Friday, January 31, 2014

Pleasant Valley Productions’ ‘Ragtime’ in West Orange



West Orange based community theatre company, Pleasant Valley Productions will present the epic historical musical February 8-15 at The Theatre at Roosevelt Middle School in West Orange. Performances are Saturday, February 8th at 7 pm, Sunday, February 9th at 2 pm, Thursday, February 13th, Friday, February 14th, and Saturday, February 15th at 7 pm. As part of Black History Month and the NJ 350 celebration, a special educational talkback will follow the February 9th performance discussing the show’s themes and historic elements.

The production is directed by Camille Vecchio-DiLorenzo, with music direction by Ilene Greenbaum and choreography by Marcel Coleman, with Howie Tilkin serving as producer.

Ragtime is an epic musical that paints a nostalgic and powerful portrait of life in turn of the century America. Based on the 1975 E.L. Doctorow novel, and enhanced by a beautiful and lush score by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and a compelling book by Terrence McNally,

Ragtime is a modern classic of American musical theatre. Three distinct stories intertwine to depict life in the early 1900’s for three drastically different classes of Americans – the new immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, the African-American working class of Harlem and the already established and affluent Anglo-Americans. The memorable score combines the haunting music of the European immigrants with the exciting Ragtime music of the Harlem jazz clubs to result in an award-winning score that delights audiences.

Pleasant Valley Productions was formed in 2012 by long-time friends and colleagues, director Camille Vecchio-DiLorenzo, music director Ilene Greenbaum, and producer Howie Tilkin.

The company’s mission is to create a professional theatre experience for local area performers, audience members, students and volunteers while providing a broad range of musical theatre works with the highest possible production value. After presenting their inaugural production, the critically acclaimed Songs for a New World in March 2012, they presented the family favorite Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this past February. They have continued to grow their company’s presence in the community by offering free concerts at the West Orange Public Library as well as an after-school musical theatre enrichment program at Roosevelt Middle School. In addition to the upcoming production of Spelling Bee, PVP plans to continue to expand its arts education program and free concert series.

Performances of Ragtime will be held at Roosevelt Middle School, located at 36 Gilbert Place in West Orange. For tickets and more information, please visit or call 1-800-838-3006.


Photo: Cast members (L to R) Jessica Wigfall, Leonard Mitchell, Marlon Brown, Christina Boateng, Renee Kee, Nia Sorbino, Anthony LaCoste, Vicki Ridley, Lawrence Dandrige, with Kirk Lambert and Noelle Staudt at the piano

Photo Credit: Warren Westura

Thursday, January 30, 2014

‘The Liar’ next at Centenary Stage



The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, as refracted in a theatrical fun-house mirror with CSC’s Spring comedy,  David Ive’s hilarious adaptation of The Liar will run February 21-March 9 at The Lackland Center.

Dorante is charming, handsome, and a pathological liar. When he arrives in Paris, his outlandish tales amaze and convince all who hear them, but for each problem his clever lying solves, it creates two new ones. Tickets are $25 for adults on Matinees and Fridays and $27.50 on Saturdays with discounts for seniors, students and children under 12. Thursday evening tickets are $25 with a two-for-one Date Night discount when purchased at the door, two hours prior to the performance.

1007LacklandBldgTickets may be purchased online at, at the CSC Box Office in The Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, or by calling 908-979-0900. The Box Office is open Monday through Friday 1-5 p.m. and 2 hours prior to performance times. CSC also operates a second Box Office during the season at 217 Main Street in Hackettstown open Monday through Friday 3-6 p.m. Ticket prices for concerts and special events increase $5 on the day of.

Photo: L-R-The Liar’s Director Carl Wallnau, Costumer Julia Sharp, and Set Designer Bob Phillips, Photo Credit Rita Medina

‘The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee’ opens this week at the Aspire Performing Arts Company

Putnam Aspire

Next at Aspire Performing Arts Company’s Senior Performing Ensemble is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The production will take place on Friday, January 31 at 8 pm and Saturday, February 1 at 3 pm at Kinnelon High School in Kinnelon, NJ.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a hilarious tale of overachievers' angst chronicling the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championship of a lifetime. The show's Tony Award-winning creative team has created the unlikeliest of hit musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes: a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is the one place where they can stand out and fit in at the same time.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is directed by Aspire PAC President and Artistic Director Lisa Beth Vettoso, with musical direction by Charles Linnell, Choral and Drama Director at Kinnelon High School.  

Tickets are $15 and available at the door. For more information, contact Aspire PAC at or at 201-220-4933. You can also find Aspire PAC on the web at

Photo: Cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee  (Aspire)

‘As You Like It’ at Two River Theater in Red Bank

As You Like It

Two River Theater (Artistic Director John Dias, Managing Director Michael Hurst) presents As You Like It, Shakespeare’s romantic comedy of cross-dressing heroines and triumphant heroes, directed by Michael Sexton.

The opening night is Friday, January 31 at 8pm in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank; performances continue through Sunday, February 16. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or

Photo: The full company of As You Like It at Two River Theater-Center: Jacob Fishel (Orlando) and Miriam A. Hyman (Rosalind) On ladder: J.D. Webster (Hymen, the God of Marriage) From left: Leighton Bryan (Phoebe), Matt Bittner (Silvius), Ben Diskant (Oliver), Sara Topham (Celia), Philip Goodwin (Duke Senior),Brendan Titley (Touchstone), Geoffrey Owens (Jacques, with guitar), and Myra Lucretia Taylor (Audrey). Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Northfield Bank Foundation to Fund Two Playwriting Residencies in Rahway

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Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University, has announced two new playwriting residencies in Rahway. Funding from the Northfield Bank Foundation has enabled Premiere Stages to return to Rahway 7th and 8th Grade Academy for an eight week in-school playwriting residency in 2014. The foundation will also fund a second residency with 6th grade students at Rahway's Roosevelt Elementary School.

Premiere Stages’ residencies are specifically designed to support classroom learning objectives and are designed to support the Common Core Curriculum, reinforcing literacy skills, encouraging creativity and collaboration, and bolstering student self-esteem. Professional teaching artists work closely with classroom teachers to specifically tailor each residency to the needs of the students. The upcoming 7th grade residency will align with the Literary Arts class studying Agatha Christie's masterful whodunit, And Then There Were None, while the 6th grade program at Roosevelt will center on the social studies unit studying Ancient Egypt. Over the course of seven weeks, students will learn the basics of playwriting and collaborate to write original short works for the stage. Both residencies will culminate in late March with an in-school presentation of student-written work by a cast of professional actors. 

"We are thrilled that the Northfield Bank Foundation is sponsoring our return to Rahway," said Premiere Stages Producing Associate Clare Drobot. "Increased funding will afford Premiere the opportunity to place teaching artists in multiple schools, expanding the pool of students served through the project."

The residencies are just one facet of Premiere’s larger educational initiative, known as the Play Factory. Play Factory programming also includes the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival, a statewide contest in partnership with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey that showcases the work of New Jersey students ages 8 and up, and the Play Factory Performance Series, an annual summer performance series featuring dynamic, professional theatre presentations designed specifically for young audiences.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The Provident Bank Foundation, The Hudson City Savings Bank Foundation, Union County HEART Grants, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance and through the generous support of individual patrons. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advanced notice. Please call (908) 737-4092 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at

Photo: Teaching artist Drew Hirshfield, Angie Tsirkas & Diane Senerchia of Northfield Bank, Premiere Stages Producing Artistic Director John Wooten, and teachers Kristyn Suckow-Vogel & Jennifer Cirillo of the Rahway school district.

‘Burn This’ Play Reading at MONDO in Summit, New Jersey


Robert Funaro (photo)…a regular on the Sopranos and will be Charlie Mantel in the movie of the same name opening in 2014…will be performing in a play reading in Summit, NJ, along with locally acclaimed actors.

The Lanford Wilson play reading series will present “Burn This”, on Friday, February 7th at 8:00 pm at MONDO in downtown Summit.

Like many of Landord Wilson's plays, “Burn This” deals with themes of gay identity and relationships. The place is a Manhattan loft shared by Anna, a lithe young dancer-choreographer, and her two gay roommates-her collaborator, Robby, who has just been killed in a freak boating accident, and Larry, a world-weary, caustically funny young advertising executive. As the play begins Anna is recovering from attending Robby's funeral, comforted by her wealthy, well-meaning boyfriend, Burton, a sci-fi screenwriter whose persistent proposals of marriage Anna finds herself unable to accept. Then, with sudden, unexpected explosiveness, Robby's older brother, Pale, bursts on the scene. He has come to collect his brother's belongings-but stays on to transform the action of the play and the lives of those in it. Menacing, profane, dangerous and yet oddly sensitive, Pale is both terrifying and fascinating and, in the end, the one who brings to Anna the unsettling but compelling love that, despite her fears and doubts, she cannot turn away.

The play reading will star Robert Funaro who is best known for the role of Eugene Pontecorvo in the Emmy Award-winning television series The Sopranos. His most notable episode on The Sopranos, titled "Members Only," won an Emmy award. Robert also guest starred in Television series like Blue Bloods, Unforgettable and multiple episodes of Law and Order.

Robert Funaro is currently working on the movie “Charlie Mantle” which be released this year.

The cast will also consists of local actors who have performed at The Summit Playhouse and/or The Chatham Community Players include Miriam Salerno, Dale Monroe (outstanding in The Elephant Man last November), Scott Tyler, and Theresa Turner.

Frank LicatoThe Lanford Wilson Play Reading Series will be directed by Frank Licato (photo right). Frank has been a professional director, actor and teacher for over 30 years.  He is Artistic Director of Hudson Theatre Works, a professional theatre in Hudson County, NJ.  His shows have been nominated for 17 Perry awards and he won for best director for "Grapes of Wrath'.  He was honored by the New Jersey Theater Alliance for his directorial work, was named best director at the New York Fringe Festival and Best Director by the Off-Off Broadway Review.

He has acted in movies with Alan Arkin, Martin Sheen, Sylvester Stallone and Frank Sinatra.  He was named best actor by the Boston Critics for his performance in "Judgement" by Barry Collins at the Boston Shakespeare Company and was nominated for an Obie award for his performance in "Deathwatch" by Genet.

Frank is also a well known acting teacher and audition coach.

For further information and tickets please contact or call Sally at 941-993-3195.

Seating is limited.

Review: Marvelous ‘Master Class’ at The Barn Theatre


If you were fortunate enough  to see the remarkable production of playwright Ken Ludwig's very funny "Lend Me A Tenor" at the Barn Theatre in Montville, New Jersey in 2012, you would have marveled, as I did, at the professional level in all areas; cast, sets, costumes, lighting, etc. of the production.

Remarkable in particular since The Barn Theatre is a non-equity community theatre (translation: no actor is paid....they perform for the love of the theatre). Here is part of my review of the performance on March 18, 2012: "Back to the wonderful cast of community players, all performing for the pure love of the stage; Carla Kendell excels as Diane, the opera singer ready to advance her career via the casting couch, in this case, the bed." Carla Kendell is back on that stage again as an opera singer, but this time center stage giving a master class in acting, in the aptly named "Master Class." The Tony award-winning play, of course, is by Terrence McNally and is based on a series of master classes given by fiery opera diva Maria Callas at Julliard in New York late in her career. Callas combines tough encouragement for her students with reflections on her great success on stage and equally great disappointments in her personal life, particularly her long term relationship with the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onasssis.

The role of Maria Callas is exceptionally demanding for an actress. This is her story, her play, she is on stage for the entire play. The five other roles in "Master Class" could be likened to opera spear-carriers....important, but vastly over shadowed by the star...and Kendall is the star in every sense of the word. To say she is simply "terrific," is an understatement. She is marvelous. Always in full control of the emotional roller-coaster the demanding part requires. Sadly, you only have two more chances to see Carla Kendall in her role of a lifetime (Friday and Saturday at 8 pm).

Now, let's not slight the fine supporting cast...there is no show without them. First, as the rehearsal hall pianist Manny is Ken Magos, a professional opera singer who teaches singing in real life. Magos' Manny is a perfect contrast to the temperamental Callas. He is steady, always professional and an impressive pianist. Kelly Miller is spot-on as Sophie (a/k/a Soprano #1) with a wonderful "deer-in-the headlights" look to go with her fine voice. Danielle C. Pennisi nicely displays her considerable acting talent, in addition to impressive vocal talent as Sharon (Soprano #2). Jeffrey Dopson has the tenor role. He gives "Tony" a nice comic presence while displaying his fine voice. The stern master class proceedings of diva Callas is punctured throughout the play by the short, but funny, appearances of the stage hand who displays absolutely no interest in the goings-on of the world-famous singer. The part is perfectly played by Claudia Metz, who just happens to be the production's stage manager.

Major applause to Roseann Ruggiero as director and ring master of this outstanding production. Ruggiero is a longtime contributor at The Barn. In the spring of 2012, she directed the remarkable Sondheim musical "Assasins."
Ruggiero's creative team also deserve a round of applause for their key efforts: Lillian Miller costumes; Beau Kennedy set design/decor; Jeff Knapp sound design; Todd Mills lighting design; Jeff Kinkead and John Frangione lighting/sound operation; Geraldine Baillod props. Lillian Miller and Geraldine Baillod are the co-producers.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio January 26, 2014

The Barn Theatre is located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville, New Jersey. To contact box office personal via voice mail call 973.334.9320. Visit website at
Top Photo: L-R Ken Magos, Carla Kendall and Danielle C. Pennisi (by Tom Schopper)
                            Ken Magos and Kelly Miller (by Joe Gigli)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Skyline Theatre’s 13th Annual Fund Raiser Gala Feb. 28th

Concert of Stars No Info 2014


SKYLINE THEATRE COMPANY will present its 13th annual fund raising gala entitled CONCERT OF STARS - CELEBRATING THE MUSIC OF BROADWAY’S JEWISH LEGENDS, Friday, February 28, 2014, at 7 pm at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in Fair Lawn.

Performers direct from hit Broadway shows will perform in this one-night-only event that raises money for Skyline Theatre Company and its Educational Programming. Skyline, Bergen County’s professional theatre company, has been in residence at the Frey Center in Fair Lawn since 2010. 

Guests will enjoy an intimate concert of Broadway’s finest performers as they celebrate the music of Gershwin, Sondheim, Kern, Berlin, Strouse, Shaiman and more! Performers from Phantom of the Opera, Mamma Mia! and Wicked are scheduled to perform at this year’s event. Tickets are just $75 and are completely tax deductible. The ticket price includes a cocktail hour at 7:00pm with hors d’oeuvres and wine, this one of kind concert at 8:00pm, and desserts afterwards.  In addition, guests will be invited to enter to win several raffle packages including professional voice lessons, health and beauty baskets, and NY Giants tickets!

Founded in 2001 by a group of New Jersey artists and business professionals, Skyline is dedicated to bringing quality theatre productions and educational outreach to Bergen County. Skyline’s mission is to bring together professional artists to create quality theatre that entertains and inspires its audiences. Through scholarship and education programs, the company make a clear commitment to the education of young people in all aspects of the arts. 

To purchase tickets to this special event, call STC’s box office at 800-474-1299 or visit, and meet stars from Broadway as they bring down the house in this concert that celebrates the arts in New Jersey. Please join us on Friday evening, February 28, 2014. Seating is limited.

‘Ragtime-The Musical’ in West Orange


Review: ‘Admit One’ at NJ Rep in Long Branch

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The words “Admit One” are usually found on a ticket stub, but banish all thoughts of a backstage comedy when taking in NJ Rep's latest offering by Wendy Yondorf. Instead, the play comically questions to what lengths a responsible parent will go to get their child into a good school.

Set in a hotel suite at New York's Waldorf Astoria, the two-hander pits tightly wound admission officer Mary Sue (Catherine LaFrere) against fastidious Howard (Ames Adamson), a wealthy dad looking to do whatever it takes to get his son into prestigious Giddings University. Giddings is a Yondorf creation, a fictional ivy league school that only admits the best-of-the-best, with vigilant Mary Sue guardian of just who makes the cut and who doesn't. Desperate Howard will do whatever he must to assure his wayward son a spot, including asking Mary Sue to bend (ok, break) the rules.

Under the capable direction of Karen Carpenter (whose “Steel Magnolias” warmed hearts at Paper Mill Playhouse in 2008), the play announces its comic intentions from the very start when nervous Mary Sue scopes out the site of her meeting with Howard, a Giddings grad and donor. Carpenter infuses the action with broad visual humor and rapid-fire pacing that keeps the audience laughing even when Yondorf's verbal wit sometimes sags.

The playwright's wry observations about the mis-use of language are amusing enough, especially in the mouth of LaFrere's manic Mary Sue, as are her disparaging digs at popular schools (“New Jersey kids are Princeton's problem!”). Speaking of the Garden State, for this Jersey boy there were one too many Jersey jokes, including a groan-inducing reference to 'Bridgegate.'

LaFrere's Mary Sue earns plenty of laughs from her severe case of OCD. Her expressive features and sharp comic timing are reminiscent of a young Carol Burnett, exhaustively mining each moment for maximum humor. Adamson's Howard superbly bridges the gap between Carpenter's broad staging and Yondorf's verbal wit. With his natty pinstripe suit and neatly trimmed beard, Adamson is the very picture of a Donald Trump-like powerhouse.

Despite the sometimes silly physical comedy (including an unraveled roll of toilet paper), Adamson keeps his character grounded and believable even during an unexpected plot twist near the end of the intermission-less 95 minute play.
Technically, the show is flawlessly designed, starting with Jessica Parks' luxuriously appointed hotel room. Patricia E. Doherty's costumes are suitably tailored and Jim Nagle's lighting is similarly flawless. Even Merek Royce Press's sound design proved impressive, with comically timed cell phone rings, en-suite muzak, and champagne corks popping.

“Admit One” more than capably upholds NJ Rep's rich 17 year history of providing new plays with first rate productions.

Reviewed by Michael Mooney January 24, 2014

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

Tickets are $40; 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.

Contact the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166 or visit to reserve your seats online.
PHOTO: Ames Adamson and Catherine LaFrereAmes  (NJ Rep/Suzanne Barabas)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Playwrights Theatre Presents a Free Reading of a New Play Based on a Novel by Suzanne Berne at the Madison Public Library Prior to Its World Premiere in Chicago

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Playwrights Theatre’s will present a free reading at the Madison Public Library, 39 Keep Street, Madison, NJ of James Glossman’s adaption of Suzanne Berne’s novel A CRIME IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD. The reading will begin at 7 pm on January 30, 2014, and will be followed by a discussion with Mr. Glossman.

This reading is part of Playwrights Theatre’s FORUM new play reading series. Any patron who purchased a FORUM pass for the December reading series, that pass is valid for this reading.

FORUM brings theatre artists and audience members together to enjoy the process of bringing a play to life. Professional actors and directors from both New York and New Jersey work with the writer in pre-reading rehearsals. Oftentimes, some very well-known performers are able to lend a hand, schedule permitting.

“Playwrights Theatre’s Forum Reading Series brings to local audiences exciting new works by some of the best writers in the country and the State of New Jersey. In turn, our rehearsal process and interaction with the audience, during the reading and in discussions afterward, help these writers move their play along to final production,” said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director. “We began a wonderful partnership with the Madison Public Library this past October presenting readings in the Chase Room on Thursday evenings. It’s a warm, intimate space that allows us to connect with the audience. An added bonus is that this is a final reading before rehearsal and a March production in Chicago.”

About the Play: During "Watergate Summer" in 1972, a young teenage boy is found murdered behind a mall in suburban Washington DC. At the other end of the same residential neighborhood, 10-year-old Marsha, who fancies herself a detective, begins to have suspicions that her new next-door-neighbor may have something to do with the crime. A tale of family upheaval and old business from the past, that still hangs on after four decades.

The cast includes: Evelyn McGee Colbert, Annie Leithead, Kathy McCafferty, Linda Setzer, Allison Rose Carr, Emily Daly, Paul Murphy, and Jeff Knapp.

About the Playwright: JAMES GLOSSMAN's latest play, A CRIME IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, adapted from Suzanne Berne's Orange Prize winning novel, was commissioned by Chicago's City Lit Theatre, where it will have its world premiere in March 2014. His baseball musical collaboration with legendary songwriter Terry Cashman, ONCE UPON A PASTIME, for which Glossman wrote the book, will receive a staged workshop this spring at Montclair State University starring Len Cariou. Among his earlier works are KICK THE CAN, THE SPECIAL PRISONER, and FLYING CROWS, all collaborations with novelist and journalist Jim Lehrer (the latter two premiering at Playwrights Theatre), the award-winning BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM, Mark Twain's THE MAN THAT CORRUPTED HADLEYBURG and A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT, Faulkner's THE HAMLET, Scott Fitzgerald's FAMILY IN THE WIND, OUT OF DUBLIN BY JOYCE (from the works of James Joyce), A WRINKLE IN TIME, Eudora Welty's WHY I LOVE AT THE P.O., a screenplay adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's BLUEBEARD, and most recently Raymond's Chandler's TROUBLE IS MY BUSINESS, which had a staged reading two years ago at Playwrights Theatre, followed by its world premiere at Portland Stage Company. His upcoming (musical) adaptation of Raphael Sabatini's SCARAMOUCHE, and (non-musical) of Ross Macdonald's THE ZEBRA-STRIPED HEARSE will be having workshops in Chicago and Los Angeles this coming spring and summer. He has directed well over 200 plays across the last quarter century, from classics to new work, and is on the theatre faculties of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Far Brook School in NJ. Glossman is Associate Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre.

About the Novelist: Suzanne Berne spent her early years on a horse farm in Warrenton, Virginia, before moving to Washington, DC, where her father taught courses on mythology at Georgetown University and her mother became a psychologist. After earning her B.A. in English at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, and then an M.F.A. at the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, Suzanne lived for several years in California, where she held jobs ranging from a stint as a proofreader for the Hollywood Reporter to hostess at a San Francisco restaurant, while also writing for several newspapers and beginning to publish short stories. In 1986, she began teaching expository writing at Harvard University. During this period she was also reviewing for the New York Times Book Review and writing essays and articles for the Travel section. She has also published essays in numerous magazines, from Vogue and Allure to Ploughshares.

Her first novel, A Crime in the Neighborhood, was published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill in 1997. It was published in Great Britain in 1999 and won the coveted Orange Prize for fiction, from a short list that included Toni Morrison and Barbara Kingsolver that year. The judges called it “a stunning novel of rare quality.” Reviewer David Baddiel described the book as “a beautifully lyrical – and deeply disturbing – rites of passage novel, written, with the hindsight of melancholy adulthood, from the point of view of a young girl growing up at that stage in the early ‘70s when the idyll of American family life started to come apart.” Other novels and memoirs includeA PERFECT ARRANGEMENT,THE GHOST AT THE TABLE, andMISSING LUCILLE. She has been the recipient of fellowships from the N.E.A., the Massachusetts Artists’ Foundation and nominated for an Edgar Award and the Los Angeles Times First Fiction Award. Currently she teaches creative writing at Boston College and is on the faculty of the Ranier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington. She lives with her husband, a lawyer, in Newton, MA, with their two daughters.

About Playwrights Theatre:

Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program, which includes the The New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights Program and the Literary Artist Fellowship Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2016, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only five other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, Two River Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.

‘Fallen Angel’ Benefit Honoring Garry Hynes Jan. 30 in NYC


STNJ_A Most Dangerous Woman_IMG_0087Fallen Angel Theatre Company was formed in 2003 by New York based Irish actress Aedin Moloney (photo).

The company is committed to presenting in New York the most outstanding and daring new British and Irish plays written by and about women.

Congratulations to Fallen Angel Theatre's Aedin Moloney on her award from New Jersey Footlights 2013 for her role as George Eliot in A Most Dangerous Woman at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Ms. Moloney is the Producing Artistic Director of the Fallen Angel Theatre Company.

Mayor de Blasio and the first lady Chirlane Mcray are scheduled to attend as our Special Guests.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Theater Project’s Script-In-Hand Series Starts Jan. 25

                         Visit website:

Paper Mill Playhouse Produces New Musical ‘The Other Josh Cohen’


Paper Mill Playhouse will continue its 75th Anniversary Season with another new musical The Other Josh Cohen. The Other Josh Cohen features a book, music and lyrics by David Rossmer and Steve Rosen. Ted Sperling (Striking 12, See What I Wanna See) will direct with musical staging by Andrew Palermo. Vadim Feichtner serves as Music Director.

The Other Josh Cohen will feature Steve Rosen, David Rossmer, Hannah Elless, Vadim Feichtner, Cathryn Salamone, Ken Triwush and Kate WetherheadThe Other Josh Cohen will play the Millburn, New Jersey theater from February 19 through March 16.  The official press opening night isSunday, February 23, 2014, at 7:00pm.  The Other Josh Cohen is generously supported by individuals of Paper Mill Playhouse's Raise the Curtain campaign celebrating Paper Mill Playhouse's 75th Anniversary.

The Other Josh Cohen is a hilarious original musical comedy.  Good guy Josh Cohen is caught in a lifelong battle with bad luck. He's single, broke, and woefully underemployed when his apartment is robbed. But then a mysterious letter arrives that could change his life forever. "Imagine Seinfeld meets Rodgers and Hart directed by Woody Allen," remarked Backstage. This delectable new musical makes its way from Off Broadway to the Paper Mill stage and beyond.  The New York Times raves, “Superb and sweetly funny, brisk and satisfying, spandex-tight writing and crackling comic delivery. It’s an endearing and consistently funny crowd pleaser. Buy tickets now."

The Other Josh Cohen will be performed eight times a week, Wednesday through Sunday.  Performance Schedule: Wednesday at 7:30pm, Thursday at 1:30pm and 7:30pm, Friday at 8:00pm, Saturday at 1:30pm and 8:00pm and Sunday at 1:30pm and 7:00pm.  Tickets are on sale now and range from $27 to $98. Tickets may be purchased by calling 973.376.4343, at the Paper Mill Playhouse Box Office at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn, or online at Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express accepted. Groups of ten or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680.

The Other Josh Cohen features a cast of Broadway veterans and Paper Mill Playhouse newcomers. On Broadway Steve Rosen (Josh Cohen) originated the roles of Sir Bedevere, et al. in Spamalot, Harlan Honn, et al. in Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention and played Benny Southstreet in the 2009 revival of Guys & Dolls. Rosen also played Nathan Detroit on the national tour. Recent Off-Broadway credits include Smee in Peter and the Starcatcher at New World Stages, Jacob Sherman in CQ/CX at the Atlantic Theater Company and Black Stache in Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theater Workshop. He is a co-creator of the long-running improvisational- variety benefit Don’t Quit Your Night Job. Film credits include: Arthur, Kevin’s Couch (LA Comedy Film Festival: Best Actor), Storytelling, and the upcoming film The Humbling. On television Rosen appeared on Person of Interest, Psych, Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, Masters of Sex, The Good Wife, Kings and EdDavid Rossmer (Narrator Josh) recently completed his run in the Tony Award-winning Broadway play Peter and the Starcatcher, where he originated the role of Ted. Rossmer is singer, songwriter and keyboardist for the rock band The Misconceptions and has performed extensively on and off-Broadway (Titanic, Fiddler on the Roof), in films (Robots, Loving Leah) and on television shows (Blue Bloods, It Could Be Worse).  Rossmer received a Barrymore Award nomination for Nerds. With collaborator Dan Lipton, Rossmer has penned a number of musicals, including JOE!, notes to MariAnne, Rated P and The Blonde Streak. They also write special material regularly for singers including Sutton Foster and Kelli O’Hara, who featured their song “They Don’t Let You In the Opera If You’re a Country Star” on her most recent album Always. Rossmer is author of the play When the Dog Comes Knockin’ at Your Door, the screenplay Pariss and is one of the co-creators/hosts of the hit show Don't Quit Your Night Job.

Hannah Elless appeared on Broadway in Godspell (“Bless the Lord”) and the national tour of Mamma Mia!. Other credits include: Baby Case (NYMF), The Giver (NAMT), Private Lives, The Adventures of Pinocchio (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Baby (Lizzie, Actors Theatre Company). Her film credits include: The Lake Effect and About Face. Vadim Feichtner musically directed the Broadway production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway Feichtner’s work was seen in Little Miss Sunshine, Elegies: A Song Cycle, Infinite Joy, The Burnt Part Boys, Ordinary Days, I Sing!  Writing credits include: Lincoln Center Songbook’s Songs of Innocence and Experience and incidental music for New York Public Theatre’s As You Like It (both written with William Finn). Ken Triwush met David Rossmer doing Titanic on Broadway, and they cemented their friendship on the subsequent national tour, where they penned a dozen or so alternative/pop tunes, founding the immensely addictive musical genre known as “Pirate Rock.” Other New York appearances include Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (playing the title role on Broadway and tour) and Crossing Brooklyn for The Transport Group. Triwush also starred in numerous regional and touring productions including Hedwig and the Angry Inch in North Carolina and Annie in Seoul, Korea. Paper Mill Playhouse alum Kate Wetherhead is the co-creator, writer and star of the online series Submissions Only. Wetherhead’s Broadway credits include the original companies of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Legally Blonde.  Off-Broadway Wetherhead was featured in Ordinary Days, Sarah, Plain and Tall, Tatjana in Color and Cam Jansen. At Paper Mill Playhouse Wetherhead was critically acclaimed for her performance as Annelle in the 2008 production of Steel Magnolias.  Rounding out the cast is Cathryn Salamone, who is currently playing Luisa in the New York production of The Fantasticks.  A recent graduate of Pace University, Salamone has worked with the New York Philharmonic and The Dramatists Guild.

Ted Sperling (Director) won the 2005 Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his orchestrations of The Light in the Piazza, for which he also served as music director. Other Broadway credits  include the Tony Award-winning revival of South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Full Monty, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Angels in America, My Favorite Year, Falsettos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Les Misérables, Roza, and Sunday in the Park with George.  Sperling was an original cast member of the Broadway musical Titanic. Off-Broadway credits include: A Man of No Importance, Wise Guys, A New Brain, Falsettoland and Romance in Hard Times. Sperling’s work as a stage director includes the world premieres of The Other Josh Cohen, See What I Wanna See, Charlotte: Life? Or Theater? and Striking 12, as well as a revival of Lady in the Dark. Sperling was a recipient of the 2006 Shen Family Foundation Award for leadership in the musical theater and is the Director of the Music Theater Initiative at the Public Theater as well as the Creative Director of the 24-Hour Musicals.

Andrew Palermo (Musical Staging) is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of, a contemporary dance company. Theatrical direction and choreography includes: Allegiance (The Old Globe), Kristin Chenoweth at Carnegie Hall, The Frank Loesser Songbook/New York Philharmonic (Lincoln Center), The Mikado (Carnegie Hall), The Aluminum Show (international tour), V-Day (Urban Stages), Journey to the West (37 Arts), Esther Demsack (SPF/The Public Theater), DanceBreak (Joan Weill Center for Dance),  Ace (The Old Globe, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theater of St. Louis), Bright Lights, Big City (Prince Music Theater), Vices (Theatre Aspen), Aida (Music Theater Wichita), Man of La Mancha (Sacramento Music Circus) and  numerous university credits.

Snow Storm Today Causing Many Theater Closings

TheatreNewsnj 1

Here is a note from Lou Scarpati, Managing Artistic Director of The Company 

“We have had to cancel tonite’s reading due to the weather.  If you have reservations, we will reschedule.  Please look for that.  It's a wonderful 'script in hand' performance by some very talented actors. Thank you.

Lou Scarpati, Managing Artistic Director,The Company Theatre Group, Inc.”

Please, if you have theatre plans for today, check with the theater before attempting to brave the snow. Links to key New Jersey theater websites and telephone info can be found on the “pages” section on the upper right of this page.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dreamcatcher presents New Jersey premiere of Rx


Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, professional Theatre in Residence at the Oakes Center in Summit, is presenting the New Jersey premiere of Kate Fodor’s Rx.  This romantic comedy is coming to Dreamcatcher fresh from its recent Off-Broadway run at Primary Stages in New York City. Rx plays February 13 through March 2, with talkbacks following the February 16 and 23 matinees.

Satirical and entertaining, Rx takes on both the search for personal and professional fulfillment and also the role of pharmaceuticals in our modern world.  Meena used to be a poet, but is now an editor of Piggeries, American Cattle and Swine Magazine. To assuage her misery in her job, she participates in a drug trial for a new medication designed to increase job satisfaction. Will the new drug provide a shortcut to happiness? Or will falling in love threaten to derail her journey to the peace of mind that she seeks?

NoreenFarley1Playwright Kate Fodor is a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting. Her plays have been produced by Playwrights Horizons, Epic Theatre Ensemble, San Jose Repertory Theatre, London’s Courtyard Theatre, and Chicago’s TimeLine Theatre Company, among others.

The play will be directed by Laura Ekstrand (Livingston), and will feature Noreen Farley (photo right-Clinton), Dave Maulbeck (Summit), Jessica O’Hara-Baker (photo above-New York), Janet Sales (Montclair) and Jason Szamreta (Rahway). The director and cast are all members of Dreamcatcher’s professional Resident Acting Company.

Rx will run at Dreamcatcher from Thursday, February 13 through Sunday, March 2.  Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. 

Tickets range from $20-$35, with special rates for subscribers and groups.  Purchase tickets online at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.  All tickets are $20 at the Thursday, February 13 preview performance, and seniors pay only $20 on advance purchases only on Senior Sunday, the February 16 matinee.

Performances are at The Oakes Center, located at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit.  Parking is available in the lot behind the theatre on Ashwood Avenue and at the Summit Recreation Center on Morris Avenue.  The facility is wheelchair accessible.  Assistive Listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available by prior arrangement. 

For information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, visit or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908-514-9654.

About Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre:

Dreamcatcher was founded in 1994, and is a non-profit professional ensemble of actors who build community with the audience by sharing life-affirming stories in an intimate environment.  We seek to expose theatregoers to ideas and lives like and unlike their own, to awaken their imaginations and create empathy for others. The company focuses on deepening the experience of our patrons by supplementing the performances with personal contact through receptions, talkbacks, and interactive programs.

Dreamcatcher's core company of professional local actors performs contemporary work that entertains and challenges, and has at its heart a belief in the essential goodness of people. The company’s activities include mainstage productions, improvisational comedy and cabarets, new play readings and a variety of educational and senior outreach programs.

Dreamcatcher’s programs are funded by the New Jersey State council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dramatist Guild Fund, The Summit Area Public Foundation, the Manley-Winser Foundation, and many other corporations, foundations and individuals.  Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is a senior member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Photos by Steve McIntyre

The Theater Project presents GUARDIANS by Peter Morris, Panel discussions follow script-in hand performances.


Where is the line between torture and enhanced interrogation? Is this a question that should concern civilian citizens of a democracy that employs such techniques with enemy combatants? These issues will be considered when Dr. Robert Pallitto of Seton Hall University and Madelyn Hoffman of New Jersey Peace Action join Theater Project audiences to discuss the play GUARDIANS by Peter Morris. Talk-back sessions will follow each performance.

The two character play GUARDIANS examines the motives of a male journalist and a female soldier involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandals. Although the facility is now under Iraqi control, disturbing questions remain: Is “enhanced interrogation” ever justified? What are the unintended consequences on the system, the society and the individuals who carry it out?

Political Science Associate Professor Dr. Robert Pallitto will share the insights and information of his scholarship: he recently published Torture and State Violence in the United States. His first book, State Secrets and Executive Power (co-authored with William Weaver) was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Madelyn Hoffman will represent NJ Peace Action, a group which has fought for disarmament and protested the use of drones and enhanced interrogation. Hoffman is the executive director of NJ Peace Action, adjunct professor of political science, a regular contributor to OpEd News and Bloomfield Life’s “Bloomfield Public Square.” 

Performed in London and New York, GUARDIANS premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it won the Fringe First Award and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Peter Morris is a Philadelphia native, but works chiefly in London.

The Theater Project, an award-winning New Jersey theater company at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary. The Theater Project believes in using drama as a springboard to community discussion and interaction. The company regularly presents staged readings of plays dealing with current affairs: PROP 8 (Marriage equality) STUFF HAPPENS (the lead-up to the Iraq war) and TIGER LILIES OUT OF SEASON (breast cancer treatment alternatives).

GUARDIANS will be directed by Artistic Director Mark Spina, who was awarded a 2012 best director award by the Star-Ledger. Each script-in-hand performance will be followed by a discussion with the audience and the guest panel, February 7 at 8 pm, and Feb 8 at 2 PM at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road,Maplewood, NJ. Tickets ($20) may be reserved by calling 973.763.4029 or purchased through The Theater Project website,

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Announces Its 2014 Season Line-Up


On the heels of its critically acclaimed 2013 Season, for which The Washington Post applauded The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as one of the few “companies with classical traditions that are not towing a conventional line,” the Theatre has announced its remarkable 2014 Season. The ambitious lineup demonstrates the Theatre’s unwavering dedication to all classic literature, from the familiar to the forgotten, the recognizable to the rediscovered, with works by Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Ben Jonson, Molière, and contemporary playwright David Davalos. The Shakespeare Theatre’s varied and inspired selections demonstrate once again that “presenting great art isn’t about safety—it’s about commitment,” as The Princeton Packet described the Theatre’s dedication to both popular and lesser-known classics.

The 2014 roster includes six productions on its Main Stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison and one summer production on the popular Outdoor Stage – the Greek amphitheater on the campus of The College of Saint Elizabeth in Morris Township – as well as several special events and programs.  

The Shakespeare Theatre’s 2014 season begins in late May and will continue through December. Complete Works, 5-Play, and 4-Play discount ticket packages are now available. For information or to purchase a subscription, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

The Season

The 2014 season kicks off with William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, directed by Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. “This was the first show that I directed at this Theatre in 1991, and this June I am excited to once again explore the play with a new vision.” Prestigious company veteran Sherman Howard, an actor Ms. Monte describes as “a force of nature in himself,” will portray Prospero, the powerful magician who rules over his enchanted island home. The Tempest will begin performances on May 28th.


This summer, the Shakespeare Theatre’s Outdoor Stage will ring with laughter as the “It Girls” of the 17th century (who bear a hilarious and uncanny resemblance to the “It Girls” of the 21st century) frolic and flirt in Molière’s comedic delight The Learned Ladies. Directed by Brian B. Crowe, who created the last season’s holiday masterpiece Pericles, The Learned Ladies will open June 18th at the beautiful, family-friendly amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth.

Just in time for Independence Day and the celebration of New Jersey’s 350th anniversary, company veteran Paul Mullins will direct George Bernard Shaw’s only play about America — The Devil’s Disciple. Set in the revolutionary tumult of Colonial America in 1777, an unlikely anti-hero makes the ultimate sacrifice, causing Loyalists and patriots alike to question the true meaning of honor. The Devil’s Disciple will open July 2nd.

Next on the Main Stage, Ms. Monte will direct her adaptation of the side-splitting but rarely-produced Ben Jonson masterpiece The Alchemist. The rowdy, bawdy comedy about con men in 1610 demonstrates how little has changed about greed or gullibility in the affairs of mankind. Mr. Jonson’s astute portrayal of three tricky gullers and the parade of outrageous characters they gull exemplifies the satirical wit of one of Shakespeare’s greatest contemporaries. The Alchemist will begin August 6th.

The Shakespeare Theatre will produce the New Jersey premiere of Wittenberg, written by actor-turned-playwright David Davalos and directed by Joseph Discher. Davalos’s play imagines a semester at Wittenberg University and features an unusual quartet—Doctor Faustus, Martin Luther, Helen of Troy, and a young Hamlet.  Together, the characters pose queries and arguments about faith, existence, and even, tennis. When the work premiered at the Arden Theatre Company in 2008, Davalos wrote, “I was always intrigued by imaginary meetings between historical figures…how they might interact and clash in the period leading up to the stories that we already know of them.” Shakespeare Theatre audiences responded enthusiastically to the witty contemporary classic-inspired piece which was given a staged reading in the company’s Lend Us Your Ears series. Wittenberg will opens September 10th.

Next, the Theatre will present the Bard’s rarely-produced final work, Henry VIII. “I have always maintained that if a director would be willing to create a smart and very stream-lined version, then the many brilliant aspects of the play could shine more brightly,” said Ms. Monte. Longtime company director Paul Mullins took on the challenge;  he will return in the fall to direct this historical epic about the young King Henry and the first two of his six wives. Henry VIII will open October 15th.

The 2014 season concludes with the of Shakespeare’s delightful comedy Much Ado About Nothing, which has not been seen at the Theatre in over a decade. Renowned actor and director Scott Wentworth, who recently met with tremendous acclaim for his portrayals of Shylock and Tevye at the Stratford Festival, will appear at the Shakespeare Theatre for the first time since 2005.  He will not only direct the production, but will also portray Benedick opposite his real-life wife Marion Adler, who appeared in the 2013 production of Our Town. Wentworth’s vision sets the play post-World War II, à la “White Christmas,” perfect for the holiday season. Much Ado About will begin December 3rd.

Discount Ticket Packages

Advance orders for Complete Works ticket packages, including tickets to all six Main Stage productions, are now being taken. Complete Works discount packages start at $162. Audiences can “Choose Your Own” tickets package with 5-Play packages at $140 and 4-Play packages at $120. Student subscriptions are available for an amazing deal at only $60 for all six Main Stage productions.  Call The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office at 973-408-5600.   The Complete Works discount ticket package features tickets as low as $27 per show, the best seats to all Main Stage productions; free, easy and unlimited ticket exchanges should schedules change; discounts on additional tickets; and the convenience of having tickets in hand and dates scheduled in advance.  Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600.  Look for more information at www.ShakespeareNJ.orgDates and titles are subject to change. 

Special Events

A series of special events is also planned for the 2014 Season.   Back by popular demand are Something Wicked This Way Comes and Something Merry This Way Comes.  Titled from a line in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Something Wicked This Way Comes features esteemed actors from The Shakespeare Theatre company as well as guest artists presenting a 90-minute collage of dramatic readings from the classic canon of the macabre.  This one-night-only event will be held on October 27th.  

Hearkening back to a time when families read to each other, Something Merry This Way Comes is a cornucopia of sparkling and inspiring holiday tales, songs, and poems read by members of The Shakespeare Theatre’s company of actors.  Something Merry This Way Comes is appropriate for all ages, and provides a lovely antidote to the commercial glitz that inundates our lives each year at holiday time.  Something Merry This Way Comes will be held on December 15th.

Lend Us Your Ears, the Theatre’s acclaimed play reading series, returns for the 2014 season and provides patrons the opportunity to join The Shakespeare Theatre’s directors, actors and artistic staff in exploring diverse and exciting plays.  These script-in-hand readings feature members of The Shakespeare Theatre’s esteemed company of actors as well as prestigious guest artists.  Reading titles will soon be announced.  For more information about these special events, visit or call the Box Office at 973-408-5600.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus), just minutes from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free. The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors. Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available. Braille and large print programs are available. Infrared listening devices are available free of charge. Some performances are audio described. Contact the theatre for more information. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit

The Growing Stage Produces 1st World Premiere Production


The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, located in the Historic Palace Theatre on Route 183 in Netcong, New Jersey will present the World Premiere of THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL from February 7th  through March 2nd with performances Friday evenings at 7:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 4:00 PM.

The work was created by Susan Rowan Masters as a book and later as a radio play.  Masters took her work and adapted it for the stage for submission to The Growing Stage's 2013 New Play Reading Festival, in which she won.  THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL is the first world premiere in the company’s history and is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, The Growing Stage’s Executive Director.

THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL is a humorous, insightful play about the perils of life in fifth grade.  Hubie faces homework hassles, an impossible older sister, a beloved cat who is dying, and Ralph Marruci, class bully. Daydreaming is his escape, but that lands him in even deeper trouble. In the end, Hubie finds the courage to stand up to the bully and do the right thing-your whole family will cheer him on!  The Growing Stage is bringing Hubie's daydreams alive through the use of state-of-the art film techniques, while his real-life struggles are brought to life on our stage. The Growing Stage has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help support the film aspects of the project through Kickstarter.  Be a part of the production by and searching for THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL.

THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL features the talents of six professional equity performers in the cast.  Danny Campos, who played the title character in our production of Frosty, returns to our stage as Hubie; Lori B. Lawrence and Jason Scott Quinn, last seen in Shrek the Musical as the Witch and Lord Farquaad, play Mrs. Hartzel/Mrs. Bunce and Mr. Hartzel/Fred Ferkle respectively; Nikole Rizzo, last seen in Pinkalicious the Musical as Dr. Wink, plays Hubie’s sister, Brenda; PJ Schweizer, who played Hermey in last’s month’s holiday classic, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, plays Hubie’s Best Friend, Frank; Josh Carpenter, who appeared in last season’s New Play-Reading winner, With Two Wings, plays Ralph Marruci.  Rounding out the cast is Jerielle Morwitz as Lana Slomonsky, Natalie Pavelek as Beth Pringle and Jillian Petrie as Shelly Hoff.

“Enhance your theatergoing experience with pre and post show-activities.  Join on February 16th, 21st and March 2nd for post-show talkback sessions with the cast and director.”  The Growing Stage continues FUN-tastic Fridays with all tickets $15! Saturday and Sunday tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors.  To place your reservation, please contact the Growing Stage Box Office at (973) 347-4946 or e-mail at  Group rates and Birthday Party packages are available.

Next at Luna Stage: a revival work by South African playwright- ‘Master Harold”…and the boys’



Luna Stage continues its main stage season with a revival work by South African playwright Athol Fugard – produced in commemoration of South Africa’s 20th anniversary of Freedom Day.“Master Harold”…and the boys opens Thursday, Jan. 30 and runs through Sunday, March 2.

On a stormy afternoon, Hal tries to do his homework in his mother's Port Elizabeth tea room as the family's two black workers, Sam and Willy, scrub the floors, ballroom dance to the jukebox and share hopes about better times. Ranked in the National Theatre’s “NT2000 One Hundred Plays of the Century,” “Master Harold”…and the boys extends the story of a young boy’s coming of age in the culture of apartheid.

The production, directed by Reginald L. Douglas and starring Jamil A.C. Mangan, Tony Knotts and Beethovan Oden, has scheduled shows on consecutive days: Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Talkbacks with Douglas, one of New York Theater Workshop’s 2050 Fellows, follow performances on Sunday, Feb. 2 and Thursday, Feb. 13.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $35 with discounts offered to students at $10. Season passes are also available. Show tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at or by calling (973) 395-5551.

The mission of Luna Stage is to produce thought-provoking theatre that gives voice to emerging American playwrights and re-examines contemporary and classic plays that speak to our times.

luna entranceAs producer, educator and innovator, Luna Stage is committed to collaborating with artists of multiple disciplines and community partners to illuminate the diverse perspectives of society. Luna Stage is located at 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ 07052. The theatre is handicapped accessible and offers assistive listening devices.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Next at The Company ‘Breaking Legs’ by Tom Dulack


Starring Teddy Coluca, Joe Curran, 
Andrew Lionetti, Matthew Shepard,
Andrea Prendamano and David Russo

Directed by Lou Scarpati

The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center

39 Broadway, Hackensack, NJ

Feb 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 2014

Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm

Sundays at 3:30pm


Discount tix are on the theatre website until Friday, 1/24, while seats last.  Seating will be limited.  

Check out Teddy Coluca, one of the stars of "Breaking Legs" on the Jan 27th episode of "The Blacklist" on NBC.

‘Driving Miss Daisy’ one performance only at RVCC Feb 6th

Driving Miss Daisy

The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College will present Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Driving Miss Daisy, Thursday, February 6, at 7 p.m.

The presentation is featured in the Theatre’s Major Artists series. Tickets cost $25 and $35.

Driving Miss Daisy, Alfred Uhry's classic play, is a funny, timeless, searing and ultimately hopeful meditation on growing old, relationships and loyalty. This iconic tale of pride, changing times and the transformative power of friendship has warmed the hearts of millions.

Set against the backdrop of the Civil Rights Era, Driving Miss Daisy tells the story of the privileged Miss Daisy and her newly hired African-American chauffeur, Hoke. Daisy and Hoke deal with anti-Semitism, racism and class differences while their bond grows ever stronger. Miss Daisy and Hoke take audiences on an unforgettable journey in a play that’s full of wit and charm. Driving Miss Daisy is moving in more ways than one.

To purchase tickets or for additional information, contact the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for a variety of performances.

RVCC Theatre is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. .

[photo caption]: Johnnie Hobbs Jr. and Wendy Scharfman in Walnut Street Theatre’s production of Driving Miss Daisy, to be staged February 6 at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg.

Photo Credit: Mark Garvin

NJ Rep Seeks High School Students for Playwright Program

facadeNew Jersey Repertory Company is offering a unique opportunity for six high school students to participate in a nine week playwright program. Interested applicants may submit a brief writing sample and if selected, will meet Saturdays in February through March at the theater where they will work with a professional playwright, director, and actors to help develop their scripts inspired by the events of Hurricane Sandy. At the end of the program, each student’s play will be presented to the public in March.

The program is free and is supported by ArtHelps of the Monmouth County Arts Council (MCAC), The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

It’s been more than a year since Hurricane Sandy ravaged New Jersey’s shoreline, ripping apart communities and displacing thousands of families still struggling to rebuild their lives. The effects of this catastrophic super storm are still widespread and long-lasting, and in some towns, rebuilding is an everyday occurrence. The NJ Rep Young Playwrights Project is looking for students to tell stories related to the storm and how it has impacted on their communities and families.

To apply, visit to fill-out an application and submit a writing sample, 500 words maximum, then email the application and writing sample to

No previous experience is necessary and writing samples may be prose, poetry, a scene or monologue.

Deadline for submission has been extended to Monday, January 31, 2014.  Interviews will be held, and students who are accepted must be able to attend all workshop sessions on Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at New Jersey Repertory Company located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch. Lunch will be provided for students.

Performances of Young Playwright Project entries will be held Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25 – 26, 2014.  Further details of each performance will be announced at

For more information, applicants can contact Young Playwrights Project Director Wendy Peace at 917-561-9325 or New Jersey Repertory Company at 732-229-3166.

World Premiere of New Comedy ‘Admit One’ at NJ Rep in Long Branch


New Jersey Repertory Company is presenting the world premiere of "Admit One", a new comedy by Wendy Yondorf playing January 16 through February 16, 2014 at 179 Broadway in Long Branch.

Many a parent succumbs to hysteria when it comes time to getting their children into the best schools. Howard Everett is no exception, but he has a leg up being one of the wealthiest donors to the elite Giddings University, a hallowed gateway that assures access to the American Dream. What he does not anticipate, however, is that he is about to meet the admissions officer from hell with her own agenda and rules. With his child's entire future at stake, just how far will a father go?

Wendy Yondorf (Playwright) is the author of "The Black Sea" (reading at Actors Studio, Spring 2014), "EDFCZP" (Manhattan Theatre Source and Circle Repertory),"13 Rites" (La Mama), "The Mildred B. Fankhauser Award" (reading directed by Karen Carpenter), "I'm Peggy Guggenheim & You're Not" (optioned by Elizabeth Healy), "The Space Between the Trees" (Kennedy Center finalist and readings with Frances Sternhagen, Camryn Manheim, Laura Esterman, David Rakoff and Frank Wood), "Lupus Quadrille", and "Murder in the Book Club". Wendy is working on the forthcoming plays "Carmine's Arm" and "Bid". Wendy is a founding member of the Writers' Bloc, a three-time semi-finalist for the O'Neill, recipient of a Berrilla Kerr Foundation Writing Fellowship, and a featured playwright at Niagara and Brown Universities. She is a Brown alumna.

"Admit One", directed by Karen Carpenter, stars two NJ Rep veterans, Ames Adamson and Catherine LeFrere (photo above).

Karen Carpenter (Director) is most notorious for her smash hit "Love, Loss, and What I Wore" by Delia & Nora Ephron (Broadway World, Drama Desk Awards,) now worldwide. Currently, the thriller "Witnessed by the World" and the romantic comedy, "Handle with Care", Off-Broadway; and "Wallenberg" the musical, Broadway-bound. Recent: "Spoolie Girl", MITF (Best of the Fest,) "Vagina Monologues", Bucks Co. Playhouse; "Top of the Heap", NYMF (Director's Choice Award,) "Steel Magnolias", Papermill Playhouse; "Frankenstein!!!" and "Riot of Spring" starring Roger Rees, Indianapolis Symphony. As Associate Artistic Director of the Old Globe, Karen has produced more than sixty plays, including premieres of "Nora's Imaginary Friends" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". Karen directed Michael Keaton in the 24 Hour Plays, "Napa" and has been named Glamour "Women of the Year". She is involved in global campaigns for the United Nations, World Health Org. and the Clinton Global Initiative. Karen is a member of the Inge Foundation Board and member of the Yale Drama Faculty from 1990-1996. In 2011, Boston University's S.F.A. established an annual award for excellence in her name.

Catherine LeFrere's (Mary Sue) film/television credits include: "Running Wilde" (FOX); "Maybe There's a Tree". Her New York acting credits include: "For Worse" (NY Stage & Film); "Just In Time: The Judy Holliday Story" (Lucille Lortel); "The Empress of Sex"; "At Home Abroad" (Symphony Space); "Really Bad Things" (NYMF); "Can I Really Date A Guy Who Wears A Yarmulke?" (MITF Award, Best Actress nomination); "Once Upon A Time in New Jersey"; "The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret"; "The Blue Room"; "The Green Knight" (Planet Connections Award, Best Featured Actress); "Sex with Robots" (Secret Theater). Catherine's regional credits include: "As You Like It", "The Boys from Syracuse" (Shakespeare Theatre Company), "Noir" and "Esther's Mustache" (NJ Repertory), "Anything Goes", "Grease" (Wagon Wheel). Catherine is a graduate of Northwestern University and The School at Steppenwolf.

Ames Adamson (Howard Everett) past NJ Rep credits include: "Engaging Shaw", "Tilt Angel", "Tour de Farce", "Old Clown Wanted", "Circumference of a Squirrel", "Maggie Rose" and "Panama", as well as numerous staged readings and participation in the Theatre Brut Festival of short plays as an actor and director. Ames will return to NJ Rep next summer in the title role of "Butler". His regional credits include: "A Most Dangerous Woman", "Oliver Twist" and "Timon of Athens" at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; "Arms and the Man" and Martin Crimp's adaptation of "The Misanthrope" at Quintessence Theatre Group in Philadelphia, "Macbeth" at The Wilma, "Hamletand", and "As You Like It" at the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre.

Scenic Design by Jessica Parks, Costume Design by Patricia E. Doherty, Sound Design by Merek Royce Press, Lighting Design by Jill Nagle, Technical Director Michael "Rusty" Carroll and Stage Manager Jennifer Tardibuono.

Performances are Thursdays, Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm; and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Special reduced price previews Thursday, January 16 and Friday, January 17 are at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Saturday, January 18 at 3:00 pm. Opening night followed by a reception is Saturday, January 18 at 8:00 pm.

facadeTickets 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.

Contact the NJ Rep Box Office at 732-229-3166 or visit to reserve your seats online.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Staged reading of new musical ‘Sextet’ at MDR’s Theatre in the Loft in South Orange


MIDTOWN DIRECT REP (MDR), the resident theater company at South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), will present a staged reading of the new musical SEXTET, based on an original story by Chad Hardin, with music and lyrics by Hardin, and book plus additional music, lyrics and direction by Bradley Dean, on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 7 pm. Additionally, MDR is holding open auditions for the Listen to Your Mother, North Jersey Show, a national series of original live readings about motherhood (

SEXTET, part of MDR’s Theatre in the Loft series focusing on new and innovative American theatre, is Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 7 pm at SOPAC (One SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079). Tickets, which are $15, are available at or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). The performance will be followed by a discussion with the playwright, the cast and creative team.

Long before St. Valentine brought lovers together, the Greek God, Zeus, split us in two with a lightning bolt... and we have been searching for our other halves ever since. Love, sexuality, mortality, and desire upturn the life of a long-married professor on the Upper Westside in this passionate new chamber musical from Chad Hardin and MDR's Bradley Dean who also stars.
The reading of SEXTET stars Bradley Dean (Evita/A Little Night Music), Becky Gulsvig (Bullets Over Broadway/Legally Blonde), Michael St. John (Les Miserables) and Matt Leisy (The Fantasticks). Additional casting to be announced.

Auditions for Listen to Your Mother are open to EVERYONE (Men, women, children, parents & non-parents), all ages & ethnicities are encouraged to audition. In this show, the writers are the performers; so writers should come prepared to read aloud their own original 3-5 minute humorous or heartfelt (or somewhere in between) piece about motherhood. Auditions will be held by appointment only on Saturday, March 1, 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday March 2, 10 am - 6 pm, and Monday March 3, 5 pm - 10 pm.

To schedule an appointment, please send an email to with the word AUDITION in the subject line, and include name and audition time availability. Auditions will be distributed on a first come/first serve basis. Audition and venue information will be emailed with audition time confirmation.

SOPAC-South Orange Performing Arts Center, Location: South Orange, NJ, Architect: RKT&B Architects. This is the description of this image.Commitment includes two rehearsals in the spring (TBD) and a pre-show run-through on May 10. No professional writing or stage experience required. The Listen to Your Mother, North Jersey Show will be held on May 10th at 5:00 PM at The South Orange Performing Arts Center.

To get a great sense of the show visit:
Listen to Your Mother is a national series of original live readings about motherhood. ( The mission of each Listen to Your Mother production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates mothering through giving voice to motherhood (in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor) in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors.

Listen to Your Mother aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially, through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need. The North Jersey show will be donating a % of ticket proceeds to NJCW, an Essex County Non-Profit dedicated to helping women and children in need in Essex County.