Saturday, April 7, 2012

APRICOT SKY RETURNS PROFESSIONAL THEATER TO MONTCLAIR IN APRIL

Two plays with Jewish themes to play in repertory on Grove Street

HANKY PANKY
&
STILL JEWISH…AFTER ALL THESE YEARS

WHEN: April 17 – May 6. Still Jewish will open Tuesday, April 17, and Hanky Panky on Wednesday, April 18. There will be weekday and weekend evening performances at 7:30 PM and Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2 PM.
WHERE:
In the newly renovated Grove Street stage, located in the Deron School, 130 Grove Street. Montclair (scroll down for map)
TICKETS: $30 to $45
Special advance sale tickets for groups are now available starting at $30.
For reservations call 973.558.3116 or visit the Apricot Sky website: www.apricotskyproductions.com.

Apricot Sky Producer Eric Alter has lined up an outstanding team of professionals led by International and PBS-TV star Avi Hoffman to present two Jewish-themed new comedies with music at the 100 year old Grove Street Theater.

Montclair at one time had as many as six professional theaters operating at once, including theaters operated by film and stage legends Olympia Dukakis and Paul Sorvino. The last professional theater to operate in Montclair was Luna Stage, which was forced to vacate its Bloomfield Avenue location for West Orange two years ago.

“It used to be that you could walk down Bloomfield Avenue and have your choice of a half dozen plays,” said Apricot Sky Producer Eric Alter. “The activity on the street and patronage to all of the local businesses was thrilling. We hope to bring some of the thrill back to downtown Montclair.”
imageAvi Hoffman (left) captivated audiences and won a plethora of awards when he debuted his one-person show Too Jewish a decade ago in Florida and Off-Broadway in New York. Hoffman’s new show Still Jewish…After All These Years, will again feature the venerable comedian’s talents at story-telling, impersonations and song.

Playing in repertory with Still Jewish will be a new comedy with music entitled Hanky Panky, also featuring Hoffman as a quasi narrator and relative of the other lead characters in the funny and heart-warming tale of a Jewish woman’s emergence in 1950s Brooklyn.

The playwriting team of Charles Gruber of Livingston, and Charles Goldman of Westchester, New York, workshopped Hanky Panky for many years before showing it before a live audience in a staged reading last year starring Hoffman and Tovah Feldshuh. The staged reading of Hanky Panky at the Livingston Library resulted in a raucous 250 person celebration of the new work and the turning away of hundreds of people.
imageNow, Hanky Panky will be given a full Actors Equity professional production with accompaniment led by Broadway conductor Michael Larsen, whose spirited leading last year of the Klezmer orchestra in New York’s Shlemiel the First assisted in making that show an enormous critical success.

“We were truly inspired by the reaction to Hanky Panky at the Livingston Library and the huge amount of requests to see a full production of our play,” said Charles Gruber, a Livingston resident.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring our new comedy and music to our northern Jersey home with this professional production at Apricot Sky’s theater,” Gruber continued. (Above right: Eric Alter and Avi Hoffman)

Hanky Panky is the story of an immigrant Jewish couple who maintain their Yiddish home traditions until their children become very Americanized and the wife wants to learn English to speak at her son’s wedding.

The result is a combination of hilarity and pathos as Hanky Panky winds its way through the conflicting lives of the Zuckerman family and their former Second Avenue Yiddish theater star-turned-waiter played by Avi Hoffman.