orchestrations by music director Lynne Shankel (Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Altar Boyz).  

Once On This Island begins performances on Wednesday, May 30, 2012, and runs through Sunday, June 24, 2012.  

Once On This Island will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday. Single tickets are on sale from $25. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973-376-4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 25% discount on tickets and should call 973-315-1680.

Paper Mill Playhouse will present an all-star team of Broadway talent to tell the moving story of Once On This Island.  As previously announced, American Idol finalist Syesha Mercado has been cast as Ti Moune.  Broadway veteran Darius de Haas will portray Agwe.  De Haas was seen on Broadway in Rent (Collins/Angel/Benny), Dreamgirls (C.C. White), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Encore's Broadway Bash and Carousel (Mr. Snow) at Lincoln Center.  Kevin R. Free will play Tonton Julian.  Free was named a Person of the Year in 2010 by for noteworthy contributions to New York Theater. In NYC, Free was featured in From My Hometown, The Conjure Man Dies and Taking a Chance on LoveAdam Jacobs will play Daniel.  Jacobs is currently featured in Disney's The Lion King on Broadway.  Jacobs played Marius in the recent Broadway revival of Les Misérables and starred in the title role of the world premiere of Disney's Aladdin.

Kenita R. Miller (Mama Euralie) returns to Paper Mill Playhouse where the critics raved about her performance as Sarah in Ragtime. Miller appeared on Broadway in The Color Purple (Celie) and Xanadu,  Alan Mingo, Jr. will make his Paper Mill Playhouse debut in the role of Papa Ge.  Mingo starred on Broadway in Rent (Tom Collins) and Disney's The Little Mermaid (Sebastian) along with a myriad of television credits.  Courtney Reed (Andrea) recently starred as Jasmine in the world premiere of Disney's Aladdin.  Reed was featured in Broadway's Mamma Mia and In the Heights.  Broadway powerhouse Saycon Sengbloh will portray Erzulie.  Sengbloh starred on Broadway in Fela! (Sandra Isidore), Hair, The Color Purple, Elphaba in Wicked and the title role in Disney's AidaJerold E. Solomon (Armand/Daniel's Father) was last seen at Paper Mill Playhouse in the critically acclaimed musical The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee.  Solomon appeared in Lincoln Center's hit revival of South Pacific along with many television and film credits.  Aurelia Williams will play Asaka.  Williams has appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Guthrie, Theatre Under The Stars, The Lyric, Gateway Playhouse and dozens of other professional theaters.  Her film and television credits include The Big Gay Musical, The Sopranos and Da Ali G Show on HBO. Eleven-year-old Courtney Harris will be featured as Little Ti Moune.
Once On This Island, a highly original and theatrical Caribbean adaptation of the popular fairy tale The Little Mermaid, garnered eight Tony nominations in 1991 for its Broadway run, including Best Musical, Book and Score. The West End production opened in 1994, where it won the 1995 Olivier Award for Best New Musical. In almost non-stop song and dance, the show tells the story of Ti Moune, a peasant girl who rescues and falls in love with Daniel, a wealthy boy from the other side of her island.

When Daniel is returned to his people, the fantastical gods who rule the island guide Ti Moune on a quest to test the strength of her love against the powerful forces of prejudice, hatred and death. This tropical treat from the award-winning writer-composer team behind Ragtime tells their tale of romance, tragedy, redemption and rebirth with an astounding score, captivating choreography and an irresistible Caribbean beat.
Once On This Island will be directed by Tony nominee Thomas Kail. Kail was nominated for a 2008 Tony Award for his direction of In the Heights. Kail also directed the critically acclaimed productions of Lombardi and Magic/Bird currently on Broadway.

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.  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.

What's playing on New Jersey's professional stages ?

Here is the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's list of selected current and upcoming professional plays in the Garden State;

Bickford Theatre, Morristown
I Do! I Do!
Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones; music by Harvey Schmidt
April 12 - May 6

This delightful and nostalgic Tony-winning musical by the team that brought you The Fantasticks chronicles the 50-year marriage of Michael and Agnes Snow. Complete with a lovely and hummable score - including "My Cup Runneth Over" - and two delightful characters you won't soon forget.

For more information, or to purchase tickets: (973) 971-371             REVIEWED APRIL 12
Visit Bickford Theatre's website

Centenary Stage Company, Hackettstown

The Unfortunates By Aoise Stratford
April 13- 29 (World Premiere)
An "unfortunate working girl" enters a dark tavern on a cold April night to escape the dangerous streets of the Whitechapel section of London. This new play provides an inside glimpse into the streets of 19th century London when Jack the Ripper prowled the night.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (908) 979-0900          
Visit the Centenary Stage Company website                REVIEWED APRIL 14

Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick
The Last Five Years
Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown
April 12 - 29       LAST WEEKEND

A Drama Desk Award Winner, this cleverly crafted romantic musical tells the story of a writer with a career on the rise, who falls in love with an actress struggling to get her career off the ground. The play was cited as one of Time Magazine's Ten Best of 2001.

For more information, or to purchase tickets: (732) 545-8100
Visit Crossroads Theatre Company's website         REVIEWED APRIL 15

The Garage Theater Group, Teaneck
Trad  By Mark Doherty
April 19 - May 6
A hilarious tale about the very old Thomas, and his even more ancient Da. When Thomas reveals that he once fathered a son in a long-ago flingh, the pair set off across the Irish countryside to seek the unknown child, with nothing more than a hobble and a limp to help them.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (201) 569-7710
Visit The Garage Theatre Group's website

Luna Stage Company, West Orange
Copenhagen   By Michael Frayn
April 19 - May 20

This Tony-winning Best Play explores the powerful bonds of county, conscience and love in a world at risk of being torn apart. A German physicist travels to Nazi-occupied Copenhagen to see his old friend and mentor; together they revolutionized nuclear science, but they are now on opposite sides in a World War.
For more information, or to purchase tickets: (973) 395-5551

Visit Luna Stage Company's website               REVIEWING APRIL 27

New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch
The Hound of the Baskervilles
By Steven Canny and John Nicholson
April 19 - May 20 (New Jersey Premiere)

The male heirs of the Baskerville family are being knocked off and Sherlock Holmes, the self-proclaimed "greatest detective of all time" takes the case. Mayhem of various kinds ensues, and physical humor abounds in this wacky adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous story.
For more information or to purchase tickets: (732) 229-3166
Visit New Jersey Repertory Company's website

Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven
The cast of The Rat Pack Review.
The cast of The Rat Pack Review.
The Rat Pack Revue
April 18 - May 6

Sinatra, Davis, Martin, Bishop and Lawford ... The Rat Pack ruled Las Vegas and Hollywood in 1960's. Watch them come alive again in this nostalgic revue. Mix in funny banter and great chemistry, shake in the aisles to favorite old songs, stir in the Dry Martini Orchestra, and you have the total nostalgic entertainment package.
For more information or to purchase tickets: (609) 492-9477
Visit Surflight Theatre's website - Your 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.)


About the New Jersey Theatre Alliance
The New Jersey Theatre Alliance supports a thriving statewide professional theatre community with a wealth of resources.
Members include large and small theatres — each one a fully-functioning business with paid staff and artists (designers, technicians, directors and actors). These theatres support the economic development of the state, contribute to their communities with outreach and arts education opportunities, and offer theatre that inspires, challenges and entertains close to one million theatre goers annually.

Learn more about the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the state's professional theatres

Additional information about Arts and Culture in New Jersey
Click on the logo above to visit the Discover Jersey Arts website
and get information about other Arts and Culture offerings in New Jersey.

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

Mur-Mur (The Wall) at RVCC May 18

The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in Branchburg will present DynamO Theatre’s production of Mur-Mur (The Wall), Friday, May 18, 2012, at 7 p.m. 

The performance is the final offering in the Theatre’s Family Series and is recommended for families with children ages 8 and older. Tickets costs $25 each.

A wall, with its graffiti and its secrets, alternates as a playground and a refuge from the world for five characters. It echoes the whispers and murmurings of earlier times. The wall speaks of the friendships among two teenage couples and a pesky and incorrigible younger brother. With humor and sheer innocence, these five characters are swept up in an air-bound acrobatic ballet. Telling of quarrels, shared schemes and stolen kisses, the acrobatic choreography allows the performers to unleash the eloquence of movement with the use of very little dialogue.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at

RVCC’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ.

Photo: DynamO Theatre

Auditions: Sleeping Beauty at Pax Amicus Castle Theatre

The Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake will be holding open auditions for Sleeping Beauty (Generation Next) on May 12 and 19 at 12 Noon.

Open Cast Call for Teens 13-19. The Show Dates: July 14 and 21, plus select weekdays July 11-20, 2012.

They are seeking a King, a Queen, a Silly Troll, an Enchanted Prince and a dozen good fairies to reverse the curse of their naughty sister.

In addition they are providing a free acting workshop for Teens with Stan Barber the director.

Visit the 'Pax' website for more information or call the box office at (973) 691-2100.

The theatre is located at 23 Lake Shore Road, Budd Lake NJ 07828.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Help needed across the river!

June 5 - 30
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
Featuring MacIntyre Dixon, David Furr, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Robert Joy, Omar Metwally, Oliver Platt, Lily Rabe, and Stephen Spinella
In As You Like It, Rosalind, Shakespeare's most breathtaking heroine, and her boyfriend Orlando find themselves in the enchanted Forest of Arden, where all the world's a stage, and where sudden infatuation is as confusing as it is beautiful. Along with other "country copulatives," they discover that nothing transforms, redeems, or enriches experience quite as powerfully as love. As You Like It has everything we adore about Shakespearean comedy: mistaken identity, cross-dressing, madness, mayhem, rage, lust, laughter, and of course plenty of romance, both heartbreaking and joyous.
July 23 - August 25
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed by Timothy Sheader
Co-Directed by Liam Steel
Featuring Amy Adams, Jack Broderick, Gideon Glick, Cooper Grodin, Ivan Hernandez, Tina Johnson, Josh Lamon, Jessie Mueller, Donna Murphy, Laura Shoop, and Tess Soltau
In Into the Woods, a witch's curse condemns the Baker and his Wife to a life without children. They embark on a quest to find the four items required to break the spell: the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. Will they succeed? And what happens after "happily ever after?" A Tony Award-winning masterpiece by musical theater giants Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into the Woods is a witty and irreverent reimagining of beloved classic fairytales: Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.
This production is based on the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre London Production produced by Timothy Sheader and William Village for Regent's Park Theatre Ltd.
To view full performance calendars, visit
Make a $175 tax-deductible donation and receive a reserved seat for the 2012 Shakespeare in the Park Season. Your contribution helps keep Shakespeare free for all New Yorkers. Only a limited number of reserved Summer Supporter seats are available, so order yours today!
Click here to donate online or call our Box Office at 212-967-7555.
For priority seating, please consider The Public Theater Partners Program. 
For more information, click here or call the Partner office at 212-539-8734.

Auditions: interACT Theatre Productions musical

interACT Theatre Productions is holding auditions for;

'interACT Sings! Big Screen to Broadway: A Musical Revue'

May 6, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and May 8, 2012, 7 p.m.-10 p.m.

The location is The Burgdorff Theater, 10 Durand Rd., Maplewood, NJ 07040.

Appointments are strongly suggested.

Visit for more information and to
schedule an audition time.

Auditionees should prepare 16-32 bars of one ballad and one up-tempo piece.

also be prepared for a light movement audition and dress accordingly.

Bring resume and headshot if you have one. If you do not have either of

these, there will be a form to fill out and a picture will be taken of you.

Auditions are non-equity only.

Casting Men and Women of all ages

Performance Dates: June 15 and 16, 2012
Nicholas J. Clarey is the Artistic Director of interACT Theatre Productions

InterACT sets 2012-13 season schedule

The Crucible
by Arthur Miller 

The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife, 
and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes 
the wife's arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings 
the girl to court to admit the lie—and it is here that 
the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is 
terrifyingly depicted. The farmer, instead of 
saving his wife, finds himself also accused of 
witchcraft and ultimately condemned with a 
host of others.

Steel Magnolias

by Robert Harling

The setting is Truvy's beauty salon, where all the ladies who are "anybody" come to have their hair done. Helped by her eager new ssistant, Annelle, the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town's rich curmudgeon, Ouiser, ("I'm not crazy, I've just been in a bad mood for forty years"); an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee; and the local social leader, M'Lynn, whose daughter Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a "good ole boy." Filled with hilarious repartee and not a few acerbic but humorously revealing verbal collisions, the play moves toward tragedy when the spunky Shelby risks pregnancy and forfeits her life. The sudden 
realization of  their mortality affects the others, but also draws on the underlying strength—and love—which give the play, and its characters, the special quality to make them truly touching, funny and marvelously amiable company in good times and bad.

by Terrence McNally and David Yazbek 

Seeing how much their wives enjoy watching male strippers during their "Girls' Night Out," unemployed steelworkers in Buffalo, New York come up with a bold way to make some
quick cash. In the process they find renewed self-esteem, the importance of friendship and the ability to have fun.  As the guys work through their fears, self-consciousness, feelings of
worthlessness and anxieties (over everything from being overweight to child custody, bigotry to being gay), they come to discover that not only are they stronger as a group, but that the strength they find in each other gives them the individual
courage to face their demons and overcome them.

interACT Sings - Big Screen to Broadway
A Concert Fundraiser Event
April 15, 2012

This year's annual Fundraiser is "interACT Sings - Big Screen to Broadway".  Join us for this interACT Theatre Productions benefit and experience a great musical production celebrating the musical marriage of the stage and the big screen. Join us for cocktail hour and enjoy wine, hors d'ouvres and finger foods from local dining establishments, and get your chance to win one of our fantastic raffle prizes and bid on incredible silent auction items from local business and residents.

interACT Productions Names New Artistic Director
December 16, 2011

interACT Theatre Productions, one of Essex County’s newest community theatres has announced the appointment of Nicholas Clarey as their new Artistic Director. Clarey is the second Artistic Director in the company’s history, taking over from Elizabeth Rogers, who founded the company.  Clarey hails from Pittsburgh PA, where he has directed, choreographed, and appeared in many productions. He founded several theatre companies including New Works New Haven in New Haven, CT and WingSpace Theater Company in Ithaca, NY, and currently directs the Theater Education Program at Dryden Central Schools where his recent production Seussical won the CRT Pavilion Excellence award for Best Musical. According to a release from the company, the Board of Directors chose Clarey because of his vision to expand interACT’s reach. The company says it will continue its high-quality main stage theatre productions and will begin sponsoring an emerging-playwrights workshop offering readings and eventually stagings of new works. interACT’s mission is to create a more accessible, welcoming environment that offers opportunities for people at all levels to participate in an inclusive, educational, and high-quality theatre experience.  Clarey’s long-term plans for interACT also include acting, theatre production and “behind-the-scenes” classes such as costume and set design for all ages. “I want to change people’s perception of community theatre,” said Clarey. “Our goal is to truly be a theater OF the Community.”
interACT Theatre Productions is located at The Burgdorff Theater,10 Durand Rd. Maplewood, NJ 07040

within easy walking distance from the Maplewood train station.