Monday, February 28, 2011


Read Across America
Wednesday, March 2, at 4 PM

Drop in to the Children's Room to hear fun Dr. Seuss stories! Children will receive a free incentive while supplies last. 

Read Across America is an annual event sponsored by the National Education Association. Its purpose is to focus attention on the importance of reading. The day is celebrated annually on March 2, which was Dr. Seuss' birthday. The beloved children's author epitomized a love of learning and is the inspiration for this national celebration.  Click here to see all of the Dr. Seuss books you can borrow from the West Orange Library.

Our Daughters, the Soldiers
Thursday, March 3, at 7 PM

The Library commemorates Women's History Month with a program highlighting the unique roles and experiences of women in the military.  The program will focus primarily on World War II and the present.

Dr. Helen G. Brudner from the School of Political and International Studies at Fairleigh Dickinson University presents this interesting lecture. This program is made possible by a partnership with the NJ Horizon Speaker's Bureau.

Music is Magic:  A Series for Special Needs Children

Music educator Ann Wild presents a musical program that provides an accepting and stimulating environment for special needs children and their families. Her repetoire includes guitar, song, movement, shaky eggs, scarves, and drums.  

Parents or caregivers must attend this program with their children. Advance registration is required; space is limited. Sign up online at . Fridays at 4:30: March 4, March 11, March 18, March 25, and April 1. Funding for this series is provided by a donation.

Spring has Sprung! 
Monday, March 21, at 6:30 PM

You won't want to miss Nora Maher and Erin Lee Kelly's Storytime Stage in their production of "Spring has Sprung!"  

The performance will take children on an imaginary journey where they'll run through spring rain, splash in puddles, watch a garden grow and visit cuddly baby animals.  This free program is designed for children age 3 and up. Advance registration is required. Sign up online at

Drop-In Storytimes
Saturdays in March at 11 AM

Kids! The Grandpals are back!  Drop in to the Children's Room on Saturdays during March at 11am and our fabulous senior volunteers will read to you. Appropriate for all ages. Sign-ups are not required—just drop in!

Drop-In Family Storytime
Wednesday, March 16, at 7 PM

Venture out from your winter hibernation...bring the whole family to the Library and enjoy a family storytime. Appropriate for all ages. Sign-ups are not required—just drop in! 

Millennium: The Story
Friday, March 25, at 2 PM

The Library hosts a free screening of Millennium: the Story, a documentary film by Laurence Lowenthal. The film focuses on the author of this phenomenal series and the story of the books' success.  Larsson was a worldwide phenomenon who died at the age of 50 before his first novel was even published.

The Millennium trilogy by Swedish author Stieg Larsson is THE literary phenomenon of the last decade, with 15 million books sold worldwide, 25 translations in over 40 countries and a movie that is blasting box-office records worldwide.

Winning Local High School Student Playwrights Announced for The Theater Project’s 9th Annual Young Playwrights Competition

Youth playwrights to receive savings bonds and have their plays performed  by Cranford’s The Theater Project

The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, has announced this year’s winners of its annual Young Playwrights Competition. Four winners will have their original plays performed on Sunday, March 6, at 3 PM by The Theater Project’s company of professional actors in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue. Admission is free. The production will be followed by a lively discussion with the playwrights, actors and audience.

The prize-winning young playwrights are:

  • First Prize: Janine Puhak – resident of Cranford, student at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung
  • Second Prize: Lauren Friezo – resident of Montclair, student at Kimberley Academy in Montclair
  • Third Prize (tie): Victoria Grayner – resident of Dumont, student at Dumont High School in Dumont
  • Third Prize (tie):  Arthur Mezzo and Melanie Cuccioli – residents of Mountainside, students at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights

These students will receive savings bonds as prizes prior to seeing and hearing their winning plays being performed by The Theater Project.

“DISTRACTED” presented by Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre on stage at Playwrights Theatre

Dreamcatcher presents the New Jersey premiere of Distracted, a smart and serious off-Broadway hit that Time Out New York proclaimed "my favorite comedy of the year!" Due to repairs at the Baird, Distracted will play at Playwrights Theatre in Madison.

In Distracted, does nine-year-old Jesse have ADHD or is he just being a kid? Is it even a problem at all? As his parents navigate the complicated world of medical and alternative treatments, they confront the possibility that it's not just Jesse who's distracted--it's our entire culture.

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre says, "Distracted is the kind of play we do best: serious intimate drama that's filled with witty funny dialog and emotional issues that touch the heart." Get your tickets now!

All performances are at Playwrights Theatre in Madison, NJ.

WHEN: March 4-20, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM
Playwrights Theatre, 33 Green Village Road, Madison
TICKETS: $30 adults, $25 seniors & students w/ ID
Save $3 in advance Buy tickets now no fees!
Discounts: Students pay just $15 on Saturday March 5 only
Seniors pay just $15 on Sunday March 6 only
Groups save 10% or more. The bigger your group, the more you save! Group sales

Don't miss the informative Q&A with Distracted artistic director Laura Ekstrand on Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's website!



Ruthless! The Musical
Book & Lyrics by Joal Paley; Music by Marvin Laird
Director: Tom Blewitt
Musical Director: Sue Chandler
Choreographer: Desiree Caro

WHEN: Sunday, March 6, @ 5:30 PM & Monday. March 7, @ 7 PM
(Girls auditioning for the role of Tina will be auditioned first.)

CALL-BACKS: Wednesday, March 9, 7–10 PM (if necessary)


PERFORMANCES: May 7—21, Friday & Saturday Evenings @ 8 PM (Sunday performances are at 2 PM)
Please note that everyone cast in this show MUST be available for every performance.

ABOUT THE SHOW: This is a very funny, fast-paced, and wickedly twisted musical comedy with 8 distinct female roles. There is no “ensemble”. With the exception of the non-singing role of Miss Block, all the characters have solo songs.

  • PLEASE NOTE: We are looking to cast a male performer in the role of Sylvia St. Croix.
  • There is no dancing required for the initial audition, except for the role of Tina.
  • For the auditions, please bring sheet music in the appropriate key for one up-tempo musical theater standard, in the style of Gypsy, Mame, Hello, Dolly, Annie, etc. Please do not bring music from this show.
  • An audition pianist will be provided. No recorded accompaniment for the singing portion of the audition, please.
  • All auditioners should be prepared to do some cold reading from the script. A 1-2 minute contemporary monologue is welcome but not necessary.
  • Children auditioning for Tina should prepare a short tap combination, and bring taped accompaniment on a cassette or CD. We will have a boom box available.


  • b: an 8-year old “triple threat,” loaded with talent and manipulative to the core, she is sickeningly sweet but underneath is a remorseless psychopath. She will be required to tap quite proficiently and should have a strong belt. Ideally, we would like to cast someone between 8-12 years old, but would consider someone older. Range: F# below middle C to E one octave above middle C
  • Judy/Ginger: Tina’s mother, approximately 28-40, a simple June Cleaver-type housewife (with similarities to Ellen Greene in Little Shop of Horrors), who is transformed into Ginger, a Norma Desmond-type Broadway diva. Range: F below middle C to B Flat one octave above middle C
  • Sylvia St. Croix: The stereotypical “in-your-face” talent manager, who is obsessed with making Tina a star. For this role, we are looking to cast a man in drag. Range: A one octave below middle C to E above middle C (or a woman with Bea Arthur’s vocal quality)
  • Miss Thorn: A wannabe actress who had to settle for teaching 3rd grade, she is the director of the school play. Her integrity in casting is questionable. Range: E below middle C to B above middle C
  • Louise Lerman: The student who beats out Tina for the lead in the school play, she has limited talent and is larger than Tina. Range: Middle C to B Flat above middle C
  • Lita Encore: Judy’s adoptive mother, a theater critic with a poison pen who hates musicals. An Ethel Merman-type with a strong belt. Range: E below middle C to D one octave above middle C
  • Eve: Efficient personal assistant to Broadway star, Ginger. She wants Ginger’s life, and copies her every mannerism, May double as Louise. Range: F# below middle C to C above middle C
  • Miss Block: A reporter who wants to do a story about Ginger’s past. This is a non-singing role, and may be doubled with Miss Thorn.

Technical & Backstage Volunteers are also needed for this production. Please email the director Tom Blewitt at with any audition questions, concerns or to volunteer.

If you need to speak to a live person, call Dover Little Theatre 973.328.9202 and your call will be returned.


Bob Isaacs and Joe DePaolo call the contras and squares and Pizzazz provides the music.
WHEN: Saturday, March 5, from 8 to 11 PM
WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, Parish Hall, 14 Hanover Road, East Hanover
TICKETS: Adults $10; students $5. For more information, call 973-551-4441 or go to

Band members include Rachel Bell on accordion; Rachel Panitch on fiddle; Jane Knoeck on piano; and Joe DePaolo on drums and percussion. Beginners’ workshop at 7:30 PM. No partner necessary.

Dead Sea Squirrels opener March 18, 2011Dan Black calls the contras and The Dead Sea Squirrels band (left)provides the music.
WHEN: Saturday, March 19, from 8 to 11 PM
First Presbyterian Church, Parish Hall, 14 Hanover Road, East Hanover.
TICKETS: Adults $10; students $5. For more information, call 973-551-4441 or go to

Band members include Cathy Mason on fiddle; Craig Edwards on fiddle and banjo; and Henry Yoshimura on guitar. Beginners’ workshop at 7:30 PM. No partner necessary.


Bucky Pizzarelli feature March 4, 2011Bucky Pizzarelli headlines at The Minstrel, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, on Friday, March 4, from 8 to 11 PM. Diane Perry opens. Adults $7; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973.335.9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

Open Stage at The Minstrel, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, on Friday, March 11, from 8 to 11 PM. Adults $7; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973.335.9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

Lissa Schneckenburger feature March 18, 2011The Lissa Schneckenburger Band headlines at The Minstrel, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, on Friday, March 18, from 8 to 11 PM. The Dead Sea Squirrels band opens. Adults $7; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973.335.9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

The Short Sisters feature March 25, 2011The Short Sisters headline at The Minstrel, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown, on Friday, March 25, from 8 to 11 PM. Carol Walker opens. Adults $7; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973.335.9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.


clip_image002Bravo Alliance of Performing Artists presents
Highlights from Mozart’s
The Magic Flute

WHEN: March 4, at 7:30 PM
The Church of the Most Blessed Sacrament, 787 Franklin Lake Road, Franklin Lakes
TICKETS:  $20/Adults and $10/students.

The performance features the youthful talents of The Nyack College Opera Workshop, under the tutelage of Joel Jameson, Professor of Voice, and directed by Shelley Jameson and David Maiullo, who is also the Artistic Director of BRAVO. The

For additional information, contact Steve Wightman at 201.913.3462 or at


Mostly Hebraic and All Soulful
: Saturday, March 5, at 8 PM; a pre-concert talk about the music starts at 7 PM.
Eric Brown Theatre, the intimate recital hall at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, 411 E. Clinton Avenue, Tenafly
TICKETS: $16 for JCC members and $20 for non-members
Call 201.408.1465.

TCMS color photoThe JCC Thurnauer School of Music will present the Thurnauer Chamber Music Society in its final concert of the season, Mostly Hebraic and All Soulful, a program that explores the many facets of music with a Jewish theme.

Highlighting the evening will be the evocative Kol Nidre for cello and piano by Max Bruch, a suite from Bock and Harnick’s Fiddler on the Roof and Paul Schoenfield’s Café Music for Piano Trio, composed in 1986.




WHEN: Saturday, March 5, at 7:30 PM
  Gene & Shelley Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University, on the East Campus of Kean University at 215 North Avenue in Hillside.
TICKETS: $40 and can be purchased online at or by calling the box office at 908.737.SHOW (7469). 

China Anhui Traditional Orchestra - Jinghu-Wang JingjingEstablished in 1956, China Anhui Traditional Orchestra (CATO) is a leading art institution devoted to the research, recomposing and performance of traditional Chinese music. The orchestra’s concert at Enlow Hall will feature folk selections of the Anhui Province performed on traditional instruments including the pipa, bamboo flute, erhu, jinghu and guqin.  Principal artists include conductor Zhu Xiaogu, Chen Huilong on flute, Yu Hongmei on the erhu and Zhao Cong on the pipa. 

CATO has toured extensively through more than 30 countries and districts including Japan, Korea, Russia, Mexico, Algeria, Denmark, Zambia, Mali, Mozambique and Yemen.  In addition to its performance at Enlow Hall, the orchestra will also present concerts at The Kennedy Center, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center and Battell Chapel at Yale University.

Enlow Hall is a new, state-of-the-art concert hall boasting precision acoustics in an elegant and intimate performance space.  China Anhui Traditional Orchestra’s performance is part of Enlow Hall’s historic Inaugural Season.

For complete 2010-2011 season information, please visit

WNYC is a media sponsor of Enlow Hall.

Friday, February 25, 2011


The 2nd Annual Mini-Blues Festival, presented by PNC Bank in association with Joe Hirsh Productions and the Centenary State Company, features two full days of the blues on the campus of  Centenary College and around the Hackettstown area.

Legendary Hubert Sumlin, Gina Sicilia,
Sean Chambers Highlight
Centenary Stage Company Mini-Blues Festival

WHEN: Friday & Saturday, March 11-12; "matinee shows" at Marley's Gotham Grill in the late afternoon from 4-6 PM and "post-show parties" both nights from 10:30 PM to midnight. The Centenary Stage Co. shows begin at 6:30 each night and run to 10 PM. 
David and Carol Lackland Center, 715 Grand Avenue, Hackettstown
EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT PURCHASE OPPORTUNITY: Specially priced advanced general admission tickets for each night are just $20 each, which includes a discount to the post show party. Two-day tickets are only $35, which includes free admission to both of the post show parties. Advanced discounted tickets must be purchased by Jan. 15. Thereafter, tickets are $22.50 for one day, and $40 for a 2-day ticket. For ticket information and further details about the festival, go to or phone 908.979.0900. For additional information or to learn more about Joe Hirsh Productions, visit 

Hubert Sumlin-Annie Leibovitz Photo Credit-PromoPhotoLegendary blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, lead guitarist for Howlin' Wolf for years and later recognized by Eric Clapton and others as a major influence in their careers, will headline the Saturday night, March 11, portion of the 2011 Centenary Stage Company Mini-Blues Festival. (Photo by Annie Liebovitz)

Headlining Friday night will be Irish bluesman Sean Chambers. Opening up on Friday night will be the Rick Luts Band followed by Robert Ross with Big Nancy.  Ross has been called “a blues icon… one of the great blues spirits,” by WBAI-FM, NYC radio.

WSNB, based out of North Carolina, will open up the Saturday show with its hard-driving road-house swamp-style blues music. Also taking the stage on Saturday will be Philadelphia-based Gina Sicilia, who music experts say is on the verge of breaking out nationally.

Other major supporters for this year’s festival are GBW Insurance, Good Impressions Printing and Mailing, the Lehigh Valley Blues Network, WRNJ and WNTI.


The CSC Children’s Theater Series is back on the Centenary Stage  by popular demand this spring. With even more  plays and performances, the  Children’s Theatre Series is part of the professional Centenary Stage Company’s mission to serve the region’s youth with dynamic performances and workshops throughout the year.

Give A Mouse a Cookie Publicity 007Based on the beloved book by Laura Numeroff Joffee, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is adapted for the stage by Jody Davidson, and is an adventurous, fun-filled performance appropriate for ages pre-k through 5th grade. When a rather demanding  mouse in  coveralls wearing a backpack shows up in a curious boy’s kitchen one day, the boy soon finds himself figure skating on scrub brushes, wrestling a boa constrictor and climbing mountains, as  an innocent milk and cookie snack time goes from mishap to calamity to catastrophe faster than the twitch of a whisker. (Above: Brittany D’Alessio (Wycoff, NJ) and Nick Ardito (Hackettstown) in the Centenary Stage Co production of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie)

WHEN: Saturday, March 5, at 11 AM, Saturday, March 26, @ 2:30 PM, and Sunday, March 27, @ 2:30 PM.



clip_image002Colors of the Rainbow: Textures of Life

Color Photos by Richard P. Wedeen, M.D.

WHEN: March 1-31, with an artist’s reception on Sunday, March 6, 2 – 5 PM; Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9 AM – 10 PM; Friday and Sunday, 9 AM – 4 PM; closed Saturday and Jewish holidays.
Waltuch Gallery of the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, 411 East Clinton Avenue, Tenafly
ADMISSION: free and open to the community. Artwork is available for sale. For more information contact Ophrah Listokin, Waltuch Gallery Director, at 201.408.1408 or visit the JCC website at

P1016261Textures of Life, Dr. Richard P. Wedeen’s colorful photographs of Guatemala, Panama, Morocco, Laos, Cambodia and India, captures the indigenous vitality of cultures around the world. He pairs his photographs with handmade textiles derived from ancestral designs and weaving techniques that remain virtually unchanged for centuries.

clip_image001“Unlike modern art that is dominated by individualism, traditional textiles hold tenaciously to communal designs,” says Dr. Wedeen. “These artistic creations are usually unsigned, often have ceremonial significance, and play a profoundly spiritual role in the community. I find it endlessly fascinating to try to capture people engaged in their daily, ceremonial activities and I find that pairing samples of these beautiful textiles with my photographs adds a meaningful dimension to what I am looking to capture in my work.”

Richard P. Wedeen, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – The New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ. He is also Associate Chief of Staff for Research, Department of Veterans Affairs New Jersey Health Care System, East Orange, NJ.

Although a physician-scientist by profession, Dr. Wedeen’s photographs have won three First Place Awards and a Best in Show Award in New Jersey. He has exhibited photographs and indigenous textiles at the Weiner Library of Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, the Elmwood Park Library, the Waltuch Art Gallery at the JCC on the Palisades (2006), Tenafly, NJ, The Belsky Museum, Closter, NJ, The Georgia Sheron Gallery, Waterbury, CT, and the Portfolio Restaurant, New York City.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


David Mamet’s plays are always searing portraits that skewer business and the men who conduct it. This play is no exception. But be forewarned: the language is strong. P.S. The Chatham Community Players is an award-winning community theater. I highly recommend your going to see this production!

By David Mamet
Directed by Chase Newhart

WHEN: March 4 – 19, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM; Sunday, March 13, at 3 PM.
Chatham Community Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave., Chatham
TICKETS: $20 for adults and $18 for youth/senior.
You can buy tickets online using the theater’s online ticketing service, Ticketleap. The service is available 24 hours a day. Tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. The box office will begin accepting phone reservations on February 22 at 973.635.7363. 


David Mamet's scathingly funny and thrilling 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, follows the lives of four unethical Chicago real estate agents who are prepared to go to any lengths (legal or illegal) to unload undesirable real estate on unwilling prospective buyers. The play is partly based on Mamet's experiences working in a Chicago real estate office during the late 1960s. The title of the play comes from the names of two of the real estate developments being peddled by the salesmen characters, Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms.

As an audience member, you will feel as though you are sitting with the actors in the Chinese restaurant and in their close-quarters sales office. This is the kind of show that ambitious actors love to sink their teeth into, and director Chase Newhart has worked each scene to keep audiences at the edge of their seats.

In deciding to produce Glengarry Glen Ross for The Chatham Players, Bob Lukasik researched the play and the playwright before he committed to it. Lukasik explained, “In his youth, Mamet worked as a janitor or office cleaner, a taxi driver, a line worker in a canning plant and in the repetitious dark position as a worker in a truck factory. All these unique environments showed Mamet a different side of life. Perhaps that view was a little crude, perhaps a little coarse but all in all, definitely not a sugar-coated environment. It was about life and its struggles and the people who struggle through it. Then, in 1969, he secured a job as an office manager in a Real Estate office. This is where Glengarry Glen Ross was born.”

This ferocious and unforgettable production includes the following cast members: Michael King (New Providence) as the desperate, at-the-end-of his rope Shelly Levene; Noah Lee Margetts (Valley Stream, NY) as the reptilian Ricky Roma; Lorenzo Sapienza (Bridgewater) as James Lingk; Jeff Maschi (Highland Park) as Dave Moss; Frank Briamonte (Scotch Plains) as Baylen; Jeffrey Jackson (Far Hills) as John Williamson; and Robert Mackasek (Union) as George Aaronow.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Playhouse 22


Music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman & Shaiman
Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan
Directed by Anamaria Cammarata Kalet
Music Direction by Rory Chalcraft

WHEN: Monday, March 14, and  Tuesday, March 15
Playhouse 22, East Brunswick Cultural Arts Center, 721 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick,

Show dates:  Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, June 3 – 26, 2011

HAIRSPRAY delights audiences by sweeping them away to 1960′s Baltimore, where the 50′s are out — and change is in the air. Loveable plus-size heroine, Tracy Turnblad, has a passion for dancing, and wins a spot on the local TV dance program, “The Corny Collins Show.” Overnight she finds herself transformed from outsider to teen celebrity. Can a larger-than-life adolescent manage to vanquish the program’s reigning princess, integrate the television show, and find true love (singing and dancing all the while, of course!) without mussing her hair?

Teenage characters must look like teenagers, Adults must look like adults and it WILL be an interracial cast since it deals with integration in Maryland in 1962!

Auditioners are asked to prepare 16 bars of a song with a 60’s Motown sound and come dressed to dance.  See character descriptions below:



Once again, the Paper Mill Playhouse has used a viral video to promote A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Paper Mill Playhouse continues to attract new audiences through their unique, innovative promotions.  I know you will enjoy this one!  Turn up your volume and have a laugh!

Roman Comedy comes to the Mall by way of Paper Mill Playhouse


Are you or do you know a Dead Head? If so, you might want to attend this concert:

Dark Star Orchestra on March 9 at the UC PAC.

Continuing the Grateful Dead Experience

WHEN: Wednesday • March 9, 2011 • 8:00 PM
Union County Performing Arts Center, Irving Street, Rahway
TICKETS: $28 In Advance / $30 Day of Show (Ticket prices include all fees.)

Using entire shows from the Grateful Dead’s 30 years of extensive touring as a launching pad, Dark Star Orchestra recreates the original song for song performance set list for an entirely new generation of Deadheads.

Dark Star Orchestra performs Grateful Dead classics in the same way that an orchestra interprets music of classical composers. The composer spirit is derived and channeled as the players capture the excitement and innovation of the original performances and compositions. Touring nationwide for nine years to the tune of 1300 shows since forming, the band’s determined commitment to “raising the Dead” has drawn national media attention.

Made up of Lisa Mackey (Donna Jean Godchaux), Dino English (Bill Kreutzmann), Rob Koritz (Mickey Hart), Kevin Rosen (Phil Lesh), Rob Eaton (Bob Weir), Rob Barracco (keyboards) and a revolving cast of friends, Dark Star Orchestra does not try to match Grateful Dead live songs note for note. The band instead seeks the individual style for each era of their performances and offers their own interpretations and improvisations of a group also famed and loved for their interpretations and improvisation. Anything more formulaic would quickly dispel the free spirit embodied in the music.


Duos for Violin and Cello
WHEN: Thursday, March 3, 2011, at 8 PM
Kean Hall, Kean University main campus at the Green Lane entrance just off of 1000 Morris Avenue, Union
TICKETS: $15 and are available by calling 908.737.SHOW (7469), and online at

Sharon Roffman, violin, Julie Albers, cello, both stunning virtuosos, return from their international performances to perform celebrated repertoire including the remarkable duos by Kodály and Handel-Halveson.

The Concert Artist Program brings world-renowned performing musicians onto the faculty of the Conservatory of Music. While maintaining successful careers as professional performers, Concert Artists present solo, chamber music, and jazz recitals at Kean; teach private, weekly studio lessons to Kean students; and conduct master classes and other community outreach services in the public schools and junior colleges. Some Concert Artists also coach ensembles and teach classroom courses related to their special­ties. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


clip_image002Every Treasure Has a Story:

Inviting Holocaust Survivors to Share Their Personal Artifacts

The Kaplen JCC on the Palisades invites Holocaust survivors and their families in Northern New Jersey to share their personal artifacts and Holocaust-related mementos, which will be featured in a special temporary exhibition at the JCC. Items can include documents, such as passports, visas, work permits, travel permits, as well as authentic and false identification cards; photos of themselves or lost loved ones; religious artifacts such as Siddurim, Mezuzot, Tefilin and prayer shawls; and various personal items, such as clothes, books, diaries, utensils or other objects linked to this terrible time in history.

“As a large population of Holocaust survivors live in this area, our hope is to assemble a meaningful assortment artifacts that can serve as visible, tangible reminders of what these survivors endured,” says Dr. Mordecai Paldiel, who is spearheading the effort to launch the exhibit. “So many have assiduously held on to these reminders, and in many cases, have made no plans for their proper disposition. We believe that it is important that these items are preserved and viewed and reflected upon…that they won’t be lost forever.”

Dr. Paldiel is prepared to schedule appointments at the JCC on Tuesdays in March between the hours of 10:30 AM and 12:30 PM to meet privately with survivors to evaluate and discuss their artifacts and their potential inclusion in the exhibit. He is also willing to discuss their use as educational tools in schools and colleges, as well as the possibility to arrange a final “resting place” for them at the New York Heritage Museum or the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum.

People willing and interested in meeting with Dr. Paldiel must contact Rabbi Steve Golden in advance to schedule an appointment at the JCC at 201.408.1426.

Kaplen JCC on the Palisades
411 E. Clinton Avenue
Tenafly, NJ


clip_image001The New Jersey Theatre Alliance presents


FREE and discounted tickets to performances, workshops and events are offered state-wide by New Jersey’s Professional Theaters throughout the month of March. The Stages Festival includes the fourteenth annual Family Week at the Theater from March 5 - 12.

Family Week at the Theatre started 14 years ago, but since then, the program has proven to be so popular—and not just among young people, but teens on up to seniors—that there is a constant demand for more programming,” says John McEwen, Executive Director of the Theatre Alliance. 

This unique state-wide program provides the opportunity for young people ages 3–18 to receive free tickets to performances and special events throughout the state including classes, workshops and more – while offering free and/or deeply discounted ticket prices to parents and adult friends.  Events are held at member theaters, but also in local libraries, schools, hospitals and senior centers.  For the fourth year in a row, the Theatre Alliance is also sponsoring a private event for service men and women and their families on McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County

Since its original inception as Family Week at the Theatre, in the program has served over 140,000 young people and their parents with professional theatre performances and activities. 

Older children will appreciate the dynamic programming provided by some of the most exciting companies in the region, while younger children will delight in the experience of seeing many familiar fairy tales and fables enacted in a live format.

Classes and workshops have always been a popular aspect of the program, and for the fourth year in a row, Bank of America’s Beyond the Stage programs offer theater lovers a chance to participate in a variety of workshops under the guidance of professional artists

Examples of workshops from north to south include: 

  • Actors Shakespeare Company (Hudson County) offering a stage combat workshop for young people and a Shakespearian centered acting workshop for the whole family;
  • Two River Theater Company (Monmouth) offering acting workshop for high school and middle school students;
  • Cape May Stage (Cape May County) offering four different acting workshop exclusively for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as adults.  
  • Other members will be offering acting workshops, pre- and post- show discussions, backstage tours and more for all ages.


Fosterfields Living Historical Farm of Morris Township


The Wood Stove Cook

Adult Cooking Series

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. By Registration ONLY

  • Wednesday, March 2nd: Caroline and Desserts
  • Wednesday, March 9th: Aunts Emma’s and Alice’s Side Dishes
  • Wednesday, March 16th: Mrs. Woods’ English Cooking
  • Wednesday, March 23rd: Good, Wholesome Foods Any Farm Woman Can Make

Adults participate in early 20th century food preparation during the Historic Foodways Cooking Class Series at Fosterfields Living Historical Farm. Basic instruction in wood stove cooking techniques will be given on an antique cast iron stove in the Farmhouse.

Participation in each wood stove cooking class is limited to 10 adults. COST: $35 per person/per class, and $25 for Friends of Fosterfields and Cooper Gristmill, with a valid membership card.

Call 973.631.5343, or e-mail to request a registration form and for more information about the classes. The registration fee is non-refundable, unless the class is cancelled due to weather conditions.


Shakespeare for kids and families! Shortened—but professionally acted—performances are a great way to introduce your kids to the Bard:


Dreamcatcher Rep is one of my favorite professional (Actors Equity) theaters in Essex County. They consistently produce first-rate shows in an intimate black box theater. While the Baird Center is closed for repairs, Playwrights Theatre has generously allowed Dreamcatcher to relocate its spring mainstage production to their home, becoming a co-producer of the project. In addition, friends at Luna Stage in West Orange have provided rehearsal space for the production.

clip_image001DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE, professional Theatre in Residence at the Baird Center in South Orange, will present the New Jersey premiere of

By Lisa Loomer
Directed by Laura Ekstrand

WHEN: March 4–20, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM, and Sundays at
2 PM. 

Playwrights Theatre of NJ,  33 Green Village Road, in the heart of downtown Madison.
TICKETS: $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and students, with special rates for subscribers and groups.  To save $3, purchase tickets online at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800.838.3006.  Students pay only $15 on Student Saturday, March 5, and seniors pay only $15 on Senior Sunday, the March 6 matinee.   
To purchase tickets or for information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please visit or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Baird, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, 973.378.7754, ext. 2228.

DISTRACTED was a hit Off-Broadway last season, where audiences responded to its humor and relevance, making it one of the year’s most popular shows.

IMG_1778The play tells the story of nine-year-old Jesse, who has a problem, according to his teacher and a slew of specialists.  But is it ADHD, or just normal boyishness? As his parents navigate the complicated world of medical and alternative treatments, they confront the possibility that it’s not just Jesse that’s distracted: it’s our entire culture. The Associated Press called it “a smartly comic, sharply observant and surprisingly humane play.”  The reviewer at Time Out New York proclaimed it “my favorite comedy of the year!” (left: Harriett Trangucci)

The cast of DISTRACTED features the Resident Acting Company members:  Harry Patrick Christian (Montclair), Noreen Farley (Clinton), Scott McGowan (Maplewood), Jessica O’Hara-Baker (New York, and Harriett Trangucci (Summit). Completing the cast is Beth Painter (Westfield), making her first appearance at Dreamcatcher after being a long-time favorite at Alliance Rep in Rahway. The Stage Manager is Yumi Matsuura and the Assistant Stage Manager is Gloriann Figenshu (both of Madison). 

The Playwrights Theatre of NJ is wheelchair accessible.  As always, Assistive Listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available by prior arrangement. 

Monday, February 21, 2011



The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum opens its 2011 A La Carte Series

Celebrating the Golden Years at the Movies with Broadway veteran Gay Willis

WHEN: Sunday, March 6, at 2:00 PM
The Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown

Gay Willis HeadshotThe incomparable Gay Willis has starred in Broadway’s Showboat, The Phantom of the Opera, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, and on PBS’ From Galway to Broadway. She has performed to sold-out houses all over the world and has been universally heralded by critics: "As Christine (in The Phantom of the Opera), Willis' voice has an almost ethereal quality...transporting the audience to unexpected heights emotionally as well as vocally.” —Variety.

Gay will be joined by noted baritone James Michael and accompanied by David Maiullo on piano. Audiences can expect to hear such favorites as “I Could Have Danced All Night,” “When You Wish Upon A Star,” “Over the Rainbow,” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” and more!

The A La Carte Series continues on Sunday, March 13, at 2:00 PM with A Tribute to Gershwin featuring The David Leonhardt Jazz Group and the Shelly Oliver Tap Dancers. Please Note: this performance is completely sold-out.)

The Series concludes on Sunday, March 20, at 2:00 PM with Before the Crash: America in the 1920’s, a fascinating and entertaining look at the dance, music and words from this remarkable period in America’s history. The controversy of Sacco & Vanzetti, the Charleston dance craze, unguarded optimism, the plight of the immigrants, and finally the crash will be all brought to life by director Daniel P. Quinn and choreographer Heather Johdos, collaborators of the Bickford’s previous A La Carte Series success, After the Ball.

Hooray for Hollywood replaces the previously announced Carol Channing in Concert due to a scheduling conflict on the part of its star, Richard Skipper.

TICKETS: for all A La Carte Series performances are $30 General Public, $28 for Museum/Guild Members and Seniors 65 & up, $26 for Groups of 10 or more, and $20 for Students (18 & under or with valid college ID)

Tickets may be purchased online 24/7 at, by phone at 973.971.3706 or in person at the Bickford Box Office. The Bickford Theatre is conveniently located within the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM. Walk-up hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 AM to 5 PM.


Farmstead Arts March Events
Celtic Harp/Guitar Duo and the Myhelan Arts Exhibit and Sale

Farmstead Arts will celebrate the month of March with a Celtic harp and guitar concert on Sunday, March 6, at 2 PM and March With Myhelan Art Exhibit and Sale March 5 through March 26, featuring over forty works by New Jersey artists. Both events will be held at Farmstead Arts located at 450 King George Road in Basking Ridge, N.J.

Odarka_and_Red_harp_and_guitar_duoThe Celtic harp and guitar concert Slight Imperfection, will feature a blend of traditional Celtic, folk, and rock and roll music by vocalist/harpist/ percussionist Odarka Stockert and vocalist/guitarist Redentor “Red” Jimenez.

Known as “Odarka,” Stockert is an accomplished harpist who is classically trained, but has performed an eclectic mix of Celtic, Ukrainian and Eastern music since the 1980’s. She spent several summers in Dublin, Ireland competing in the O’Carolan Irish Harp and Granard Harp competitions, winning honors and awards in both. She is also the collaborator of Yara Art Group based at La Mama, ETC in New York and the founding member of Glendalough’s Muse, a Celtic harp and flute duo.

Joining Odarka will be Red Jimenez, known as “Red,” who is a prolific songwriter and guitarist originally from the Philippines. Red fronts the original New Jersey-based band RED. For more information, visit and

TICKETS: for the Slight Imperfection concert are $20 per person. Students and seniors are $10. Tickets may be purchased online at
Seating is limited. Based on availability, tickets may be available at the door. For up-to-date information, visit, or call 347.927.8748.

FAC March Postcard Artists FinalThe March with Myhelan exhibit will feature painting, drawing, mixed media, sculpture, beaded jewelry, fabric art, photography and mobile art by sixteen artists from the Myhelan Arts. Named after the Lenape Native American word “myhelan,” meaning “a gathering together of people,” this network of artists inspiring artists from North Central New Jersey, has been established since 1997. Photographer Kathleen Kirchner and painter and photographer Kristina Lloyd co-lead the group that meets monthly sharing ideas and techniques with other artists.



Ceramic sculpture exhibition explores human form

Cropped - Claybodies

Claybodies: Reinterpreting the Figure
Sunday, February 27, 2011, from 2 to 4 PM. The show will run through June 12, 2011.
Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton

This exhibition of ceramic sculpture will explore the diverse ways in which contemporary artists interpret the human form in fired clay. Claybodies will show art ranging from small to large and from traditional representation to semi-abstract reference to the body. The exhibition curators are Ingrid Renard and Hildreth York.

Clay, one of the most ancient art materials, is a seductive medium for contemporary artists for its malleability, infinite possibilities of surface treatment and the transformations achieved through glazes and firing.

Claybodies: Reinterpreting the Figure is unique in bringing together the following notable artists: Adrian Arleo, Tom Bartel, Paola Borgatta, Bruce Dehnert, Judy Fox, Mary Frank, Sergei Isupov, Rob Kirsch, Judy Moonelis, Mike Prather, Akio Takamori, Peter VandenBerge, Kukuli Velarde, and Etta Winigrad.

In conjunction with this exhibition, the Museum's education department will offer a workshop titled Bisque Fired Earthenware Tiles. This workshop, taught by internationally exhibiting artist and sculptor Joanna Platt, will run over the course of three Saturdays (March 5, March 26, and April 9). Tuition is $190 for non-members and $170 for members (includes all materials, tools, glazing, and firing fees). Register on or before February 15 and save $10. Deadline to register for this workshop is February 22. In addition, a workshop by exhibiting artist Bruce Dehnert is planned for the spring as part of The Peters Valley Craft Center/Hunterdon Art Museum Partnership: Explorations in Fine Craft. For more information or to register, visit or call 908.735.8415.

ABOVE: Tom Bartel, Red Headed Step Child, 2010
Ceramic and found object
36 x 18 x 12 inches
Courtesy of the artist
Photo by Steve Paszt


I am posting this to alert you to an upcoming benefit supporting Young Audiences New Jersey, New Jersey's largest arts education provider, bringing inspiring arts performances, workshops and residencies to nearly 500,000 children across the state each year. With school arts funding crumbling throughout the state, their upcoming Dazzle benefit has never been more timely—or necessary.

Dazzle 2011: The Wild WestYoung Audiences New Jersey Benefit

Dazzle 2011: The Wild West Extravaganza

WHEN: Saturday, March 5, 2011, from 8:00 to 11:00 PM
Princeton Elks Lodge in Skillman, N.J.
TICKETS: For ticket prices and to order tickets, click HERE
Dazzle is open to the public. For tickets, information and photos of raffle and silent auction items, visit or call 866.500.9265.

Arts education supporters will enjoy an evening of great entertainment, honors, and upscale prizes at Young Audiences New Jersey’s benefit, Dazzle 2011: The Wild West Extravaganza.

Proceeds from Dazzle support Young Audiences New Jersey (YANJ), a nonprofit organization that provides extraordinary, inspiring arts experiences to New Jersey’s children. Last year alone, YANJ’s performances and hands-on workshops were presented in 700 schools and community venues to nearly 500,000 children and 1,600 teachers across the state.

The Doo-Wah Riders will perform at Dazzle 2011, a benefit for Young Audiences New JerseyDazzle’s Wild West theme features a full Texas-style BBQ, and entertainment from some of the same talented performers that YANJ brings into schools:

  • The legendary Doo-Wah Riders Band (above) headlines the evening, blending high-energy country with a Cajun twist
  • Pat Cannon’s Foot & Fiddle Dance Co. features foot-stomping traditional American music and dance
  • Broadway veteran Bill Bowers will serve as the evening’s emcee

Guests can enter a raffle for a week’s stay at a private Tuscan villa that accommodates 10 people and has a private pool. In addition, attendees can bid on many upscale silent auction items, including:

  • A week’s stay at the luxurious Torian Plum Condos in Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Miele’s popular S2121 Capri vacuum cleaner
  • A shopping spree at Nick Hilton, Princeton’s distinctive apparel retailer
  • A fall Cape May getaway at a beautiful Diamond Beach condo
  • Tickets to The NYC Ballet’s 2011 performance of “The Nutcracker”
  • A special selection of high-end wines, valued at $750



Cirque Mechanics Boom Town
A Family Show!

WHEN: Sunday, March 6, at 4 PM
WHERE: bergenPAC,
30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood
TICKETS: $65, $49, $39, $29
For ticket information call the Box Office: 201.227.1030

1223032-CirqueMechanics_010511_v2Cirque Mechanics was founded by Cirque du Soleil veteran and Boston native Chris Lashua in 2004, as a way to provide family-friendly entertainment that encompassed his passion for the theater, the circus, history and all things mechanical. 

Cirque Mechanics, based in Las Vegas, combines traditional circus disciplines with cirque elements to tell a "real world" story with theatricality.  However, it is the design and exploration of innovative mechanical apparatus and the relationship between performer and machines seen on stage that truly make Cirque Mechanics unique.

CirqueCirque Mechanics first show Birdhouse Factory was produced in partnership with the Circus Center of San Francisco and the Pickle Family Circus, where it opened to stellar reviews.

“The beauty…lies in the generosity with which acts are layered upon each other and the superb integration of circus skills with music, light and choreography. And the glory…is in the excellence of its performers.” — San Francisco Chronicle

“The most important contribution to the American Circus since Cirque du Soleil” — Spectacle Magazine

“exceptional, evocative, eye-catching, ear-catching and, to keep the list short, engrossingly entertaining.”   — The New York Times

Cirque Mechanics launched their second production, Boom Town, this year, presented in partnership with the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts in Tacoma, Washington.

Boom Town, a Gold Rush-era story full of the lore and adventure of the Wild West, the ingenuity of mining inspired machines and the talent of world class performers, wowed audiences in Tacoma and will continue to do so on its US tour, which culminates with a booking at New York’s New Victory Theater on Broadway.

“Boomtown strikes gold”  — Tacoma News Tribune


46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes: C!RCA
WHEN: Friday, Feb. 25, and Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 PM

WHERE: The Theatre at RVCC, 118 Lamington Road , Branchburg
From Brisbane, Australia, comes a bold new vision of contemporary circus. A blending of bodies, light, sound and skills. A place where acrobats and movement meld into a seamless whole. A celebration of the expressive possibilities of the human body at its extremes. Since 2006 C!rca has toured 18 countries across 5 continents. Critics have raved about its shows calling the work “stunning...exquisite... heart‐stopping” and “electrically charged.”
Wherever C!rca has taken its breathtaking, heart-stopping show, audiences have flocked to see the impossible happen. Watch as intrepid acrobats battle the clock. Marvel at the astounding ways they bend, fly, juggle and balance. Be dazzled by their skills. C!rca is Australia’s most innovative circus and 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes is its all-time favorite family show. Fast, furious fun for everyone. Set to upbeat music and featuring four multi‐skilled performers, this is circus without the boring bits.
The combination of acts—some unbelievable, others humorously naff or botched—together with likeable performers, audience participation and breathless pace, made for a greatly entertaining and highly-recommended family show. —THE ARGUS, BRIGHTON
Free Family Circus Skills Workshop
Run away and join the circus—at least for a day! Twist, turn, balance, bend, juggle, wiggle and spin your way around the circus ring. Trainers from C!RCA will share tricks of the trade at a FREE workshop Saturday, February 26, from 2-3 PM.  Grab your spot for a fun intro to hula hoops, scarf juggling and acrobalance. Mom and Dad can join in or watch from the sidelines. (Recommended kids ages 7 and up.)
To register, e-mail or call 908.231.8801


The Chester Theatre Group will be holding AUDITIONS for its May 2011 production of

By Theresa Rebeck
Directed by Jay Mills

WHEN: Sunday March 6, at 2 PM and on Tuesday, March 8, at 7 PM
Black River Playhouse at the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester

The production will be directed by Jay Mills and will have performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM and Sunday afternoons at 2 PM May 6–21, 2011.

Can a play about stamp collecting be called a comedic drama? Yes, in MAURITIUS by Theresa Rebeck, philately (stamp collecting), the quiet pursuit of dedicated older and younger enthusiasts, isn’t as genteel as one might imagine. Add some questionable characters in on the con, and the plot thickens.

Readings will be from the script.


2 females:

  • Jackie: late 20’s plus/
  • Mary: late 30’s plus

3 males:

  • Philip: 35 plus/
  • Denni: late 20’s plus/
  • Sterling: 40 plus

If you have any questions, call Jay Mills, the director, at 973.627.6629. Also visit the CTG website.



Playback: Jacques Brel

PlayBack is a conversation through the creative and collaborative art of playmaking. Selected high school students work with our Teaching Artists who will guide them in the creation and performance of their own original play inspired by, in response to, and in conversation with a Two River Theater production (this year, the musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris). This is an intensive twelve-week program, which culminates with performances in the Marion Huber black box theater during the run of Jacques Brel.

Auditions for PlayBack: Jacques Brel

WHEN: Saturday, February 26 (additional auditions of Sun. Feb. 27)WHERE: Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue in Red Bank

Click HERE for all the audition info.


Yesterdays Poster

Yesterdays Poster



Always Love


Catherine Shelley, soprano; Dan Ansaldo, tenor; Kyunyung Park, bass; and David Maiullo, coach/pianist

WHEN: Sunday, February 27, 3:30 PM
St. Philomena’s Church, 386 South Livingston Avenue, Livingston
TICKETS: $18.00 adults and $5.00 students through 12th grade. Tickets may be purchased at the door. For additional information, phone 973.884.2512.




Sunday, February 20, 2011


Mercy Pix 011Now receiving its World Premiere at Luna Stage in West Orange, Amy Hartman's Mercy and the Firefly feels more like a work in progress than a finished, polished play. Described in press materials as being about the pervasiveness of emotional and physical violence in our society, the play’s meandering plot, unsympathetic characters and unconvincing performances make it disappointing when it should be riveting and cathartic.

After a five-year absence, Lucy returns to her childhood home in a slum neighborhood located in Homestead, Pennsylvania. There, at 3 AM, she encounters her former beau Oliver, a recovering addict who is readying his late mother's home for future sale. Now a nun—albeit one suspended from her convent for inappropriately touching a handicapped student—Lucy has brought with her a teenager named Mercy, witness to the murder of that student and thus in danger from the gang members who perpetrated it. Her precipitous appearance wreaks havoc in Oliver's and her mother Vivian's lives, especially when she insists that the teenager live under Oliver's roof instead of with her and Vivian, for a reason that is never spelled out. At the end, a terrible secret is revealed, leading to a denouement of forgiveness and, one hopes, redemption.

It's these last two themes that are the most elusive in Mercy and the Firefly, coming as they do in the last of ten scenes. The first act is very long and overwritten, with lots of extraneous events and revelations (like Lucy and Oliver's recitation of the scientific process that makes fireflies light up). Vivian tends to go off on tangents when conducting a conversation, recounting her impregnation by Lucy's father as though it occurred in a dream. And Mercy starts off the play with a rap performance that describes her life in East Los Angeles; the meaning of the words gets lost in our anticipation of the rhymes. As for the actual location of Homestead, well that’s a mystery, for the actors sometimes speak with what sounds like Boston or New York accents. Is it eastern, western or central Pennsylvania? Who knows?

Mercy Pix 009Director Cheryl Katz tries her best with this diffuse and rambling material. Unfortunately, she neither makes the characters sympathetic nor does their delivery of Hartman's dialogue sound convincing and natural. As Lucy, Marcie Henderson fails to convey the mindset of a woman who has decided to become a nun. One supposes that she joined an order and entered a convent in Los Angeles as a refuge from her appalling life in Homestead. She displays terrible judgment in literally kidnapping Mercy, taking her across country without telling the girl's mother. And one wonders just what kind of a Biology/Earth Science teacher Lucy was when Mercy says the kids all called her “Godzilla”!


Listening to Liz McConahay Wanfried as Haley Walker deliver Theresa Rebeck's sparkling dialogue in Bad Dates, now onstage at Centenary Stage Company, is like dishing some dirt with a really good friend, something that applied to the women of various ages in the audience at this past Sunday matinee!

This delightful one-woman play recounts late thirty-something Haley's attempts to get back to dating after a divorce and a move to New York from Austin, Texas. A single parent/waitress turned restaurateur when her employers, members of the Romanian mob, go to prison for money laundering. Her qualifications for the position seem to be rather deficient, but according to Haley, she appears to be a restaurant "idiot savant." Who knew?

Bad Dates oneThe plot, such as it is, focuses on Haley's preparations for and hilarious reports of her various dates, from a guy who talks to bugs to a health nut to a gay law professor and, five years after meeting him, to a man she dismissed at first because he reminded her of a cad in the classic Joan Crawford film, Mildred Pierce! Interspersed are a running commentary on her shoe fetish—she owns 600 pairs of shoes and is especially proud of a pair of Chanel pumps she scored for $30—and the fashion show she provides as she dons and discards a plethora of outfits (masterfully gathered from local consignment shops by Lisa Zinni), much to the audience's delight (and rather audible judgment).

The marvelous set designed by Bob Phillips immediately telegraphs just who Haley is: a messy shoe collector who appears to be a case of arrested development (the lavender walls and a frou-frou Shabby Chic bedspread and furniture) seem more suited to her 13-year-old daughter Vera). The shoe boxes threaten to take over the place; they are stashed in the armoire, in a storage bench, under the bed and in a shoe bag hanging on the back of the door. She takes some out and admires them and then, addressing the audience, seeks their opinion too. It's delightful and draws us immediately and intimately into her story!

Bad Dates 4Carl Wallnau's taut direction keeps things moving along without feeling rushed or artificial. Wanfried has memorized what feels like thousands of lines and delivers them very convincingly and naturally, and with nary a flub, too. And her comedic timing is impeccable! Colin Whitley has provided music ("Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" was my favorite) appropriate to romance and its anticipation.

While one might expect the women in the audience to connect with Haley's escapades and disappointments, many of the men responded with laughter just as hearty as their female companions'. The humanity of Rebeck's character connects with theatergoers of both genders, which is, perhaps, its greatest strength.

So if you love shoes and want to dish some dirt about dating and men, get on over to beautiful new Sitnik Theater at the Lackland Center, 715 Grand Avenue, on the Centenary College campus in Hackettstown. But hurry up, for Bad Dates runs only through March 6. For information and tickets, call the box office at 908.979.0900 or visit

By the way, if you go to the Sunday matinee, get there at about 12:30 PM and have buffet brunch in the Lackland Center. It's a bargain: only $8!