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Monday, July 16, 2018

LONJ's 'Hunchback' a spectacular DON’T MISS event.

The LONJ production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, directed by Jeffrey Fiorello with musical direction by Stephen Fox and choreography by Michael Scannelli is a spectacular DON’T MISS event.

This exciting, beautifully staged retelling of Victor Hugo’s tale of Quasimodo, the deformed bellringer at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has the makings of becoming a musical theater classic in the same league as Phantom of the Opera and Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable (all set in Paris). This Light Opera of New Jersey production has it all, great music, great voices, exciting choreography, marvelous costumes, excellent set, lighting and sound effects. Major credit, of course, must go to the Disney creators: Peter Parnell  for the book based on the Disney film, score by Alan Menken (Disney's The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast) and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin).

And cast….the leads, all with superior voices worthy of any stage (watch video), include Will Carey with a star-turn as the tragic Quasimodo (top photo), he particularly impresses in his eight musical numbers, including two solos…”Out There” and “Heaven’s Light.” Carey in full view of the audience makes the highly effective transformation into the grotesque hunchback.

The exceptional voiced, Ken Garcia as Dom Claude Frollo, archdeacon of Notre Dame and Quasimodo’s “protector.” He and Quasimodo combine early in the first act with "Sanctuary" where he informs Quasimodo that his home is to be the bell tower of the cathedral...never to venture into the world below. Garcia was also a stand-out in last year’s LONJ production of “Sweeney Todd.” (photo right)

Erica Nadera as Esmeralda (below), the beauty to Quasimodo’s beast. With her qualities of looks, voice and dance skills, she captures the hearts of Quasimodo, Captain of the Guard Phoebus and the celibate Frollo.

Playing the Captain is Michael Barthel (photo above). He loses his position for the love of Esmeralda (remind you of Don Jose and Carmen?) His standout moment is his Second Act duet with Esmeralda “Someday,” a plea for a better life. 

Dante Sterling (photo right) deserves special mention for his spot-on swagger as the leader of the Gypsies. He excels in two musical numbers with the Gypsies….”Topsy Turvey” and “The Court of Miracles.”

The outstanding supporting cast includes: Dan Malloy (Jehan Frollo); Ally Borgstrom (Florika); Jonathan Wells (Father Dupin and King Louis XI); Ethan Lynch (Lt. Charlus); Kevin Ohlweiler (Tribunal); Tracey Lynne Haskell (Madam); and Will Roper (St. Aphrodisius).

The Congreation:
Christopher Centinaro, Kevin Farrelly Samantha Kaplan, Anna Lovallo and Susan Ramirez.

The marvelous choir: Robert Allen, Cardarious Bonner, Caroline Brazelton, Ron Buesser, Teresa Carlomagno, Jason Cilento, William Corson Anchal Dhir, Christina Eliades,  Laura Farmer, Megan Fry, Julie Galorenzo, Troy Giel, Carly Hatcher, Joanna Hoty Russell, Changkuo Hsieh, Steve LaMaita, Jodi Maloy, Barbee Monk, Zachary Morehouse, GianMarco Scotti, Andrea Thibodeau, and Heath Weisberg.

Director Jeffrey Fiorello’s support staff: Bill Corson producer, Pamela Wilczynski stage manager,Scott Baird assistant stage manager, Rob Cruz sound design, Beau Kennedy scenic design, Kevin Ohlweiler Fight Captain,  Barbara Canace costume mistress, Beth Gleason hair and makeup design, Brian Butterfield ASL coach, Eileen Cooper Sedek social media, Diane Gianngreco lighting, Christine Hahn, Kate Pierce props design.

The Orchestra: Stephen Fox musical director and conductor, keyboard one Lois Buesser, keyboard two Charles Santoro, horn Erica J. Arango, trumpet Chris Arnold, cello Sariah Mourik Johnson, Reed one Jon Bencivenga, Reed Two Nancy Vanderslice, Reed Three Andrew Pecota,  violin Graham Cohen, drums/ percussion John Leister.

Recommended Ages: 12 and up
Running Time: 2+ hours

Remaining performances are: July  20 and 21, 2018 at 8pm
July  22, 2018 at 2pm
Tickets: $20-45, available online at

SOPAC (South Orange Performing Arts Center)
South Orange, New Jersey

Student tickets are available at the door! Bring your Student ID and enjoy the performance for $20-$25!

Read about Bill and Lauran Corson, the founders of the Light Opera of New Jersey in this article.

Top Photo: Will Carey, center, stars as Quasimodo with, from left to right: Kevin Ohlweiler, Ethan Lynch, Samantha Kaplan, Eric Roper, Susan Ramirez, Dan Malloy, Tracey Haskell, Christopher Centinaro.(Lauran Corson)

Luna Stage Hires New Leadership, Launches New Era for Company

Luna Stage Company Ushers in a New Era with Newly Appointed Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith (right) and Managing Director Miriam Gardin (left). 

Luna Stage Company launched a new era on July 1, when it welcomed Ari Laura Kreith as Artistic Director and Miriam Gardin as Managing Director. The new team has announced a MainStage season featuring four new plays set in locations ranging from Malawi to Manhattan. They are committed to developing work that inspires empathy, provokes dialogue, catalyzes action, and reflects local voices as well as national and international conversations.

“I want people to walk out of Luna’s plays inspired to connect. I want them to see the world more deeply and to take action about things that matter to them,” said Kreith. “I’m excited to produce theatre that reflects the vibrant community we inhabit—and to stage plays that grapple with the central issues of our time.” Luna’s pre- and post-show conversations initiate the process of dialogue and connection, as does the company’s Context Room, an exhibit space displaying historical, dramaturgical, and other relevant materials for audience members before performances and during intermission. This exchange, jumpstarted at Luna, then continues on into people’s daily lives.

In its 25-year history, Luna Stage has nurtured more than 80 plays, and countless playwrights, actors, and audiences. “Luna has become known for its high-quality, adventurous work and, more recently, for its bold educational opportunities for both children and adults,” Gardin said, “yet we’ve been told that Luna is New Jersey’s best-kept secret. We aim to build on Luna’s first 25 years, deepening our connection with our local community, broadening our connection with theatre-goers beyond our neighborhood, as well as extending our link to the wider theatre industry. We want to spread the message, draw back the curtains, let the secret out, and thereby ensure another 25 years of excellent and transformative theatre work.”

Now a Montclair resident, Kreith comes to Luna from Theatre 167, the company she founded in Jackson Heights, Queens in 2009. She named it for the number of languages spoken in the neighborhood, which has been called the world’s most diverse community. At Theatre 167, Ari conceived and directed The Jackson Heights Trilogy—three full-length plays collectively written by 18 playwrights, performed by 37 actors playing 93 roles in 14 languages. Other world premieres Kreith directed at Theatre 167 include Mourning Sun in Manhattan and Uganda, Pulitzer-finalist Tina Howe’s climate change drama Singing Beach, and Pirira, which received the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Premiere of a Play and will inaugurate Luna’s 2018-19 Season this October.

"I’m thrilled to be at Luna, and to build on the tradition of artistic excellence that has been a hallmark of Luna’s first quarter century," Kreith continued. “I’m a strong believer in the importance of local regional theatre. Powerful theatre is wonderful no matter where it happens, but the opportunity to experience dynamic plays that inspire connection and conversation in your own community is especially meaningful. I’m so grateful to be able to share this work with my friends and neighbors.”

Gardin, originally from Detroit, resides in West Orange, where she curated and produced the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival and ReelAbilities: NJ Disabilities Film Festival. She served as Director of Development at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, and worked with Situation Interactive, serving clients such as Disney Theatrical Group, 2econd Stage Theatre, and The Broadway League. Gardin produced The Divine Mr. Average in Washington, DC’s 2006 Capital Fringe Festival and has won international awards as a performer. She got her start in arts management with Performing Arts Chicago, where she helped produce the International Festival of Puppet Theatre in 2000, and she formalized her training at Brooklyn College’s MFA program in Performing Arts Management.

Luna’s founder, Jane Mandel (left), served as Artistic Director until 2010, when Luna moved from Montclair, New Jersey to its current home in West Orange. Cheryl Katz (right) succeeded Mandel for the following eight seasons. Mandel is eager to welcome Kreith and Gardin to Luna. “One of Ari’s great strengths is community engagement, which will be exciting for the Valley Arts District and surrounding neighborhoods,” Mandel said. “Miriam and Ari are a great team and they have my wholehearted support!”

“Luna is rekindling its role as an engine for community and arts engagement in the Valley Arts District” added Luna Stage Board President Rita Woodard, who has been with Luna since 2012. “Ari's and Miriam’s skills and experience will build theatre that builds community. They will continue Luna's tradition of producing work that inspires powerful conversations. I am beyond delighted about Luna's evolution.”

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Auditions: Broadway Caberet in Cherry Hill

NJ REP Seeking 20-30 old actor

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NJ REP is looking for a 20-30 year old male actor that plays violin and has some training in "mime". email: pix/resume. Thank you.  SuzAnne Barabas

The New Jersey Repertory Company is a professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 by SuzAnne Barabas (Artistic Director) and Gabor Barabas (Executive Producer). Located in Long Branch, New Jersey, the theater's primary mission is to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage.

In addition, it also seeks to achieve the following:

• To be a catalyst in the redevelopment and revitalization of its surrounding community
• To build and encourage young audiences and inspire interest in theater arts among young people
• To nurture the work of writers from diverse backgrounds and build diverse audiences

In keeping with its mission New Jersey Rep has produced 93 plays in seventeen seasons including 61 world premieres. The theater is committed to nurturing the work of not only established writers but new and unknown playwrights and has maintained an open- submission policy receiving over 750 scripts each year from throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Next at Rhino: 'Off Off Off Off Broadway'


To close the season in the summer, LONJ presents Alan Menken
and Stephen Schwartz's soaring masterpiece, The Hunchback
of Notre Dame, directed by Jeffrey Fiorello with musical direction by Stephen Fox and choreography by Michael Scannelli. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo and songs from the Disney film, Hunchback showcases the film's Academy Award-nominated score as well as new songs by Menken and Schwartz.
Peter Parnell's new book blends the adapted story from the film with
more sections of Hugo's gothic novel to tell the gripping tale of Quasimodo, the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame, and his dreams for love and freedom.


'Young Frankenstein' at Brundage Park in October

Two River Theater sets lineup for 8th annual Crossing Borders-Free Events

RED BANK, NJ— Two River Theater's lineup for its 8th annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) festival of Latinx play readings and celebration of work by Latinx theater artists. The festival will take place August 2-5 and will include free readings of new plays, live music, and conversations with artists. Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is sponsored by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo.

This year, the festival will include plays by Hilary Bettis (72 Miles to Go, directed by David Mendizábal), Noah Diaz (Richard and Jane and Dick and Sally, directed by Laurie Woolery), and Tony Meneses (The Hombres, directed by Melissa Crespo).

Two River is also expanding the festival to include more live music than ever before, including a reading of Star-Crossed (Los Desdichados): Love songs and readings from Pablo Neruda’s Spanish translation of Romeo and Juliet, with music by Sofia Rei, directed by Jerry Ruiz; an evening of original work by Latinx singer/songwriters, featuring Jaime Lozano and Michelle J. Rodriguez; and music by Marel Hidalgo and his Quartet.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is curated by Stephanie Ybarra, who currently serves as the Director of Special Artistic Projects at The Public Theater in New York, where she leads the Mobile Shakespeare Unit and produces the Public Forum series.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fundraiser 'Heroes & Villains' at interACT


Don’t miss out on getting tickets to this SPECTACULAR fundraiser performance!  Hosted by Broadway's Brandi Chavonne Massey
With Special Guest Star Adam Pascal!!!!

5 Mead St
South Orange, New Jersey 07079

August 3&4, 2018
Gala begins at 6:30PM

 For more info and to purchase tickets! #benefitperformance #fundraiser #njtheatre #brandichavonnemassey #adampascal #theaterlife #musical #heroesandvillains

FILLING IN THE BLANKS an original collection of monologues and scenes at Circle Players

Circle Players to present a command performance of “FILLING IN THE BLANKS”, an original collection of monologues and scenes written and directed by Khy Garner.

Performances will run for one weekend only:

·         Friday, August  10, and Saturday, August 11, at 8 pm

·         Sunday, August 12, at 3 pm

A portion of the performance proceeds will benefit Circle Players' general improvements fund. Admission is $20 per ticket. Credit cards may be used to purchase tickets online at, or tickets may be purchased for cash at Circle’s box office.

This performance is not recommended for audiences under 16 years of age.

"In 2005 I started journaling and writing about experiences that had shaped me or changed my perspective on certain social issues," Garner says in his introduction to the piece. "There were certain situations that had transpired around or about me that I didn’t have the language for. It challenged me be creative and give situations my perspective. 

"Here’s an example. Imagine receiving the news of a friend’s volatile divorce. Your friend might be able to explain to you what took place but the action of that scene can’t be explained unless you yourself can envision the setting, every detail of what was said by whom, and witnessing the entire mood. You are left then to... fill in the blanks."

The play is written and directed by Khy Garner of Woodbridge, NJ, and stage managed by Jennifer Robinson of Highland Park, NJ 

The cast includes:

Maria Aramando, Bridgewater, NJ

Kevin Albanese, Woodbridge, NJ

Richard Butler, Piscataway, NJ

Corinne Chandler, Woodbridge, NJ 

Marisa Cucuzza, Bloomfield, NJ

 Dawn Gaylardo, Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Jeff Hall, Wayne, NJ 

Tracey Lynne Haskell, Garwood, NJ 

Kyle Javon, New Brunswick, NJ

A.J. Meeker, Woodbridge, NJ

Brian Petty, Bloomingdale, NJ

Brad Sarboukh, Woodbridge, NJ

Jenna Zielinski, Scotch Plains, NJ

The theater is located at 416 Victoria Avenue, Piscataway. Please be advised: due to the unique layout of this theater in the round, latecomers cannot be seated after the performance has started. Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before curtain.

For reservations, call (732) 968-7555, or buy tickets online at

Thursday, July 12, 2018



Centenary Stage Company’s 2018 Summer Jamfest with The George Gee Swing Orchestra

Centenary Stage Company’s 2018 Summer Jamfest continues on Saturday, July 21 at 8pm in the Lackland Performing Arts Center with The George Gee Swing Orchestra. Straight from Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing the George Gee Swing Orchestra’s style in a nutshell: Happy music played by happy musicians for happy people.

The George Gee Swing Orchestra packs a lot of swing into compact songs and tight, well-organized sets. The George Gee Swing Orchestra was the first big band to play on MTV. The band was featured in an NBC-TV movie and has been spotlighted on “Entertainment Tonight,” “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,” “Cake Boss,” “Live from Lincoln Center,” and in appearances on CNN and MSNBC. The band also provided specially scored music and made an “animated” appearance on an episode of the Fantastic Four cartoon for Marvel Comics.

The George Gee Swing Orchestra has dazzled audiences from Boston to Beverly Hills and from Zurich to Tokyo. Other exciting recent experiences include annual headliner spots at Lincoln Center’s prestigious Midsummer Night Swing festival, a two-week engagement of the full-scale supper club show called “Sleigh Bells Swing!” at the Edison Ballroom in Manhattan, and a memorable corporate show at Disney World with the legendary comedian (and noted jazz aficionado) Bill Cosby. The band has a mammoth tour resume – including top swing clubs, swing dance societies, and “lindy exchanges” across the US, numerous tours of top concert halls, and powerful “Battles of the Bands” in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Quebec.

Tickets for The George Gee Swing Orchestra are $25.00 for all seats in advance. As with all concerts, jazz and special events ticket prices increase $5.00 day of the performance.

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 every event. Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Like and follow to receive the latest in Centenary Stage Company news and special offers.

The 2017-2018 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, Zonta Morristown Chapter and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, The House of the Good Shepherd, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.