Saturday, August 31, 2013

Experience Princeton via self guided mobile phone touring

One of the great pleasures when visiting the very special McCarter Theater Center (photo) in Princeton is, of course, seeing the beautiful, world class university that surrounds the theatre complex.

Now there is a new way to experience Princeton. It is a self guided mobile phone service of the Princeton Tour Company. Known as “princeton genius tours,” this new enterprise, which has already been nominated for the prestigious 2013 Top Creative Product Award by World Travel Awards, combines smart phone technology and state of the art online mobile carriers designed to change the way visitors experience Princeton, New Jersey.

The tours are narrated by Princeton Tour Company owner/founder Mimi Omiecinski, a seven year resident of Princeton, NJ. Princeton Tour Company is a private tour company rated the #1 Princeton Attraction on Trip Advisor and was recently named among the top three tour companies in the northeast by AAA Magazine.

In creating the princeton genius tours, Omiecinski says, “I didn’t want to create an overwhelming map of Princeton. I’ve been strangely possessed by Princeton for seven years and I wanted a forum to shamelessly brag and name drop about my new hometown! My customers spend a full day in Princeton but locals know you really have to stay longer to fully understand why Princeton is not only the #1 academic institution on the planet but also consistently voted one of the best places to live in America.”

The soft launch of this new self guided mobile phone tour began in July, with the first audio tour, not surprisingly, named The Shameless Name Dropping Tour of Princeton. The 20 stop overview tour of campus and the surrounding neighborhoods has six stops on Princeton University campus and 14 in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The mobile phone tours are easy to access and meant to entertain and educate. Guests can access the tour online by going to and pay $15 per mobile device. Once purchased, guests receive an email describing how to access the audio, geo-mapping, custom map, photos, online trivia game and foodie tours. The stops include historical information as well as town folklore, the hallmark to the Princeton Tour Company brand. “I don’t care who you are and where you come from; everyone wants to feel in the know when they visit a place. Our content is designed to give a head start for visitors and new residents,” adds Omiecinski.
“The self-guided audio tour was so enjoyable from beginning to end. Since we do not have smart phones, we listened to part of the tour on speakerphone on the Princeton U Campus. We then got into the car to drive by some of the points of interest and enjoyed the audio through our blue tooth. It is that easy to access. I loved the fun facts presented. They really made the city and its famous residents come alive.”

Mimi Omiecinski is inspired by the response and has researchers helping her compile information for subjects that currently have her strangely possessed: F Scott Fitzgerald – Princeton’s Favorite Bad Boy Tour; George Washington – Father of Our Country and Man of My Dreams Tour; and The Second Place is First Loser Sports Fan Tour. “My sports enthusiasts’ tour will be pretty unique. I’m usually very generous to Harvard and Yale in my other tours but in the one geared for athletes, I’m taking the gloves off for sure!”

For more information, or call 609-902-3637.

About Princeton Tour Company

"We offer public and private walking tours, ghost tours, holiday trolley tours and step-on guides for bus tours in Princeton. Tours include Princeton University campus, Einstein's neighborhood, the neighborhood of TS Eliot, F Scott Fitzgerald, Robert Oppenheimer, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Grover Cleveland, JFK, signers of the Declaration of Independence and much more. We share local folklore so everyone feels like a Princeton insider! If you need a speaker for your next conference, we can help!"

Ranked the #1 Princeton Attraction on TripAdvisor, New York Times, AAA Magazine, Meetings Magazine, Chicago Tribune & Washington Post.

Friday, August 30, 2013

World Premiere 'The Broomstick' next at New Jersey Repertory Company

Click image for additional information.
 New Jersey Repertory Company has announced the National New Play Network World Premiere of Broomstick, running September 19 through October 13, 2013 at 179 Broadway, Long Branch.

Set in a remote cabin deep in the woods, an old crone lives in her own unique world. As she unveils her life, we journey with her down a shadowy path somewhere between our material world and the realm of fantasy. Wickedly funny and frightening, she takes us back to our childhood, when in our innocence, we first wrestled with good and evil.

Written by John Biguenet (Night Train), directed by NJ Rep's Artistic Director, SuzAnne Barabas, and starring Andrea Gallo (Donna Orbits the Moon),Broomstick is no Hansel and Gretel fairy tale; for justice is swift and whiners end up in casseroles.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

Limited engagement: September 19 - October 13.

Special reduced price previews are on Thursday, September 19 and Friday, September 20 at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Saturday, September 21 at 3:00 pm.

Opening night with reception is Saturday, September 21 at 8:00 pm.

Tickets are $40; Previews are $35; Opening night with reception is $50.

Discounts are available for seniors, students, and groups of 10 or more.

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

For tickets, contact the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166 or visit on the web at


NNPN's flagship program, the Continued Life of New Plays Fund supports three or more theaters which choose to mount the same new play within a twelve-month period. The result is a Rolling World Premiere through which the playwright develops a new work with multiple creative teams, for multiple communities of patrons, ensuring the resulting play is of the highest possible quality. And with a minimum of three productions in a single year, the play attains the momentum it needs to join the repertoire of frequently-produced new American works. NNPN provides grants of $7,000 to the first three participating theaters in each Rolling World Premiere; to date, NNPN has championed the continued life of 40 new plays in over 100 productions, with over a quarter-million dollars in grants.


The New Jersey Repertory Company was founded in 1997. Its mission is to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage. Since it opened its doors 16 years ago, the theater has produced 70 world premieres and has presented over 350 developmental readings of new works.

Acting Classes available at Luna Stage

Registration is now available for Fall Theatre Classes for Adults and Children at Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ. 
Adult Acting Classes

8-week Adult Acting Intensive for Beginners
Oct. 1st through Nov. 19th
Tuesdays 7pm-9pm
Instructor: Ned Coulter
Class Fee: $160 for 8 week session
The perfect class for the beginning actor: a straight-forward approach to learning the basic skills that great actors use to create roles.

9-week Acting Intensive
Oct. 2nd through Nov. 20th
Showcase on Dec. 4th; No Class Nov. 27th
Wednesdays 7pm-9pm
Instructor: Ned Coulter
Class Fee: $180 for 9 Week Session
More experienced performers sharpen their skills through improvisations, cold readings, audition techniques, and exercises. By interview/audition.

Children’s Acting Classes

Little Luna; Ages 4-7
Sept. 21st through Nov. 23rd
Saturdays 10AM – 11AM
Instructor: Danielle Renee Thompson
Class Fee: $90 for 10 week session

Creative Drama; Ages 7-10
Sept. 21st through Nov. 23rd
Saturdays 11AM – 12PM
Instructor: Danielle Renee Thompson
Class Fee: $90 for 10 week session

Further information and registration at lunastage.org973-395-5551 or in person during business hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-3pm. Luna Stage 555 Valley Road West Orange, NJ 07052.

Children's Acting Instructor, Danielle Renee Thompson 
Danielle Renee Thompson first began her theater training at Newark’s Arts High School and went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Danielle recently starred in the Off-Broadway production of the world premiere of My Occasion of Sin by Monica Bauer directed by Frances Hill at Urban Stages Theater in NYC. Additionally, over the past couple of years, she has been touring a one women show,Warriors Don’t Cry by Eisa Davis, directed by Trazana Beverly in New York and Connecticut through the Urban Stages Outreach program. When Danielle is not on the stage, she is off sharing her love for arts education in the classroom. She has been an acting teaching artist for New Jersey Performing Arts Center since 05’ for programs like the Summer Youth Performance Workshop and the Young Artist Institute. She also teaches theater, performance technique and ballroom dance for the In-School residency programs at NJPAC. Danielle couldn’t be more excited to join the Luna Stage Family this fall. 
Adult Acting Instructor, Ned Coulter
Mr. Coulter has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in theater, television, and film. He has played roles on Broadway and Off-Broadway and in many regional theaters across America. He has appeared on Law and Order, on several of the afternoon “Soaps” and had been seen in over thirty commercials. He has taught in many of the major acting studios in New York City and has conducted workshops in theater at several universities. 

Deaf and hearing worlds come together in the Pennington Players’ production of the Roger Miller musical -- 'Big River'

Next at The Pennington Players are performances of the musical Big River, Roger Miller and William Hauptman’s Tony Award-winning adaptation of Mark Twain’s 1884 novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Performances are Fridays, Oct. 4 and 11 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, Oct. 5 and 12 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, Oct. 6 and 13 at 2 p.m.

Kelsey Theatre (photo) is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on Oct. 4. (Patrons who use Old Trenton Road should allow extra time for the construction detour at the Edinburg intersection bridge).

Huckleberry Finn tells the story of Huck (J.W. Guido*, with voice by Gary Wellbrock), a young man who takes a long journey to accompany an escaped slave named Jim (Lynn Baskin) on the latter’s quest for freedom. In the process, he learns a great deal about himself and about the developing country around him.

This production will be based on the 2003 Broadway staging by the Roundabout Theatre Company and the American Deaf West Theatre, and will blend American Sign Language (ASL) with traditional choreography and staging, affording a unique opportunity for deaf and hearing actors to work in collaboration and providing accessibility to a wide range of audiences. In this adaptation, every line and every lyric is simultaneously performed in spoken (or sung) English and ASL; these languages are interwoven with music, dance, and storytelling techniques from both hearing and deaf cultures, to create a "third language" and resulting in a unique theatrical event. 

In a glowing review of the 2003 Broadway production, New York Times critic Ben Brantley wrote that the interplay of the many languages on display results in a production where it is impossible to "make a conscious distinction between the two styles of performance.”

This is accomplished in a number of ways throughout the production. In some cases, single characters are played jointly and simultaneously by two separate actors (one speaking, one signing). In other cases, hearing actors both sign and speak, or characters interpret for one another. These techniques are combined with traditional interpreting methods to create an enormously varied presentation.

"Assembling this production was a unique challenge for the Pennington Players, a Mercer County-based company with more than 50 years’ experience in local theatre. Stage directions were modified throughout (as actors required to perform in ASL could make only minimal or carefully choreographed use of props). In order to alert both hearing and deaf actors to spoken, sung, or signed cues that they might otherwise miss, a system of nudges, gestures, and offstage cues have been incorporated into the action. And of course, every line is performed in three different languages (English, ASL, and music), each with its own grammatical constructions, conventions, and nuances."

The production is aided by Associate Director Lynn Baskin, who also plays the escaped slave Jim who becomes Huckleberry Finn’s unlikely friend. Mr. Baskin is a professional ASL interpreter and responsible for working with deaf actors to choose (and when necessary, “choreograph”) appropriate signs that both communicate the necessary information and reflect the style of Huck Finn’s place and time. Assistant Director Alison McMullen, an itinerant teacher of the deaf, is responsible for assisting the hearing actors in learning and developing their ASL skills and helping to ensure that the production communicates effectively with deaf audiences.

For hearing audiences, Big River also offers Roger Miller’s award-winning musical score, a wholly American blend of country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel styles that features songs such as “Muddy Water,” “River in the Rain,” “Waiting for the Light to Shine,” and “Free at Last.”

As Huck, the company is pleased to welcome first time Pennington Player J.W. Guido, a New York, NY-based deaf actor who is also the Artistic Director of the 30-year-old New York Deaf Theatre. He joins Baskin (Lambertville, NJ), a veteran of Kelsey Theatre and a 2008 NJACT Award winner for Driving Miss Daisy, and Wellbrock (Trenton, NJ), who serves as the Narrator and voice of Huck Finn, in leading the cast.

The Duke, a drifter and con-man encountered by Huck on his journey down the Mississippi, is played by well-regarded ASL performance artist Noah Buchholz (Princeton, NJ), with voice by Shawn Doremus of Forked River (Mr. Doremus also plays Tom Sawyer in this production, while Mr. Buchholz also serves as one half of Huck’s ne’er-do-well father Pap); the Duke’s partner is played by area favorite Tom Bessellieu (Hamilton, NJ). Mary Jane Wilkes, a beautiful young woman in trouble, is played by Jill Bradshaw of Oaklyn, NJ. The roles of Huck’s initial caretakers, the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, are split among hearing actor Ellen LaCorte of Titusville (Douglas), deaf actor Cindy Palella of Langhorne (Watson), and hearing actor Samantha Kamen of Mercerville.

The remaining cast members include (with * denoting deaf actors): Alan Naidoff (Princeton, NJ), Debra Fleetwood* (Plainfield), Sally Page (Princeton), Arnold Aromando (Neshanic Station), Noah Barson (Yardley, PA), May Lynn* (Princeton Junction), Allie DeKorte (Southhampton, PA), E.J. Ferrara (West Windsor, NJ), Jaime Schwartz (Croydon, PA), Lisette Weiland (Lambertville, NJ), and DiAnna Freeman Westcott (Hamilton, NJ). Local performers Kyrus Keenan Westcott, Jamie McMillin, and Aimee Robidoux join the production as offstage vocal support.

The production staff is headed by Jenn Gregg of Ewing, Producer; with Frank Ferrara of West Windsor, Director; Shannon Ferrara of West Windsor, Musical Director; Rachel Tovar, Choreographer; Tara Gruber-Etter of Hamilton, Stage Manager; Lynn Baskin of Lambertville, Associate Director and Principal ASL Coordinator; Alison McMullen of Ewing, Assistant Director; Bryan Schendlinger of Langhorne, PA, Set Design; M. Kitty Getlik of Hamilton, Lighting Design; Jay Stevens of Pennington, Costume Design, and Wayne Irons of Princeton, Sound Design.

NOTE: Every moment of Big River is accessible to both hearing and deaf patrons.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $16 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater.

The Theatre Project's comedy version of 'Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles' opens new season

(Left to Right) Nick Wolf, Peter Kendall, Scott Cagney
The Theater Project, the professional company at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood will present a comedy, SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES September 26 – October 13. The hound is more funny than ferocious in this comic retelling of the famous Conan Doyle mystery by Steve Canny and John Nicholson.

And nothing, my dear Watson, is elementary when three very energetic young actors are playing all the roles – including the dog. Peter Kendall (Wayne) is Holmes. Scott Cagney (Montclair) is Watson and Nick Wolf (Bloomfield) is Sir Henry Baskerville. Along the way, they also portray London cabbies, surly servants, Latin temptresses and devious country squires, requiring split-second changes, in which the costume malfunctions are part of the fun. The production is directed by Theater Project artistic director Mark Spina.

THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES will run September 26 – October 13 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ. 

Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM. There is a talk back with actors after each Friday night performance, and the actors greet the audience in the lobby after every show. Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, and $15 for students. They may be purchased on line at or by phone: 973 763-4029

The Theater Project,, is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary. Last November, the company tackled marriage equality, presenting a one-night-only reading of “8” by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black. The fall 2013 production, a satiric take on THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, runs September 26 – October 13 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood. Classes in Juggling, Puppetry, Music Theater and Improv also begin in September.

by Steve Canny and John Nicholson

WHO: The Theater Project

WHEN: Sept 26 –Oct 13. Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8 PM, Sunday at 2 PM

WHERE: Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ

TICKETS: or 973 763-4029

Bergen County Players open season with 'Man of La Mancha'

Celebrating a season entitled “From Page to Stage” and inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’ 17th century masterpiece Don Quixote, Bergen County Players (BCP) opens its 81st season with the Tony Award-winning musical Man of La Mancha.

Performed at the Little Firehouse Theatre in Oradell from September 14
through October 12, 2013, the evening performances will begin at 8 pm while the Sunday matinee curtain will be raised at 2 pm. The one exception
will be opening night, September 14th, at which the curtain will rise at 8:30 pm in deference to Yom Kippur. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office

With a book by Dale Wasserman, lyrics by Joe Darion and music by Mitch
Leigh, Man of La Mancha tells the story of the "mad" knight, Don Quixote, as a play within a play, performed by Cervantes and his fellow prisoners as he awaits a hearing with the Spanish Inquisition.

The original 1965 Broadway production enjoyed a six year run and starred Richard Kiley (video clip below), who won one of the show’s five Tony Awards. It also won for best musical and best direction of a musical as well as for score and both scenic and costume design. Considered one of the most enduring works of musical theatre, the show has since been revived four times on Broadway, most recently in 2003 with Brian
Stokes Mitchell.

Man of La Mancha is directed by long-time BCP member Jacqueline
McElroy- Poquette of Westwood, who has directed over 30 plays. The
most recent include two NJACT Perry Award-nominated productions, The
Melody Lingers On and Follies in Concert, and the Perry Award-winning
The Beauty Queen of Leenane. When McElroy-Poquette was a school
teacher, the centerpiece of the graduation ceremony every year was the
singing of “The Impossible Dream,” the fabulous anthem from the
production and one of the most recognizable songs in the history of
musical theatre. To this day, she can hear the sobs it invoked from
students, parents and teachers, and thus her goal in presenting the
show for the Bergen County Players is to recreate that moving
experience. According to McElroy-Poquette, “Don Quixote is one of the
greatest characters ever created – pure and gentle with great
innocence. His quest is at once sad and funny and incredibly

The music is under the direction of Steve Bell of Teaneck, who has
been the musical director for many BCP shows including last season’s
exciting productions of Beehive and The Sing-Along Sound of Music.

The talented cast of Man of La Mancha includes: Brad Baron as Don
Quixote (Glen Rock), Nina Lionetti as Aldonza (Westwood), Bill Kaufman
as Sancho (Paterson), Brian James Grace as the Padre (Clifton), Neil
Kahn as the Duke/Dr. Carrasco (Maywood), Kenneth Fodor as the
Governor/Innkeeper (Westwood), Jim Kelly as the Barber (Park Ridge),
Rosella DeVincenzo as the Innkeeper’s Wife (Oradell), Elisabeth
Erdmann as Antonia (Nutley), Shari Mendelson as the Housekeeper (Fort
Lee), David Luke as Captain of the Guard (Washington Township), Dan
Giordano as Pedro/Muleteer (Leonia), Christian Spinella as
Guitarist/Muleteer (East Rutherford), Charles Gerard Timm as
Rodrigo/Muleteer (Clifton), Andrew Guiterrez as Juan/Muleteer (River
Edge), Robert G. Ouellette as Paco/Muleteer (Westwood), Jill Eras as
Moorish Dancer (Wyckoff), Jim Espaillat as Anselmo/Muleteer (Bogota),
and John Michael Villa as Jose/Muleteer (Franklin Lakes).

The production team includes Jackie McElroy-Poquette (Director), Steve
Bell (Musical Director), Oren Korenblum (Choreographer), Rhea Smith
(Choreographer – Moorish Dance), Sandra Chiappino (Producer/Stage
Manager), Paul Reitnauer (Assistant to the Director/Assistant Stage
Manager), David Arts (Combat Choreographer), Mark Cardone (Set
Design), Lauren Zenreich (Décor),Patty Howard, Lynn Oliver (Costumes),
Neil Kahn (Sound Design), Raymond Poquette (Lighting Design), Jillian
Hendrickson (Lighting Operation), Pat Bain and Annette Jacobs (Props),
Margie McDonough and Laura Bateman (Stage Crew), Norma Llamos
(Makeup), Ed Gross and J. Edmund Fond (Publicity), Alan Zenreich
(Photography), and Eileen Winkler (Member-at-Large).

Please note that the show includes mature subject matter.


• All performances for Man of La Mancha take place at The Little
Firehouse Theatre at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell, home to the
Bergen County Players since 1949. Performance times are Fridays and
Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm, with the exception of
Saturday, September 14th, which begins at 8:30 pm.

• Tickets for Man of La Mancha are $22 for all performances, and can
be purchased online at, by calling 201-261-4200 or
by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during
regular box office hours. Visa, Master Card, and American Express are

• Those interested in Group Sales of 20 or more tickets can call (201)
261-4200, x6.

• As it has for the past few seasons, BCP will continue to offer a
“Questions & Artists” (Q&A) discussion following select performances.
The Man of La Mancha Q&A will kick off immediately following the
September 20, 2013 performance. Admission is included in the cost of
the ticket.

• Discount tickets for students age 25 and under with proper ID are
available for $14 by phone or walk-up only.

• Parking is free at the Park Avenue municipal lot, across the street,
one-half block north of the theater.

Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small
community theater when it was founded in 1932; today, nearly 300
volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the nine
productions presented each season.

Further information can be found at

Bergen County Players, Inc. is a non-equity, non-profit community
theater company dedicated to presenting quality productions for the
enrichment of the community.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' next at Historic Edison Valley Playhouse

Historic Edison Valley Playhouse to present Joe DiPietro's "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" with music by Jimmy Roberts.

Off Broadway's long running hit musical, this hilarious revue pays tribute to those
who have loved, lost and lived to try again.  A musical joyride that explores dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change reveals our desire to connect with another person, no matter what age.

 The Director is Scott Goldman, Musical Director Judy Brewer and the              Choreographer is  B. J. Solomon.                          

Starring: Molly Frieri, Jesse Principale, Alex Kornberg and Louis Vetter.

Performances: Friday & Saturday September 13 - 28, 2013 at 8 PM, Sunday September 22, 2013 at 2 PM.

Tickets: Adults $20  Students/Seniors $15

For tickets or call (908) 755-4654 to make a reservation

Historic Edison Valley Playhouse, 2196 Oak Tree Rd, Edison, NJ 08820

Next at Light Opera of New Jersey 'Orpheus in the Underworld '

“Orpheus in the Underworld” will be presented by the Light Opera of New Jersey two weekends in September. The performance will be fully staged at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 140 So. Finley Ave. in Basking Ridge, NJ. Evening shows are at 8 pm on September 21, 26, 27, 28. Matinee performances are at 2pm Sunday, September 22 and Saturday, September 28, 2013.

Tickets are priced at $20, $25 and $30 and are available on line at or by calling 908-303-7351.

Directing the performance is William C. Corson of Basking Ridge, executive producer of LONJ, formerly known as Ridge Light Opera. English lyrics for Orpheus in the Underworld are by Robert Derwae and music is by Jaques Offenbach. The familiar “Can-Can” melody was originally written for this show.
Steven Snow as Pluto

According to Corson, “This all new invigorating version of “Orpheus in the Underworld” is a hilarious show about  the Greek mythical Gods fighting over the irresistible mortal, Eurydice! When Pluto steals her away from Orpheus and takes her down to Hades, Public Opinion gets involved, but Jupiter arrives on the scene
to rescue her and all havoc breaks loose. We are delighted to have an outstanding cast who bring the story to life with exceptional talent, humor and effusive energy.”

This production features 26 of the Light Opera of New Jersey's finest singers. Kathryn Krasovec of the Metropolitan Opera  and several professional guest artists from New Jersey and New York City are among the cast.

Acting in the roles of Orpheus, Eurydice, Jupiter, Pluto and Public Opinion are Benjamin Robinson, Chelsea Friedlander, John-Andrew Fernandez, Steven Snow , and Kathryn Krasovec respectively.

Additional cast members are

Diana……………Paige Porter
Cupid……………Catie Shelley
Juno……………...Lauran Corson/Beth Lohner
Venus……………Emma Walker
Mercury…………Alex Corson
Minerva…………Lauren Walker
John Styx………. William Remmers
Mars…………….Frank Skokan

Violinists… Sarah Matsushima, Laura DeFelice, Barbara Lewis, Joanna Hoty Russell, Joanna Scarangello, Lauren Walker

Policemen…Ira Walker, Mike Baruffi, Ethan Lynch, Rick Morley, Changkuo Hseih, Ted Roper

Chelsea Friedlander as Eurydice and Benjamin Robinson as Orpheus

 Benjamin Robinson, Chelsea Friedlander, William Remmers, John-Andrew Fernandez and Steven Snow.


Photos: Light Opera of New Jersey

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Verismo Opera to Launch Fall Season with Open House. Singers Invited to Join Verismo Opera Chorus

The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera launches its 24th season with Love, Comedy, Obsession & Murder at its open house in celebration of the year of Italian culture in America. Artistic Director and Met Opera luminary Lucine Amara invites the public, singers, actors, and people interested in volunteering with the organization to attend a free open house to learn more about Verismo Opera on Saturday, September 7, 2013, 1:00 p.m., at 44 Armory Street in Englewood, New Jersey. 

The Verismo Opera Chorus will perform Giuseppe Verdi's Va, pensiero, sull'ali dorate (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from the opera Nabucco. General Manager Evelyn La Quaif and Oswaldo Iraheta from Edgewater, New Jersey will perform Libiamo ne' lieti calici from Verdi’s La Traviata. Iraheta recently performed the role of Rinuccio in the company’s production of Gianni Schicchi at the Bergen Performing Arts Center.

Hackensack, New Jersey resident Edgar Jaramillo, a new member of Verismo Opera, will sing Addio alla madre from Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana. Jaramillo will perform the role of Turriddu in Verismo Opera’s upcoming new production of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana (rehearsal photo above).

Ms. Amara (photo right), Music Director/Principal Conductor Anthony Morss, General Manager Evelyn La Quaif, Chorus Director Mara Waldman, and President Dr. James Garvin, MD will discuss the organization’s mission, history, and opportunities to perform with Verismo Opera. They will introduce the grand opera company’s double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica to be performed on Sunday, October 20, 
2013 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), located at 30 North Van Brunt Street in Englewood, New Jersey. 

Opportunities to perform with the Verismo Opera Chorus will be discussed. Vocalists, amateurs and professionals of all ages, are invited to attend the open house and learn more about the work of the chorus and the free professional coaching available.

Under Chorus Director Mara Waldman, singers will explore grand opera through active performances. The operas will be fully staged and performed in costume accompanied by an orchestra under internationally renowned Principal Conductor/Music Director Anthony Morss in a number of performing arts centers.

Applications are now being accepted for the Verismo Opera Chorus. Auditions for the chorus will be held on Wednesdays, September 11, 18 and 25 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at 44 Armory Street in Englewood, New Jersey. Applicants should bring one or two songs to perform. An accompanist will be provided. An appointment is required to audition.

Male choristers, representing all vocal ranges and ages, are especially needed. Sight-reading ability is definitely a plus, but not necessary. No prior stage experience is required. An application may be downloaded at . For information or to schedule an appointment to audition for the chorus, call (201) 886-0561.
Opportunities to perform with the Verismo Opera Chorus, act as a supernumerary (extra) in non-speaking and non-singing roles or volunteer with the company behind the scenes will also be presented. Children, who are interested in gaining experience on the stage as supernumeraries, are invited to attend the open house and learn more about performing opportunities in Cavalleria Rusticana. For information about supernumerary roles available, call (201)-224-2809.

The 2013 season is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grand funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. Other supporters include the Mary Casella Briggs Memorial Fund, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Inc., Vanguard Charitable Endowment Fund, Children’s Aid Foundation, Paul Weiss Matching Fund, Robert J. Campbell, MD and Cesare L. Santeramo, KSJ.

About New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera

Verismo Opera has been a part of the New Jersey music scene since 1989. The opera company, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, is the only professional opera company in Bergen County and northern New Jersey. The organization provides performing opportunities for young musicians and artists and sponsors an annual vocal competition held in November with finals generally conducted in Carnegie Hall’s Weill Hall, drawing artists from all over the United States, Canada, and Europe. The company also organizes opera workshops and concerts and offers affordable, highly professional operatic productions in the Bergen County, New Jersey community. 

Verismo Opera is recognized for providing up and coming performing artists with the training to attain a successful operatic career. Several singers, notably Richard Hobson, Frank Poretta, Emmanuel di Villarosa, James Valenti and Irina Rindzuner of the Metropolitan Opera, started their road to success by performing in its productions.

For more information about Verismo Opera, visit its web site, , follow the company on Facebook at or Twitter @NJVerismoOpera, or call (201) 886-0561.

Open House at The Strollers of Maplewood

Free Event – Entertainment & Refreshments

Ever wonder what it takes to put on a show? Want to learn all about the theater? Interested in becoming a member?

Kicking off its 2013-2014season, The Strollers, the Resident Community Theater Company at the Burgdorff Center for The Performing Arts in Maplewood, opens its doors for an Open House on Wednesday, September 4th at 7:30 PM

Burgdorff Center for The Performing Arts
10 Durant Road
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Free and open to the public, this special event begins with a short business meeting, an introduction to the new 2013-2014 season, games and complimentary refreshments! The Open House will give everyone a chance to see how a community theater works, ask questions, meet people, socialize, purchase season tickets, win a free ticket to a show and win prizes for participation in the events.

"We extend a special invitation to the people of Maplewood and surrounding communities to attend and see what The Strollers is about. We are an integral part of the community we serve, participating in town festivities such as Mayfest, Maplewoodstock, the Dickens Village, the Memorial Day Parade, and the Halloween Parade – all activities that make Maplewood the unique family-oriented community that it is."

Founded in 1932, The Strollers has been enriching the arts offerings in northern New Jersey with comedy, drama, children’s theater, and musical productions for over 80 years.. As a community theater, The Strollers is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.

All of its actors, technical crews, directors, producers, house crews, board-of-directors and various business committees are composed completely of volunteers, most with family and other full-time work obligations. This is the way it has been from the start and will continue to be. All monies earned or donated are put into Strollers upcoming production seasons.

One Person Play Creations Slated for Seniors In New Paper Mill Playhouse Acting Workshop

A new Senior Players Acting Workshop, emphasizing creation of one person plays, will be offered from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon for 20 weeks beginning Monday, September 10 at Paper Mill Playhouse under the guidance of stage, television and movie veteran Ed Schiff (photo).

Paper Mill Playhouse Theatre School Director Mickey McNany will reserve space for actors 55 years of age and up for Mr. Schiff’s acting workshop. To register and for information, call Ms. McNany at (973) 379 3636, extension 1669. The cost for the 20-week session is $285.

“The Senior Players is one of our most exciting acting workshops and Paper Mill Playhouse is proud and honored to welcome to our family Ed Schiff, a long-time favorite on stage, screen and television,” said Ms. McNany.

Mr. Schiff is a show business veteran with over 200 professional credits in film, television and movies as an actor, director, playwright and producer. He has also taught acting, directing and theater history in conservatories and universities, most recently as the Resident Professional Theatre Associate at Cornell and as the Distinguished Artist at Bergen Community College.

The Senior Players Workshop will see the actors work through basic acting exercises and evolve into one person plays through positive guidance from Mr. Schiff.

“The ‘reality of doing’ is one of the basic tenets of truthful acting and the participants in the Senior Players Workshop will find great fun and stimulus in the 20 weeks of ‘doing’ stage presentations,” said Mr. Schiff.
Mr. Schiff’s professional acting credits range from Broadway (The Black Picture Show) to major motion pictures (War of the Worlds) to daytime television (One Life to Live) to primetime TV (Grapevine) and most recently to documentary work as Andrew Carnegie on the History Channel’s The Men Who Built America and the Biography Channel’s Ernest Hemingway.

He has directed more than 50 professional productions on stages from ranging from Off-Broadway (I Hate Hamlet) to regional theater (The Redwood Curtain) to university theater (The Good Doctor) to local professional productions featuring the likes of Tovah Feldshuh, Broderick Crawford and Robert Morse.

Mr. Schiff has been artistic director of five Actors Equity Association professional theaters including the Robert Morse Theater in Point Pleasant Beach and Hollywood Performing Arts in Hollywood, Florida.

Mr. Schiff’s philosophy of teaching, directing and acting is “always stay positive. The good director and acting teacher never says anything negative – he has to find a positive way of improving things or just keeping his mouth shut until he finds a way to improve the elements.”

“There is no room for negativity in our business,” Mr. Schiff noted.

There will be limited enrollment, so students are urged to reserve spaces in the Senior Players Acting Workshop as soon as possible. To register and for information, call Ms. McNany at (973) 379 3636, extension 1669.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

'A Most Dangerous Woman' the life of George Eliot next at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will launch the Fall portion of its 2013 Season with the world premiere of A Most Dangerous Woman written by Cathy Tempelsman and directed by Tony-Award winner Richard Maltby, Jr.
A Most Dangerous Woman , which explores the extraordinary life of Mary Ann Evans – better known by her pen name George Eliot – begins performances on September 18 at The Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage – The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre (photo).

Responding to the exceptional interest in this new play about the famed Victorian author, The Shakespeare Theatre has extended the run and added six performances to the schedule. Performances of A Most Dangerous Woman will now continue through October 12th.

Tickets range from $35 to $70; student rush tickets are available 30 minutes prior to curtain for $15. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit Groups of 10 or more are eligible for discounts. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is located at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Three-play discount ticket packages are also available.

An outcast, living a socially unconventional life, Mary Ann Evans was forced to write under the assumed name of George Eliot, not only to escape having her work judged by virtue of her gender, but to avoid having it judged by virtue of her scandalous life. Ironically, her success as George Eliot only led her deeper and deeper into a world of secrets and deception. Eliot’s acclaimed novels include Adam Bede, Middlemarch, The Mill on the Floss and Silas Marner.

“Out of the isolation she suffers – born of her own passion and need – she develops a preternatural insight into hidden and secret lives and the suffering of ordinary men and women, who, dramatically, are as rich and compelling as the kings and queens we find in Shakespeare,” said playwright Cathy Tempelsman. “She was the most brilliant, fascinating person I had ever read about – her life was entirely modern and unconventional. I just felt that such a dramatic, controversial life belonged in the theatre.”

The Creative Team

Winner of Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics awards, director Richard Maltby, Jr. directs A Most Dangerous Woman. Maltby conceived and directed the Broadway productions of Ring of Fireas well as the Tony-Award winning musicals Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Fosse. He was the director and lyricist for Baby, the lyricist for Big, and the lyricist and conceiver for Take Flight. He was the co-lyricist for Miss Saigon, and the co-book writer and lyricist for The Pirate Queen. He also directed and was the co-lyricist for Song & Dance starring Bernadette Peters. Off-Broadway, he was the director and lyricist for Staring Here, Starting Now, and Closer Than Ever which were both written with composer David Shire. Maltby also contributes crossword puzzles to Harper’s Magazine.

Academy Award and Grammy Award—winning composer David Shire will provide original incidental music for the production. Shire composed the soundtracks for the films The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, All The President’s Men, and Norma Rae among many others, and composed the scores for the Broadway productions of Baby and Big, as well as the off-Broadway productions of the Grammy-nominated Starting Here, Starting Now and the award-winning Closer Than Ever.

Playwright Cathy Tempelsman worked for the Wall Street Journal and is the author of the book Child-Wise published by William Morrow. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Coastal Living, among others. Tempelsman’s one-act play Missing was produced at Boston Playwrights Theatre and at the Barrow Group in New York. She is currently working on a new script based on events that occurred just after World War I. A Most Dangerous Woman was a finalist for the 2013 Terrence McNally New Play Award, given to an American script which celebrates the transformative power of art. It also won the Echo Theatre (Dallas, TX) national playwriting completion.

The Cast

Aedin Moloney makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut in the role of George Eliot. Moloney is the founder and artistic director of The Fallen Angel Theatre Company in New York City. She recently starred in Airswimming at Irish Rep/Fallen Angel Theatre and played Rose in the 20th Anniversary production of Dancing at Lughnasa at Irish Rep. Her credits also include Under Milk Wood at Hartford Stage, Hobsons Choice at the Atlantic Theatre and several productions at Irish Rep including Shadow of a Gunman, The Playboy of the Western World, Juno and the Paycock and more. Her film credits include Nora with Ewan McGregor, Far & Away and The Captives and Agnes Brown. She recently completed a recording of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s Ulysses in collaboration with Paddy Moloney of The Chieftains.

Shakespeare Theatre veteran Ames Adamson plays George Henry Lewes, with whom George Eliot has a longtime relationship. Adamson has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Timon of Athens, Hamlet, King Lear and others. He recently appeared at the Quintessence Theatre Group’s productions of Arms and the Man and The Misanthrope, adapted by Martin Crimp.

John Little plays John Blackwood, Eliot’s publisher. Little has appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, Henry IV, Part One, The Grapes of Wrath and Amadeusamong others. He recently appeared in Poetic License at 59E59 Theatre. He has also appeared off-Broadway at New Federal Theatre and Harold Clurman Theatre.

Eliot’s best friend is played by Deanne Lorette who appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre’s production of The Little Foxes. Lorette has appeared on Broadway in La Bête and at regional theatres throughout the nation including The Goodspeed Opera House, Cincinnati Playhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, DC and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

The role of Isaac Evans, George Eliot’s brother, is played by Shakespeare Theatre veteran Rob Krakovski. Krakovski appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre productions of Around the World in Eighty Days, Measure for Measure and Julius Caesar. He has recently appeared at GEVA in A Christmas Story, and at Portland Center Stage in Twelfth Night and Beard of Avon. Off-Broadway, he originated the role of Bill Wilson in Bill W.

Sheffield Chastain plays Herbert Spencer, a writer. Chastain appeared on Broadway in White Christmas, Is He Dead and in the national tour of The 39 Steps. He has appeared off-Broadway at the Perry Street Theatre and Atlantic Theatre and at Florida Studio Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Seattle Rep and Los Angeles Theatre Center among many others.

Returning for his 10th season at The Shakespeare Theatre to play George Combe, the phrenologist, is Andy Paterson. Paterson appeared in Shakespeare Theatre productions of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Tempest, and The Blue Bird among many others. He has appeared at theatres across the nation including The Acting Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, McCarter Theatre, and Utah Shakespearean Festival.

Devin Norik plays Edward, a publishing house clerk. Norik appeared in The Shakespeare Theatre production of The Lion in Winter. His New York credits include At Play, 24 Hour Play Festival at Old Vic New Voices and The Smoking Gun at Studio Tisch.

The Artistic Staff

Creating the world of A Most Dangerous Woman are set designer Nicholas Dorr, costume designer Hugh Hanson, sound designer Rich Dionne, and lighting designer Tony Galaska. Kathy Snyder serves as production stage manager.

Special Performances

The first preview performance of A Most Dangerous Woman on Wednesday, September 18th at 7:30 p.m. offers opportunities for reduced-price tickets, as an incentive to first-time theatergoers. For those who would otherwise not be able to afford a night at the theatre, the first preview performance is Pay What You Can night – pay what you are able for that evening’s 7:30 p.m. preview performance. Offer is subject to availability. Call the box office at 973-408-5600 for details.

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, Symposium Series performances include the addition of a free post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff, on Tuesday, September 24th at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, September 28th; and Saturday, October 5th at 2:00 p.m.

On Thursday, September 26th, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., members of the artistic staff will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider’s perspective on A Most Dangerous Woman.

General admission to Know the Show is $5 for the general public, $4 for subscribers and ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening’s 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

The 2:00 p.m. performance on Saturday, October 5th will be audio described for those who are blind or have visual impairments. Audio description enables patrons 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 explore props, costumes and set pieces to further enhance their live theatrical experience. The service is offered free of charge.

Tickets & General Information

Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit

News from Luna Stage

Little Luna Theatre Classes for Children Ages 4 through 7
Creative Drama Classes for Children Ages 7 through 10
Meet Danielle Renee Thompson, The Instructor for our Children's Theatre Classes
Adult Acting Intensive For Beginners 
9 Week Intensive Workshop for the Advanced Adult Actor
Meet Ned Coulter, the Instructor for our Adult Acting Workshops
Little Luna Theatre Classes for Children Ages 4 through 7
Little Luna

Theatre Classes for Children Ages 4-7
Sept. 21st through Nov. 23rd
Saturdays 10AM - 11AM

Class Fee: $90 for 10 week session

Theater education is a dynamic part of Luna’s commitment to the future of live theatre. In the Little Luna program, young performers discover the creative elements of drama through a basis in story-telling. Through fun games and exercises, Little Luna participants learn about different theatrical elements (sets, costumes, props, scripts, etc.) and how they combine to create a performance. The class culminates in a play performed and designed by the Little Luna students.

To register visit or call 973-395-5551 

Creative Drama Classes for Children Ages 7 through 10
Creative Drama
Theatre Classes for Children Ages 7-10
Sept. 21st through Nov. 23rd
Saturdays 11AM - 12PM

Class Fee: $90 for 10 week session
This class is specially designed with creative minds and play as the focus. The 10 week series will be a comprehensive study of the various aspects of acting and performing, all taught through the use of theatre games and mini-performance workshops. Topics will include voice and speech, character development, creative expression through movement and solo and group improv, just to name a few. Actors will have an opportunity to perform for each other every class, and will work together to develop self-confidence, team/group dynamic, body and spatial awareness, and will experience the importance of being fully engaged and committed while still being free and open to explore.
To register visit or call 973-395-5551

Meet Danielle Renee Thompson, The Instructor for our Children's Theatre Classes
Danielle Renee Thompson, Luna's Children's Theatre Instructor
Danielle Renee Thompson, Luna's Children's Theatre Instructor
Danielle Renee Thompson first began her theater training at Newark’s Arts High School. And went on to receive a Bacholar of Fine Arts in acting at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Danielle recently starred in the Off-Broadway production of the world premiere of “My Occasion of Sin” by Monica Bauer directed by Frances Hill at Urban Stages Theater in NYC. And over the past couple of years, she has been touring a one women show, “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Eisa Davis directed by Trazana Beverly in New York and Connecticut through Urban Stages Outreach program. But when Danielle is not on the stage, she is off sharing her love for arts education in the classroom. She has been an acting teaching artist for New Jersey Performing Arts Center since 05’ for programs like the Summer Youth Performance Workshop and the Young Artist Institute. She also teaches theater, performance technique and ballroom dance for the In-School residency programs at NJPAC. And Danielle couldn’t be more excited to join the Luna Stage Family this fall.

Adult Acting Intensive For Beginners 
8-Week Adult Acting Intensive For Beginners
Oct. 1st through Nov. 19th
Tuesdays 7pm-9pm
Class Fee: $160 for 8 week session
If you believe you have talent and always thought you could be an actor but never played in anything beyond the second lead in your high-school musical this course will help you jump into the creative process. Master teacher Ned Coulter developed this straight forward approach that takes beginners on a quick journey to understanding the basic skills that great actors use to create roles. Starting with improvisation and exercises you’ll discover how actors think and soon find yourself on stage acting monologues and scenes from the world’s great plays.

To register visit or call 973-395-5551

9 Week Intensive Workshop for the Advanced Adult Actor
9-Week Actor Intensive
Oct. 2nd through Nov. 20th
Showcase on Dec. 4th; No Class Nov. 27th
Wednesdays 7pm-9pm
Class Fee: $180 for 9 Week Session
In this nine week intensive class Luna Stage provides a nurturing professional atmosphere where participants can sharpen their acting skills through improvisations, cold readings, audition techniques, and exercises. There is an emphasis on individual growth by working on monologues and scenes from theater and film. It is the goal of the class that everyone gains a better understanding of the acting experience and how they personally relate to it.
The ninth week of class will culminate in an “Actor’s Workshop” where participants will be able to showcase the work they have done in class for friends and family.
Because of the professional nature of this class all participants must interview/audition with Mr. Coulter before placement.
To register visit or call 973-395-5551

Meet Ned Coulter, the Instructor for our Adult Acting Workshops
Ned Coulter, Luna's Adult Acting Instructor
Ned Coulter, Luna's Adult Acting Instructor
Mr. Coulter has enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in theater, television, and film. He has played roles on Broadway and Off-Broadway and in many regional theaters across America. He has appeared on Law and Order, on several of the afternoon “Soaps” and had been seen in over thirty commercials. He has taught in many of the major acting studios in New York City and has conducted workshops in theater at several universities. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

South Street Players' 3rd Annual Festival of Original Short Plays September 13-15

Here are rehearsal pix of Kelly Maizenaski (Middlesex) and Maria DeAngelo (Freehold), as Rose and Nana in "The Love of Your Life," one of the short plays being presented at South Street Players' 3rd Annual Tri-State Theatre Festival in Spring Lake Sept 13-15, 2013