Monday, October 29, 2012

New Moon reading series at Luna Stage

No Reservations Necessary

Monday, November 5 at 7:30pm
by Tammy Ryan
Directed by Cheryl Katz
Featuring: Natalie Dix , Catherine Eaton (Reparation), Leah Greenhaus, Joseph Langham (The Dangers of Electric Lighting), and Melissa Toomey
It is July 1977 and New York City is in the midst of a brutal heat wave. Two best friends, sixteen year old Mary Claire and Mary Francis start that day sunning themselves on the roof of an Ozone Park row house. Younger sister, Reenie, is searching for her prize winning Greek Mythology Class Project: The Head of Medusa, while their parents are consumed by the battles of their troubled marriage. The Boy Crazy Marys hatch a plan to stay out all night with a bonfire on the beach, but the unexpected happens: the biggest blackout since 1965, a chance encounter with Son of Sam, and a sudden loss of innocence.
Tammy Ryan, Playwright
Tammy Ryan’s plays have been produced nationally and internationally at such theaters as Florida Stage, The Alliance Theater Company, People’s Light and Theater Company, 29th Street Rep, City Theater and the Pittsburgh Playhouse among others. She was awarded the 2012 Francesca Primus Prize by the American Theater Critics Association for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods, which was developed at the New Harmony Project, and was a featured play at the National New Play Networks 2009 Showcase of New Plays and co-produced by Premiere Stages and Playwrights Theater of New Jersey in 2010. Other plays include Dark Part of the Forest, A Confluence of Dreaming and Lindsey’s Oyster, which has been produced in the United States and Turkey and won 2nd place for the 2012 David Mark Cohen Award. Ryan has received fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Sewanee Writers Conference. She is based in Pittsburgh where she is a regional representative for the Dramatists Guild of America.
 $5 Suggested Donation at the door.
The reading will be followed by a talkback with the playwright.
See for more information.

Hurricane Sandy causing performance cancellations

Hurricane Sandy keeps many curtains down
Hurricane Sandy is causing great havoc with performances on both sides of the Hudson. Most of Broadway and off-Broadway theaters cancelled Sunday and Monday performances.

As the result of the threat from Hurricane Sandy a number of New Jersey professional and community theaters plus Broadway and off-Broadway theaters closed yesterday. Broadway shows with performances tonight will be closed.

The Broadway League had announced that, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy and New York City's preparations for it, all Broadway performances for Sunday and Monday nights were and would be canceled.

It had been revealed earlier that government authorities will suspend public transportation starting Sunday evening because of the impending storm.

League executive director Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement that "the safety and security of theatergoers and employees is everyone's primary concern."

A number of Broadway venues are normally dark on Sunday and Monday evenings and will not be affected. Those who do have tickets for scheduled performances can seek refunds or exchanges...but, please call the theater to confirm that they will be closed.

More information is available, along with updates, at the League's official site,

Here in the Garden State; Premiere Stages has cancelled the "Talking to Westfield" event scheduled for this Thursday and The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Madison has postponed their Halloween special "Something Wicked This Way Comes" until next Monday.

We'll provide updates as we receive them. However, always check directly with the theatre boxoffice or website (links on the left) for the very latest data.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

'Beauty and the Beast' the musical next at Pax Amicus Castle Theatre

The Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake will present "Beauty and the Beast," a new musical based on one of the world’s most famous fairy tales. This is the story of Belle, her two greedy sisters, her loving father, and an enchanted prince under a spell that can only be broken by true love.

"Beauty and the Beast" opens Friday, November 23 at 11:00 am and plays Saturdays; November 24, December 1, 8 & 15 at 11 am; Friday, December 7th at 4 pm and selected weekdays at 10 am.

All seats are $12.00. Pax Amicus offers generous group discounts. Please call the box office at 973-691-2100 for reservations or visit our web site for additional information.

23 Lake Shore Road
Budd Lake, NJ 07828

Chester Theatre Group's 'That Championship Season' is masterfully crafted

   (clockwise from lower left: Bob Longstreet, Nick Leone, David C. Neal, Craig Zimmermann,
 Lou Savarese)

The Chester Theatre Group's first production of the 2012-2013 Season "That Championship Season" was written by Jason Miller and won of the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. We had the opportunity to see the original powerful Broadway production with Charles Durning and Paul Sorvino. Last night at the CTG's comfortable and intimate Black River Playhouse we saw the play again after all these years, this time in the hands of a community theater group.  This time the play was just as powerful with a cast of five men who's performances were of professional level in every respect. 

As someone who has the good fortune of viewing and reviewing about 50-60 professional and community New Jersey productions per year, I continue to marvel at the high level of much of New Jersey's theater offerings. The efforts of the "pros" such as the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Company, the George Street Playhouse, the Centenary Stage Company, the Women's Theater Company, the Bickford Theatre, Premiere Stages and McCarter Theatre consistently are the equal certainly of Off-Broadway and much of Broadway. Simple, of course, since most of the actors are veterans of New York theater and television.

The level of the efforts of community theatre can and often do match the "pros." The prime reason is because many of the 'work-for-no-pay' community actors have New York and national touring company credits but elected to retreat from the often dismal earnings opportunities in the theater today to raise and support families. Currently, you can see this professional level at the Summit Playhouse's "The Best Man" and the Chatham Community Players "39 Steps." The Chester Theatre Group's production directed by Roseann Ruggiero and produced by Penny Hoadley, again, is at that level. 

Now here is where I must mention that I attended last night's performance of "That Championship Season" as a patron, and former board member, with no intention of writing a review. However, in light of the superior performances I trust you will forgive me for trumpeting their efforts.

The play is powerful as it "explores the power of authority, various shades of disappointment, resentment and betrayal" between four basketball team members and their coach having a reunion twenty-five years after they won the Pennsylvania State High School Basketball Championship. The Coach is still the master of pep talks who has had great impact on their lives far beyond basketball. Lives that, like the rest of us, did not turn out as planned.

The players are Phil Romano played by Nick Leone (Nick has extensive professional experience...and it shows brilliantly); the small town mayor up for re-election, George Sikowski played with great feeling by Lou Savarese, he starts slowly as the confident, popular, in his mind, savior of his community and perfectly progresses to a man who's world is turned violently upside down; James Daley the Junior High School Principal who is on the fast track to the school superintendent's job. A position that will earn him the respect he believes he has been unfairly denied, played with great sensitivity by David C. Neal; Tom Daley is James' younger, and alcoholic brother, who doesn't share the same admiration the others have for the Coach. Tom is played perfectly by Craig Zimmermann.

Last in the list of players is the central role of the Coach. Two thirds into the rehearsal schedule, the original actor selected for the part had to bow out for health reasons. Director Ruggerio turned, with nine rehearsal dates remaining, to the veteran CTG actor (most recently Jeeves in "By Jeeves") Robert Longstreet. Longstreet gives an absolutely exceptional performance. As with the entire cast, his Coach starts with an emotional high in the reunion of "his boys" that could only follow a downward path. 

This is terrific theater, remember it was the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Surprisingly, for a play loaded with references to the 1970's, including JFK and even Joe McCarthy, the play holds up very well with the mayor's reelection battle providing many similarities to our current political contests. Be prepared for language of the "locker room" variety that includes a good number of ethnic and racial references that are, thankfully, politically and socially incorrect today.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    October 26, 2012

Director Ruggerio's key production staff: Stephen Catron Stage Manager, Set Construction, Set Decoration, Sound and Lighting Operator; Diane Butler Props, Set Decoration; Ellen Fraker-Glasscock Lighting Design; Jeff Knapp Sound and Lighting; and Penny Hoadley Producer, Costume Design.

The production will run on Fridays/Saturdays at 8 pm through November 4th with matinees on Sundays October 28 and November 4th at 2 pm. The theater is located on the corners of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester, NJ. Tickets are $20 with a discounted student (under 18) and senior (over 65) ticket price of $18.00

For reservations and further information you can call 908-879-7304 or visit the CTG website

Friday, October 26, 2012

Improv comedy night at Dreamcatcher

Laugh this Saturday!
Multiple Personality Disorder is improv comedy, Dreamcatcher style!
Autumn is here and the Dreamcatcher improv comedy troupe is ready to entertain you with a one-night-only performance of Multiple Personality Disorder, a very warm and funny improv comedy show.
For the price of a movie you can see live entertainment and laugh out loud with your family and friends.
Visit their Web site for cast, photos, tickets and more!

SAVE 10% (advance only) Enter code SAVE10 at checkout

When: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 8pm
Location: Oakes Center
120 Morris Avenue, Summit
(note: entrance on Russell Place, parking lot on Ashwood Ave.)
Price: $15
See discount below!
Buy tickets now No fees!
Discount: Our e-mail friends SAVE 10% (advance only). Enter code SAVE10 at checkout.
Note to 6-show season passholders: don't forget to reserve your seats!

'Crazy For You' opens next week at Playhouse 22

Playhouse 22, East Brunswick’s community theater, will present the Broadway-hit musical "Crazy for You," running November 2 –18. All shows are Friday evenings at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.

"Crazy for You" is a musical set in the 1930s, about Bobby Child, the sweet son of a wealthy New York banking family, whose dream in life is to dance on Broadway. Despite protests from his battle-ax of a mother and wealthy soon-to-be-ex-fiancé, Bobby flees to Deadrock, Nevada where he falls in love with the only girl, Polly Baker, within 50 miles and achieves his dream.

Memorable Gershwin tunes include I Can't Be Bothered Now, Shall We Dance, Bidin' My Time, I Got Rhythm, Naughty Baby, They Can't Take That Away from Me, But Not for Me, Nice Work if You Can Get It, Embraceable You and Someone to Watch Over Me. "Crazy for You" is a high energy, screw-ball comedy complete with mistaken identity, plot twists, fabulous dance numbers and classic Gershwin music.

It was written by Ken Ludwig with lyrics by Ira Gershwin, and music by George Gershwin. The musical was nominated for numerous Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards and won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 1992.

Tickets are $22 for adults or $20 for seniors and students, and available online at, by calling the Box Office at (732) 254-3939 or at the Box Office window.

Playhouse 22 is conveniently located at the East Brunswick Community ArtsCenter at 721 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick.
Playhouse 22
P.O. Box 181
East Brunswick, NJ 08816

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Livingston Community Players to present award-winning musical "The Music Man"

For their 10th anniversary show, Livingston Community Players will present Meredith Willson’s "The Music Man." It is the classic tale of a fast-talking traveling salesman "Professor" Harold Hill who comes to River City, Iowa, a town wary of strangers. Especially ones trying to sell something. He convinces the town that the arrival of the new pool table in town is "trouble", and will only cause corruption of the city's youth. The way to fight this, of course, is with music and a band. The show opened on Broadway in 1957 and won 5 Tony Awards. 

This delightful piece of Americana includes such memorable songs as "Ya Got Trouble (River City)," "Seventy-Six Trombones," "The Sadder But Wiser Girl," "Lida Rose," "Marian the Librarian"  and "Til There Was You." 

Phyllis Meranus and Lois Dyer, Co-producers, welcome back to LCP Camille DiLorenzo, as Director, and Ilene Greenbaum as Music Director.  They will be joined by Howie Tilkin who will serve as Production Manager and Cindy MacArthur as the Choreographer. 

Camille Vecchio-DiLorenzo, a West Orange resident, boasts a 25 year career in theatre as stage director, producer, stage manager, performer, and arts education professional.  Ilene Greenbaum of Livingston has served as music director, conductor, and music educator in New York and New Jersey for over 30 years.  

Performances at Mt Pleasant Middle School are Saturday November 10 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, November 11 at 2 pm, Saturday November 17 at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, and Sunday, November 18 at 2 pm.

For tickets and information call Joan 973 743 0976 or Teddi 973 535 3141. Tickets will also be available at Silverman's, Jays Shoes, and Senior Youth & Leisure Services on Hillside Avenue.

LCP is a not for profit organization sponsored by the Township of Livingston, Livingston Board of Education and is a member of the Arts Council of Livingston.

For more information, go to:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stand-Up Comedy Night at Luna Stage

Have you had a good laugh lately?

Head to West Orange: Thursday, November 8th at 8 pm for the Stand-Up Comedy Night at Luna Stage! Hosted by Monroe Martin, Luna's Stand-Up Comedy Night series features comedy from the tri-state area’s up and coming comics seen on MTV, NBC, Comedy Central, and at comedy clubs across the country.

"Bring some friends or make it a date night, but leave the little ones at home - this is an evening of humorous fun for the mature audience."

DATE: Thursday, November 8th, 2012

TIME: 8:00 pm

ADMISSION: Only $10! (For Mature Audiences)

PLACE: Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange NJ. Call (973) 395-5551 or visit our website at for reservations and further information. Luna Stage is wheelchair accessible.

Premiere Stages seeking plays for 9th Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival

Premiere Stages, the Professional Theatre Company in residence at Kean University, seeks submissions to the 9th Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival. This yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). The winner of the festival will be awarded $2,000 and a full Equity production in Premiere’s 2013 season. The runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June; two other writers will receive Staged Readings in March and a cash prize of $500.

Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and focused environment in which playwrights can see their work move quickly from page to stage. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers, helps playwrights reach out to other theatres to secure subsequent productions, and partners with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed. “What makes Premiere unique is that we fast-track plays from a sit-down reading to a fully staged production within a few short months, keeping highly topical plays relevant while affording playwrights the benefit of retaining the world premiere rights,” stated John Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages. “Premiere is passionate about supporting a diverse group of writers and presenting works that challenge our audience by exploring contemporary issues” added Clare Drobot, Producing Associate and Resident Dramaturg at Premiere.

In its eight seasons, the Premiere Play Festival has developed over thirty plays. Three of the plays produced through the Festival in the last three years have been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, and multiple Play Festival finalists have gone on to flourish, being subsequently produced and/or published. Recent new works developed at Premiere include Michael Dowling’s Tamarack House, Follow Me to Nellie’s by Dominique Morisseau (2012 runner up for the ATCA Primus Prize), James Christy’s Egyptian Song (2011 National New Play Network nominee), Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (2012 winner of the ATCA Primus Prize) and The Good Counselor by Kathryn Grant, which was named as the runner-up for the prestigious 2011 American Theatre Critics Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.

All entries are evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with the Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg. Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. Postmark deadline is January 15, 2013. There is no entry fee. Complete submission guidelines available at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The Westfield Foundation, The National Science Foundation and through the generous support of individual patrons.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities, free parking close to the theatre and discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces. Please call for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times. Publications are available with advanced notice in alternate formats.

For more information on Premiere Stages please visit their website at:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Improv comedy night at Dreamcatcher !

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
Laugh with us this Saturday!
Multiple Personality Disorder is improv comedy, Dreamcatcher style!
MPD Autumn is here and our improv comedy troupe is ready to entertain you with a one-night-only performance of Multiple Personality Disorder, our very warm and funny improv comedy show.
For the price of a movie you can see live entertainment and laugh out loud with your family and friends.
Visit our Web site for cast, photos, tickets and more!

SAVE 10% (advance only) Enter code SAVE10 at checkout

When:Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 8pm
Location:Oakes Center
120 Morris Avenue, Summit Directions
(note: entrance on Russell Place, parking lot on Ashwood Ave.)
See discount below! Buy tickets now No fees!
Discount:Our e-mail friends SAVE 10% (advance only). Enter code SAVE10 at checkout.
Note to 6-show season passholders: don't forget to reserve your seats!

Did you see our wonderful new musical with fresh new hummable songs? Want to hear them again in the comfort of your own home, car and iPod?

Now you can... almost!
Own the CD!
The cast album CD is 90% funded!

Dreamcatcher has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to create the original cast recording for The Neighborhood.

Fun video & more info
PRICE $1 helps, but $20 gets you a copy of the CD
Every dollar donated gets us closer to reaching our goal of $7,000. Here's the catch: if we don't reach our goal... we get nothing. Zilch. Nada.
When you pledge to help record the CD, you're also helping push this charming musical one step closer to a possible run in New York City.

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre
Oakes Center * 120 Morris Avenue * Summit, NJ 07901
Tickets: 800-838-3006 * Info: 908-514-9654

Auditions: Summit Playhouse's 'God of Carnage'

In announcing the Summit Playhouse’s auditions for their winter show (“God of Carnage” Feb. 22 – Mar. 9), Director Chase Newhart is using a new concept – which is also an old concept. As all Equity members know, auditioning Actors are given their “sides”, or the scene sections they will be reading, in advance. 

However, that has not been the norm in Community Theater. In most situations, the selected audition scenes are given to them when they arrive at the audition. Often there are very good reasons for this in the volunteer world of Community Theater.

Sometimes it’s difficult for the Directors to prep the auditions in as much detail as they would like – or sometimes the producing Theater may not have the opportunity to make copies of the material until the day of the audition. In the case of the upcoming “God of Carnage” auditions (held at the Summit Playhouse at 7 PM on Nov. 14 & 15), Director Chase Newhart and the Summit Playhouse have been able to decide and also provide the audition scenes more than a month in advance.

The result? A number of Actors have contacted this Director and Theater with their reaction and the initial reviews are very positive. The hope of all involved is that providing this information in advance will make for a better audition experience. The Summit Playhouse hopes that a relaxed atmosphere will engender extraordinary creativity on the part of everyone auditioning. Seeing the Actors at their best is in the interest of the Director judging the auditions as well.

Although Chase is quick to point out he doesn’t want anyone memorizing anything. He just wants to provide as much information in advance as possible for each Actor to use in their own process. Whether or not this concept is duplicated at other Community Theaters going forward will naturally depend on a number of variables, but here’s a summation of the information that the Summit Playhouse has made available on their website (

All the following sides are from the Dramatist Play Service edition of "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza. You may audition for one or two characters.

All actors are asked to be familiar with the play but not to memorize anything.

One scene will be used to audition everyone:

The scene that begins on P. 13 with Annette's "I see you're a great art lover" and ends on P. 16 with Alan's "...Don't make any statement..."

Some Actors will also read the scene that begins on P. 26 with Michael's "I don't appreciate your cynicism" and ends on P. 28 with Alan's "Come on now, come on".


At Call Backs (Nov. 18th):

Actors will read the above two scenes and these four additional scenes:

P. 6 Veronica's "You know, he didn't want to identify Benjamin." to P. 8 Annette's "Just some water";

P. 28 Michael's "Let me tell you something" to P. 30 Michael's "I don't think she needs any";

P. 38 Michael's "We'll have to wait a minute..." to P. 39 Veronica's "Do I have to listen to this fatuous nonsense?";

P. 43 Michael's "This yours?" to P. 44 Michael's "What do we know.” and ends on P. 28 with Alan's "Come on now, come on".


Director’s Character Descriptions:

Veronica (40s - Michael’s wife): A writer - she pictures herself as the queen of social conscience and common courtesy – but is really judgemental and domineering. As the situation disintegrates she fails to maintain her crumbling façade of civility.

Michael (40/50s - Veronica’s husband): Initially eager to create peace, his uncouth nature is slowly revealed. He makes racial comments, denounces child-raising, and progresses from a seemingly good-natured hardware store supplier/salesperson to a neurotic Neanderthal.

Annette (40s - Alan’s wife): At first presenting herself as an elite member of the one percent, she is actually on the brink of a panic attack. Her self-confidence has been eroded by her husband Alan’s eternal preoccupation with work.

Alan (40/50s - Annette’s husband): An openly rude corporate lawyer, he frequently interrupts their meeting by talking on his cell phone. As he says “I have no manners”. At first seen as cool and aloof, he is sexist and always acts in his own self-interest.

A non-profit community theater 10 New England Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901 908-273-2192 

Auditions: Chatham Playhouse’s Fantasy Theater Seeks Actors for “Snow White and the Magic Mirror”

Chatham Community Players’ (CCP) Fantasy Theater, the Theater for Young Audiences branch of CCP, is holding auditions for “Snow White and the Magic Mirror” by Bob May.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, November 3 from 2 pm – 5 pm at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Ave., Chatham and Monday, November 5 from 7 pm – 9 pm at the Chatham Library, 214 Main St., Chatham. Sides will be provided at the audition. These times represent a change from the earlier audition notice.

Lonnie Ruland will be directing. Rehearsals will begin in mid/late November. Performances will be January 12 and 13, 2013 at the Chatham Playhouse.

They are looking for a multi-generational cast ages 10 and up to play the 13 characters
Magic Mirror- Teen to Adult, Male or Female
Mother Queen- Snow White"s biological Mother- Young Adult/Adult Female
Snow White- Teen/Young Adult Female
Stepmother Queen- Young Adult/Adult Female
King- Adult Male
Huntsman- Teen/Young Adult Male
Dwarves 1,2,3,4,5,6,7- Child/Teen Male or Female

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 Eileen Johnston at (973) 232-6457 or email her at For directions or additional information, please visit

Last chance to see Mark Linn-Baker in GSP's 'One Slight Hitch'

Mark Linn-Baker

This is the last week to see Mark Linn-Baker in Lewis Black's off-the-wall comedy of a wedding day that goes terribly wrong "One Slight Hitch" at the George Street Playhouse.  Here is the schedule: Tuesday 4:30 pm, Wednesday 8 pm, Thursday 2 and 8 pm, Friday 8 pm, Saturday 2 and 8 pm and Sunday (10/28/12) 2 pm.  Watch the short video below with Mark Linn-Baker and Lewis Black.

Here is our review from October 5th: Last night was opening night for a very funny comedy "One Slight Hitch" at the George Street Playhouse." The play is the work of the multi-talented (stand-up comedian, playwright, author and tv actor) Lewis Black. He is the winner of two Grammies and an Emmy and best known for cutting edge humor. Surprisingly "One Slight Hitch" is not a black comedy, the humor is softer, warmer and closer to an up-dated version of "Father Knows Best" than the the anger associated with much of Black's later work.

Most importantly, the show, directed by Joe Grifasi, is a belly-laugh event for most of the evening largely due to two superior comedy actors who play a long-married couple, Lisbeth Mackay as Delia Coleman, a Broadway veteran who recently played Delia in the Williamstown Theatre Festival production and Mark Linn-Baker as Doc Coleman, also a Broadway veteran, plus film and television. He was in two of our favorite comedies, the film version of "Noises Off," and the television classic "Perfect Strangers."

 Rosie Benton, Clea Alsip and Lauren Ashley Carter
The fine cast includes: The Coleman sisters...Clea Alsip as Melanie, also reprising her role at Williamstown, Rosie Benton as Courtney and Lauren Ashley Carter as sixteen year-old P.B. Coleman. The 'suitors' for Courtney's hand are Scott Drummond as the very WASP-ish Harper, and Christopher Tocco as Ryan, Courtney's former New York boyfriend.

But, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself, in every other theatre the evening begins with the announcement about no photos, recording devices, candy, texting or cell phone use. Well, it does at this production with a sharply different style....the style of off-the-wall Lewis Black. Black’s snarling voice tells us what is prohibited “and if I have to tell you why, you’re an idiot.” The audience is laughing even before the curtain....if there was one.

The play uses one very up-market set....the well appointed living room of Dr. and Mrs. Coleman's Ohio home during the Summer of 1981. The set features a dramatic floral wallpaper, and the requisite (Republican?) well-stocked mini-bar that seems to be the center of all family activity. Translation: this is a near alcoholic family...which may explain why they are massively dysfunctional.

There is one exception...sixteen year old B.P. Coleman played beautifully by Lauren Ashley Carter. She is more a spectator to the household turmoil and, as such, serves as the narrator breaking the fourth wall with the audience. She sets the stage, introducing her family and explaining that one of her two older sisters, Courtney (Rosie Benton), is getting married to her fiancé Harper (Scott Drummond) that afternoon. Melanie (Clea Alsip) the older unmarried sister offers this observation; “Marriage is an institution designed by losers to make them feel like winners." Doc Coleman (Mark Linn-Baker), not to be out-done, responds to the mayhem enveloping him by declaring "I don't have to make sense...I'm a doctor!"

Mark Linn-Baker and Lisbeth Mackay
'Now the "one slight hitch" comes when Doc Coleman answers the door bell after calming his nervous wife who got into his pill collection, actually she's on the brink of a breakdown over the last minute preparations for the lavish lawn wedding only two hours away. The florist, for example, has been in a traffic accident on the way to the home and is in jail for drug dealing.

Back to the front door....standing at the threshold is Courtney's former boyfriend Ryan from New York claiming to be hitch hiking across the country gathering material for a non-fiction book. Why is he really here? Is he trying to stop the wedding? What will Courtney do? Can the Coleman's marriage survive this disastrous attempt to give their daughter the lavish wedding they never had? Answers and many laughs can be found only at the George Street Playhouse through Sunday, October 28, 2012.

Director Joe Grifasi staff includes: scenic designer Bob Dahlstrom, costume designer Susan Hilferty, lighting designer Rui Rita, sound designer Christopher J. Bailey and production stage manager Jane Pole.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio October 5, 2012

Tickets: The George Street Playhouse Box Office 732-246-7717, or by visiting the Playhouse’s website – George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district, steps away from a variety of eateries for every taste and budget. For parking and dining recommendations, patrons may visit the Playhouse website or speak with a sales associate. Group Rate tickets are available for parties of 10 or more and may be purchased through the GSP Group Sales Office at 732-846-2895, ext. 134 or by email at

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hudson Theatre Works play reading 'Starring Elizabeth'

$5 for Seniors and Students

Playwright Spotlight
Playwright Joanne Hoersch
Joanne Hoersch Playwright
Joanne Hoersch is a recipient of a 2012 grant from the NJ State Council on the Arts for her first play, Jackson is Gone, which was also selected for a roundtable reading at the Lark Theatre. Prior to becoming a playwright, she was a fiction writer. She received a Woolrich fellowship for fiction from Columbia University, was a semi-finalist in the Heekin Foundation's national short story contest, and was a 1998 grantee from the NJ State Council on the Arts for her short story, "Josie Going Places."  She is currently working on a new play about the Romantic poet Percy Shelley. Joanne is honored to be participating in HTW's  PlayWorks series.

About the Play 

It is 2010 in New York City, at the height of the recession. At Carthage Financial, the members of the IT Department have to come to terms with the new reality of cutbacks, policy changes and the shifting sands of corporate double-speak and hidden agendas, as they all struggle to grapple with jobs that appear to have no meaning, and interpersonal relationships that probably have never existed. Strange goings on in the universe at large push them into a strange new land of myth, magic and the struggle to simply survive.


Vincent Sagona - Jasper Donleavy 

Katrina Ferguson - Elizabeth Ballen

Tara Cioletti - Maria Sonora

Ryan Scott - Charlton McGalvin

Heather Sabella - Bethany Spencer-Hogg

Charlotte Glass, blow up doll - As Herself 

on November 5th @ 7:30pm
Alijah Poster 1

by Kathryn Grant 

Alijah, approaching middle age without purpose or direction, joins a church.  Through the church's central tenet of "the oneness of all creation" she finds the strength to get her life moving forward.  But when an intruder brutally attacks her to within an inch of her life, she is thrown into a new world of connection.  As she plunges into the labyrinth of the criminal justice system, she discovers a population tucked away in the seedy backwaters of American society.  Alijah's descent is conveyed through a kaleidoscopic series of monologues through which we meet the street poet, Adoremus, his fifteen year-old sister Serena, a judge, a uniform tailor living on death row and a social worker trying to make sense of it all.  This is not what Alijah expected when her church ushered her into a new world of human connection.  In Hebrew, Alijah means "one who travels to a higher place."  Can Alijah accept her new reality without giving up on the promise her name implies?
Park Performing Arts Center

Hudson Theatre Works
54 Sterling Avenue
Weehawken, New Jersey 07086

Phone:  201-472-5123
Star Ledger Online

About Us

Frank Licato, Artistic Director
Board of Directors:  Karen Brady, Greg Erbach, Joan LeFosse Paulsen, Tom Jeszeck, Gary Frazier, Ann Lowe, Donald Stark and Sally Ponzio.

Watch for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign for our spring production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."
Hudson Theatre Works is committed to an ensemble collaboration as well as artistic risk through its work with its permanent company, guest artists, partner institutions and the surrounding community.  It will be dedicated to a "rugged" aesthetic and will seek to tell stories, both new and old, classic and contemporary, which reflect our lives, relationships and world today.

Hudson Theatre Works primary focus is in bringing a living theatre community to the area of Hudson and North Jersey through performance, outreach and theatre arts instruction.

'The Declaration' American Parable on Politics and Same Sex Marriage next in Fair Lawn

Fully Flighted Productions, a not-for-profit theatre company and the Borough of Fair Lawn, New Jersey, will present the New Jersey premiere of "The Declaration" an American Parable on Politics & Same Sex award-winning play written by Rick Leidenfrost- Wilson. Directed by Linda Wielkotz, this ground-breaking play will be presented for two performances only, November 10th, at the Fair Lawn Recreation Center, Fair Lawn New Jersey.

SYNOPSIS: "The Declaration" tells the unlikely story of a gay New York high school teacher who runs for New York State Senate to change a broken system and champion the lives of others. While doing so his own life comes under fire and he finds himself fighting to protect his career, friendships and family.

It is an open critique of the American Political System, the current state of homosexuality in culture and politics, and the great personal sacrifices one man endures in the hope of affecting change and to better the world.

"The Declaration" made its' world premiere at The Planets Connection Theater Festivity in New York in 2011 where it won four awards. In 2010 the script won Best Play/Film/Television Script from the Oklahoma Writer's Federation.

Three Actors who originated the lead roles in the New York production will reprise their roles in this ground-breaking New Jersey Premiere. In addition Fully Flighted Productions will host a talk-back with the play's author Rick Leidenfrost- Wilson after the 2 pm performance.

'Love Loss And What I Wore' next at Chester Theatre Group

Ilene Beckerman, author of the bestselling "Love Loss And What I Wore," will be part of the seven member cast of the Chester Theatre Group's production to be held at the Black River Playhouse Friday and Saturday, November 17-18 at 8 pm and on Sunday, November 19th at 2 pm.

Directed by Cindy Alexander, the play, which was adapted for the stage by Nora and Delia Ephron, ran successfully off-Broadway for several seasons garnering rave reviews.

The New York Times called the show "Funny, compelling” and “Brought down the house.” It weaves stories about women, clothes and memory covering all the important subjects and their impact on moments in their lives. There will be a talk back with the cast after each performance

In addition to Ms. Beckerman, who will portray the part of Gingy, the cast includes, Ellen Fraker-Glasscock, (Chester) Kathleen Campbell Jackson,(Far Hills) Claudia Metz, (Boonton) Jodi Maloy, (Cedar Ridge) Roseann Ruggiero (Ledgewood) and Roxanna Wagner (Mendham).

Tickets are $20.00 with a $2.00 Senior (65 and over) and Student (under 18) discount. For reservations or more information call the theater box office at 908-879-7304 or visit the website at

NOTE: The CTG's current production is "That Championship Season."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Review: 'Man of La Mancha' at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

William Michals as Don Quixote

Saturday night (October 20, 2012) was opening night for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's spectacular production of the musical "Man of La Mancha."  Director Bonnie J. Monte has produced an exciting retelling of the story of Miguel de Cervantes' creation "Don Quixote."  Remember? Cervantes is a prisoner who enlists his fellow prisoners in performing a play-within-a-play about the jouster of windmills, Don Quixote while awaiting his hearing with the Spanish Inquisition. The book published in 1605 and recently cited as the "best literary work ever written," was transformed into a non-musical 1959 teleplay "I, Don Quixote" by Dale Wasserman and transformed again into a Tony winning "Best Musical" in 1965 with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion. “It has been nearly ten years since we’ve produced a musical and we are thrilled to present this gorgeous classic in our 50th Anniversary Season." said Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.  

Back to the word 'spectacular,' what lifts this production from merely 'excellent' to the spectacular level can be stated in two words....William Michals. His magnificent baritone voice, whether speaking or singing, as well as his physical appearance and performing skills are superior to a very fine cast. Please understand, this is a very fine cast, all excellent actors worthy of any national stage. Michals, however, is world class. It may be an overused expression, but in this one case I believe to be completely true..."it is worth the price of admission to see and hear William Michals."  The audience opening night gasped at his first note and routinely provided sustained applause at the end of each song. His closing bow was met with a standing ovation. We should note that, as of early September, this role was to be played by Robert Cuccioli, but instead he joined the Broadway company of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Wow, what a pinch-hitter Bonnie sent in to play the "Mad Knight." William Michals' primary credits follow this review.

The setting of the play is the common room of the dungeon in a forbidding Spanish prison populated by both men and women. The set is dominated by a rear set of stairs rising to an imposing framed iron gate. Cervantes is joined in the prison by his squire, manservant, friend and wit, Sancho Panza, played wonderfully by Blake Pfeil.  He is at his best with the song "I Really Like Him;"  The very attractive Broadway veteran Jane Pfitsch plays the key role of Aldonza, who Don Quixote sees as his fair maiden Dulcinea. She has a fine soprano voice that might benefit from an audio boost. Particularly, when singing with the deep voiced Michals. She is a fine actress who seems to be cast against type. Translation: she is not the buxom, earthy, highly sexual type we associate with the role from our Broadway and London viewings 40 years ago. She is at her best in the closing death scene. 

All the prisoners play dual roles: Patrick Boll is very impressive as The Duke and Dr. Carrasco; as is Jeremy Lee Parish as the Padre; Drew Dix as the Governor/Inkeeper; Derin Altay as the Housekeeper; John Seidman in the comic role of the Barber and Darren Matthias as the Captain of the Inquisition. Rounding out the fine cast are: Kim Sava, Lee Harrington, Sean Buhr, George Abud, Jordan Laroya, John Gardner, Katy Hinson, Doug Oberhamer (the music director who doubles as a prisoner), Anthony DeAugustine, Alex Domschot and Sean Harrington.

The excellent orchestra deserves special praise. It is under the direction of accomplished classical pianist and jazz trumpeter Doug Oberhamer. The members, most double as prisoners, are Alex Bender, Alex Domschot, Daniel Dorrance, Anthony DeAugustine, Anna Garcia, Sean Harkness, Lee Harrington, Katy Hinson and John Hoesly. 

The play includes 20 musical numbers led by the now American classic "To Dream the Impossible Dream." Also including the title song "The Man of La Mancha,"  "Dulcinea," "Golden Helmet of Mambrino," "What Does He Mean To Me," "Little Bird Little Bird" and "Knight of the Woeful Countenance." 

Director, and Shakespeare Theatre artistic director, Bonnie J. Monte's production team includes: scenic designer Michael Schweikardt; costume designer Michelle Eden Humphrey; lighting designer Michael Giannitti, sound designer Steven L. Beckel; fight director Rick Sordelet and production stage manager Denise Cardarelli.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    October 20, 2012

"The Man of La Mancha" is presented with one 15 minute intermission. The total time is two hours and fourteen minutes. The venue is Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage, the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Road) in Madison on the campus of Drew University.  Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting  Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday at 7:30 pm; Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm; and Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm.  Tickets range from $42 to $80; student rush tickets are available 30 minutes prior to curtain for $10.  

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, three Symposium Series performances are offered for each show and include a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff.   Symposium performances for Man of La Mancha will be Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:30 pm, and Saturday, October 27th and November 3rd at 2 pm.

For each production, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider’s perspective on the production. The Know the Show performance will be held on October 25th at 7:00 p.m.  General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders and subscribers. Tickets to that evening’s 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

The 2:00 p.m. performance on October 27th will be audio described for those who are blind or have visual impairments.  Audio description enables patrons with visual impairments to hear, through an FM transmitter, a live description of the action on the stage.  A pre-performance sensory seminar is offered that allows patrons to feel props, costumes and set pieces to further enhance their live theatrical experience. The service is offered free of charge. 

William Michals makes his Shakespeare Theatre debut as the writer Miguel de Cervantes who invents the iconic character of Don Quixote.  Michals appeared as Emile de Becque in the Tony Award-winning South Pacific at Lincoln Center.  He made his Broadway debut as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast and later returned to the production to play Gaston.  He has also played lead roles in productions across the country including Javert in Les Misérables, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Henry Hill in The Music Man, the title role in Phantom, and Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music. .   

Michals has appeared with some of the country’s leading orchestras including the San Francisco, San Diego, Utah, Colorado and Hartford Symphonies, The New York Pops and Peter Nero and the Philly Pops.  He has appeared in operas in New York and Boston and in concert at Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festival.   His opera credits include Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Carmen, La Bohème and The Merry Widow.  He has appeared at the Rainbow Room, The Four Season, The Plaza, and Foxwoods Resort.  He recorded a live CD entitled "William Michals Broadway in Concert."  Variety, the trade publication for theatre and film, said Michals has “a voice that knows no boundaries.” He is the recipient of the Anselmo Award, and both a Chicago “Jeff” Award and the National STAR award for his portrayal of Chauvelin in the national tour of The Scarlet Pimpernel. 

He has the rare distinction of performing for the joint leadership of the House of Representative and the Senate in the U.S. Capitol.   Mayor Rudy Giuliani called upon Michals to open the December 11, 2001 memorial service at Ground Zero with a solo, a cappella rendition of Let There Be Peace on Earth which has been rebroadcast world-wide.  Visit his website at

Blake Pfeil as Sancho and Jane Pfitsch as Aldonza
(R) William Michals (L) Blake Pfeil & John Seidman; 
Jordan Laroya, Sean Buhr and John Gardner  (on steps)   
Photos: ©Gerry Goodstein, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey