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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Auditions: 'The Bridges of Madison County' musical at American Theater Group (SOPAC)


American Theater Group, SOPAC’s professional Equity theatre company in-residence, announces auditions for non-Equity actors for the musical The Bridges of Madison County by Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman, based on the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller. The performances will take place at the South Orange Performing Arts Center June 20-30, 2019. The musical will be directed and choreographed by Merete Muenter with musical direction by Brent Sawyer and conducted by Keith Levenson.


The character breakdown, sides for auditions and more details can be found at http://americantheatergroup.org/auditions.html

Following is a synopsis of the musical;
The Bridges of Madison County is a theatrical piece adapted from Robert James Waller’s novel, by the Tony and Pulitzer Award-winning team of Jason Robert Brown and Marsha Norman.  As the winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Score and Orchestrations, this musical asks the age-old question of “what if…” in a love affair that takes place in a small town. In The Bridges of Madison County, a chance encounter forever changes the lives of a traveling photographer and an Iowan farm wife. The production features a soaring score and portrays a passionate and moving love story.

Please do not call or e-mail American Theater Group or SOPAC prior to the auditions. No video submissions will be accepted.
Tickets are $35-$39 and can be purchased at https://www.sopacnow.org/events/bridges/
or by calling the box office at (973) 382-1031.

SOPAC programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
The South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) is a 501(c)(3)charitable organization.

About American Theater Group

American Theater Group, a professional member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, is SOPAC’s theatre company in-residence. Headed by Producing Artistic Director James Vagias, the theatre company presents staged readings of new work in the SOPAC Loft and fully-staged productions on the SOPAC mainstage.
American Theater Group was launched in 2012 with co-founders Joe Mancuso, Rick Sordelet and then Mayor of Rahway Jim Kennedy that offers musicals and plays, a new musical reading series and arts-in education programming. Its focus is on producing new and classical works, primarily by American playwrights, with an emphasis on the development of new works and the rediscovery of undeservedly neglected older ones. American Theater Group’s Board of Trustees chairperson is South Orange resident and Tony Award-winning actress Michelle Pawk.


About SOPAC

Since 2006, SOPAC has been serving as a premier performing arts center in the region. SOPAC offers innovative artistic and cultural experiences for diverse audiences in an intimate, inviting environment. The premier arts center hosts a variety of live performances, community events and education programs for all ages.  To further expand its offerings, SOPAC has a partnership with the Juilliard School of Music to present Juilliard @ SOPAC—a series featuring upcoming musicians from the acclaimed conservatory.  SOPAC is home for Seton Hall University Arts Council’s performances, including Classical Concert Series, Jazz ‘N the Hall performances and Seton Hall University Theatre productions.  SOPAC also presents performances by its theater company in-residence, American Theater Group. For more information, visit SOPACnow.org

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Music of QUEEN at the Count Basie Center for the Arts



National soul sensation and Asbury Park native Remember Jones takes on the legacy of Freddie Mercury with YAS QUEEN!, a brand new celebration of the ground breaking music of QUEEN at the Count Basie Center for the Arts. In true Remember Jones style, the show will feature an over-the-top 10-piece rock band, including horns and strings, along with a huge rock choir to breathe NEW life into the songs that have captured the hearts and souls of millions around the world.

The show on Sunday, April 28th, will be hosted by the Asbury Park Music & Film Festival, which continues to grow with the surrounding community and brings attention to music as one of the most influential aspects of film. Latching onto the success of the film Bohemian Rhapsody, The show will mark 20 years to the date since a young Remember Jones first stepped on the Count Basie Theatre stage as part of Phoenix Productions, playing lead and featured roles for many of his growing years. After acclaimed opening sets on that stage for legendary artists Darlene Love in 2017 and Ronnie Spector in 2018, Jones is ecstatic to finally headline a theatre that has made such a large impact on his creative upbringing, celebrating a band whose frontman helped define who he is today. 

Combining a rich, multi-faceted throwback soul vibe, deep grooves, bold brassy arrangements, powerful storytelling and explosive theatricality, Remember Jones maintains a stronghold on the Asbury Park music community and continues to garnish national attention while touring the US extensively. Perfectly summed up by Live for Live Music as a “Fiercely passionate frontman... one for the ages... holds the audience in the palm of his hand...”, Jones has mastered the art of creating intimacy with his audiences while fronting huge ensembles from 12 to up to 25 members with original music as well as other creative revivals.

Tickets for YAS QUEEN! - a new celebration of the music of Queen with REMEMBER JONES + 10-piece rock orchestra band + huge choir, go on sale to the public FRIDAY, MARCH 2nd with a pre-sale beginning TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26th. 

Final week to see 'An Enemy of the People' at Centenary Stage Company


Centenary Stage Company’s critically acclaimed production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People enters its final week of performances in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Hailed by critics as “Powerful” (Marina Kennedy, Broadway World), “A remarkable play with equally remarkable performances” (Rick Busciglio, NJ Footlights) and “An important message for our time” (Jay Lustig, NJ Arts) the production concludes with performances Wednesday, February 27 at 2pm; Thursday, February 28 at 7:30pm; Friday, March 1 at 8pm; Saturday, March 2 at 8pm and Sunday, March 3 at 2pm. Adapted by John Alan Wyatt and directed by Anne Occhiogrosso, the production stars Randall Duk Kim as Doctor Thomas Stockmann and marks the culmination of the 2018 Gates Ferry Lecture Series: “What is Truth?”

With ripped-from-the-headlines relevance, this high intensity drama peppered with almost absurdist humor is a powerful investigation of ambition, integrity and the price we pay for truth. Originally published in 1882, An Enemy of the People concerns the actions of Doctor Thomas Stockmann, a medical officer charged with inspecting the public baths on which the prosperity of his native town depends. He finds the water to be contaminated. When he refuses to be silenced, he is declared an enemy of the people. Stockmann served as a spokesman for Ibsen, who felt that his plays gave a true, if not always palatable, picture of life and that truth was more important than critical approbation.

Occhiogrosso notes: “I first directed Enemy 30 years ago and Randall played Dr. Stockmann.  Simply put I love the challenge of bringing Ibsen to life on the stage again and Randall is ecstatic to be able to invite the unpredictable and lively Dr. Stockmann into his imagination once more. Ibsen’s voice is so needed today as we struggle with environmental crisis, women’s rights, economic inequality, political division and our very ideas of truth and justice.”

An Enemy of the People closes its run this week in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Remaining performances are Friday, March 1 at 8pm; Saturday, March 2 at 8pm; Sunday, March 3 at 2pm; Thursday, February 28 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, February 27 at 2pm. Tickets are $25.00 for adults for matinee performances, $27.50 for adults on Friday evenings and $29.50 for adults on Saturday evenings. Thursday evening performances are $27.50 for all seats with a buy-one-get-one free rush ticket special.

The Centenary Stage Company box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ on the campus of Centenary University. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5PM and two hours prior to every scheduled performance 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 2018-2019 season of Centenary Stage Company’s performing arts events 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 and The House of the Good Shepherd, Silver Sponsors HMC Atlantic Health, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Monday, February 25, 2019

NJSO presents Spring into Music Gala with performance of Mary Poppins in Concert



Gala honors Kevin Cummings, Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank
Apr 13 at NJPAC in Newark

NEWARK, NJ—The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra hosts its 2019 Spring into Music Gala on April 13 at NJPAC in Newark. The event includes cocktails, dinner, a silent auction and an NJSO performance of Mary Poppins in Concert. The gala’s honoree is Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank Board of Directors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Cummings.

The event begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 4:30 pm, followed by a gala dinner at 6 pm. The evening concludes with Mary Poppins in Concert at 8 pm.

As a longstanding funder of the NJSO, Investors Bank and Cummings have supported several major fundraising initiatives, including large-scale annual events and a weekend NJSO concert series sponsorship, helping the Orchestra inspire creativity and promote lifelong engagement with live music through education and community engagement programs.

Mary Poppins in Concert is a family-friendly symphonic cinema event featuring the five-time Oscar®-winning Disney film unfolding on the big screen with the NJSO performing the Sherman brothers’ charming and delightful musical score. The Sherman brothers won Academy Awards® for Best Original Song (for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”) and Best Original Musical Score.

All proceeds from the gala event will support the NJSO as it enriches lives through its artistic, music education and community engagement programs.

More information about the gala is available at njsymphony.org/springintomusic. More information about the concert is available at njsymphony.org/marypoppins.

Event Packages
Silver Event Ticket—$2,500
Admission for one to the cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and performance; ad in digital slideshow. (Includes a $2,200 charitable donation.)

Bronze Event Ticket—$1,250
Admission for one to the cocktail reception, silent auction, dinner and performance. (Includes a $950 charitable donation.)

For sponsorship information, contact Laura Bessey at lbessey@njsymphony.org or 973.735.1729.

Concert Program
Mary Poppins in Concert with the NJSO
Sat, Apr 13, at 8 pm | NJPAC in Newark

Stuart Chafetz, conductor
New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

Step in time, it’s one heart-tugging, toe-tapping song after another in the beloved film Mary Poppins! This family-friendly, symphonic cinema event features the five-time Oscar-winning classic Disney film unfolding on the big screen with the NJSO performing the charming and delightful musical score. Don’t miss this Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious wonder live with the NJSO!

The NJSO presents additional performances of this concert program on April 12 at Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank and on April 14 at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick in collaboration with State Theatre New Jersey. Full concert information is available at njsymphony.org/marypoppins.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts © Disney All rights reserved.

Kevin Cummings
Kevin Cummings was appointed chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer of Investors Bancorp and Investors Bank effective May 22, 2018. He previously served as president and chief executive officer of these companies since January 1, 2008, and was appointed to serve on the boards on the same date. Prior to 2008, he served as the bank’s COO.

Cummings, along with Investors Bank, has been a longtime funder of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Investors’ support and generosity have driven several Orchestra fundraising initiatives, including large-scale annual events, such as the Opening Night Celebration, and most recently an annual weekend NJSO concert series sponsorship.

Under Cummings’ leadership, the bank’s performance has been recognized on Forbes’ “Best Banks in America” list since 2012. In addition, Cummings is a past recipient of the NJ Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for transforming the bank into a growth company.

Prior to joining Investors Bank, Cummings had a 26-year career with KPMG LLP, where he became a CPA and Partner. He has a BA in economics from Middlebury College. He earned an MBA from Rutgers University School of Business and gave the commencement address to the university’s MBA graduating class in 2013.

He serves on the boards of The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, Liberty Science Center, Independent College Fund of New Jersey, Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, New Jersey Business and Industry Association and The Community Foundation of New Jersey. He also is a member of the leadership council of Morris Habitat for Humanity and has served as the former chairman of the board of New Jersey Bankers Association.

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
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 Center for the Arts 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, 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.

Tickets are available online at njsymphony.org, by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or in person. The NJSO Patron Services office is located at 60 Park Place, Suite 900, in Newark; hours are Monday–Friday, 9 am–5 pm, and concert Saturdays, 11 am–5 pm.

For more information, visit njsymphony.org or email information@njsymphony.org.

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.


Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre presents events for the March New Jersey Theatre Alliance Stages Festival


New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre will collaborate to present a number of events during the Alliance’s Stages Festival, the state’s largest annual theatre festival that provides free and discounted theatre events for all ages throughout the month of March. Most events are free and open to the public.

The Dreamcatcher Cabaret will visit the Wyckoff Public Library on Friday, March 8 at 7 pm. Singers will perform favorite songs from standards to Broadway, including such hits as Smile, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, Something to Live For, and Swingin’ on a Star. They will be accompanied on piano by Dan Crisci, a Maplewood native and jazz musician and composer. This performance is free.

On March 15, 16 and 17, the outreach production of Mi Casa Tu Casa will be performed at various locations throughout the state. Mi Casa Tu Casa is a bilingual blend of music and folktales for the entire family. Musicians and storytellers are your guides on this journey through time, place, and imagination. Mi Casa Tu Casa was co-created by Michael Aquino, Deivis Garcia, Jane Mandel, and Dania Ramos. Mi Casa Tu Casa offers favorite tales and songs in an hour-long show that celebrates joy and magic found throughout the year.

Mi Casa Tu Casa will be presented at three venues: on March 15 at the Van Buren Branch of the Newark Public Library at 4 pm;  on March 16 at the Newark Public Library/Centennial Hall at 1 pm; and on March 17 at Appel Farm in Elmer, NJ at 2 pm. All performances are free.

Astonishment, an outreach production for seniors and their families, will be performed at the Ocean County Library in Lavallette on March 20 at 7 pm. Adapted from a book of essays written by nonagenarian Jan Slepian, this staged reading is performed by three actresses who bring to life the experience of getting older, from the ridiculous to the sublime. This performance is free.

For information about any of the shows, visit: www.stagesfestival.org. Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is located in Summit, NJ at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue. We produce a year-round season that includes mainstage productions, new play readings, improv comedy, cabaret and education and outreach programs for all ages. For more information about Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org.

About the Stages Festival

The Stages Festival offers dozens of performances, workshops, classes, and events at theatres, art centers, libraries, schools, senior centers, and other community venues throughout the state. The program was developed to encourage New Jersey’s residents to attend their local professional theatres by making the experience affordable, accessible, and fun.  

“The Alliance is grateful that Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is participating in the 2019 Stages Festival,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “For 22 years, Stages has provided theatrical experiences for thousands of residents across New Jersey. These efforts would not be made possible without the wonderful help of our partners such as Dreamcatcher.”

About Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre

Dreamcatcher was founded in 1994 as a non-profit professional ensemble of actors. The mission of our professional ensemble of actors is to build community with our audience by sharing contemporary, life-affirming stories that challenge, energize and entertain. We seek to expose theatregoers to ideas and lives like and unlike their own, to awaken their imaginations and create empathy for others. The company focuses on deepening the experience of our patrons by supplementing the performances with personal contact through receptions, talkbacks and interactive programs.

Dreamcatcher's core company of professional local actors performs contemporary work that has at its heart a belief in the essential goodness of people. The company’s activities include mainstage productions, improv comedy and cabarets, new play readings and a variety of educational and senior outreach programs.

Dreamcatcher’s programs are funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; The Summit Area Public Foundation; and many other corporations, foundations and individuals. Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre is an Equity Producing Theatre member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

About the New Jersey Theatre Alliance

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is now a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation, and audience development. The Stages Festival is a project of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Major funding is also provided by New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, and MidAtlantic Arts Council. Additional support is provided by individuals, corporations, and foundations such as Atlantic Health System, Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation & OceanFirst Foundation.