Thursday, April 30, 2015

‘Closure’ by Richard Dresser next at New Jersey Repertory Company

Wendy Gary

New Jersey Repertory Company, located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, has announced the World Premiere of Closure by Richard Dresser for a limited engagement from June 25 through July 19, 2015.

When Jane and Peter’s daughter disappears while on spring break, Detective Hadley steps-in to save the day, however the Detective has ulterior motives, complicating this tongue and cheek “noir-style” drama.

The cast includes Wendie Malick of TV Land’s “Hot in Cleveland” and “Just Shoot Me” and Gary Cole of “Talladega Nights”, HBO’s “Entourage” and the cult classic Office Space”; and is directed by Joe Cacaci.

Sneak preview performances to this limited engagement begin Thursday, June 25 with opening night Saturday, June 27 at New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ), and will run  through Sunday, July 19, 2015. Tickets may be purchased by calling 732-229-3166 or online at

The production team includes: Jessica Parks (Set Design & Props), Brian Snyder (Technical Director,) Jill Nagle (Lighting Design), Merek Royce Press (Sound Design), Patricia Doherty (Costume Design), and Jennifer Tardibuono (Stage Manager).

New Jersey Repertory Company (179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ)
Sneak Previews: Thursday, June 25 and Friday, June 26 at 8pm

For more information about New Jersey Repertory Company please visit

Photo: Wendie Malick and Gary Cole

Playwrights Theatre Announces the High School and Elementary Winners of the 32nd Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest


Playwrights Theatre is pleased to announce the High School and Elementary School winners of the 32nd Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. From the 345 plays submitted by young writers throughout the state, a panel of theatre professionals has selected four High School plays and three Elementary Schools plays. Due to the overwhelming amount of scripts received in the Junior High category, those winners will be announced in May. In each category, selection was blind; plays were selected without knowledge of playwrights' schools, grade or background.

The 32nd Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest Festival will be held on June 1 and 2, 2015, at the Barn Theatre on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. Select plays from this festival may be reprised at Playwrights Theatre’s nationally-recognized Forum Reading Series in January 2015. This reading series brings together writers from all over the United States.

The Elementary and Junior High School plays will be presented on Monday, June 1, 2015, at 7pm and the High School plays on Tuesday, June 2, 2015, at 7pm. The readings will feature professional actors and directors and reservations can be made by calling 973-514-1787 X21, via email or online at Admission to the readings is free, but reservations are required, as seating is limited.

“At 33 years, the New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest & Festival is one of the oldest young playwrights programs in the United States. That is a long and rich history of encouraging students’ imaginations and critical thinking through the performing arts. This year we sought to further immerse playwrights in the play development process by requiring revisions to the scripts that reached the final round of judging in each division,” said Jim DeVivo, Director of Education at Playwrights Theatre. “This not only brought about an improved batch of plays, but also extended the educational function of the Festival beyond the playwrights whose scripts were ultimately selected for production. We have an excellent group of plays to present this year, and I look forward to working with those playwrights in the weeks leading up to the Festival.”

In the High School Division (grades 10-12), the winners are:
Pretty Girl by Laura Diorio, Middletown High School South, Middletown
Listen by Jack Kimber, Chatham High School, Chatham
Worn Thin by Gabrielle Poisson, Newark Academy, Livingston
Thanksgiving Surprise by Betsy Zaubler, Newark Academy, Livingston.

The aforementioned winners will receive a New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education, which is co-sponsored by New Jersey Arts Education Partnership and the New Jersey Department of Education, at the Governor’s Awards Ceremony on May 27, 2015, at the Patriot’s Theatre in the War Memorial in Trenton. The Governor’s Award is the highest honor in arts education in New Jersey.

“Once again, the response to the NJYPC has been great, and we find this encouraging, that students are interested in the art and craft of playwriting, and are willing to share their work,” said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre. “We are equally encouraged to find that there are numerous schools that include playwriting in their curriculum.”

In the Elementary School Division (grades 4-6), the winners are:
Sibling Rivalry by Artha Abeysinghe, Torey J Sabatini School, Madison
Storm in a Cup by Frances Wan, St. Vincent Martyr School
Stitches – Dun, Dun, Dun by Josephine Walker, Torey J Sabatini School, Madison.

This is the 32nd year celebration of the New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival. Playwrights Theatre is reaching out to former winners to find out where their lives have taken them. Many have gone on to pursue careers as published prose and poetry writers as well as playwrights and journalists. Others have become have become lawyers, professors, and comic book illustrators.

About the High School Playwrights:

Laura Diorio is a junior at Middletown High School South and has been a member of the Theatre Program since she was a freshman. She has starred in multiple productions at MASS, including their most recent spring musical, The Drowsy Chaperone, in which she played Kitty. Earlier this year, she was given the unique opportunity of being cast as Kismine Washington in an original stage adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Diamond as Big as the Ritz, written by her drama teacher and director, Alexis Kozak. At MASS, she has also participated as a writer and director in the school’s One Page and Ten Page Play Festivals. Laura has been affiliated with companies like The Count Basie Theatre, Two River Theatre, Phoenix Productions, NJ Repertory Company, and Garden State Players. She has taken lessons in acting, dance, vocals, and piano since she was a child. Ms. Diorio’s play was written with a generation of teenagers in mind. Its purpose was to relate to teens and show them that they do not need anyone’s approval but their own in order to happy. Life may not be a fairytale, but you can still make your own happy ending. You don’t need a Prince to do it for you.

Jack Kimber is a 10th grader at Chatham High School. He wrote his play “Listen” in a Creative Writing Class. Jack mainly enjoys writing screenplays, but also likes writing short stories and some poetry. In addition, Jack is part of his school’s soccer and track teams as well as school newspaper, Key Club, and Editor of the Chinese Club. Besides writing, in his spare time, Jack likes to play guitar and is an avid snowboarder, skateboarder and wakeboarder.

Gabrielle Poisson is a sophomore at Newark Academy in New Jersey. She loves writing plays, poems, and short stories. Her play, “Worn Thin,” won the 2015 Playwrights Theatre 32nd Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and will be performed at Playwrights Theatre NJYP Festival on June 2, 2015. Her short story, “Shadow Friends,” won First Place in the Writing Conference 2015 annual writing contest and was published in the Writers Slate. In addition, her flash fiction, plays, poetry and personal essays have won Scholastic Silver Keys and Honorable Mentions. Along with writing, Gabrielle is passionate about singing and acting. She has participated in several honor choirs, including the NJ All-State High School Mixed Chorus, NJ High School Regional Choir, and Newark Academy’s award-winning select chamber group, Academy Voices. Gabrielle has performed in numerous musicals. This year she was cast as “Little Sally” in the school’s production of the musical, “Urinetown.” Gabrielle is extremely excited for the opportunity to participate in the process of staging her play.

Betsy Zaubler is sophomore at Newark Academy. Betsy loves all aspects of drama, most especially playwriting and directing. Last year, she participated in a two week playwriting course at her school, “From Page to Stage: The One-Act Play,” and wrote a play, The Start of Something Great, reimagining the day John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met. This year, in her Creative Writing class, she wrote the play Thanksgiving Surprise. Betsy is currently writing a children’s fairy tale and is looking forward to directing this original fairy tale next winter at Studio Players, a community theater in Montclair, NJ. She recently directed The Quest: A Fairy Tale with Attitude at Studio Players and has appeared in three shows there.

Betsy recently won her school’s Poetry Out Loud competition and was a finalist at her regional competition. She is very excited to complete the Teen Weekend Conservatory at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City this May. She intends to continue her acting training there next year, where she plans to study advanced acting technique and acting in Shakespeare. Her other passion is studying Spanish and Spanish culture, and she will be participating in a second language immersion in Spain this summer, where she will live with a Spanish family and take language and culture courses.
For more information about Playwrights Theatre, visit or call (973) 514-1787.

Playwrights Theatre’s New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest receives generous funding from 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; Investors Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, the Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, and the Provident Bank Foundation. The New Jersey Young Playwrights Festival and New Jersey Young Playwrights Program are registered to the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

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.”

Funding for our activities comes from: 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, the Community Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Dramatist Guild Fund, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The Shubert Foundation, Novartis, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.
Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.



Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers work tirelessly to perfect their dance moves, learn all of their lines, and get their vocal harmonies just right for the culmination of their training session and this spring is no exception! These talented young thespians between the ages of 8 and 18 will fill the Little Theater with a variety of shows and musicals to entertain audiences of all ages May 29th – June 7th with their annual Spring Festival of Shows. The Young Performers Workshop (YPW) has been hailed as a “state treasure” by Peter Filichia of the Star Ledger and brings in youth from Morris, Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex counties.

This spring, the festival will feature How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, Gypsy, and American Sampler: 100 Years of Broadway Dance.  Performances will be held on select dates in the Little Theatre on the campus of Centenary College at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown. 

A hysterical musical by Frank Loesser and book by Abe Burrows, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying is based on Shepherd Meade’s 1952 book, of the same name.  The story follows a young, ambitious J. Pierrepont Finch, who, with the help of the book How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying, rises from window washer to chairman of the board of the World Wide Wicket Company.  Performances are Saturday; May 30 at 8pm, Sunday; May 31 at 7pm, Friday; June 5 at 8pm, Saturday; June 6 at 2pm and Sunday; June 7 at 1pm.

Often referred as the greatest American musical, Gypsy, is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee and focuses on her mother, Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother." It follows the dreams and efforts of Rose to raise two daughters and perform onstage.  It casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show business life.  The musical contains many songs that became popular standards, including "Everything's Coming up Roses", "Together (Wherever We Go)", "Small World", "Some People", "Let Me Entertain You", "All I Need Is the Girl", and "Rose's Turn". It is frequently considered one of the crowning achievements of the mid-20th century's conventional musical theatre art form.  Performances are Friday; May 29 at 8pm, Sunday; May 31 at 1pm, Saturday; June 6 at 8pm and Sunday; June 7 at 4pm.

Created by Centenary Stage Company Producing Director, Carl Wallnau, for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s inaugural State-wide Theatre Academy and seen by hundreds of students from across the state, AN AMERICAN SAMPLER: 100 Years of Musical Theatre once again comes to life at the Centenary Young Performers Workshop. This dynamic group leads the audience on a lively song-and-dance tour of Broadway musicals from the early 1900 to the present in a revue of exciting selections of classic moments from the American musical stage.  Featuring the music of such legendary artists as Scott Joplin, Rodgers & Hartz, Paganini, George M Cohan, Rogers & Hammerstein, Andrew Lloyd Webber, and Billy Joel, the company of young performers, depict the work and choreographic styles of such Broadway greats as George Balanchine, Agnes De Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Michael Bennett, Twyla Tharp, Susan Stroman, Savion Glover and many others. 

Performances are Saturday; May 30 at 2pm, Sunday; May 31 at 1pm, Saturday; June 6 at 5pm, Sunday; June 7 at 7pm.

The YPW program has been led by Broadway, film and television veteran, Michael Blevins, for over 20 years. YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people.

Tickets to the YPW Summer Festival of Shows are $12.50 for adults and $10 for children under 12.  Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling the CSC Box Office at (908) 979-0900.  All performances will take place in the Little Theatre at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown.

The Young Performers Workshop is part of the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College.  The 2014-15 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and CSC sponsors, including Premier Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Photo: YPW Spring Festival (Godspell; 2014)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Last week to see Dreamcatcher’s ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’


Catherine and Gwen chose polar opposite paths after grad school. Catherine built a career as a rock star academic, while Gwen built a home with her husband and children. Decades later, unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the other's life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs-the prize being Gwen's husband. (New Jersey premiere)  Read more.

DATES: April 16 - May 3, 2015 (only one weekend left)
Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00PM; Sundays at 2:00PM

PRICE: $35 adults, $30 seniors 65+, $30 students 25-. Buy in advance; no fees!

LOCATION: Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901 (Directions)


What the critics are saying about Rapture, Blister, Burn at DRT:

A "smart...absorbing play." - NY Times

"The Dreamcatcher Rep ensemble meshes so seamlessly and appears so comfortable with each other that the relationships they portray are always natural and convincing." - NJ Arts Maven & NJ Footlights

Review: ‘Ernest Shackleton Loves Me’ at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick


Reviewed by Michael T. Mooney

Nine years ago McCarter Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse celebrated their first ever partnership with a production of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” that featured music by Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn of GrooveLily. Since then, the real-life married couple have been creating and performing such hit shows as “Striking 12” and “Sleeping Beauty Wakes,” seen at McCarter in 2011. They have once again returned to New Jersey, this time at George Street Playhouse, with their newest and most imaginative work yet - ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME.  

ernest IMG_7098 In the two-hander, Vigoda is center stage as Kat, a new mom who has just been fired from her job writing music for video games. She hasn't slept in 36 hours, her baby has colic, her apartment has no heat, and her unfaithful boyfriend is off touring with a Journey cover band. Wait – don't stop believin' just yet! She suddenly starts receiving romantic phone calls from explorer Ernest Shackleton, whose name she fleetingly invokes in her opening number “Sucks.” (Kat has a bit of a potty mouth.) In short order, the intrepid love-struck Shackleton (Wade McCollum) uses her refrigerator as a time machine and vaults headlong into her life. She grabs her electric violin and impulsively joins him on his historic (though ill-fated) journey through time, space, and the frozen Antarctic. 

Despite the above attempt at a basic plot synopsis, the whirlwind theatrical experience that comprises ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME gleefully defies description. Are we in Kat's frigid apartment? Are we aboard Shackleton's ship in the frozen Tundra? Is Kat dreaming or just storytelling? Thankfully, the bare bones book by New Jersey playwright (and George Street favorite) Joe DiPietro doesn't waste much time on such inconsequential trivialities. Truthfully, as economically staged by Lisa Peterson, the briskly paced musical fares better without them. The show often feels like a modern version of the one-reel adventure serials of days gone by - the sort in which an eager young heroine is swept into a breath-taking adventure by a dashing explorer. Luckily, history tells us that Shackleton actually brought his trusty banjo along to entertain his crew, so between adventures there's always time for a hornpipe or a hootenanny. At times the show is sweetly reminiscent of Woody Allen's 1985 film “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” in which a depression-era housewife played by Mia Farrow finds love and adventure with a fictional explorer who comes down off the movie screen to woo her. 

ernest IMG_7031 Visually, the show's 80 intermission-less minutes are a virtual ice storm of evocative images expertly created by production designer Alex Nichols. These include archival film, projections, green screen imaging, Skype technology, as well as some good old fashioned traditional stage craft. If you aren't already familiar with Vigoda and Milburn's eclectic sound from their music for GrooveLily, it's just as difficult to concisely describe as the fantastic plot. Their songs can range from pointedly theatrical to soaringly rhapsodic. “Burned Again,” Vigoda's show stopping eleven o'clock number (which truthfully occurs around nine fifteen), is the culmination of Kat's emotional coming-to-grips with the men in her life – along with their many flaws. A quick visit from Ponce de Leon (McCollum again) reminds her that even the legendary Shackleton wasn't perfect. But the determination she's learned from his remarkable story just might help her survive the real-life adventures that lie ahead. One thing's for certain, it's always remarkable to have theatrical visionaries like Vigoda and Milburn back in the Garden State. 

ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME continues through May 17th at George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. For tickets and information, visit or call 732.246.7717.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Summit Playhouse: ‘‎Five Women Wearing the Same Dress’



The third show in the Summit Playhouse’s 2014-15 season opens May 1!

This comedy is set at the Knoxville, Tennessee home of the bride, Tracy Marlowe-McClurethe, during her overdone wedding reception. The five bridesmaids have found refuge in the room of Meredith, the sister of the bride. The women come to realize, among other things, that they, despite their differences, have more in common with each other than any of them do with the bride.

Performances are:
Friday, May 1 at 8:00pm
Saturday, May 2 at 8:00pm
Sunday, May 3 at 2:00pm
Friday, May 8 at 8:00pm
Saturday, May 9 at 8:00pm
Friday, May 15 at 8:00pm
Saturday, May 16 at 8:00pm
Sunday, May 17 at 2:00pm

Purchase tickets:

  10 New England Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901      908-273-2192

‘The Tempest’ at Farmstead Arts Center in Basking Ridge


‘The Shadow Box’ at the Loft at UCPAC in Rahway May 1 - May 10


shadow Directed by James Walsh

Shannon Barkocy
Rudi Palma
Brian C. Jones
Julia Grace
Judi Laganga
Jeff Masch
Ross Pohling
Debbie Campanali
Lou Ann Salkin

Producer: Kristin Barber
Stage Manager: Melissa Thompson
Sound/Lighting Design: Brad Flaker
Set Design: Brian Remo
Costumes/Props: Kristin Barber

Union County Performing Arts Center

1601 Irving St, Rahway, New Jersey 07065

‘Autumn’ now at Crossroads in New Brunswick

7 LIVINGSTON AVE. NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901 | 732-545-8100

Crossroads Theatre Company thanks its major supporters:
Johnson & Johnson
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
New Brunswick Cultural Center
New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts

Auditions: Kids wanted for the musical Legally Blonde Jr


New Jersey kids can audition for the musical Legally Blonde Jr, this year’s presentation by THEATER PROJECT JR. Each summer, the program takes students (ages 8 & up) through an eight week course that culminates in three performances for friends, family and the community. Along the way, students act, sing, build confidence in themselves, make friends and have a wonderful time. Auditions are being held on Saturday, June 7 at the Jardine Academy, 61 Myrtle Street, Cranford. Parents may schedule an appointment by emailing program director Mary Iannelli at mary@thetheaterproject.orgLegally Blonde Jr will run August 21-23.  Rehearsals begin June 23rd, and are held from 6:30 – 9:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.  Tuition is $350 with discounts for siblings .

Parents and kids are equally enthusiastic about their past experiences with THEATER PROJECT JR.

“I just can't say enough wonderful things about the program.  My girls love it, and we can't thank you enough.  See you next summer!” says Pauline Papapietro, Cranford. Mindi Kaunfer of Springfield says, “I have seen my son grow as an actor year after year with the Theater Project Junior group right in front of my eyes! At 15, Adam has been acting for 5 years and has several school leads from the confidence the summer theater has provided him.” Veteran participant Mark Lynch of Cranford, pictured below in TPJ’s 2014 production of Bugsy Malone, has been with the program for five years:  “TPJ was the best acting experience I had -- the difference from Theater Project Jr than any other place I performed is the people there are kind and just want to help you.”  

The Theater Project, a professional theater company in Cranford and Maplewood, is celebrating 20 years of bringing productions of the best contemporary plays to New Jersey. Their mission is to enhance the cultural richness of the community by producing new or lesser-known plays on challenging themes, by introducing children to the joys of live theater, and by providing avenues for creative expression for New Jersey’s playwrights, actors and directors. 

For more information on THEATER PROJECT JR, call 908 809-8865 or visit

WHAT:         Auditions for LEGALLY BLONDE JR.

Theater Project Jr’s summer musical theater class for kids 8 and up.

WHEN:        Saturday, June 7 noon to 4 PM

                    Schedule an appointment by emailing Mary Iannelli at

WHERE:       Jardine Academy, 61 Myrtle Street, Cranford

Mile Square Theatre to present a new musical for children: ‘Princess K.I.M. The Musical’


Hoboken Children’s Theater and Mile Square Theatre have joined forces to become one organization, the new Mile Square Theatre. And their first collaboration together is a production of a wonderful new musical for kids, Princess K.I.M. The Musical, based on Maryann Cocca-Leffler’s popular book, Princess K.I.M. and the Lie That Grew.

The creative team for this production is led by Hoboken Children’s Theater founder and Mile Square Theatre Education Director Chase Leyner. Ms. Leyner says, “Kids will love following the journey of this little girl who lets her imagination get away from her and tells a little lie that turns into a big problem. Our wonderful cast of professional actors will make this a show our family audience will not want to miss.” Directed by Broadway veteran Don Brewer and Musical Direction by Scott Pearson, this production will be professional theatre for the whole family.

Princess K.I.M. The Musical

Created by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Adapted by Maryann Cocca-Leffler & Toby Tarnow

MST Young Audience Script Adaptation by Chase Leyner

Lyrics by Andrew Cass

Music by Andrew Cass & Premik Russell Tubbs

MST Young Audience Music Adaptation by Scott Pearson, Don Brewer & Chase Leyner

Based on the book Princess K.I.M. and the Lie that Grew

Written & Illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Princess K.I.M. The Musical is presented at The Edge, 14th and Clinton in Hoboken

Saturdays May 16 - June 27 at 10am and 1pm
(note: due to the Hoboken Hooplah Parade and Carnival, there is no performance on June 20 @ 1pm)


Tickets: $15
Tickets can be purchased online @

May 16:
The author, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, will be on hand at the theatre to sign books after both performances and will give a talk back after the 1pm performance.

May 17:
At 11am, the author, Maryann Cocca-Leffler, will be at Little City Books doing a reading and book signing, and cast members will be on hand to do a musical number.
Little City Books is located at 100 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ
• Find Little City Books on Facebook


Maryann Cocca-Leffler is the author and illustrator of the children's books, Princess K.I.M. and the Lie that Grew and Princess Kim and Too Much Truth, from which this play is based. Her new book, Janine, uses Maryann's own daughter as inspiration for the delightfully spunky title character, focusing on the positive while navigating life with disabilities.  Maryann has written and illustrated over 50 books for children and has worked with most major publishers. She holds a BFA in Illustration from the Massachusetts College of Art. A Boston native, Maryann lives in New Hampshire with her family. Visit her website

Chase Leyner

Chase founded Hoboken Children’s Theater in 2002. Over one hundred productions later, HCT has become one of the premiere children’s training programs, with students going on to Broadway, films, national TV commercials, and competitive BFA programs. Chase received her degree at Skidmore College, danced at New Jersey Ballet, and studied at L’Ecole de Danse de Princes Grace in Monte Carlo. She studied acting with Sandford Meisner, William Alderson, Estelle Parsons and Sam Schact. Credits include The Phoenix Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Steppenwolf Workshop and stints on One Life to Live, As the World Turns and Law & Order. More recently she starred as Mrs. Graham in the short film Pause and as Martha in the short film Martha and Chloe, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. In 2009 Chase was awarded the Park Theater Showtime Award and in March 2015, Hoboken Children’s Theater was named one of the top acting programs in the state by New Jersey Family Magazine.

Don Brewer

Don grew up in Michigan and graduated from Western Michigan University with a BFA in Musical Theater Performance. His credits include: Broadway: Les Miserables (original Broadway production), The Pirate Queen (original cast member), Les Miserables (2006 revival production). Broadway National Tours: The Who’s Tommy, The Will Rogers Follies, Les Miserables. Regional Productions: Mamma Mia! (Las Vegas Broadway production), Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Capital Rep Theatre), The Apple Tree (Goodspeed Opera House), On the Twentieth Century (Goodspeed Opera House). Television: Rescue Me (guest star—FX Network), The Unusuals (guest star—ABC network). Don is a member of the nation’s premiere Four Seasons tribute act, The Unexpected Boys. He is the proud husband of Lisa Capps and the proud father of Georgia.

Scott Pearson – is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. A native to Pittsburgh, he has performed throughout the United States and internationally. He is a graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of the Performing Arts and holds a BFA in Musical Theater. Scott is also a classically trained pianist with over 17 years of training. Some favorite credits include: L.M. Pump Boys and Dinettes, Guido Contini Nine, Homer Collins Floyd Collins, Baron von Gaigern Grand Hotel (Kennedy Center, DC.), Jinx Forever Plaid, Bartell D’Arcy The Dead (Regional Premiere). Scott also tours the world singing the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with The Unexpected Boys, a world-class tribute group. Piano Forte! is his dueling piano act that he created with Million Dollar Quartet and Once star David Abeles and can be seen whenever both of their schedules coincide. Scott is also an accomplished vocal coach who enjoys working with singers of all ages and skill levels.

Mile Square Theatre is supported by The Rockefeller Group, Bijou Properties, Party with Purpose, the Hoboken Family Alliance, and by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of state, a partner agency of the National endowment for the arts and by funds from the national endowment for the arts, administered by the Hudson county office of cultural & heritage affairs, Thomas A. Degise, County Executive, and the Board of Chosen Freeholders.

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

Review: ‘The Realization of Emily Linder’ at New Jersey Repertory Company at Long Branch



THE REALIZATION OF EMILY LINDER written by Richard Strand and directed by SuzAnne Barabas

Reviewed by Michael T. Mooney    April 25, 2015

The first realization of the evening comes when Producer Gabor Barabas welcomes the audience, informing them that New Jersey Rep has given life to 106 new plays; a truly remarkable achievement. The realization revealed by the title character in Richard Strand's new play is quite a different matter: she knows she is going to die. Not just a foreboding feeling of fatality, mind you, but the exact date and time of her demise. And it's soon.

As the play begins, retired academic Emily (Marnie Andrews) is coming home from the hospital after having all of her toes amputated. Just why this drastic measure was taken we never quite learn, but the former French professor has quickly bounced back to her usual irascible self. She is accompanied by her two 40-something daughters: a wan housewife named Margaret (Dana Benningfield) who tearily retreats to her old bedroom when things get tense; and her uptight sister Janet (Corey Tazmania), a tightly-wound lawyer who strides around barking orders into her cell phone. Janet brings along Jennifer, her mother's new care-giver (Jenny Vallancourt), at first introduced as Janet's new assistant. For most of the first act Jennifer sits quietly in a corner reading Proust. 

Soon after Emily announces her imminent demise she assigns her daughters a list of tasks to accomplish before her death. (Emily abhors euphemisms like “passed away” and “goes to her reward” so I will eschew them as well.) In addition to writing her eulogy and obituary, Emily insists that Janet retrieve her recently amputated toes, leaving the audience to wonder about her mental stability. Lots of stage time is spent on the completion of the 'bucket list' tasks and it becomes clear that Strand is more interested in the dysfunctional family dynamic than Emily's prescient predictions or its outcome. Just before intermission the mousy Jennifer turns into a youthful Nurse Ratched and yet another dynamic is introduced.

At times the script is darkly reminiscent of Marsha Norman's “'night, Mother” and at other times it exudes the funny familial friction of “On Golden Pond.” The last ten minutes of the play finally get around to explaining several key plot questions – mainly surrounding the Proust-reading carer in the corner. Strand's writing often meanders around its central themes and ultimately never fully gives Emily the firm foothold she needs on the intriguing play. 

The well-spoken Andrews is appropriately patrician as the title character and there is more than a passing physical resemblance between Benningfield and Tazmania, adding greatly to their sister act. Vallancourt at first seems way too young and mousy for her role, but Strand puts the pieces together in the play's final moments that make sense of the incongruities. Due to Emily's toe-less immobility, the action of the play is mainly restricted to a pair of front-facing recliners, but they are set amidst a smartly-appointed Iowa City living room designed by Jessica Parks.

As Barabas introduces the evening's fare he reminds us that very soon NJ Rep will have three productions on area stages simultaneously: “Butler” (also by Strand) at Barrington Stage in Massachusetts, “Dinner With The Boys” (by Dan Lauria) off-Broadway at the Acorn Theatre, and “The Realization of Emily Linder” here in Long Branch. Add to that the company's recent announcement that they have purchased a brand new building to house their theatrical incubator and the realization is clear – NJ Rep is one of New Jersey's most valuable cultural assets. 

THE REALIZATION OF EMILY LINDER directed by SuzAnne Barabas, continues through May 24 at NJ Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch NJ. For tickets and information visit or call 732.229.3166.

Photo: Marnie Andrews (seated), Corey Tazmania (dark suit), Dana Benningfield (standing behind chair), Jenny Vallancourt (background, seated) photo by SuzAnne Barabas

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Premiere Stages at Kean University Announces 2015 Season


Premiere Stages will celebrate its 11th Anniversary as Kean University’s professional Equity theatre with a dynamic lineup of events, featuring a season of topical plays that focus on people of the region, both past and present. Enhanced by award-winning premieres, engaging musical presentations for young audiences, captivating summer camps for middle-school and high-school students, and collaborations with like-minded organizations both on and off campus, the 2015 season promises to be the most successful to date.  In describing the season, John J. Wooten, Premiere Stages’ producing artistic director, stated, “The power of the human spirit takes center stage at Premiere as we celebrate those who refuse to be beaten by the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as well as those centuries before in Seneca Village who fought to keep what was rightfully theirs. The season typifies Premiere’s unique commitment to presenting ground-breaking and socially relevant work, while partnering with the community to raise awareness about issues of social change that profoundly impact and empower the local community.”

Premiere’s scintillating 2015 season features the Off-Broadway hit By the Water by Sharyn Rothstein (July 16 – August 2; Zella Fry Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Adam Immerwahr. In Ms. Rothstein’s moving new play, Hurricane Sandy wields its force upon the home of Marty and Mary Murphy, threatening to destroy not only the life they have built together but the neighborhood they grew up in. Will Marty manage to save his neighborhood and his home, or are the secrets unearthed by the storm too powerful to overcome? Premiere Stages is proud to present the New Jersey Premiere of this gripping and affecting play, described by The New York Times as "drawn with acute sympathy and in gritty detail.”

Premiere Stages will partner with Kean University Galleries ( to present By the Block (July 16 – September 14; James Howe Gallery, Vaughn Eames Hall), an exhibition of salvaged wood quilts by Asbury Park artist Laura Petrovich-Cheney (, in conjunction with the production. Admission to the gallery is free, and patrons attending By the Water are encouraged to arrive early for their scheduled performance in order to view the quilts, which are constructed from wood scraps collected after Hurricane Sandy.
“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to coastal communities in fall 2012 was evident in the wooden debris that littered the affected communities in its wake,” writes Ms. Petrovich-Cheney in an artist statement accompanying the exhibit. “Floorboards, pieces of cabinets, and window frames were often all that remained of homes torn apart by the storm’s ferocity. It was after the storm that I began collecting the castaway wooden debris - remnants evocative of life before the storm. Inspired by the geometry of American quilts whose simplicity belies their conceptual underpinnings, I piece together this salvaged wood into something meaningful and orderly.”

Premiere’s blockbuster season continues with the winner of the 2015 Premiere Stages Play Festival, The People Before the Park by Keith Josef Adkins (September 3 – 20; Zella Fry Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Premiere’s producing artistic director, John J. Wooten. In 1857, a hard-working man and his son live in a respectful African-American community in New York City called Seneca Village. However, when the City decides to remove the community from their homes to create the world-renowned Central Park, their solitude and safe haven are threatened. The People Before the Park was selected from over 400 submissions as the winner of this year’s Play Festival, Premiere’s annual competition for unproduced scripts by playwrights born or residing in the greater metropolitan area.

Premiere’s 11th season also features a free staged reading of Kate Cortesi’s Great Kills (June 19 – 21; Murphy Dunn Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Kel Haney. A high school achiever’s college application reveals a secret from her past, sending her Staten Island family into a tailspin. But is this ambitious young woman traumatized by violence, as her essay claims, or by a culture of achievement that has trained her to market herself at any cost? Great Kills, recently named this year’s Runner-Up in the Premiere Stages Play Festival, was one of four finalists featured in Premiere’s popular Spring Reading Series in March, and returns for expanded development.

LibertyLive_Logo Premiere’s 2015 season concludes with a free staged reading of the 2015/2016 Liberty Live Commission (November 13 – 15; Little Theatre, Kean University Center). Liberty Live is a unique partnership between Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum that celebrates New Jersey history with professional theatrical productions, museum tours, interactive displays, workshops for children, and talk-backs with local historians. On a biannual basis,

Premiere Stages commissions a playwright native to or currently residing in New Jersey to create a new play that specifically explores an event or events of historical significance that celebrate the state’s rich and diverse history. Past commissions have explored events in the communities of Westfield and Elizabeth and include Talking to Westfield by E. M. Lewis and At Liberty Hall by James Christy.

Tickets to Premiere’s 2015 Season range from $15 - $30, with deep discounts available for season packages, groups, seniors, and students; admission to Great Kills and Liberty Live is free. Premiere Stages also offers a series of free interactive post-show discussions, known as “talk-backs,” after select matinee performances. To purchase tickets or inquire about season packages, please call 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit If you’d like more information on Premiere’s season programming or talk-back schedule and speakers, please call Premiere’s administrative offices at 908-737-4092 or email

In addition to its Main Stage season, Premiere Stages will again collaborate with other professional theatres in the area to present dynamic theatre programming exclusively for young audiences, with performances open to the public as well as school and camp groups. For more information, please contact Heather Kelley, director of audience services, at 908-737-4077 or Premiere’s 2015 Play Factory Performance Series will include:

  • Page Turner Adventures' Steam Trunk Circus (July 15 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre), a Theatreworks USA presentation. A steamer trunk, a mysterious book, and a hat belonging to Harry Houdini are brought to life in a show that's filled with fantastic physical feats! Ideal way to introduce elements from the STEAM curriculum to students. Recommended for grades 2 - 5.
  • Pushcart Players’ Alice in Wonderland (July 29 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre). Filled with Lewis Carroll's pure nonsense and madcap characters, this intriguing tale about a curious and proactive young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Alice goes on an enchanted journey of self-discovery with challenges, choices and happy conclusions. A meaningful story for anyone who has ever been on the daring adventure of growing up! Recommended for ages 3 - 9.
  • Yates Musical Theatre's Rumplestiltskin (August 5 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre). Rumplestiltskin is the lively tale of the funny little man who spins straw into gold to gain the first born child of the King and Queen. This delightful musical includes singing, dancing, comedy, and fun for all. Rumplestiltskin is a magical feast for eyes and ears with little lessons along the way - about bragging, about making promises that we don't expect to keep, and about what can happen when one person sets out to exploit the desperate situation of another. Recommended for ages 3 - 9.
Premiere Stages is also accepting applications from middle and high school students for Camp Premiere, its innovative summer program for young aspiring theatre artists. Session I is a performance and playwriting camp for students entering grades 5 - 8 (July 20 - 31), and Session II is an acting camp for grades 9 - 12 (July 27 – August 7). Camp Premiere is dedicated to fostering a creative and nurturing environment for young theatre artists of all experience levels, and both sessions will culminate in a public showcase performance. Tuition is $295, and limited scholarships are available; preference is given to Union County residents. For more information, please contact Christine Whalen at 908-737-4092 or   

Review: Rapture, Blister, Burn at Dreamcatcher Rep.


Reviewed By Ruth Ross

RBB photo

Although it has been 40 years, the very vocal and public spat between the eminent feminist Betty Friedan and her nemesis, the conservative anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, feels like it took place eons ago. Has the argument over whether women has the choice of career vs. family been resolved? Well, according to Gina Gionfriddo's smart comedic drama (or dramatic comedy), Rapture, Blister, Burn, now receiving its New Jersey première at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit, it still rages, as seen in the lives of rock star feminist academic Catherine Croll and her graduate school roommate Gwen Harper, now a stay-at-home mom in a small New England college town.

Although the time period is not specified (other than "Summer"), by my calculation the action takes place sometime in the early 21st century (25 years, according to the characters, after Friedan and Schlafley argued the point), so I am not certain it is a commentary on feminism today, but more a wry, clever wink and nod about thinking the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

In response to her mother Alice's recent heart attack and facing being alone should her mother die, Catherine has taken a leave of absence from her professorship in New York City to spend the summer in her rural home town. Once there, she re-establishes her relationship with Gwen and Gwen's husband Don, who was Catherine's beau until Gwen "stole" him away. When Don gets her a position teaching a course in summer school, the trio cooks up a scheme whereby Gwen and older son Julian will go to New York so she can pursue her unfinished graduate degree and her son will study acting, while Catherine and Don will move in together and look after the Harper's three-year-old son Devin. This harebrained arrangement will allow each woman to experience what she gave up when she chose the path for her adult life. The wrench in the gear is pot-smoking, hard-drinking, Internet porn-addicted Don, whom Catherine thinks she can get to "aspire" to the life she thinks he should be leading (and wants to lead). The results are both hilarious and sobering.

Gionfriddo's addition of the 21-year-old student Avery Willard and Alice, Catherine's 70-something mother offers two refreshing "takes" on the role of women in modern society. As the smartest one of the bunch Avery's observations and comments bring this play closer to the ideas floating around when it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2013.

Once again, David Christopher shows us what a fine director he is. The 10 scene changes occur fluidly, and although the actors may change costumes, they stay in character—always dynamic and interesting—at all times. Of course, Christopher has first-rate actors with whom to work; the Dreamcatcher Rep ensemble meshes so seamlessly and appear so comfortable with each other that the relationships they portray are always natural and convincing.

Laura Ekstrand (left) is marvelous as Catherine, spouting opinions about women and pornography with élan but not too invested in them to be attracted to Don and the family life she imagines with him. She is clearly a woman who knows her academic field, but not her self. Nicolle Callender's Gwen (top photo, right) is all suppressed rage, rage at having to push her husband to succeed, dismay that, despite choosing motherhood and family, she finds herself envying Catherine. When she boils over during a seminar she has signed up to take with Catherine (and Avery) and spills secrets of her marriage, she really gains our sympathy. And Harry Patrick Christian's college dean Don (above, right) is a slacker, par excellence. With his easy-going ways and slow speech, Christian telegraphs the man's lack of ambition, which is far more evident to the audience than to Catherine who thinks he just needs someone to encourage him. Christian's interactions with Callender and Ekstrand are totally believable; we may even feel sorry for him as Catherine tries to work her magic at making him over.

Stealing the show are Jessica O'Hara-Baker (Far right) as outspoken Avery and Noreen Farley (center, with Ekstrand) as the more reserved Alice. Baker is the quintessential "liberated" woman of the 21st century—empowered, candid, bluntly stating her opinions and not really afraid of men (for the most part). Dressed in a variety of outfits totally appropriate for her age, O'Hara-Baker's delivery is natural and hilarious. She's one chick to be reckoned with! Farley's Alice is more Phyllis Schlafly-like, spouting a more conservative view of femininity (to the audience's delight), but proud of her daughter and intrigued by Avery. Alice's insistence on martinis at five is quite droll, even as the enormous amount of alcohol consumption by Catherine and Don is a troubling red flag of ensuing disaster.

Superior production values are evident in Bridget Santiello's set (love Alice's old-fashioned living room), Zach Pizza's atmospheric lighting, Laura Ekstrand's choice of attire for each character, and Jeff Knapp's savvy selection of songs reminiscent of the feminist "revolution." It is a joy to hear them once again. (L-R: Ekstrand, Christian, Farley)

Rapture, Blister, Burn traces the arc of two women as they attempt to navigate the world of choice. Instead of "greener grass" on the other side of the fence, they should have heeded the advice, "Be careful what you wish for." What may, at first, be rapturous, can blister and ultimately burn you. The journeys taken by these seven characters may be circuitous and confounding, but ultimately their choices are best for each of them. Go see Rapture, Blister, Burn and see if you agree. But you have only one more weekend to do it.

Rapture, Blister, Burn runs through May 3 at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit. For information and tickets, call the box office at 908.514.9654 or visit  on line. There will be a talkback after the 2 PM matinee on Sunday, April 26.

Photos by Steve McIntyre.  Reviewed by Ruth Ross (

Thursday, April 23, 2015

‘The Spitfire Grill’ at Barn Theatre of Montville


The Barn Theatre of Montville, NJ will be presenting "The Spitfire Grill", a musical written by James Valcq (music and book) and Fred Alley (lyrics and book), based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff and is directed by Claudia Metz with musical direction by Clifford Parrish.

Performances will be on May 15, 17, 21, 23, 29, 30 June 5, 6 at 8pm; and on May 16, 17, 24, 31 at 2pm. Tickets are $24 (senior/student tickets are $22 on matinees only).

This new musical drama (based on the film of the same name) tells the story of three women drawn together to resurrect a small town diner, and how their futures are transformed as they learn to trust one another with their pasts.

The cast of “The Spitfire Grill The Musical“ features:

Caleb Thorpe: Jason Cilento
The Visitor: Matt Cotton
Sheriff Joe Sutter: Brandon Frumolt
Effy Krayneck: Maryann Galife Post
Percy Talbott: Danielle Meola Valencia
Hannah Ferguson: Darlene Rich
Shelby Thorpe: Sky Spiegel Monroe

The crew includes:
Director: Claudia Metz
Musical Director: Clifford Parrish
Producer: Carla Kendall
Stage Manager: Janine Wentz
Assistant Stage Manager: Sarah Wertheimer-Lopez
Set Design: Jonathan Wentz
Set Construction: Jonathan Wentz
Lighting Design: Todd Mills, Tommy Pravata
Sound Design: Jeff Knapp
Props: Camille DiLorenzo
Costumes: Janet Lazar, Christine Morgan

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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

$10 Tix Deal at Dover Little Theatre for Second Annual One Act Festival


Dover Little Theatre is presenting its second annual One Act Festival!

10 plays by 10 playwrights with 10 directors for only $10!

10 very different stories--comedies and dramas. Something for everyone!

Playwrights featured:  D.T. Arcieri, Paul Dickey, Thomas Florio,  Reg E. Gaines, Donna Hoke, Laura King, Tim Moran, Kay Poiro, Kellie Powell, Victoria Steele

Cast: Kate Blazo, Shay Bolan, J'aime Crowley, Joanne DeCarolis, Nick DiDomenico, Cindi Halkola, Caitlin Jurewicz, Maya Karp, Anthony Miceli, Mackenzie Miller, Robin Miller, Ashley Mount, Ted Nykun Jr.

Directors: Kate Blazo, Claire Bochenek, Alison Devereaux, Joanne DeCarolis,  Thomas Florio, Tim Moran, TJ Reissner, Linda Wielkotz, Jake Zillioux, Neil Fitzpatrick

Performances will be held at Dover Little Theatre, 69 Elliott Street, Dover, NJ.

Tickets only $10!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tri-State Actors Theater to present ‘CLARENCE DARROW’ one-man play with Paul Meacham

TAT logoAA20

meacham Tri-State Actors Theater is pleased to announce its upcoming presentation of CLARENCE DARROW, David W. Rintels’ one-man play based on Irving Stone’s biography Clarence Darrow for the Defense. Featuring Actor and Artistic Director, Paul Meacham in the title role (photo right), the lawyer looks back over the fifty year career in which he championed the oppressed, saved 102 people from the death penalty and faced disaster when accused of bribing a jury. Performances will be held at the Theatre Gallery of The SpringBoard Shoppes, Spring St., Newton, May 7 – May 17, 973 383-0510.

In David W. Rintels’ compelling play, the larger than life Darrow (a charismatic and caustic pioneering civil rights lawyer and legendary wit) relives some of his pivotal experiences, including the infamous Scopes ‘Monkey’ and ‘Thrill Killers’ trials which established his reputation as a courtroom giant and civil rights hero. Rintels is an award-winning writer. His accolades include the Writers Guild of America Award for the Outstanding Dramatic Script in 1970 and in 1971 the American Bar Association Gavel Award, he was also nominated for an Emmy that same year. Utilizing his background in Law, Rintels has written extensively for many legal series on television including The Defenders, Slattery’s People, The Senator and The Young Lawyers.

The play focuses on Darrow’s personal struggle as an attorney for justice in a world where justice is not always served and provokes thought about the frequent conflicts between personal values and professional ethics and the issues faced by a society that purports to guarantee life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness equally to all its citizens.

darrow Clarence Darrow (photo right) was well known for his humor and the play incorporates his wit as well and his strong opinions regarding social issues of the day. Although the performance spans the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the social issues and legal concerns presented are as relevant today as they were then. "As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." Clarence Darrow

Born in 1857, Clarence Darrow, whose life spanned both the turn of the century and the onset of the industrial revolution, worked for four years for the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, and for fifteen years championed labor union causes. From 1911 until his death in 1938 Darrow worked in his own private law practice. Darrow, a popular speaker on the lecture circuit and one of the first lawyers and public speakers to use an extemporaneous speaking style, traveled extensively and published many articles on a variety of important social issues.

An adamant opponent of capital punishment and a strong proponent of freedom of expression and civil rights, Darrow was labeled "Attorney for the Damned" because he took on many unpopular and seemingly hopeless, criminal cases. A master of the courtroom stage possessing an uncanny understanding of human character, he commanded respect as a great trial lawyer, and yet, was often embroiled in bitter controversy. Although tried twice for jury tampering in the McNamara Bombing Trial, and ultimately acquitted of the charges, some still question Darrow's innocence.

CLARENCE DARROW will have 8 performances: Thursday, May 7 thru Sunday, May 17, at The Theatre Gallery of The SpringBoard Shoppes, 145 Spring St., Newton, NJ. Tickets for Thurdays are $23.00 and $25.00 for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Seating is limited in the intimate Theatre Gallery, advance purchase is recommended. Call 973 383-0510 to order tickets or for more information about Tri-State and its programs and services.

"Funding has been made available in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Block Grant Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council."

Algonquin Arts Theatre's annual Gala to feature Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale


Chazz Palminteri's "A Bronx Tale," the Broadway, Las Vegas and nationwide hit, will headline the Algonquin Arts Theatre's annual Gala on June 4, 2015.

The event, officially “A New York City Gala featuring Chazz Palminteri’s A Bronx Tale,” will be a festive evening featuring cocktail hours with subway platform performers, NYC street fare, music and the Broadway production of “A Bronx Tale,” a “raucous, solo tour de force” from Palminteri, who grew up in the Bronx.

This year, the Gala recognizes Humanitarian Honoree Diane Turton, Community Service Honoree Manasquan Savings Bank and Arts Education honoree John Luckenbill.

The largest annual fundraiser for Algonquin Arts Theatre, the annual gala supports the theatre’s main stage and educationally programming that allows it to enrich community life. The event includes a silent auction, multiple live auctions, a super 50/50 raffle and a dine around raffle.

Tickets for the Gala are on sale now ranging in price from $55 to $185. Top level tickets include fine dining at either Blend on Main or Remington’s as well as a post-show reception. To order or for more information call 732-528-9211 or visit

“A Bronx Tale” recounts the coming-of-age story of a young man torn between allegiance to his father’s upright working-class values and the alluring lifestyle of the local mob boss who befriends him. And what’s more is that the writer and star of the show, Chazz Palminteri, pulls off the 18 characters all by himself! He paints the neighborhood’s various colorful multi-layered characters to perfection with impeccable delivery and physicality.

Palminteri first performed “A Bronx Tale” as a one-man show in Los Angeles. It became the hottest property in Hollywood since “ROCKY.” He was offered a selling price of more than a $1 million to walk away from the project. With only $200 left in the bank, he refused. He wanted to play Sonny and write the screenplay. One night Robert DeNiro walked in to see the show and as they say, "the rest is history."

Palminteri then moved the production to New York, where it played for four sold-out months and earned him nominations for the New York Outer Critics Circle for both acting and writing. While in New York he completed the screenplay of “A Bronx Tale” and soon found himself starring opposite Robert DeNiro, who chose the script for his directorial debut. The Hollywood release of the film came in 1993.

In 2007, Palminteri returned the show to stage for a 137-performance run on Broadway and subsequent national tour. Since then, Palminteri continues to take the show around the country for special engagements.

The 2015 Humanitarian Award goes to Diane Turton of Diane Turton, Realtors, for her commitment to the Algonquin and the community as a whole.

Manasquan Savings Bank receives the 2015 Community Service Award for its charitable and service work in the community and for their long history of supporting the theatre. Last fall, the Manasquan Savings Bank Foundation committed $100,000 in funding to the Algonquin across the next four years while signing on as the theatre’s Broadway Series sponsor. 

John Luckenbill, who has been teaching instrumental music in Long Branch Public Schools for 35 years, will be presented with the Education Award. He was selected to the NJ Symphony Master Teacher Collaborative, teaches for the Monmouth Conservatory of Music and also serves as a winds and brass coach for the New Jersey State Youth Orchestra.

Sponsorships and journal ads are being sold, and items are also being collected for the live and silent auctions. Call Senior Director of Development Teresa Staub at 732-528-4336 for information on how you can contribute or go online and download a form at

algonquin-arts-theatre About Algonquin Arts Theatre
Algonquin Arts Theatre (AAT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1992 with the mission to provide cultural enhancement and arts education to all audiences at the Jersey Shore through high-quality performances and programs in theatre, music, film and dance. The end goal is to foster appreciation of the arts and promote lifelong learning, particularly among underserved audiences including the economically disadvantaged, senior citizens and individuals with disabilities.

Algonquin Arts Theatre's programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts / Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; by funds from the Paul F. Zito, M.D. Educational Foundation, by Simon Kaufman, Esq. & Maria Zito-Kaufman, and by Manasquan Savings Bank.

Dreamcatcher’s Multiple Personality Disorder: Improv Comedy on May 9!

dc improv

DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE, professional Theatre in Residence at Oakes Center in Summit, presents its spring evening of improv comedy with its resident troupe, MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER, on Saturday, May 9.  This unpredictable evening is an affordable, enjoyable evening that is packed with laughs from start to finish.

Jessica MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER features a cast of Dreamcatcher improv regulars, including Clark Carmichael, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley, Lulu French, Jessica O’Hara-Baker (photo right) and Jason Szamreta. The show includes improvisational comedy sketches that use audience suggestions to shape the scenes that the actors instantly create onstage.  Performers use ingredients such as everyday objects, strange maladies, and unusual circumstances to cook up unconventional mini-plays that appear and disappear in a matter of minutes.  Every show is unique, with delightful surprises throughout the evening.

MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER will appear (and disappear!) at Dreamcatcher on Saturday, May 9 at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $20, and $15.00 for students 15 and younger.  To purchase tickets in advance, go to or call Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.

23407273213626 The performance is at Oakes Center, located at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit.  The parking lot is accessible from Ashwood Avenue, behind the theatre. For information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908-514-9654,

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey May-December 2015 Schedule


3218103771_0b07b5e61b (1)

On the Main Stage:

01. Royal Family

Loosely based on the famous Barrymore dynasty, this Tony Award-winning American classic invites you into the Cavendish home to witness both the high drama and hilarious comedy that infuses their daily life. Three generations take center stage in this lavish, outrageously funny, and touching portrayal of their struggle to balance the demands of family life with the compelling bonds of their artistic calling.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75 Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: May 27–June 21, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, May 30 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, June 2 (7:30 pm); Saturday, June 6 and 13 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, June 4 (7pm)


07. OS Loves Labours

The Shakespeare Theatre’s Outdoor Stage will bring one of Shakespeare’s most delightful comedies to life under the stars. When four idealistic young courtiers forswear the company of women in favor of study and a stoic life, it is not long before four young French beauties put their oath to the test. Pack a picnic, pack up the family, and head to the Outdoor Stage to enjoy young love, witty language, and outlandish follies with this summery crowd-pleaser by the Bard!

Venue: The Outdoor Stage –2 Convent Road at Convent Station in Morris Township.  The amphitheatre on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth.

Performance times:  Tuesdays through Sundays at 8:00 pm.; Sundays at 4:30 p.m.

Tickets: $15-35. Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: June 17–July 26, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Wednesday, June 24 (8:00 pm)

On the Main Stage:

02. Guardsman

A behind-the-scenes portrait of what happens after the curtain falls, The Guardsman takes us into the home of Budapest’s beleaguered leading man and his strong-willed leading lady. This witty, romantic confection, with a deep and provocative center, examines the extreme lengths taken to test a relationships between artists addicted to a larger-than-life existence.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75. Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: July 8 – July 26, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, July 11 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, July 14 (7:30 pm); Saturday, July 18 and 25 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, July 16 (7pm)

Play Reading Series

Lend Us Your Ears Play Reading Series: The Lover

By Harold Pinter

July 20 at 7:00 pm

An interesting companion piece to juxtapose with the Theatre’s Main Stage production of The Guardsman, Pinter’s tightly-wound play takes “the game” between husband and wife a step further. Locked in a cycle of reciprocal provocation, the couple dances between cruelty and devotion. Adult Content.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Tickets: $18 for adults; $10 for students. Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

On the Main Stage:

03. Misalliance

Patriarch John Tarleton, king of the undergarment industry, struggles to maintain control over his rebellious daughter, headstrong son, and a host of friends and unexpected visitors– some of whom happen to “drop in” from out of the sky– at the family’s sprawling country estate. In this biting comedy, Shaw creates a chaotic clash of class, gender, and generations as he gleefully exposes and dismantles the idiosyncrasies of the British classes and their various “family values.”

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75 Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: August 5 – August 30, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, August 8 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, August 11 (7:30 pm); Saturday, August 15 and 22 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, August 13 (7pm)

On the Main Stage:

04. Equivocation

Described in Variety as “one of the most bracingly intelligent, sizzlingly theatrical American plays in a decade,” this fictional imagining of the “birth” of one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies will not only intrigue Shakespeare fans, but also history buffs, conspiracy theorists, political junkies, and anyone who loves a great, wild tale. When the Bard and his troupe of players receive a royal commission to dramatize the events surrounding the infamous Gunpowder Plot, the artist must confront the demons of his past, his present, and his obligations to truth, artistic integrity, and his two families– his actual one and his theatrical one.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75 Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: September 16 – October 4, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, September 19 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, September 22 (7:30 pm); Saturday, September 26 and October 3 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, September 24 (7:00 pm)

Play Reading Series

Lend Us Your Ears Play Reading Series: The White Devil

By John Webster

September 21 at 7:00 pm

Loosely based on the 1585 murder of an Italian noblewoman and set in the court of Francisco de Medici, Webster’s tale of ruthless ambition and boundless corruption remains one of the greatest masterpieces of Jacobean revenge tragedy. A cautionary tale for leaders of any age, The White Devil exposes the true colors of those who claim to be pure. Adult Content.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Tickets: $18 for adults; $10 for students.  Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

On the Main Stage:

05. Anne Frank

Nearly 75 years ago in the Netherlands, a young girl received a diary for her 13th birthday. Today, Anne Frank’s humor, strength, and innate goodness continue to shine forth from her words to inspire readers and audiences of all ages. The powerful story of her family’s will to survive comes to unforgettable life for a new generation in this adaptation of the Pulitzer, Tony, and NY Drama Critic’s Circle Award-winning play.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison (on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75 Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: October 14—November 21, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, October 17 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, October 20 (7:30 pm); Saturday, October 24 and 31 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, October 22 (7pm)

Special Event

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Dracula

October 26 at 7:30pm

The wildly popular Something Wicked This Way Comes features something new this season! The quintessence of the classic horror canon, Bram Stoker’s Dracula has terrified and thrilled generations of readers and audiences. The story’s chilling suspense, decadence, and Gothic humor will come to life as a staged reading when the Theatre’s esteemed company of artists reimagine Count Dracula’s quest for blood.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison

(on the campus of Drew University)

Tickets: $40.  Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

On the Main Stage:

06. Merry Wives

Gather your kith and kin for an exuberant holiday outing at this production of Shakespeare’s rowdy, bawdy domestic comedy. With the roguish Falstaff as the centerpiece of this hilarious tale of marital hijinks (and low-jinks!), the clever wives of Windsor put everyone to the test in a festive cornucopia of colorful characters, holiday spirit, and glittering merriment.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison

(on the campus of Drew University)

Performance times:  Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Sundays at 7:30 pm; Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8 pm; Saturday and Sundays at 2 pm.     

Tickets: $25-75 Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit

Performances: December 2–December 27, Tuesdays through Sundays.

Opening Night:  Saturday, December 5 (7:30 pm)

Symposium Performances:  Tuesday, December 8 (7:30 pm); Saturday, December 12 and 19 (2pm)

Know the Show:  Thursday, December 10 (7pm)

Special Event

Something Merry This Way Comes

December 14 at 7:30 pm

In just a few years, Something Merry This Way Comes has become one of our most popular one-night events. This annual holiday gift to our patrons features nostalgic, funny, and inspiring holiday tales, songs, and poems, read by members of The Shakespeare Theatre’s renowned company of actors and guest artists. Something Merry is appropriate for all ages, and provides a refreshing antidote to the commercial glitz and blitz that invades our lives each year at holiday time.

Venue: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue at Lancaster Rd. in Madison
(on the campus of Drew University)

Tickets: $40. Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or visit



MAIN STAGE:                         OUTDOOR STAGE:

F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre                         Outdoor Amphitheatre

36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Rd.)                   2 Convent Road (at Convent Station)

Madison, NJ                             Morris Township, NJ

(on the campus of Drew University)                   (on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth)

TICKETS & INFO:  Call 973-408-5600 or visit

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. The Outdoor Stage is located on the campus of the College of St. Elizabeth and the Theatre’s support and education facility is in Florham Park.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as funds from the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional major support is received from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Edward T. Cone Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and CTW Foundation, as well as contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals.