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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Centenary Stage Company’s YPW Spring Festival of Shows



Centenary Stage Company’s critically acclaimed Young Performers Workshop returns with their annual Spring Festival of Shows running May 25 through June 3. These talented young thespians between the ages of 8 and 18 fill the Little Theater with musical theatre favorites including Hello Dolly!, Damn Yankees, Charlotte’s Web, and South Pacific.

Hailed as a “state treasure” by Peter Filichia of the Star Ledger and bringing in youth from Morris, Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex counties, Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop is one of the few young actor training programs in the country that combines formal training with practical application. Performances of Hello, Dolly!, Damn Yankees, Charlotte’s Web, and South Pacific will be held in the Little Theatre located at 400 Jefferson Street, Hackettstown.

Based on Thornton Wilder's 1938 farce The Merchant of Yonkers (which Wilder revised and retitled The Matchmaker in 1955), Hello, Dolly! is a 1964 musical with lyrics and music by Jerry Herman and a book by Michael Stewart. The show follows the story of Dolly Gallagher Levi (a strong-willed matchmaker), as she travels to Yonkers, New York, to find a match for the miserly "well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire" Horace Vandergelder. In doing so she persuades his niece, his niece's intended, and Horace's two clerks to travel to New York City. Performances are Friday, May 25 at 8pm, Sunday, May 27 at 4pm, Saturday, June 2nd at 8pm, and Sunday, June 3 at 1pm.  

Based on the novel, The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop, Damn Yankees the Broadway mega-hit and winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, hits it out of the park! The winning score by Adler and Ross and a devilish book by George Abbot have made this sporty musical comedy a true American classic. It tells of the middle-aged baseball fanatic Joe Boyd, trades his soul to the Devil, also known as Mr. Applegate, for a chance to lead his favorite team to victory in the pennant race against the New York Yankees. As young baseball sensation, Joe Hardy, he transforms the hapless Washington Senators into a winning team, only to realize the true worth of the life that he's left behind. Joe ultimately outsmarts Applegate, returns to his former self and shepherds the Senators to the World Series. Light, fast-paced and devilishly clever, Damn Yankees is a homerun hit, featuring all-American subject matter and an irreverent sense of humor. Performances are Saturday, May 26 at 2pm, Sunday, May 27 at 7pm, and Sunday, June 3rd at 4pm.

Named by the Children's Literature Association the "the best American children's book of the past two hundred years," Charlotte’s Web tells the theatrical story of a group of farm animals that enchantingly explore relationships.  All of the animals from the famous book are here: Wilbur, the irresistible young pig who desperately wants to avoid the butcher; Fern, a girl who understands what animals say to each other; Templeton, the gluttonous rat who can occasionally be talked into a good deed; the Zuckerman family; the Arables; and, most of all, the extraordinary spider, Charlotte, who proves to be “a true friend and a good writer.” Determined to save Wilbur, Charlotte begins her campaign with the "miracle" of her web in which she writes, "Some pig." It's the beginning of a victorious campaign which ultimately ends with the now-safe Wilbur doing what is most important to Charlotte. This is a beautiful, knowing play about friendship that will give your audience an evening of delight. Performances are Saturday, May 26 at 5pm, Sunday, May 27 at 1 pm, Saturday, June 2nd at 5pm, and a special school matinee on Thursday, May 31 at 10am.

Set in an island paradise during World War II, South Pacific tells two parallel love stories that are threatened by the dangers of prejudice and war. Nellie, a spunky nurse from Arkansas, falls in love with a mature French planter, Emile. Nellie learns that the mother of his children was an island native and, unable to turn her back on the prejudices with which she was raised, refuses Emile's proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, the strapping Lt. Joe Cable denies himself the fulfillment of a future with an innocent Tonkinese girl with whom he's fallen in love out of the same fears that haunt Nellie. When Emile is recruited to accompany Joe on a dangerous mission that claims Joe's life, Nellie realizes that life is too short not to seize her own chance for happiness, thus confronting and conquering her prejudices. Performances are Saturday, May 26 at 8pm, Friday, June 1 at 8pm, Saturday, June 2 at 2pm, and Sunday, June 3 at 8pm.

The YPW program has been led by Broadway, film and television veteran, Michael Blevins (photo), for over 20 years. YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people.  The Young Performers Workshop is part of the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary University.

Tickets to the YPW Spring Festival of Shows are $12.50 for adults and $10 for children under 12.  Tickets may be purchased online at centenarystageco.org or by calling the CSC Box Office at (908) 979-0900.  Performances for Hello, Dolly!, Damn Yankees, Charlotte’s Web, and South Pacific will take place in the Little Theatre located on the campus of Centenary University at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown, New Jersey.

Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers Workshop is sponsored in part by Panther Valley Pharmacy.  Centenary Stage Company is sponsored in part by season sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community and series sponsor The House of the Good Shepherd.

The 2017 -18 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, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, The House of the Good Shepherd, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.




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