Wednesday, September 30, 2015

‘Born Yesterday’ to open Cranford Dramatic Club season

born yesterday

The opening show of the CDC theatre's 97th season is "Born Yesterday" by Garson Kanin. A Broadway triumph turned Academy Award nominated film, "Born Yesterday" is a deliciously witty screwball comedy about a corrupt businessman, Harry Brock, trying to get ahead in Washington. He hires a newspaperman, Paul Verall, to tutor his brassy girlfriend, Billie Dawn, but gets more than he bargained for when he discovers a little bit of learning can be a dangerous thing.

Directed by Eric Walby, the cast is led by Joe Leo as Paul Verall, Julie Ann Nolan as Billie Dawn and Matt Lafargue as Harry Brock. This will be Lafargue's first show at CDC Theatre but he is no stranger to the New Jersey theatre scene.

The cast also features Barry Leonard and Maureen Muldoon as Senator and Mrs. Hedges, Susan Roberts as Helen, James Beckman as the Bellhop, Brittany Patterson as the Assistant Manager and frequent CDC actor Joel Redmount as Devry.

562757_409015225795177_1583032338_n "Born Yesterday" opens Oct. 16 and runs through Oct. 24. For tickets and more information visit

CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Ave. Cranford, New Jersey

Funding has been made possible in part by the NJ State Council on the Arts, Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through a grant administered by the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

Auditions: ‘American Idiot’ at Cranford Dramatic Club Community Theatre


8487052 American Idiot Performances
2/12, 2/13, 2/19, 2/20, 2/26, 2/27 @ 8:00 PM
2/21 @ 2:00 PM
Johnny, Tunny and Will struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world. When the three disgruntled men flee the constraints of their hometown for the thrills of city life, their paths are quickly estranged when Tunny enters the armed forces, Michael is called back home to attend familial responsibilities, and Johnny's attention becomes divided by a seductive love interest and a hazardous new friendship.
Director/Choreographer: Megan Ferentinos
Music Director: Jack Bender
Producer: Elizabeth Howard

11/16 7:00 PM
11/18 7:00 PM

The Cranford Dramatic Club Community Theatre               78 Winans Ave, Cranford, New Jersey 07016

Audition Song: We are looking for any songs you think are appropriate for a rock musical! Rock songs that aren’t from music theatre are acceptable (and encouraged). We are looking for strong rock vocals, with strong abilities as a lead singer/back up singer harmonizer.

Callbacks by invitation only
11/22 @ 5:00 PM

Johnny - The self-proclaimed "Jesus of Suburbia." Bored of his do-nothing, go-nowhere existence, he takes off for the city to get a new lease on life. He wages an inner war between a budding love for Whatsername and growing dependency on St. Jimmy and drugs.
Male, 20-30 yrs old
Range: B2 – B4

Tunny - Johnny's friend who follows him to the city and eventually enlists in the army. He travels to the Middle East. A dreamer who is easily swayed, first by Johnny's ideas and then by patriotism and the American Dream.
Male, 20-30 yrs old
Range: D3 – B4

Will - Johnny's friend. He ends up staying in Suburbia to take care of pregnant girlfriend Heather. The more he stays on the couch, the more he becomes slowly disconnected from the world and his own relationships.
Male, 20-30 yrs old
Range: C#3 – A4

St. Jimmy - Johnny's alter ego. Known as the "city badass." An enigmatic and charismatic enabler who gets Johnny addicted to drugs and grows jealous of his relationship with Whatsername.
Male, 30-40 yrs old
Range: C3 - F#5

Heather - A girl in Suburbia and Will's girlfriend. She discovers she is pregnant but has difficulty telling her boyfriend of the news. She struggles to maintain their relationship with his despondency and eventually leaves him.
Female, 20-30 yrs old
Range: A3 – E5

Whatsername - A girl in the city who falls for Johnny. A rebellious activist who is willing to follow Johnny to the ends of the earth, but fights to have him embrace their authentic relationship rather than pursue his addiction.
Female, 20-30 yrs old
Range: F#3 - D#5

Extraordinary Girl - A girl in the Middle East who appears as a sexual hallucination to injured Tunny. Attractive and mysterious, she later appears as his nurse and accompanies him home after the war.
Female, 20-35 yrs old
Range:Bb3 – E5

Also seeking a high-intensity group of individuals to complete this rocking cast We are looking for singers, dancers, movers with incredible stage presence.

Jennifer Haley’s critically acclaimed ‘The Nether’ to make New Jersey premiere with Centenary Stage Company


"Mindbending, ingenious and ethically challenging"
-The London Times

“…unrelentingly suspenseful yet revealing great moral complexity...”
- The Hollywood Reporter

Casting has been completed and rehearsals are well under way for Centenary Stage Company’s highly anticipated New Jersey premiere of Jennifer Haley’s 1007LacklandBldg - Copy gripping and critically acclaimed, The Nether, opening October 9 and running until October 25 in the Lackland Center in Hackettstown, NJ.

According to the New York Times, “Imagine an episode of ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ written by a futurist fiction writer like Ray Bradbury or Iain Banks” and you have Jennifer Haley’s provocative The Nether.  Winner of seven Ovation Awards in L.A, nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New play, and winner of the 2012 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, The Nether was hailed as a “haunting and highly original” (Telegraph) modern crime drama that hacks into urgent questions of desire, technology, and morality. 

Set in the not – so – distant future, a new virtual wonderland provides total sensory immersion. Just log in, choose an identity and indulge your every whim. But when a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, she triggers a dark battle over technology and human desire.  The Nether is both serpentine crime drama and haunting sci-fi thriller that explores the consequences of living out our private dreams. 

Jennifer Haley is a playwright whose work delves into ethics in virtual reality and the impact of technology on our human relationships, identity, and desire. Other plays include Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom, a horror story about suburban video game addiction, and Froggy, a noir thriller with interactive media design and a live soundtrack. Haley has worked with Center Theatre Group, Royal Court Theatre, Headlong, Sonia Friedman Productions, the Humana Festival of New Plays, American Conservatory Theater, The Banff Centre, Sundance Theatre Lab, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark Play Development Center, PlayPenn, and Page 73. She is a member of New Dramatists in New York City and lives in Los Angeles, where she founded the Playwrights Union.

The Nether at Centenary Stage Company will be directed by CSC’s own award winning Artistic Director Carl Wallnau.  Emmy Award winning set designer Bob Phillips returns for the final design of his celebrated career to transform the Sitnik Stage into the lush imaginative virtual wonderland of The Nether.  Implementing practical design elements with various forms of technology, media and projections, the design boasts a set that literally transforms seamlessly as the action unfolds.

Nether_MacDonaldMancuso The cast consists of several CSC veteran artists returning to the Sitnik stage.  The cast is led by Erica Knight (Morris) and Craig MacDonald (Papa/Sims)- photo.  Audiences will recognize Knight from CSC productions of The Liar and Harvey, as well as, her time spent with The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ. 

Veteran actor MacDonald returns to CSC and has performed in over a hundred and fifty professional productions from Off – Broadway to Regional Theaters, as well as, on camera for film and television. 

No stranger to CSC audiences, Peter Levine (Doyle) returns after his acclaimed performance in last season’s world premiere In the Car with Blossom and Len

Rounding out the cast is CSC’s own Christopher J. Young (Mr. Woodnut), previously seen in The Liar and Harvey, and making her professional debut is local talent and Long Valley middle schooler Olivia Mancuso (Iris).

Performances for The Nether are Thursday at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm.  There are 2pm Matinees on Wednesdays October 14 and 21 and for the Friday preview on October 9.  Tickets for The Nether range from $25.00 to $27.50.  Thursday evening performances are $25.00 for ALL SEATS with a buy one/get one free rush ticket special.  To take advantage of the Thursday evening rush ticket special tickets must be purchased in person at the box office the evening of the performance. 

For more information or to purchase tickets visit us online at or call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900.  Tickets may also be purchase in person at the CSC box office located in the David and Carol Lackland Center on the campus of Centenary College; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm and two hours prior to every performance.

The 2015-16 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, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Genesis Festival at Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick

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

Skyline Theatre Company to present ‘The Exonerated’ October 9-11


The Exonerated_showlogo_SkylineTheatreCompany  Skyline Theatre Company, Bergen County’s most established professional theatre company and in residence at the Fair Lawn Community Center in Bergen County’s Fair Lawn, kicks off its exciting 2015-16 season with “The Exonerated”.

Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, “The Exonerated” is a riveting play that tells the stories of six former “death row” prisoners who were released from prison after their convictions were reversed. It will be presented Friday, October 9 at 7:30pm; Saturday, October 10 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, October 11 at 2:00pm at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center in Bergen County’s Fair Lawn.

Donations collected during the weekend will support the Exonerated Fund, which provides support to those who have been wrongfully accused and are now trying to reclaim their lives, and Skyline’s educational programming.

For more information on the Innocence Project, a national litigation and public policy organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted individuals through DNA testing and reforming the criminal justice system to prevent future injustice, and its Exoneree Fund, please visit:

Trey Compton director of The Exonerated at Skyline Theatre Company Skyline’s production is directed by Trey Compton, an experienced assistant director with several Off-Broadway credits including "Yank!" (The York) and "White's Lies" (New World Stages). He also directed last year’s Skyline production of “tick, tick...BOOM!”

What effect does it have on a person--a soul, a life--to have freedom and self-respect stripped away and then, ostensibly, returned years later after decades of incarceration? “The Exonerated” attempts to answer this question through the words of six innocent men and women who, after years in jail, emerged from death row to try to reclaim what was left of their lives. All their stories have been compiled and edited by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen into “The Exonerated”, an award-winning play (Winner: 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards) that looks at the dark side of the American criminal justice system. Winner 2003 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

“The Exonerated” began its journey when married authors Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen traveled across the United States, interviewing 40 of the (then) 89 former death row prisoners. The interviewees were from vastly different ethnic, religious and educational backgrounds. Their views on the world varied greatly. The only thing that they had in common was that all 40 had been sentenced to death, spent anywhere from 2 to 22 years on death row and were subsequently found innocent and freed by the state. Their interviews form the core of “The Exonerated”, which was also made into a 2005 made-for-cable-television film.

Individual tickets prices range from $22 to $29 and are on sale through Skyline’s online box office at and its in-person box office at 800-474-1299. For ticket reservations or for more information about Skyline go to All performances take place at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center in Fair Lawn, NJ.

More information is also available via our social media platforms on Facebook at SkylineTheatreCo and on Twitter @SkylineBergen.

SkylineLogo_ About Skyline Theatre Company

Founded in 1995, Skyline Theatre Company’s mission is to bring together professional artists to create quality theatre that entertains and inspires an audience. We make commitments to the education of young people in all aspects of the arts and to cultivating and nurturing new artists and their works.

Skyline Theatre Company is a proud Associate Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Skyline Theatre Company depends on private donations, corporate sponsorships, grants, and supportive audiences to fund its programming. Funding is made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on Arts/Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

More information can be found at

Bergen County Players Wins Community Theatre of the Year Award; Eight nominations and three wins for theater!

BCP Perry Award Pic - Small 

The Bergen County Players has been named NJACT Community Theatre of the Year! NJACT (New Jersey
Association of Community Theaters) is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting local theater around the state. The Community Theatre of the Year recognition is a special Perry Award given to a
New Jersey theater organization that has made a significant contribution to the community. The Perry Awards are often nicknamed the Tony Awards of community theater.

The following BCP members are also to be congratulated for winning their category and taking home a prestigious Perry Award:

* Outstanding Direction of a Play (God of Carnage) - Alyson Cohn, of Wyckoff.
* Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play (God of Carnage) – Angie Joachim, of White Plains, NY.

"This is a tremendous honor for our theater, our membership and our patrons," BCP President Margie Druss Fodor said. "For 83 years we have put on shows that make people laugh, make people cry, make people
think and give people joy. We love what we do and are thankful for the recognition."

The Bergen County Players received 8 Perry Award nominations, taking home 3 awards. The others nominated are as follows:

* Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play - Allan Seward, of Bardonia,
NY, for "August: Osage County".
* Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play - Larry Kadish, of New Milford, for
"God of Carnage".
* Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play - Joann Lamneck, of Englewood,
for "August: Osage County" AND Allyson Stevenson, of Westwood, for "God of Carnage".
* Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play - Rachel Gordon, of Paramus, for "August: Osage County".
* Outstanding Production of a Play - Producer: Kathie Robitz, of Ramsey.

The awards were presented recently at the 42nd Annual Perry Awards ceremony at the Doubletree by Hilton Somerset Hotel and Conference Center, Somerset, NJ.

The Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small community theatre when it was founded in 1932; today, more than 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the
nine productions presented each season. Further information can be found at

The Bergen County Players of Oradell celebrate winning the NJACT Community Theatre of the Year Perry Award, Outstanding Direction of a Play and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play. (Back row), Larry Landsman, of Wyckoff. (Front row, left to right), Jerry Hurley, of Hackensack; Alyson Cohn, of Wyckoff; Allan Seward, of Bardonia, NY;
Margie Druss Fodor, of Westwood; Larry Kadish, of New Milford; Allyson Stevenson, of Westwood; and Michele Roth, of New Milford. Photo courtesy of the Bergen County Players.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Paper Mill Playhouse wins NJ Governor’s Jefferson Award for Autism-Friendly Performances! 2015-16 lineup

autism award

Five Autism-Friendly performances planned

autism ribbon Paper Mill Playhouse has announced that the Paper Mill Playhouse Autism Advisory Team has won the 2015 New Jersey State Governor's Jefferson Award for Public Service.  Paper Mill Playhouse was the first professional theater in the nation to offer Autism-Friendly performances designed for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, and continues its commitment to offering an ongoing series of affordable programming that enables all patrons to enjoy live theater with independence and dignity.  The Paper Mill Playhouse’s Autism Advisory Team was presented the Jefferson Award by Acting NJ Governor Kim Guadagno at a ceremony at the Newark Museum. Accepting the award were Paper Mill Autism Advisory Team leaders, Linda S. Meyer, Ed.D., BCBA-D, MPA, CPT; Kelly A. Carlile, M.A., BCBA; Jeff Jacobs, M.A., BCBA, and Erin Chambers, a graduate student in Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell College.

Ji1fUGXuZR7Nwu3tcakZM-welVDsM32z49RAuYnLCOw Honorees of the New Jersey State Governor's Jefferson Award achieve measurable community impact and represent outstanding acts of public service, without the expectation of recognition or compensation.  Recipients demonstrate unique vision, dedication and tenacity of heroic proportion and serve as inspiration for others.  The Paper Mill Playhouse Autism Advisory Team was selected for this prize from a pool of close to 500 nominees.  Team members must have a minimum of 2 years of experience working with or supporting people with autism or other developmentally disabilities, such as behavior analysts and special education educators.  Qualified volunteers wishing to join the award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse Autism Advisory Team should contact Paper Mill’s Director of Education Lisa Cooney at

At Autism-Friendly performances the theater environment is altered, providing a sensory-friendly, comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to all families. The performance itself will be adjusted with special attention paid to lighting and sound, with preparation materials provided and on-site specialist support.  The Autism-Friendly 2015-16 performance schedule includes the TheatreworksUSA productions of Curious George on November 7 and May 12 at 10:00 am, The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe on December 16 at 10:00 am and Henry & Mudge on June 12 at 10:00 am.  Tickets for these performances are on sale now at

Also included this winter is a special Autism-Friendly performance of Paper Mill’s holiday, mainstage musical, A Christmas Story: The Musical. Paper Mill Playhouse will offer an Autism-Friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical on Tuesday, December 29, at 1:30 pm. This is the third time Paper Mill Playhouse has expanded its autism-friendly performances to a mainstage production after a successful performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid in 2013 and Elf in 2014.  Tickets for this performance are on sale now at or 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 10 or more can receive up to a 40% discount on tickets and should call 973.315.1680

christmas story Additionally, Paper Mill Playhouse will host a free Open House titled Meet Your Seat for A Christmas Story: The Musical on Monday, December 28, 2015, from 4:00 to 6:00pm.  This is an opportunity for children who are new to the theatrical experience to visit the theater space before the show. Often children with autism or other developmental disabilities become anxious in new surroundings, new experiences, and they need time to transition. The Meet Your Seat open house provides an opportunity for children to come to the theater in advance of the performance and take time to feel comfortable in this new space.  The Autism-Friendly performance of A Christmas Story: The Musical is proudly sponsored by the Merck Foundation.  Major funding for autism-friendly programs is provided by the Merck Foundation, with additional generous support from C.R. Bard Foundation, The Karma Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

The holiday movie that the whole world loves, comes to musical life.  Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: An Official Red Ryder® Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Straight from Broadway‚ this musical is based on the classic 1983 movie. It’s funny‚ heartfelt‚ and captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike.

“There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than a trip to Paper Mill Playhouse to experience this heartwarming and hilarious musical based on one of America’s favorite holiday films” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Producing Artistic Director for the Millburn theater. “Bring your entire family together to see this holiday treat.”

Paper Mill Playhouse embraces a long history of providing access services to patrons of the theater.  In addition to Autism-Friendly performances, Paper Mill Playhouse offers a wide variety of access programs and services including: sign-interpreted performances, open-captioned performances, audio-described performances, pre-show sensory seminars and barrier-free access theater-wide.  Paper Mill Playhouse’s accessibility programs have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, VSA arts/MetLife, and the New Jersey Department of Recreation as a role model for other performing arts organizations throughout the country.

Paper Mill Playhouse, a leader in accessibility, will offer audio-described performances for A Christmas Story: The Musical on Saturday, December 19, and Sunday, December 20, at 1:30 pm. Prior to these performances at noon, the theater will offer free sensory seminars. Sensory seminars offer an opportunity for patrons with vision loss to hear a live, in-depth description of the production elements of the show and hands-on interaction with key sets, props, and costumes.  There will be a sign-interpreted and open-captioned performance on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. 

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, is one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse 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.  Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

George Street Playhouse 8th Year of Book Club Program with Joe DiPietro’s ‘The Second Mrs. Wilson’ and Aaron Posner’s ‘My Name is Asher Lev’


Geomarquee (1) For One Price, Patrons Receive Ticket, Book and Opportunity to Have GSP Staffer Speak at Book Club for Either Show – or Both!

Buoyed by the continued success of its eight-year-old program that began with their production of John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt in 2007, George Street Playhouse is once again offering a special package for book clubs.  This season, the Playhouse is offering two selections:  Joe DiPietro’s historical drama The Second Mrs. Wilson, onstage November 10-29, and Aaron Posner’s tale of a young Jewish artist discovering himself and his talent, My Name is Asher Lev, on stage April 12 – May 1.

For the nominal price of $58, patrons receive a copy of the acting edition script of either play, a study guide, their theatre ticket, and the opportunity to have a member of the Playhouse staff speak at their book club.   “This program is a wonderful way for the Playhouse to interact with the audience it serves,” said George Street Playhouse Artistic Director David Saint, who has visited a number of book clubs. “I went to my first book club meeting eight years ago not knowing what to expect.  What I found was a group of people passionate about reading, who in turn were fascinated by the difference between reading the words on the page and seeing them acted out on stage.  I am so pleased to be able to offer this program this season with both The Second Mrs. Wilson and My Name is Asher Lev.”

For further information, or to purchase the package, contact the George Street Playhouse Group Sales Department by phone at 732-846-2895, extension 134, or by email at George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick’s dining and entertainment district, easily accessible by public transportation (bus or train) or by car.  For directions, parking tips and dining suggestions, visit the Playhouse website,
About the productions:

The Second Mrs. Wilson
By Joe DiPietro
Directed by Gordon Edelstein
April 1915.  President Woodrow Wilson has fallen in love and married his second wife, Edith.  She quickly becomes a trusted confidant and advisor and an inconvenience to his circle of advisors.  When he becomes debilitated by a stroke, she adeptly maneuvers around his cabinet and congress to advance his dream of world peace and the League of Nations.  A fascinating vision of a little-known chapter of American history in which many believe a woman was de facto President of the United States.

My Name is Asher Lev
By Aaron Posner
Adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok
Directed by Jim Jack
Asher Lev is a young Jew growing up in post-war Brooklyn.  His artistic talent is apparent at an early age, and, on the advice of the Rebbe, his talent is nutured and educated.  Asher can’t imagine being anything other than an artist and that innate drive – as well as his artistic vision – flies in the face of his family, his faith and tradition.

In the 42 years since its founding, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Its leadership consists of Artistic Director David Saint, Resident Artistic Director Michael Mastro and Managing Director Kelly Ryman.  Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics’ Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill; and the recent Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In 2015, George Street Playhouse is represented by two productions in New York: the recent Broadway production of It Shoulda Been You, and Joe DiPietro’s Clever Little Lies, opening off-Broadway this fall.  Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. 

In addition to its mainstage season, GSP’s Touring Educational Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 40,000 students annually. George Street Playhouse programming is 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.

UCPAC to present ‘On Kentucky Avenue’

On Kentucky Avenue

UCPAC presents On Kentucky Avenue, a critically acclaimed celebration of Atlantic City's famed Club Harlem, on Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. at the Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts.

During the decades before the casinos took over Atlantic City - when nightclubbing was in vogue with gorgeous showgirls, zany comedians, great singers and dancers and fashionable audiences, the hot spot and place to be seen was Club Harlem on the musical street named Kentucky Avenue. Music flowed from clubs on both sides of Kentucky Avenue from Memorial Day through Labor Day and the most famous of these clubs was Club Harlem, thought of as the "Black Copacabana," because it featured the major black talent of the era performing in spectacular musical shows and revues.

On Kentucky Avenue takes place on a single day and night during the Club Harlem dress rehearsal for opening night of the 1969 season. The show features an original score true to the era, interspersed with classic songs from the Sixties, and depicts a love triangle between the emcee, the lead showgirl and the featured female singer.

The production was created by Jeree Wade and directed by Adam Wade and is  based on their experiences performing there during different eras 30 years apart. Jeree Wade makes a special appearance as "Damita Jo,"  a frequent guest at the club. The show is choreographed by Ty Stephens, who co-stars with Cheryl Freeman and Andricka Hall. Lee Summers portrays comedian "Slappy Black," modeled after real-life comedian Slappy White, who performed frequently at Club Harlem. On Kentucky Avenue is produced by Wade and Wade Productions, Songbirds Unlimited Productions and Robert Blume of Step Forward Entertainment. Jazz producing legend Cobi Narita is associate producer.

Hamilton_Stage_ Tickets are $22.50 and can be purchased by calling the UCPAC box office at 732-499-8226 or visiting the website at UCPAC's Hamilton Stage is located at 360 Hamilton Street in the heart of Rahway's Arts District and is easily accessible to major roads and public transportation.

Women’s Voices headline Centenary Stage Company 2015-16 season

csc-logo2 (1) Women’s voices headline the Centenary Stage Company (CSC) 2015-16 season, with plays by Jennifer Haley, Gina Gionfriddo, newcomer Eleanor Burgess, and WPS alum Merri Biechler.   The CSC season compliments a movement lead by Nan Barnett (NNPN) and the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival in Washington D.C. this fall,  serving to  highlight the scope of plays being written by contemporary women.   

In the 25th year of CSC’s Women Playwright Series, the Centenary Stage Equity main-stage season now boasts 70% of its primary theatre season penned by women authors.   A member of the National New Play Network, CSC subscribes to the 50/50 in 2020 movement, working toward 50% representation of female playwrights on professional stages across America by the year 2020.  The company has helped to develop over 65 plays in the past 2 decades, and has produced more than 15 directly from development  into the CSC mainstage Equity season, also taking the 2014 Susan Glaspell Award winner, “The English Bride” by Lucile Lichtblau, to a successful run at 59E59 Theatres in New York City.

netherimage001 Opening the theatre season in October, the  NJ Premiere of Jennifer Haley’s play, The Nether will run October 9 – 25 in the Lackland Center in Hackettstown.    Winner of seven Ovation Awards in L.A, and nominated for an Olivier Award for for Best New play, The Nether was hailed as a “ haunting and highly original” (Telegraph) modern crime  drama that hacks into urgent questions of desire, technology, and morality.  In this award-winning play, which delves into life in the virtual worlds of today’s digital technology, a young detective uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment, triggering a battle over technology and human desire.    Directed by CSC Artistic Director Carl Wallnau, with a set by Emmy-Award winning Bob Phillips, the production design is inspired by creating the virtual reality world of the play as the mystery unravels.    A special talkback with the audience and artists will be held on Sunday, Oct 18.

merriimage003 CSC Women Playwright Series alumna  Merri Biechler returns to the CSC Fringe series with her new play Tammy Faye’s Final Audition.  Presented by CSC, Tammy Faye’s Final Audition is a production from The Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, Southeast Ohio's professional theater company which has been making the rounds of Fringe Festivals this year.  Members of the Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble have written plays for, performed on, and designed productions at Tony Award winning stages, Broadway, Off-Broadway and major regional theaters, as well as Emmy Award winning television networks and series.   Merri Biechler’s Real Girls Can’t Win was produced at Centenary in 2010 following its development in the 2009 Women Playwrights Series.   Set on a college campus, Real Girls..   explores with a comic edge  what it takes to be popular, the desire to fit in, and the dangers of allowing personal information to be viewed on the Internet.

ginamage005 Gina Gionfriddo’s  ferociously funny Becky Shaw  will fill the winter slot for the Centenary Stage Company as another New Jersey premiere, running from February 19 – Mar. 6 in the Lackland Center.  With two Pulitzer Prize nominations and New York Obie Award under her belt,   Gionfriddo “is some kind of genius” says Variety.  Mixing sharp wit and humor with the taught suspense of a psychological thriller, Becky Shaw is a comedy of romantic errors that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats guessing how this blind-date-gone-horribly-wrong will all end. 

And from CSC’s Women Playwright Series comes the Susan Glaspell Award-winning new play,  Start Down, by Eleanor Burgess,  premiering April 8-24.     When a motivated San Francisco programmer develops exciting new software designed to help teachers in the classroom, he sets in motion a technology which promises to revolutionize the face of individualized education, but which will ultimately threaten his own fiancĂ©e’s job.    Start Down is a smart and funny look at work, love and get-rich-quick tech start-ups,  while posing questions about the way we live, the way we educate our children, and our core values around technology.    Playwright Eleanor Burgess has just returned from the National New Play Network’s 2015 MFA Playwrights Workshops at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, where Start Down was featured and received further development.  In addition to the Susan Glaspell Award, Burgess is the recipient of the Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award from the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, where Start Down will also be produced this year.  

Burgess will be in residence at CSC  during the rehearsal and run of  Start Down   and will be on hand for a special talk-back with audiences during the production.   Burgess has been a playwriting fellow at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and a member of the writers’ group at the Arcola Theatre in London.  Her work has been developed at the Vineyard Theatre, New Georges Theatre, and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival this past summer.  Burgess is originally from Brookline Massachusetts, studied history at Yale College and subsequently taught history, filmmaking and creative writing in London and New Haven. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts  where she completed her  MFA in Dramatic Writing this May. 

Centenary Stage Company’s Women Playwrights Series (WPS)

Catherine rust cropped Now in its 25th year, the WPS, led by Catherine Rust,  is a developmental program dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and underserved voice of women writing for the theatre today.  Each season new plays are selected for a collaborative workshop process, with a professional director and actors.   Each year one play from the WPS is selected to go on to full production in the CSC mainstage season.  As a result of the mission, over the past 15 years, 30% of each Equity main-stage CSC season has been comprised of work written by women playwrights.     The 2015-16 developmental WPS will be presented on Wednesdays in April -  April 13, 20 and 27 at 7:30 pm in Lackland Center.     Admission to the WPS is free, and each presentation is followed by lively discussion with the playwright, director and cast. 

CSC theatre productions run Thursdays through Sundays with some Wednesday matinees. Tickets range from $ 22.50 - $27.50, with discounts for students.   The CSC 2015-16 season of events 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, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Monday, September 28, 2015

NJ Theatre Alliance Honors Three NJ Theatres and Board Member at 2015 Curtain Call


unnamed On Monday, November 2, 2015, New Jersey Theatre Alliance will honor three New Jersey theatres and a current board member at Curtain Call, the annual celebration of New Jersey professional theatre. The event will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Atrium of the STEM building at Kean University in Union, and will feature entertainment from the honored theatres. The event is open to the public and includes buffet stations, wine and beer, a silent auction, and a raffle. Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre of Summit, Premiere Stages of Union, and Luna Stage Company of West Orange will be recognized for their milestone anniversaries, artistic excellence, and unique contributions to the field. Natalie Watson, Esq. will be given the Star Award in recognition of her six years of service as president of the Alliance’s board of trustees.

3b2fba_33b7239f1cbc41e98b9db655219ef716 Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre of Summit, which recently finished its 20th season, is comprised of a closely knit ensemble of theatre artists in residence who work together from season to season. Dreamcatcher was founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand with the mission to “build community with the audience by sharing life-affirming stories in an intimate environment.”

laura-ekstrand-1 “We at Dreamcatcher are so thrilled to be receiving the Award of Excellence from New Jersey Theatre Alliance,” said Ekstrand. “To be recognized by our peers is especially gratifying, since they understand the challenges and victories associated with a 20-year history in the theatre. Being a part of this outstanding community of theatre people is probably the single most important reason that we’ve been able to fulfill our mission for all these years, and we are most grateful for our colleagues’ support.”

prem Premiere Stages, which recently finished its 10th season, is the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University. Under the leadership of Artistic Producing Director John Wooten, Premiere is dedicated to the development and production of high-quality theatre premieres, the support and cultivation of theatre artists, and the engagement of Kean students and the public in its programming, especially youth and underserved populations. Through its Play Festival, Premiere has developed many new plays that have gone on to have successful productions in New York and throughout the country.

“Premiere Stages is honored to be recognized with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Award of Excellence,” said Wooten. “The Alliance has been an extremely valuable resource and partner each and every season since we premiered our first production in 2005. Support and guidance from the Alliance was instrumental in the launch of Premiere Stages so it is particularly rewarding to celebrate this milestone with John, the staff of the Alliance and our theatre partners from across the state.”

luna logo Luna Stage Company, which was founded in Montclair in 1992, will be honored for its fifth anniversary of serving as an anchor organization of the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange. In following its mission to produce thought-provoking theatre, support the voices of emerging American playwrights, and partner with the community, Luna has earned a reputation for artistic excellence. Its premieres have gone on to be produced in New York and other theatre regions, enabling emerging playwrights who express diverse perspectives to flourish.

SONY DSC “Luna Stage is honored to be recognized by New Jersey Theatre Alliance, an incredibly progressive and innovative arts advocacy organization,” said Luna’s Artistic Director, Cheryl Katz. “Our company is proud of our body of work over the past 23 years and of our direct contributions to diversifying to voice of American Theatre. Our move to become an anchor organization in the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange five years ago has invigorated our approach to our work and inspired us to expand our programming and our impact on our community.”

Natalie Watson, Esq., who will receive the Star Award, has been a member of the board of trustees of the Alliance for eight years, serving as president for six. Watson is a partner at McCarter & English LLP law firm in East Brunswick.

“During Natalie’s tenure, the organization conducted an in-depth membership assessment, developed and adopted a new three-year strategic plan, and expanded many of its community outreach initiatives,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We thank Natalie for her leadership, love of theatre, and commitment to breaking down barriers to ensure that all individuals can experience the joy of live theatre.”

Curtain Call attendees will have the opportunity to bid on items in the silent auction, and can purchase a chance to win one of three raffle prizes: a Broadway experience for four with house seats to Something Rotten, dinner at Sardi’s, and limo transportation; a weekend for four in Cape May; and an Apple Watch Sport. For reservations and additional information, visit

Proceeds from the event will strengthen the Alliance’s role as a critical resource for the state’s arts community and advance its programs that benefit children, seniors, people with disabilities, and the theatre-going public. The community has already enthusiastically supported Curtain Call, with sponsorship from Bank of America, McCarter & English, LLP, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, and W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher.

njheader_1 Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.

Photo caption: Performers at NJ Theatre Alliance’s 2014 Curtain Call. Photo by David Crow

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ next at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

Anne Frank Next on the Main Stage, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s drama, The Diary of Anne Frank, adapted by Wendy Kesselman and directed by Joseph Discher. 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.

Performances begin Wednesday, October 14th and continue through Saturday, November 21st at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) in Madison. Individual tickets and subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting

The Playwrights: Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, the original Broadway production received the 1956 Tony Award for Best Play, and the script received the 1956 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Goodrich and Hackett also adapted the play for the screen in 1959. Nearly 40 years later, Wendy Kesselman was commissioned to create an adaptation of Goodrich and Hackett’s original play, which debuted in 1997.  Kesselman drew from the newly restored version of Anne’s diary, reincorporating the passages about her Jewish identity that had been previously omitted and downplayed in earlier versions. In addition, she eliminated the flashback-like feeling of the original – opting instead for a straightforward, chronological retelling. Variety called the play “one of the 20th century’s most remarkable and enduring pieces of literature.”

Kesselman’s adaptation was nominated for the 1998 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play, and starred George Hearn, Linda Lavin, Harris Yulin, and served as the Broadway debut of Natalie Portman.

Additional Programs and Partnerships:
In an effort to reach as many young people and families as possible, discount $20 student tickets may be purchased in advance online, at the box office or by calling
973-408-5600. Student rush tickets may still be purchased for $15 one half-hour before the show in person at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, but availability may be limited.

The Shakespeare Theatre has also partnered with the College of Saint Elizabeth Center for
Holocaust and Genocide Education.  The center’s Week of Holocaust Remembrance begins on November 9th with its 25th annual Kristallnacht Commemoration and events continue through November 13th.  For a full list of events and more information visit All events are free and open to the public.

In conjunction with The Diary of Anne Frank, the Drew University Center for Holocaust/Genocide Study will present two programs.  On October 14th at 4:00 p.m., there will be a free showing of No. 4 Street of Our Lady, a film about Fran Malkin, a child hidden  during the Holocaust.  The film will be shown at the Drew University Learning Center, room 28.  On October 21st beginning at 6:30 p.m., the Center will host a panel featuring Selma Rossen, a hidden child from Poland.  This event will be held on the Drew University campus in Brothers College, room 101.

Finally, The Shakespeare Theatre has joined with The Anne Frank Center USA for further educational opportunities.  All patrons who attend a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank will receive a voucher for a 50% discount to The Anne Frank Center, located at 44 Park Place, in New York City.

The Cast:

Emmanuelle Nadeau returns to The Shakespeare Theatre for her second season as Anne Frank. A native of Westfield, NJ, she was previously seen in the Theatre’s 2011 production of To Kill A Mockingbird. Regional credits include Puck in NYJT’s 29 Hour Reading musical comedy Midnight Madness, Paper Mill Playhouse’s New Voices Concert I’ll Take Manhattan (2011), Stuart Little at Cranford Dramatic Club, and Maurice Sendak and Carole King’s Really Rosie.

Sean Hudock is in his eighth season with The Shakespeare Theatre and will be taking the part of Peter Van Daan. Company credits include The Lion in Winter, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Life of Galileo on the Main Stage; The Comedy of Errors on the Outdoor Stage; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Nevermore with Shakespeare LIVE!.  He recently tackled 16 roles in Titan Theatre’s critically acclaimed New York run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where audiences drew actor roles from Puck’s hat each night. Sean is a creative producer for The Wild Root Company, a non-profit endeavor that champions new work from trailblazing playmakers and filmmakers.

Jacqueline Antaramian returns for her fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre as Edith Frank. Company credits include Pericles, Othello, and Hamlet. Most recently, she appeared in Doctor Zhivago on Broadway. Additional Broadway credits include Soul Doctor, Master Class, Mary Stuart, Coram Boy, and Julius Caesar, alongside Denzel Washington. At the MET Opera, Ms. Antaramian has performed as Andromache in Les Troyens and Clytemnestre in Iphegenie en Tauride. Other New York credits include Urge for Going (Public Lab), The Immigrant and Prides Crossing (Lincoln Center), and The Seagull in the Hamptons (McCarter).  Film and TV credits include work in The Siege, Fringe, Lipstick Jungle, Third Watch, The Sopranos, and Law & Order.

Bryan Scott Johnson will play Otto Frank in his second season with The Shakespeare Theatre. He was previously seen in the Theatre’s 2003 production of A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Most recently, he appeared in Mamma Mia on Broadway, and in Orange Is The New Black. New York theatre credits also include Philemon, The End of Civilization, and the original shows I Want My Token Back, and Max & Maxine: Together Again. Bryan made his professional debut at Milwaukee Repertory Theatre in the original production of the late Larry Shue's hit comedy The Foreigner.

Lauriel Friedman will play Margot Frank in her debut with The Shakespeare Theatre. She understudied at the Pearl Theatre Company in Winter’s Tale directed by Michael Sexton and at the Guthrie Theater in Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Dowling. She has also worked Off-Off-Broadway at the Workshop Theater Company, Drilling Company, TheaterLab, Gene Frankel Theatre, 13th Street Repertory, Occupy Verona, Producer’s Club, 45th Street Theater, and the Times Square Arts Center.

Carol Halstead makes her debut with The Shakespeare Theatre in the role of Mrs. Van Daan. Carol has been seen on Broadway in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, and off-Broadway in The Duchess of Malfi, Pericles, Walking Down Broadway, Easter Candy, Urgent Fury, The Mask, and Alan Ball’s The Amazing Adventures of Tense Guy. She has also worked at CENTERSTAGE, Denver Center Theatre Company, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, Merrimack Rep, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, San Jose Repertory Theatre (West Coast premiere of Teresa Rebeck's Bad Dates, 2004 Dean Goodman Choice Award for Best Solo Performance).

Anthony Cochrane, in his second season with The Shakespeare Theatre, will take the stage as Mr. Van Daan. Previously, he appeared in 2013’s Tovarich. On Broadway, Mr. Cochrane has appeared in War Horse, Cymbeline, and The Coast of Utopia (at Lincoln Center Theatre), and off-Broadway in Nikolai and the Others and eighteen productions with the Aquila Theatre Company. Other regional credits include work at BAM, the Old Globe, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and La Jolla Playhouse. Film and TV credits: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps; Law & Order: SVU, Benjamin Franklin (PBS), and Neverwhere (BBC).

Shana Wiersum makes her Shakespeare Theatre debut as Miep Gies. In New York she has appeared in The Assistant at Treehouse Theater, The Actors Studio & Columbia University; Books On Tape, The Drunken City, & Dead White Males for Tongue In Cheek and co-produced and performed in Marion Bridge at The Directors Company directed by Laila Robins. Film credits include Silver Tongues and All Your Faults Are in Me (Selection - LA Shorts Festival).

Patrick Toon is currently in his ninth season with The Shakespeare Theatre and returns to the stage to play Mr. Dussel. Company credits include this season’s opener The Royal Family, as well as The Tempest, The Playboy of the Western World, Henry IV: Part One, Othello, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Galileo, Julius Caesar, Cymbeline, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Amadeus. Favorite roles include Frank Sweeney in Molly Sweeney, Jim in The Weir, and both Silvius and Corin in As You Like It (2005 and 2013).

Michael Leigh Cook is in his first season with The Shakespeare Theatre, and he will be taking the role of Mr. Kraler. He has performed at the Terrence Schreiber Studio NYC and at various theatre companies overseas. Notable performances include the role of Fabrice in Ornifle ou le courant d’air, which toured throughout Europe and his co-starring role in Michael Weinstein's If The Trees Could Talk. The film won numerous awards, incl. the Gold Remi Award at the World Fest Houston, Texas and the Jury Award at the international Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema, London.

The Director

Joseph Discher is a in his twenty-fifth season with The Shakespeare Theatre. Company credits include Wittenberg, Our Town, Henry IV, Part One, To Kill A Mockingbird, Arms and the Man (The Star-Ledger’s Top Ten in 2010), The Grapes of Wrath (The Star-Ledger’s Best Director in 2009), Of Mice and Men (The Star-Ledger’s Best Revival of the Year in 2004), The Fantasticks (The Star-Ledger’s Best Director of a Musical in 2001) and Twelfth Night on the Main Stage; That Scoundrel Scapin on the Outdoor Stage; Travels With My Aunt, Much Ado About Nothing and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) on the Other Stage, and Romeo and Juliet for Shakespeare LIVE! Most recently, Mr. Discher directed his second production of Butler by Richard Strand at Barrington Stage Company after directing the world premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company.  Other credits include Julius Caesar at The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, As You Like It, Red, and The Weir at Theatreworks in Colorado Springs.

The Artistic Staff:

The world of The Diary of Anne Frank comes to life with the help of scenic designer Brittany Vasta, costume designer Candida Nichols, lighting designer Matthew Adelson, and sound designer Steven Beckel. Denise Cardarelli serves as production stage manager.


Single tickets for The Diary of Anne Frank start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. In an effort to reach as many young people and families as possible, discount $20 student tickets may be purchased in advance online, at the box office or by calling 973-408-5600.  Student Rush tickets are available at the box office a half-hour before curtain for $15 with a valid Student ID. For tickets, call the Box Office at 973-408-5600, visit, or email

Special Performances:

Discount preview performances for The Diary of Anne Frank take place on Wednesday, October 14th at 7:30 PM, Thursday, October 15th and Friday, October 16th at 8:00 PM, and Saturday, October 17th at 2:00 PM. Preview performances offer opportunities for reduced-priced tickets while enjoying the excitement of the very first performances in front of an audience. As always, the first Preview performance is Pay What You Can Night. Visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and performance-time on Wednesday, October 14th to purchase a ticket for that evening’s 7:30 PM show, at a cost that is affordable to you. Offer subject to availability.

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, three Symposium Series performances are offered for each show, and include a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff. Symposium performances for The Diary of Anne Frank will be Tuesday, October 20th at 7:30 PM and Saturday, October 24th and Saturday, October 31st at 2:00 PM.

For each production, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 PM, an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider’s perspective on the production. The Know the Show performance will be held on Thursday, October 22nd at 7:00 PM, and is free of charge.

One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, The Shakespeare Theatre is New Jersey’s largest professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare’s canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

New comedy ‘Red Fountain’ next at Apricot Sky Productions in Montclair



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Midtown Direct Rep to present A Theatre in the Loft staged reading of ‘The Impossibility of Now,’ at SOPAC


Midtown Direct Rep (MDR), kicks off its 2015-16 season at the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) with Theatre in the Loft, a series of staged readings of new plays and musicals. The Impossibility of Now, written by Y York and directed by Will Pomerantz, will be performed for one night only on Sunday, October 18, 2016 at 7pm at SOPAC (One Sopac Way, South Orange, NJ, 07079).

The cast for this reading will be announced soon. The reading is $15 and open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 973-313-ARTS (2787). For direct link to purchase tickets, please CLICK HERE.
About The Impossibility of Now

In Y York’s charmingly funny and well-observed new play, words have lost their meaning and dreams are blurring with movies for Carl, a brilliant science writer suffering memory loss and facing a life he cannot quite recall. Before the accident, his worldview was clouded with darkness, but now, through fresh eyes and childlike discovery, he navigates his strange Las Vegas neighborhood in a surprising bright light. As the new Carl woos his longtime wife, Miranda, his unexpected demeanor upends her plans for a future with the tall attractive pediatric dentist.  It is a comedy of remembering and forgetting.

About Y York

Y York is the recipient of the Smith Prize for …and LA is Burning; Houston’s Buzzy Award, Best New Play for Woof; the Berrilla Kerr Award for the Secret wife;  the Hawai`i Award for Literature for Nothing is the Same; five times from the AATE Distinguished Play Award, and the Charlotte Chorpenning Award for her body of work for children and their families. New plays premiered last season in Seattle, Malvern, PA, and Omaha, NE. Used plays can be found on stages around the country and at Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing, or from Bret Adams, Ltd.  Plays have been supported by the NEA, the Rockefeller Foundation, AT and T OnStage, USA Artists, and many local arts organizations through the years. Y is an alumna of New Dramatists and a member of The Dramatists' Guild. Y has been writing plays for three decades, most of which have been produced and between twenty and thirty are published.  Y is currently working with composer Amanda Jacobs on a new musical, under commission from the Seattle Children's Theatre and a member of the Seattle Rep's 2015-2016 Writers' Group.

About Theatre in the Loft
 sopac2-2 A series of public readings of new plays and musicals, Theatre in the Loft presented by Midtown Direct Rep, showcases new work in front of a sophisticated and engaged audience. The series focuses on scripts that reflect the complexities of a uniquely diverse community, writers or subjects with a local connection, and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble. In addition to The Impossibility of Now, the 2015-16 Theatre in the Loft season will also include 7pm staged readings of new plays on November 15, 2015, January 10, 2016, and March 20, 2016.

About Midtown Direct Rep
MDR is the theatre in residence at the South Orange Performing Arts Center in South Orange, NJ. With perhaps more professional theater artists than any suburb of NYC, Maplewood/South Orange (NJ) is "where Broadway comes home to sleep." MDR, a theatre company created by and for these NJ-based artists, develops and presents relevant, world-class theatre for its community.

Company members include two-time Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award nominees Stephanie J. Block, Megan Lawrence, and Christiane Noll, plus Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, Michele Pawk, and many others. Recent projects include work by Jack Canfora, Jeremy Desmon, Chad Hardin, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchison, David Johnson, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, Douglas J. Cohen, Zoe Samuel, and others.

In 2014, Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis joined company members Sebastian Arcelus, Jenny Bacon, Stephanie Kurtzuba, and others in Absence, a new play by Peter Flaherty. The Company is led by Managing Director Aliza Wassner, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, Literary Manager Marni Raab, and Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit

This program is 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 and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Friday, September 25, 2015

‘The Electric Baby’ a magical drama at Dreamcatcher Rep


Sandy and Scott Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, professional theatre in residence at Oakes Center in Summit, is producing its first mainstage show of the season, Stefanie Zadravec’s “The Electric Baby.” This beautiful tale of beginnings and endings played Off-Broadway and at Two River Theatre in Red Bank, NJ. “The Electric Baby” plays October 1 – 18, 2015, with talkbacks following the October 4 and 11 matinees.

When a young man is killed in a car accident, a group of fractured souls encounter a magical dying baby and begin to rewrite the stories of their lives. Folk tales and folklore weave throughout this darkly comic story of sad endings, strange beginnings, and the unlikely people that get you from one place to the next. During its 2012 production, The New York Times said, “The imperceptible magic that pervades human existence and the power of myth to assuage sorrow are invoked by Stefanie Zadravec as she entwines the lives of strangers in The Electric Baby, a touching new drama.”

The production is directed by Laura Ekstrand (Livingston) and features Dreamcatcher ensemble members Harry Patrick Christian (Montclair), Scott McGowan (Maplewood) and Harriett Trangucci (Summit). The cast also includes Andre DeSandies (Englewood), last seen in Dreamcatcher’s “The Most Deserving,” Beth Painter (Westfield), seen in Dreamcatcher’s “Distracted” and Sandy Sainvil (Linden).

“The Electric Baby” will run at Dreamcatcher from Thursday, October 1, a preview performance, through Sunday, October 18, 2015. Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets range from $20 to $35, with special rates for subscribers and groups. Purchase tickets at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006. Special dates: Thursday, October 1 is a preview performance; all tickets $20. Friday, October 2 is opening night. Sunday, October 4 is Senior Sunday; seniors age 65+ pay $20 (advance purchases only).

cbk Performances are at Oakes Center, located at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit. Parking is available in the lot behind the theatre at 20 Ashwood Avenue and at the Summit Recreation Center, 100 Morris Avenue. The facility is wheelchair accessible. Assistive listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available for free by prior arrangement.

To purchase tickets or for information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, visit or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, business phone 908-514-9654.

Photo: Sandy Sainvil and Scott McGowan rehearse The Electric Baby (credit: Anna Gracie)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Theater Project to present BUYER AND CELLAR, play inspired by Barbra Streisand’s basement!



There’s a shopping mall in Barbra Streisand’s basement. At least, that’s what it says in her book, MY PASSION FOR DESIGN. But don’t fly out to California for a celebrity shopping spree – this mall has only one customer, and her name is Barbra. Apparently, her design passion includes creating an entire set of basement shops that allow her to display her collectibles for … herself?

This is one of many revelations in her book, and the one that inspired playwright Jonathan Tolins to write BUYER AND CELLAR, a hit in New York and New Brunswick, and now being produced by The Theater Project in Maplewood, NJ.

Tolins’ play imagines a young out-of-work actor fortunate enough to get the dream job of keeping Barbra’s private emporium organized and ready for its only customer –- but can he resist the temptation to audition for her? Get career advice? Ask for a raise? It’s not an easy task for a star-struck young actor, especially when his friends are wondering whether he can maintain his sanity pretending that Boss Barbra is a just a customer and he is a store clerk ready to sell her her own possessions -– that’s the real acting challenge.

Jason Gillis (photo right) is more than ready to take on the challenge of this one-man show, in which he plays the Jason Gillisactor story-teller and all the people he encounters “down below” including the great one herself. A year ago, Jason played ten characters in The Theater Project’s production of MRS. MANNERLY. New to New Jersey, Jason has been acting steadily with area companies since graduating from Kean University. When he is not acting or dancing, Jason is the Education Program Manager at Paper Mill Playhouse.

The production is directed by David Christopher, who has been acting and directing in New Jersey theaters for over 40 years, playing leading roles and directing musicals, comedies, and dramas, most recently with Alliance Repertory Theater and Dreamcatcher Theater, both in Summit.

BUYER AND CELLAR is the final production of THREE PLAYS IN THREE WEEKS, an entire season of entertainment delivered in less than one month by The Theater Project, the professional theater company at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood.

The Theater Project, an award-winning company celebrating 22 years, presents its main stage season at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood. It also offers programs, such as workshops and presentations with professional playwrights, and classes for kids in theater, juggling and music, in Cranford, Maplewood and Union. For information, visit:


PHOTO: Jason Gillis plays all the parts in BUYER AND CELLAR; photo credit: Elisabeth Lynch