Sunday, December 4, 2016

REVIEW: SOLO ACTOR BRINGS HOLIDAY STORY TO LIFE AT LUNA STAGE

By Ruth Ross

LIFE-pdt 1

Like many folks around this time of year, you’ve probably gathered around the television to watch the classic film, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or perhaps you’ve caught one of the performances now onstage in northern New Jersey. But whatever you choose, I doubt that you’ve ever experienced a production quite like that at Luna Stage in West Orange where it runs through December 18.

There, in a version by Steve Murray called This Wonderful Life, Erica Bradshaw retells the story of George Bailey’s redemption, portraying every character from George to his wife Mary to greedy banker Potter to Clarence, the Angel 2nd Class who has yet to earn his wings—and everyone else in between! Murray’s script follows the 1946 Frank Capra film’s trajectory closely, but comical asides—uttered by Bradshaw as she races around the stage for just about 80 minutes donning various oddments of clothing—add humor, a touch of snark and modern relevance to the already familiar tale.

Faced with the loss of business funds, George Bailey feels so desperate that he contemplates suicide. He had always wanted to leave Bedford Falls to see the world, but circumstances and his own good heart have led him to stay. He sacrificed his education for his brother's, kept the family-run savings and loan afloat, protected the town from the avarice of the greedy banker Mr. Potter and married his childhood sweetheart. As he prepares to jump from a bridge, his guardian angel intercedes; showing him what life would have been like for the residents of Bedford Falls if he had never lived.

LIFE_pdt 3Talking non-stop, Bradshaw (right) pulls off a tour de force performance. As George Bailey, she channels Jimmy Stewart’s distinctive voice, down to even his stutter, often to comedic effect. She growls as Mr. Potter, affects Mr. Martini’s Italian accent, sounds like a teenage girl and later a grown (white) woman and conveys Clarence the angel’s chirpy innocence. Donning a hat, a collar or a jacket (costumes designed by Deborah Caney) pulled out of drawers, a basket or a pile of what looks to be detritus, ), she transforms herself from a 40-something black woman into the various residents of Bedford Falls. Bradshaw rolls around a dress form and interacts with it as though it’s a person, and she steps in and out of a doorway multiple times without tripping! In addition to uttering dialogue, she narrates the action and brings the story to life.

Director Daryl L. Stewart’s steady hand keeps the action (and the actor) in constant motion on a “backstage” set designed by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader. Justin A. Partier’s lighting is crucial as the action ping-pongs around the stage, and Donald Stark’s sound design is appropriate and effective.

This is the first time I’ve seen this holiday chestnut performed by a solo actor, and I must say that it retains its charm despite the loss of acting support. With its focus on the story, we are reminded that, as Clarence puts it so well, “Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?” and that “no man is a failure who has friends.” Now, every time I hear a bell, I’ll know that some angel’s just got his wings. Thank you, Luna Stage, for a wonderful holiday present. It’s just what we need this year.

Photos by Christopher Drukker.

JOIN MST FOR A FREE PLAY READING ON DECEMBER 6!

We Will Not Be Silent
A free reading
WHEN: Tuesday, December 6, @ 7:30 pm
WHERE: Mile Square Theatre, 1400 Clinton • Hoboken
ADMISSION: free

Join us for a free reading at MST of a new play, We Will Not Be Silent, by David Myers. We Will Not Be Silent, tells the true story of Sophie Scholl, a German college student who led the only major act of civil disobedience during the Second World War. The play examines the role ordinary Germans played in the rise of Hitler, as well as the strength and clarity that led a group of German students to risk their lives for a righteous, but hopeless, cause. The reading is directed by Margarett Perry and the cast includes Alex Sunderhaus and Matthew Lawler.

David Meyers is a New York-based actor and playwright. As a writer, his plays have been read and performed off-Broadway and regionally. He has been published by Applause, Smith and Kraus, and Indie Theater Now—which included his mass shooting play Broken in their Best of the Year anthology. David previously workd in the White House and in the U.S. Senate. www.DavidActs.com

Margarett Perry is an award-winning director of new plays and an Artistic Fellow at The Lark. She is the Resident Director at the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca where she has directed numerous world premieres. Most recently, she directed the world premiere of Seared by Theresa Rebeck at San Francisco Playhouse and is in development with Center Theatre Group on Brian Dykstra’s hip-hop play, Used to Was (Maybe Did). www.margarettperry.com

UPCOMING JAZZ @ LUNA STAGE NEXT SUNDAY

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

READING OF NEW PLAY THIS MONDAY TO BENEFIT LUNA STAGE

This Monday

Academy Award Winner Olympia Dukakis and
Emmy Award Winner Kim Zimmer

in a special reading of 

Expectations
A New Play by Susan Barsky

Olympia Dukakis

Kim Zimmer

Cynthia Fernandez

Directed by Jane Mandel

WHEN: Monday, December 5th, 7:30 pm
WHERE:
Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange

Sometimes what you're looking for is right next door. A heartwarming comedy about motherhood, widowhood and neighborhood.

Special Benefit Reading to Support Luna Stage

TICKETS: $50

JUST 10 TICKETS LEFT!

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS!

NEW & FREE: ART AFTER HOURS/FIRST TUESDAYS @ THE ZIMMERLI ART MUSEUM IN NEW BRUNSWICK

 

 

Art After Hours: First Tuesdays
WHEN: Tuesday, December 6 / 5-9pm
WHERE:
Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton St, New Brunswick
Tours and Live Music

Maxime Lalane, Paris vue prise du Pont de la Concorde, 1867, etching and drypoint on paper; The Rutgers Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

Maxime Lalane, Paris vue prise du Pont de la Concorde, 1867, etching and drypoint on paper; The Rutgers Chamber Jazz Ensemble.

This month’s program includes curator-led tours of Circa 1866: European Prints from the Collection and live performances by the Rutgers Chamber Jazz Ensemble. Free admission and complimentary refreshments. PaparazZi Café offers extended hours.

For details, visit the webpage.


Passport to Art
WHEN: Sunday, December 4 / 1-3pm
Family Art Project

Sam Gilliam, Breeze 1967, 1967, acrylic on canvas.

Travel the world of art as children and parents, grandparents, or guardians work side-by-side on art projects inspired by a work on view at the Zimmerli. These interative workshops allow families quality time to be creative together. This month's project is inspired by Sam Gilliam's painting Breeze. This program is now free and no registration is required. Just drop in anytime during the program hours to participate in this engaging activity for the whole family. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

For further information, visit the web page.

Sam Gilliam, Breeze 1967, 1967, acrylic on canvas


Music at the Museum
WHEN: Sunday, December 11 / 1:30-3pm
"From the Old World"

Jordan Enzinger
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 Old World" features Hungarian works for the cello and piano performed by Péter Tóth on piano and Jordan Enzinger on cello.
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 and future performance dates.


 

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, 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.

 

 

 

BOOK FAIR PURCHASES TO BENEFIT bergenPAC PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL

DOWNLOAD FLYER & VOUCHERS HERE

Saturday, December 3, 2016

GUEST REVIEW: HOLIDAY MUSICAL “MARY POPPINS” A SPECIAL FAMILY TREAT!

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio (www.njfootlights.net)

Centenary Stage Company is in "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” mode with it’s excellent high-flying production of the ​f​amily ​h​oliday ​m​usical Mary Poppins with a cast of 70! This version of the hit Broadway show pulls out all the stops: charming, now classic, story, with all the songs, impressive choreography, costumes and sets plus a large orchestra. The fine cast is a combination of CSC staff, Centenary University Theatre Department faculty and students, Young Performers Workshop students, local regional talent, and professional guest artists. 

This is the version from Disney and Cameron Mackintosh that was on Broadway for over 2,500 performances and received nominations for nine Olivier (London) and seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Note that the stage musical is not a direct adaptation of the Disney film, but features elements of the film and the original books, plus original updated elements.

​Director and choreographer Michael Blevins has selected an outstanding cast. ​ First and foremost, there can be no Mary Poppins without a Mary who is charming, lovely, plus dances and sings beautifully..... Blevins selected a Mary with all those qualities, and more....McKenzie Custin (she was also  a standout ​as​​ Dorothy in the CSC's 2012 production of The Wizard of Oz. ​ In that review we wrote: ​"The very impressive young lady who is Dorothy Gale​--​-McKenzie Custin​,​ not only has a beautiful voice, but is a fine, charming actress who does the magic red shoes proud." Perfect in both classic roles.

Former YPW alumni, Justin Boccitto excels as Chimney Sweep/Sidewalk Artist ​‘Bert’. He can do it all; actor, singer and dancer. Centenary Stage Company favorite Osborn Focht ​(last season’s Scrooge in a ‘Christmas Carol’) is spot-on as the reserved to a fault father George Banks. His touching 'A Man Has Dreams'/ 'The Life I Lead' is a musical highlight. Mrs. Banks is played to perfection by, another CSC favorite, Maria Broduer. She is a properly warm and caring mother...very elegant in her Victorian era clothes and hair-do.

The key parts of the Bank's children are played nicely by Olivia Berlingio as Jane and Sebastian Gutkin as Michael. They both are clearly at easewith the professional cast members around them. CSC veteran, Jeremy Hilgert, adds to the fun in the dual roles of Admiral Boom and the Bank Chairman. We were also impressed with Chris Kolwicz as Northbrook, the young entreprerneur seeking a bank loan. Making a quick effective cameo is, the CSC's artistic director, CarlWallnau as the shady financier Von Hussler (perfect name!).

A standout turn( i,e. showstopper) is performed by Lea-Antolini as Miss Andrews, the nastiest nanny this side of Hades. Only one word describes her performance: wonderful. She was a NJ Footlights Award winner with her high-flying Peter Pan two seasons ago...here she returns to the air! ​​Special mentions are in order to Jane Bynes for her lovely 'Feed The Birds' and Tyler Donovan as the dancing statue Neleus.

​​Rounding out the principle cast are Cara Kramer, Jeff Foote, Megan McGill, James Russo, Donald Danford, Deirdre Bryant-Worth, Cindy Livingstone and Debbie Lockwood.

The Ensemble—park strollers, kite flyers, customers, sweeps, messengers, toys, bankers, clerks, secretaries, statues and dancers—are Tatiana Garcia, Maxine Spann , Jenna Black , Cydney Black, Megan Schmiedhauser , Victoria Pulido, Iyonnah Cousins, Ameer Copper, Claudia Raglievich, Dominick Garatino, Joshua Boyer, Izac Cruz, Sasha Onishchuk, Nick Bettens, Angelina Taystra, Jana Byrnes, Tom Farber, Joe Anselmo, Brianna Morris, AJ Lewis  Lauren Taglienti, MacKenzie Cutcliffe, Tyler Donovan, Nicole Boscarino, Maria Alessi, Ethan Rice, Tess Clark, Guila Bailey, Annabelle Plociniak, Matthew Sigler, Jackson Yawger, Ivana Velez, Rachel Lee, Olivia Mancuso, David Yawger, Sydney Lewis, Lexie Miller, Olivia Ribnicky, Cody Jackson, Andrew Nussbaum, Alani Rose, Brianna Ascione, Gracelyn Donovan, Kiana Rodiguez, Brandon Vita, Andrew Wire, Jovani Catala, Teax Armijo, Elaine Belenguer, Zack Clark, Jacob Jackson,Quinn O’Hara, Raphael Pelczmann, and Kira Herkenham.

A word about the dancing: Terrific ... Blevins, as the choreographer, has this large cast dancing at almost every turn. It is a spirited, enthusiastic collection of dance numbers featuring several dance pros working with a highly energetic group of dancers from Centenary's excellent Young Performers troupe. 

Music is ably provided by a 10-member orchestra led by music director Jared Lee. The members are Tara Crincoli, Tiffany Chung, Jeff Little, Crispian Fordham, Jon Bencivenga, Tim Wendt, Linsay Setzer, Patricia Schmitt, Martika Ross, and Nicholas Cela.

Major production credits: producers, Carl Wallnau, CSC artistic director and Catherine Rust, general manager; director/choreographer Michael Blevins; assistant director- Victoria Pulido; assistant choreographer Claudia Raglievich; set and costume design Ashleigh Poteat; light design Ed Matthews; props master Dani Pietrowski; dance captain Zack Clark; and stage manager Sonya Thiel.​ One of the highlights of this production is the flying of Mary Poppins. Credit goes to the highly respected theatrical flying service Flying by Foy.

The remaining performances of Mary Poppins are: Fridays December 2 and December 9 at 8 pm; Saturdays, December 3 and December 10 at 8 pm and Thursday, December 8 at 7:30. Matinee Performances are Sundays December 4 and December 11, Saturday December 10 at 2 pm.

Ticket prices for Mary Poppins are $27.50 for adults and $22.50 for children under twelve on Matinees and Friday evenings. Saturday evening ticket prices are $30.00 for adults and $25.00 for children under twelve. 

Thursday evening ticket prices are $27.50 for ALL SEATS. Thursday evening is also our Family Night with a two for one rush ticket special when tickets are purchased in person at the CSC box office as early as two hours prior to performance time. Rush ticket offer is not valid for advance ticket sales and cannot be combined with any other discount or special offer.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the CSC box office located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary University; 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5pm and two hours prior to every performance.

Friday, December 2, 2016

3 TENORS SING IN 2 PLACES WITH THE NJFO THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

Kick off the Festive Season with NJFO
and The Three Holiday Tenors

 

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 2016 at 7pm
WHERE: The Presbyterian Church, Westfield, NJ

WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 3pm
WHERE: The Concert Hall at Drew University, Madison, NJ

Join us for a family festival of traditional and contemporary music, sing-a-longs and more guaranteed to make the season merry.

Special guests The Three Holiday Tenors present a host of much loved tenor songs to welcome the holiday season. Traditional carols, signature versions of familiar fare and wintertime curiosities are also sure to delight.

"There is something for everyone in this concert," says Maestro Wroe. "But above all, our program is for the entire community—children, parents, grandparents and friends—to come together through music and celeberate this unique time of year."

TICKETS: $28 - $76; Children 18 and under $15

BUY TICKETS NOW

 

Concerts presented through the generous support of
UNION COUNTY H.E.A.R.T. | THE WESTFIELD FOUNDATION
JEROME AND HELENE DRESKIN

NEW JERSEY FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA
224 East Broad St | Westfield | 07090

 

 
 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

PARAMUS BARNES & NOBLE HOSTS BOOKFAIR TO BENEFIT THE PERFORMING ARTS SCHOOL AT BERGENPAC

Image_2

BOOKFAIR FUNDRAISER

WHEN: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2016 – 9AM-11PM
WHERE: Paramus Barnes & Noble store  located at 765 Rt. 17 South, Paramus, NJ 07652

Support The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC at Barnes & Noble in Paramus, NJ.  In an effort to raise funds for their arts education programs at  The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC is working together with Barnes & Noble Booksellers by hosting a Bookfair Fundraiser.

Barnes & Noble will contribute a percentage of every sale made with a special Bookfair voucher to The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC. Vouchers will be available online at The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC’s website www.bergenpac.org/education and in hard copy at The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC.  You can also shop in support of The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC by shopping online at www.bn.com/bookfairs from Saturday, December 10 through Thursday, December 15, 2016 and include the Bookfair voucher ID (12022539) on the payment page during checkout.

Image_1The Barnes & Noble Bookfair will help The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC in several ways. A percentage of Bookfair sales will underwrite their arts education and school outreach programs.

The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC’s free events and programs will be held at Barnes & Noble in Paramus, NJ on Saturday, December 10, 2016.  These events include:

  • Mommy & Me Music Classes-9:30am-10am, 10:15am-10:45am & 11:45am-12:15pm
  • Join a princess in a sing-a-long 1pm-2pm; Followed by photos with the princess 2pm-3pm
  • Enjoy mellow jazz sounds in the Cafe 5pm-6:30pm
  • Join us for performances by The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC Dancers & Musicians throughout the day!

For more information, contact Joyce Frommer at Barnes & Noble at (201) 445-5950 or CRM2597@bn.com or contact The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC at (201) 482-8194 or email education@bergenpac.org.

Image_3About The Performing Arts School at bergenPAC
The Education program at bergenPAC features a series of classes, school residencies, workshops, live performances, student productions and ensemble groups in the performing arts for students ages 2 1/2 months to 21 years old for all ability levels including special programming for individuals with special needs. The program provides students with unique and “hands-on” arts training by industry professionals that allow them to gain real world experience and enhance academic achievement through the arts. bergenPAC’s arts education initiatives occur on-site at our new Performing Arts School building at 1 Depot Square, Englewood, NJ or off-site at other schools. Through programs, classes, outreach, school shows, and presented shows, the school reaches more than 30,000 students and community youth annually.

The Performing Arts School offers basic and professional level performing arts classes and ensemble groups and productions in theater, dance, and music for students of all ages. The school also offers beyond bergenPAC, a school Partnership Program with school districts throughout the area. The school also offers scholarships for those in financial need - no-one is turned away for inability to pay.

To enroll now or for more information contact 201.482.8194 or

BROADWAY SINGS “THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL” @ NJPAC THIS SATURDAY

 

Broadway Sings The Muppet Christmas Carol

Judy Gold, two-time Emmy winner and Newark native, leads the cast as Scrooge with Julia Murney, Ryann Redmond, Bret Shuford, Joshua Morgan, Kevin Zak, Phillip Taratula, Will Porter, Gretchen Wylder, Sara Gallo, and Amanda McDowall

WHEN: Saturday, December 3; doors 2:30 PM; performance  PM

"Thankful Heart," "Marley and Marley" and other beloved songs from the classic Muppets film, performed by Broadway talents Judy Gold, Julia Murney, Ryann Redmond, Bret Shuford and more!

Top L-R: Ryann Redmond, Julia Murney, Kevin Zak, and Gretchen Wylder
Bottom L-R: Joshua Morgan, Judy Gold, and Bret Shuford


WHERE: New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center Street, Newark NJ
TICKETS: Start at $39

A new holiday tradition is born when Broadway Sings The Muppet Christmas Carol takes to the stage. NJPAC is happy to present a concert version of the music, the magic and the holiday cheer of the Muppets' memorable rendition of the Dickens tale.

This new twist on the movie presents all of the Paul Williams score's festive and funny songs, including "Scrooge" and "It Feels Like Christmas." As a special holiday treat, we'll even throw in some numbers that didn't make it to the big screen. All this merry-making is wrapped up in a shiny bow by some of Broadway's biggest talents: two-time Emmy winner Judy Gold (25 Questions for a Jewish Mother) leads the cast as Scrooge, and will be joined by Julia Murney (Wicked, Lennon), Ryann Redmond (If/Then, Bring It On), Bret Shuford (Amazing Grace, Paramour), Joshua Morgan (Les Miserables), Kevin Zak (Clinton the Musical, Silence!), Phillip Taratula (The Outs, Empire Travel Agency), Will Porter (A Chorus Line, CATS), Gretchen Wylder (Clinton the Musical, Bedbugs!), Sara Gallo and Amanda McDowall.

Note: The Muppets characters do not appear in this performance.

Show Page:

http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/broadway-sings-the-muppet-christmas-carol

Also Coming to NJAPC

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey - where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents. NJPAC is a proud partner of Newark Celebration 350.

Follow NJPAC

Location and Directions:

NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, New Jersey; a short walk from the Newark Penn Station stop for New Jersey Transit, PATH Train and Amtrak trains.

Detailed instructions on approaching the venue by car, by bus, by foot or by rail:

For additional information and up-to-the-minute updates, call 1-888-GO-NJPAC (888-466-5722)

 

HOLIDAY HAPPENINGS @ McCARTER THEATRE IN PRINCETON

A Christmas Carol

A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by David Thompson
Directed by Adam Immerwahr
WHEN: December 9-31
WHERE:
McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & INFO

Experience a brand new production of the holiday classic with more magic and merriment than ever before! Follow Ebenezer Scrooge on a magical journey through Christmas past, present, and future and watch as our McCarter artists—joined by ensemble members from the greater Princeton community—bring this story to life all around you!


TCHAIKOVSKY’S NUTCRACKER
Arranged for piano solo and played by STEWART GOODYEAR
WHEN: Friday, December 16 – 8pm

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & INFO

We all know Tchaikovsky’s orchestration for the Nutcracker ballet, but listening to the complete score played in his own arrangement for piano solo, Stewart Goodyear (who you may remember from 2013 when he played all 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in a single day in the Berlind Theatre) will open you up to an entirely new perspective!

Music Series subscribers may select this event to complete Series B. When subscribing online, please indicate you wish to attend this performance in the “Additional Requests” field. Click here for subscription pricing and additional information on Series B.


HANDEL’s MESSIAH
The New Jersey Symphony Chamber Orchestra
George Manahan, conductor
WHEN: Friday, December 16 – 7:30pm
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & INFO

Handel’s masterpiece returns for the third year to join the American Repertory Ballet’s The Nutcrackerand McCarter’s new production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to constitute the unofficial “Holiday Season Triple Play” at McCarter.

Note: this performance will take place at Richardson Auditorium and is a joint presentation of McCarter Theatre and the New Jersey Symphony.

Partial view seats are available for this performance and can be purchased by calling the Ticket Office at 609.258.2787.


LIMITED AVAILABILITY!
Celebrate the Holidays with
THE HOT SARDINES

WHEN: Thursday, December 22, 2016 – 7:30pm

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS & INFO

Get ready for an evening of “hot” holiday songs when The Hot Sardinesreturn to the Berlind Theatre! All your favorites are here—Rudolph, Santa Claus Got Stuck in my Chimney, The White Cliffs of Dover, and more. The Sardines remain “red hot,” and everyone is hopping on their bandwagon to experience the “Sardine Sound”—a blustery brass lineup, layered over with a rhythm section lead by a stride piano, tied together with a one-of-the-boys frontwoman singer with a voice from another era. You won’t be able to resist the temptation to jump in and sing along!

*Please note that zone restrictions or additional services charges apply when purchased with a Membership, Signature or Choice Pass subscription package. For more information, contact our Ticket Office at 609.258.2787.

PUSHCART PLAYERS TO PERFORM @ UCPAC THIS SATURDAY

group shot

A Season of Miracles

WHEN: 11:00 am on Saturday December 3
WHERE: Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving St., Rahway NJ.
TICKETS: Single tickets are $15, with discounts for groups of ten or more. For single tickets, visit the UCPAC website or call the box office at 732-499-8226.
For group sales, contact Pushcart Players at 973-857-1115.
Family audiences on December 3rd will be able to “meet and greet” the cast members of each show after the performance. 
For further information on this or any Pushcart Players program, visit the website www.pushcartplayers.org or email information@pushcartplayers.org.

This magical musical warms the hearts of family audiences with the true spirit of the December holidays of Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa.

“A Season of Miracles” visits O. Henry’s ‘The Gift of the Magi;’ an original scene in Nigeria entitled ‘The Kwanzaa Kite;’ a story based on the wise men of Chelm folklore called ‘The Chanukah Miracle;’ and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘The Nutcracker.’ Every tale reflects the spirit of the holidays and the people that celebrate them. Music and orchestrations are by Tony Award-winning composer, Larry Hochman, book is by Pushcart co-founder, Ruth Fost and direction is by artistic director Paul Whelihan.

“As for miracles?” noted Fost, “they are within us all and at the heart of each story. Miracles are the gifts of love, kindness, caring and sharing.”

Ruth Fost is a playwright, designer, actor, administrator and advocate for the arts, with a particular focus on arts in education. Fost has appeared in more than fifty leading roles in major productions ranging from Simon (Neil) to Shakespeare to Shaw. She has written 30 musical plays for children, has performed throughout the country and abroad and recently published a children’s book to accompany Pushcart’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Larry Hochman is the Tony Award-winner for orchestrations for “She Loves Me” (2016 revival) and Tony and Drama Desk award-winner for “The Book of Mormon.” He received Tony nominations for “The Scottsboro Boys,” ”Monty Python's Spamalot,” (Hochman also received Drama Desk nominations for both), “Fiddler on the Roof” (2004 revival) and “A Class Act.”  Larry composed additional music for Disney’s “Little Mermaid,’ for Stephen Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and for numerous celebrity concerts.  Hochman’s other awards include the ASCAP Award for Musical Theater (“One Man Band”), 4 Emmy Awards for “The Wonder Pets” television series, and a Bistro Award for composing “One Man Band.” 

Paul Whelihan directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Bickford Theatre, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Cultural Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Premier Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, and original works. He has appeared in locally produced television, film and web series projects.

“A Season of Miracles” features Oscar Castillo, Stacie Gogo, Lou Steele and Gia Ware, all playing myriad characters to illuminate the stories.

Castillo has been a member of Pushcart Players for twelve years. A graduate of Kean University with a BFA in theatre, Oscar co-founded The Theatre Project and performs frequently throughout NYC with Peculiar Works Productions.

Stacie Gogo is a graduate of Wilkes University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance. Gogo appeared off-Broadway as a Kit Kat Girl in “Cabaret” at the Players Theatre, as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray” at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, in the ensemble of “Grease!” at Surflight Theatre, and in international tours. Lou Steele was recently seen off-Broadway at the Clurman Theatre in a production of “Baby” as Nick. Other credits include Radames in “Aida,” Chris in “Miss Saigon,” and Tony in “West Side Story” (Visit Steele’s website at www.lousteele.net).

Gia Ware performed in U.S. and International Tours as Deena Jones in “Dreamgirls,” and as Nehebka in “Aida. She has performed off-Broadway (New World Stages, 45th Street Theater and 777 Theatre), and regionally. She is the director and producer of the YouTube cartoon series, “Gia’s World.”

is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 6 million miles nationally and abroad, from the nation’s White House to the rural red schoolhouse.

Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families and their educators. All performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems.

Union County Performing Arts Center provides quality programming and performances that are educational, affordable and enrich the arts within the diverse community. The Center offers musicals and plays presented by NJ theater troupes, classic and independent film presentations, multicultural programs and events, and live music concerts (www.ucpac.org). All Pushcart Players performances take place in UCPAC’s mainstage theater, a grand venue listed in both state and national registers of historic sites. Built in 1928, it is the centerpiece of the recently established arts district of Rahway.