Monday, October 24, 2016



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WHERE: George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick


By Ruth Ross

It’s been said that one-act plays are notoriously difficult to write. After all, a playwright has to create what is essentially a slice of life in a very brief time. For the audience, the one-act play can be attractive. As the producer of The Last Sunset Eric Alter noted in his program notes, “If [an audience member] doesn’t like one, there is always another one 10 or 15 minutes later.”

Produced by Alter’s Apricot Sky Productions onstage at the Grove Street Theatre in Montclair, The Last Sunset is an evening of seven one-act plays and two monologues. Some of the playlets, which focus on romantic relationships, parenthood, terminal illness and aging, are interesting, but the acting is rather uneven.

The two most successful one-act plays are by Eric Alter. Set in an old-age home on New Year’s Eve, Decades (directed and choreographed by Kimberly Jackson) involves three old timers asleep in their chairs as midnight approaches. When the two attendants turn the radio on and leave them alone to pursue some hanky-panky, the trio suddenly comes to life and performs the various dance styles (jitterbug, mashed potato, the twist) to the appropriate music playing on the radio countdown. When the attendants return, however, the old folks have resumed their gorked-out positions as though nothing has happened. Lindsay Kopp, Melissa Kaban, Desiree Rubolotta, Michael McEntee and Kay Koch turned in fine performances, but the action dragged on for too long. With a little trimming, Decades could be a cogent comment on the humanity lurking behind those nearly dead facades presented by many old people.

The Second First Date, also by Alter (directed by Jon DeAngelis), focuses on a major case of mistaken identity. Senior citizen Seymour (Art Delo) is waiting in a restaurant for his blind date to arrive. Instead of Diane, a woman his age, a tootsie named Cheyenne arrives; each mistake the other for the person they are to meet. In direct contrast to Sy’s courtly manners, Stephanie Turner’s hooker Cheyenne is in-your-face vulgar, snapping her gum, twirling her hips and talking coarsely. When the two dance, she peps him up while he softens her rough edges. By the time Sy’s real date arrives, the lives of two individuals have been changed. Brian Carroll as the bartender/waiter and Lauren Einzig as Diane perform their small roles well, but its Delo and Turner who really wow.

The other five playlets are less successful. Alter’s The Break-up King (directed by Helen Exel) uses a hokey device for its hero (Lou Pipon) to ditch his annoying girlfriend Lily (Christine Bielaszka). The Literary Merit of People’s Exhibit One (by Zames Curran, directed by Bob Lowy) reduces the work of a poet (Brian Carroll ) to an exhibit in a courtroom during an obscenity trial; I guess we never really thought about how a poet would feel about his work being reduced to a piece of evidence. In Lyle Landon’s Baby Rabies( directed by Bob Lowy), an annoying mother (Martha Day) nags her twenty-something daughter (Kay Koch) about having a child—a scenario many young people have experienced, to be sure. The daughter’s solution is priceless.

In The Last Sunset by Eric Alter (directed by Bob Lowy), a mom agonizes about her parenting, only to face terminal illness in the second section of the play—a difficult situation that requires superior acting. The scene would have been more poignant had the acting been better. And A Dog’s Life by Robert Scott Sullivan (directed by Gwen Orel) is enlivened by Niall Ng’s delightful portrayal of the dog RJ, but pulled down by Patrick Little’s morose philosophizing about terminal illness—until we realize that he’s talking about putting RJ to sleep!

The two monologues are an equally mixed bag. The more successful of the two, The Second Coming of Sliced Bread by George Ruthauser (directed by Bob Lowy) has an able Gary Martin at a funeral talking to an unseen mourner about eulogies and wondering what people will say about him at his funeral. In Drive By, written and directed by Phoebe Farber, Dan Johnson loudly and angrily addresses his unseen wife in the car about her affair with a math substitute in her school. Lots of shouting; not enough vulnerability.

Apricot Sky Productions is to be commended for giving these New Jersey playwrights a chance to have their efforts performed onstage. While it doesn’t approach the polish of, say, Chatham Community Theatre’s annual Jersey Voices, The Last Sunset is interesting although it could use a bit more polish.

The Last Sunset will be performed for one more weekend at the Grove Street Theatre, 130 Grove Street (in the Deron School), Montclair, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. For information and tickets, visit


Sunday, October 23, 2016


Image result for upstairs inferno movieUpstairs Inferno

WHEN: Wednesday, October 26, 1-3 p.m.
Conference Center (Room C) 118 Lamington Rd., Branchburg
TICKETS: free of charge and open to the public

In commemoration of LGBT History Month, Raritan Valley Community College will present a screening of the award-winning documentary, Upstairs Inferno. The program is being presented at RVCC by the Committee to Internationalize and Diversify the Curriculum. A discussion will follow the screening.

Upstairs Inferno is a powerful film recounting the nearly forgotten arson tragedy that occurred at the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans. Prior to the June shooting at Pulse in Orlando, the 1973 tragedy was the largest gay mass murder in U.S. history. The film offers a unique opportunity for reflection and discussion about the current state of LGBTQI equality in the United States, especially when considering the many striking parallels between the two events and the notable discrepancies in the public’s response to these tragedies.

The film’s trailer may be viewed at For information about the documentary, visit

Refreshments will be served. For additional information about the program, contact David Chase,

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development and personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit


Boris Ursula 1The Frog Princess

WHEN: Saturday, October 29 at 11am.
14 Alvin Place, off Valley Road near the Acme, in Upper Montclair.
TICKETS: $8; discounts available for groups of 20 or more that prepay.  Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 973-744-9752.

Studio Players of Montclair is presenting the theater’s first ever sensory friendly production of their latest Magic Trunk show, The Frog Princess. This performance is a first for the area in New Jersey community theater.

The production will feature fewer lighting and sound cues at this performance, and the theater will keep lights on during the show.  This performance is geared towards the families of children who react better to fewer visual and sound stimuli, including but not limited to children with autism or other disabilities.  This is the first production of this type in North Jersey community theater.

Queen Natasha is handing over her throne to one of her three sons—Boris the toughest son, Casimir the smartest, or Sacha, who isn’t quite good at anything.  Queen Natasha sends her sons to find a wife to make a great queen.  Boris and Casimir marry princesses, but Sacha marries…a frog?  To determine which of the three brides makes the best wife, they have to pass three challenges, but Sacha’s frog princess is hiding a secret.  Will she be able to pass Queen Natasha’s tests?

The Frog Princess is directed by Julie Anne Nolan, stage managed by Elena Bartlett.  Jillian Hayes is the assistant stage manager, and Judi Liebert is the associate stage manager. This charming and adventurous show for all ages is by Catherine L. Howard. 


Boris Ursula 1The Frog Princess

WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 and 3:30pm on October 22 through October 30
Studio Playhouse is located at 14 Alvin Place, off Valley Road near the Acme, in Upper Montclair. 973-744-9752.
$8; discounts available for groups of 20 or more that prepay. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 973-744-9752.

The Frog Princess, a charming and adventurous show for all ages by Catherine L. Howard, comes to Studio Playhouse in Upper Montclair. Additionally, a sensory friendly show for children and families with special needs will be presented on Saturday, October 29 at 11am.

Queen Natasha is handing over her throne to one of her three sons—Boris the toughest son, Casimir the smartest, or Sacha, who isn’t quite good at anything. Queen Natasha sends her sons to find a wife to make a great queen. Boris and Casimir marry princesses, but Sacha marries…a frog? To determine which of the three brides makes the best wife, they have to pass three challenges, but Sacha’s frog princess is hiding a secret. Will she be able to pass Queen Natasha’s tests?

The Frog Princess is directed by Julie Anne Nolan, stage managed by Elena Bartlett. Jillian Hayes is the assistant stage manager, and Judi Liebert is the associate stage manager.

Top: The oldest prince, Boris (Peter Curley), and his warrior bride Ursula (Judy Wilson) prepare to fight for the kingdom.


This is how theater should connect to people."Margo Jefferson, Pulitzer Prize winning critic 

“…drama, comedy, honesty and more… allows the audience to feel, rather than watch!”

Written and performed by actor playwright and New Jersey native Joanna Rush

WHEN: October 27 through 30; Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 pm; Friday, October 28 at 8 pm; Saturday, October 29 at 8 pm and Sunday, October 30 at 2 pm. 
Edith Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown
TICKETS: $15.00 to $25.00.  Thursday evening performances are $25.00 all seats with a buy one/get one rush ticket special when tickets are purchased in person at the CSC box office as early as two hours prior to performance.  Friday evening CSC is offering a special “alumni discount” of $10.00 off adult ticket purchases for alumni of Centenary University. 
Special offers and discounts cannot be combined. 
All ticket sales are final

Fringe Theater returns to Centenary Stage Company as Joanna Rush’s powerfully entertaining one – woman show, Kick, “kicks – off” the series and makes its New Jersey premiere.

“It's not how high - it's how strong”.  On her way to her first big New York audition, dancer Bernie O’Connell is tricked into a car and attacked in a vacant lot off the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.  Kick follows Bernie from a kick-line to “A Chorus Line” to Hollywood and back as she picks up the pieces and finds the glue to put herself back together.  Hailed as “riveting and truly worth seeing” by Kathryn Kitt of, Kick weaves a tale packed with wisdom and humor. 

Rush’s credits run the gamut of Broadway and Off – Broadway to television and film.  Kick is directed by Tony nominated Lynne Taylor – Corbett.  CSC audiences will remember Taylor – Corbett from her work on the 2014 world premiere of Joni Fritz’s In the Car with Blossom and Len and last season’s NJ premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Becky Shaw at Centenary Stage Company.  Taylor – Corbett was nominated for two Tony Awards for direction and choreography of Broadway’s Swing! in addition to a Drama Desk Award.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit or call the CSC box office at (908) 979 – 0900.  The box office is located in the Lackland Center; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.  Box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5 pm and two hours prior to every performance.  Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Follow and connect with Centenary Stage Company to receive the latest news and updates.

The 2016 – 17 Season of performing arts events at Centenary Stage Company are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council of 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, Silver Sponsors, Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.




bergenPAC, 30 N. Van Brunt St., Englewood
TICKETS: $49-39-29
Tickets available at: or or
Box Office (201) 227 1030

It's Saturday Night Fever every night with The Australian Bee Gees Show—A Tribute to the Bee Gees. One of the most successful and adored acts in musical history is recreated on the Vegas stage in a 75-minute multi-media concert event. You'll hear hits like, "Staying Alive," "You Should Be Dancing," "How Deep Is Your Love," and "Jive Talkin.'"

The performers authentic take on the trio’s clothes, style and moves showcase five decades of the Brothers Gibb's success as rock and disco legends, while audiences groove to their memorable music and are immersed in the disco era.

The President of the Bee Gees Fan Club, USA has said, "In my opinion they are the best Bee Gees tribute in the world!”

To subscribe and order tickets, call the Subscription Manager at (201) 816-8160 x24 or email


Michael Feinstein at the Palladium in Carmel, Ind.,  Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010. (Photo by AJ Mast)

An Evening with Michael Feinstein: The Great American Songbook

WHEN: Friday, October 28, 2016 at 8:00 PM
WHERE: Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St., Morristown
TICKETS: $60 - $100.

(Morristown) - Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling entertainer dubbed "The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook," comes to Mayo Performing Arts Center.

This performance is sponsored by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.


Who's Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience

WHEN: Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 8:00 PM
TICKETS: $19 - $45.

(Morristown) - Pay tribute to the King of Pop at Who's Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience coming to Mayo Performing Arts Center. This power-packed tribute to Michael Jackson has ignited crowds on every continent! This jaw-dropping musical must-see is an unrivaled celebration of pop music's one true King.


The Witch Head Nebula

The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg has planned some special programs in October in celebration of Halloween. To add to the magic, a special star show, “The Skies over Hogwarts,” also will be presented for Harry Potter fans.

WHERE: Raritan Valley Community College, 118 Lamington Rd., Branchburg

The following shows will be offered:

Fright Light (Family version)
WHEN: Saturdays, October 22 & 29, 4 p.m.
Enjoy a Halloween laser light show featuring such tunes as “Alive” by Meatloaf and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. (Recommended for ages 6 to adult)

Fright Light (PG-13 version)
WHEN: Saturdays, October 22 & 29, 8 p.m.

This laser light show is not geared for young viewers or those who are easily scared. The show features such songs as “The Night Santa Went Crazy” by Weird Al, “Witch Queen of New Orleans” by Redbone, and “Time Warp” from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Recommended for ages 13 to adult)

The Skies over Hogwarts
WHEN: Friday, October 28, 7 & 8 p.m.; Sunday, October 30, 6 & 7 p.m.

Join our eclectic group of witches and wizards as they guide you through a Harry Potter-themed tour of the night sky. Learn how author J.K. Rowling used astronomy as the inspiration for some of her characters' names. (Recommended for ages 8 and older)

TICKETS: $8 for one show or $14 for two shows on the same day. Reservations are strongly suggested for all Planetarium shows. For additional information or to make reservations, call 908-231-8805 or visit

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit