Monday, November 30, 2015

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ the radio play at RVCC Theatre


Radio Show staging of ‘'”It’s a Wonderful Life” to be performed at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg. It will be Live From WVL Radio Theatre’s original adaptation of the holiday classic on Tuesday, December 15, with performances at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. The production is part of the Theatre’s Major Artists Series.

It’s Christmas Eve, 1945 and only two of WVL Radio’s actors have braved the blizzard to perform that evening’s broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life and keep the station afloat. This clever stage adaptation of the beloved film, set in the fictional studio of WVL Radio Theatre, takes us back to the Golden Age of radio and breathes new life into the poignant story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls.

The production really is a play within a play, and audiences will find themselves rooting not only for George and Mary, but also for the small but intrepid band of employees that must miraculously manage to perform the entire story of It’s a Wonderful Life using only their voices and a sound-effects table. Will they save the station? As George Bailey says, "If we believe in each other it might be possible.”

When Frank Capra and his co-writers were working on the original screenplay of It’s a Wonderful Life, the Great Depression was a vivid memory. The story is juxtaposed against a time of failing banks, devastatingly high unemployment and a shortage of affordable housing. The circumstances are eerily familiar, and over 60 years later this inspirational story remains as fresh and relevant as ever.

Mountain Xpress has called the production “As engaging, if not more so, than multimillion dollar Hollywood extravaganzas.”

Tickets cost $10 for the 2 p.m. show and $25 for the 7 p.m. performance. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at<>. Subscribers’ packages are available for all Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for most performances.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit<>.

Photo credit: RVCC

Review: ‘A Christmas Story’ a heart warmer at Paper Mill Playhouse


By Ruth Ross

What Dylan Thomas's prose poem, A Child's Christmas in Wales, is to millions of Welsh, Jean Shepherd's A Christmas Story is to millions of Americans. Whether you heard his recitation of the tale on late-night WOR-NY radio or watched the 1983 film starring Darren McGavin as Old Man Parker and Peter Billingsley as Ralphie, you are probably familiar with this iconic story of a little boy seeking a special gift—a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model air rifle BB gun—that his teacher, his parents and even Santa think is inappropriate—and dangerous. [Above: L-R: Chris Hoch (The Old Man), Colton Maurer (Ralphie), Elena Shaddow (Mother) and Hudson Loverro (Randy) Photo by Billy Bustamante.]

Well, if you need to slake your thirst for holiday nostalgia or just want to introduce a youngster to this classic tale, head on over to Millburn's Paper Mill Playhouse for a polished, charming musical version of A Christmas Story—complete with cute kids singing and dancing; an apoplectic dad wrestling with the vicissitudes of daily life at the end of the Depression; a stoic, stalwart mother; and even a Jean Shepherd-like narrator to lead us through the tale while offering wry commentary on the antics of the Parker family of Cleveland Street in Homan, Indiana, at Christmastime 1940.

It's all there, just as you (and Jean Shepherd) remember it: the ugly leg lamp (above); the pink bunny suit; the tongue frozen to the cold flagpole; the visit to a weary, bored Santa—all set to music and dance routines (some of them show-stoppers) to produce a delectable holiday bonbon!

Using the sets, costumes and musical arrangements from the Broadway and Madison Square Garden productions, director Brandon Ivie has assembled a new cast to work its magic to delight adults and children alike. In the role of Ralphie, Judah Immanuel is the perfect geek, but one who sings and dances magnificently. He may be small, but his stage presence fills the large Paper Mill Playhouse stage. His hoofing abilities are in full display in several dance numbers, most notably a Western-themed "Ralphie to the Rescue," wherein our pint-sized hero uses his new BB gun to save his classmates, teachers and friends from a variety of nefarious villains. (Colton Maurer shares the role). Hudson Loverro, as his little brother Randy, exhibits great comedic timing; I dare you to watch him get into his one-piece snowsuit without splitting your sides laughing. He, too, sings and dances superbly, even appearing in several production numbers as part of the ensemble!

The adult actors display enough heft to avoid being upstaged by the pint-sized thespians. Ted Koch conveys the dry wit of Jean Shepherd in his role as our guide (and commentator) through the shenanigans onstage. His quiet presence is never intrusive, and one feels his wry affection for his alter-ego Ralphie. Chris Hoch (right) plays Old Man (Frank) Parker to the delicious hilt: his colorful cursing and spitting-mad demeanor (especially at being attacked by a neighbor's two hounds) are offset by a sentimental streak and a desire to be "The Genius of Cleveland Street." He's a hardworking, regular Joe who really wants to do right by his family.

Elena Shaddow plays his long-suffering spouse with stalwart stoicism; she is the quintessential 1940's mother, tending to household chores and taking good care of her children and husband. Her perky manner and lovely voice really resonate in her attempt to console her sons that all will be well with a ballad entitled "Just Like That." And as the stickler-for-maintaining-margins-when-writing fourth grade teacher, Miss Shields, Danette Holden is wound tighter than a clock, which makes her breakout performance featuring an energetic tap dance in a fantasy number set in a 1930's speakeasy to the song, "You'll Shoot Your Eyes Out"—the phrase Ralphie hears ad nauseum whenever he asks for an air rifle. (Note: How many of you readers heard those words from your parents? My mom used to say, "Everything's fine until someone loses an eye" when my brother and I were tussling on the floor!)

An ensemble of adults who play cowboys, gangsters and Christmas elves, along with a gaggle of adorable and talented kids, complete the large cast. All agilely execute Mara Newbery Greer's choreography to the accompaniment of the orchestra directed by BenWhiteley.

With a wicked book by Joseph Robinette and tuneful music and clever lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, A Christmas Story brings to life the holiday movie the whole world loves. It is a perfect gift of theater for grownups and children alike. The former will fondly recall their childhood Christmases (and Hanukkahs) while the latter will delight in the foibles and adventures of a nine-year-old boy on a quest for the perfect gift. This show almost beats a Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle—and no one risks losing an eye!

A Christmas Story will be performed eight times a week at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, through January 3, 2016. For performance times and tickets, call the box office at 973.376.4343 or visit online.

Paper Mill Playhouse will offer a special autism-friendly performance on Tuesday, December 29, at 1:30 PM.

ruth head shot_thumb[2] Reviewed by Ruth Ross

Fractured fairy tale ‘Rapunzarella White’ holiday treat in Cranford


Rapunzarella White

WHEN: Friday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 5, 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 6, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.
CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Ave. in Cranford
TICKETS: Tickets and information can be found by visiting

CDC Rap Begin the holiday season with a fractured fairy tale for the whole family! Rapunzarella White is filled with fun!

Rapunzel, Cinderella and Snow White are triplets who are stolen by an angry witch and each is catapulted into her own fractured fairy tale. Each dreams of being rescued by a handsome Prince. Will they be saved? Of course! Beau, Barry and Burly Bob may be a little more bashful and bumbling than bright, but with the help of the Fairy Tailor, and some magic, they all live happily ever after. With book and lyrics by June Rachelson-Ospa and book and music by Daniel Neiden, this very funny and tuneful tale is entertainment for the entire family.


rap cast038036_orig CAST


Joel Redmount
Raven Dunbar
Milagros Cortes
Faith Ricca
Jazmynn Perez
Marlo Avidon
Noah Wohlsen
George Wenson
David Marques
Mike Marcus
Adena Weisholtz
Julian Baro
Susan Roberts
Jordan Perez
Holly Haines
Sean Kelly
Steven Douches
Joanna Riley
Peter Deponte
Julia Ramsay
Bailey Croft
Eva Salvatore
Robbie Salvatore

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.

Photos: CDC

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Message from the Barn Theatre Box Office

12140039_10153014246561574_7698283806848480906_o We are currently no longer accepting reservations or online purchases of tickets for NINE on SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29th @ 2pm. There will be a limited number of tickets available for walkup purchase starting at 1pm on Sunday. You cannot reserve these tickets in advance. You simply come to the theatre anytime after 1pm on Sunday, November 29th to obtain these tickets.
Seats are available for all other performances. Thanks and we will see you at the show!

nine cast

The Barn Theatre continues the 88th Season
with our Fall musical production of NINE.
Book by Arthur Kopit • Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston • Adapted from the Italian by Mario Fratti
Directed and Staged by Camille DiLorenzo
Musical Direction by Jack Bender
Produced by Janine Wentz

Friday/Saturday/Sundays, November 13 to December 5, 2015, (including an added box-office performance Friday, 11/20).
Tickets: $24 MC/Visa/cash
Students/Seniors $22, at matinees only
Box office: 973.334.3620
Online ticketing available at:

This spectacular Tony® Award-winning musical delighted Broadway audiences in 1982 and again with a stunning revival in 2003. Based on Fellini’s film classic 81/2, it tells the story of a celebrated film director, Guido Contini, facing middle age, mortality and the pressure of his next film plot, as he is pursued by a host of beautiful women (past and present), all clamoring to be loved by him and him alone.
Guido Contini—Alan Van Antwerp
Young Guido—Kieran McKenna
Luisa—Vanessa Bellardini
Carla—Danielle Valencia
Claudia—Samantha Kaplan
Guido's Mother—Elizabeth Vecchio
Liliane La Fleur—Roxanna Wagner
Lina Darling—Michal Efron
Stephanie Necrophorus—Cheryl Bookstaver
Our Lady of the Spa—Danielle Pennisi
Mama Maddalena—Roseann Ruggiero
Sarraghina—Lisa Deane
The Italians:
Annabella/The Gondolier—Carla Kendall
Diana—Christine Morgan
Francesca—Pearl Hart
Giulietta—Lisa Kosak
Maria—Brianna Morris
Renata—Tracy Burkholder
The Germans:
Edel Von Weiss—Larissa Reynolds
Gretchen Von Krupf—Susan Hagen
Heidi Von Sturm/Guido's Aunt—Andrea Thibodeau
Ilsa Von Hesse/Guido's Aunt—Elisabeth Erdman
Olga Von Sturm/Guido's Aunt—Mindy Knapp
Guido's Schoolmates:
Madison Chiong
Dana Efron
Emily Knapp
Stage Manager—Elizabeth Rogers
Assoc. Choreographer/Prod. Assistant—Amy Shera
Asst. rehearsal Stage Manager—Melissa Milne
Backstage Crew: Bob Mackasek and Katie Russell
Scenic Designer—Jonathan Wentz
Costume Designer—Janice Schopper
Additional costumes by Scaramouche
Mask Designer—Jonathan Wentz
Decor & Properties—Camille DiLorenzo, Jonathan Wentz
Property Mistress—Gerladine Baillod
Lighting Designer--Todd Mills
Lighting Operation—Max Wrobel
Sound Designer/Enginnering—Larry Wilbur
Sound Operation—Max Wrobel
Hair/Make-up Team—Joan Agosta, Claudia Metz

‘A Christmas Carol’ 20th anniversary treat at Playhouse 22


CC2015-Poster-banner-1024x400  “A Christmas Carol” returns to Playhouse 22, East
Brunswick’s Community Theater, for its 20th anniversary production starting December 11.  “A Christmas Carol” has been directed by Tony Adase
since the first year in 1994.  The show is based on the well-known novella written by Charles Dickens.  The show runs through December 20.

Fred Dennehy returns as the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge, “A Christmas Carol” is the immortal story the story of a miserable miser who learns to keep Christmas in his heart with the help of several ghostly spirits.

Joining Dennehy as the Ghost of Jacob Marley is Peter Reimann, along with Jacqueline Master as the Spirit of Christmas Past, Christopher Rowland as the Spirit of Christmas Present and Samuel Moffett as Tiny Tim.

A special dessert reception for current and former cast and crew members will be held on Saturday, December 19 at 6 p.m.  Former cast and crew members can email the Playhouse at for more

All performances are Friday evenings at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. All tickets are $15 and are available online at, by calling the Box Office at (732) 254-3939 or at the Box Office window.

Playhouse 22 is conveniently located at the East Brunswick Community Arts Center at 721 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick.

Friday, November 27, 2015

One-Man STAR WARS™ Trilogy soars into UCPAC Dec. 11


In advance of the year's most highly anticipated movie, bone up on everything STAR WARS™ as the extremely talented Canadian actor Charles Ross brings his hilarious One-Man STAR WARS™ Trilogy to UCPAC's Mainstage on Dec. 11 at 8 p.m.

Much of Ross' childhood was spent in a galaxy far, far away, watching STAR WARS™ videos over - and over - and over again. The result of this misspent youth is his One-Man STAR WARS™ Trilogy, where he single-handedly plays all the characters, sings the music, flies the ships, fights the battles and condenses the plots into one performance.

At university, Ross formed a friendship and collaborating partnership with actor/writer/director T.J. Dawe. He has directed four of Ross' solo shows - the first being the wildly successful One-Man STAR WARS™ Trilogy. With thousands of performances, in hundreds of cities, across four continents, the worldwide love affair with this trilogy is phenomenal - and it's been a dream come true for Charles Ross to celebrate that love with generations of fans around the world.

29e6243db40373336e95f50eea641eee UCPAC's Mainstage is located at 1601 Irving Street in the heart of Rahway's Arts District and easily accessible to major roads and public transportation. To purchase tickets, call the box office at 732-499-8226 or visit the website at

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop Spring Session registration is now open

csyw clowns

Celebrating over 20 years of acclaimed musical theatre training for young thespians, the Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop Spring Session registration is now open to new and returning applicants. This 15-week intensive program has been designed to meet the needs of beginning, intermediate and advanced performers interested in working in the theatre. The hands-on program utilizes both the classroom and the “production process” to train young people in the theatre arts.

godspell The program includes the production of musicals and one-act plays. Led by theatre, TV and film veteran Michael Blevins, the spring session will run from February 13 through June 5 and culminates in a Festival of Shows from May 27 through June 5. Registration deadline for all applicants is February 26, 2015.

While no prior experience is required to participate, all new applicants must complete an interview session with program director, Michael Blevins, prior to acceptance into the program. New applicant interviews will be held on Saturday December 19 and Sunday December 20.

To schedule an appointment contact the CSC Administrative Offices at (908) 979-0900. Tuition for the 15 week intensive is $395. A $75 non-refundable registration fee applied towards tuition is required. There is a $30 late fee for registration received after the registration deadline. A full description of the Centenary YPW program may be viewed online at

1007LacklandBldg - Copy The Centenary Young Performers Workshop (YPW) is under the auspices of the Centenary Stage Company, a not-for-profit Equity Theatre Company in residence at Centenary College located in Hackettstown, NJ. The Centenary YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through the use of theatre art and serves as a greenhouse for cultivating young theatre performers, ages 8—18.

cats The program is one of the few that offers both formal training and production experience for young people. Career-minded individuals can prepare for the rigors of a professional career, yet students not aiming for a professional career benefit from the program with its emphasis on discipline, self-worth and development of communication skills.

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.

Photos courtesy of CSC/Bob Eberle

"A Christmas Story' at Paper Mill Playhouse

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Holiday special at Dreamcatcher December 4 & 5

And celebrate the holidays with us on December 4 & 5!

A Very Special (Holiday) Special  

2 performances only:

Friday, Dec 4, 2015 at 8 PM

Sat, Dec 5, 2015 at 8 PM

Kick off the season with your favorite Dreamcatcher actors! If you enjoyed the corny fun of those old-fashioned holiday variety shows starring Andy Williams, Perry Como and The Mandrell Sisters, you'll love A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL.

The Dreamcatcher ensemble will entertain you with holiday songs, comic sketches and improv, and lots of good old-fashioned fun. The show is appropriate for the whole family, and every year's show is completely original!


PRICE: $20 adults, $15 kids15  and younger. Buy in advance; no fees!

Make sure to use your 10% discount code when purchasing tickets: HOHOHO

     Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre

Oakes Center  *  120 Morris Avenue  *  Summit, NJ 07901

Tickets: 800-838-3006 | Info: 908-514-9654

Stage Reading of New Original Play ‘Talk to the Hand’ by Brenda Iovino




Talk to the Hand

a Dark Comedy

A beautiful young American spy lives in the black and white, good vs. evil world  happily  killing bad guys until her Russian spy boyfriend shows her the
gray areas of life; how safe can she be now?

      A dark comedy in two acts  with three characters,
I mean spies.

Allie: American spy who loves to kill, no really, she really does.  How does she justify this you ask, 'They're the bad guys, silly'
Sergei: A fourth generation Russian spy who has two passions, neither of which is very 'spy like'
Henri: A French  spy who has a secret that no one knows, or do they?

Union County Performing Arts Center
Rahway, N.J.
The Fazioli Room Gallery (at Hamilton Stage)
360 Hamilton Street (parking available)
Rahway, NJ 07065 | (732) 499-8226
35 minutes from Penn. Station, NYC
Theatre walking distance from
Rahway Station stop (12 minutes)
Save the Dates: December 11@ 8th p.m. & 13th @ 2 p.m.


‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey


WHEN: Wednesday, December 2nd and continue through Sunday, December 27th
WHERE: F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) in Madison.
TICKETS: Single tickets for The Merry Wives of Windsor start at $25 for preview performances and $32 for regular performances. Student Rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain for $15 with a valid Student ID
Individual tickets and subscriptions can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600 or by visiting

Gather your kith and kin for The Shakespeare Theatre’s annual “holiday gift” for their audience.  Shakespeare’s rowdy, bawdy domestic comedy, featuring the roguish Sir John Falstaff, is a hilarious tale of marital hijinks (and low-jinks!), and will delight both young and old. The clever wives of Windsor put everyone to the test in this festive cornucopia of colorful characters, holiday spirit, and glittering merriment.

Directed by Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte, this marks the final production of her 25th anniversary season.  Ms. Monte said, “I want this production of The Merry Wives of Windsor to be my thank-you gift to our wonderful audience.  I hope it feels like a delightful feast of theatrical sugar plums and comedic candy that culminates in a glittering final act of fantastical surprises, convivial holiday spirit and celebration.”

monteout The Director: 2015 marks director Bonnie J. Monte’s landmark 25th season as Artistic Director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Since 1990, Monte has directed more than 50 productions for the company, including critically acclaimed productions of The Guardsman, The Alchemist, The Tempest, Tovarich, As You Like It on the Outdoor Stage, Trelawny of the Wells, Man of La Mancha,Measure for Measure, A Christmas Carol, The Misanthrope, Othello, No Man’s Land,The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and many others. Her adaptations of classic works, including Enrico IV, The Cherry Orchard and Pride and Prejudice have also earned her critical acclaim. Her adaptation of Carlo Goldoni’s The Servant of Two Masters is published by Playscripts, Inc. Most recently, Ms. Monte adapted the 2015 world premiere production of The Guardsman from the unabridged Hungarian translation by Gábor Lukin.

Special Performances:
Discount preview performances for The Merry Wives of Windsor take place onWednesday, December 2nd at 7:30 PM, Thursday, December 3rd and Friday December 4th at 8:00 PM, and Saturday, December 5th 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 December 2nd to purchase a ticket for that evening’s 7:30 PM show, at a cost that is affordable to you. Offer subject to availability. Additionally, there will be a Family Matinee on Wednesday, December 23rd at 2:00 PM.

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 Merry Wives of Windsor will be Tuesday, December 8th at 7:30 PM, Saturday, December 12th at 2:00 PM, and Saturday, December 19th 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, December 10th at 7:00 PM, and is free of charge.

The Cast:
David Andrew Macdonald David Andrew Macdonald is in his sixth season with The Shakespeare Theatre and plays the role of Falstaff. Company credits include A Christmas Carol, Pride and Prejudice, Julius Caesar, Arms and the Man, The Comedy of Errors, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Henry IV, Part I. Broadway credits include Skylight, Rocky, Mamma Mia!, Coram Boy, and Two Shakespearean Actors.

Matt Sullivan Matt Sullivan is in his eighth season with The Shakespeare Theatre and will play Master Ford.  Company credits include The Royal Family, Henry VIII, The Devil’s Disciple, Tovarich, The Playboy of the Western World, Trelawny of the Wells, The Comedy of Errors, I Capture the Castle, Othello, The Misanthrope, Noises Off, Twelfth Night, and King Lear. He attended The Juilliard School.

Caralyn Kozlowski Caralyn Kozlowski returns for her eleventh season with The Shakespeare Theatre to play Mistress Alice Ford. Company credits include Misalliance, As You Like It, Trelawny of the Wells, The Servant of Two Masters, Three Sisters, Othello, The Play’s The Thing, and Private Lives.

Saluda Camp returns to The Shakespeare Theatre in her fourth season, playing Mistress Margaret Page. Company credits include The Guardsman, Pride and Prejudice, as well as tours with Shakespeare LIVE! and the Next Stage Ensemble. Regional credits include four seasons with Connecticut Free Shakespeare, as well as five seasons with the National Theatre of the Performing Arts. Saluda trained in London at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

Adamson_ames In his thirteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, Ames Adamson returns to the Main Stage as Sir Hugh Evans. Company credits include Misalliance, A Most Dangerous Woman, Oliver Twist, A Christmas Carol, Timon of Athens, Hamlet, King Lear, Henry V, and numerous productions with Shakespeare LIVE!  Recently, Mr. Adamson appeared in Arms and the Man, as well as Martin Crimp’s adaptation ofThe Misanthrope at Quintessence Theatre Group in Philadelphia.

jon_Barker Jon Barker takes the stage in his eighth season at The Shakespeare Theatre in the role of Doctor Caius. Company credits include The Guardsman, The Alchemist, The Tempest, Pericles, Tovarich, Trelawny of the Wells, Henry IV: Part One, Othello, The Misanthrope, The Taming of the Shrew, A Streetcar Named Desire, andAmadeus among others on the Main Stage, and multiple tours with Shakespeare LIVE!. Mr. Barker also appeared in both Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra/Shakespeare Theatre collaborations. Regional credits include work at Hamilton Stage, Luna Stage, The Red Room, 12 Miles West, and The Kennedy Center.

Kristie Dale Sanders plays Mistress Quickly. At The Shakespeare Theatre, Sanders has appeared in Pericles, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The School for Wives, King Lear, Measure for Measure, and The Rivals, among others. Her Broadway credits include Evita, Next Fall, The Phantom of the Opera, Urinetown, and The Sound of Music.

Joey Collins plays George Page in his first season with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Broadway credits include The Glass Menagerie, Rock n’ Roll and The Lonesome West. He has performed Off-Broadway in Straight Faced Lies, St. Joan of the Stockyards, Vieux Carré, Bug, Beasley’s Christmas Party, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, Apartment 3A, and The Antigone Project.

Longtime company member Raphael Nash Thompson will play the Host of the Garter Inn. Thompson was last seen at the Shakespeare Theatre in last season’sMuch Ado About Nothing. Thompson’s credits include Morocco in The Merchant of Venice at Theater for a New Audience with F. Murray Abraham as Shylock, as well as work with Shakespeare Theatre Company, Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis, Red Bull Theatre, among many others.

David Cryer plays Robert Shallow. This is his second season with The Shakespeare Theatre. He was last seen in the reading of A Tender Thing. Select Broadway credits include Phantom of the Opera, Lend Me A Tenor, Evita, 1776, Come Summer, The Desert Song, Fade Out, Fade In, and The Devil’s Disciple. Off Broadway credits include Tamara, Mademoiselle Colombe, The Streets of New York,and The Fantasticks.

Jonathan Finnegan is in his first season with The Shakespeare Theatre and plays Abraham Slender. He was most recently in Dracula with Three Day Hangover in NYC. He has performed with Titan Theatre Company and other NYC theater companies as well as regionally at the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Great River Shakespeare Festival. He was a member of the 2011-12 acting apprentice company at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

The Artistic Staff: The world of The Merry Wives of Windsor comes to life with the help of scenic designer Jonathan Wentz, costume designer Yao Chen, lighting designer Tony Galaska, and sound designer Bonnie J. Monte. Kathy Snyderserves as production stage manager.

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.

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, CTW Foundation, The Samuel H. Scripps Foundation, and Drew University, as well as contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, government agencies and individuals. The 2015 Outdoor Stage production of Love’s Labour’s Lost is sponsored by Bank of America.

McCarter Theatre Center has full slate of holiday events


Sure, McCarter Theatre Center celebrates the holiday season in high fashion with its annual production of A Christmas Carol and an appearance by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra with The Messiah (not to mention the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s Bach Brandenburgs and ARB’s annual production of The Nutcracker)…but what if the usual holiday fare is not your cup of nog? If that’s the case, McCarter has two shows in mind for you. Get ready for two very different cabaret acts, appearances by Christine Ebersole with Big News from Winnetka, and Taylor Mac with two nights of Walt Whitman vs. Stephen Foster: Songs Popular Near the Breaking Point, 1846-56.

CHRISTINE EBERSOLE - Big Noise from Winnetka

Saturday, DECMEBER 12 – 8:00 p.m.

Berlind Stage - Tickets: $70.00

 ebersole A longtime fixture of the New York cabaret scene, two-time Tony Award-winner Christine Ebersole has her first new show in two years: Big Noise from Winnetka. Extended twice during its initial run at NYC’s 54 Below, the show was created by Ms. Eberbsole together with her longtime music director Bette Sussman, incorporating such song selections as Alfie, Woodstock, Landslide, and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Ben Brantley of the New York Times said it best: “Listening to the range of her technique packed into her unmissable cabaret set pushed my admiration into something like awe.”



Berlind Stage – Tickets: $45.00

t m “Fabulousness can come in many forms, and Taylor Mac seems intent on assuming every one of them.” – The New York Times
“A 24-Decade History of Popular Music is, like many things that spring from the mind of Taylor Mac, an absolute marvel.” – CultureBot

From the author of off-Broadway’s smash hit HIR, comes a show for the books…the history books. For the past 17 years, playwright, actor, and singer/songwriter Taylor Mac has created events that provoke and embrace his diverse audience. His current project gives new meaning to the word ambitious: a concert series celebrating the last 240 years of popular music in America. Broken in to ten-year segments, this massive project moves through the history of America, told through a heady concoction of Mac’s unique lensing and the popular songs of the period.

For these two McCarter performances, Mac will be joined by a muscular six-piece band as they perform Walt Whitman vs. Stephen Foster: Songs Popular Near the Breaking Point, a showdown between Walt Whitman, the Bard of Democracy, and Stephen Foster, the father of American music. First performed in 2013 at Lincoln Center, this concert highlights Mac’s love of Walt Whitman, who Mac considers an icon of the 19th century LGBTQ community.

Seeing Taylor Mac live defies description, so don’t take our word for it. Here’s a look at Taylor Mac in a recent version of the 24-Decade project:

Dreamcatcher receives Curtain Call Award and Resolution from Freeholders


Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, a professional theatre ensemble in residence at the Oakes Center in Summit, was recently honored by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance at its Curtain Call Awards for the company’s 20-year history and for its achievements in bringing the community together with its focus on telling life-affirming stories relevant to the lives we live today. At the November 2 event, Dreamcatcher also received a Resolution from the Union county Board of Chosen Freeholders recognizing its contribution to the cultural life of the region.

Dreamcatcher has a core company of professional local actors who perform contemporary work that entertains and challenges, and has at its heart a belief in the essential goodness of people. Also central to its mission is the enrichment of young people’s lives through theatre, both through hands-on experience and through educational programs. Dreamcatcher’s focus is on deepening the experience of all their patrons by supplementing the performances with personal contact through receptions, talkbacks and interactive programs.

The company seeks to expose theatregoers and students to ideas and lives like and unlike their own, with the intention of awakening their imaginations and creating empathy for others. Dreamcatcher’s annual season consists of mainstage productions, improv comedy shows, a holiday variety show, new play readings, cabarets, and educational and outreach programs for students and seniors.

3b2fba_33b7239f1cbc41e98b9db655219ef716 Dreamcatcher is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the service organization that unites all professional theatres in the state. Since its founding in 1981, the NJTA has grown from a membership of five to 35 professional theaters whose joint efforts have facilitated the growth of educational programs, financial support, and public access to live theater throughout the state of New Jersey. At this year’s Curtain Call Awards, held at Kean University, other honorees were Luna Stage of West Orange and Premiere Stages of Union, as well as Natalie Watson, Esq., the outgoing president of the NJTA’s Board of Trustees.

242074980.336.255 Dreamcatcher’s performances are at The Oakes Center, located at 120 Morris Avenue in Summit. The facility is wheelchair accessible. For information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please visit or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901, 908-514-9654.

Top Picture: Susan P. Coen, former Director, Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs; Laura Ekstrand, Artistic Director, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre; John McEwen, Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance.   Photo: Jerry Dalia

‘This Wonderful Life’ One Actor…One Performance Only at Skyline Theatre Company



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, presents “This Wonderful Life” on Sunday, December 6 at 3pm.

Adapted from the screenplay of the iconic holiday classic movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and written by Steve Murray and conceived by Mark Setlock, “This Wonderful Life” is a hilariously touching stage adaptation of the film…performed by one actor who inhabits more than 35 recognizable characters.

From George and Mary to Mr. Potter and Clarence, from Ernie and his cab to Zuzu and her petals, this 70-minute play will delight audiences of all ages as a single actor creates a heartwarming story about the effect one hardworking man's life has on the people around him. It will be presented Sunday, December 6 at 3pm at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation in the Fair Lawn Community Center, 10-10 20th Street, in Bergen County’s Fair Lawn.

dn The show is directed by Skyline Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Sam Scalamoni and performed by David C. Neal (photo), who has appeared in several recent Skyline productions.

Audience members are invited to bring non-perishable food, grocery store gift cards, and other donations to support Bergen County’s Center for Food Action in New Jersey (CFA). CFA provides emergency food packages, rental and utility assistance, counseling, advocacy and other essential services to those in need living in northern New Jersey.

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.

About Skyline Theatre Company

SkylineLogo_medium 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.

Skyline Theatre Company enjoys warm support for bringing inspirational, professional theatre to Bergen County and Northern New Jersey.

More information can be found at or on Facebook at SkylineTheatreCo and Twitter @SkylineBergen.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Auditions: ‘When We Are Married’ by J.B. Priestley at Chester Theatre Group


When we are married Master650x315-3

Open auditions for ‘When We Are Married’ by J.B. Priestley
Directed by Cindy Alexander

Set on a September evening around 1908, this timeless British comedy centers on three couples who gather to celebrate their joint silver wedding anniversaries. As the evening progresses one outrageous secret is revealed: the parson who married them wasn’t authorized to perform marriages, thus, they were never actually married and these uptight, distinguished couples have been “living in sin” for twenty-five years. When each couple samples a taste of single life once again, their relationships are vigorously and hilariously put to the test, and the elephant in the room can’t be ignored. Do they really want to be married after all?

Performances: March 4 - 19, 2016
Black-River-Playhouse-chester Auditions: Monday, December 7, 2015 at 7:00pm and Tuesday, December 8, 2015 at 7:00pm at Chester Theatre Group (Black River Playhouse)– 54 Grove Street,  Chester, NJ

For more information go to

The couples, all in their 40s or 50s

Alderman Joseph Helliwell and Mrs. Maria Helliwell
Councillor Albert Parker and Mrs. Annie Parker
Mr. Herbert Soppitt and Mrs. Clara Soppitt

The young lovers, in their 20s
Gerald Forbes, an organist
Nancy Holmes, Mrs. Helliwell’s niece

A reporter from the Yorkshire Argus News Fred Dyson

Photographer from the Yorkshire Argus News
Henry Ormonroyd – a contemporary of the couples

The Maid, in her 20s Ruby Birtle

The Charwoman –an older lady Mrs. Northrup

A women of questionable reputation Lottie Grady

The Vicar Rev. Clement Mercer

Strollers holding benefit to aid High Schoolers to perform at Edinburgh Fringe Festival


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Many Strollers know that a Columbia High School Social Studies teacher, Mildred Memory, started the Strollers closing in on 80 years ago. What they may not know is that she initially came to Columbia High School in 1917 and almost immediately became the advisor for The Parnassian Society. According to alumni who still come for reunions and RAVE about her and the work she did with them, when graduates complained to her they had no place to perform anymore,  her response was to establish The Strollers! The perfect feeder system.  Anyway, because there was no television or other digital devices to entertain the community, performances were held in the auditorium, which seats 1,200 people and always SOLD OUT! During WWII, all proceeds from performances went to support the troops.


Columbia High School's Parnassian Society has been invited to perform in next August’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Currently, the only hang-up is the need to raise $90,000. So, . . . Parnassian is starting with a Hank Zona wine tasting evening at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club on December 4th from 7-10 p.m.

Columbia is diverse in many ways, including economically.  Some 500 of our 1,900+students are eligible for free/reduced lunch, the federal measure of economic need.  To ensure that all eligible students can attend the Fringe Festival, parents and students are raising funds. We hope to bring down the cost of the trip for all, and to further assist students with greater need.

25-things-to-do-in-Scotland-Edinburgh-Fringe-Festival We look now to the community for assistance.  We are holding a wine evening/ silent auction December 4th at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club from 7-10 p.m.  Delicious food, live music, silent auction, raffles, fun, friends, etc. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased by contacting  Janet Bustrin at 973-713-6866 or from Maplewood Stationers in Maplewood or Kitchen a la Mode in South Orange.  We are also looking for businesses who might be able to supply either a monetary donation or an in-kind donation for the silent auction.  In return, we will feature your business name in the program and in the media coverage before and after; we will announce your business name at the event; and we will feature your name prominently on the display table. We know that local folks are loyal to your business and that a donation would be a welcome auction item.

Bottomline . . . every little bit helps! We are grateful for your help in sending our talented teens to the Fringe, where they will represent our community while they broaden their own vision of the world.

Contact Janet Bustrin for information or to donate directly to The Parnassian Society. Checks can be made to Columbia High School with “Parnassian” on the note/memo line.

NJ Rep season continues in January

New Jersey Repertory Company

Current Season Productions


Substance of Bliss
January 14 – February 14, 2016
A World Premiere by Tony Glazer                                

directed by Evan Bergman

It's 2am do you know who your children are? The sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking story of Paul and Donna who are waiting for their troubled fifteen-year-old son to return home late one night so that they can take him to a drug rehabilitation center…only to find themselves questioning their renovation choices, the political and religious persuasions of some of their neighbors, the feral cats running amuck in their backyard and, ultimately, their decisions to marry and have the child that is causing them so much trouble. Both insightful and cautionary, the play explores the realities of our consumer driven culture and the essence of happiness.


For Worse
March 10 – April 10, 2016
A World Premiere by Deborah Rennard                       

directed by Evan Bergman

After three daughters and 30 years of marriage, Peter informs his wife that he has been having an affair and has fallen in love. He assumes upon hearing this, his wife will immediately dump him. Unfortunately, she doesn't. Worse, she says she still loves him and wants to work things out, and the girlfriend, who has given Peter an ultimatum to leave his wife tonight or it's all over, doesn't appear to be sympathetic to his plight at all. A story of love, trust, friendship and betrayal - examining the question, "is old-fashioned, monogamous, committed marriage even possible anymore in today's world?"

Villainous Company
May 5 – June 5, 2016
A New Jersey premiere by Victor L. Cahn
When Claire returns home from an afternoon of shopping, she discovers that one of her packages is missing. Coincidentally, just as she is calling the store, a staff member stops by to return the item, then manages to invite herself inside. Before long, larceny and trickery abound as the two women, soon joined by a third, compete in a scintillating and suspenseful game of cat-and-mouse.

June 30 – July 31, 2016
A World Premiere by Sandy Rustin
After being struck by a bicycle while crossing an East Village intersection, Vera Resnick feels a strange and out-of-character connection to the college-aged kid responsible for the collision. Is this mysterious connection real? Is it coincidence that brought Vera and the biker together? Or, are larger forces at play? In this surprising and soulful Manhattan serio-comedy, Vera, her husband, and their hippy-chic Texan neighbor seek truth in the face of deception, exploring matters of fate, family, and self-identity that affect all of their lives.

August 25 – September 25, 2016
A posthumous World Premiere by James McLure
The backstage intrigue, romance, and scandal that take place during and after rehearsals of "Othello" are the backdrop for this period comic-drama. Three extraordinary actors at the top of their game along with a well-known director try to piece together a production of "Othello" as they whittle away at each other in this passionate, highly theatrical play by the author of "Lone Star," "Pvt. Wars", "Wild Oats", and "Laundry and Bourbon".

October 20 – November 20, 2016

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