Friday, January 29, 2016

Neil Simon’s 'Chapter Two' next at Center Players of Freehold

Center Players continues its 2015-16 season with Neil Simon’s popular semi-autobiographical play, Chapter Two, running weekends from Feb. 12 – March 13th.

Set in the 1970s, Chapter Two tells the story of writer George Schneider, a widower who reluctantly returns to the dating scene at the encouragement of his brother, Leo. After being introduced to divorcee Jennie, George, Jennie, Leo and Faye – Jennie’s best friend -- all discover love is never easy for these not-so-young lovers.

Chapter Two skillfully demonstrates that life is a series of chapters and its issues of loss, renewal and letting go of the past are easily recognizable to today’s audiences,” noted Director Anthony Marinelli. “The key to a successful production of this play is ensuring that Simon’s trademark humor is not lost – or forced.”

Bringing Simon’s characters to life are: Jeff Caplan (George); Michael Tota (Leo) from Jackson; Laura Casey (Jennie) from Atlantic Highlands, and Lisa Merritt (Faye), all of whom have performed with Center Players in the past.

Marinelli, a Manalapan resident, returns to Center Players after a well-received production of Woody Allen’s Play it Again Sam in 2013.  A professional editor, he is the 2014 Strawberry Festival Best Play recipient for his one-act play,Acoustic Space

The film version screened in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and a host of others in NYC.  Another short film he directed, Walt Whitman Never Paid For It, based on a play by Angelo Berkowitz, won the 2014 Audience Choice Award at the Richmond International Film Festival. In 2013 he held an industry reading for his feature film screenplay, Eventually Yours, starring Joseph Cassese and Andrea Navedo (Jane the Virgin).

Performances run Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 pm and Sundays at 2 pm until March 13 th

Tickets are priced at $23-$25 and are available online at or by calling 732-462-9093. In addition, a special Valentine’s Day package is being offered by the American Hotel in downtown Freehold. Ticket holders can reserve a room for Fri. Feb. 12 or Sun. Feb. 14 for $125 (plus tax), which includes a bottle of champagne and continental breakfast. Ticket stubs must be presented upon check-in and reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at 732-431-3220.

Celebrating its 15th season, Center Players is a respected, award-winning organization, presenting high quality, engaging productions featuring local talent in historic downtown Freehold. Their season continues in April with Susan Sandler’s Crossing Delancey and concludes with Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None in July. 

The group will also host its first Gala event on Fri. April 8th, 2016 to celebrate their 15 years of award-winning quality theatre. In addition to their signature plays, the group also sponsors free play reading events and offers dinner and theater packages with several local restaurants.

Center Players was founded in 1996 and gained status as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization and sought to establish a permanent presence in historic downtown Freehold. After performing at various locations around town, the group leased a storefront property at 35 South Street. The space was custom renovated with interior design by New York City designer Nelson Kuperberg into an intimate, 49-seat theatre. The group’s first production, “Crossing Delancey” opened in March, 2001 with a gala opening celebration.

Center Playhouse 35 South Street Freehold, NJ 07728 

The Center Playhouse is home to Center Players. It is an intimate, 49-seat dessert theater located at 35 South Street in downtown Freehold Center.

Strollers of Maplewood...'Cre-A-Tion: One World, Many Beginnings

The Strollers Community Theater Company in Maplewood presents the original family show CRE-A-TION: ONE WORLD, MANY BEGINNINGS - a treasure trove of creation stories from around the world told through tales, songs and dances.

Adapted and directed by Carol Cornicelli with musical direction by Ebony Wiggins, the cast includes Gabriella DePlasco, Lucy Freeman, Ian Kemp, Mercedes Kemp, Molly Kemp, Zoë Latanison, Keira Mahoney, Krystina Mahoney, Beverly McCutcheon, Annabelle Mecca, Lily Mecca, Millie O’Malley, Vicki Ridley, and Anna Sturhann.

There are 10 Performances: Fri, Jan 29th & Feb 5th at 7:00 pm
Sat & Sun, Jan 30th & 31st at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm
Sat & Sun, Feb 6th & 7th at 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm
All performances are at the Burgdorff Center for the Performance Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood and all tickets are only $10.
To buy tickets or for more information, go to or call 973-761-8453.

PO Box 83
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Auditions: 'Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' at interACT Theatre Productions

interACT Theatre Productions of South Orange NJ is holding auditions for:


MON FEB 8 & TUES FEB 9 7PM-9PM and
SAT FEB 13 - 11AM-1PM
by appointment
Callbacks Sat Feb 13, 2pm if necessary

interACT Theatre Productions
Theatre in Residence at The Baird
5 Mead Street
South Orange, NJ 07079


MAY 6-8, 13-15, 20-21, 2016

ACTORS SHOULD PREPARE 16-32 BARS of an uptempo and a ballad in the style of Big River. Acting portion of these auditions will be by cold reading only.

Twain's timeless classic sweeps us down the mighty Mississippi as the irrepressible Huck Finn helps his friend Jim, a slave, escape to freedom at the mouth of the Ohio River. Their adventures along the way are hilarious, suspenseful and heartwarming, bringing to life your favorite characters from the novel-the Widow Douglas and her stern sister, Miss Watson; the uproarious King and Duke, who may or may not be as harmless as they seem; Huck's partner in crime, Tom Sawyer, and their rowdy gang of pals; Huck's drunken father, the sinister Pap Finn; the lovely Mary Jane Wilkes and her trusting family. Propelled by an award winning score from Roger Miller, the king of country music, this jaunty journey provides a brilliantly theatrical celebration of pure Americana.

Nicholas J. Clarey
Artistic Director 

Ezra Barnes in 'Hoodwinked' at McCarter Theatre Center this weekend only

Friends, I'm appearing in "Hoodwinked" at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey. The limited engagement is this week: January 28-31.
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I'm appearing in "Hoodwinked" at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, New Jersey. The limited engagement is this week: January 28-31.
"Hoodwinked" is a documentary play created by McCarter Theatre's Artistic Director Emily Mann out of interviews, transcripts, and other primary sources. Inspired by questions, confusion, and misinformation that circulated in the media after the Fort Hood massacre, Hoodwinked explores Radical Islam/Islamism and the dangers that ideology can pose not only to western nations but also to moderate/traditional Muslims around the world. The play uses an experimental dramatic structure to weave together scenes inspired by real conversations, speeches, video, and performance of primary text and is designed to be a catalyst for discussion and political action.
I'm appearing with Jacqueline Antaramian, Ramsey Faragallah, Zainab Jah, Fajer Kaisi, Jordan Lage, Melissa Miller and Ryan Shams.
Please spread the word to friends in the area, and I hope to see you at the theater.
Ezra Barnes

EZRA BARNES (R) "Breakfast with Mugabe' at CSC

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Next at Centenary Stage Company: Gina Gionfriddo’s hilarious 'Becky Shaw'

"Blithely cynical and devastatingly funny…witty observations on the emotional damage inflicted by neurotic people in the name of love…Gionfriddo is some kind of genius." —Variety.

With a professional theater season full of premieres and award winning women playwrights, Centenary Stage Company keeps the ball rolling with Gina Gionfriddo’s hilarious Becky Shaw running  February 19 through March 6 in the Lackland Center.  
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Off-Broadway smash hit and now NJ Premiere, Becky Shaw is a comedy from Obie Award-winner Gina Gionfriddo.
"Gina Gionfriddo's comedy of bad manners, a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics among a quartet of men and women in their thirties, is as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage from its first moments to its last…deftly plotted, scabrous and sharp-witted…One of the great pleasures of BECKY SHAW is the way the moral ground keeps shifting underneath your feet." (NY Times). 

When Suzanna decides to set her best friend Max up on a blind date with her husband's mysterious co-worker, Becky Shaw, she sets into motion a series of cataclysmic events forever changing all of their lives. Mixing sharp wit and humor with the taut suspense of a psychological thriller, Becky Shaw is a comedy of romantic errors that keeps audiences at the edge of their seats guessing what will happen next.  Entertainment Weekly has said, "The characters in Gionfriddo’s blind-date-gone-bad black comedy share the potential to revolt…They’re also subversively funny—and improbably charming. Grade: A."  
Centenary Stage Company’s Becky Shaw is directed by the Tony nominated Lynne Taylor-Corbett.  Ms. Taylor - Corbett directed last season’s CSC world premiere of “In the Car with Blossom and Len” and has received Tony Nominations for best director, as well as, best choreographer for Broadway’s “Swing!”.  Recipient of Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations for Off Broadway productions of “Wanda’s World” and “My Vaudeville Man” her work spans the gamut of theatre, dance, television and film.  Ms. Taylor-Corbett has choreographed works for American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, among others.  Her works have been featured on “Live from Lincoln Center” and National Public Television.  Feature films include “Footloose”, “My Blue Heaven” and “Bewitched”.  In 2011, she created a production of Kurt Weill’s “Seven Deadly Sins” for New York City Ballet, with Patti LuPone in the Lotte Lenya role.  Her adaptation of “The Lion King” is in its seventh year at Disney’s park in Hong Kong and her production of “Cougar the Musical” is currently playing Off Broadway.  Ms. Taylor-Corbett, a proud member of the Society of Directors and Choreographers, co-wrote and directed Good Housekeeping’s benefit for the National Women’s History Museum, featuring Meryl Streep, is on the board of Rosie’s Broadway Kids and has served as a consultant for the Hunger Project.  
Performances for Centenary Stage Company’s NJ premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw are Thursdays, February 25 and March 3 at 7:30pm; Fridays, February 19, 26 and March 4 at 8pm; Saturdays, February 20, 27 and March 5 at 8pm; Sundays, February 21, 28 and March 6 at 2pm and Wednesdays, February 24 and March 2 at 2pm.  Centenary Stage Company is also offering a buffet matinee for the Wednesday, February 24 2pmperformance. All performances are located in the Sitnik Theater of the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.
Tickets are $25.00 for adults on Friday and all matinee performances.  Saturday evening performances are $27.50 for adults.  Thursday evening performances are $25.00 for all seats with a 2 for 1 rush ticket special when purchased in person at the CSC box office two hours prior to the performance.  Buffet/matinee is $42.50 per person with a minimum of 25 people.  To reserve for the buffet/matinee contact the CSC box office directly. 
 For more information or to purchase tickets visit or call the CSC box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm and 2 hours prior to every performance.  The CSC box office is located in the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  Centenary Stage Company can also be found on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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.

'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' final four performances at Dover Little Theatre

"Our final four performances are this weekend!

Don't miss this fantastic show! Four more chances to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Note we do have a THURSDAY performance tomorrow night, we added a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. on the 31st, and Friday the 29th and Saturday the 30th show times are as scheduled. All evening performances are at 8 p.m.
Remember--teachers and students qualify for a discount with valid ID on Thursday and Friday nights!

Pre-order tickets at Tickets are also available at the door. Please note--our answering machine was knocked out by the storm but the shows are still on and tickets are available at the door!

See you at the ward for our final week of the show!"

Garrison Keillor rescheduled to Sunday at NJPAC

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) An Evening with Garrison Keillor due to Blizzard 2016 has been rescheduled to Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 7pm. Don’t miss the award-winning theatrical storyteller and host of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion as he shares his homespun humor with NJPAC audience now on Sunday, January 31, 2016 7:00 PM at Prudential Hall. You can still get tickets at or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)

The Grammy winner from Minnesota counts more than 17 million listeners among his fans and has performed in concert halls and with orchestras throughout the country (with Philip Brunelle) as a member of The Hopeful Gospel Quartet and on tour broadcasts of A Prairie Home Companion. Keillor’s most recent role included playing himself in the 2006 movie adaptation of A Prairie Home Companion, featuring Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Tommy Lee Jones.

Among his numerous honors are two Cable ACE awards, a George Foster Peabody Award and the National Humanities Medal of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Buy Tickets
One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102 or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)

Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company honored by National Association of Professional Women

Gayle Stahlhuth 

The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honors Gayle Stahlhuth as a 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. She is recognized with this prestigious distinction for leadership in theater. NAPW is the nation’s leading networking organization exclusively for professional women, boasting 850,000 members and over 200 operating Local Chapters.

“I’m pleased to welcome Gayle into this exceptional group of professional women,”,
said NAPW President Star Jones. “She is a great example of how education and passion can lead to new pathways to success.”
Gayle Stahlhuth is a dynamic, well-known Actress, Playwright, Producer and Director who has appeared in off-Broadway and regional theater, television, and on radio. She has directed plays and performed at the NYC International Fringe Festival, The Samuel French One-Act Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club, Arvada Center in Denver, the Pennsylvania Stage Company and the Phoenix Theater in Indianapolis, IN.
A leader and pioneer in the artist-in-resident movement of the early 1980s, Ms. Stahlhuth became one of the first professionals in her field to receive a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts in a program responsible for bringing art back to public schools. 

Ms. Stahlhuth is currently the Artistic Director of East Lynne Theater Company. Located in Cape May, NJ, the company’s mission is to present and preserve American theater classics and new words based on American literature and history.
After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Indianapolis, Ms. Stahlhuth became a member of Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA and the Dramatists Guild. She has been awarded commissions from The National Portrait Gallery, the Missouri Humanities Council, Theatrewords / USA and other theaters, and grants from the New Jersey Humanities Council and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for the Arts.
Awards & Accomplishments: Bachelor of Arts, University of Indianapolis, Theater; Selected to be one of 200 artists listed in the “Directory of Community Artists,” National Endowment for the Arts
About NAPW 
NAPW’s mission is to provide an exclusive, highly advanced networking forum to successful women executives, professionals and entrepreneurs where they can aspire, connect and achieve. Through innovative resources, unique tools and progressive benefits, professional women interact, exchange ideas, advance their knowledge and empower each other.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SOUNDINGS Readings at Mondo Summit by Writers Theatre

This February, Writers Theatre of New Jersey will be producing its annual SOUNDINGS Reading series at Mondo Summit, located at 426 Springfield Ave in Summit, New Jersey. SOUNDINGS combines new plays from some of the best playwrights in the country with professional actors and directors, allowing audiences to experience powerful new dramas and smart, vibrant comedies close to home. Every reading
is followed by a community discussion with the writer, director, and Artistic Director, John Pietrowski (photo).

Among the plays to be presented are Atop Illyria by Summit Resident Hal Corley, and Walking the Labyrinth by the Artistic Director of Premiere Stages, John Wooten.

“We have assembled a diverse and very compelling group of plays,” said John Pietrowski, Writers Theatre Artistic Director, “including a significant representation from New Jersey-based writers. We’re also looking forward to presenting these readings in the intimate space at Mondo, where the audience can experience the work up close.”

Mondo is Summit’s destination for arts and creativity. A small business dedicated to the arts of all kinds, it features the Marigolds café, Artspace @ Mondo, a gallery, the Mondo Marketplace (a store for original works), and two theatre/gathering spaces for community use. 

Mondo is Conveniently located near plentiful parking, Mondo is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 am-5:30 pm, Saturdays 9-5, and Sunday 9-2. Lunch is served until 2:30.

This year's Soundings readings will take place in the basement theatre. Performances will occur on the following days in February:

Walking the Labyrinth
John Wooten 2/4/2016 Thu 7 PM
Ends of the Earth Lia Romeo 2/5/2016 Fri 7 PM
Atop Illyria Hal Corley 2/6/2016 Sat 7 PM
Festial Quartet David Lee White 2/18/2016 Thu 7 PM
Brilliant Works of Art Donna Hoke 2/19/2016 Fri 7 PM
Interviewese Ian August 2/20/2016 Sat 7 PM
Safekeeping Rob Zellers 2/25/2016 Thu 7 PM
Galilee House Ben Marshall 2/26/2016 Fri 7 PM
The Showman and the Spirit Elisabeth Karlin 2/27/2016 Sat 7 PM
The Community Stephen Kaplan 2/28/2016 Sun 7 PM

John Wooten
Readings are free of charge, with a $10.00 recommended donation (or donate what you can). A Donation of $25 gets you a Soundings Pass, good for all readings.

For more information on any of Writers Theatre’s programs, please visit, or contact Playwrights Theatre at P.O. Box 1295, Madison, NJ, 07940, 973-514-1787 x20 or

Monday, January 25, 2016

Moss Hart's 'Light Up The Sky' at Studio Players in Upper Montclair in March

Light Up the Sky By Moss Hart

Directed By Keith Hoovler

Follow the fireworks that occur on the opening night of a new play, with a cast of characters, one can only find in the theatre of the 1940’s. In walks an entourage, ready to toast Miss Irene Livingston, the star of the show. Piled in her hotel suite are the overly emotional director, the overbearing stage mother, the harried assistants, and that’s just for starters. With just hours before the curtain goes up, everything that can go wrong does. The show must go on. How will it all turn out in the end?

Performance Dates: March 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 24, 25, 26

Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm

Tickets are $20 for adults and $17 for students/seniors, and can be ordered at Brown Paper Tickets or by calling our box office at 973-744-9752.

Studio Playhouse
14 Alvin Pl, Upper Montclair, New Jersey 07043

Aspire Performing Arts Company to present an encore performance 'Children of Eden'

On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Aspire Performing Arts Company will present an encore performance of its production of Children of Eden, by musical theater legend Stephen Schwartz (WickedPippinGodspell).

The production received rave reviews from theatregoers its opening weekend. This is the last opportunity to see this amazing cast of children, teens, and adults from Wayne and surrounding areas perform in this incredible production.

The encore performance will take place on Thursday, January 28 at 7:00pm at Wayne Hills High School, located at 272 Berdan Avenue in Wayne, NJ. Children of Eden is directed by Lisa Beth Vettoso. Randi Seffinger serves as Associate Director and Rich Lovallo is Music Director.

Children of Eden is a joyous and inspirational musical about parents, children, and faith, not to mention centuries of unresolved family business. The show ultimately delivers a bittersweet but inspiring message: that "the hardest part of love... is letting go." The original production was produced here in New Jersey in 1997 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, starring Stephanie Mills and Adrian Zmed.

Stephen Schwartz is quoted as saying, "I think the work of which I am most proud is Children of Eden, for several reasons. To begin with, I think it's my best score musically. It also contains the song that is maybe my personal favorite of my songs from a purely visceral point of view, ‘Stranger to the Rain’; a song that embodies how I feel about parenting (which is very important to me), ‘The Hardest Part of Love’; and above all, the song that most espouses my philosophy of life and which, if I had one song to be remembered by, is the one I would choose: ‘In the Beginning.’"

Lisa Beth Vettoso, Aspire PAC’s Artistic Director, says “It has been a personal dream of mine to direct Children of Eden, and it has been on my ‘short list’ for about 10 years. What I love more than anything else about Children of Eden is how it speaks to the heart of what makes each of us human. And how, ultimately, we have free will, and with that comes the responsibility that we control our own actions and our own destiny - and what power and beauty lies in that. I am thrilled to give my actors the opportunity to share in a show that means so much to me, and provide them with a memorable experience to last a lifetime.”

Tickets are available via Brown Paper Tickets by visiting For more information, visit or contact Aspire PAC at 201-220-4933 or

Cast photo courtesy of Aspire