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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra presents College Night at State Theatre New Jersey on Feb 24

College Night Logo
Special $10 student tickets include exclusive post-concert party
NJSO to provide free round-trip bus transportation from select colleges
Program features Brahms’ First Symphony, Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer
Sat, Feb 24, at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra hosts College Night on Saturday, February 24, at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick. A special $10 student ticket includes entrance to the Orchestra’s 8 pm performance of Brahms’ First Symphony and Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, as well as a post-concert all-student party with light refreshments and live entertainment.

The NJSO will provide free round-trip bus transportation to the concert venue from select New Jersey college campuses. Departure times and locations will be posted at as buses become available.

Grammy-nominated Norwegian mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland joins the Orchestra and guest conductor Rune Bergmann for Mahler’s first song cycle. The program of late-Romantic works opens with the Overture to Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

College Night student tickets are $10 and include the concert and a post-concert party. Regular concert tickets start at $20. Student tickets are available for purchase online at (using promo code COLLEGENIGHT) or by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476).

For more information on College Night, visit

Brahms’ First Symphony
Sat, Feb 24, at 8 pm | State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick

Rune Bergmann, conductor
Marianne Beate Kielland, mezzo-soprano
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

WAGNER Overture to Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
MAHLER Songs of a Wayfarer
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1

The NJSO also performs this program on Thursday, February 22, at 7:30 pm at bergenPAC in Englewood and Sunday, February 25, at 3 pm at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Full concert information is available

The NJSO’s student ticket program offers both flexibility and affordability. Students can purchase individual rush tickets for $10. The Star-Ledger/ Class Pass Unlimited offers access to an unlimited number of 2017–18 concerts for $25. Tickets will be available on the day of the concert, starting 90 minutes before the performance. One pass per valid ID, and one ticket per pass.

For more information, visit

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the NJSO. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the NJSO is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the NJSO presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People; NJSO Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, currently led by José Luis Domínguez; and El Sistema-inspired NJSO CHAMPS (Character, Achievement and Music Project). NJSO musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the NJSO Community Partners Program.

For more information about the NJSO, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra’s website.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Marcia Ball to Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Bickford Theatre on February 10

Award-winning Louisiana Musician Makes Only New Jersey Appearance

The renowned pianist/singer/songwriter Marcia Ball and her band will appear at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown on Saturday, February 10, in her only New Jersey appearance this year. Texas-born and Louisiana-raised, Ball has become a huge favorite of music fans around the world because of her groove-laden, New Orleans-style sound. The Florham Park law firm of Sherman Wells is a sponsor of  this concert.

Marcia Ball is enjoying the success of her most recent release, The Tattooed Lady and the Alligator Man, which had five Grammy Award nominations. She recently received the 2017 Living Blues Readers’ Award for Outstanding Musician and now holds 10 Living Blues Awards. She also has 10 Blues Music Awards and has been nominated an amazing 44 times. She was named Texas State Musician for 2018, and is in both the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and the Gulf Coast Hall of Fame.
Well-known to New Jersey audiences, Marcia Ball throws a roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she takes the stage. She promises a rousing celebration of Mardi Gras when she comes to Morristown just a few days before Fat Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to present Marcia Ball at the perfect time,” said Linda Kiger Smith, programming consultant for the Bickford Theatre. “Not only is she a living legend, she has a killer band and will really rock the house in the best New Orleans fashion.”
Tickets for Marcia Ball are $35 in advance and $40 at the door and may
be purchased by calling the box office at 973-971-3706 or visiting
The concert is on Saturday, February 10, at 8:00 pm. The Bickford Theatre
is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown 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: Marcia Ball ; Photo courtesy of Mary Keating Bruton and Alligator Records

Review: 'The Outsider' at Paper Mill Playhouse


By guest reviewer Ruth Ross

Each winter, after a frenetic holiday season, the Paper Mill Playhouse mounts a production of a “straight” (i.e., non-musical) play. Sometimes, it’s a classic drama (The Miracle Worker); other times it’s a thriller (Sleuth) or a farce (Lend Me a Tenor) or a comedy (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike). This year, the playhouse presents the East Coast premiere of The Outsider by Paul Slade Smith—just in time for the State of the Union Address.

Appropriate for the government shenanigans in DC, Smith’s broadly satirical comedy takes on the #MeToo movement, a shy Congressman’s avoidance of a town meeting, the public’s penchant for candidates who know nothing about government, the machinations of slick political brokers and the notion that appearances can be deceiving.

When Governor Larry Clarke (whose portrait looms over the proceedings in Act I) is kicked out of office for having sex with the runner-up of a beauty contest, Lieutenant Governor Ned Newley is thrust into the job, acutely understaffed (he has but a Chief of Staff), seemingly unprepared and morbidly shy. That his swearing-in ceremony was a disaster, doesn’t bode well for this accidental Governor. Enter a pollster and political guru to save the day with a harebrained scheme to pass Ned off as a true outsider, totally ignorant of how government works, so he can keep his job—and they theirs. The problem is that Ned, math whiz and former state Treasurer, has been literally running the government for the cavorting Clarke, so he’s going to have to pretend to be a know-nothing. Upending this ruse is a ditzy temp, a principled reporter and a “real person” cameraman, all of whom help Ned find his true voice.

Strongly and steadily directed by David Esbjornson, the comedic chaos moves full steam ahead, with nary a dead spot. Physical comedy abets the clever dialogue and sterling performances by a very talented cast. Manoel Feliciano (left, with Lenny Wolpe) is truly terrific as Dave Riley, Ned’s right-hand man. Horrified by the scheme he’s sure will make his candidate look like a government rube, this voice of reason gamely fights back. He sputters, attempts to put the kibosh on this tomfoolery and wins our sympathy from the moment he opens his mouth. As Ned Newley, Lennie Wolpe gives a master class in physical comedy, as he quivers, mumbles and lets himself be led around by the nose—until he doesn’t. That moment got a round of applause on opening night! The one attempting to lead him, one political operative named Arthur Vance, is played with oily arrogance by Burke Moses as the man you love to hate. Nattily dressed, Moses’ smooth talker steamrolls all naysayers to reach his goal while giving cynical voice to appeal to a citizenry who, tired of government corruption, yearns to shake up matters by electing a leader who looks like an idiot. Sound familiar?

The fourth standout is delightful Erin Noel Grennan (right, with Wolpe and Kelly Curran) as the malaprop-spouting, blissfully ignorant, forgetful temp Louise Peakes; whenever Grennan comes through the door, she elicits a gale of laughter from the audience. One linguistic mistake on Louise’s part sets in motion a plot development even Arthur Vance had not anticipated. And a hilarious bit with colored cards matches Grennan with Wolpe for top comedic honors!

Supporting actors were equally as fine. Julia Duffy’s Paige Caldwell (left, with Moses) is a clear-eyed, calculating pollster called in by Dave Riley to help get Ned settled in his new job. That she has doubts about the outcome of Vance’s stratagem makes us feel kindlier toward her, while reviling him. Kelley Curran’s plucky Rachel Parsons provides insight to the employment stakes an ambitious television reporter risks by bucking her bosses. The chemistry between her and Dave Riley only adds to our admiration for her. And Mike Houston, as cameraman A.C. Petersen, matches Wolpe mumble for mumble until he, too, finds his voice and gives the new governor courage to reveal his true self.

A set designed by Michael Schweikardt and lit by Ben Stanton provides an appropriately august backdrop for these back-door dealings. Elizabeth Hope Clancy (costume design) and Randy Hanson (sound design) are to be commended as well.

With its very broad comedy and dripping dramatic irony, The Outsider provides laughter and delight on a cold winter evening, all with a wink and a nod to the current political situation. The packed house on Sunday night evidently concurred with me, for they were on their feet even before the actors appeared to take their bows. High drama it’s not, but The Outsider hits all the zany notes for screwball comedy and madcap mayhem. Not too shabby, I’d say.

The Outsider will be performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, through February 18. It’s appropriate for teenagers through nonagenarians. For performance times and tickets, call the box office at 973.376.4343 or visit online.

Next at Two River Theater the world premiere of 'The Bridge of San Luis Rey' by Thornton Wilder

Two River Theater continues its 2017/18 season with the world premiere of The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder, adapted for the stage by and starring David Greenspan, directed by Ken Rus Schmoll. Performances will begin in Two River’s Marion Huber Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, February 17 and continue through Sunday, March 18. The opening night performance is Friday, February 23 at 7pm. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or The lead production sponsor is Brookdale Community College.

“There’s an impassioned camp of theater lovers who assert that Thornton Wilder is the consummate American theater artist; there’s another who say the same of David Greenspan. Imagine what they’ll say when these two collaborate on something new,” says Artistic Director John Dias. 
The Bridge of San Luis Rey was published in 1927 and won Thornton Wilder the first of his three Pulitzer Prizes. (Wilder, the only writer to win Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and drama, was also honored for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth.) Set in 18th century Peru, the novel is about five travelers who fall to their deaths when they are crossing a bridge that breaks without warning. “There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning,” Wilder wrote in its famous final words.

Commissioned by Two River Theater, five-time Obie Award-winning playwright and actor David Greenspan brings Wilder’s masterpiece about life, fate, and love to the stage as a profound meditation on theater and live performance. Greenspan (most recently seen in a solo performance of Eugene O’Neill’s Strange Interlude) leads a nine-actor company in the role of Uncle Pio, the play’s narrator.  

The cast of The Bridge of San Luis Rey also includes Sumaya Bouhbal (Pepita), Zachary Infante(Esteban), Julienne Hanzelka Kim (Madre María), Elizabeth Ramos (Camila Perichole), Steven Rattazzi(Don Andrés de Ribera/Captain Alvarado/Don Vicente/Jaime/Inez), Mary Lou Rosato (Doña María), Bradley James Tejeda (Manuel) and Madeline Wise (Doña Clara). 

The creative team includes scenic designer Antje Ellermann, costume designer Elizabeth Hope Clancy,lighting designer Yuki Nakase, and sound designer Karin Graybash. The casting is by Jack Doulin + Sharky, and the stage manager is Megan Smith.

Says Tappan Wilder, Thornton Wilder’s nephew and literary executor, “Beneath the beautifully wrought surface of Wilder’s Bridge rage epic battles before the bar of judgement, questioning the meanings of life, death, faith and love. The Wilder Family and I are thrilled that David Greenspan and Two River Theater are bringing this novel to the stage.”

Ticket Information

Ticket prices range from $40 to $80, with discounts available for groups, seniors, and U.S. military personnel, their families, and veterans. A limited number of $20 tickets are available for every performance; $20 tickets may be partial view. Tickets for patrons under 30 are $20 and include the best available seats at every performance. Tickets are available from or 732.345.1400.

Inside Two River

Inside Two River is a series of events specially curated for each Two River Theater production. For more information or to reserve seats, patrons should visit or call 732.345.1400

Thornton Wilder 101 with Artistic Director John Dias
Tuesday, February 6 at 7pm in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library
Thornton Wilder’s works—including Our TownThe Skin of Our Teeth and The Bridge of San Luis Rey—combine the mundane details of everyday life with the largest philosophical and emotional questions of human existence—who are we, and what, ultimately, are we here for? Artistic Director John Dias will discuss Wilder’s life and story, and how his experiences shaped his worldview and his work.
To reserve a free spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit

Meet-up with Madeleine
Sunday, March 4 following the 3pm performance
Meet-up with Madeleine is a post-show discussion series with Two River’s Playwright-in-Residence, Madeleine George. Patrons are invited to enjoy refreshments and conversation on topics including Thornton Wilder, the play’s themes, elements of the production, and more.  To reserve a free spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit

Book Club: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
Monday, March 12 at 6:30pm in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Library   
Thornton Wilder’s novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey and its message of human connection provided the inspiration for David Mitchell’s 2004 novel (Mitchell even named a character Luisa Rey as a tribute). Comprised of six nested stories with very different styles and settings, Cloud Atlas is an intricate, gorgeous, heartbreaking variation on Wilder’s original theme. The Two River Book Club will discuss the art of interlocking stories, and how works of art can teach us how to live.
To reserve a free spot, interested patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit

Audience Extras

Before Play and Lobby Display
Audiences will learn about Thornton Wilder, David Greenspan, and The Bridge of San Luis Rey in Two River’s Before Play lecture series, which takes place 45 minutes prior to every performance, and Lobby Display.

Post-Play Conversations
Discussions with the cast and a member of Two River’s Artistic staff will take place following the performances on Wednesday, February 28 at 7pm and Wednesday, March 7 at 1pm.


Working with Google, Two River has created and launched a virtual tour of its facility, which lives on Google Maps and This virtual tour provides an additional level of support and benefit for patrons who use wheelchairs or require other assistance by allowing them to virtually come through the theater’s front doors and view the space in detail in advance of their visit.

An audio-described performance is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14 at 1pm, and an open-captioned performance is scheduled for Saturday, March 17 at 3pm. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $25 for patrons using these services. To reserve wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets to a performance listed above, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or e-mail


Saturday, February 17 at 8pm 
Sunday, February 18 at 3pm
Wednesday, February 21 at 1 pm and 7pm
Thursday, February 22 at 8pm
Friday, February 23 at 7pm (Opening Night)
Saturday, February 24 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, February 25 at 3pm
Wednesday, February 28 at 1pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 1 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm
Friday, March 2 at 8pm
Saturday, March 3 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 4 at 3pm
Wednesday, March 7 at 1pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 8 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm
Friday, March 9 at 8pm
Saturday, March 10 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 11 at 3pm
Wednesday, March 14 at 1pm and 7pm
Thursday, March 15 at 10am (student matinee) and 8pm
Friday, March 16 at 8pm
Saturday, March 17 at 3pm and 8pm
Sunday, March 18 at 3pm


The lead production sponsor is Brookdale Community College. Inside Two River is sponsored by The William T. Morris Foundation. Two River Theater is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Monmouth University, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Riverview Medical Center, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation,  The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Jorgensen Foundation, US Trust, Wells Fargo, William T. Morris Foundation, Kessler Foundation,  Investors Foundation, The John Ben Snow Foundation, VNA Health Group, Brookdale Community College, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Since its founding in 1994, Two River Theater has been committed to creating great American theater by developing and producing work by some of the country’s leading artists. We are proud to be viewed as a vital cultural resource in the community of Red Bank, New Jersey. Through 10 theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics and theater for young audiences) and 40+ annual events happening around Monmouth County, we produce exceptional theater and cultivate engaged audiences. Two River Theater is under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst. For more information, visit or call 732.345.1400 

Final week to see Crossroads' 'Ain't Misbehavin'

Go behind-the-scenes for a peek into the cast rehearsal.
Video Credits: Lia Chang
Final days to get your tickets to one of the most remarkable shows in musical theatre history!

Tickets are going fast, get yours today.
Crossroads Theatre Company
PO Box. 238
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(732) 545-8100