Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Auditions for One-Act Plays at the Chester Theatre Group

What's Coming Up in Chester
Hello to all of Chester's friends and patrons.
It's Summer !!!!
As you may have heard or if you didn't, XANADU, slated to be our summer production has met with an untimely demise and unfortunately will not be done this year. So put away your roller skates for now, but the Chester Theatre Board has promised to look to doing Xanadu in the future. Maybe in a decade or so.
ANYWAY, we are trying to fill that summer void with varied and entertaining evenings in July.
But More on That Later.
Right Now this is what's happening.

NEXT: Auditions for summer One - Acts
Christine Gaden & Noah Stanzione will be directing a one act each that plays for one weekend July 27 & 28.
The following actors are needed:
Noah Stanzione seeks 2 males (20s-early 30s)
Christine Gaden seeks 3 males (20s-40s, one 50s) and 2 females (20s - 40s)
Please contact the directors with any questions:
Auditions will take place Monday June 4th & Wednesday June 6th at 7:30pm at The Black River Playhouse in Chester.
Sides will be provided at auditions. Monologs are fine if you have one but not necessary.

June 4th & 6th
summer one acts 

'An Evening With Marlo Thomas' at the George Street Playhouse has been postponed

The George Street Playhouse has just announced that due to a scheduling conflict “An Evening With Marlo Thomas” originally planned for this Saturday, June 2 at 8 p.m., has been postponed and will be rescheduled for fall 2012.

Proceeds from this “one night only” event with the much-loved actress and philanthropist is to benefit the Playhouse’s mainstage and educational programming. Tickets to the event were priced at $125 and $60; the $125 VIP ticket price includes premium seating in the theatre and an exclusive, private reception with Ms. Thomas after the performance.

For information on the event, please contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717, or by visiting 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 incredible dining experiences for every taste and budget.

Henry IV, Part One opens the 2012 season of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey today

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will launch its 2012 milestone 50th Anniversary season with William Shakespeare’s saga of a young prince’s reformation and ascent to manhood – Henry IV, Part One.   Considered one of Shakespeare’s most popular history plays, this rousing tale has not been produced on The Shakespeare Theatre stage in 20 years.    Henry IV, Part One begins performances on May 30 and runs through June 24 at the Theatre’s Main Stage – the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.   All tickets, including discounted ticket packages are now on sale.   For tickets or for more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road), in Madison.

Henry IV, Part Onefeatures Shakespeare’s brilliant invention of Falstaff, the colorful character who appears in three of the Bard’s plays.  In Henry IV, Part One, we see him at the height of his rowdy and bawdy powers.  Along with the delinquent Prince Hal, the fiery Hotspur, and a host of nobles and ner’er-do-wells, fact and fiction blend seamlessly under Shakespeare’s sure hand in this stirring and exuberant evening of theatre. 

The cast features a combination of Shakespeare Theatre favorites and newcomers making their Shakespeare Theatre debut.  One of the Theatre’s brightest, young leading men, Derek Wilson,returns to the Theatre for his seventh season to play the irresponsible Prince Hal, the Prince of Wales.  Wilson appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre productions of No Man’s Land, The Comedy of Errors, and Henry VI: Blood and Roses among many others.  He has also appeared in several productions at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC., the NYFringe, The English Company and Human Race Theatre Company.  

John Ahlin plays the hedonistic, witty and larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff.   In his fifth season with the Theatre, Ahlin appeared most recently in A Christmas Carol, and All’s Well that Ends Well. On Broadway, he appeared in Waiting for Godot with Bill Irwin, Nathan Lane and John Glover, the Tony Award-winning Journey’s End, The Lieutenant of Inishimore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo’ Time and Whoopee!  Ahlin has played all the Falstaff’s, except Verdi’s, in more than 30 Shakespeare productions -- most recently in The Merry Wives of Windsor at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival. 

Jon Barker returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his fifth season to play the warrior Henry Percy, also known as Hotspur.   Barker played Cassio in last season’s Othello and is a veteran of almost a dozen Shakespeare Theatre productions. He has also appeared at the Kennedy Center, the Paramount Theatre and recently appeared in The Dangers of Electric Lighting at Luna Stage.  

King Henry IV is played by Brent Harris who returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for his second season.   Last season, he played the iconic role of Atticus Finch in the Theatre’s acclaimed To Kill A Mockingbird and the role of Alcibiades in Timon of Athens.   He recently played Scar in the national tour of The Lion King.  He has also appeared at the American Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Denver Center Theatre among many others.

Other Shakespeare Theatre veterans returning for Henry IV, Part One include John Little  (The Grapes of Wrath) as Earl of Westmoreland; Conan McCarty (To Kill A Mockingbird) as Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester;  Doug West (Macbeth) as Lord Edmund Mortimer, Jeffrey M. Bender (Accidental Death of an Anarchist) as Poins, Patrick Toon (Othello) as Bardolph and Izzie Steele as the fiery Lady Percy.  Making his Shakespeare Theatre debut is Maxon Davis as Archibald. 

Rounding out the cast are Cliff Miller, Robert Grant, Glenn Beatty, Drew Dix, Jordan LaRoya, Jesse Grahamand Cliff Miller.   

The Director
Joseph Discher is in his 22stseason with The Shakespeare Theatre, where he oversees casting for The Theatre's various acting companies and aids in training program recruitment, outreach and education programs. His company directing credits include To Kill A MockingbirdArms and the Man, The Grapes of Wrath (named Best Director by the Star-Ledger), The Tempest, Amadeus, The Play’s the Thing, Cymbeline, Life of Galileo, Of Mice and Men(Best Revival of the Year, The Star-Ledger), A Midwinter Night's Dream, The Fantasticks (Best Director of a Musical, The Star-Ledger) and Twelfth Night on the Main Stage; That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage.   Discher directed Julius Caesar in 2006 for The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, which broke attendance records, playing to 50,000 in three weeks.  He is an alumnus of Drew University, and Delbarton School.

The Artistic Staff
Creating the world of Henry IV, Part One are are set designer Jonathan Wentz; lighting designer Matthew Adelson; costume designer Paul Canada, sound designer Richard M. Dionne and fight director RickSordeletKathy Snyder is the production stage manager. 

Single tickets for Henry IV, Part One are now on sale and start at $32.   Student Rush tickets are available 30-minutes before curtain for $10 with a valid student ID.   For tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600, visit or email  Single ticket prices include a $2 facility fee not subject to discount. 
Discount Ticket Packages
Discount ticket packages, offering discounts of up to 42% off regular prices, are also available.  The Complete Works discount package, which includes the best seats to all six Main Stage productions, starts at $117 for previews.  Student subscriptions are available for an amazing deal at only $60 for all six Main Stage productions.   Five-play and 4-play discount packages start at $84.  Discount ticket packages feature the best seats to all Main Stage productions; free, easy and unlimited ticket exchanges should schedules change; discounts on additional tickets for the Main Stage and the Outdoor Stage; and the convenience of having tickets in hand and dates scheduled in advance.   Call the box office at 973-408-5600.  Look for more information at   

 Special Performances
Preview performances for Henry IV, Part One are May 30th at 7:30 pm, May 31st and June 1st at 8 pm, and June 2nd at 2 pm. These Preview performances offer opportunities for reduced-priced tickets while enjoying the excitement of the very first performances in front of an audience. As always, the first Preview performance is Pay What You Cannight.   Visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and 7:30 p.m. on May 30th and purchase a ticket for what you are able to pay for that evening’s 7:30 preview performance (offer subject to availability).  

The Chatham Community Players will hold open auditions for the fast paced comedy, THE 39 STEPS, adapted from the John Buchan novel/Alfred Hitchcock film by Patrick Barlowas, It will be their first main stage show of their 91st season. The
production runs October 5 - 20, 2012 at the Chatham Playhouse. Rehearsals to start in early August. 

Auditions will be held on Sunday, June 24 at 7 P.M. and on Tuesday, June 26 at 7 P.M. at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Ave., Chatham. Director Bell Wesel asks that actors be familiar with the script. Sides will be provided at the audition. If you have a comedic monologue, you may be asked perform it.

The Chatham Players have an open call casting policy. ALL roles are open, none are precast, and everyone is encouraged to audition. Any questions, please call Leslie Reagoso at (973) 769-3886 or email her at For directions or additional information, please visit

Richard Hannay gets caught up in a plot of espionage and intrigue when a mysterious woman tells him of "The 39 Steps." When accused of her murder, he begins an escape that takes him on a fast paced race through Scotland, complete with a train and plane chase, as he eludes the police and foreign spies. Can Hannay keep British intelligence safe and convince the police of his innocence? Find out as 4 actors portray over 140 characters in this rapid-fire satire that closely follows the 1935 Hitchcock film.

Character Breakdown:(3 Men, 1 Woman)

4 Extremely versatile actors with great comic flair to play a multitude of Roles. Must be physically agile and creatively fearless.

Richard Hannay
- 30's to 40 Attractive, Comic Leading Man type. Upper class British. Slightly full of himself but totally engaging.

Annabella/Pamela/Margaret - 20's to 30's Attractive and Adaptable, Great with physical comedy. Must play three distinct characters, Upper class British, German and Scottish.

Clown 1 and Clown 2
- Two wildly versatile and energetic male actors to play over 100 roles (Upper and Lower class British, Scottish, German, some male, some female and some inanimate objects). Great with verbal and physical Comedy and quick changes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Paper Mill's Once On This Island starts May 30

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 is proudly sponsored by Bank of America.

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 Love. Adam 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, Encores' Merrily We Roll Along and the title role in Dessa Rose at Lincoln Center. 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 Aida. Jerold 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.

"There have been many wonderful incarnations of Once On This Island over the years," remarked lyricist Lynn Ahrens, "but we're really excited about Paper Mill's upcoming production, a re-imagining which we think will be extraordinary." Composer Stephen Flaherty adds, "The multi-ethnic cast is stunning, the re-conceived orchestrations are gorgeous, and from what we've seen so far, the sets are a knockout. All in all, we can't wait!"

Syesha Mercado (Ti Moune) was born January 2, 1987, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She spent her childhood in Bradenton and Sarasota, Florida, where she discovered her love for singing in her church choir, like many of today's standout artists. She attended school for the performing arts, where she began to master her unique singing voice. Aiding in that mastery was her participation in a local band that had her constantly performing at many local community and charity events, quickly winning over the hearts of anyone who listened to her.

In 2006, Syesha became a contestant on ABC's The One: Making a Music Star, and when that was cancelled after four episodes she moved on, and in 2007 her amazing voice won her theFlorida Supersinger contest. In 2007, Syesha auditioned for the hit FOX show American Idol, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Jordin Sparks and become the next American Idol. Falling short of that goal by one week, Syesha came in third place out of more than 100,000 hopefuls (and was the last female standing). On the American Idol Finale Syesha was honored to duet with Seal and Donna Summer.

In addition to connecting with the public via her network television performances and subsequent YouTube viewings (numbering well into the hundreds of thousands), her American Idolperformances enjoyed over 200,000 digital downloads on iTunes. Syesha's success on American Idol resulted in a windfall of accolades and professional opportunities. In addition to being awarded the keys to the city of former hometowns Bradenton, Florida, and Bridgeport, Connecticut, she participated in the American Idol LIVE Tour 2008, performing 53 concerts in 49 cities in the United States and Canada and garnering a slew of positive reviews that singled her out.

The Miami Heralds assessment of Mercado's contribution to the tour was typical of the press and fan reaction to her work, stating, "she earned the first (and only real) standing ovation for her rendition of the Dreamgirls tune Listen. As fate would have it, her rendition of the song landed her a lead role in the national touring production of Dreamgirls. Mercado, who envisioned a career doing Broadway, film and television in addition to being a recording artist following her stint on Idol, toured the US and Japan in the role of Deena Jones in the newly conceived production of the stage musical opened at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in November 2009.

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. Off Broadway credits include: In the Heights (Callaway Award, Drama Desk nomination, Outer Critics nomination), New York City Center: The Wiz and Lincoln Center Theater: Broke-ology (Mitzi Newhouse Theater). Kail is the co-creator and director of the hip-hop improv group Freestyle Love Supreme, which played the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, U.S. Comedy Arts Festival, Montreal Comedy Festival and Melbourne Comedy Festival. Kail also serves as the Artistic Director and co-founder of Back House Productions. On television Kail directed "The Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special" in 2010 for ABC; the pilot episode of "Storymakers" for AMC and served as co-music director and consulting producer of PBS show "The Electric Company."

Three Centenary Young Performers accepted in college theatre programs

Andy Calderone, Montana Marsilio and McKenzie Custin  

Three Centenary Young Performers seniors have been accepted into theatre programs at NJ’s Montclair State University and NY’s Hofstra University.  North Warren Regional High School senior, Andy Calderone and West Morris Central High School senior, Montana Marsilio will be attending Hofstra University, and Lehigh Valley Charter H.S. for the Performing Arts senior, McKenzie Custin will be attending Montclair State University this coming fall.

“I learned a great deal about myself as a person and the hard work that is ahead of me as a performer,” states McKenzie.  Andy, Montana, and McKenzie also credit their success to their families’ unconditional support while attending YPW, and program director Michael Blevins’ dedication to the program.   Michael Blevins helped to “build my confidence by not letting me give up.  Without YPW, I don’t know what direction I would have taken,” proclaims Montana.

The seniors will be performing in their last Centenary YPW Festival of Shows June 1-10 in Hackettstown.  “Thanks to all the YPW students and adults for helping me grow and succeed,” expressed Andy.  Centenary Stage Company’s producing artistic director, Carl Wallnau is “proud of each senior’s achievement as they continue to pursue an education in theater.”

The Centenary Stage Company has been a pioneer in arts education in the Skylands Region with the inception of outreach programs such as the Young Performers Workshop established in 1992.  The not-for-profit equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College offers Young Performers Workshop sessions throughout the year to students in Warren, Sussex, Hunterdon, and Morris counties. 

 For more information about the Young Performers Workshop contact the Centenary Stage Company at (908)979-0900 or online

The Players of Leonia to present one-act showcase

The Players of Leonia (Photo of members) will present their 11th Annual Playwrights Showcase June 15th through June 24th. The showcase features new one act plays written by local playwrights. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM.,and Sundays at 3 P.M. at The Players Guild of Leonia Civil War Drill Hall Theater, 130 Grand Avenue, Leonia. Tickets are $20/$18 for seniors and students. Call 201-947-9606 or visit for reservations and information.

The Wayward Souls Motel- Where do we go after we go? One of the big questions/mysteries of life. Maybe we end up at the Wayward Souls Motel. It beats a Motel 6…. Maybe…Written by: Arie Moller
Directed by: Bill Kaufman

Lenny: Jonathan McDevitt
Greeter: Anita BrennanMartha: Eileen Mager
Buddy: Robert Klein
Albert Ron Rosario

A Dog's Life- A Playwright works on his play with his dog at his side….the dog talks to the audience…
Written by: Robert Daria
Directed by: Claudia MacDermott

Man: John Kiely
Dog: Elaine Davis

Last Actor Standing- An aging actor in a technologically vapid culture attempts to keep the flame of theatre alive in an abandoned community center.
Written by: Michael Edan
Directed by: Linda Wielkotz

Richard Barrymore: Gene Ruffini
Albert Appleheim: Jonathan McDevitt

Staten Island Baby- A family drama played out on the front stoop of a house in Staten Island , as siblings collide in this slice of life realistic one act.
Written by: Cary Gitter
Directed by: Susan Binder

Vinny: Earle Ziff
Mike: Dominick DeNucci
Gina: Mary Laido

We Interrupt This Argument- Two older sisters who live together have an argument interrupted by an unlikely married couple.
Written by: Tom Winkler
Directed by: Ellyn Essig

Annie Karen Altman
Susanna Beth Parillo
Husband David Knoller
Woman Gilda Bettini

Seeing Is Believing- Vivien Holder finds a new way of life, which surprises her since she wasn't looking for one.
Written by: Kathleen Clark
Directed by: Helene Marshall

Vivien Holder – Rowena Wagenheim
Ozzie Holder Baldwin – Bobbi Weintraub
Bernadette Baldwin – Toni DeFuria 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Local playwright brings four new plays to four cities in North America


Hamilton, New Jersey playwright Robert Cousins will be opening four plays in cities in the US and Canada this summer. ICE CREAM MUSICAL will go up at the London Fringe Festival in Ontario in June; ALL THE RABBITS will go up at the Greenbelt Arts Center in Washington, DC also in June; ALICE'S ADVENTURES will receive a local production in Burlington County in July; and THE STRAW GIRL will be featured at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival in September.

Robert Cousins has served as Odd Act Theatre Group's resident playwright since the company's founding. His first full-length play, ALL THE RABBITS, debuted in central New Jersey in 2007. HOW THE MONEY GOES, his second full-length, opened the following year and has since appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland and Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC. His newest piece, A WILD PLAY, appeared in separate productions at the London Fringe Festival in Ontario where it was recognized as the "Most Daring" play of the festival and the Capital Fringe Festival. He also writes for Odd Act's educational outreach and community programs including adaptations of ALADDIN and ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

Odd Act is a Trenton-based award winning, internationally touring group of artists committed to sharing new art with the world and bringing quality arts education to the greater Trenton area. They are in our fifth season. They have staged seven original professional productions in London, Montreal, Edinburgh, Princeton, and Washington, DC and over a dozen community and student productions in the greater Trenton area. They have served as resident artists with Lawrence Township Schools, the Catholic Youth Organization, and, this July, the Princeton Charter Schools. Odd Act recently opened a new studio on Whitehead Road between Hamilton and Lawrence Township.

directed by ROB C. THOMPSON
The Arts Project at London Fringe Festival (London, Ontario), June 7-16, 2012
Odd Act is back with an old-fashioned musical farce featuring a little more ice cream and a little less musical farce. Buy two scoops and we might not tap dance through your rainbow sprinkles. Extra toppings with your choice of percussion for a limited time only. Spoons not included.

Contact Shannon Horton at Odd Act Theatre Group


directed by NATALIE TENNER
The Greenbelt Arts Center (Washington, DC), June 21-23, 2012
When Gia runs away from home convinced that she is transforming into a rabbit, her younger sister Krista is left alone to deal with her disturbed and perverse half-brother and caretaker, Todd. Suddenly, dead rabbits start sprining up all over their backwoods hometown of Abernathy, and the townspeople persuade themselves that a deadly plague is on the wind. Can the town's inept young doctor, Micah, save the populace from self-destruction? Can Krista escape the influence of her controlling half-brother or is it already too late for her? Only the rabbits know for sure.

directed by ROB C. THOMPSON
Bordentown, NJ, July 27 and 28, 2012
Adapted from “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll and featuring Odd Act's student and adult community ensembles.

Philadelpahia, PA, September 2012
The Straw Girl is an adventure story, set in a macabre fairytale world. Adeline, the play's heroine, is the eponymous straw girl who has mysteriously come to life. Her best friend—a doll named Mabel—was not fortunate enough to come alive as well, and so Adeline resolves to animate her. Along the way, she is stalked by foes including a charlatan salesman with a traveling medicine show—who tries to con her out of her beloved doll—and a fraudulent doctor—intent on tearing out her insides in order to discover what makes her live.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Audition Notice: Madison Residents Ages 14-21

Here is an audition update for the The Madison Department of Recreation & Playwrights Theatre’s Summer Recreation musical Once Upon a Mattress. Madison residents age 14 to 21 can audition on Thursday, May 31, 2012,  4:30- 6:30 p.m. at the offices of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Madison Civic Center, 28 Walnut Street, Madison 07940. 

This project requires quite a large cast and all who try out will be included. Madison residents between 14 and 21 are welcome to audition for this community event.
The play will be performed at Madison HS Thursday, July 26- Saturday July 28, with Thursday and Friday shows at 7:30 p.m., and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 p.m. Rehearsals will take place Monday through Friday from 6-9:30 p.m., beginning Monday, June 25.  Weekend rehearsals will take place on Saturday and Sunday July 21 and 22 (the weekend prior to opening). Rehearsals will be held at a location to be determined in Madison.

Advanced sign up is recommended (though last minute auditioners will be accommodated as time permits). Interested performers can sign up in one of three ways: 1. Via e-mail at , (include name, desired audition date, and phone number); 2. via phone at 973.514.1787 x13 (include name, desired audition date, e-mail and phone number on answering service); or 3. at Playwrights Theatre’s website  (click on link for Madison Recreation Auditions at the updates section in bottom right hand corner of the home page). All appointments will be acknowledged via e-mail.

Be prepared to sing a portion of a song of your choice from a Broadway show. You may sing unaccompanied, bring recorded accompaniment (with no vocals please) or, if you have the sheet music in the correct key, we may be able to have it  played for you. You may prepare a short audition monologue or one will be provided for you. Actors may be asked to read selections from the script or do short improvisations. Please note there ARE parts for non-singers (the “King” is mute and pantomimes all of his lines- Fun part for a guy who doesn’t sing!) and those who just want to dance. Everyone should be ready to learn a few dance steps as well.

Once Upon A Mattress is a fun twist on Hans Christian Anderson’s Classic Fairytale ‘The Princess and the Pea’. It has an added subplot that has a more adult theme, and the show features some wonderful up-tempo full cast musical numbers, as well as very humorous songs and situations. The original Broadway cast was led by Carol Burnett and the revival by Sarah Jessica Parker. Many may have seen the made for TV version with an all-star cast (with Ms. Burnett as the Queen this time) as well.

They are also looking for students who are interested in playing in the orchestra (rehearsals begin July 9), and people of all ages for building/painting scenery, making costumes or props for one day or the whole project.  Those interested can send an e-mail to, leave a message at 973.514.1787 x13 or indicate interest at Playwrights Theatre’s website ( ).

Baseball Play Festival Reaches a 10-Year Milestone

Big League Chewby Alex Ghirardi  (Photo-Joe Epstein)

Baseball is steeped in tradition, and Mile Square Theatre—Hoboken’s professional theatre—celebrates 10 years of its annual tradition, 7thInning Stretch: 7 10-minute plays about baseball on June 15, 16, and 17. This decade-long streak has generated over 60 new works contributed by some of America’s best playwrights—Tony winners, Emmy winners, Pulitzer nominees. And this year’s Stretch contains a lineup of writers who are heavy hitters. Presented at their home, The Monroe Theatrespace, 7th Inning Stretch puts 7 short plays onstage in an 80-minute program that celebrates America’s pastime. Each play is like a short story, presenting its own unique point of view, performed by some of the area’s best professional actors. Tickets are available online ( or reservations can be made at 201.683.7014. Tickets are $25.  Students and seniors, $18.

 On Saturday, June 16 at 7 p.m., MST offers the Triple Play Gala for $50. The gala offers a reception with food and beverages provided by Hoboken’s favorite restaurants, plus a silent auction. At the Triple Play Gala you will mingle with the writers and actors!

Chris O’Connor, artistic director of Mile Square Theatre, says of the Stretch, “This event is something our audience looks forward to every year. It’s such a unique and rich evening of theatre. Audiences always leave the show with huge grins on their faces. It’s like a 7-course meal and it never disappoints.“

The 2012 roster of baseball playwrights is led off by Peter Ackerman, who re-tooled Broadway’s recent revival of The Pajama Game and co-wrote the Ice Age movies. Emmy-winning writer John Ford Noonan (St. Elsewhere, Flirting with Disaster) pinchhits with a play, as does Jefferson Award-winner Jeffrey Sweet. Tommy Nohilly—whose play Blood from a Stonewas at the New Group, starring Ethan Hawke—gets on base, followed by multi-award winning playwright Ken Weitzman, and Helen Merrill Playwriting award winner Deborah Zoe Laufer is batting cleanup. Our ‘rookie of the year’ is MFA Student Playwright Josh Levine, who was a 2011 Heideman Award finalist.

Mile Square Theatre (MST) is the leading professional Equity theatre in Hudson County. Since 2003, MST has presented full-scale productions for adults and children, in addition to providing theatre education programs. Under the artistic direction of Chris O’Connor, MST receives support from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the Hudson County Division of Cultural Affairs. For company information, please visit

The Theatre is located at 720 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

News from the Dreamcatcher: New play readings

This Wednesday...

Meet the Artist Series  --  new play readings

Spring is here and that means new play readings at Dreamcatcher! Don't miss this year's final new play reading at our new home at Oakes Center in Summit:
WMeet the playwrightsednesday, May 23
THE JESUS FACTOR by Suzanne Bradbeer - a drama about a potential candidate for the vice presidency who is asked to obscure his true spiritual beliefs in order to win election.

Dreamcatcher new home at OakesCheck out our new home in Summit! Readings are at Oakes Center in Summit. Dreamcatcher Rep will be moving to Oakes over the summer. This is your chance to get a sneak peek at this beautiful performance space.   Directions

Dreamcatcher cast reading a new play at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, NJWhat is a reading? Can I bring kids? Visit our Web site for answers to these and other frequently asked questions.

Event: MEET THE ARTIST   New Play Readings   Info
Dates:  May 23
Times: Wednesday at 7pm
Location: Oakes Center in Summit   Directions
Price: Free
Tickets: No reservations needed - just come on by!

Note: all readings are at Oakes Center in Summit, NJ.

Don't miss the informative Q&A with Dreamcatcher's artistic director Laura Ekstrand on our Web site!  Q&A  
Summer Theatre Conservatory at Dreamcatcher
Hurry... all sessions are almost sold out!
kids learn to perform in Dreamcatcher's theater camp Our Summer Theatre Conservatory is a four-week theatre camp for young performers. Each week of the program focuses on a different aspect of the actor's craft. 
  • For kids age 10 to 17
  • No acting experience needed
  • Have fun while experiencing life in the performing arts
  • Professionals teach all classes
  • Students receive individual attention
  • Attend for one, two, three or all four weeks
  • All sessions end with a final showcase or staged performance 
We believe in having fun while developing real skills. 

     Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
The Baird * 5 Mead Street
South Orange, NJ 07079

Auditions: 'Damn Yankees' at Pax Amicus

Auditions for Damn Yankees will be held at the Pax Amicus Castle
Theatre on Saturday, June 16th at 1 p.m. and Tuesday, June 19th at 7 p.m.
Everyone over 18 is welcome to come try out. Damn Yankees plays
weekends in August.

Winner of eleven Tony® Awards including Best Musical and Best Choreography. Book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, music and lyrics by Richard Adler and  Jerry Ross, this classic musical has these favorites like "Whatever Lola Wants," "Heart" and "Six Months Out of Every Year."

When a devilish dealmaker offers Joe Boyd the chance to take his beloved Washington Senators to victory over the "damn Yankees" in return for his soul, Joe takes it. But as the Senators' stats soar, Joe realizes he's losing his wife and looks for a loophole. Enter sizzling-hot temptress Lola, a charter member of the Home-wreckers Hall of Fame.

23 Lake Shore Road
Budd Lake, NJ 07828

The 2012 Off-Broadway Obie winners announced

News from across the Hudson:

The 57th Annual Obie Awards were given out at a ceremony Monday, May 21, 2012 at Webster Hall in Greenwich Village. The awards were presented by acclaimed stage actors Eric McCormack, Grace Gummer, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, Justin Bartha, Leslie Odom Jr., Lily Rabe, Michael McKean, Tonya Pinkins, Topher Grace, and Tracee Chimo.
Numbers from this season's top Broadway musicals, including “Summertime” performed by Joshua Henry and Sumayya Ali from the cast of Porgy & Bess and “Raglan Road” performed by David Patrick Kelly from the cast of Once, were entertainment for the evening. The ceremony kicked off with two numbers from newly minted Obie winner Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra from their show No Place to Go.   
The Obies were judged by a committee of seven: Brian Parks, Obie Awards Chairman and Arts & Culture editor of The Village Voice; Michael Feingold, chief theater critic for the Voice, two-time Pulitzer finalist, dramaturg, and Obie Chairman Emeritus; Alexis Soloski, a Voice theater critic as well as contributor to The New York Times, the U.K. Guardian, and BBC Radio, plus theater professor at Columbia University; Annie Baker, Best New American Play Obie winner in 2010 for her plays Circle Mirror Transformation and The Aliens; Anne Kauffman, accomplished director, instructor, and 2007 Obie winner for her direction of The Thugs; José Rivera, two-time Obie Award winner for his plays Marisol and References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot; and Helen Shaw, a theater critic for Time Out New York and a past Obie judge. Her writing has also appeared in The Village Voice.
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog received the Obie Award for Best New American Play, which is accompanied by a $1,000 prize. Caridad Svich—a playwright, translator, and teacher—received the Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement. A complete list of awards is given below.
Best New American Play (with $1,000 prize)
Amy Herzog
4000 Miles   (Lincoln Center Theater)
Cherise Boothe
Milk Like Sugar  (Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project)
Steven Boyer
Hand to God  (Ensemble Studio Theatre/Youngblood)
Sweet and Sad Ensemble:
Jon DeVries, Shuler Hensley, Maryann Plunkett, Laila Robins, Jay O. Sanders,
J. Smith-Cameron (The Public Theater)
Gabriel Ebert and Mary Louise Wilson
4000 Miles  (Lincoln Center Theater)
Jim Fletcher
Sustained Excellence
Santino Fontana
Sons of the Prophet  (The Roundabout Theatre)
Linda Lavin
The Lyons  (The Vineyard Theatre)
Susan Pourfar
Tribes  (Barrow Street Theatre)
Kirsten Greenidge
Milk Like Sugar  (Playwrights Horizons and the Women's Project)
Richard Maxwell
Early Plays  (The Wooster Group and St. Ann's Warehouse)
Jay Scheib
World of Wires   (The Kitchen)
Mark Barton, Sustained Excellence of Lighting Design
Mimi Lien, Sustained Excellence of Set Design
Matt Tierney and Ben Williams, sound design
The Select (The Sun Also Rises)  (New York Theatre Workshop)
Special Citations
Mark Bennett, Denis O'Hare, Lisa Peterson, and Stephen Spinella
An Iliad  (New York Theatre Workshop)
Elevator Repair Service
Sustained Excellence
Erin Courtney and Ken Rus Schmoll
A Map of Virtue    (13P)
Steven Hoggett, Martin Lowe, and John Tiffany
Once   (New York Theatre Workshop)
Daniel Kitson
It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later   (St. Ann's Warehouse)
Ethan Lipton & His Orchestra
No Place to Go  (The Public Theater/Joe's Pub)
Ross Wetzsteon Grant ($1,000)
Youngblood  (Ensemble Studio Theatre)
The Bushwick Starr  ($2,500) 
The Debate Society ($2,500)
Lifetime Achievement
Caridad Svich
Village Voice publisher Josh Fromson, editor-in-chief Tony Ortega, Arts & Culture editor Brian Parks, the judges, the entire marketing and promotion staff of The Village Voice, and the outside staff and volunteers for the 57th Annual Obie Awards all joyously congratulate this year's winners.

Audition: Strollers of Maplewood's 'The Slave Who Became a Man'

The Strollers of Maplewood, NJ, in their Selected Submission for the 2012 NYC
International Fringe Festival, are looking to cast a 20 to 40 year old, light skinned black
actress, who will portray the central character in “The Slave Who Became a Man”, by Georgiana Hart.

This is the story of a Pre-Civil War era, enslaved house maid, Ellen Craft, who
escapes the South by impersonating a white, male slave owner, traveling north for
supposed medical attention, accompanied only by a man servant, William Craft, who is in
reality, her husband. This is the true story of Ellen and William Craft, two married slaves who successfully escaped from Macon, Georgia, traveling north through Philadelphia, on their perilous journey to Freedom. The play has been adapted and copyrighted from the book, “The Journey of 1000 Miles to Freedom”, written by William Craft.

Auditions will be held at:

Morrow United Methodist Church
600 Ridgewood Road
Maplewood, NJ

Dates and Times:

Wednesday, May 30th – 7pm to 9pm
Thursday, May 31st – 7pm to 9pm
Call Backs – June, 1st - TBA

Audition Requirements

Head Shot and Performance Resume
Sides from the play will be provided.
A Soliloquy prepared showing your performance range, is suggested, but not

Rehearsal Schedule

Rehearsal Schedule will be 2 evenings per week thru June and increasing to 3
evenings per week, later in July leading up to performances. Rehearsal days will be
coordinated with cast availability.

Performance Schedule

Performance Dates and Times have not yet been issued to us by The Fringe. The
Festival runs from August 10th to 26th. We will be given 5 to 6 performance dates and


If you have any questions, please feel free to email or call the following:

Keith Hoovler – Director
Cell – 917-841-1330
Email –

Georgiana Hart – Playwright & Producer
Phone – 973-902-1701

Monday, May 21, 2012

New professional theatre at Jersey shore

2012 Mainstage Productions from the newest professional theatre in New Jersey

Man of LaMancha logo
Book by Dale Wasserman
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Music by Mitch Leigh

Directed by Andrew Glant Linden.
Man of La Mancha stars John
Davidson, who has been seen on Broadway in State Fair and Foxy, as Don Quixote. He will be joined by Broadway producer and actress Heather Provost as Aldonza.

Tony Winner Best Musical, Best Score... Inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ seventeenth century masterpiece Don Quixote, this play within a play performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners tells the passionate and poignant tale of a noble knight who lives in a world of madness and cannot see that chivalry has died. His holy quest is a mission of salvation to find compassion not for himself but for others. The score is a musical delight, and contains one of the most moving moments in musical theatre as Don Quixote relates his personal credo in The Impossible Dream.

2:00 pm: June 21, 24, 26, 28, July 1, 3, 5, 8
8:00 pm: June 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, July 2, 3, 5, 6, 7

Titanic logo
Book by Peter Stone
Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sailing of the luxury liner RMS Titanic. This winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score is based on the true story of the great ship's maiden voyage from departure in Southampton, England to the sinking in the Atlantic by an iceberg. Issues such as class, immigration and mankind's vulnerability in the face of nature are the focus of the show. The story follows passengers and crew members who actually existed and were aboard the Titanic back in 1912. The magnificently beautiful score includes How Did They Build the Titanic?, To Be a Captain and To The Lifeboats.

2:00 pm: July 12, 15, 17, 24, 29
8pm: July 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28

Book by Arthur Laurents
Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Music by Jule Styne

Mama Rose is determined that her younger daughter June will have a successful career, but after June elopes, Mama turns all her attention on her older, less talented daughter, Louise, who eventually becomes a burlesque stripper named Gypsy Rose Lee. Gypsy has been referred to as the greatest American musical by numerous critics and contains many songs that became popular standards, including Small World, Everything's Coming up Roses and Let Me Entertain You. This musical is considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-twentieth century’s musical theatre art forms.
2:00 pm: August 2, 7, 14, 19
8:00 pm: August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Ring of Fire logo
Created by Richard Maltby Jr
Conceived by William Meade

Not a biography of the Man in Black, not a concert. In 38 musical numbers drawing on a cache of Cash music, a mosaic of American experience is pieced together. From the heart of the songs of Johnny Cash comes a show about love and faith, struggle and success, rowdiness and redemption. Multi-talented performers will take you into the world Johnny Cash created in his songs. Musical numbers include A Thing Called Love, Daddy Sang Bass and the title song, Ring of Fire.

2:00 pm: August 23, 26, 28, 29, 30
8:00 pm: August 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31, September 1

I Left My Heart logo
Created by David Grapes
and Todd Olson
Arrangements by Vince di Mura
Don’t miss this jazzy musical revue-a tribute to the man Sinatra called "the greatest singer in the world." Enjoy four decades of Bennett’s music from his early top-40 hits, jazz recordings with Basie, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans, to his torch songs, film scores, all the way to his now infamous MTV unplugged, which introduced him to a whole new generation of listeners. An unforgettable walk down memory lane, musical selections include Because Of You, Stranger In Paradise, Rags To Riches, and his best-known hit, I Left My Heart In San Francisco.
2:00 pm: September 16
3:00 pm: September 11, 12, 13
8:00 pm: September 12, 13, 15
Poe Mysteries logo
Adapted for the stage by James Rana

Edgar Allan Poe’s great detective, C. Auguste Dupin, is in retirement and is a recluse, avoiding all contact with the world and also avoiding paying any of his bills. An American journalist, Henry Williams of the New York Herald, comes to interview him about his escapades and adventures as the world’s greatest detective. Over the course of the play Dupin recounts 3 of his most famous cases, and as he does, the characters of the cases spring to life on the stage. 6 multi-talented actors play more than 50 characters in 3 of Poe’s most famous mysteries. Come join us for this World Premiere Production, just in time for Halloween.
2:00 pm: October 28
3:00 pm October 24, 25
8:00 pm October 24, 25, 27
Home for the Holidays
Created by Gail Anderson Steiner
Book by Andrew Foote
Musical Arrangement by Steve Steiner

A Holiday Party gets interesting when family and guests are unexpectedly snowed-in. Singing! Dancing! Toys that come alive on their own and a mystical white-bearded guest who helps make wishes come true and dreams become possiblities. Join us as we celebrate the Season of Christmas as well as exploring Hannukah and Kwanza .
2:00 pm December 8, 9, 15, 16
3:30 pm December 11, 13, 14
7:30 pm December 7, 8, 14, 15
This production ONLY will be performed at:
Ocean First Theatre
Stafford Township Arts Center
1000 McKinley Blvd
Manahawkin, NJ 08050

For subscriptions, discounts, gift certificates and group sales, please call 609-312-8306

Tickets can be purchased online for one or two shows only.
All Mainstage Tickets will be charged at $35. No discounts will apply.

The Bengal Theatre is located at 180 Bengal Blvd in Barnegat, NJ. For more information and tickets, call (609) 312-8306 or visit

  Tickets Link  Gift Certificate link 
(Show dates and times subject to change)

Review: 'Assassins' at the Barn Theatre

"Rich man, poor man, Black or white, Pick your apple, Take a bite, Everybody Just hold tight To your dreams. Everybody’s Got the right To their dreams." this is from one of the Stephen Sondheim songs in the controversial, but fascinating musical that is receiving an outstanding production at one of our leading community theatres, The Barn Theatre in Montville. The musical is the "Assassins" that debuted on Broadway in 1990, and won five Tonys for its last revival. The book is by John Weidman with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and based on an original idea by Charles Gilbert. In the "Assassins" we meet the actual successful and unsuccessful assassins of presidents of the United States. A frighting concept, particularly to an observer of the current political scene. Each assassin, or would-be assassin, in this retelling of these dark periods in American history believes he or she has the requisite grievances to justify this deadly action, and in most cases believes they will be honored as a savior to the nation. We learn what they could not grasp-that nothing positive is actually achieved by this dark deed.

The entire play is set in front of an amusement park roller coaster. At the opening, a man,The Proprietor (Clinton Scott) is behind a counter dispensing hand guns and the advice that you can chase the blues away by killing a President, pointing out that assassination is a skill at which even rank beginners can excel.

Each "assassin" makes his entrance, first Leon Czolgosz (Peter Ogrodnik), a laborer in his late twenties, shuffles in, followed by John Hinckley (Alan Van Antwerp). The Proprietor convinces Hinckley he can improve his love life and impress his dream girl (Jodie Foster) by shooting a President (Ronald Reagan). They are joined by Charles Guiteau, the killer of James Garfield (Jeff Dopson), He is soon joined by Giuseppe Zangara (Michael Campbell), an angry man, who groans and grips his stomach. The Proprietor promises shooting a President, in this case FDR because Hoover was unavailable, will relieve his pain. The next arrival is Samuel Byck (Tom Morrissey), in a dirty Santa suit, carrying a sign that says, “All I Want for Christmas Is My Constitutional Right to Peaceably Petition My Government for the Redress of My Grievances.” He plots to crash a plane into the Nixon White House. Next young Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (Allie Acquafredda) from the "Charles Manson is God" clan, and Sara Jane Moore (Jodi Freeman Maloy), a middle-aged woman, enter. They have targeted Gerald Ford.

Last is the most infamous of them all, John Wilkes Booth (Stu Scheer) of Lincoln fame. This is when we first hear the song "Everybody's Got The Right To Their Dreams." Later, one of the key points of the play is made when the Balladeer (Daniel Grayberg) points out to Booth that, ironically, in trying to destroy Lincoln, Booth actually elevated him to legendary status...."Hurts a while, But soon the country’s Back were it belongs, And that’s the truth. Still and all... Damn you Booth!"

For the next 90 minutes, we ride another type of roller coaster as each assassin's tale is presented, with a degree of empathy, via a series of vignettes with the aid of the Balladeer. Yes, the topic is dark, but Sondheim's music and lyrics, although not exactly hummable, are engaging and all the performers are fine and very well cast, with several truly outstanding performances. In the process the play is lifted to a marvelous level. Deserving of special mention; the fine voiced Stu Scheer as Booth, Allie Acquafredda is spot-on as Fromme, and Tom Morrissey excels as Byck. Morrissey's monologues alone may be worth the price of admission.

The fine Ensemble, several of whom have brief parts, includes; Billy--Thomas Wertheimer, Herold-- James Lopez, Emma Goldman-- Kay Koch, President Garfield-- Alan George, James Blaine-- Peter O'Malley, D'Angelique Dopson, Samantha Kaplan, Dana Reminski and Martha Riley.

This thought-provoking musical is ably directed by Roseann Ruggerio and produced by Carla Kendall and Lillian Miller in the usual Barn Theatre five-star style. The production staff includes; Production Stage Manager—Alice Regan Moynahan, Set Design/Construction—Beau Kennedy, Lighting Design—Todd Mills, Sound/Multimedia Design—Jeff Knapp, Light/Sound Operation—Jeffrey Kinkaid, Lauren Groff-Tisza and Sarah Wertheimer-Lopez, Costume Design—Carla Kendall, Lillian Miller, Alice Regan Moynahan, Roseann Ruggerio, Hair—Jessica Phelan, Properties—Carla Kendall with Lillian Miller.

The excellent large orchestra is directed by Clifford Parrish (Keyboard 1). The musicians include; Reed 1—Jon Bencivenga, Reed 2—Nancy Vanderslice, Trumpet—Christian Arnold, French Horn—Carolyn Kirby, Trombone—Jon Ferrone, Guitar—Matthew Jardim, Bass—John Zimmermann, Percussion—Gary Fink, Keyboard 2—Marilyn Patterson.

The remaining performances are May 26, June 1, 2, 8 & 9 at 8:00 PM; May 27, and June 3 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $20 ($19 for seniors/students at matinees only). To reserve tickets, call (973) 334-9320, or visit the box office on Saturdays from 4-7 PM.

The Barn Theatre is located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Route 287, Exit 47. For more information or directions, call (973) 334-9320, or visit

The Assassins photo by Tom Schopper