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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review: A Grand Night of Singing with Black River Singers

songs rehearsal

The popular “Songs for a Summer Night” concert series, featuring The Black River Singers, returned last night to The Chester Theatre Group’s Black River Playhouse.  This is a marvelous, no joyous event combining terrific voices with great music. You have only tonight and tomorrow afternoon to experience this season’s “Songs for a Summer Night.”

The Black River Singers is a group primarily made up of singing actors, most of whom have appeared on the Chester Theatre Group’s stage over the years. Begun in 1997, the first Songs for a Summer Night was so successful that it has been one of the most asked for programs the Chester Theater Group offers.

PerryAwardsCParrish This year the 24 singers, accompanied by leader, Clifford Parrish (photo right), and bass player, Tim Metz, provide choral versions of Broadway and pop oldies on the concert. The program starts off with a bright, fun combination of opening numbers from some of our favorite musicals. The first half ends with a beautiful “Oklahoma!” medley.

Many of the choral selections are repeats from prior programs that audiences have requested plus some fun new arrangements have been added and some of the singers are featured in duets and ensembles from various shows. The closing number is a stirring medley from The Sound of Music, with the audience invited to sing along.

A showstopper number is “Air Conditioner Song” sung by a charmer, new to the group, Susie Speidel.

Other standout solo and duet performers included: Chris Mortenson, Matt Cotton, Bob Mackasek, Alice Regan Moynahan (always a joy), Claudia Metz (she had fun with Le Jazz Hot number…what can’t she do?), Debbie Lingel, also new to the BRS’s, wowed with both “Crossword Puzzle” and Dolly Parton’s “Light of A Clear Blue Morning,’' Jeff Dopson impressed with his “Out There,” as did Jodi Maloy and Erica Traugh, plus longtime CTG “stars” Roseann Ruggiero and Ellen Fraker-Glasscock.

Special mention is due Rich Maloy and Bob Longstreet for their fun turn with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare’ from Kiss Me Kate.
                                                                                          Remaining performances Saturday, July 11 at 8 p.m. and on Sunday afternoon, July 12 at 2 p.m. at The Black River Playhouse on the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in historic Chester Borough.

Tickets are $25 with a $2 discount given to Seniors (over 65) and students (under 18 with ID) and can be purchased online at

Reservations can be made by calling 908-879-7304.


Geraldine Baillod
D'Angelique Dopson
Gayle Hendrix

Debbie Lingel
Alice Regan Moynahan
Martha Riley

Ellen Fraker-Glasscock
Fran Groves
Jodi Freeman Maloy
Claudia Metz

Roseann Ruggiero
Susie Speidel
Ericka Traugh
Roxanna Wagner

Jeff Dopson
Bob Longstreet
Chris Mortenson
Jason Cilento
Matt Cotton

Michael Foley
Bob Mackasek
Rich Maloy
Tom Rodgers
Robert Stone

Chester Theatre Group 54 Grove St, Chester, New Jersey 07930

Top photo: Clifford Parrish conducts a rehearsal (CTG photo)

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