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.

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