Monday, July 19, 2010


 The Chatham Community Players (CCP) will host its 16th annual Jersey Voices One-Act Festival with five performances between July 30 and August 7. This year’s production will include six original short plays written by New Jersey playwrights, as well as one original dance piece.

Jersey Voices has provided a venue for New Jersey playwrights to showcase their work since 1995. "I’m constantly amazed and excited by the creativity, the resilience, the persistence of the playwrights of New Jersey whose plays we get to present every summer. Each year they write brand-new slices of life for our enlightenment and entertainment—they are the heart and soul of Jersey Voices," said Producer Bob Denmark.

Three of this year's plays were written by playwrights whose works have been featured in Jersey Voices before (Gary Shaffer, Amanda Mayer and John Allison). The other four pieces were written by newcomers to Jersey Voices (Ian August, Carmen Collins, Evan Marshall and Desiree Caro). Artistic Director Bob Lukasik added, “It seems like only yesterday, but it was actually 17 years ago that a group of young performers came to The Chatham Community Players with the idea of starting a summer theater program to promote new works, new actors and new opportunities. Now in its 16th season, we rededicate ourselves to those ideals. Modern dance, drama, comedy and mystery are featured in this year’s festival, all made possible by a very talented group of artists. 

Each of the following pieces will be performed each night of the festival:
  • Eleanor Descending a Staircase by Ian August of Highland Park. Eleanor wants to buy a print of a painting for her husband's birthday. To do that, she must wrestle with what is Art, what is its purpose in life and why is this sales clerk such an ass? This production features Stacey Petricha of Chatham and Chris Perez of Hackensack. Directed by Jon DeAngelis of Chatham.
  • A Priest Named Irving by Carmen Collins of Metuchen. A comical and heart-warming story about a man of the cloth with a secret. It will show how the places and people we come from influence the people we become. This production stars John Becker of Whippany, Diane Gilch of Martinsville, Clinton Scott of Hawthorne, Lou Cusano of East Hanover and Chaz Turner of Long Valley. Directed by Maybelle Cowan-Lincoln of Morris Plains. (Left: Diane Gilch and Clinton Scott are featured in A Priest Named Irving by Carmen Collins.)
  • The Most Powerful Man by John Allison of Ewing. The action takes place today in the rabbi's office at Temple Beth Shalom. This production features Debbie Bernstein of Maplewood, Dan Higgins of Freehold and David Hoffman of Summit. Directed by Joann Scanlon of Chatham.
  • Family History by Amanda Mayer of New York City, tells the story of an adult son and his successful but ailing father coming together and understanding each other before it's too late This production features Paul Bettys of Denville, Sally Ponzio of Summit and James Broderick of Iselin. Directed by Arnold Buchiane of Summit.
  • The Station by Evan Marshall of Pinebrook. The postman not only rings twice in this clever mystery with comedic overtones, he stands there and waits for a signature. Murder, mistaken identity, an unpublished manuscript and a suitcase full of granola bars all move the story forward to an ironic and surprisingly moral conclusion. This production features Brian Carroll of Union, Victoria Steele of West Caldwell, Paul Bettys of Denville and Jennifer Chaky of Montclair. Directed by Mark Phelan of Parsippany.
  • Love Me Deadly by Desiree Caro of Butler. A lyrical dance piece centering on the romantic exploits of “Charlie” and his three femme fatales, cautioning us that, in love, everything has its price. The talented cast includes Nina Hudson of NYC, Sarah Jes Austell of Summit, Megan Ferentinos of Cranford and Dan Higgins of Freehold. Directed & Choreographed by Desiree Caro of Butler.
  • Ashes to Ashes by Gary Shaffer of Toms River. This fast paced-comedy quickly turns to farce involving subterfuge, a supposedly dead papa and a $1,000 bet! This production features John Becker of Whippany, Frank Briamonte of Scotch Plains, Lauren Einzig of Livingston, Lou Cusano of East Hanover and Tom Hodge of Denville. Directed by Kate Schlesinger of Summit. (Right: Frank Briamonte and Lauren Einzig are featured in Ashes to Ashes by Gary Shaffer.)
Performance dates are Friday and Saturday evenings, July 30, 31 and August 6 and 7. There is one Thursday performance on August 5.

All performances begin at 8 PM at the Chatham Playhouse 23 North Passaic Avenue, Chatham.

Tickets are $15 for adults (19 and older) and $10 for youth (18 and under). They can be ordered by visiting CCP’s Web site at and clicking on TicketLeap.

For more information, call the box office at 973.635.7363 or go to It is highly recommended that tickets be purchased in advance. Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed.
Photos by Howard Fischer