Friday, March 30, 2018

Final Two Readings of March! Bickford tonight!

Writers Theatre of New Jersey Logo

Don't forget that tonight and tomorrow night are our last two readings of the month! Tonight at 7 PM we'll be at The Bickford Theatre in Morristown for Suzanne Trauth's "La Fonda." And tomorrow night at 7 PM, we'll be in Madison at Short Stories Bookshop for Darrah Cloud's "Turning."
We've had some great performances and audiences this month at our series all over the state and these last two won't disappoint with strong scripts and terrific casts. For more information, including bios of the playwrights and synopses of the plays, please click the button below and we hope to see you tonight and tomorrow night!

More Information


Dani & John Pietrowski

John Pietrowski has been at Writers Theatre since its inception thirty years ago, and in his current position for the past twenty years. As an actor, he has recently performed as Professor Schrag in David Wiltse’s Sedition, and has played Zeblyan in Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk into a War at Writers Theatre, NJRep in Long Branch and Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville, NY. He reprised the role of Zeblyan in April 2011 at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia.
At Writers Theatre, most recently he directed Richard Dressser’s The Last Days of Mickey and Jean in a coproduction with The Bickford Theatre in Morristown and The Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington, VT. His latest directing project, Mother Hicks by Suzan L. Zeder is currently running at The Growing Stage in Netcong, NJ. He has directed the Premiere Productions of Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven by Russell Davis, Augusta by Richard Dresser, Rising Water by John Biguenet (coproduction with Shadowland Theatre), Where the Sun Never Sets by Robert Clyman, When Something Wonderful Ends by Sherry Kramer, Whores by Lee Blessing, Big Boys by Rich Orloff and Spain by Jim Knable (all co-productions with NJ Rep), The Good Girl is Gone by D.W. Gregory, Foreign Exchange by Peter Hays, Sally’s Porch and Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, I See My Bones by Kitty Chen, Sister Calling My Name by Buzz McLaughlin and three shows in Rowing To America: The Immigrant Project.
He has directed Richard Dresser’s Rounding Third at What Exit? Theatre Company and Shadowland Theatre, More Fun than Bowling by Jeffrey Sweet at 12 Miles West Theatre and Midnight Cry, Our Dad Is in Atlantis and Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie at The Growing Stage in Netcong, Tammy Ryan’s Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods at Premiere Stages. He has also directed Max McClean in productions of Acts of the Apostles, Mark’s Gospel, and Genesis at Writers Theatre, the latter piece also moving to productions at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Lamb’s Theatre in NYC.
Other New York productions include readings of Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, at the Public Theatre and Alice’s Fourth Floor, as well as I See My Bones for Urban Stages. He has directed two radio plays for the WNYC Radio Stage Consortium, St. Joe’s Takes the Radio Stage and The Rehearsal, both of which have aired on National Public Radio. He also directed the stage adaptation of The Rehearsal, by J. Rufus Caleb, at the New Harmony Project.
His two plays Black Madonna and The Buda have been performed at Writers Theatre, Foundation Theatre, Loaves and Fish Theatre and Arts Club Theatre, and his most recent play, Dura Mater, was workshopped at Johns Hopkins in the fall of 2010.

Mr. Pietrowski was also the Program Coordinator of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Theatre Program for Teachers and Playwrights from 1988-94. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Performance Studies Department, he also holds an Masters of Public Administration in non-profit management from Seton Hall University, where his master’s thesis became the basis for New Jersey’s Arts Education Census Project. He teaches theatre history and stage management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and has taught at Drew University, Seton Hall, Kean University, and Bloomfield College. He is a member of the 2001 class of Leadership New Jersey, Secretary of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Treasurer of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance and the Treasurer of the National New Play Network.

Rutgers Professor, Peace Activists on Panel for “Back Channel” Play on the Cuban Missile Crisis at The Theater Project April 13-15

Joe Vitale

Professor David Foglesong of Rutgers University, and peace activists David Hungerford and Milt Horowitz will be panelists for an audience question-and-answer session following performances of Joseph Vitale’s Back Channel, a play about the Cuban Missile Crisis, on April 13 at 8 p.m., April 14 at 8 p.m. and April 15 at 2 p.m. Madelyn Hoffman, executive director of New Jersey Peace Action, will moderate the discussions on April 13 and 15.
The play, a production of The Theater Project, will be performed at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ.
Back Channel recounts the secret meetings between ABC-TV reporter John Scali and KGB spy Alexander Feklisov at the Old Occidental Grill in Washington during that fateful week in October 1962 when President Kennedy announced he was blockading Cuba. Many believe their negotiations led to an eventual resolution of the crisis.
“We’re very pleased that Dr. Foglesong, Mr. Hungerford, Mr. Horowitz and Ms. Hoffman will be taking part in these timely post-performance discussions with our audience,” said Mark Spina, executive director of The Theater Project. “Although Back Channel recounts a little-known, but true, subplot of events that took place more than 50 years ago, the issues raised in the play –covert communications, miscalculations and nuclear brinkmanship – are as relevant today as then.”
Madelyn Hoffman, the panel’s moderator, is a long-time peace and justice advocate and the executive director of New Jersey Peace Action since August 2000. She is a guest columnist for Bloomfield Life and has contributed articles on disarmament and U.S. foreign policy.
Dr. Foglesong
Foglesong, a professor of history at Rutgers, has written on and taught U.S. foreign policy, American-Russian relations, religion, missionaries, propaganda, military occupation and national identity. He is currently working on a book on U.S.-Russian relations since 1776. He will be a panelist following the April 14 performance.
Hungerford, a graduate of Dartmouth College, is a peace and human rights activist. His particular interests include Marxist political economy, the problems of war and peace, and the origins and outcomes of World War II. He will be joining the panel on April 15.               
Milt Horowitz, a graduate of Montclair University, is an Air Force veteran who served during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. He became active with New Jersey SANE, the state branch of the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy, in 1980 and continues to devote his time to peace activism. He will be speaking following the April 13 performance.
The panel discussion is made possible thanks to a grant from the Puffin Foundation, Ltd.
The Theater Project is committed to bringing audiences works built around compelling social issues. Past panel discussions include those following Vitale’s Murrow, which dealt with the role of the news media in our society; Guardians, which addressed events similar to those that occurred at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison; and Bury the Dead, which confronted the ethics of war and individual responsibility.         
                                                                                                                                   Tickets are available at the box office, by calling (908) 809-8865 or by visiting
WHAT:           Back Channel by Joseph Vitale, presented by THE THEATER PROJECT.
Followed by panel discussion and audience Q&A.
WHEN:          April 13-15, Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM.
WHERE:        Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ.  


Exit 82's Creative and Performing Arts Academy is expanding this summer!

Exit 82's Creative and Performing Arts Academy is expanding this summer! Our Shore Stars program will produce Disney's The Little Mermaid Jr. for elementary and middle school students, and in partnership with Pivotal Productions, we will produce Fame the Musical for high school and college students. Performances will be held at Toms River High School North. Registration open!
Enroll your child in our SHORE STARS Summer Program which runs Monday - Friday from 9am - 3pm July 9 - August 4, 2018, as the students will journey "under the sea" with Ariel and her  friends in Disney's The Little Mermaid JR.! Show dates are August 3rd and August 4th at Toms River High School North.

Adapted from Disney's Broadway production and the motion picture (featuring the enormously popular Academy Award-winning music and delightfully charming book and lyrics), and based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories, Disney's The Little Mermaid an enchanting look at the sacrifices we all make for love and acceptance.​

Register Now!
Are you in High School or College? Then audition for our Pivotal Program, producing FAME this summer August 9 - 11, 2018. An unmistakable title from the unforgettable film and television franchise, Fame The Musical inspired generations to fight for fame and light up the sky like a flame! Conceived and developed by David De Silva – now known affectionately to the planet as "Father Fame" – this high-octane musical features the Academy Award-winning title song and a host of other catchy pop numbers.
Auditions will be held at the Exit 82 rehearsal studio on SUNDAY JUNE 24th - 10am to 1pm and on MONDAY JUNE 25th - 6pm to 9pm. 
Click below to schedule your appointment time. 
Schedule Your Audition

Exit 82 Theatre Studio
34 Main Street
Toms River, NJ 08753

The BOX: JCTC Closes Truth Series With Night of Music & Spoken-Word

In our world of fake news and doubtful objectivity, where can we find Truth?
Jersey City!
JCTC (Jersey City Theater Center) presents The BOX: Truth Edition – an evening of music, spoken-word, poetry, dance and other performances exploring the many forms and meanings of Truth –April 7th at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302.
The BOX – named for the ‘black box’ theater at Merseles Studios – concludes JCTC’s latest thematic series: Truth. JCTC selects topics global in scope, yet relevant to the community then explores that theme using visual arts, theatre, dance, monologues, play readings and other performances.
The BOX: Truth Edition also marks a milestone for this unique performance showcase. JCTC solicits submissions for The BOX through social media and notices in theatre publications and entertainment & theater blogs. A panel, headed by Dan Pieraccini, Manager, JCTC – who is also the curator for The BOX: Truth Edition – reviews and selects submissions.
The BOX: Truth Edition inspired a mix of submissions from first-time and returning performers as well as  an original music piece by Anthony Wills developed specifically for the showcase. The performances will be grouped together in two acts and in addition to multiple emcees commenting on the theme of Truth and moving the entertainment along, interspersed throughout both acts of The BOX: Truth Edition are featured performances by Alex Pergament & the After School Orchestra and Summer Dawn Reyes, a playwright and actress, who will be performing excerpts from her acclaimed theatre piece –Thinking In Full Color: Empowering Women of Color.
Other performers include spoken-word artists and poets – Benedicto Figueroa, former poet laureate of Union City and famed Hudson County spoken-word artist & activist Rescue Poetix – as well as Wendelin Regalado, and Katelyn Halper – and some of the hottest musicians in Hudson County: Sylvana Joyce of Sylvana Joyce & The Moment; Gary Van Miert of The Sensational Country Blues Wonders; Carol Lester; Carlos Haase; Max DiBiaggio; Richard Jedrzejek ; John Paul Garcia; Freddie Moises; Kenny Jaworski and Tiphanie Doucet.
“What's most exciting about The BOX: Truth Edition is the sheer amount of volume of submissions and interest it's gotten,” said Pieraccini. “It's allowed me as a curator to start thinking ahead and recognizing performances that are still in their working stages to be developed for a later show, and to group artists together in collaborative projects.”
While the curated yet free-form feel of The BOX has been retained, the showcase has underwent many subtle and some not-so-subtle tweaks for the Truth show. The changes not only ensure a fresh and unique version of The BOX, but also indicate an ongoing evolution of this signature JCTC event.
“I'm most curious to see how new format of two acts and two featured artists and rotating emcees change the dynamics,” said Pieraccini. “The Box continues to grow at and we at JCTC are determined to give it room to change and evolve – not too quickly or erratically so that it becomes unrecognizable – only enough that folks know it's going to be new and exciting every time.”
The BOX: Truth Edition also closes the Truth Art Show in the gallery at Merseles Studios, curated by Lucy Rovetto, Visual Arts Coordinator, JCT. Bang Chau. Marketing Design Associate, JCTC, served as assistant curator of the Truth Art Show. The gallery is open during all JCTC events and The BOX is the last opportunity to view the Truth exhibition, which includes site-specific installation pieces and works by more than a dozen individual artists.
The Box: Truth Edition
Saturday/April 7
Doors: 7:00/Show: 7:30
$5 (Suggested Donation)
For more information, visit:
Jersey City Theater Center
Merseles Studios
339 Newark Avenue
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 795-5386
Photo credit: Photograph by Bang Chau
Photo Caption: The BOX: Truth Edition closes Truth, the latest thematic series by Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC), takes place April 7. Some BOX performers  stopped by the art gallery (The BOX: Truth Edition is also the last chance to see the Truth Art Show) in Merseles Studios – (left to right, back row) Tiphanie Doucet, Katelyn Halpern, Sylvana Joyce; (middle row, left to right) Richard Jedrzejek, Kenny Jaworski, Carol Lester, Max DiBiaggio, Dan Pieraccini, Gary Van Miert; (front, left to right), Carlos Haase, Freddie Moises, Benedicto Figueroa, and Fernando Ayres (foreground).
Funding for Truth was made possible by generous support from the Hudson County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs/Tourism Development, Thomas A. DeGise, Hudson County Executive and the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Truth was also made possible through the generosity of Ben LoPiccolo Development Group, JCTC’s Board of Directors, private donors and local Jersey City businesses.
Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) presents programming at Merseles Studios and White Eagle Hall. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about the important topics of our times through innovative and progressive performing and visual arts that celebrates diversity, bringing communities closer together and enhancing the quality of life.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Next at The Company: Steve Martin's 'The Underpants'

 April 21 - May 6, 2018
 Directed By Lou Scarpati

Theobald Maske has an unusual problem: his wife's underpants won't stay on. One Sunday morning they fall to her ankles right in the middle of town--a public scandal! Mortified, Theo swears to keep her at home until she can find some less unruly undies. Amid this chaos he's trying to rent a room in their flat. The prospective lodgers have some underlying surprises of their own.
In The Underpants, Steve Martin brings his comic genius and sophisticated literary style to Carl Sternheim's classic 1910 farce. 
 "This is funny stuff ... a fine play ... with funny characters and lightning flashes of wit." -
"The show zings." -

At the beautiful new Hackensack Performing Arts Center 

'Much Ado About Nothing' next at Holmdel

Holmdel Theatre Company presents
William Shakespeare's beloved romantic comedy

Much Ado About Nothing
Directed by Tom Frascatore

April 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 18 - 8PM
April 15, 22 - 2PM

Please Join us for a "merry war" between the sexes. William Shakespeare's most beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing boasts one of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, most dancing wordplay, and the endearing spectacle of intellectual and social self-importance bested by the desire to love and be loved in return.

Beatrice​​​....Tess Ammerman
Benedick​​​....James Weeks*
Leonato​​​....Ed Faver
Hero​​​​....Elizabeth Colagrande
Claudio....​​​Shan Williams
Don Pedro​​​....Andrew Gordon
Dogberry....​​​Rupert Ravens
Don John​​​....Peter Newes
Friar Francis....​​​Howard Smith
Borachio​​​....Mark Zebro
Margaret​​​....Jessica Freeland
Antonio....​​​Mike Sockol
Conrade​​​....Joseph Walter
Ursula....​​​​Julia Lupi
Messenger/Balthazar​/Watch​....Bella Ashton
Sexton.....Sami DeSocio
Verges.....Laurie Devino
*appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association

Students $15, Seniors $20, Adult $25
Please note all online order are subject to a $2.50 Processing fee.
At door orders are subject to a $1 Facility Fee.


The North Plan
A Comedy by Jason Wells
Directed by Eric Walby

Monday April 2, 2018 7PM

Tanye Shepk - Renee DiLorenzo
Shonda Cox - Taye McQueen
Chief Swenson - Charlie Dietz
Carlton Berg - A. J. Meeker
Dale Pittman - wight Merrit
Bob Lee - Chris Guell

After a ruthless faction seizes power in Washington, Carlton Berg, a bureaucrat for the State Department, runs off with the new regime's top secret enemies list. Unfortunately for Carlton, the chase has come to an end in a police station in the Ozarks town of Lodus. With a pair of DHS agents on the way, Carlton's last hope is in the people around him: an unsympathetic police chief, an ambivalent administrative assistant, and fellow prisoner Tanya Shepke, a motor-mouthed recidivist who's turned herself in for drunk driving and thinks Skynyrd should be on the new money.

The revolution starts now.

$5 (Suggested Donation)
Coffee served

The Theater Project's 'Back Channel' Offers Timely Look at How the World Almost Ended

Rehearsal photo

It was the darkest hour of the Cold War. The U.S. and Soviet Union were eyeball to eyeball over the Cuban Missile Crisis, and with the two sides refusing to budge, the world faced Armageddon. Churches were filled, supermarket shelves picked clean, fallout shelters were prepared and school children taught to “duck and cover.”
“I was 10 years old and convinced I was going to die,” said playwright Joseph Vitale, author of Murrow, which premiered at The Theater Project in 2015 and ran Off-Off Broadway in 2016. “This play focuses not on the names we know – Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro – but on two obscure men who history may have forgotten, but who may have had more to do with saving the world than anyone knows. With today’s fears of a possible nuclear war between the U.S. and North Korea and alleged secret dealings between the U.S. and Russia, the play seems eerily timely.”
Back Channel recounts the meetings between ABC-TV newsman John Scali and KGB spy Alexander Feklisov in the old Occidental Grill on Pennsylvania Avenue during the fateful week in October 1962 when Kennedy announced he was blockading Cuba. The two men had known each other for a few months, but now their governments had sent them on a clandestine mission. Out of the glare of the media, Scali and Feklisov tried to work out a deal. But was each man who he said he was? With the fate of the world at stake and the clock ticking, could they learn to trust one another? And, most importantly, would they have enough time?
The play will run Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m.Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 15 at 2 p.m. at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.
            “It’s easy to forget that, with so many nations still possessing nuclear weapons, we’re still just one crisis or miscalculation away from catastrophe,” said Mark Spina, artistic director of The Theater Project. “Back Channel reminds us of that, but also shows us, through the characters of Scali and Feklisov, that human beings still have the power to determine their destiny – that is, as long as we continue to see one another as just that: fellow human beings.”
The 90-minute play features Jack Coggins as Scali; Alexander Carney as Feklisov and Eli Ganias as George, the Occidental Grill waiter who serves the American and the Russian during their lunches and provides running commentary on what is happening in the news.
In addition to Back Channel and Murrow, Vitale has written a number of full-length and one-act plays that have been performed at The Theater Project and at theaters in New York, California, and Indiana. In 2012, he was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater/National Playwrights Conference. He is a member of The Theater Project’s playwrights workshop and the Dramatists Guild of America.
The play is directed by Bob Angelini, former artistic director of the ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park, NJ. He has worked in theater, both as an actor and director, for over 30 years. His awards include Best Director/Drama for The Laramie Project (Count Basie Award, NJ) and Best Director/Musical for Cats (Count Basie Award, NJ). Angelini is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society in NYC.
"Despite the political aspects, the essence of Back Channel is human,” said Angelini. “Two men from opposite sides have to learn to trust one another. They can’t work out anything until they do that. We’re also going to set the mood by recreating the period through visuals and music. We’re going to take everyone back to 1962 where the march toward nuclear war was interrupted in a most unusual way.” 
The Theater Project is committed to bringing audiences works built around compelling social issues. Past productions include Vitale’s Murrow, which dealt with the role of the news media in our society; Guardians, which addressed events similar to those that occurred at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib prison; and Bury the Dead, which confronted the ethics of war and individual responsibility.
As with those earlier productions, each performance of Back Channel will be followed by an audience discussion featuring the playwright, director, cast and a scholar or writer who will speak about U.S.-Soviet relations, the Cold War, nuclear policy, and how today’s geopolitical situation compares with the period of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Madelyn Hoffman executive director of NJ Peace Action, will be the facilitator for the discussions.
Tickets are available at the box office, by calling (908) 809-8865 or by visiting
WHAT:           Back Channel by Joseph Vitale, presented by THE THEATER PROJECT.
WHEN:          April 13-15Friday and Saturday at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM.
WHERE:        Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ.  
INFO:             908 809-8865