Thursday, April 30, 2015

ARTS COUNCIL OF LIVINGSTON PLANS 3 EVENTS FOR SPRING

This Spring, the members of the Arts Council of Livingston are planning 3 exciting events for community participation.

CORK & CANVAS
a creative painting event

WHEN: Thursday, May 7, 7–10 PM
WHERE:  1160A Town Center Way, (next to Silverman’s).    
ADMISSION: $35.00
Participants will be provided with a canvas, brushes & paints and professional instruction, to create an individual work of art. The event is BYOB.  

This craze of walking away with a finished piece of art is taking the country like storm. Come out, grab your friends and learn from Livingston’s own, Hugh Mahon!

GROUNDS FOR SCULPTURE TRIP

WHEN: Wednesday, May 13, 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
WHERE: bus leaves from from Senior/Community Center, on Hillside Avenue, Livingston
TICKETS: $50.00
Participants will enjoy a delightful bus trip, starting, including admission to “Grounds for Sculpture” in Hamilton, NJ. This facility is one of the premier locations to view sculpture in the metropolitan area and the best in NJ.  Lunch can be purchased or participants can brown-bag it.

LIVINGSTON HOUSE & GARDEN TOUR

WHEN: Wednesday, June 10, 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM
WHERE:
Livingston’s prestigious and historic homes

The third event will be a Livingston House & Garden Tour, which will be devoted to showcasing , while highlighting architecture, art, history and the beauty of local gardens. Please mark this date on your calendar and watch for further details.

For information, please contact Vivian Olshen, (973)992-1950, vivolshen@aol.com

CELEBRATE PRE-MOTHERS DAY WITH “LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER” @ SOPAC

ListentoYourMother_website_photo[1]LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER: NORTH JERSEY
GIVING MOTHERHOOD A MICROPHONE

WHEN: May 9, 2:00 PM & 5:00 PM
WHERE:
South Orange Performing Arts Center, 1 SOPAC Way, South Orange (behind the train station)
TICKETS: $30-$35 and are available at www.sopacnow.org.

Co-directors/producers Deborah Goldstein (Publisher, Village Q), Brooke Lefferts (Writer, Associated Press, NBC Today), Sandy Rustin (Playwright, Rated P ... for Parenthood, The Cottage, Struck) are pleased to announce the incredible local cast of the 2015 North Jersey show of Listen to Your Mother, a national series of original live readings about motherhood (www.listentoyourmothershow.com).

Statewide open auditions were held in early March and 13 writers have been selected to join the movement of "giving motherhood a microphone." 

The performance at SOPAC on May 9th will feature live readings by some of North Jersey’s most talented writers and bloggers: Kimberlee Auerbach Berlin, Amy Byrnes, Beatriz Leon Campbell, V.C. Chickering, Rachael Quinn Egan, Danielle Ferland, Lisa Goldstein, Jan Kaminsky, Marian Opoku-Dakwa, Tami Steckler, Michele Stein, Jesse Torrey, and Judith Wolochow.

The mission of each Listen to Your Mother production is to take the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates motherhood (in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor) in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors.

Listen to Your Mother is sponsored nationally by BlogHer. Listen To Your Mother: North Jersey welcomes SOPAC and Midtown Direct Rep as local Megaphone sponsors. Proud Microphone sponsors include: American Jiu Jitsu of Maplewood, Bitofbutter.org, CKO Kickboxing Maplewood, Joy Yagid Photography, Macaroni Kid Summit Short Hills SOMA, Meatball Obsession, Paul Madsen Videography, Tracey Diamond Designs, and The Vanessa Pollock Realty Team at Keller Williams Midtown Direct. Podium sponsors are Align Wellness Studio, Ashley Marketplace & Cafe, Baker Street Yoga, Cedar Ridge Cafe, New Horizons Day Camp, Peachcraft Academy of Dramatic Arts, Sparkhouse Toys, Sweet Life by Design and [words] Bookstore.

Listen to Your Mother aims to support motherhood creatively through artistic expression, and also financially, through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families in need. The North Jersey show will be donating 10 % of ticket proceeds to Eva's Village Hope Residence for Homeless Mothers and Children, a Paterson, NJ Non-Profit organization that has reinvented the concept of the homeless shelter for mothers and children in New Jersey. In addition to providing stable & safe shelter, Eva’s Village offers a wide range of support services to address the mental and physical health required to transition successfully out of homelessness and poverty.

To get a great sense of the show visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/LTYMShow

CAUSTIC COMEDY TO OPEN @ BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS THIS SATURDAY

BERGEN COUNTY PLAYERS Presents the Final Show of its 2014-2015 Season -- The 2009 Tony Award-Winner for Best Play...

God of Carnage #1GOD OF CARNAGE
Written by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Alyson Cohn

WHEN: May 2, and run through Sunday, May 31; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM. No performances the weekend of Memorial Day, May 22-24.
WHERE:
Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell
TICKETS: $21 for Friday/Saturday performances and $17 for Sunday matinees, and can be purchased online at www.bcplayers.org, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office hours. Visa, Master Card, and American Express are accepted.

"A savvy and deliciously caustic new comedy!" - Chicago Tribune

Bergen County Players is thrilled to present the final mainstage production of its 2014-2015 season of shows, the 2009 Tony Award-winning play, God of Carnage, written by Yasmina Reza, translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Alyson Cohn. The New York Times described Carnage as "[a] streamlined anatomy of the human animal... [The play] delivers the cathartic release of watching other people's marriages go boom."

A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of Brooklyn parents for a meeting to resolve the matter.

Yasmina Reza's witty script starts out as a rancidly funny account of two couples tiptoeing around their mutual dislike. At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the evening progresses, the gloves come off and the night becomes a side-splitting free-for-all.

The London production at the Gielgud Theatre was widely acclaimed, receiving the Olivier Award for Best New Play of 2009. The Broadway production won a Tony for Best Play and became the longest running comedy of the 2000s.

When asked about the themes of the production, Director Alyson Cohn of Wyckoff stated, "Playground politics—children live them and adults pretend to have outgrown them. But do we ever?" Alyson is a seasoned BCP director, helming the BCP productions of Boeing-Boeing; Glengarry Glen Ross; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Angels in America: Millennium Approaches; Six Degrees of Separation; The Heidi Chronicles; Proposals; True West; Art; The Laramie Project; and Proof, which won the 2006 Perry Award for Best Production of a Play.

The talented cast of God of Carnage includes Larry Kadish (AlanRaleigh) of New Milford, Allyson Stevenson (Annette Raleigh) of Westwood, Scott Schneider (Michael Novak) of Congers, NY, and Angie Joachim (Veronica Novak) of White Plains, NY.

The crew includes: Kathie Robitz (Producer, Props), Michele Roth (Stage Manager, Assistant to the Director), Marci K. Weinstein (Set Design, Décor, Program Notes), Greg Cilmi (Set Design and Construction), Allan Seward (Lighting Design), Rob DeScherer (Sound Design), Bunny Mateosian and Marian McCabe (Costume Design), Pat Bain (Props), Angela Grippo (Lighting Operation), Daniel Reid (Sound Operation), Christine Francois (Makeup Design), Larry Landsman (Publicity), and Alan Zenreich (Photography).

  • BCP's popular Questions & Artists talkback session will be held following the performance on Friday, May 8th. The session is included in the cost of the ticket to that performance.
  • Those interested in Group Sales of 20 or more tickets can email groups@bcplayers.org or call the main number and press #6.
  • Advance discount tickets for students age 25 and under with proper ID are available for $14 by phone or walk-up only, and student rush seats can be purchased for $5 (cash only) starting 30 minutes before curtain at every performance, pending seat availability. There is a limit of one rush ticket per student.
  • Parking is free at the Park Avenue municipal lot, across the street, one-half block north of the theater.

The Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small community theater when it was founded in 1932; today, nearly 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the nine productions presented each season. The remaining Second Stage production is The Mouse That Roared (June 6th and June 7th).

HIP-HOP LEGENDS REUNITE TO “GET FRESH” @ UCPAC

60883659GET FRESH REUNION

WHEN: Friday, May 15, at 8 PM
WHERE:
Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving St. in the heart of Rahway Arts District
TICKETS: $25, $35, $45 and $55 and are available by calling (732) 499-8226 or visiting www.ucpac.org.

Thirty years after setting the hip-hop world on fire, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick the Ruler will reunite on Union County Performing Arts Center Mainstage for an evening of classic rap and hip-hop.

As "The Human Beat Box," Doug E. Fresh produced a literal symphony of sound with his mouth, a microphone and freestyle rap lyrics. Throughout the mid-‘80s, Doug, Slick Rick and the Get Fresh Crew churned out smash hits like The Show and La-Di-Da-Di, considered two of early hip-hop's classic songs. Doug's signature dance move—"The Dougie"—has made an indelible mark on pop culture, performed by scores of celebrities from First Lady Michelle Obama and Olympian Gabby Douglas to model Kate Upton and pundit Wolf Blitzer.

Slick Rick is a Grammy-nominated rapper known as "hip-hop's greatest storyteller." About.com ranked Slick Rick #12 on its list of the Top 50 MCs of our time, while The Source named him the #15 lyricist of all time.

The Get Fresh Reunion, presented by Prime Entertainment and UCPAC, will be hosted by Johnny Walker and also feature Lisay, E.M.S. (En Masse Sodality) and DJ Diamond.

For a full listing of upcoming shows, visit Union County Performing Arts Center website at www.ucpac.org.  

JAZZ LEGEND & FRIENDS TO APPEAR IN JERSEY CITY THIS SATURDAY

clip_image001Winard Harper & Jeli PosseTo Appear with Jazz Legend Jimmy Heath

WHEN: Saturday, May 2, 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM
WHERE:
The Audrey Sabir Cultural Center of Masjid Muhammad of Jersey City is located at 297 MLK Drive in Jersey City.
TICKETS: $30 for adults and $20 for students and may be reserved by calling 201.435.6845 or 201.401.8613.

Drummer Winard Harper and Jeli Posse will be joined by jazz legend Jimmy Heath for a cultural jazz experience and dinner at the Audrey Sabir Cultural Center of  Masjid Muhammad of Jersey City. The program includes great music, poetry and dinner.

Jersey City resident Winard Harper (above) is considered one of the most exciting and innovative drummers in jazz, leading an exciting group that mixes bebop with African and Caribbean rhythms. Equally at home with sticks, brushes or mallets, Harper is both a gifted soloist and rock-solid bandleader, and he has surrounded himself with outstanding young musicians.  His most recent release, Coexist, topped the jazz charts last year and was one of the year’s most requested jazz recordings. (Photo Richard Galosy)

clip_image001[6]Saxophonist Jimmy Heath (right) has worked with many of the jazz greats from Miles Davis to Wynton Marsalis. The middle brother of the famous Heath Brothers, Jimmy has appeared on more than 100 albums both as a leader and as a sideman. At 88, he is a link between early bebop stars such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and the young artists of today who revere him.  (photo credit Jimmy Heath)

NJ-BASED PAINTER USES ARTWORK TO FEED THE HOMELESS: NOW SHOWING @ MONTCLAIR PUBLIC LIBRARY

REAL-LIFE SERIES
Art to feed the homeless by Nathaniel Crump

WHEN: during library hours from May 1 through May 30, 2015.  An artist reception is scheduled for Thursday, May 7 from 6-8 PM. 
WHERE:
Montclair Public Library Gallery, 50 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair

The Montclair Public Library’s popular art series exhibits continues with Nathaniel Crump’s “Real – Life Series.” Crump creates artwork that shares a positive visualization of the resilience and determination of the human spirit not just to survive, but thrive.  Each work of art will be accompanied by a poem that was created by James Smith of Battle Creek Michigan.

Nathaniel Crump, better known as Nick to his friends and family was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  His interest in art started when he was just a young boy. He would sit for hours and watch his uncle, world renowned portrait painter Paul Collins, paint pictures. When he was 15 years old, he was accepted into the notable Kendall School of Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He went on to enter several art contests and shows throughout Michigan.  Nick gets his inspiration from everyday real-life events. His first love is portraits; however, he has also painted landscapes, seascapes, and animals.

Nick has been a Montclair resident for over 5 years and in is contact with the homeless almost daily and strives to raise awareness on the plight of the homeless He gets inspiration for his paintings from the trials, tribulations and triumphs of everyday life events. Crump said “Just in 2013 there were over 25,000 homeless in the State of New Jersey. Of this 25,000 that were displaced, over 13% of them were from Essex County which had the highest rate this year. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of artwork will benefit the Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (M.E.S.H.)”

Being an artist is a God-given gift that Nick does not take lightly. He is currently working on several different series; however, the one closest to his heart is the “Homeless series.”  "I see my art as a tool, to inspire, encourage, and uplift people from all walks of life."

The Library welcomes inquiries from local artists and arts organizations regarding use of the exhibit space.  Free and open to the public. The library is handicapped accessible. For more information on this event and the library calendar, please visit www.montclairlibrary.org or call 973-744-0500 ext. 2221.

About the Montclair Public Library: Founded in 1893, the Montclair Free Public Library serves the 37,669 citizens of Montclair New Jersey it has two facilities: the Main Library at 50 S. Fullerton Avenue and the Bellevue Branch at 185 Bellevue Avenue. The Library exists to enhance the quality of life in Montclair by providing an environment which supports and stimulates self education, lifelong learning and information literacy.

DOO-WOP THIS SATURDAY IN SUCCASUNNA

DOO-WOP

WHEN: Saturday May 2nd, at  8:00 PM
WHERE:
Investors Bank Theater, 72 Eyland Ave., Succasunna (Entrance for performance will be in the front (all the way to the left) of the Roxbury Twp Building )
TICKETS: $22 Adults, $20 Students & Seniors
available at the door and online
Questions? Call 862.219.1379

PUPPET SHOW FOR ALL AGES IN JERSEY CITY ON SUNDAYS THROUGH THE END OF JUNE

Pinocchio
Collodi's Adventures of a Marionette
by Puppetworks

WHEN: Every Sunday 2:30 PM
March 29 - June 28, 2015
Closed Easter Sunday

WHERE: Jersey City Theater Center Merseles Studios , 339 Newark Avenue 2nd Floor, Downtown Jersey City, NJ (next to White Eagle Hall above Monaco Lock)TICKETS: Advance tickets - $9 child & $10 adult. At the door - $11 child & $12 adult. Groups - $8 each of 20 or more.
For advance tickets visit us at: jctcenter.org
or go directly to www.jctcpinocchio.brownpapertickets.com
BUY TICKETS

Classic 1882 fairy tale. Adapted for Marionettes by Nicolas Coppola. Meet with puppeteer after the show. For all ages.

All proceeds go to Jersey City Theater Center, Inc - a 501c3 not-for-profit organization committed to developing a much needed Performing and Visual Arts Center in Jersey City, New Jersey for professional artists, businesses, the community and visiting tourists.

3 PLAYS BY NEIL LABUTE @ HUDSON THEATRE WORKS

"OFF BROADWAY QUALITY AT AFFORDABLE PRICES"

CLICK HERE FOR BROWN PAPER TICKETS PRICING AND SHOW SCHEDULE
15 MINUTES FROM MIDTOWN CLICK FOR DIRECTIONS
LIMITED SEATING

NEWS FROM WEST ORANGE PUBLIC LIBRARY!

May Programs for Adults

Children's Programs

West Orange Public Library                   Hours: M, W, Th 10-9
46 Mt. Pleasant Ave.                                        Tu, Fri 10-5:30
West Orange, NJ 07052                                    Sat 9-5
973-736-0198                                                    Sun 1-5*
www.wopl.org

*Closed Sundays from the last Sunday in May through the Sunday after Labor Day.

IMPROV @ DREAMCATCHER REP IN SUMMIT: 1 NIGHT ONLY

One night only!

Improv at Dreamcatcher Rep: Multiple Personality Disorder

WHEN: Saturday, May 9, at 8:00 PM
WHERE:
Oakes Center, 120 Morris Avenue, Summit, NJ 07901  
TICKETS: $20 adults, $15 kids 15 and younger - buy in advance; no fees! Buy your tickets now!

Multiple Personality Disorder is the improvisational comedy troupe of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre. MPD has been performing as a group since 2002. Their unpredictable shows are always packed with laughs from start to finish.

MPD performs improv comedy sketches like those seen on the popular television show, "Whose Line Is It Anyway?," and uses audience input to shape the scenes that the actors instantly create onstage.  Performers use ingredients such as everyday objects, strange maladies and unusual circumstances to cook up unconventional mini-plays that appear and disappear before your eyes.

ONE NIGHT OF PEACE & MUSIC @ WILLIAM PATERSON U.

Try Me

Glen Burtnik's

Summer of Love Concert

The Music of the Woodstock Generation

WHEN: Saturday, May 9th, 8:00 PM
WHERE:
William Paterson University Shea Center, 300 Pompton Rd., Wayne
TICKETS: Very limited
https://tickets.wpunj.edu/TheatreManager/1/online

Relive the Memories, Share the Spirit and Celebrate the Music That Changed the World!

Returning to the Shea Center, its the third annual Summer of Love Concert, commemorating the iconic rock music from the period between the 1967 release of The Beatles revolutionary album Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and the famous Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969.

Glen Burtnik, alumnus of Styx, original cast member of Broadway's Beatlemania, and hit songwriter is joined by 12 or more performers including a horn section, strings, keyboardists, percussionists, background vocalists and an incredible rock rhythm section who collectively recreate the songs and psychedelic spirit of the Woodstock Generation.

Whether this is your third year with us or your first, you'll hear songs that you've never heard before as well as some of your favorites from The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Procal Harum, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, The Turtles, The Rascals, Mamas and the Papas, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and many more, plus special musical guests, dazzling video and light show, and just added: A VERY SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO THE LATE Joe Cocker!

LAST CHANCE TO SEE “BLUES” @ TWO RIVER THEATER IN RED BANK

CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

YIDDISH THEATRE TO APPEAR IN FREEHOLD

image

A NOTE ABOUT EMAILS

vcm_s_kf_m160_120x160

A note to public relations people at the various venues who send me notices to post on my blog:

 

Please send your notices ONLY to njartsmaven@gmail.com.

 

Please DO NOT send notices to ruthmross@comcast.net.

 

I get duplicates and multiples of the same email that cause my server to crash.

 

Please update your records.

 

Thanks,

Ruth Ross

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AUTHOR OF “LOVEY BUNNY” TO APPEAR @ MONTCLAIR PUBLIC LIBRARY THIS SUNDAY

Image result for lovey bunny bookLovey Bunny: Montclair Author Kristine A. Lombardi

WHEN: Sunday, May 3, at 3 PM
WHERE: Montclair Public Library, 3rd floor,
50 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair
www.montclairlibrary.org
973-744-0500 ext. 2236
REGISTRATION REQUIRED
Ages 3 to 8

Lovey Bunny is the happiest little girl around. She loves just about everything—her family, art, watching her mama make things, and especially playing dress-up. But when she borrows Mama Rabbit’s new dress without asking and ruins it, Lovey Bunny learns that not everything always goes as planned. Will Lovey Bunny find a creative way to show Mama that she’s sorry?

Kristine A. Lombardi’s picture book debut reveals an effervescent new character whose talent for crafts and love of fashion, family, and fun will touch the hearts of little girls everywhere!

Come visit with the author at Montclair Public Library!

SANDI PATTY TO APPEAR @ ENLOW RECITAL HALL THIS SUNDAY

GENE & SHELLEY ENLOW RECITAL HALL PRESENTS

sandi-patty 4SANDI PATTY’S BROADWAY STORIES

WHEN: SUNDAY, MAY 3, AT 3 PM
WHERE:
Enlow Recital Hall, 215 North Ave., Hillside (Kean University’s East Campus)
TICKETS: $35 - $55 and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.SHOW (7469), online at http://EnlowHall.kean.edu or in person at Kean University’s Wilkins Theater Box Office (1000 Morris Avenue in Union, NJ).

Kean University’s Enlow Recital hall will present Sandi Patty, one of the most highly acclaimed performers of our time. Patti career has resulted in  five Grammy® Awards, four Billboard Music Awards, three platinum records, five gold records, and eleven million units sold. While her thirty-year career is heavily rooted in the gospel music industry, Sandi has had the opportunity in more recent years to extend her career outside the genre with her debut full length symphonic pops album Broadway Stories which has received rave reviews.

Situated on Kean University’s East Campus (215 North Avenue in Hillside, NJ), Enlow Hall is renowned for its superb acoustics and elegant design.  With just 300 spectacular seats, Enlow Hall has been praised by noted performers and patrons for its intimate ambiance and close proximity between musicians and audience members. Free onsite parking is available at every concert.

For complete Enlow Hall Season information, please visit enlowhall.kean.edu.

CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERT THIS SUNDAY @ FARMSTEAD ARTS

CHAMBER MUSIC with Flutist Soo-Kyung Park and cellist Sean Katsuyama

WHEN: Sunday, May 3, at 4 PM
WHERE:
the historic farmhouse at 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge, NJ.
TICKETS: $10 for and are available through www.FarmsteadArtsCenter.org, or at the door.

The program will include JS Bach’s Sonata for Flute and Cello, Jacque Ibert’s Piece for Solo Flute, Gaspar Cassado’s Suite for Solo Cello (Spanish Dance Suite), Yuko Uebayashi’s Duo for Flute and Cello and Villa-Lobos’ The Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello.  

SooKyungPark_black_top_with_fluteFlutist Soo-Kyung Park first won international acclaim as winner of the Promising Artist Search in her native South Korea, where she performed in recital at the Seoul Arts Center, and subsequently won first prize in the New York Flute Club Competition, performing in New York’s Cami Hall. She has performed as soloist with the Korean Symphony at Alice Tully Hall.  Her radio credits include APR’s Performance Today and WQXR’s McGraw Hill Young Artist Showcase hosted by Bob Sherman. She has performed solo and chamber music concerts in the United States, and throughout Europe and Asia. Ms. Park is on the faculty at New York University and the Manhattan School of Music, Pre-College Division.  

Sean_Katsuyama,_cellist2Cellist Sean Katsuyama has performed with the Long Island Philharmonic and the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, with whom he toured Japan and worked with musicians such as Michael Tilson Thomas, Christoph Eschenbach, and Toru Takemitsu. He has also toured South Korea and Europe as a member of the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Currently residing in New York City, he has performed solo and chamber music in many of its important halls, and had the honor to play for relief workers at the World Trade Center site.

Attendees will also have the opportunity of seeing the Member Art Show, which will open with a reception on the same day at 1 PM.  To learn more about additional upcoming events, visit www.FarmsteadArtsCenter.org.

The farmhouse is wheelchair accessible.  Anyone anticipating the need for additional accessibility services is encouraged to send an email to FarmsteadArtsCenter@gmail.com in advance.

Funds for these events have been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program Grant administered by The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

WORLD PREMIERE OPENS @ NJ REP IN LONG BRANCH

THE REALIZATION OF EMILY LINDER
By Richard Strand
Directed by SuzAnne Barabas

WHEN: April 23 thru May 24; Thursdays, Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 3 PM & 8 PM; Sundays at 2 PM and selected Sundays at 7 PM
WHERE:
179 Broadway in Long Branch. There is free, on-site parking and easy access from NJ Transit.
TICKETS: Adults $45; seniors $40; Facebook Friends $35, Students $25.
For tickets call 732.229.3166 or visit www.njrep.org

From Richard Strand, the author who penned the award-winning Butler comes a comic-drama about Emily Linder, an eccentric, retired university professor, who has come to the "realization" that she knows the exact day that she will pass away. She gathers her two daughters to her side to inform them of her imminent demise and to give each of them explicit instructions and ridiculous assignments to fulfill prior to her earthly departure—a warm family comedy about realizations, sibling rivalry, aging, and balloons.

The Realization of Emily Linder stars Marnie Andrews, Dana Benningfield, Corey Tazmania and Jenny Vallancourt.

PLANT SALE @ FRELINGHUYSEN ARBORETUM THIS WEEKEND

www.morrisparks.net

DEADLINE EXTENDED FOR STNJ SUMMER PROFESSIONAL TRAINING PROGRAM THIS SUMMER

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Sponsors

Monday, April 27, 2015

REVIEW: BONJ KEYBOARD EXTRAVAGANZA CHALLENGES AUDIENCE

Sheila and OreoBy Sheila Abrams

It felt like a safe place, musically, when the Baroque Orchestra of NJ struck the first chords in Sunday’s concert. The composer was Johann Sebastian Bach, and the notes that filled the Dolan Concert Hall at the College of St. Elizabeth were, if not universally familiar, at least easily comprehensible.

The piece was Concerto in C Minor, for orchestra and two pianos (originally composed for two harpsichords). The orchestra, under the baton of Robert W. Butts, was on firm ground and the piano soloists, Soyeon Kim and Ron Levy, dove in at the deep end, smoothly and brilliantly.

The pace of Bach’s music does not allow for hesitation, mental or physical. The intricate interaction among all the instruments, and especially between the two keyboards, is mathematical and relentless, a a reflection of the universe that seems inevitable. With Bach, this is the way things are.

Next, we were brought into a different kind of universe. If Bach seemed mathematical and inevitable, the next work evoked images of an exquisitely landscaped formal garden. The piece was Piano Concerto No. 10, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Mozart is believed to have composed the concerto when he was 19 or 20, for him to play with his sister, Maria Anna, called Nannerl, who was also an accomplished musician. The interaction between the pianos is playful, with the spotlight, as it were, moving back and forth between the two soloists. The focus is on the two pianos, the orchestra providing a sort of backdrop.

The middle movement, andante, is elegant and stately, but, in the final movement, rondo: allegro, the youthful exhuberance of the beginning returns. Wolfgang and Nannerl were having fun. (Imagine having that as the family business!)

The audience knew, however, that the final concerto in this amazing display of keyboard virtuosity was going to shake things up. If Bach’s music is inevitable and Mozart’s is gorgeously joyful, the third composer, Francis Poulenc, is coming to take you out of your comfort zone.

In brief comments before the piece began. Maestro Butts explained that Poulenc was part of a group of artists, in Paris in the years between the two World Wars, who intended to upset conventions. That intention is clear from the first aggressive notes of the concerto.

One reason Poulenc’s work is difficult to describe is that it has so many different things going on simultaneously. At moments, it has a plaintive, lyrical beauty, as if the composer is saying to the audience, “Yes, I can write this kind of music too, if I want to.” Then, he reverts to something else. Bits of Mozart, bits of Beethoven and then Scott Joplin, but none of it easily recognized or identifiable. We are so glad he was not “all about the bass” or familiar with rap.

We must admit we were less than charmed by the Poulenc. But we also admit that we were never bored by it.

As if to reward the audience for its attention to the Poulenc, (Levy virtually said as much!) the soloists performed a short and spectacular encore, Scaramouche, a virtuoso suite for two pianos by Darius Milhaud, composed for the Paris Exposition of 1937. Milhaud was a contemporary of Poulenc and also one of the same group of unconventional artists. But this short piece was far more comprehensible.

Also on the program was one all-orchestral piece, the Overture to Ifigenia en Aulide, by Christoph Willibald Gluck. And before the Baroque Orchestra took the stage, the audience was treated to a series of short pieces by the Fortissimo Flutes, a group of young musicians from the New Jersey Youth Symphony.

ALL-COUNTY GARAGE SALE NEXT SATURDAY @ MENNEN SPORTS ARENA

www.morrisparks.net

NASSAU FILM FESTIVAL ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS FROM STUDENT/NONSTUDENT FILMMAKERS THROUGH MAY 7

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www.naussaufilmfestival.org for information

WORLD PREMIERE OF POLITICAL DRAMA BY NJ NATIVE NOW PLAYING @ CROSSROADS THEATRE IN NEW BRUNSWICK

CLICK HERE TO BUY  NOW
WHERE: Crossroads Theatre, 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick
www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org
732.545.8100

By preeminent playwright, screenwriter & NYU professor Richard Wesley,  Autumn tells the story of Franklyn Longley, a veteran big-city Mayor who is line to become the first black Governor of his State and suddenly finds his place in history threatened when his party decides to throw its nomination behind a dynamic young politician who is also Black and just so happens to be the Mayor’s protégé.

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

“HAIRSPRAY” SPRINGS TO LIFE @ THE STROLLERS IN MAPLEWOOD NEXT FRIDAY

hairspray

WHEN: May 2-16
WHERE:
Burgdorff Center for Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd., Maplewood
TICKETS: $25, SENIORS/STUDENTS $20
www.TheStrollers.org for tickets and more information

OPERA IN BOUND BROOK FOR THE NEXT 2 WEEKENDS

For tickets and more information, visit www.EasternOpera.org

Sunday, April 26, 2015

REVIEW: ICY “ERNEST SHACKLETON LOVES ME” HEATS UP GEORGE STREET PLAYHOUSE

PhotoBy Ruth Ross

Joe DiPietro is a prolific playwright—specifically, of comedies. Currently, he has a musical comedy on Broadway (the madcap Living on Love), starring opera diva Renée Fleming, while several of his plays have become staples of regional and community theaters (I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change comes to mind). George Street Playhouse has, in fact, presented three world premières of plays by DiPietro: Creating Claire, The Toxic Avenger and, in 2013, Clever Little Lies; the latter two have moved to the Great White Way from the theater in New Brunswick.

Fast forward to April 2015, once again to George Street Playhouse, for the time-crossing romance entitled Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, DiPietro's collaboration with composer/lyricists Valerie Vigoda and Brendan Milburn. This quirky production brings a whole new vibe to George Street, whereby keyboards, drum machines, sound loopers, electric violins and an acoustic banjo in a score that encompasses a variety of musical styles, accompanied by video, Skype technology and green screen imagery provide a technological, contemporary setting for the unsettling events that unfold onstage. What begins as an eye-popping, mind-boggling, multimedia extravaganza ends up being a charming and delightful love story, whose resolution is heartwarming and, to quote Shackleton, "optimistic."

PhotoA sleep-deprived composer of musical soundtracks for video games, Kat suddenly finds herself out of a job. "Why does everyone leave," she wails, feeling abandoned, most notably by Bruce, her infant son Zach's father, who has decamped to join a Journey cover band out on the road. Alone, overwhelmed by motherhood, and unsure of her financial and romantic future, Kat is suddenly contacted—across decades and continents—by the famous polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, one of the heroes cited in Star Blazer, the video game she has most recently been scoring. Drawn to her music, the explorer asks her to provide a soundtrack for his journey to Antarctica where, in 1914, he lost his ship Endurance in the crushing ice and traveled 800 miles over sea and mountains to get help at a whaling station and rescue the men he left behind.

PhotoKat and Shackleton communicate at first by Skype, but when he suddenly appears in her apartment, things really heat up, romantically and dramatically. This seems part hallucination (after all, Kat has been awake for 36 hours straight) and part cold-numbing reality as she joins him on this trek, all to a soundtrack of electronic music, country-style hootenannies, rousing sea chanties and a ballad or two. There's even a duel between Shackleton and Ponce de Léon over which man has Kat's affection!

I admit that this does seem a bit ditzy and "out there," but director Lisa Peterson keeps it all moving at a steady clip so the energy doesn't fail over the 90 minutes the tale takes to unfold. Alex Nichols' set is surreal, and evocative of the obstacles the two must surmount in the Antarctic, complete with lots of silver paint, snow (both on the ground and falling), trunks and crates that transform into props, and a huge screen at the back of the set for special effects and graphics.

PhotoMaking these wacky goings on feel (almost) normal are two very talented and endearingly charming actors, Valerie Vigoda as Kat and Wade McCollum as Shackleton (and the other men in Kat's life). Vigoda is proficient at keyboard and drums, as well as playing a mean electronic fiddle. Her fingers really fly on the latter in the hootenannies and sea chanties! She holds her own vocally, too, in the many tunes she warbles with McCollum; the two are well matched so that one does not overpower the other. Easy on the eyes and ears, McCollum is deliciously attractive as the Scots-Irishman Shackleton, unfamiliar with all this technological stuff, but so enamored of Kat that he gladly takes her with him on his dangerous journey. He is especially terrific singing "The Eye of the Storm," fully expressing the explorer's optimism that he will complete his task successfully!

Providing musical accompaniment is the unseen Brendan Milburn, filling out the sound without overwhelming the singers. It is interesting to note that Vigoda is a classically trained graduate of Princeton and a winner of the 2009 Richard Rodgers New Horizons Award and twice the recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award for Excellence in Writing for the Theatre. Milburn, an accomplished record producer, has a Master of Fine Arts from NYU in Musical Theatre Writing. These two are no slouches in the music field!

What they have produced may puzzle older audience members at first (the younger crowd will plug into it immediately), but you will be won over by the allure and virtuosity of performance up there onstage. My only quibble with the production and script is the excessive use of coarse language. Perhaps they have been inserted to accentuate the contemporaneity of the characters, but at times the words are used gratuitously and become annoying.

PhotoDespite its idiosyncratic plot, I think you'll fall in love with Ernest Shackleton Loves Me. Be prepared to be won over by this gentle, albeit zany, romance. Its warmth and charm are a true testament to the magical power of the theater!

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me will be performed at the George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, through May 17. For information and tickets, call the box office at 732.246.7717 or visit www.GSPonline.org   online.

(Photos by Jeff Carpenter from the 2014 ACT Theatre production in Seattle.)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

REVIEW: FEMINIST COMEDY DRAMA CATCHES FIRE @ DREAMCATCHER REP

RBB photo

By Ruth Ross

Although it has been 40 years, the very vocal and public spat between the eminent feminist Betty Friedan and her nemesis, the conservative anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly, feels like it took place eons ago. Has the argument over whether women has the choice of career vs. family been resolved? Well, according to Gina Gionfriddo's smart comedic drama (or dramatic comedy), Rapture, Blister, Burn, now receiving its New Jersey première at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit, it still rages, as seen in the lives of rock star feminist academic Catherine Croll and her graduate school roommate Gwen Harper, now a stay-at-home mom in a small New England college town.

Although the time period is not specified (other than "Summer"), by my calculation the action takes place sometime in the early 21st century (25 years, according to the characters, after Friedan and Schlafley argued the point), so I am not certain it is a commentary on feminism today, but more a wry, clever wink and nod about thinking the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. (Top photo by Steve McIntyre)

In response to her mother Alice's recent heart attack and facing being alone should her mother die, Catherine has taken a leave of absence from her professorship in New York City to spend the summer in her rural home town. Once there, she re-establishes her relationship with Gwen and Gwen's husband Don, who was Catherine's beau until Gwen "stole" him away. When Don gets her a position teaching a course in summer school, the trio cooks up a scheme whereby Gwen and older son Julian will go to New York so she can pursue her unfinished graduate degree and her son will study acting, while Catherine and Don will move in together and look after the Harper's three-year-old son Devin. This harebrained arrangement will allow each woman to experience what she gave up when she chose the path for her adult life. The wrench in the gear is pot-smoking, hard-drinking, Internet porn-addicted Don, whom Catherine thinks she can get to "aspire" to the life she thinks he should be leading (and wants to lead). The results are both hilarious and sobering.

Gionfriddo's addition of the 21-year-old student Avery Willard and Alice, Catherine's 70-something mother offers two refreshing "takes" on the role of women in modern society. As the smartest one of the bunch Avery's observations and comments bring this play closer to the ideas floating around when it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2013.

Once again, David Christopher shows us what a fine director he is. The 10 scene changes occur fluidly, and although the actors may change costumes, they stay in character—always dynamic and interesting—at all times. Of course, Christopher has first-rate actors with whom to work; the Dreamcatcher Rep ensemble meshes so seamlessly and appear so comfortable with each other that the relationships they portray are always natural and convincing.

Laura Ekstrand (left) is marvelous as Catherine, spouting opinions about women and pornography with élan but not too invested in them to be attracted to Don and the family life she imagines with him. She is clearly a woman who knows her academic field, but not her self. Nicolle Callender's Gwen (top photo, right) is all suppressed rage, rage at having to push her husband to succeed, dismay that, despite choosing motherhood and family, she finds herself envying Catherine. When she boils over during a seminar she has signed up to take with Catherine (and Avery) and spills secrets of her marriage, she really gains our sympathy. And Harry Patrick Christian's college dean Don (above, right) is a slacker, par excellence. With his easy-going ways and slow speech, Christian telegraphs the man's lack of ambition, which is far more evident to the audience than to Catherine who thinks he just needs someone to encourage him. Christian's interactions with Callender and Ekstrand are totally believable; we may even feel sorry for him as Catherine tries to work her magic at making him over.

Stealing the show are Jessica O'Hara-Baker (Far right) as outspoken Avery and Noreen Farley (center, with Ekstrand) as the more reserved Alice. O’Hara-Baker is the quintessential "liberated" woman of the 21st century—empowered, candid, bluntly stating her opinions and not really afraid of men (for the most part). Dressed in a variety of outfits totally appropriate for her age, O'Hara-Baker's delivery is natural and hilarious. She's one chick to be reckoned with! Farley's Alice is more Phyllis Schlafly-like, spouting a more conservative view of femininity (to the audience's delight), but proud of her daughter and intrigued by Avery. Alice's insistence on martinis at five is quite droll, even as the enormous amount of alcohol consumption by Catherine and Don is a troubling red flag of ensuing disaster.

Superior production values are evident in Bridget Santiello's set (love Alice's old-fashioned living room), Zach Pizza's atmospheric lighting, Laura Ekstrand's choice of attire for each character, and Jeff Knapp's savvy selection of songs reminiscent of the feminist "revolution." It is a joy to hear them once again. (L-R: Ekstrand, Christian, Farley)

Rapture, Blister, Burn traces the arc of two women as they attempt to navigate the world of choice. Instead of "greener grass" on the other side of the fence, they should have heeded the advice, "Be careful what you wish for." What may, at first, be rapturous, can blister and ultimately burn you. The journeys taken by these seven characters may be circuitous and confounding, but ultimately their choices are best for each of them. Go see Rapture, Blister, Burn and see if you agree. But you have only one more weekend to do it.

Rapture, Blister, Burn runs through May 3 at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit. For information and tickets, call the box office at 908.514.9654 or visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org  on line. There will be a talkback after the 2 PM matinee on Sunday, April 26.

Other 4 Photos by David Miceli.