Friday, December 19, 2014
Holiday Concert Series
Holiday Planetarium Shows
Holiday Fun Days
CLICK TITLES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Family Science Flicks
Thursday, December 18, 2014
WHEN: Sunday, December 28, 3-5 PM
WHERE: Rutherfurd Hall, 1686 Route 517, Allamuchy
TICKETS: $22.50 advance - $27.50 door
Tickets available at these Hackettstown locations: Mama’s & Cafe Baci, Hackettstown Trading Post and Panther Valley Pharmacy
Sponsored by Panther Valley Pharmacy and Heath Village
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS (link on graphic will not work)
WHERE: Crossroads Theatre, 7 LIVINGSTON AVE. NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org
Crossroads Theatre Company thanks its major supporters:
Johnson & Johnson
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
New Brunswick Cultural Center
New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts
Monday, December 15, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
By Ruth Ross
"The more things change, the more they stay the same" accurately describes the musical version of Charles Dickens' venerable ghost story, A Christmas Carol, now in its 17th production (since 1988) on the stage of the Chatham Community Playhouse. I have been reviewing this exclusive-to-the-Playhouse biannual production since 1997, and each iteration, albeit slightly different from the last, remains a highlight of my holiday season.
The play’s original music and book, adapted from the writings and letters of Charles Dickens by Philip William McKinley, retells the classic story of the miserly, miserable Ebenezer Scrooge, along with details from Dickens’s life, childhood and family interwoven with the events depicted in the narrative. Taking the old geezer on his "journey" to redemption are three ghosts: Christmas Past, Christmas Present (Above, L-R: Will Carey, Alan Semok and Chip Prestera) and Christmas Future. All serve to overcome Scrooge's disregard for his fellow men and soften the hard, constricted heart of a man reputed to be the "public face for a good man of business"—a message (unfortunately) as relevant today as when Dickens penned it at the height of the Industrial Revolution in 1834.
So what has stayed the same? For starters, there is Alan Semok (left), returning for his twentieth appearance as Ebenezer Scrooge. With his scowling face and crabbed posture Semok is Scrooge (“He even sleeps with a sneer,” someone says), a man who, by the end of the evening, kicks up his heels like a child and whose smile lights up the little black box theater! The songs by Philip William McKinley and Suzanne Buhrer sound as fresh and melodic as when I first heard them. I dare anyone not to wipe away a tear as little Tiny Tim (an adorable Pierson Salvador, top photo) tells his family about his dream and the importance of love in the world!
The choreography by Megan Ferentinos remains as crisp as ever, especially in the high-spirited "Dance with Your Dumpling" number at Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig's annual Christmas party (right). And the very funny “Pawnbroker’s Song,” with its refrain, “Cheerio, ta-ta,” lets us know that, even as he lay dying, Scrooge’s laundress, charwoman and undertaker feel no remorse for stealing from their miserable employer, whose passing they do not mourn. Indeed, this is an ensemble show, with lots of actors playing multiple, often minor, roles; they are a tight group with nary a weak performance among them.
The wigs assembled by Brian James Grace and the costumes designed by Fran Harrison (with Maryann Post’s coordination), complete with bonnets and muffs, cravats and top hats, petticoats and hooped skirts, instantly transport us back to the nineteenth century. And the three Ghosts (two on stilts) move the story along with some special effects that are unexpected and a bit scary—although not too scary to frighten the younger audience members! The action moves smoothly around the small playing space, with even the shallow stage doing quadruple duty as a London street, Scrooge’s bedroom, a warehouse and a drawing room.
So what has changed? Well, some tweaking in 2005 and 2008 have given the show a new look and feel. Back for his second stint as director, Jeffrey Fiorello keeps the action humming, but with a softer feel. Scrooge's journey doesn't seem as frenetic as I remember it. He's aided in this by an outstanding performance by a charming Chip Prestera as the author and narrator, Charles Dickens. Prestera (left, with Alan Semok) may be diminutive in stature, but his stage presence is big enough to fill the theater. He's avuncular rather than commanding, dignified but with a softened demeanor reminiscent of the performer Danny Kaye. In the three years I have been watching Prestera perform at the playhouse, his growth as an actor has impressed me; he surely does not disappoint this time out.
Many of the actors are new to the production, too. William K. Carey is wonderful as Mr. Fezziwig and the Ghost of Christmas Present; Scott Baird (Right, second from left) is a fine Bob Cratchit, as is Samantha Kaplan (third from right)as his wife, Steven Nitka as a scary Marley, Brielle Raddi as Scrooge's lovely ex-fiancée Belle, tiny Sarah Rappaport as Scrooge's adorable sister Fan, Adunni Rae Charles as an ethereal Ghost of Christmas Past and Andrea Thibodeau as a delicious Mrs. Fezziwig. Oh, and I mustn't forget to mention the addition of a new song, "Marley's Lament," never before heard since the show was first workshopped in the 1980s.
As for the production crew, Richard Hennessy is to be commended for his splendid lighting design, as is Joe DeVico for sound; those echo-y voices are scary! Jack Bender’s musical direction (and conducting of a small combo) provides wonderful accompaniment for the talented singer/actors.
For those of us who associate Christmas with Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Martha Stewart and shopping, it’s a bit of a surprise to be reminded that A Christmas Carol is actually a ghost story, and a scary one at that. Yet despite its scarier aspects—most notably the appearance of ghostly spirits and the projected death of Tiny Tim—A Christmas Carol is great family entertainment. And its twin themes of redemption and hope are most appropriate to the holiday season—whatever your religious persuasion might be.
One certainly does not need to shell out big bucks to take the family to Madison Square Garden for their annual “Christmas Carol” extravaganza, where the seats may be located “miles” from the stage and the merchandise hawkers tempt the little ones and empty your wallet. An added plus of the Chatham Community Players’ production is the closeness of the audience to the action; it’s a great opportunity to introduce the kids to the magic of theater at a reasonable price. The benefits are immeasurable.
A Christmas Carol will be performed at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave., Chatham, through December 21. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM.
Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s online ticketing service, simply go to ccp.ticketleap.com. The service is available 24 hours a day, and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. Chatham Playhouse’s box office accepts phone reservations at 973.635.7363.
973.408.5600 or www.ShakespeareNJ.org for tickets
Friday, December 12, 2014
WINTER ACTIVITIES AT THE ZIMMERLI
This winter, the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers offers a diverse schedule of programs and events for all interests. Catch up on current exhibitions during the school break. Or relax at a variety of musical performances.
WHERE: The Zimmerli, located at 71 Hamilton Street in New Brunswick, on the Rutgers University College Avenue campus.
WHEN: The museum is closed December 25 and January 1. The Zimmerli is open regular hours on December 26, 27, 28, 30, 31, as well as January 2, 3, and 4. Scroll down for museum hours.
ADMISSION: Admission to the museum and all activities is free.
For more details, visit www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.
2X: Paintings, Pairs, Twins, and Diptychs spotlights five large-scale contemporary works, both loans and from the permanent collection, that examine the concept of doubling. In Western art, interest in the double has a long history, beginning with depictions of Narcissus and his reflection. In modern and contemporary art, artists have incorporated the double (or copy) for a variety of purposes: to juxtapose two states of mind or matter; to complicate notions of time and place; to explore the multiplicity of identity; or even to allude to the moral implications of cloning. These thought-provoking paintings by David Diao, Fariba Hajamadi, Joan Snyder, and Martin Wong will be on view from December 20, 2014, through July 31, 2015.
The Music at the Museum concert series continues this winter. The Young Artists Program on Saturday, December 20, features small ensembles, offering works by Respighi, Weill, Borodin, and Beethoven. The performance begins at 2 PM. In addition, students from the Mason Gross Extension Division (www.masongross.rutgers.edu/extension) present their recitals on Saturday and Sunday, January 17 and 18, 2015, beginning at 12:45 and 3:00 PM each day. These family-friendly weekend concerts are organized by the Extension Division and hosted by the Zimmerli Art Museum. Admission is free for the concerts, but seating is limited. For the complete schedule, visit bit.ly/ZAMMatM.
Kick off 2015 at Art After Hours: First Tuesdays by stopping in on the first Tuesday of the year, January 6. Art After Hours takes place from 5:00 to 9:00 PM, featuring free admission and complimentary refreshments. To learn more, visit bit.ly/ArtAfterHourZTues.
The evening includes a curator-led tour of the new exhibition 2X: Paintings, Pairs, Twins, and Diptychs, as well as the galleries that showcase George Segal and Abstraction in Sculpture, beginning at 6:00 PM. The tour is immediately followed by the next selection in the Big Ten: Art series, which spotlights one intriguing work of art from the collection each month. The New Brunswick Jazz Project presents vocalist Najwa Parkins, joined by Dan Hanrahan (guitar), Chris Simonini (organ), and Kevin Ripley (drums). A graduate of the Temple University Boyer College of Music and Dance, Parkins frequently performs throughout the greater Philadelphia region and has appeared at jazz festivals in the Hague and Detroit. Her album Not the Next Someone Else features jazz standards and her original compositions. The quartet performs two sets, beginning at 6:30 and 7:30 PM.
The New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra (newbrunswickchamberorchestra.org) brings its salon series to the Zimmerli in 2015. The first performance takes place on Sunday, January 11, beginning at 3:00 PM. Musical selections are interspersed with wine, cheese, and conversation, inviting guests to chat with the musicians about what inspires them and the process behind their art. Future performances begin at 7:00 PM on Saturday, March 7, and Friday, May 8. Admission is free for the salon series.
ZIMMERLI ART MUSEUM|RUTGERS
The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.
Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.
The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 AM to 4:30 PM, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 PM, and the first Tuesday of each month (except August), 10 AM to 9 PM. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.
Z Café featuring the Food Architects is open Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4:30 PM, with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed major holidays, as well as the months of July and August.
For more information, visit the museum’s website www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu or call 848.932.7237.
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 and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum.
A cabaret style event for the whole family, The Guys and Dolls of Broadway promises a superb revue of American musical theater showstoppers presented in glorious symphonic splendor. Featuring renowned guest singers direct from the Broadway stage, this is New Year's Eve at its finest. Come revel in the musical genius of America's great composers, outstanding vocal performers, and a world-class professional orchestra led by Maestro David Wroe.
Last year's concert was a sell-out so don't delay!
BUY TICKETS NOW
NEW JERSEY FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
224 East Broad St| Westfield | 07090 | Tel. 908 232 9400