Tuesday, October 31, 2017

7th Annual Bickford Benefit Concert featuring the Bickford Benefit All Stars

The 7th Annual Bickford Benefit Concert featuring the Bickford Benefit All Stars comes to the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum for one night only on Monday, November 13, at 7:30 PM. The all-star ensemble, comprised of some of the best hot jazz players in the country, includes clarinetist Dan Levinson, trumpeter Mike Davis, trombonist Jim Fryer, pianist Jeff Barnhart, bassist Brian Nalepka, drummer Stéphane Séva, and guitarist/singer Molly Ryan. All of the ticket sales from this concert will go to support programming at the Bickford Theatre. 

One of the most anticipated shows of the year at the intimate theater in Morristown, the Bickford Benefit Concert is always a rousing evening of hot jazz that boosts the spirits of everyone both on stage and in the audience thanks to a terrific band.

One of the most prolific musicians in the world, Dan Levinson was recently honored with the Hot House Magazine Fans Decision Jazz Award for Best Clarinet presented at a glamorous ceremony in New York City. He has performed on more than 150 CDs, can be heard on numerous movie soundtracks, and on the Grammy Award –winning HBO television series Boardwalk Empire.

Trumpet player Mike Davis is one of the vanguard of young musicians bringing traditional jazz to prominence in the New York City music scene.   The Wall Street Journal called this Manhattan School of Music graduate an “eloquent trumpet prodigy.”

The trombonist Jim Fryer hails from Boston but is now based in New York where he tours internationally both as a sideman and a bandleader. He is comfortable in all styles of music but is particularly well-known in hot jazz circles where he works with artists such as Dan Levinson, Cynthia Sayer, Jon-Erik Kellso, and Randy Sandke.

Sirius/XM Radio called pianist Jeff Barnhart “the premier stride pianist in the USA” and he has become a mainstay at many jazz and ragtime festivals. On bass, the group features New Jersey-born Brian Nalepka and on drums, it’s the French musician Stéphane Séva best known for his work with the group Paris Washboard making a rare US appearance.

The popular Molly Ryan will be the featured singer with the band and will play guitar. Critics have raved about Molly’s ability to evoke the big band singers of the 1930s and she can be heard regularly at the most prestigious venues in New York including Birdland, the Iridium, and the Café Carlyle.

Tickets for the Bickford Benefit All Stars are $20 for museum members, $22 in advance, and $27 at the door. All seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Photo: Molly Ryan, Dan Levinson, Mike Davis, and Jim Fryer will appear with the Bickford Benefit All Stars on November 13 for the 7th annual concert to benefit the Bickford Theatre’s concerts. Photo by Aidan Grant.

‘Disney’s Newsies The Musical’ Holiday Treat at Centenary Stage Company


This Holiday Season Centenary Stage Company is set to “seize the day” with their family holiday spectacular production of Disney’s Newsies The Musical November 24 through December 10 in the Lackland Performing Arts Center.

Disney’s Newsies, based on the 1992 motion picture, features a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Sister Act) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy).  While on Broadway, Newsies received 23 major theatrical nominations – including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography.

Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged "newsies," who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.

Newsies is inspired by the real-life "Newsboy Strike of 1899," when newsboy Kid Blink led a band of orphan and runaway newsies on a two-week-long action against Pulitzer, Hearst and other powerful newspaper publishers. Timely and fresh, the fictionalized adaptation of Newsies addresses age-old themes of social injustice, exploitative labor practices and David-versus-Goliath struggles as the young learn to harness their power against a corrupt establishment. High-energy with non-stop thrills and featuring eight brand-new songs by the original team of Menken and Feldman while keeping many of the beloved songs from the film, including “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York” and “Santa Fe.”

Featuring a cast of over 50 performers from across the tri – state area, Centenary Stage Company’s production of Disney’s Newsies is directed by broadway, film and television Michael Blevins.  Blevins has appeared in several Broadway productions including Bring Back Birdie, Neil Simon's Little Me, and The Tap Dance Kid in which he created the role of Winslow Alexander. He has appeared in the Tony Awards Show, as well as many other television shows, feature films and TV commercials, is widely known for his portrayal of Mark in Sir Richard Attenborough's film A Chorus Line, and is also featured in Chaplin. He is also the director of the new Musical Theatre Works Academy.  He has worked with many noted directors and choreographers, among them Danny Daniels, Bob Fosse, Woody Allen, Vivian Matalon, Joe Layton, Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Peter Gennaro. He has choreographed music videos for Amy Grant, five national commercials as well as the off- Broadway production of The Mad Forrest, and his own show, the Musical Count to Ten at New York's Musical Theatre Works.  Blevins also serves as director of Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop.

Centenary Stage Company’s annual Family Holiday Spectacular is a celebration of all Centenary Stage Company programming, by combining the talents of professional guest artists alongside local talent, Centenary University faculty, staff, students and students of the Young Performers Workshop programming.  Centenary Stage Company’s production of Disney’s Newsies the Musical is sponsored in part by season sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, series sponsor The House of the Good Shepherd and event sponsors Fulton Bank of New Jersey and Hackettstown Medical Center.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life – The Radio Play’ ‘POPS UP’ in Union Township

Hosted by Unity Bank

won life

(Union Township, NJ, December 2 and 3): POP UP THEATER – performances in unexpected places -- continues in Union’s Downtown Center when The Theater Project presents its annual holiday production IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: The Radio Play in a cleverly converted annex at Unity Bank. The Theater Project will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare for the big radio broadcast of the story made famous in the Frank Capra film of the same name. Audiences experience the tears and laughter of WONDERFUL LIFE performed live, along with the novelty of seeing the backstage mechanics of an old-time radio broadcast. They can also participate in a pre-show holiday sing-along at 1:45 just before the show.

tpMasthead01rzd“This story about friendship and small acts of kindness seems to become more and more popular every year,” says Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project. “For many of our patrons, kicking off their holidays with this event has become a holiday tradition. We’re hoping to meet some new people from Union and at the same time, introduce our “regulars” to the great shops and restaurants in the downtown shopping district.” The Theater Project has added a directory of Union Center eateries to its web site.

bk dawsonThe show will be performed in Unity Bank’s Stuyvesant Avenue branch, with the support of Union’s Downtown Business District, the Chamber of Commerce, and a Union County HEART grant. Tickets are $15 when purchased online by November 28 / $20 after November 29 or at the door. Tickets and further information are available at

WHAT: It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, December 2 and 3, at 2 PM

WHO: The Theater Project

WHERE: Unity Bank, 952 Stuyvesant Avenue, Union, NJ

TIX: $15 / $20 at

INFO:, 908 809-8865


1. Reprising their 2016 roles as Mary and George Bailey are Anna Gundersen and David Federman, center. The children were (left to right) Michael Mezzo, Owen Shipman, Riley Fry, Sally O’Sullivan, and Ella Shipman. (Photo credit: Kevin Sebastian)

2. BK Dawson plays Clarence, the Angel

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ next at Summit Playhouse

The Summit Playhouse will present the Tony Award-winning musical "The Bridges of Madison County" this November.  Performances are November 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 5 and 12 at 2:00pm.

The Summit Playhouse is located at 10 New England Avenue, Summit, NJ and tickets can be purchased online at

Based on the best-selling novel, "The Bridges of Madison County" tells of a forbidden love affair between a photographer and a housewife that changes them forever. The musical captures the lyrical expanse of America's heartland along with the yearning entangled in the eternal question" "What if...?" Winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Score and Orchestrations, this sweeping romance about the roads we travel, the doors we open and the bridges we dare to cross will leave audiences breathless.

Image-15 (1)"The first thing that drew me to The Bridges of Madison County was the score," said director Jeffrey Fiorello. "Jason Robert Brown is probably the most versatile composer today. His music is not only interesting to listen to, it also has enough of a flavor for the period that is being portrayed. The Bridges of Madison County is no exception. He has really given each character a unique musical style. What has kept me interested as a director is the story of Francesca and Robert. It is a true, honest, and flawed love story. Francesca is faced with making a choice between her one great love, or the love of her family.  Her struggle is real and through her we too are reminded that in life there are some truly significant choices we must all make."

The cast includes Tina Kaye, Sean Finnerty, Sal Navarro, Jodi Freeman Maloy, Rich Maloy, Samantha Kaplan, Sean Switzer, Anna Lovallo, Catherine Flynn, Will K. Carey, Kathleen Mallon, and Kevin Ohlweiler.  Music direction by Jack Bender.
For more visit: call 908-273-2192 or email

Monday, October 30, 2017

First SoloFest in December at Luna Stage

Ami-BrabsonwebPhenomenalWoman_photograph_1 (1)

For two weeks this December, Luna Stage is proud to present five extraordinary solo performances from five singular New Jersey artists. From the legacy of female codebreakers in World War II (Once In...Never Out!—June Ballinger) to the intense absurdity of the social work system (Call Me Crazy: The Diary of a Mad Social Worker—Helena D. Lewis), from a musical celebration of extraordinary black women (Phenomenal Woman—Ami Brabson –PHOTO ABOVE) to a gently humorous coming of age story in the wake of mental illness (Panther Hollow—David Lee White), all culminating with a musical performance by a reluctant holiday jam-band (a concert featuring Trent Armand Kendall), there is something for everyone! Each performance is sold individually For more info and tickets go to or call the box office (973) 395-5551.

Performance Schedule for SoloFest:

December 8th at 8pm  Ami Brabson, Phenomenal Woman

December 9th at 8pm Helena D. Lewis Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker

December 10th at 3pm Ami Brabson, Phenomenal Woman

December 10th at 7pm Helena D. Lewis, Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker

December 15th at 8pm David Lee White, Panther Hollow

December 16th at 8pm June Ballinger, Once In...Never Out!

December 17th at 3pm Trent Armand Kendall, A Reluctant Holiday Jam Session

555 Valley Road

West Orange, NJ 08052

(973) 395-5551 ext. 204

Valley-road-may-2009-final21 (1)

Auditions: ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ at Old Library Theatre


Old Library Theatre would like to announce auditions for The Robber Bridegroom, our first Main Stage Production for our 2018 season!

Auditions will be held Saturday, November 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Callbacks will be held Sunday, November 19, from 2-5 p.m. You can preregister for the auditions here.

The Robber Bridegroom
Performances February 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 & 25, 2018
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00pm. Sunday at 2:00pm.
Directed By Alyse Neubert. Produced by Craig Tiede
Music Direction by David Sheridan. Choreographed by Alex Acevedo.
Stage Management by Ellie Anderson

-OLT-BW-Logo-Thick21Old Library Theatre performs at the Fair Lawn Community Center and is located at the intersection of 20th Street and Kipp Street, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410.

Please prepare either two contrasting vocal selections (32 bars from a musical or classic bluegrass), OR a short character driven and physicality based monologue (60-90 seconds) and ​ONE 32 bar selection of music. Musical selections should be in the in the style of Robber Bridegroom or from a rock musical. Hair, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Bright Star to name a few. Be prepared to move at call backs and prepare your best Mississippi accent.

**All roles are open.

Set in eighteenth century Mississippi, ‘The Robber Bridegroom’ is a darkly comic Southern fairy tale about a charming gentleman bandit, the rich plantation owner’s daughter he loves, the wicked stepmother who wants her dead, and an evil thief who carries his brother’s head around in a trunk.
We are looking to cast about 15-20 energetic, hardworking and creative people. We are looking for actors who make bold and big choices, both physically and vocally. We will be looking for singers who can move and who exude confidence and fearlessness. Dance ability is not required for all roles, but for some.

We will be running a dance audition before, during, or after the vocal audition. You may be asked to dance at any point during the audition; after you sing, please do not leave until we let you know you are done!


Jamie Lockhart/the Bandit of the Wood – A “gent and a robber all in one,” Jamie Lockhart/the Bandit of the Wood is the show’s main character. His true identity, Jamie, is an honest, law-abiding man who ends up engaged to Clement Musgrove’s daughter Rosamund (though she is in disguise); while his alter-ego, the Bandit, is a swindling robber who comes across the undisguised Rosamund in the wood and becomes her lover.

Rosamund – Clement Musgrove’s beautiful, naive, doted-upon daughter by his first wife. She meets the Bandit of the Wood and falls in love with him; she disguises herself and makes herself undesirably dim-witted when Jamie Lockhart comes to visit, unaware that he and the Bandit are the same person (and he is unaware Rosamund is the girl he met in the wood).

Salome – Clement’s second wife. Older and ugly, she calls herself the “prickly pear” to the “lily bud” that was Rosamund’s late mother, who was just as beautiful as Rosamund. However, she is quite a bit more intelligent than her husband and stepdaughter; detesting Rosamund, she puts her intelligence to use and spends the duration of the show thinking up schemes to kill Rosamund, enlisting the help of the “village idiot,” Goat.

Clement Musgrove – Rosamund’s father, Clement is the richest planter on the Natchez Trace. Clement still harbours longings for his first wife (often he compares his daughter to his first wife, though it always accidentally is in a sexual manner), and this makes Salome, his second wife, incredibly jealous. Clement vows to marry Rosamund off to Jamie, who he doesn’t realise is the Bandit of the Wood.

Little Harp – The most gruesome bandit in the history of the Trace, Little Harp is a horny, dirty man. He is violent and seems to only fear the Bandit of the Wood. He spends the show looking for money to steal and women to rape – particularly helpless girls who are tied up – but through this, he becomes intricately involved in the show’s mayhem. He is the brute half of the Harp brothers duo. However, he does prove to have some of his brother’s intelligence, as he comes up with several ingenious schemes (though they all fail in the end and cause his death).

Goat – The dumb boy with a brain the size of a scuppernong seed, Goat is enlisted by Salome to carry out her plans to kill Rosamund in exchange for a suckling pig, though Goat’s many attempts to do as she asks go awry. In the end, he strikes a better deal with Little Harp. His sister is Airie.

Big Harp – A “cut off head in a trunk,” Big Harp was Little Harp’s elder brother and the brain half of the duo. He was put to death for thieving, but his brother rescued his severed head and carries it around in a trunk. However, Little Harp makes a deal with Goat and exchanges his brother’s head for “Rosamund” (who in reality is Airie, Goat’s sister).

Raven – The Harp brothers’ talking raven. Accompanying the brothers initially in the show, Raven is stolen by Jamie and appears throughout the show advising the characters to “turn back, my bonny.” Little Harp eventually kills Raven.

Airie – Goat’s sister. Just as dumb as her brother, Airie has no lines, but plays a pivotal part when Goat decides to trick Little Harp and put Airie in a sack and claim it’s Rosamund. Airie escapes while Jamie/the Bandit knocks Little Harp out.

Goat & Airie’s mother – Only moderately more intelligent than her children, Goat’s mother all but forces Goat to make a deal with Salome.

THINK FAST: Theater Project Solicits Short Plays for February Competition


Submission Deadline is November 17, 2017

(New Jersey) -- The Theater Project, an award-winning, professional theater in Maplewood, NJ, is now soliciting short plays for “Think Fast,” its fifth annual short play competition February 16-18, 2018. The contest is open to adult playwrights in the New Jersey-New York area.

The Theater Project, which also offers a competition for high school playwrights and presentations of original plays by New Jersey authors, sees this as a logical extension of its mission.

THINK FAST! is the brainchild of the members of The Theater Project’s Playwrights’ Workshop, who act as judges for the competition. “We were looking for ways to support playwrights in the metropolitan area,” says Joseph Vitale, a member of the workshop whose plays have been produced in New York and New Jersey. “Our event gives writers the opportunity to stage their works in a professional theater and in a vibrant, culturally sophisticated community.”

“One acts allow writers to experiment with a range of characters, topics and plots. Nothing is more exciting than seeing new work take shape, and we’re happy to be able to share that with our community.” says Mark Spina, artistic director of The Theater Project.

Plays can be either dramas or comedies but must be no more than 15 minutes running time. The deadline for submitting plays is November 17, 2017. Plays selected will have three performances – on Friday, February 16, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 17 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m. At each performance, the audience will vote for its favorite play. The winner will receive the “Audience Choice” award after the Sunday performance. In addition, a panel of judges will bestow awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Play. The recipient of the “Judges’ Choice” award for Best Play, will receive a $500 prize. Performances will take place The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ.

There is no submission charge but plays selected for “Think Fast” will be required to submit a $150 production fee to help underwrite the cost of the competition.

Complete submission details are available on our theater’s web site:

The competition accepts electronic submissions only at Include in the Subject line: “Submission + the Title of Your Play.”

The Theater Project, a professional theater company based in Maplewood, NJ, began in 1994 with the goal of bringing the best contemporary plays to our community. The company is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary. It presents performances and classes in Cranford, Maplewood, Rahway and Union.

WHAT: 2018 THINK FAST Short Play Competition
WHEN: November 17, 2017 Submission Deadline

WHO: Adult Playwrights, New York/New Jersey metropolitan area

INFO:, 908 809-8865

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Next at Barn Theatre in Montville

Fiddler on the Roof - Barn Theatre NJ

The Barn Theatre of Montville, New Jersey will be presenting "Fiddler on the Roof". Performances will be on November 10, 18, 24, 25, and December 1, & 2 at 8pm; and on November 11, 12, 19 & 26 at 2pm. Tickets are $25 (senior/student tickets are $23 on matinees only).

Set in the little village of Anatevka, the story centers on Tevye, a poor milkman, and his five daughters. With the help of a colorful and tight-knit Jewish community, Tevye tries to protect his daughters and instill them with traditional values in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof's universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness.

lynn perrys llThe cast of “ Fiddler on the Roof " features: Marty Andreas as Lazor Wolf, Claudine Boucher in ensemble, Robert Ciszak as featured dancer, Dave Conley as Tevye, Jeffery Gallup in ensemble, Susan Hagen in ensemble, Lynn Hart as Golda (PHOTO), Allie Hnasko as Tzeitel, Alison Hough as Hodel, Jackie Klein as Shprintze, Lenard Klein in ensemble, Mindy Knapp in ensemble, Emily Knapp in ensemble, Zachary Love as Perchik, Dan Malloy as Motel Cheryl Morraco Bookstaver as Grandma Tzeitel, Claire McDonald in ensemble, Dave McDonald as Mordkha, Tom Morrissey as Constable, Sasha Nelson as Bielke, Shannon Phillips as FrumaiSarah, Adelaide Prekopa as Chava, Austin Reza as featured dancer, Lawrence Sanders as Beggar/Priest, David Watts as Fiddler, Everett Winkler as Avraham, and  Darlene Yannetta as Yenta

The Barn Theatre is located on Skyline Drive in Montville, NJ, just minutes off Exit 47 from Route 287. For more reservations, information or directions, call The Barn Theatre Box Office at (973) 334-9320, or visit The Barn Theatre on the web at


Dave Conley as Tevye, with David Watts as the Fiddler. [Photograph by Tom Schopper]

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Review: Trailer Park Treasure? Kim Zimmer & Carl Wallnau Terrific in ‘Bakersfield Mist’

22770697_10156398087679041_3138977220597447664_oSeveral years ago we reviewed a charming play ‘Lost Boy Found in Wholefoods’ at Premiere Stages. It was directed by John Pietrowski and starred Kim Zimmer, a four-time Daytime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Lead Actress. We wrote that Kim, “a New Jersey treasure,” was giving the equivalent of an acting master class. We urged drama students to rush to see Kim Zimmer’s masterful performance. Now turn the clock forward to last night at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum where Kim Zimmer and Carl Wallnau are both giving remarkable, master- class level performances in Stephen Sachs’ comedy/drama ‘Bakersfield Mist.’ The play, beautifully directed by the Bickford’s Producing Artistic Director Eric Hafen, is inspired by true events that raise questions about what makes art and people truly authentic.

The plot is simple: A 50ish woman who lives alone in a California trailer park purchases a Jackson Pollack style painting for all of three dollars at a thrift shop. When a local art teacher informs her that he believes it is a real Jackson Pollack…. worth millions, she contracts for a world-class art expert Lionel Percy (Carl Wallnau) to travel from New York to her modest home (totally furnished with thrift shop specials) to hopefully authenticate her painting as a long-lost Pollock masterpiece.

Kim Zimmer is an unemployed bartender desperate to have the painting declared genuine. For the better part of 85 minutes, she shrewdly spars with Percy about art and life, Surprisingly, this woman, who Percy clearly looks down on, proves a match for him. Wallnau is spot-on as Percy. He has the perfect look, style and manner for the part. This is a bit of type casting by director Hafen since Wallnau is the head of the Fine Arts Department at Centenary University. A highpoint is his transformation from the snooty self-assured art expert who dismisses the painting after a mere glance to the depressing realization that he has lost a battle of wits with Maude.

Sachs raises a thought-provoking question…Do we recognize great art only in the right surroundings? How can this painting be a masterpiece in a trailer park? 

Kim Zimmer is brilliant as the free-swearing Maude. She nails this sad woman who has led a dreary, unhappy life, improved only by frequent contact with alcohol. Her one remaining passion is for the painting to be a Pollack. (Hint: Not for the reason you would think). Her fiery word battles with Percy reveal she is more than ‘street smart.’


The big question whether Percy will verify the painting or declare it a fake can only be answered by visit to the Bickford.

Bakersfield Mist is a fascinating thought-proving comedy/drama that soars due to the excellence of Kim Zimmer and Carl Wallnau. This Eric Hafen production once again confirms that for superior theater it is not necessary to cross the Hudson. The talent from actor to prop person is equal to any stage.

Producing Artistic Director Eric Hafen when asked about Bakersfield Mist, said, “When I read the play, I knew that it was perfect for the Bickford Theatre because of our affiliation with the Morris Museum. Stephen Sachs tackles the large questions on creativity and the value of art with wit and humor.”

You have until November 5 to see Bakersfield Mist. The play is 85 minutes long with no intermission. It contains Adult Language

Director Hafen’s creative team includes: Roy Pancirov scenic designer; Roman Klima lighting and sound; Christina Lockerby costume designer; Dani Pietrowski prop designer; A.C. Weary fight director; Madeleine Blossom assistant stage manager; Leanne Long-Hulin production stage manager; and Lewis Perlmutter technical director.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio    October 27, 2017

carl and kimTickets for Bakersfield Mist are $45 for the General Public; $40 for Seniors; $38 for Museum

Friday, October 27, 2017

Premiere Stages to present three free readings of the 2017/2018 Liberty Live Commission, Black Tom Island


Premiere Stages will present three free readings of the 2017/2018 Liberty Live Commission, Black Tom Island by Jersey City resident Martin Casella, November 17th through 19th in the Miron Student Center Little Theatre at Kean University. Based on an actual incident that took place in Jersey City in 1916, Black Tom Island explores the first documented terrorist attack on American soil through the lens of a fictionalized Slovak immigrant and his wife who may or may not be involved in the attack. The reading will be helmed by producing artistic director John J. Wooten, and feature actors Michael Stewart Allen, Damian Buzzerio, Katrina Michaels, and Niccolò Walsh.

The Liberty Live Commission, Premiere’s first commissioning program, has supported writers over two-year development cycles continuously since 2011. The Liberty Live Commission is a partnership with the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University, and supports the development of new plays about the rich and complex history of New Jersey. Over the course of two years, New Jersey writers are given dramaturgical and artistic support, along with a $1,000 commission, to create an original play that will be staged at Liberty Hall’s historic Carriage House. Past commissions have included plays by Deborah Brevoort, James Christy, and E. M. Lewis, showcasing New Jersey history from the American Revolution to the eve of World War II.

As the founder and producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, John J. Wooten has developed and directed numerous new plays, including The Beautiful Dark, The Good Counselor and Follow Me to Nellie’s, all of which were honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. Earlier this season, Mr. Wooten directed a developmental reading of Nicole Pandolfo’s Brick City, recipient of a 2017 NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission, and the New Jersey Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s acclaimed Skeleton Crew.

“While the attack on Black Tom Island happened 100 years ago, the play’s subject matter is surprisingly topical,” stated Mr. Wooten. “And what makes Marty’s study of an immigrant couple’s acclimation to America all the more fascinating is that it is based on a true story, and is effectively dramatized against the backdrop of a lost New Jersey island.”

MartyCasella2Playwright Martin Casella is an actor and writer perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Marty Casey in the 1982 classic, Poltergeist. He served as director Steven Spielberg’s assistant on Raiders of the Lost Ark, and his writing for film and television includes projects for HBO, CBS, ABC, Disney, Universal, and Warner Brothers. Mr. Casella’s plays include The Report, Beautiful Dreamer, and the GLAAD-nominated The Irish Curse, published by Samuel French. He recently completed the teleplay for the upcoming film The Land of Sometimes, starring Ewan McGregor and Helena Bonham Carter.

Black Tom Island runs Friday, November 17 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, November 18 at 3:00 pm, and Sunday, November 19 at 3:00 pm.  All readings take place in the Miron Student Center Little Theatre, located on the Kean University campus at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union. Admission is free, and reservations are highly recommended. All unclaimed seats at the time of curtain will be released to the waitlist. To reserve seats, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or email For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Liberty Live is made possible in part by a HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.


Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at


Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education.  Visit

‘PATTERMANIA’ next at Light Opera of New Jersey

Only one week until our season opening production!

Tickets start at just $10 for students and children under 18. 

Ever wonder what happens in rehearsal? Check out the video below.


November 3 at 8 pm
November 4 at 2 pm and 8 pm

St Mark's Episcopal Church, 140 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Learn more here


Our other upcoming productions are:

Gaetano Donizetti's 


directed by Jamie Baer Peterson and Lauran Corson 

with musical direction by Michael Avagliano

March 23 and 24, 2018 at 8 pm

St Mark's Episcopal Church, 140 South Finley Avenue, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Learn more here



Music by


Lyrics by


Book by


Based on the Victor Hugo novel and songs from the Disney film

directed by Jeffrey Fiorello

with musical direction by Stephen Fox

July 13, 14, 20 and 21, 2018 at 8pm
July 15 and 22, 2018 at 2pm

South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange, NJ 07079

Learn more here

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 Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program.

Auditions: Grades 9-12 for Two River Theater’s ‘A Little Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors’


Auditions for interested high-school students will be held at Two River Theater on November 13. To schedule an audition appointment, contact Education Assistant Amanda Espinoza at

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces an opportunity for student actors, stage managers, designers, and run crew in grades 9-12 to be involved in the theater’s upcoming performances of A Little Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, running March 6-11, 2018 on the stage of Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, adapted and directed by Sara Holdren.  A Little Shakespeare is supported by OceanFirst, The Jorgensen Foundation, and Monmouth University.

A Little Shakespeare

One of Two River’s most popular Education programs, A Little Shakespeare launched in 2014 and now introduces the works of Shakespeare to hundreds of young people each season. Through this program, Two River produces a 75-minute abridged version of a Shakespeare play performed by as many as 20 high school students, directed and designed by theater professionals. Student actors are cast through auditions, which are followed by three months of rehearsals, including script analysis, blocking, and character development.

This season, the Little Shakespeare production will be The Comedy of Errors, adapted and directed by Sara Holdren. Holdren, who was appointed the theater critic for New Yorkmagazine in July 2017, is a director and teacher. She specializes in Shakespeare, reimagined classics, and spectacular, outsized stories new and old.

A Little Shakespeare includes a series of eight performances, including four student matinees, which are geared toward young people ages 9 and up. Each student matinee includes a one-hour in-school pre-show workshop conducted by a professional Two River teaching artist, as well as a talkback after the show with the student actors.

Auditions for Actors

Student actors should prepare a memorized Shakespeare monologue that consists of 15-20 lines of text from any Shakespeare play. Students will then be paired up and asked to read scenes.

Auditions will be held at Two River Theater on Monday, November 13 by appointment only. New this season, Two River is also accepting video auditions through Wednesday, August 15. To schedule an audition or for more information about video auditions, contact Amanda Espinoza, Education Assistant, at and include your full name, school, and cell phone number.

Opportunities for the Production Crew and Run Team

Students interested in opportunities to work as an assistant director, assistant stage manager, director, assistant designer, or on the production’s run crew should email Amanda Espinoza, Education Assistant, at by December 1 with information about yourself and your experience.

For more information about A Little Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, visit

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Audition: Open Call for “Lovers and Other Strangers”


Center Players, Freehold’s resident theater company, will be holding open auditions for its “Signature Series” presentation of “Lovers and Other Strangers,” by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna to be directed by Michael Tota. It is scheduled to be presented Feb. 9 – March 11, 2018 at Center Playhouse, located at 35 South Street in downtown Freehold. Auditions will take place Nov. 13 and 14th.


WHAT: Auditions for “Lovers and Other Strangers” by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna

WHERE: Center Playhouse, 35 South Street, Freehold, NJ.

PERFORMANCE DATES: Feb 9 -11, 16-18, 23-25, March 2-4 and 9-11, 2018

AUDITION DATES: Mon. Nov. 13th at 7pm Tues. Nov. 14th at 7pm

AUDITION MATERIAL: Be prepared to read from sides from show

BRING: Headshot and resume if available

SYNOPSIS: A hit on Broadway and later a popular film, the story is told through five comedic vignettes. This version of the play includes the popular sequence Hal and Cathy which was created for the film. Other scenes include Brenda and Jerry, dealing with the lead-up to a seduction, and another, Johnny and Wilma, with a married couple's quarrel. Another, Mike and Susan, deals with a groom getting cold feet the night before his wedding and the last, Bea, Frank, Richie and Joan, with a father and mother struggling to help their son gain confidence about his marriage.


Brenda: Early 20s, attractive, vulnerable, very mod-ish, her glibness is her defensive façade.

Jerry: Late 20s – early 30s, average to handsome man on the make, tries very hard to be smooth but doesn’t quite cut it.

Wilma: Late 30s, a strong attractive girl looking for her femininity.

Johnny: 40-ish, a maybe paunchy, maybe balding, ex-Marine who is fighting a losing battle to maintain his male superiority.

Susan: Early-mid 20s, attractive, sensitive, soft, sweet and passive.

Mike: Late 20s-early 30s, big, energetic, masculine, openly sensitive.

Frank: 45 – 55, strong, stubborn, old-fashioned, not much formal education, second generation American father.

Bea: Female counterpart to Frank.

Richie: Mid 20s, average looking, introspective.

Joan: Mid 20s, pretty, overly romantic and not too bright.

Hal: 50s, having an affair with Cathy who is pressuring him to leave his wife of 32 years.

Cathy: 30s, having an affair for five years with Hal, wants him to leave his wife for her.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact: Michael Tota 732-371-6117

Non-union, no pay.

Next at CSC’s annual Fringe Festival: ‘Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show’

Seeger Voucher Pic

Centenary Stage Company’s annual Fringe Festival continues in the Lackland Performing Arts Center as actor/musician Randy Noojin returns to Centenary Stage Company with his brand new solo show Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show running November 9 through 12.

Noojin who stunned audiences last season as Woody Guthrie in his solo show Hard Travelin’ with Woody Guthrie, resurrects icon Pete Seeger, a folk singer and social activist popular during the 40’s until his death in 2014. He wrote protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture, and environmental issues, fluctuating his popularity throughout his life. This show is set in 1982 Washington, DC as a fundraiser of US – Cuban normalization.  Featuring the iconic music of Seeger, Noojin explores Seeger’s work, struggles and life as an folksinger and activist.  Mesmerizing visuals from are projected throughout the solo performance creating an ocular experience immersing the audience in the atmosphere of Seeger’s time. Noojin expertly “captures that mixture of pragmatism and optimism that made Seeger so irresistible to his many fans and followers” (Paulanne Simmons, Theatre Life). Through his brilliant script and mesmerizing visuals, Noojin emulates Pete Seeger to tell of his personal struggles for free speech.

LacklandStage250Performances for Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show are Nov. 9 through 12 in the Kutz Theatre of The Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Specific performance times are Thursday, November 9 at 7:30PM; Friday, November 10 at 8PM; Saturday, November 11 at 8PM and Sunday, November 12 at 2PM.  Ticket prices for Seeger: A Multimedia Solo Show are $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children under 12 on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon performances.  The Saturday evening performance are $27.50 for adults and $25.00 for children under 12.  Thursday evening performance is $25.00 for all seats with a Buy one/Get one rush ticket special.  To qualify for the BOGO rush ticket special tickets must be purchased in person at the CSC box office as early as two hours prior to performance time.  BOGO offer is not valid for advance ticket sales and may not be combine with any other special offer or discount.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra performs works by Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev


The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Xian Zhang present works by Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, November 30–December 3 in Englewood, Newark and New Brunswick. Pianist Stephen Hough, whom The Times of London calls “one of the greatest living pianists,” performs Rachmaninoff’s kaleidoscopic Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini on a program that also includes the composer’s Vocalise and the NJSO premiere of Prokofiev’s Sixth Symphony, a poignant post-war elegy.

Performances take place on Thursday, November 30, at 7:30 pm at bergenPAC in Englewood; Friday, December 1, at 8 pm and Sunday, December 3 at 3 pmat the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark; and Saturday, December 2, at 8 pm at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

The NJSO Academy Orchestra—the top ensemble of the NJSO Youth Orchestras family—opens the December 1 concert with a showcase performance of Shostakovich’s Festive Overture under the baton of Interim Artistic Director José Luis Domínguez.

In a special NJSO Accent event in New Brunswick, NJSO patrons can tour the Zimmerli Museum exhibition “Russian and Soviet Art, Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017” with curator Julia Tulovsky on December 2 at 5 pm before the NJSO’s State Theatre New Jersey performance. Tickets for the tour are $10; reservations are required. Additional information is available at

The weekend’s NJSO Accent events also include Classical Conversations one hour before the November 30 and December 3 performances. The Orchestra holds its annual Toys for Tots drive at all performances; patrons can bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate in the lobby.

Concert tickets start at $20 and are available for purchase at or 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).


Hough Plays Rachmaninoff

Thu, Nov 30, at 7:30 pm | bergenPAC in Englewood

Fri, Dec 1, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark *

Sat, Dec 2, at 8 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Sun, Dec 3, at 3 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Xian Zhang, conductor

Stephen Hough, piano

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


RACHMANINOFF Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

PROKOFIEV Symphony No. 6 (NJSO Premiere)

* Special NJSO Academy Orchestra performance: Friday’s concert opens with a performance by the NJSO Youth Orchestras’ Academy Orchestra.

Learn more at


Classical Conversation—Thu, Nov 30 at 6:30 pm and Sun, Dec 3 at 2 pm
Enjoy a lively Classical Conversation before the performance. Learn more about the music from NJSO musicians, guest artists and other engaging insiders.

Museum Tour—Sat, Dec 2 at 5 pm
Enhance your concert experience with this exclusive opportunity to tour the Zimmerli Museum’s special exhibition—Russian and Soviet Art, Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017—with curator Julia Tulovsky. $10, reservations required. More info and reservations.

Toys for Tots
Bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to the NJSO’s annual Toys for Tots drive.

New Jersey Ballet at Centenary Stage Company

Marietta Song_SM

The New Jersey Ballet returns to Centenary Stage Company for an exciting double feature on Saturday, November 4 at 8PM and Sunday, November 5 at 2PM in the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  The Saturday, November 4 at 8PM presentation features a selection of the New Jersey Ballet repertory works.  Then on Sunday, November 5 at 2PM the New Jersey Ballet returns to the Lackland Performing Arts Center for a special family event presenting the timeless favorite Cinderella.

Saturday evening’s selections include Design with Strings.  Choreographed by John Taras and set to the music of Peter I. Tchaikovsky, this one – act ballet, set to Tchaikovsky’s haunting Trio in A Minor, shows the strong neoclassical influence of Taras’ master, George Balanchine.  Facets choreographed by Ali Pourfarrokh with music by Gustav Mahler will also be featured.  Set to the third movement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony the ballet is a lyrical piece for three couples, which explores deep emotions and interactions between people.  It captures the elegiac flow of the music and unfolds in an unbroken phrase.  NJ Ballet’s Resident Choreographer George Tomal’s Marietta’s Song will also be presented.  A romantic pas de deux using music from a rarely produced German opera, Die Tote Stadt [The Dead City], composed in 1920 by Erich Wolfgang Korngold the opera tells the story of Paul a young widower obsessed with death, and Marietta, a cold – hearted temptress who tries to lure him back to the world of the living.  The evening will conclude with Saturday Night set to a series of smoky songs by blues singers Etta James and Kev’ Mo’ (Kevin Moore).  Choreographed by Ginger Thatcher, the piece captures unexpected themes and nuances in the music and reveals them in a smooth incorporation of ballet and jazz dancing.

                Then on Sunday, November 5 at 2PM the New Jersey Ballet returns with the family favorite Cinderella.  The New Jersey Ballet brings the classic fairy tale to life with lavish sets, costumes and performed with New Jersey Ballet's original "storyteller" narration so little children can follow the story.  Cinderella is rich, colorful entertainment with a moral for children of all ages.

Tickets for the New Jersey Ballet repertory performance on Saturday, November 4 at 8PM are $25.00 for adults and $18.50 for children under 12 in advance.  Tickets for New Jersey Ballet’s production of Cinderella on Sunday, November 5 at 2PM are $20.00 for adults and $17.50 for children under 12 in advance.  All ticket orders increase $5.00 day of performance.  All performances will be held in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center.  Performances of the New Jersey Ballet at Centenary Stage Company are sponsored in part by Heath Village Retirement Community.

The Shakespeare Theatre’s Popular Fall Fundraiser is Back!


The Shakespeare Speakeasy Featuring Live Jazz and Fabulous Wine Pull

MADISON, NJ — The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is throwing its annual Fall Fundraiser, The Shakespeare Speakeasy, on Friday, November 10, 2017. Step back in time to the 1920’s and join the Shakespeare gang as they transform their theatre factory located on 3 Vreeland Road in Florham Park, N.J. into a bohemian speakeasy from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

This year, The Shakespeare Theatre is excited to welcome the Ben Zweig Trio who’ll be treating guests to live jazz music throughout the night. The event will also feature special speakeasy cocktails, delectable fare to nibble on, a very exciting mini-silent auction with special offerings, and the return of the fabulous “boot-leg” wine pull! Tickets to this fabulous event are only $125 per person. Proceeds will go toward supporting the Theatre’s arts education programs for young people.

To R.S.V.P., call 973-845-6732 or purchase online at byNovember 6. A special password is needed at the door, and you can only obtain the password by purchasing your tickets. Then, grab your fedoras and prepare to get a taste of the past at this special one-night-only event!

For more information, visit or call 973-845-6732. Festive attire is encouraged, and be sure to have your password ready at the door!

Student Theatre Production of ‘Return Engagements’ at RVCC


Raritan Valley Community College’s Visual and Performing Arts Department will present a student theatre production of Bernard Slade’s Return Engagements, November 15-18, at 7 p.m.

All performances will be held in the Welpe Theatre at the College’s Branchburg campus.

This ingenious comedy, written by the author of Same Time Next Year, is composed of six vignette scenes taking place from 1954-1986. It features nine characters who grow, age, learn where they belong, and discover how they are ultimately linked together as “family.”

Slade’s clever romance introduces us to a panorama of characters including a Polish World War II refugee, an acid-tongued columnist and his psychotherapist spouse, an anxiety-ridden dentist, a besotted bellboy and his true love, and an ambitious actress.

The play is directed by Danielle Barry (Somerville), RVCC Adjunct Associate Professor. Technical direction is by David Porter (Clinton Township) and Kenny Savoy (Piscataway).  Paige Hann is acting as stage manager (Phillipsburg).

The cast consists of Kevin Asiain (Somerset), Allyson DeMarco (Flemington), Aubrey Holzman (Washington Township), Philip Husbands (Somerset), Fred Lopatosky (North Plainfield), Renae Raymond (Washington Township), Ashley Tirado (High Bridge), and Zachary Volk (Hampton).

Additional technical crew members include Matt Binkowitz (Westfield), Gabriel Bonilla (Bridgewater), Leah Conner (Manville), Stephanie Garzon (Bound Brook), Christa Iazzetta (South Plainfield), James Meier (Bridgewater), Christian Ramos-Salazar (Somerville), and Laura Ryan (Oxford).

General admission tickets cost $12 each, $8 for students and seniors. Tickets are available at the RVCC Theatre Box Office, Monday-Friday, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.  For tickets, call 908-725-3420. For further information, contact the Visual and Performing Arts Department, 908-218-8876.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information,

New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Centenary University’s student NEXTstage Repertory to present ‘Schoolhouse Rocks Live Jr.’

SchoolHouseJRWEB (1)           

Centenary Stage Company and Centenary University’s all student NEXTstage Repertory presents the fan favorite Schoolhouse Rocks Live Jr. November 2 through 6 in the Little Theatre located on the campus of Centenary University at 400 Jefferson Street.  Performances are Thursday, November 2 at 7:30PM; Friday, November 3 at 8PM; Saturday, November 4 at 2PM; Sunday, November 5 at 5PM and Monday, November 6 at 7:30PM.

                The Emmy Award – winning 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math, science, an politics through clever, tuneful songs is instructing a whole new generation to Unpack Your Adjectives and do The Circulations!  Tom, a nerve - wracked school teacher nervous about his first day of teaching, tries to relax by watching TV when various characters representing facets of his personality emerge from the set and show him how to win his students over with imagination and music, through such beloved Schoolhouse Rock songs as Just a Bill, Lolly, Lolly, Lolly and Conjunction Junction.

                Originally adapted and produced for the stage by Theatre BAM from the series created by George Newall and Tom Yohe and based on an idea by David McCall, Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. features a book by Scott Ferguson, George Keating and Kyle Hall; music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, George Newall and Tom Yohe.

lea peter panDirected by Centenary University Assistant Professor of Theatre and Centenary Stage Company’s Young Audience Series director, Lea Antolini – LidAntolini – Lid received her BMA in classical voice from the University of the Arts and her MFA in acting from Brandeis University where she also had the opportunity to teach movement for the actor under the tutelage of Susan Dibble.  She has performed professionally in NYC and in cities on the east coast.  Recent credits: Working, The Last Five Years, The Fantasticks! (Women’s Theater Company of NJ); The Learned Ladies, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan (photo), The Wizard of Oz, Oliver!, A Christmas Carol and Christmas at Small’s Empire Music Hall (Centenary Stage Company); A Year with Frog and Toad, Mid – Summer Night’s Dream, Junie B. Jones and Suessical 9The Growing Stage Theater Company); 400 Parts per Million, Lying (Blessed Unrest Theater Co. NYC).  Antolini – Lid, has received various honors including “best actress in a professional musical” (, “best featured actress in a musical” (Star Ledger 2006); “best comedian in a musical” (Daily Record 2007) and “Hardest working actress in NJ” (Daily Record, 2006); “Best actress in a play” (Daily Record 2015) and the “Jete Award” in 2014.  Recently, Lea traveled to China with international dance company Nai – Ni Chen Dance, to teach dance in a prestigious festival held at Kunming University.  She is also a founding member and managing director of the XY Dance Project a professional dance company in NJ/NY area, with dancer/choreographer Nijawwon Matthews.  Antolini – Lid is a member in training with Blessed Unrest Theater Company in NYC, and a proud member of actors’ equity.

The cast features Centenary University students in all roles from performing to technical and stage management.  NEXTstage Repertory is the all student production company highlighting the close collaboration between the Centenary University Theatre Department and the professionally producing Centenary Stage Company.

Performances for NEXTstage Repertory’s Schoolhouse Rocks Live Jr. run November 2 through the 6 in the Little Theatre located at 400 Jefferson Street on the campus of Centenary University.  Specific performance times are Thursday, November 2 at 7:30PM; Friday, November 3 at 8PM; Saturday, November 4 at 2PM; Sunday, November 5 at 5PM and Monday, November 6 at 7:30PM.  Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $10.00 for children under 12.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900.  The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5PM and two hours prior to each performance.  Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Like and follow to receive the latest in Centenary Stage Company news and special offers.

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents An American in Paris with live score

Classic 1951 film stars Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, features music by George and Ira Gershwin

Patricia Ward Kelly to host, participate in post-concert NJSO Accent events with conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos

State Theatre New Jersey co-presents New Brunswick performance

Sat, Nov 25, at NJPAC in Newark

Sun, Nov 26, at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents the 1951 film An American in Paris with live performances of the score, November 25–26 in Newark and New Brunswick. Gene Kelly stars as a former American GI who falls for Parisian Leslie Caron; the film features classic songs by George and Ira Gershwin.

Kelly’s wife and biographer Patricia Ward Kelly will host the performances and participate in post-concert talkbacks with conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos.

“The Gershwin songs are magnificent, and the climactic ballet a tour de force,” The Guardian writes of the film, which includes Gershwin hits like “Embraceable You,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” “I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.”

Performances take place on Saturday, November 25, at 8 pm at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and Sunday, November 26, at 3 pm at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. State Theatre New Jersey co-presents the November 26 performance.

In NJSO Accent events following each performance, Kitsopoulos will chat about the magic and mystery of playing live with film, and Patricia Ward Kelly will share anecdotes from her life with Gene Kelly.

For more information, visit


Single tickets start at $20 and are available from the NJSO online at, by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or in person. The NJSO Patron Services office is located at 60 Park Place, 9th floor, in Newark; hours are Monday–Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and concert Saturdays, 11 am to 5 pm.

Tickets for the November 26 performance are also available from the State Theatre New Jersey online at, by phone at 732.246.SHOW (7469) or in person. The State Theatre New Jersey Guest Services office is located at 15 Livingston Ave in New Brunswick. Hours are Monday—Friday, 10 am to 6 pm, and at least three hours prior to curtain on performance dates unless otherwise specified.


An American in Paris in Concert with the NJSO

Saturday, November 25, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Sunday, November 26, at 3 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Constantine Kitsopoulos, conductor

Patricia Ward Kelly, host

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

The November 26 performance is presented in collaboration with State Theatre New Jersey.

Additional information is available at





Performed in the company's new raw space at the Theatre at the Woodrow Wilson School, 80 Hauxhurst Ave, Weehawken, NJ, right near the Weehawken Library, the so-called "Scottish Play" will run October 12 - October 29, 2017.  It will preview October 12 and run Thursdays thru Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm.
In keeping with Hudson Theatre Works commitment to low ticket prices, all tickets are $20 and can be purchased thru Brown Paper Tickets at or 1-800-838-3006
Venue:  The Woodrow Wilson School, 80 Hauxhurst Ave, Weehawken, NJ, right near the Weehawken Library,  There is a parking lot behind the school and  also street parking.  There are parking spots reserved at the Weehawken Library.  Directions by bus from around New Jersey and from New York are listed here:

Cast includes:   Kevin Cristaldi, Daniela Mastropietro, Heinley Gaspard, Peter Collier, BK Dawson, Brendan Walsh, Ana Roman, Gloria Lamoureux, Sue-Ellen Mandell, Frank Blauer, Debbie Bernstein, Tom Jeszeck, Bess Miller, Todd Hilsee and Natalie Misyak.

Review: Scott McGowan WOWS in ‘Seminar’ at WTC


The Women's Theater based in Parsippany just ended a two-weekend run of “Seminar" by Theresa Rebeck. The play is a fast paced (90 minutes with no intermission) thinking man’s comedy neatly directed by the multi-talented Patricia Durante. This is not a fluffy sex comedy, well… sex does play a big part in the story. It concerns four young would-be novelists; Kate, Martin, Douglas, and Izzy and their tutor, Leonard, an elitist ex-novelist with international literary fame. Leonard has not written for some time, finding himself resorting to private tutorials for survival. In this case, each of the four students paid Leonard $5,000 for a ten-week writing seminar to be held in Kate's rent controlled Upper West Side New York apartment. Each see this class as the pathway to writing the next great American novel, and the fame and fortune that would follow.

Leonard (Scott McGowan) may be a fine novelist, but his method of teaching in this seminar format is not only unorthodox it borders on sadistic. His approach is to provide the minimum of encouragement via almost constant sarcastic and cynical comments about their writing ability (or lack of). He dismisses, for example, Kate’s six-year writing effort inspired by Jane Austen after reading only the first five words of her story. The result is that the sessions turn vicious with sex used as a weapon.

The four students are nicely cast: Tara Henderson is excellent as Kate, a liberal feminist leading a privileged life. She has the more challenging role of the two women; Juliet Perrell McCarthy is Izzy. She is a sexually free young woman who’s only interested is writing for the money. She seduces all three men, or is it the other way around? This the smallest part, but the weapon of sex is important to the plot and she excels at keeping all three men interested. Her ”time” with Douglas and Leonard is purely due to their literary contacts; Lucas Turner nicely portrays the rather bland Douglas who Leonard describes as "a literary whore" getting by on his name and connections. His uncle is a well-known writer, Douglas’s number one goal is to bed Izzy. The last of the four is Scott Tomjack impressive in the key role of the broke and homeless Martin who is shy about anyone reading his writings whom Leonard cruelly calls ‘a p***y.’ He strays with Izzy but his heart belongs to Kate. In turn, Kate strays with Leonard, but Martin ‘holds the key to her heart.’

22449719_1575665439121109_1876776285139985641_nLast in this cast list is Scott McGowan… marvelous in this star-turn. He beautifully presents the brilliant but cynical Leonard. We have had the pleasure of seeing Scott in many roles in the last few years, at Dreamcatcher in Summit where he is a leading member, and at the Bickford (in the musicals ‘Mack and Mabel’ and ’I Do, I Do’). All fine, memorable performances, but his Leonard is outstanding, e.g. award level.

patriciaOutstanding, impressive and spot-on are just three words to describe the efforts of the ring master (director) in delivering this challenging thought provoking play. Patricia Durante continues to delight audiences whether as a director or professional actress/singer. WTC regulars will remember her stand-out performance in ‘Always…Patsy Cline.’

Unfortunately, due to schedule conflicts, we were only able to see the final performance of this dark comedy. Since we can’t urge you to see the now closed play, we can suggest that you consider attending the WTC’s next production ‘Title of Show.’ It is a wonderful little musical about two struggling wannabe musical writers. It will be directed by Lauren Moran Mills. The play dates are March 9-18.

barbaraThe Women’s Theater Company is led by a New Jersey treasure Barbara Krajkowski, the artistic director. She has been producing thoughtful, engaging plays for 50 years! Obviously, she started at age five! The associate artistic director, as we have mentioned, is a major talent: director, actress and singer, Patricia Durante.

The creative team included: Erica E. Conrad stage manager; Todd Mills set construction and lighting; Stephanie Shulman scenic artist; Frances Harrison costume designer; Larry Wilbur sound; plus, Cyndi Jemas and Alyssa Jemas backstage assistants.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio   Sunday October 22, 2017

Visit: www.womenstheater,org

photo (by Lauren Moran Mills)

l-r Lucas Turner, Tara Henderson, Scott McGowan*, Juliet Perrell McCarthy, Scott Tomjack

Saturday, October 21, 2017

‘My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually’ at CSC


Hailed as "Eccentric and exhilarating.  The best possible combination." By Stephen Sondheim, Centenary Stage Company closes the annual Fringe Festival with the award winning My Name is Gideon: I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually November 16 through 19 in the Lackland Performing Arts Center.

After sold out performances in New York City and 5 stars from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Gideon Irving a theatrical couch – surfing troubadour brings his incredibly unique solo show to Hackettstown. Irving, who has hopped from one town to the next on bike, rollerblades, and automobiles, performing and sleeping in 504 homes of perfect strangers, now invites audiences to his own living room on stage.  With a host of eclectic instruments, astonishing stories, warm charm and an infectious sense of humor Irvingcasts a spell that transports audiences out of this world.  The NY Times review notes, “It’s a mishmash of twangy songs and stories about his mother, his friends and his travels. Other odds and ends are tossed in: jokes, audience participation, a magic trick… There’s charm in that shagginess, and in Mr. Irving’s folksy and welcoming manner

Performances for My Name is Gideon:  I’m Probably Going to Die, Eventually are Thursday, November 16 at 7:30PM; Friday, November 17 at 8:00PM; Saturday, November 18 at 8:00PM and Sunday, November 19 at 2:00PM.  All Performances are held in the Kutz Theatre in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  Ticket prices are $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children under 12 on Friday and Sunday performances.  Saturday evening’s performance is $27.50 for adults and $25.00 for children under 12.  Thursday evening’s performance is $25.00 for all seats with a Buy One/Get One Rush Ticket Special.  To qualify for the BOGO offer tickets must be purchased in person at the Centenary Stage Company box office as early as two hours prior to performance time.  BOGO offer not valid for advance ticket sales.