Saturday, November 30, 2013

CELEBRATE A DICKENS OF A HOLIDAY @ PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE WITH “OLIVER!”

WHEN: Through December 18
WHERE: Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

HTC MONTHLY PLAY READING SERIES FEATURES STORIES BY DAVID SEDARIS

MONTHLY PLAY READING SERIES: Selections from...

HOLIDAYS ON ICE
Written by David Sedaris
Directed by Tom Frascatore

WHEN: Monday, December 2, @ 7:00 PM
WHERE:
Duncan Smith Theater, 36 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel, NJ
ADMISSION: Free; coffee will be served

Holidays on Ice is a collection of holiday-themed fictional stories and personal essays written by David Sedaris, the best-selling humorist. David Sedaris's darkly playful humor is a common thread through the book, worming its way through "Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!" a chipper suburban Christmas letter that spirals dizzily out of control, and "Front Row Center with Thaddeus Bristol," a vicious theatrical review of children's Christmas pageants. Holidays on Ice is laugh-out-loud funny, and die-hard Sedaris fans need to spend their holidays hearing this collection.

Featuring: Cody Dalton, Eric McDonough, Dave Murray, Brian Remo and Geoff Shields*
*member, Actors' Equity Association

Please Note: At this Reading, HTC will be collecting gift cards and unwrapped toys for RAINE's Holiday Toy Drive.
Please be as generous as you can for this worthy, local charity.  Thank you!

 

FULL-LENGTH “NUTCRACKER” BALLET @ KEAN UNIVERSITY

THE NUTCRACKER

RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY FOR THIS POPULAR ANNUAL HOLIDAY FAVORITE
CHOREOGRAPHED BY NANCY TURANO

WHEN: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, at 2 PM and 7 PM & SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, at 2 PM
WHERE:
WILKINS THEATRE / KEAN UNIVERSITY / 1000 MORRIS AVENUE / UNION, NJ
TICKETS: STANDARD: $30 / STUDENTS, SENIORS, CHILDREN: $20
ORDER ONLINE NOW at KEANSTAGE.COM
or BY PHONE at 908.737.7469

MULTI-CULTURAL CELEBERATION OF HOLIDAY SPRIIT @ CROSSROADS THEATRE: KIDS UNDER 12 GO FREE!

7 LIVINGSTON AVE. NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ 08901
www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org

Crossroads Theatre Company thanks its major supporters:
Johnson & Johnson
The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
Middlesex County Cultural & Heritage Commission
New Brunswick Cultural Center
New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

TEEN IMPROV TROUPE CELEBRATES 5 YEARS WITH SPECIAL PERFORMANCE

THE NEW JERSEY SCHOOL OF DRAMATIC ARTS PRESENTS:

CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS • SPARKS OF INSANITY LIVE IMPROV COMEDY SHOW OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL • THE SPARKS ARE GONNA FLY!

WHEN: Friday, November 29th, 8:00 PM
WHERE:
the NJ School of Dramatic Arts Black Box Theater, 593 Bloomfield Ave, Bloomfield, NJ
To purchase tickets, call 973.566.9700

sparksofinsanitySparks of Insanity, New Jersey’s only professional teen improv troupe, is celebrating five years by presenting an evening of improvisational comedy featuring current members and many original members that will be joining the show from college break!

Over its five years, Sparks of Insanity has not only brought laughter across New Jersey in theatres and high schools auditoriums, but have been invited to perform at special events, like the Giggles Theatre in St. Joseph Children's Hospital in Paterson and the learning and developmental disability center, Jespy House in South Orange. (Above: ORIGINAL SPARKS OF INSANITY MEMBERS : Top row Left to right: Libby Wooton, Steven Gebhardt, & Charlotte Maher Levy Bottom row row Left to right: Dylan Drake, Brendan Maly, Charles Carrier, Melissa Coppa, & David Umansky. Photo credit: Ray Litterio, LittPhoto)

On Friday November 29th, members old and new will unite and battle it out to make an evening that is sure to be both fun and inspirational for the whole family! Past members of the troupe have gone on to remarkable experiences including Ivy League schools, performance programs, filmmaking, the military and more, and current members aspire to fields ranging from education to politics.

These inspiring young people praise improv as a driving force for them and seek to share their skills with others in amazing ways. Troupe director Ted Wrigley says, "These amazing performers I have had the privilege to work with over the past five years have shared with me that improv not only is a creative outlet for them, but has made their lives better in social situations, relating to family and making them feel more confident about themselves over all."

So come join them at the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts and see what there is to love about improv comedy! The show is based entirely on audience suggestions! In addition to providing the material for the show, audience members are encouraged to bring their own crazy "props" that the actors will use during the show!

ADAPTATION OF STORIES WRITTEN BY CHILDREN @ THE BICKFORD THEATRE

Christmas That Almost Wasn't

The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum announces

The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t

WHEN: Sunday, December 8, 2:00 PM
WHERE:
Bickford Theatre in the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown
TICKETS: $10 for Museum members; $12 for non-members; $9 for groups (20 or more).
To purchase tickets, please call 973.971.3706.

The Christmas That Almost Wasn't provides a special behind-the-scenes peek at the hustle bustle, and near disasters of the Christmas season. Adapted entirely from stories written by children, the play includes three acts. In Dinky, The Dancing Reindeer, one of Santa’s reindeer can't decide if she wants to be a dancer or a member of the sleigh team. How Santa Got Well tells the story of an illness that keeps Santa at home on Christmas Eve until a cure appears from the most unlikely of places. Finally, in Santa and the Witch, Santa falls under a witch’s sleeping spell.

The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t is recommended for children ages three to nine. The play is produced by Child's Play Touring Theatre of Chicago, Illinois.

CONCERT FEATURES FAMILIAR FAVORITES TO MAKE THE SEASON MERRY

www.NJFestivalOrchestra.org
908.232..9400

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DECEMBER @ LUNA STAGE FEATURES COMEDY, MUSIC

Tenor Saxophonist Virginia Mayhew in concert at Luna Stage<br />

MUSIC IN THE MOONLIGHT JAZZ SERIES: VIRGINIA MAYHEW

Tenor Saxophonist Performs Original Compositions and Music of Mary Lou Williams

Hear legendary music from Virginia Mayhew's “Mary Lou Williams: The Next 100 Years.” The project, recorded in December 2010, features trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, Ed Cherry on guitar, Harvie S on bass and Andy Watson on drums.

“Although I was aware that Mary Lou Williams was a well-respected jazz musician,” said Virginia. “I was surprised by the depth and breadth of her career — composing and arranging for Andy Kirk and the Clouds of Joy in the 30’s, arranging for Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, recording with tenor giant Don Byas, and mentoring such Jazz giants as Monk, Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie and Bird (Charlie Parker). All that in addition to leading her own groups."


WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 8 at 7 PM
WHERE:
Luna Stage, 555 Valley Rd., West Orange
TICKETS: Click here to purchase tickets for $18 ($20 at the door).

Comedian Monroe Martin III in upcoming Stand-Up Comedy Show<br />

Holiday "Laugh-tacular" Stand-up Comedy Show
Featuring Comedian & Host Monroe Martin III
WHEN:
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 8 PM
TICKETS: $15
Click here for tickets

Holiday "Laugh-tacular” features acts by Subhah Agarwal, Ian Fidance, H. Foley and Nathan Macintosh—with comedian Monroe Martin III hosting the event.

Philadelphia native Martin brings his comedic voice, known for creating a buzz within the Philadelphia and New York comedy circuits,to the Valley Arts District for a one-night performance with feature acts by notable and award-winning comics.

Newark Boys Chorus to perform in concert at Luna Stage<br />Holiday Concert
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 PM
TICKETS: Tickets on sale soon. Check back with our events calendar!

Come celebrate our children—the greatest holiday gift of all!
Join us for a special holiday concert for the whole family featuring the Apprentice Chorus of the Newark Boys Chorus School and the stellar singing talents of the young artists of Mark Murphy's Music in South Orange. Part of the proceeds from this event will benefit the Newark Boys Chorus School.

Monday, November 25, 2013

FINAL WEEKEND FOR “OPUS” @ CIRCLE PLAYERS

circle players logoOPUS
An engrossing drama written by Michael Hollinger

WHEN: 8 PM Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 15-Nov. 30, with a matinee 3 PM Sunday, Dec. 1
WHERE:
416 Victoria Ave., Piscataway.
TICKETS: $18 for adults and $17 for students and seniors. Sorry, no credit cards can be accepted at the theater box office, but may be used online.
For reservations, call 732-968-7555, or buy tickets online at www.circleplayers.com ($1 per ticket discount online.)

After firing one of their founding members due to his erratic behavior, a world-class string quartet takes a chance on a gifted but relatively inexperienced young woman. With only a few days to rehearse a grueling Beethoven masterpiece, the four struggle to prepare their highest-profile performance ever—a televised ceremony at the White House. Their rehearsal room becomes a pressure-cooker as passions rise, personalities clash and the players are forced to confront the ephemeral nature of their life’s work.

Eric Walby of Somerset is the director, and Faith Dowgin of Spotswood is the producer.

Appearing onstage are Patrick Andrae, Jamesburg; Brian Craig, Dunellen; Shawna Lagan, Kenilworth, Jeff Maschi, Milltown; and David Romankow, Gillette.

CELEBRATE A 1920s CHRISTMAS @ FOSTERFIELDS HISTORIC FARM

www.morrisparks.net

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS PROUDLY CONTINUES "FROM PAGE TO STAGE" SEASON WITH HOLIDAY MUSICAL

Bergen County Players, inc.ALADDIN
A theatrical magic carpet ride for the entire family.

WHEN: Nov. 30 through Dec. 22; Fridays at 8 PM, & Saturdays and Sundays at 1 PM and 3:30 PM
WHERE: Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell
TICKETS: $13 for all performances
Tickets may be purchased online at www.bcplayers.org, by calling 201.261.4200, or by visiting the box office at in Oradell during regular box office hours
Parking is free at the Park Avenue municipal lot across the street,  one half block north of the theater.

Building on its commitment to provide theater that entertains, challenges and inspires young people and families, BCP will present Aladdin. Children of all ages will be thrilled to follow Aladdin's quest to capture the heart of the  beautiful princess Mei-Ling, taking him on a magical journey from rags to riches and featuring not one, but two fantastical genies!

Under the direction of Lynne Lupfer of Tenafly, and musical direction  of Steve Bell of Hackensack, this version of Aladdin is based on a  popular stage production by the Prince Street Players, with music by Jim Eiler and Jeanne Bargy, and book and lyrics by Eiler.

This delightful adaptation of the fairytale restores the locale to its original ancient Chinese roots to put a new spin on a classic tale, with Aladdin (played with youthful zest by Wesley Laga of Park Ridge) discovering the lamp with the help of a scheming old magician (Andrew Gutierrez of River Edge), who aims to exploit its magic for his own ends. The lamp contains a fun-loving Genie (a most charming Matthew Rofofsky of Fort Lee) who bestows upon Aladdin the riches he requires in order to marry lovely Princess Mei-Ling (Sara Biddle of Montvale). 

The charming score includes "Fly My Kite," "A Lovely Day in China,"  "Up Up High" and "Tea Time." The beloved characters, inventive staging and toe-tapping tunes make this musical a dazzling journey of discovery and adventure.

The cast is rounded out by David Luke of Washington Township as the imperious Emperor, Isabella Chang of  Westwood as the beautiful dancing doll Fatima, Eileen Karlson of Teaneck as Aladdin's distressed mother, and Jim Kelly of Park Ridge as the energetic and hilarious Stage Manager who plays multiple roles in the story. The Assistants are played by Rosella DeVincenzo of Oradell, Nicole Parente of Palisades Park, Justin Flores of New Milford, and Tayler Tessitore of Rochelle Park.

Aladdin is directed by Lynne Lupfer of Tenafly, a Life Member at BCP and past Vice President who has designed décor for more than thirty shows. Previously, she directed Sleeping Beauty for BCP. In addition to directing countless shows throughout her career at Dwight Morrow High School and Park Ridge High School, she is the Founder and  Artistic Director of the non-profit musical theater organization, Summertime Players, an educational youth theater company which she founded for students in grades two through college.

Production team members include Paul Reitnauer III and Michele Roth(Producers); Geri Berhain (Assistant to the Director and Stage Manager); Laura Ashley (Assistant to the Director); Stephanie Ofshinsky(Choreographer); Isabella Chang (Dance Captain); Greg Cilmi  (Set Design and Construction); Lauren Zenreich (Set Décor); Joe Lanteri (Lighting Design); Sam Negin (Lighting Operation); Katie Lupfer and Nell White (Costumes); Laura Bateman and Pat Bain (Properties); Brian James Grace and Nadiya Braham (Makeup); Alan Zenreich (Photography); and Ken Fodor (Program Notes).

Further information can be found at www.bcplayers.org.

Bergen County Players, Inc., is a non-equity, non-profit community  theater company dedicated to presenting quality productions for the  enrichment of the community.

HISTORIC HOUSE TOUR FOR CHRISTMAS IN PLAINFIELD

www.vwbhd.org FOR TICKETS

FINAL EVENTS FOR NOVEMBER @ THE DARRESS THEATRE IN BOONTON

Darress Theatre Logo

DrawingofTheater.JPGThree Band Concert & Film Screening

WHERE: Darress Theatre, 615 Main Street, Boonton
973.334.9292

 

Shake That Bear, A Boy Named John, Science

WHEN: November 27th, 5:30 to 10:00 PM

  • First Band at 6 PM
  • "Zombieland" film at 8:30 PM

ADMISSION: $10


Reel of FilmDarress Theatre Classic Film Series Presents an American Holiday Classic

Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life
Starring Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart

WHEN: November 30, 8 PM
ADMISSION:
Adults: $10, Kids Under 12: Free

First Released January 7, 1947

Based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern in 1939.

Please check their website for details. (www.darresstheater.com)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

GRAMMY-NOMINATED SINGER/SONGWRITER TO APPEAR AT NJPAC NEXT FRIDAY

NJPAC email header

Click now

Marsha Ambrosius: Friends and Lovers
with special guest Estelle

WHEN: Friday, November 29, at 8 PM
WHERE:
NJPAC, 1 Center Street, Newark
TICKETS: $35 – $95
Save 20%, Use Code: MA20 - Get Tickets

Born in Liverpool, England, Marsha Ambrosius began her professional career as the singing half of the duo Floetry, whose debut album, Floetic, earned four Grammy nods. After Floetry’s split, she continued to build a name as a songwriter and producer, penning hits for Michael Jackson, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake and Nas. Her debut album, Late Nights & Early Mornings, produced the hit singles “Hope She Cheats On You,” “Far Away” and the title track, and brought with it two additional Grammy nominations. Ambrosius was a candidate for Best Female R&B Artist at the 2012 BET Awards and has performed for the First Family at the National Christmas Tree Lighting.

Known for the hits “Thank You” and “Come Over,” Estelle teamed with Kanye West on the Grammy Award-winning “American Boy,” the sixth best-selling single of 2008. Her albums include Shine and All of Me.

This performance will be taped for future broadcast.

The NJPAC Box Office is open Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 6pm and Sunday from noon-5 PM. The Box Office is closed on Mondays. Phone calls to 1-888-GO-NJPAC (466-5722) for single-performance ticket orders are answered seven days a week, from 9 AM to 9 PM. Phone calls to 1-888-MY-NJPAC (696-5722) for groups of 10 or more are answered Monday-Friday from 9 AM-5 PM. Artists, dates, times, venues, programs and prices are subject to change.

CIRCLE PLAYERS TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR “RAVENSCROFT”

circleplayers015001.gifRAVENSCROFT
A comedic mystery written by Don Nigro
Directed by Alicia Harabin of Somerville
Produced by Ed Faver of Roselle

WHEN: Monday, Dec. 16, and Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7:30-9:30 PM; Callbacks by invitation only will be 7:30 PM Thursday, Dec. 19 
WHERE:
Circle Players, 416 Victoria Ave, Piscataway

A read-through is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 22. Regular rehearsals will begin after the holidays.

PERFORMANCE DATES: 8 PM Fridays and Saturdays, March 7-22, with a 3 PM. matinee Sunday, March 23.

For more information, e-mail director Alicia Harabin at circleplayersnj@gmail.com.

What begins as a typical Gothic thriller—a remote country estate, a murder, a detective, falling snow—quickly turns into a darkly comedic examination into the nature and value of truth. Inspector Ruffing is called out to Ravenscroft manor to investigate the death of the family’s only male servant, who took a headlong plunge down the main staircase. As he interrogates the five women of the manor, ranging from the widowed lady of the house to the lowly housemaid, he begins to uncover more (and less) truth than he bargained for.

Alicia Harabin of Somerville is the director, and Ed Faver of Roselle is the producer.

Characters needed:

Inspector Ruffing (M, 35-55) - Relegated to a country post, inquiring on the gentry in the midst of a snowstorm, Ruffing is nonetheless insistent upon truth at all cost. A wearied and serious man, Ruffing finds himself trapped in a house full of eccentric and exhausting women.

Marcy (F, 25-30) - “A person with a clear sense of reality,” Marcy is governess to Gillian Ravenscroft. She is an outsider both upstairs and down, and, one suspects, in the world at large. But why?

Mrs. Ravenscroft (F, 35-55) - Seemingly a distractible eccentric, the widowed Mrs. Ravenscroft is head of her household. Quite the flirt, she is confident that she is not past her prime. Nothing gets her down, not even a little death or two.

Gillian Ravenscroft (F, 17) - “Delicate” Gillian speaks the truth, as she sees it, much to her mother’s chagrin. She is at once flighty and deeply insightful. She believes wholeheartedly in ghosts, but sees straight through Inspector Ruffing.

Dolly (F, 18-25) - As the kitchen maid, Dolly holds the lowest position in the household, and perhaps rightly so. She is treated with pity upstairs, but mightily abused by Mrs. French below. “I’m a poor orphan, I swear. You can ask my mother.”

Mrs. French (F, 40+) - A bulldog of a servant, but no less of a woman for it, Mrs. French rules the kitchen. She has a clear sense of her place and her duty and clear expectations of those around her as well.

NOTE: Ages listed are the ages of the characters. Actors of any age will be considered as long as they can play within the listed range. All roles in this show are meaty and will require stamina as all characters will be visible to the audience throughout the play.

Audition sides will be provided.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

REVIEW: I CANNOT LIE. “CLEVER LITTLE LIES” A HIT AT GEORGE STREET PLAYHOUSE

vcm_s_kf_m160_120x160By Ruth Ross

It might be easy to dismiss Joe DiPietro's Clever Little Lies—now receiving its world premiere at the George Street Playhouse under the direction of David Saint— as a bit of fluff were it not for the humanity of its characters and its revelation of the darker truths of our natures. What starts out as a snappy domestic comedy soon devolves into a study of marriage, fidelity, parenting and trust, leaving us much to talk about after the final curtain.

Clever Little Lies  GSP  11-17-13 169<br />CLEVER LITTLE LIES<br />by Joe DiPietro <br />directed by David Saint at George Street Playhouse  11/17/13<br />with Greg Mullavey, Jim Stanek, Marlo Thomas, Kate Wetherhead<br />Set Design: Yoshi Tanakura<br />Lighting Design: Christopher J. Bailey<br />Costume Design: Esther Arroyo<br />Original Music/Sound Design: Scott Killian<br /><br /> © T Charles Erickson<br />tcepix@comcast.net<br />http://tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com/Clocking in at 90 minutes, Clever Little Lies steadily moves along inexorably to a stunning conclusion brought about by a plot twist no one sees coming. When Bill Jr. confesses to his father that he is in love with a woman other than his wife Jane, the mother of his three-month old daughter, Bill Sr. is hard put to keep the news from his wife Alice. But a mother always knows something is amiss, especially when Bill Jr. seems distracted, under pressure and has lost to his father in a weekly tennis match. In a surprising evening with his parents, secrets are exposed, clever little lies and crafted as the confidence shared between a father and son escalates into an unexpected revelation that could change everything.

Clever Little Lies  GSP  11-17-13 036<br />CLEVER LITTLE LIES<br />by Joe DiPietro <br />directed by David Saint at George Street Playhouse  11/17/13<br />with Greg Mullavey, Jim Stanek, Marlo Thomas, Kate Wetherhead<br />Set Design: Yoshi Tanakura<br />Lighting Design: Christopher J. Bailey<br />Costume Design: Esther Arroyo<br />Original Music/Sound Design: Scott Killian<br /><br /> © T Charles Erickson<br />tcepix@comcast.net<br />http://tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com/David Saint's masterful directorial skills keep the action moving without sacrificing the actors' delivery of DiPietro's very funny dialogue to a rushed ending. On an elegant set designed by Yoshi Tanokura (a tennis club locker room, a car and a Westchester living room), a quartet of accomplished actors—two veterans, two newcomers, all Actors Equity—act as an ensemble, their familial relationships very convincing. Marlo Thomas—who was scheduled to star in this vehicle last season before a television role came along—delivers a sparkling performance as Alice that reminds us what a terrific comedic actress she is. Her riffs on books (she owns a bookstore) are hilarious and right on the mark, as are her comments about parenting and modern technology. She looks terrific, too, just as one would expect of a woman who manages to get to the gym each day. As her husband, Greg Mullavey is equally as accomplished; his comic timing is on parade albeit less verbally and more physically. Just watching his reactions to startling revelations is a lesson in how to "do" comedy. This is not to say that he doesn't get to deliver some very funny lines too. DiePietro is a master at writing the zinger/put down and Mullavey delivers them well!

Clever Little Lies  GSP  11-17-13 063<br />CLEVER LITTLE LIES<br />by Joe DiPietro <br />directed by David Saint at George Street Playhouse  11/17/13<br />with Greg Mullavey, Jim Stanek, Marlo Thomas, Kate Wetherhead<br />Set Design: Yoshi Tanakura<br />Lighting Design: Christopher J. Bailey<br />Costume Design: Esther Arroyo<br />Original Music/Sound Design: Scott Killian<br /><br /> © T Charles Erickson<br />tcepix@comcast.net<br />http://tcharleserickson.photoshelter.com/The actors playing the younger members of this family are no slouches either. Jim Stanek takes the thankless role of a unapologetic cad and runs with it. As he recites his lines (very naturally, I might add—as do they all), we can hear how ludicrous his professions of love are, even if he cannot. He also gets to curse a lot, much to his wife's (and his parents') consternation; it is actually very funny to hear him. And as Jane, Kate Wetherhead really shines as she voices the woes of a new mother who is not getting any help and who is ambivalent about returning to work. She, of course, is the most sympathetic of the characters, for dramatic irony is in full swing as we know something she doesn't.

Esther Arroyo has dressed the actors in clothes appropriate to their characters and lives. The projections on sliding panels enhance the action by grounding it in a place (New York City, a highway to Westchester, a country road) without much fuss.

Alice says that parents have to help their children "find the happy," but does she get too clever by a half to do it? You'll have to get on down to New Brunswick to find out what happens and decide for yourself. The combination of comedy and tragedy (or drama) results in a delicious examination of what it means to be a spouse and a parent. Not bad for a 90-minute piece of "fluff."

Clever Little Lies will run at the George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, through December 22. For performance dates and times and ticket information, call the box office at 732.246.7717 or visit www.GSPonline.org  online. For a $5 discount on tickets, use the code CLEVER5.

Photos by T. Charles Erickson

WORLD PREMIERE OF JOE DI PIETRO COMEDY OPENS @ GSP

Clever Little Lies November 22 - December 22

CLEVER LITTLE LIES
by Joe DiPietro
directed by David Saint
with Greg Mullavey, Jim Stanek, Marlo Thomas, Kate Wetherhead

WHEN: November 19 – December 22
WHERE:
George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick
CLICK HERE FOR DIRECTIONS TO THE THEATER
TICKETS: CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS or For show information, scheduling, and tickets please contact the BOX OFFICE at 732.246.7717.

A mother always knows when something’s up. Bill Jr. is distracted, under pressure and off his game. Will a surprising evening with his parents send him further off-kilter? Secrets are exposed and clever little lies are crafted when a confidence shared between father and son escalates into an unexpected revelation that could change everything.

A new comedy/drama from Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro, author of the Broadway hits Memphis and Nice Work if You Can Get It, The Last Romance and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

READ: Interview with Playwright, Joe DiPietro about Clever Little Lies

LISTEN: Cast members Greg Mullavey and Jim Stanek talk with WBGO’s Doug Doyle

Special dates for this production

  • 12/8/2013
    sunday symposium; 2 PM
  • 12/12/2013
    audio described performance; 8 PM
  • 12/14/2013
    open captioned performance; 2 PM

Friday, November 22, 2013

CHRISTMAS CLASSIC RETURNS TO BASKING RIDGE BY LIGHT OPERA OF NEW JERSEY

Image-10-1024x689[1]Amahl and the Night Visitors
Music and Lyrics by Gian Carlo Menotti            
Directed by Joanna Hoty Russell

WHEN: Friday, December 13, at 5 PM and 7 PM; Saturday, December 14, at 5 PM and 7 PM
WHERE:
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 140 South.Finley Ave in Basking Ridge
TICKETS: $20 ($10 for children 12 and under)
www.LightOperaOfNewJersey.org or by calling 973.219.3106

This Christmas classic, Amahl and the Night Visitors, has the distinction of being the first opera written for television back in 1951. The story deals with Amahl, a young peasant shepherd boy who can only walk with the aid of a staff, and his widowed mother who is doing her best to look after him.  Amazing things transpire when the two are visited by three royal kings on their way to see the Christ child in Bethlehem. This operetta is a sweet warm story and is especially well suited for children.

This show will feature Susan Kirkland (New Providence, NJ) as the Mother, both Andrew Pulver (Summit, NJ) and Daniel Celentano (Bernardsville, NJ) as Amahl in alternating performances, John Lamb (Randolph, NJ) as King Balthazar, Tom Donelan (Whippany, NJ) as King Melchior and William Corson (Basking Ridge, NJ) as King Kaspar.

Under the direction of Joanna Hoty Russell, of Murray Hill, NJ soloists and ensemble will perform this heart rending Christmas favorite with full costumes, scenery and stage lighting. Musical Accompaniment by Helen Raymaker; Set Design by William J. Ward. Staging and Choreography is assisted by Jillian Petrie of Hackettstown, NJ.

“PERICLES” CONCLUDES STNJ’S 2013 SEASON

Shakespeare's "Pericles" takes audiences on an epic voyage filled with grand adventures. December 4 - 29. Call the Box Office at 973-408-5600 for tickets.

Artwork by Scott McKowen

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Sponsors

KIDS 8-18 CAN AUDITION FOR A NEW TAKE ON THE “GOLDILOCKS” STORY @ STUDIO PLAYERS

AUDITION NOTICE

goldilocks (2)GOLDILOCKS
Director: Katelynn Kondreck
Stage Manager: Nikki Baltzer
Adult Mentor: Mark Liebert

WHEN: Sunday, December. 8 @ 6:00 PM; Thursday, December 12 @ 7:00 PM
WHERE: STUDIO PLAYERS, 14 Alvin Place, Upper Montclair
973.744.9752
www.studioplayhouse.org

Goldilocks is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with a few added twists. The doors and chairs talk, Goldilocks comes upon other fairytale creatures on her journey through the woods, and the Three Bears have a Species Exchange Student who adds comedy to the story. We follow Goldilocks on an errand she is supposed to be running for her mother. Funny things ensue when she goes into the woods instead of the grocery store. The Storyteller helps us through the story and gets the audience involved too.

***OPEN TO KIDS AGES 8-18 who have not graduated high school***

CHARACTER BREAKDOWN

  • The Storyteller: (Male/Female, 8-18) The narrator of Goldilocks’s story; very enthusiastic; reacts with both the characters and the audience
  • Goldilocks: (Female, 8-18) Main character; although her personality is that of a stereotypical blonde, she does not have to have locks of gold; she is cheerful and quite ditsy and spaces out often
  • Goldilocks’s Mother: (Female, 8-18) Very mature and brings peace to the crazy outcome of the story; responsible for keeping everyone sane
  • Father Bear: (Male, 8-18) Thinks he is always right even though he is often wrong; believes that he is the most important in his family of three and what he says goes
  • Mother Bear: (Female, 8-18) Mature and maternal to both husband and son/daughter; runs things in the house, but she makes Father Bear believe he runs things; helps Father Bear keep his status as man of the house
  • Baby Bear: (Male/Female, 8-18) Very innocent; has a single track mind usually involving food
  • Joe the Deer: (Male, 8-18) The Species Exchange Student who is staying with the bears; very laid back and just goes with the flow; has an unusual obsession with salt
  • Chorus: (Male & Female, 8-18) Consisting of several actors who change characters; must be enthusiastic and be able to take on 3-4 different personas

Sides will be provided.

The show includes two short songs. Prepare a short song to sing a capella (Happy Birthday is fine).

Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for minor stunt work.

Performance Dates: February 15 – 23, 2014 (Rehearsals begin week of December 15, 2013)

THE THEATER PROJECTS PRESENTS A HOLIDAY CARD TO LOCAL AUDIENCES

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It’s a Wonderful Life—The Radio Play

WHEN: One performance only on Saturday, November 30, at 2 PM; A pre-show sing-along begins at 1:45 PM
WHERE:
Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood
ADMISSION: Adults $20; Children attend free of charge
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation is also provided|
If inclement winter weather forces a cancellation, the “snow date” will be Sunday, December 1, at 2 PM.
Complete information is available at www.thetheaterproject.org
973.763.4029

The Theater Project will present its holiday production of “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play.” The Theater Project’s company of local professional actors will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare for the big radio broadcast of the story made famous in the Frank Capra film of the same name.

“Every year, some of our favorite actors come together and donate their time to create this event as a gift to our supportive community,” says Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project. “It allows us say thank you, to our audiences and to each other, for celebrating theater together all year long. It’s our living holiday card.”

Top: The cast of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: THE RADIO PLAY (photo by Kevin Sebastian)

ADULTS-ONLY XMAS FUN WITH THE THEATER PROJECT

XMAS REVELS

WHEN: Monday night December 9th; Show times 7.00 and 8.45 PM; running time- an hour and change
WHERE: the back room of Highland Place Bar and Grill, 5 Highland Place,  Maplewood Village
ADMISSION: Suggested donation of $15
Call now to reserve because we can only fit 75 people per show.
973.763.4029
Cash, check, or VISA, MC
Pay at the door
Oh, and there’s a 2 drink minimum.

Keep your holiday stress at bay and join us for drinks and laughs.
These 5 outlandish comedy shorts should get you all warm and fuzzy for the holidays. In a cynical sort of warm and fuzzy way, of course.

We’ll give you a whole new perspective on the egg nog, the tree, The Magi, Santa Claus, and even Bedford Falls!

Adults only

Thursday, November 21, 2013

MONTY PYTHON RIDES AGAIN! THIS TIME @ THE KELSEY THEATRE IN WEST WINDSOR

MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT

WHEN: November 15-December 1; Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM; Sundays at 2 PM
WHERE:
The Kelsey Theatre at MCCC, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor
ADMISSION: $20 for all
609.570.3333
BUY TICKETS HERE
MAP & DIRECTIONS

“Nothing With Kings, Nothing With Crowns

Well, actually… Maurer Productions OnStage will spread laughter and cheer throughout the kingdom with this musical comedy sensation lovingly ripped off from the film classic Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Telling the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and the quest for the Holy Grail in song, this hilarious show features "a chorus line of legless knights, men in tights (with legs), killer rabbits and sexy dancing divas."

This Perry Award-winning company also promises "some of the most unforgettable musical numbers you will ever see in the Kelsey Theatre!"

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

REVIEW: “BUBBLE BOY” MAKES SPARKLING DEBUT @ HAMILTON STAGE

vcm_s_kf_m160_120x160By Ruth Ross

He was the subject of two films (the first, The Boy in the Plastic Bubble starring a young John Travolta), a song by Paul Simon, even an episode of Seinfeld. Now, those two zany creators of Despicable Me 2 and Bubble Boy, their comic 2001 film, Cinco Paul (book, music and lyrics) and Ken Daurio (book) have turned the material into a sprightly, inventive and very energetic musical now receiving its world premiere at the American Theater Grou—in residence at Hamilton Stage in Rahway

Jimmy and MomBorn without an immune system, Jimmy Livingston is forced to live in a huge, sterilized plastic dome in his bedroom. There, he is home schooled by his devout Christian mother, who uses is The Bible as the science book and permits him only to read Highlights magazine. When a girl named Chloe moves next door, the teenage Jimmy is smitten, and the two develop a sweet and touching friendship.

Jimmy Mobile Bubble Christina L. Wilson photographerWhen Chloe announces her upcoming engagement to a rocker schoolmate, Jimmy decides to leave his bubble (by way of a self-constructed bubble suit), follow her from California to Niagara Falls and, effectively, stop the wedding by declaring his feelings for her. Pursued by his frantic parents, he meets an odd assortment of people who open his eyes to the world that has existed outside the universe created for him by his overbearing mother (abetted by a silent dad). Among these is a Manson-like cult, a biker with a flat tire, an Indian who is thought to be an a Muslim terrorist. As he comes to the end of his journey, Jimmy learns some astonishing truths about himself, his parents and the world.

In keeping with the creator's cartoon background (not to mention the cartoonish plot), Deb O gives us a set that consists of clever and colorful projections and props suggesting various venues. Elizabeth Barrett Groth's vibrantly colored costumes befit the characters and provide humor themselves.

Jimmy Chloe guitarJen Wineman's adept direction keeps the action moving along at a steady clip with no dead spots or hurried delivery. Paul's songs are lively and appropriate to the plot, although you will not hum them as you leave the theater. "Falling for the Boy," sung by Gerianne Pérez, is a sweet romantic ballad as is "There's a Bubble Around My Heart," sung by Pérez and Chris McCarrell as Jimmy (both, left).

These two actors carry the show with the superior help of Erin Maguire in the thankless role of the misguided Mrs. Livingston, a role she plays with relish and great comedic timing. McCarrell is adorable as Little Jimmy and Teenage Jimmy; his performance is very winning and we can see why the oddballs he meets cotton to him in an instance. Marrick Smith (Mark), Gabriel Sloyer (Todd) and Rachid Sabitri (Shawn) are very funny as slacker rock star wannabes. Sloyer does double duty as Slim (below, with Jimmy) the biker guy, as does Sabitri as Pushpahp, the Indian ice cream and curry truck driver.

DSC_4172Brent Crayon's musical direction and Jen Wineman's choreography really drive this show; all the actors can sing and dance very well.

Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio have a fine time mocking folks who profess hatred of what they don't know and fear, and for most of the time, the very un-PC comments are right on the mark. However, one about the Jews is egregious and offensive and plays right into the minds of those who buy the canard about the Jews' love of money. I suggest a rewrite.

Other than that, Bubble Boy is a fitting debut for the American Theater Group, a new troupe that will make its home at the beautiful new Hamilton Stage Theatre. Here's to more polished, professional productions!

Bubble Boy runs through November 24 at Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway. Performances are Friday and Saturday, 8 PM, and Sunday at 2 PM and 7 PM. For tickets and information, call 732.499.8226 or contact www.americantheatergroup.org online.

Photos by Christina L. Wilson

REVIEW: “THE ELEPHANT MAN” SHINES @ CHESTER THEATRE GROUP

vcm_s_kf_m160_120x160By Ruth Ross

If your only experience with The Elephant Man is the 1980's film wherein John Hurt appears in grotesque full body make-up, you will be taken aback by the handsome physique of Dale Monroe as John Merrick (aka The Elephant Man) in Chester Theatre Group's elegant, thoughtful and poignant production of the Bernard Pomerance play. On stage, one sees a handsome young man, holding his body in an awkward pose, walking with a shuffle and speaking slowly, to portray a misshapen, albeit very human, being. Indeed, Merrick’s witty and wise pronouncements reveal a keen intellect and a level of self-awareness that comes only later to those around him.

Dale Monroe of Morristown as John Merrick."The Elephant Man" of the eponymous play is John Merrick, an Englishman with severe deformities who was exhibited as a human curiosity. After being "rescued" by a benevolent doctor, he went to live at the London Hospital where he became well known in London society. Although his condition was incurable, Merrick was allowed to stay at the hospital for the remainder of his life. Treves visited him daily, and the pair developed quite a close friendship. Merrick also received visits from the wealthy ladies and gentlemen of London society, including Alexandra, Princess of Wales

With their consistent and veddy appropriate British accents, director Stephen Catron's talented cast give us a sense of place and convey the confusion swirling around the freakish “elephant man.” Are the well-meaning doctors as guilty of exploiting the man for their own purposes as the carnival barker from whose clutches they rescue him? Has all they’ve done “for his own good” fashioned him into a mirror of their own values and insecurities instead of into an individual with hopes, dreams and needs of his own?

Monroe (above) is superb as Merrick, handsome and the possessor of wise, wounded eyes that bespeak a sadness almost too much to bear, making Merrick’s psychic pain palpable. He’s so deep into the character that he never breaks posture as he moves from place to place.

clip_image002As his “savior,” Dr. Frederick Treves, Frank Bläuer, (right) is the very model of Victorian rectitude, which makes his breakdown late in the play very moving. Roger Dumpert's Carr Gomm, director of the London Hospital where Merrick lives supported by monies donated by the public, projects the smarminess of a man who’s not above using the poor creature to raise funds for his own institution, going so far as to permit upper class blokes to stop by for a chat and a look-see while sacking a lowly attendant for doing the same thing! And Ruth Morley (below) is a treasure in the role of Mrs. Kendal, the aging actress who comes to meet Merrick out of curiosity at Treves’ behest that Merrick get to know a member of the opposite sex in his quest to become “normal.” Morley clip_image002[1]gives Mrs. Kendal a warmth and greatness of heart that is evident as she converses with him, recognizes the beautiful human being behind the grotesque mask and, perhaps, falls a bit in love with him. She, out of all those people around Merrick, is the most genuine and caring, and we really feel for her when Treves sends her away.

Kevern Cameron  does a fine job as Ross the carnival barker who first exploits Merrick; William Horwitz is appropriately officious as the Anglican bishop who exploits him in the name of religion. Other standouts in supporting roles are Paul Rivellese (Will, a hospital porter) and Kathy Mierisch (a nurse and Princess Alexandra). Pianist Zachary Catron provides superb (and appropriate) musical accompaniment.

Director Catron has designed a simple set capable of supporting the many scene changes in the play, yet never overpowering the actors. On the small Chester Theatre playing area, these changes are effected smoothly, mostly by moving furniture or replacing the myriad of period props gathered by Peg Hill. Scaramouche Costumes provide further authenticity to the period of 1880s' London. My only quibble is with the lighting, which has only two settings: bright and off. It would have been better to highlight the characters, even when they are not involved in the action of the scene. Merrick could be lit with particular luminosity appropriate for this very special human being.

Chester Theatre Group's production of The Elephant Man will provide fodder for post-play discussion for days afterwards. Once again, this little theater showcases thought-provoking drama performed by talented actors right here in our own back yard! The company is to be commended for tackling this difficult play and giving it a production that places us close to the action and enhances our involvement with an unusual human being.

This production reminds us that the essence of drama is character and conflict and provides those in spades. Don’t miss The Elephant Man in Chester. And think about taking your teenagers: the subject of this play is provocative and interesting enough to spark a conversation with said teen and might move him or her want to know more about John Merrick. Too, it might make your child a life-long theatergoer . . . and there’s nothing shabby about that!

The Elephant Man will be performed at the Black River Playhouse on the corner of Grove and Maple Streets in Chester through November 30. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM and Sunday, November 24, at 2 PM. For information and tickets, call 908.979.7304 or visit www.chestertheatregroup.org online.

Monday, November 18, 2013

AUTHOR TO SIGN BOOKS AFTER PERFORMANCES @ DREAMCATCHER REP THIS WEEKEND IN SUMMIT

How To Be Old: A Beginner’s Guide

WHEN: Friday, November 22 at 8 PM and on Saturday and Sunday, November 23 and 24 at 2 PM
WHERE:
The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit
ADMISSION: To purchase tickets or for information on any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org or contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at 908.514.9654.

trio diagDreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, professional Theatre in Residence at the Oakes Center in Summit, is presenting a new adaptation of Jan Slepian’s book How To Be Old: A Beginner’s Guide. Adapted for the stage by Dreamcatcher Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand, this is the second of the author’s works on aging with humor and grace. Her first, Astonishment, was presented in 2011 as a collaboration between Dreamcatcher and The Theatre Project. Slepian has had a long and celebrated career as the author of books for children and young adults. Most recently her work includes these essays, which were written for her retirement community’s newsletter. It is these columns, previously collected into a book, that are receiving their debut as a theatrical presentation. (Above:  Terri Sturtevant, Daaimah Talley and Noreen Farley. Photo by  Steve McIntyre.

This play takes us through a step-by-step lesson on how to navigate the sometimes tricky journey through an enlightened old age. How To Be Old: A Beginner’s Guide includes lighthearted ruminations on the difficulty of such ordinary routines as getting in and out of cars, mastering technology, and finding matching socks. Also explored are the heartbreak of losing a spouse and the pleasure of remembering street games and penny candy, among many other topics.

The cast features Dreamcatcher Resident Acting Company member Noreen Farley (Clinton), Daaimah Talley (Plainfield), and Terri Sturtevant (Hillsborough), accomplished actors who have appeared on many stages throughout the state. The play has been adapted and directed by Laura Ekstrand (Livingston).

Jan Slepian will be available to sign her books after the 8:00 PM Friday evening performances and the 2:00 PM Saturday afternoon performance. She is the author of 28 children’s books and novels for young-adult readers.  Her picture book THE HUNGRY THING is now a classic; her young-adult novel THE ALFRED SUMMER was honored by a National Book Award nomination and inclusion on the School Library Journal’s list of 100 books that shaped the century. She married noted mathematician David Slepian, has lived in Paris, Hawaii and New Jersey, and has three children and four grandchildren.

Parking is available in the lot behind the theatre on Ashwood Avenue and at the Summit Recreation Center on Morris Avenue.  The facility is wheelchair accessible. Assistive Listening devices for the hearing impaired and advance large print scripts are available by prior arrangement. 

HOLOCAUST FILM AND DISCUSSION @ THE AIDEKMAN FAMILY JEWISH COMMUNITY CAMPUS ON WEDNESDAY

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Real to Reel Film Presentation:

My Knees Were Jumping

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 20, AT 7:00 PM
WHERE:
Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, 901 Route 10, Whippany
ADMISSION: Free admission and all are invited.  Light refreshments will be served

My Knees Were Jumping reveals the heart-wrenching story behind the Kindertransport.         

A powerful account of this astonishing slice of Holocaust history, it is told with poignant intimacy by the daughter of a survivor. Narrated by screen legend Joanne Woodward, the film weaves first-hand accounts with extraordinary archival footage. From grappling with the guilt of survival to the fear of abandonment that still haunts them to this day, these survivors’ unforgettable stories will leave few viewers unchanged. (1996, 76 minutes, in English)

Norbert Bikales, a Holocaust Survivor who was part of the Kindertransport, will introduce the film and lead the discussion that will follow.

Questions, please contact 973.929.3194 or holocaustcouncil@jfedgmw.org.