Sunday, February 19, 2017


By Ruth Ross

Long before Europeans arrived in what is now New Jersey and Delaware–in the early 17th century—the Lenni-Lenape lived in the states’ forests and shores, making full use of the area resources. But their lifestyle, strange to the Europeans, engendered cultural conflict and war, and the diseases, guns and alcohol they brought with them created an impossible situation for the Lenni-Lenape to survive in their homeland. Many converted to Christianity and assimilated into the dominant white culture, leaving only a small remnant to carry on the sacred tribal traditions, often in secret.

The Lenni-Lenape themselves may be invisible to modern Jerseyans, but they live on in the dubious world of high school (and professional) team mascots and logos. One, in particular, represents the Warriors of Chipeekany High School in Cumberland County and has aroused the ire of a young Native American woman and provided a subject for Nikkole Salter’s new play, Indian Head, now receiving its world premiere at Luna Stage in West Orange.

Indian Pdt_Office_1

Another of Salter’s plays to have been “ripped from the headlines” (the other was Lines in the Dust, also produced by Luna Stage), Indian Head confronts head-on the hurtful effects of oblivious discrimination and appropriation of another culture’s symbols—in this case, in the name of sport. In addition to the team’s being called the Warriors, football plays are named after famous Native Americans (Crazy Horse, Geronimo) and indicated by huge placards held up to tell the quarterback what to run next. When Rachel Murray spray paints her high school’s new scoreboard, her mother Patricia cuts a private deal with the football coach to punish the young woman by having her serve the team as Equipment Manager for the remainder of the season. She also gets the coach to agree to her teaching the players about the Lenni-Lenape culture. Having her teenage daughter teach the boys sounds like a good idea, but the scheme backfires when Rachel sabotages the lesson and the star quarterback steals a war bonnet (called a roach) and wears it in a pre-game ceremony involving a pseudo-Native American dance performed with a sacred feather spear. An examination of the psychological trauma from a misuse of cultural customs ensues, leading to a grudging understanding between the two cultures. (Above L-R: Carla-Rae as Patricia Murray, Sydney Battle as Rachel Murray, Donavin Dain Scott as Coach Jeff Smith. photo by Christopher Drukker)

What feels like a dynamite subject for a play (especially given the recent controversy swirling around the dismissal for political correctness) garners high marks for topicality, although the play’s over-long second act, exacerbated by Kareem Fahmy’s leisurely direction, and long stretches of wordy, didactic dialogue blunt the dramatic tension. Actually more interesting than the culture clash that is the main theme are several subconflicts: mother vs. daughter, youthful protest vs. older caution, the team’s need for an inspiring mascot vs. an understanding of how hurtful such a choice can be to another.

On a multi-venue set designed by Tina Pfefferkorn and Libby Stadstad and lit by Jorge Arroyo, a quartet of accomplished actors bring Salter’s idea to life. Donivan Dain Scott is avuncular football coach Jeff Smith,  who considers Chipeekany H.S. his home and the players his family. The Indian head has been the school’s insignia since he played there decades ago, and in the name of tradition, he balks at the questions raised and protest waged against its continuance. His adult nemesis, Patricia Murray, is portrayed with mild manners and reticence by Carla-Rae. After a traumatic event at a youthful protest, Patricia seems to have gone underground, to try to change minds through education while continuing to observe her tribal rituals on the down low. Both adult actors deliver Salter’s dialogue convincingly and naturally; the characters they portray are nuanced, but it falls to them to educate the audience about their respective cultures.

Indian Pdt_Football_2

But it is the two young actors who really ignite the stage and bring the play to life. Ollie Corchado (above, with Donavin Dain Scott) as Brian Kelly, anxious for his team to win the seasonal championships so he can get a scholarship to college, is a gung-ho quarterback, filled with enthusiasm for the game, his school and the mascot. He has no idea that performing a war whoop and fake Indian dance is disrespectful to an entire culture; he gets kudos for being willing to be taught and change his ways. Sydney Battle is fierce as an angry Rachel Murray, battling not only her school but her mother’s inclination to “go along to get along,” her tendency to avoid public confrontation. Battle’s sulky expression aptly conveys typical adolescent attitude, but her resentment stems from more than teenage angst.

Deborah Caney’s costumes lend a strong feeling of verisimilitude to the production: uniforms bearing the number, player and team names for the athletes; leather jacket, prairie skirt and Native American accessories for Patricia Murray. Sound designed by Mark Van Hare, complete with cheering crowds and peppy cheerleader voices, really makes us feel as though we are in a stadium during a football game.

It may take awhile to get there, but Indian Head makes some very important observations about the mindless misuse of cultural symbols and its effect on those from whom they are appropriated. Confronted by a lack of political correctness, it’s easy to say, “Get over it,” but to do so is to deny the resulting psychological damage that hearing and seeing such insults can produce. Some judicious tightening up of the script and brisker direction will go a long way to making this “teachable moment” more accessible and dramatically satisfying.

With all this talk about immigration, it’s important to note that the Lenni-Lenape are the Original People of New Jersey and should be respected instead of being rendered invisible because they were defeated. In 2001, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights called for an end to the practice of using American Indians as mascots, logos and nicknames of schools and universities. In New Jersey, 76 schools still use Native mascots. More work is needed to right this wrong. Thank you to Luna and Nikkole Salter for bringing this injustice to our dramatic attention.

Indian Head will be performed at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange, through Sunday March 5. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM and Sunday afternoons at 3 PM. For information and tickets, call 973.395.5551 or visit online.

Friday, February 17, 2017



WHEN: Sunday, February 26 at 3:00 pm
WHERE: Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, 716 Watchung Avenue, Plainfield
Ample free, secure parking in Church lot (Entrance on 1st Place - connected to church by walkway)
TICKETS: General Admission-$20, Seniors-$15, Students-$5. 
Tickets may be purchased at the door the day of the concert, or are available during normal business hours at the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church office. Please call 908-756-2468 or visit for more information about this and upcoming concerts.

Crescent Concerts opens 2017 with its annual showcase of exceptionally talented young musicians from New Jersey.  The five young artists selected this year will perform great works of classical music in the splendor of the neo-Gothic Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church in Plainfield:

Nicholas Gritz, age 13, is an eighth grader at Delbarton School who has studied piano for seven years.  He has won numerous awards for his piano playing, including the Crescendo International Piano Competition, the Cecilian Music Club Competition, the Steinway Piano Competition, the Golden Key Competition, and the National Young Musicians Showcase Competition.  He has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and the NJ Performing Arts Center. He will be presenting works by Beethoven, Bach, and Griffes.

Andrew Gu, age 11, is a sixth grader at the William Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge, NJ, who studies piano and cello.  He has won several piano competitions, including the International Young Artist Piano Competition, the Greater Princeton Steinway Society Piano Scholarship Competition, and the New Jersey Music Teachers Association Young Musician Competition.  He is also the principal cellist of his school orchestra.  He will be performing piano works by Bach and Chopin, as well as a cello piece, for which he will be accompanied by his brother, Albert.

Eric Guo, age 14, is a freshman at Milburn High School who has been studying piano since 2008.  In 2015, he was awarded the Gold Prize on Music-Fest's Rising Talents Festival.  He has performed at Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia, and last summer he attended the Honors Music Institute at Penn State University.  He will be presenting pieces by Chopin, Bach, Schumann, and Rachmaninoff.

Ethan Huang, age 13, is an eighth grader at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown who has been studying piano since he was six.  He has won first place in the Piano Solo and Concerto Competition at the Festival "Musica in Laguna", as well as numerous other awards.  He made his piano concerto debut at the age of seven, and has performed in Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall and Auditorium San Nicolo (Italy).  He will be presenting pieces by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, and Medtner.

Monica Nowik, age 14, has studied flute for eight years.  She has been picked for the Wharton Student Competition Judge's Choice award, and played second chair in the Regional Band.  She currently plays with the New Jersey Youth Symphony Orchestra.  She will be performing a sonata by Schubert, and will be accompanied by her mother, Martha.

So, whether you are a lover of classical music, or an aspiring young musician yourself, join us on Sunday, February 26 and be inspired by the performances from five of classical music's rising stars.


Dan Levison photo by Seth CashmanAt the ‘Jass’ Band Ball: A Centennial Celebration of Recorded Jazz
featuring Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jazz Band

WHEN: Monday, February 20th at 8:00 pm.
WHERE: Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown
TICKETS: $17 in advance and $20 at the door.
Tickets may be purchased online at, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre 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.

Events were in turmoil in February 1917. The world was on the brink of World War I, the Russian Revolution was brewing, and the British Army was about to defeat the Ottoman forces in Baghdad. In New York City, the Victor Talking Machine Company recorded two songs by five musicians from New Orleans called the “Original Dixieland Jass Band” led by cornetist Nick LaRocca. The record that they made has been widely credited as the first commercially released jazz recording and it became a hit, taking the country by storm and captivating an entire world.

And now, 100 years later, Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band will take you back to that historic moment in time with an evening of those earliest jazz tunes that exalted a war-weary nation and propelled it into a wild, hypnotic jazz-induced frenzy. Joining the popular clarinetist will be Mike Davis on cornet, Jeff Barnhart on piano, Matt Mussleman on trombone and Kevin Dorn on Drums. (Photo by Seth Cashman)

“This concert will provide a rare opportunity to hear the tunes that laid the foundation for jazz which is one of our country’s true original art forms,” said Dan Levinson. “We will be playing many ODJB tunes including ‘Livery Stable Blues,’ ‘Clarinet Marmalade,’ ‘The Sheik of Araby,’ ‘Tiger Rag,’ and ‘Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me.’ The intimate Bickford Theatre is a perfect place for jazz.”

The Bickford Theatre is a professional theater that produces and presents year-round entertainment, including a Main Stage Series, two Children’s Theatre series, a Jazz Showcase Series, and other concerts. The theatre is an Equity Producing Theatre member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization of 30 professional theaters throughout the state, and works in conjunction with Actors' Equity Association (AEA) and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). From its beginnings in 1994 to the present, tens of thousands of theater-goers from across the tri-state area have enjoyed the Bickford Theatre’s many entertaining and diversified offerings in theatre, music and dance.

About the Morris Museum
Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution which serves the public through high-caliber exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities. The Museum also offers educational programs, family events, and is home to the Bickford Theatre and its wide range of performing arts offerings. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among other awards. The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited, the Morris Museum was re-accredited in 2013 by the American Alliance of Museums.

The Morris Museum is a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Verdi's soaring arias and passionate duets have long made La Traviata one of the most popular operas ever. A cast of internationally acclaimed guest performers from NY Metropolitan Opera and beyond joins NJFO to present, acted and in costume, this powerful romantic drama that will not leave a dry eye in the house!

Learn More / Buy Tickets
Learn More / Buy Tickets



see all three for $90

WHERE: George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick





Summer Art Camp
Classes Begin June 26
Early Bird Pricing Available

WHEN: June 26 to July 28, 2017 (no class July 4)
Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick
Full day and half day sessions available
Early bird pricing ends March 31

Get ready for another exciting season of Summer Art Camp! All children between the ages of seven and 14 are invited to explore their creative sides and develop new skills in the arts alongside our wonderful teaching artists. New classes this year include Think Big: Mural Painting, Ocean Explorations, Express Yourself: Art and Identity, and Incas, Aztecs, Mayas, and More. We are also excited to announce a new collaboration with Rutgers Gardens to offer a week of camp in their beautiful surroundings, exploring art and nature. Whether it’s your first or fifth time joining us, we look forward to welcoming your family to the Zimmerli soon!

Registration is open now for Zimmerli members, and opens Monday, February 20 for the general public. For more information, visit the webpage, call 848.932.6787, or write to

Music at the Museum
WHEN: Sunday, February 19 / 1:30-3pm
"From the Far East"

Join us for the next concert in this series featuring classical and jazz musicians from the faculty of the Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division. "From the Far East" features classical works for piano, violin, and cello, inspired by Asian musical traditions, performed by Young Eun Lee on cello, Chang Ho Lim on violin, and Cong Ji on piano.

The concerts take place at the Zimmerli and allow visitors to enjoy art and music side-by-side. Each concert is preceded by a brief talk related to the performance theme and, at the conclusion, guests are invited to take a tour of museum highlights. The Music at the Museum series is organized to present a broad repertoire accessible to audiences of all ages.

Visit the website for details.


The Zimmerli's operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment Fund, and the Voorhees Family Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the donors, members, and friends of the Zimmerli Art Museum.




Shipwrecked! An Entertainment
The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)

By Donald Margulies

The adventurous Louis de Rougemont invites you to hear his amazing story of bravery, survival and celebrity that left nineteenth-century England spellbound. Dare to be whisked away in a story of the high seas, populated by exotic islanders, flying wombats, giant sea turtles and a monstrous man-eating octopus. SHIPWRECKED examines how far we're willing to blur the line between fact and fiction in order to leave our mark on the world.

Make your reservations HERE

WHERE: The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit
TICKETS: $35 adults, $30 seniors 65+, $30 students 25. Buy in advance; no fees!
Use code MARG or BOOK to receive $3 off full price $35/$30 tickets.


Special Deal for Shipwrecked Ticket Holders

DRT patrons can show a receipt from Shipwrecked to receive 10% on a meal. Receipt must be presented at beginning of meal. 10% off the bearer's food and beverage check, one 10% off coupon per table.  

Hat Tavern is located at 570 Springfield Avenue Summit, NJ 07901 908.273.7656 

Cast of Shipwrecked

New! Dreamcatcher Book Club

The February 26 talkback will focus on how the play was brought from the page to the stage. The space is also available beforehand for brown bag lunches for book groups to come together.

If you're participating in the Book Club discussion, the script can be purchased locally at:

WHERE: MONDO, 426 Springfield Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901
Or online at Amazon


  • Thursday, February 16: 8pm
  • Friday, February 17: 8pm
  • Saturday, February 18: 8pm
  • Sunday, February 19: 2pm
  • Friday, February 24: 8pm
  • Saturday, February 25: 8pm
  • Sunday, February 26: 2pm
  • Friday, March 3: 8pm
  • Saturday, March 4: 8pm
  • Sunday, March 5: 2pm


  • February 17: Opening night, post-show reception
  • February 19: Senior Sunday, free post-show talkback
  • February 26 : Dreamcatcher Book Club gathering and talkback— open to all!

Tickets: 800-838-3006 | Info: 908-514-9654

Use the Close.By/Summit app or website to find the products, promotions and even parking that you need, quickly and easily, all in one place!


Join Our Mailing List!


SOPAC South Orange Performing Arts Center

Jazz in the Loft: Frank Noviello

Jazz in the Loft: Frank Noviello

WHEN: SUN, FEB 19 at 7PM
SOPAC, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange (behind the train station)
Buy Tickets: $20

A true Jazz vocalist adhering to a tradition of swing and spontaneous performance. He has played and recorded with many of the area's world class Jazz players and appeared at such notable venues as Birdland, Village Gate, Shanghai Jazz, Kitano, and the Blue Note.
Curated and hosted by Lee Boswell-May. 

Musicians from Marlboro

Musicians from Marlboro

WHEN: MON, FEB 20 at 7:30PM
Buy Tickets

Join the Musicians from Marlboro for a program featuring seasoned musicians and young talent as they bring us into the intimate chamber music world of Haydn, Fauré, and Brahms. 

Presented by the Seton Hall University Arts Council.

The Improvised Shakepeare Co.

The Improvised Shakespeare Co. 

WHEN: FRI, FEB 24 at 8PM
Buy Tickets 

Witness The Improvised Shakespeare Co. create a theatrical masterpiece right before your very eyes! Each of the players has brushed up on his “thee’s” and his “thou’s” to bring you an evening of off-the-cuff comedy using the language and the themes of the immortal bard himself, William Shakepeare.  CLICK HERE FOR A PREVIEW

In the unpredictably hilarious fashion of improvised comedy, the audience attending this event will provide suggestions for the title of a play that has yet to be written, let alone performed out loud! 

Disney's Choo-Choo Soul

Kids 'N Family Series
sponsored by Robert Northfield

Disney's Choo-Choo Soul "With Genevieve!" 

WHEN: SUN, FEB 26 at 1PM & 4PM
Buy Tickets

Genevieve is the hippest of all singing train conductors. Together with DC, her beat boxing, break dancing railroad engineer, Disney's Choo-Choo Soul brings all your favorite Disney songs covered with catchy beats.

Watch the video invitation! All aboard!



Image result for VANYA and SONIA and MASHA and SPIKE posterVANYA and SONIA and MASHA and SPIKE 
by Christopher Durang 

WHEN: Mon, March 6 and Tues, March 7 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM (with call-backs on Wed, March 8th)
Burgdorff Center, 10 Durand Rd., Maplewood NJ 07040.

Vanya and Sonia live in the family farmhouse in Bucks County, PA.  Masha, their movie star sister, comes to visit with her new boyfriend, and the quiet household is thrown into a tumult as issues of sibling rivalry, regret, love and lust erupt.

A full cast break-down and script sides are provided at under the Auditions tab for reference and will be provided at auditions as well.

Rehearsals are generally 3 weekday evenings and occasional weekends.  

Performances dates: Fri and Sat, May 12th & 13th, and May 19th & 20th at 8:00 PM and Sun, May 14th at 2:00 PM.

Go to for more information. 

You may also email us at  The Strollers is a membership company; Non-Equity; no pay.






Feb 25 - Mar 26/2017

By William Shakespeare
Adapted & Directed by
Eric Tucker

3 Actors—Many Hilarious Roles—Shakespeare Like You've Never Seen Before!

One of Shakespeare’s most delightful and rowdy comedies! Looking to restore his riches, Sir John Falstaff conjures a plan to seduce the wives of two of Windsor’s wealthiest men. However, Falstaff is no match for the cunning and trickery of Mistress Page and Mistress Ford—who quickly turn the tables.

Apr 8 - 30/2017

By Tony Meneses
Directed by Ken Rus Schmoll

The Story of 8 Women Who Kept The Faith

Through the power of food, faith, laughter, and each other, eight women find a way to carry on life at home while their husbands are away at war. Inspired by the heightened lyricism of the renowned playwright and poet Federico García Lorca, this beautiful new play shows us there is always a way—even through the hardest of times—to set our love free.

Jun 3 - 25/2017

Music by Mike Reid
Lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger
Book by Sarah Schlesinger, Mike Reid, and John Dias

Based on the film The Ballad of Little Jo by Maggie Greenwald

Directed by John Dias

The Real-Life Story of One Woman Who Surprised Everyone

This soaring musical about the American West is inspired by the real-life-story of Josephine Monaghan— a young woman from Boston who, in the late 19th century, made a new life in an Idaho mining town disguised as a man called “Jo.” Writing in The New Yorker, John Lahr called The Ballad of Little Jo, "the real thing—the best piece of musical theater storytelling I've seen in a decade."



Two River Theater | 732.345.1400 |

21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The Last Ten Years (Act I)
By Joseph Vitale

WHEN: 2 PM, Saturday,
February 18

The Last Ten Years charts the final decade in the marriage of Doug and Pam Hernshaw. Through a series of vignettes that move back and forth in time, the play tells the story of a marriage from its hopeful early days, through estrangement, to eventual separation and divorce. In The Last Ten Years, we meet a bright, attractive couple who are good people—but not good together.

Joseph Vitale is the author of a number of plays, including Murrow, which was performed Off-Off Broadway last May at The Phoenix Theatre Ensemble in New York. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America as well as the Theater Project Playwrights Workshop. In 2012, he was a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater/National Playwrights Conference.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


Peking Acrobats

WHEN: Saturday, February 18, Doors 12:30 / Performance at 1pm
New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center Street, Newark NJ
TICKETS: Start at $29

For 31 years, the Peking Acrobats have redefined audience perceptions of Chinese acrobatics. They perform daring maneuvers atop a precarious pagoda of chairs and show their prowess in trick-cycling, tumbling, juggling and gymnastics.

"Nearly everything the Peking Acrobats did last night was amazing - and stunning, and breathtaking and WOW!," writes The Seattle Times.

Peking Acrobats push the limits of human ability, defying gravity with amazing displays of contortion, flexibility and control. They are often accompanied by live musicians who skillfully play traditional Chinese instruments; the time-honored Chinese music coalesces with high-tech special effects and awe-inspiring acrobatic feats, creating an exuberant entertainment event with the festive pageantry of a Chinese carnival.

Peking Acrobats have achieved acclaim, dazzling audiences around the world. In city after city, they take the stage before sold-out crowds and reviews are filled with accolades for their superb performances. In the words of The New York Post, "The Peking Acrobats [are] pushing the envelope of human possibility,"combining agility and grace in remarkable feats of "pure artistry."

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