Tuesday, April 24, 2018

African, Chinese, Flamenco, Historical Jazz, Modern and Aerial Dance Set at RVCC

Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) Visual and Performing Arts Department presents

Students On Stage: Spring Performances at RVCC

DanceWorks
an evening of student and faculty dance produced by Loretta Fois, Director of RVCC’s dance program

WHEN: Tuesday and Wednesday, April 24 and 25, at 8 p.m.
WHERE
: Edward Nash Theatre at the 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg
TICKETS:  General admission tickets cost $12 each, $8 for students and seniors. For tickets, call 908-725-3420. For additional information, call 908-218-8876.

The program will feature works created by faculty and students—all performed by RVCC student dancers. Faculty choreography will include the premiere of Hooplah, choreographed by Professor Loretta Fois. The piece will be performed by the Raritan Valley Dance Ensemble, which tours local K-12 schools, senior centers and assisted living facilities.

Six student pieces were chosen for the concert and the choreography covers a diversity of styles including Chinese dance by Tina Chen (Branchburg); Flamenco by Gillian Gottlieb (Hillsborough); aerial dance by Ariel Lleva (Raritan); and modern dance pieces by Elanna Etemad (Warren), Nathan Forster (Warren), and Emily Stecher (Berkeley Heights). The student choreography is the culmination of a semester of classwork as the students created and rehearsed the new works to be performed.

Hot Miss Lil, choreographed by guest artist Barbara Angeline, is inspired by 1930s jazz dance and music. It incorporates the music and life story of Lil Hardin Armstrong, a jazz pianist, singer, composer and band leader who excelled in the music industry for almost five decades but whose reputation was overshadowed by the fame of her husband, Louis. Barbara Angeline is Artistic Director of Hysterika Jazz Dance, a dance company dedicated to expanding the legacy of jazz dance as an American art form. She is a full-time professor at Rutgers University and guest teaches at Drew University, Hofstra University and New York University’s Steinhardt School.

Knowing –  Embodied Truth is a new work by Kimani Fowlin, an African dance artist and master teacher. The piece, featuring four dancers and live percussion, reflects on community, empowerment, connection, blessing, individuality, acceptance, cooperation, justice, love, one’s unique self and collective expression—all set to the rhythm of the drum. Fowlin is the Director of Dance at Drew University and a faculty member at Rutgers.

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 adult and youth 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 www.raritanval.edu.

Farmstead Arts Presents Spring 2018 Artists Showcase

ed_walter_POPsSpring 2018 Annual Artist Showcase and Sale

WHEN: April 22 to June 3; gallery hours will be Sundays 1:00 – 4:00 (except May 6) and Monday – Wednesday 10:00 -1:00.
WHERE:
Farmhouse Galleries, Farmstead Arts Center, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge
ADMISSION: Free
The Farmhouse is wheelchair accessible.
For more info, www.farmsteadartscenter.org
Email:
admin@farmsteadarts.org
Phone: 908-636-7576

The Farmstead proudly presents its fifth annual Artists Showcase in galleries housed in the beautifully restored 18th century Dutch colonial farmhouse. The artists will present works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, pencil, charcoal, collage, ceramic, pottery, and digital composition. Among the artists exhibiting are Basking Ridge residents Tina White, Ed Walter, Alex Bigatti, Sandy Furst, Tammy DeVoe and Irene Grabowski, Warren artists Margaret Fanning, Debbie Limoli and Peggye Tombro, Bedminster resident E. Susan Haiken, Tracy Mistichelli of Three Bridges, Bloomfield resident Kevin Grzeka, and Stefano Junior of North Plainfield. (Above: “Pops” by Ed Walter )

tina_white_Catskills-LakesideMost works are for sale and many of the artists will be present at the opening reception.

Funds for this event have been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program Grant administered by The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission. (Left: “Catskills Lakeside” by Tina White)

The Company Theatre Group to present Steve Martin’s Comedy “The Underpants”

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THE UNDERPANTS
Adapted by Steve Martin

WHEN: 6 shows only. April 21, 22, 28, 29, May 5 & 6. Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm
WHERE:
Hackensack Performing Arts Center, 102 State Street, Hackensack
TICKETS: $20-$25 at the door if available
90 minutes, no intermission
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE HERE
Visit www.theatrecompany.biz for details
Children under 4 are not permitted into the theatre. Teens and kids under 16 not permitted without parent.

The Underpants was written for the stage in 1910 by Carl Sternheim and adapted in 2002 by comedy legend Steve Martin. It is a laugh-a-minute comedy that begins with conservative German government clerk Theo Maske chastising his young wife Louise after he finds out her underpants fell down in public. SCANDAL! What comes next is a door-slamming, double entendre spewing, laugh riot of gentlemen callers, a nosy neighbor, an oblivious husband, and very proper scientist (Mr. Coluca) who walks into the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mr. Coluca (“The Blacklist,” “Blue Bloods,” “Bull,” and the upcoming Netflix Series “The Good Cop”) will join Sean Evans, Larry Kadish, Andrea Prendamano, Mark Quiles*, Bailey Shada, James Van Nostrand. Creative team includes Darren Rosen (Set Design), Phil Sosinsky (Sound) , Nicole Lentes (Wardrobe Designer), Danielle Rosato (Publicity), Frank Costello (Props/Décor), Lois Lichtenberger (Props/Décor/Script Assistant)

Mr. Coluca has appeared in multiple commercials, TV shows (The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Bull, and the upcoming Netflix Series The Good Cop) and films (including the soon to be released The Week Of (Adam Sandler), Hot Air (Steve Coogan & Neve Campbell) and the Independent films The Mimic, Abe & Low Tide). He is a proud member of The Company Theatre Group and appeared in their 2014 production of Breaking Legs.

ABOUT THE COMPANY THEATRE GROUP
An associate Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The Company Theatre Group is the only professional theatre company in residence at the HACPAC located at 102 State Street Hackensack, NJ

Founded in 2007, The Company Theatre Group is a non-profit, professional company of actors, writers, and directors in residence at The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Hackensack, NJ.

Drawing inspiration from the acclaimed Group Theatre, The Company is dedicated to developing and nurturing artists in an imaginative and safe setting, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of contemporary theatre with its non-choreographed style of production.  Like the Group Theatre, The Company creates heightened authentic human behavior on stage. “Life in Fiction” we like to call it. Truly living in the moment. So, no two performances are ever the same.

The Company creates an entertaining environment and a thought-provoking experience where each audience member can feel like a 'fly on the wall', watching the lives and events of real people in real situations unfold and sometimes unravel right before their eyes.

ART/JEWELRY EXHIBIT TO OPEN IN LIVINGSTON SUNDAY, APRIL 29

LOUD-1

For information, call Vivian Olshen 973.650.3674

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ironbound Treasures and Community Dinner

INFO@NEWESTAMERICANS.COM
848-445-0547

Be a part of “A Christmas Carol”: Community Ensemble Auditions Begin This Week at McCarter Theatre

McCarter’s annual tradition of A Christmas Carol includes a Community Ensemble made up of local performers who help bring the story to life.

Join us at one of the following auditions for an opportunity to be a part of this exhilarating McCarter tradition.

Upcoming Auditions*

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 7:00 – 8:30pm
WHERE
: Rider University Bart Luedeke Center, Studio 14

WHEN: Tuesday, May 1, 6:00 – 7:30pm (Session 1); 8:00 – 9:30pm (Session 2) 
WHERE: McCarter Theatre Berlind Rehearsal Room, 91 University Pl., Princeton

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

*Adults and children ages 14 and up are eligible to audition. Auditions for children ages 5 to 13 will be held in the fall.

mccarter.org

609.258.6504

Saturday, April 21, 2018

REVIEW: STIRRING “MAN IN ROOM 306” @ LUNA STAGE COMMEMORATES KING’S DEATH A HALF CENTURY AGO

Image result for luna stageBy Ruth Ross

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on the Lorraine Motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, the morning after he delivered his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech in support of the city’s sanitary workers. Although we don’t know how he spent those hours preceding the rally in his motel room, playwright Craig Alan Edwards imagines him mulling over his life; his personal relationships with his father, wife and colleagues; his successes and failures; his anxieties; and the future of the nonviolent movement to secure civil rights for blacks and poor people of every race and creed.

The result is The Man in Room 306, written by Edwards 23 years ago, workshopped at Luna Stage in 1995 and produced in 2008, starring Edwards and directed by Cheryl Katz, which is where I first reviewed the play. In the half century (!) since Dr. King’s death, one might have hoped that his goals had been reached; sadly, just looking around us, it’s all too plain that while some have been achieved, we still have work to do.

To commemorate this milestone anniversary, Luna has revived The Man in Room 306 but with a new actor and director. Once again, this tour de force production reveals a more human side to the great civil rights leader that few people know or remember, in an absorbing, extraordinary piece of theater and art—rendered even more relevant with the rise of the alt-right and prevalence of hate speech on social media.

Scenic designers Christopher and Justin Swader have replicated King’s actual motel room to evoke the venue where he spent his last hours. A half-eaten meal, an unfinished game of solitaire and papers strewn about suggest the life of a real human being soon to be interrupted. A video projected on the room’s back wall and depicting the preceding march adds immediacy to what we know lies ahead. Andy Evan Cohen’s sound design includes pigeons cooing, wings flapping and gun shots “heard” by King in a recurring nightmare, along with the prescient sounding thunder of an impending storm. And to convey the passage of time, Devon Cameron deepens the light coming through the motel windows, adding to the ominous atmosphere.

Image result for luna stageDirector Jerome Preston Bates keeps the action tight and focused, but it’s Jamil A.C. Mangan who carries the performance on his broad shoulders—always front and center—and speaking nonstop in the dulcet Southern vocal intonation that morphs smoothly into King’s more familiar preacher declamation style. Addressing the audience directly, he gives voice to his anxieties and dreams, and recalls important people in his past, even adopting their voices as they “speak” to him. His grandmother, Mama, who instilled a love of vocabulary in her precocious grandson; his overbearing and opinionated preacher father, who had his son’s life mapped out for him yet admonished him to “play it safe”; and his lively, sometimes neglected, wife Coretta who worried that his only suit might disintegrate from constant wearing! Edwards and Mangan reveal a man who would rather read the newspaper sports section than write a speech for the next day’s march, a man who dreams of being a major league baseball pitcher, a man who delights in playing practical jokes and having them played on him. And Mangan is masterful in the long, opening telephone conversation with an unknown caller; his delivery is natural, convincing and paced just like a natural conversation.

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Mangan’s King is anguished by the death of a 16-year-old boy killed in the Memphis march after he left the demonstration; by the memories of the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing; and by the Mississippi children so poor that all they ate for lunch was a quarter of an apple and some crackers given to them by their teacher. Yet this King is not without humor; witness his recreation of meeting Coretta in Boston and snowing her with his oozing charm or his admission that he once wanted to become an opera singer! In a stirring scene that has him on his knees, weeping and singing a hymn to God, seeking forgiveness and, ironically, asking the Lord to “take him home”—presumably to Heaven, Mangan ably conveys King’s struggle with his personal doubts and limitations.

Luna Stage Presents 'Man In Room 306' In Honor Of MLK

And finally, Mangan’s delivery of King’s speech to the rally of sanitation workers is prophetic and sad, communicating the power of the words so beautifully that one weeps for what might have been if King had not been murdered.

The best thing about Craig Edwards’ script and Jamil Mangan’s splendid performance is that an iconic figure is humanized, reminding us that many of our idols have feet of clay, whether they be our preachers, our politicians or our parents, and that forgiveness of missteps is important if we are to move forward to the Promised Land, whatever that is for us, individually or collectively.

The play’s title says it all: The Man in Room 306 is the story of a man, not a symbol. As such, this production, appropriate for an audience including both teenagers (who might not know much about Martin Luther King, Jr., other than what they’ve read in history textbooks) and those old enough to remember seeing him on television or, perhaps, marching with him in Washington, D.C., deserves to be seen. You’ll be sorry if you miss it.

The Man in Room 306 will be performed Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange through May 13. The theater is wheelchair accessible and has an interesting Context Room for background information about Dr. King and the production. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.395.5555 or visit www.lunastage.org online.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

SHAKESPEARE & AUDITIONS @ THE HOLMDEL THEATRE COMPANY

Much Ado About Nothing

Directed by Tom Frascatore

WHEN: April 20, 21, 27, 28 – 8PM; April  22 - 2PM
WHERE:
36 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel
TICKETS:
Students $15, Seniors $20, Adult $25
Please note all online order are subject to a $2.50 Processing fee.
At door orders are subject to a $1 Facility Fee.
For more info contact info@holmdeltheatrecompany.org
**We've been experiencing internet outages at the theater, if you plan to buy at the door please have cash. Sorry for any inconvenience.**

Please Join us for a "merry war" between the sexes. William Shakespeare's most beloved romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing boasts one of Shakespeare's most delightful heroines, most dancing wordplay, and the endearing spectacle of intellectual and social self-importance bested by the desire to love and be loved in return.

Featuring:

Beatrice​​​....Tess Ammerman
Benedick​​​....James Weeks*
Leonato​​​....Ed Faver
Hero​​​​....Elizabeth Colagrande
Claudio....​​​Shan Williams
Don Pedro​​​....Andrew James Gordon
Dogberry....​​​Rupert Ravens
Don John​​​....Peter Newes
Friar Francis....​​​Howard Smith
Borachio​​​....Mark Zebro
Margaret​​​....Jessica Freeland
Antonio....​​​Mike Sockol
Conrade​​​....Joseph Walter
Ursula....​​​​Julia Lupi
Messenger/Balthazar​/Watch​....Bella Ashton
Sexton.....Sami DeSocio
Verges.....Laurie Devino

*appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association


Upcoming Auditions!

The Outsiders
by S.E. Hinton
adapted by Christopher Sergel
Directed by Kirk White

WHEN: Wednesday May 16 & Thursday May 17, 2018 7-9:30 PM; Callbacks (if necessary) Saturday May 19 2:00 PM
WHERE: 36 Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel
Production Dates: July 20, 21, 22, 27, 28, 29, Aug 3, 4, 5

interACT PRODUCTIONS TO HOLD FUNDRAISER EVENT IN WEST ORANGE RESTAURANT

WHEN: Sunday, April 22, at 7PM
WHERE
: SuzyQue's BBQ and Bar, 34 S. Valley Rd, West Orange
ADMISSION:  For $10, you’ll hear a variety of songs, plus a teaser from Legally Blonde!

Save the date! The cast & crew of #LegallyBlondeTheMusical will be doing a special #BendandSnap cabaret fundraiser ! 

#omgyouguys
#westorange
#suzyquesbbqandbar

http://interACTProductions.tix.com

CELEBRATE SPRING WITH THE HUNTERDON ART MUSEUM

Discover the Joys of Creating Art Outdoors

WHERE: Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center St., Clinton

Celebrate spring and ignite your creativity with an outdoor class or workshop! The Museum offers a variety of programs for adults and teens ages 16 and up throughout the year. All classes and workshops are taught by professional artists, ensuring a fun and enriching classroom experience.
Plein Air and Still Life Painting with Oscar Peterson (starts Wednesday, April 18 at 9:30 a.m.): Artists have been painting en plein air for hundreds of years. Learn the techniques to start, establish and finish a painting outdoors. Fundamental principles of capturing color, light, planes and structure will be covered. Classes will be held at a variety of locations throughout Hunterdon County including the Dvoor Farm. Visit HAM's website for more information and to register. Join Us!

imageAnimals & Landscape Plein Air One-Day Workshop with Andrea Gianchiglia (Monday, April 23): Picturesque views, old barns and beautiful horses will serve as the inspiration for this one-day workshop in drawing and painting en plein air. You can work with pastel, oil, acrylic or watercolor. Learn all about perspective, foliage, color theory and atmosphere. Depicting animals will also be included in the lesson plans with a focus on drawing, proportion, texture and color application. All skill levels are welcome! Sign Up!

Plein Air Throughout Hunterdon County with Andrea Gianchiglia (starts Monday, May 7): Scenic views of Hunterdon County will serve as the inspiration for this three-week course in drawing and painting en plein air. You are welcome to work with pastel, oil, acrylics or watercolor, as you learn about perspective, foliage, color theory, atmosphere and more. Join Us!

Landscape and Flower Photography Workshop with Nancy Ori (Saturday, May 19, 10 a.m.): Learn all about capturing color, composition, close-up photography, white balance, lighting, getting good exposures in bright sun and shade, camera controls, accessories and use of the tripod. The Dvoor Farm is the perfect place for a photography workshop thanks to its beautiful variety of landscapes including wetlands, meadows and an old-growth forest. Sign up here!

ArtParty 2018 Offers a Fun Night for a Great Cause

Have a great time for a great cause! Get your tickets today for ArtParty 2018: The Secret Garden!

Then get ready to join us here at the Museum on Saturday, April 28 at 6 p.m. and discover a secret garden of earthly delights replete with fragrant flavors, enchanting music, signature cocktails and more.

The Toshiko Takaezu Terrace will blossom into a magical and intimate garden. Guests will step through an arch of birch and pussy willow branches into a garden of flowers and greenery, a fountain, a butterfly garden and bird sanctuary. The décor is courtesy of Greens & Beans of Clinton and Eggostic Events of Hampton.

Get Your ArtParty Tickets Here!

Mia Emerson of 15 Landsdowne Catering, who is donating the food for this event, has created a menu to tempt anyone’s taste buds featuring: Dungeness crab salad, Nashville hot chicken, steak toasts, chimichurri beef, crispy polenta cake and Tuscan ‘Arista’ pork tacos. Carving stations will offer diners smoked paprika rubbed beef and garlic roasted leg of lamb. Capping off the meal will be an assortment of desserts provided by The Lucky Cupcake Company.

See the complete menu here!

Metropolitan Seafood Co. is donating its seafood bar featuring fresh shrimp, oysters and clams. Accompanying the food will be an assortment of wines. Guests can sip cocktails while enjoying live jazz performed by La Vie en Rose.

The evening also features a silent auction where everyone can bid on one-of-a-kind works of art and exciting experience packages. The Museum will raffle off an array of prizes too.

“Attending ArtParty is a great way to support the Museum and the arts, and what could be better than enjoying a fabulous meal, cocktails and live music at one of the state’s most picturesque sites?” said Marjorie Frankel Nathanson, our executive director.

TICKETS: $175 each, and can be purchased online or by calling 908-735-8415. All proceeds benefit the Hunterdon Art Museum’s educational programs and exhibitions of contemporary art, craft and design.

ArtParty Secret Garden sponsors are: 15 Landsdowne Catering, Evco Mechanical Corporation, Provident Bank, The Lucky Cupcake Company, Greens & Beans, Eggsotic Events, Metropolitan Seafood, Starr's Party & Tent Rentals, Unity Bank and St. Luke's University Health Network.

The Hunterdon Art Tour Begins at HAM May 4

The Hunterdon Art Tour (THAT) kicks off its second annual event at the Hunterdon Art Museum Friday, May 4 at 7 p.m. with a benefit exhibition and party.

About 40 artists are participating in the self-guided tour. THAT artists’ studios and group exhibitions at multiple locations will be open to the public on Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit The Hunterdon Art Tour website for a complete artist directory, interactive maps and updates.

Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday with ASC: April 21

www.ascnj.org for information

REVIEW: “A DOG STORY” A DIVERTING CHARMER @ THE BICKFORD THEATRE

Talented cast for the Bickford hit A Dog Story; photo by Jack Grassa

By Ruth Ross

They’re called “man’s best friend.” They’re treated like members of the family. People purchase houses only if there’s room for them to run and play. Who are they: DOGS!

But dogs are also “chick magnets.” At least that’s the premise of Eric Weinberger’s charming, if predictable, musical, A Dog Story, now receiving its New Jersey premiere at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown, after a 2014 world premiere in Key West and an Off-Broadway run in 2016.

Roland (Daniel Robert Sullivan) meets Blair (Clare Fitzgerald); photo by Jack Grassa

The book by the late Eric Weinberger revolves around Roland, a shy, socially awkward 24/7 workaholic. Observing that he’s being passed over for partner in his law firm because he’s not married, Roland is determined to find a wife by Labor Day when the next slot will become empty. To solve the dilemma, his testosterone-driven roommate Guy advises him to get a dog, better yet, a puppy—a fool-proof way to win a girl’s heart. At first, the scheme appears to work, when Blair, a young woman Roland has spotted in Central Park, shows up in the Hamptons where he’s taken a summer cottage and is attracted to him because of the pooch, aptly named Cupid. Because Roland knows zilch about raising and training a pup, he hires Miranda from Good Dog Training who wisely observes that she’ll have to train Roland before the dog can be considered “trained.” But Blair turns out to be too much of a hot number for Roland, and he falls in love with the dog intended as a prop to be given away at the end of the summer. At that point, Roland discovers Miranda’s charms—and well, you know the rest of the story. (Above, Daniel Robert Sullivan as Roland spies Clare Fitzgerald as Blair in Central Park)

Directed by Bickford Artistic Director Eric Hafen, the peppy, pleasant music and sometimes clever lyrics penned by Gayla D. Morgan are delivered by a quartet of young actors, all with good musical ability. Daniel Robert Sullivan (Roland) shows his professional experience (he played Jersey Boys’ Tommy DeVito in Vegas, Toronto and on tour) as he makes his character’s charming awkwardness palpable. From the show’s very first number (“Married Over Labor Day”), he owns the stage. He’s especially winning performing the “Vacation/Training Tango” with Miranda or begging a missing Cupid to “Please Come Home.” It’s hard to take your eyes off him.

Miranda (Allie Ambriano) and Guy (Shabazz Green) sing Better Saturday Nights; photo by Jack GraOver the play’s 90-minute running time, Allie Ambriano’s Miranda (left, with Shabazz Green) morphs from nerdy, no-nonsense, unfashionable dog trainer to a very attractive girl worthy of the notice of hot-to-trot Guy and Roland. At one point, she even appears (in a nightmare) as a dominatrix! She sings well with both men and even manages to make the treacly sweet “Cupid’s Lullaby” (“Puppy, puppy pie,” she warbles) bearable. Of course, because she’s not so blatantly sexy, she’s the perfect match for Roland, and we sure root for them to get together.

Shabazz Green has a fine time flexing his very obvious muscles and thrusting his pelvis as he gives the nerdy Roland advice on attracting—and hooking up with—girls. Unfortunately, Weinberger and Morgan have created a cartoon character who’s more buffoon than real. But Green has a good voice and comedic timing, so he adds some levity to the tale.

Roland (Daniel Robert Sullivan) and Blair (Clare Fitzgerald); photo by Jack GrassaOf the four, Clare Fitzgerald (right, with Sullivan) as Blair appears to be uncomfortable onstage. Sexy in very short skirts, her character, too, is more caricature than real and requires her to utter some over-the-top dialogue that’s rather off-putting. She does a fine job declaring her love for the “Freedom” of a summer vacation from her high-charged job as the senior manager at a hedge fund, but she doesn’t have much to do except strut around the stage and lunge at Roland in a quest to “Make Some Noise.” Fitzgerald sings well, but the part doesn’t require much of her in the way of acting, leaving her looking awkward most of the time.

What about the dog, you ask? Well, Morgan and Weinberger have specified that Cupid be depicted as invisible so each audience member is free to imagine him as the dog breed they love best. To make this work, the actors—chiefly Sullivan and Ambriano—have to pick “him” up, cuddle him and pet him so that we “see” him, a feat they carry out with genius.

The plot unfolds on a functionally furnished stage set designed by Jim Bazewicz, using projections of what appear to be paintings of window views, beachscapes and Hampton cabins to set and change the scenes effortlessly. Roman Klima’s lighting and sound enhance the summer atmosphere; thankfully, no barking or yipping sounds intrude. Hailey Benson’s costumes suit each character, even if I experienced some moments of trepidation about the shortness of Blair’s skirt. The two-man orchestra, directed by Stephanie Lindley provided good, if sometimes too loud, accompaniment.

Yes, boy meets dog meets girl loses girl meets right girl may sound a bit trite, but A Dog Story reminds us that there is room in the theater for diverting musical comedies to take our minds off the weighty matters of day-to-day living. The Bickford Theatre’s production may not solve the Syrian crisis, but it does remind us that, in the “war” of relationships, humor and love—of human or dog—can bring about a happy if unexpected ending.

A Dog Story will be performed at the Bickford Theatre in the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Hgts. Road, Morristown, through April 22. For performance information and tickets, call 973.971.3706 or visit www.morrismuseum.org/bickford online.

Photos by Jack Grassa.