WHEN: Saturday, October 22, ending on Saturday, November 12. Curtain goes up for Friday and Saturday performances at 8 pm, with Sunday matinees at 2 pm.
WHERE: Little Firehouse Theatre, 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell.
TICKETS: $21 for Friday and 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.
Religious tolerance gets an intra-ethnic twist in the Bergen County Players production of The Last Night of Ballyhoo.
The Los Angeles Times called the play “achingly beautiful…luminous and powerful. Uhry draws his characters with so fine a pen, on such a solid foundation, that the story takes on the sharp poignancy of life.”
The play is set in Atlanta, Georgia in December 1939, on the eve of World War II. Its main characters are drawn from a largely upper middle class German-Jewish community.
“I’ve wanted to direct this play for a long time,” says Fisher, who has helmed a number of other BCP productions, most recently "A Shayna Maidel". “As a Jewish person raised in Oklahoma, I understand firsthand what it’s like to be the minority and have to try so hard to fit in. I understand why the characters in the play struggle to blend in to the greater society, and their need to make compromises.”
Adolph Freitag, (Mic McCormack of Tenafly) is the owner of the Dixie Bedding Company. He and his sister Boo (Sharon Podsada of Emerson) and sister-in-law Reba (Janica Carpenter of Old Tappan) along with nieces Lala (Emily Bosco of Closter) and Sunny (Emma Ruck of Tappan, NY) are highly assimilated. In fact, the action begins with one of the nieces singing “The First Noel,” as she decorates a Christmas tree in the home’s front parlor. Everyone in the family, along with Peachy (Darren Carfano of Suffern), known for his outspokenness, is looking forward to Ballyhoo, a lavish cotillion ball sponsored by their restrictive country club. Enter Joe Farkas (Allen Pines of Fair Lawn), an attractive Jewish bachelor who Adolph has just hired. Joe is from New York, and although he has experienced some prejudice, he is unable to fathom its existence within his own religious community and can’t understand why some members of the Freitag clan treat him differently because of his Eastern European roots. The play is lighthearted and funny, but it has its serious moments. As it unfolds, the attitudes of some characters shift underscoring “The Last Night of Ballyhoo” themes of acceptance and change.
The production team, besides Director Carol Fisher of Teaneck, includes Rhea Smith of Oradell (Producer/Program Notes), Michael Smith of Oradell (Set Design/Construction/Photography), Ellyn Essig of Rivervale (Décor), Michele Roth of New Milford (Stage Manager), Allan Seward of Bardonia, NY (Lighting Design), Rob DeScherer of Woodcliff Lake (Sound Design), Katie Lupfer of Tenafly (Costumer), Barbara Murtha of Allendale (Props), Kathleen Ruland of Lodi (Lighting Operation), Cliff Dreispan of North Bergen (Sound Operation) and Bill Wetzel of Maywood (Program Advertising/Photography). Crew members include Richard Ciero of Oradell, Judy Rosenberg of Dumont, Kahyo Eguchi of Edgewater and David Luke of Mahwah.
- BCP’s popular Questions & Artists talkback session will be held following the performance on Friday, October 28. The session is included in the ticket price.
- Those interested in Group Sales of 20 or more tickets can email email@example.com or call the main number and press #6.
- A new program is now available for qualified non-profit organizations to use one performance of each production as a fundraising event. The group will book the house at a deeply discounted price and then resell the tickets at a price of their choosing, with the difference in price kept by the group. The available date is the Thursday of each show’s final weekend.
Interested groups can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Parking is free at the Park Avenue municipal lot, across the street, one-half block north of the theatre.
The Bergen County Players has grown tremendously from its roots as a small community theatre when it was founded in 1932; today, more than 300 volunteer members, working on and off stage, make possible the nine productions presented each season.
Further information can be found at www.bcplayers.org.
Photo: (standing, l-r) Darren Carfano, Sharon Podsada, Mic McCormack, Janica Carpenter, Allen Pines and (seated, l-r) Emily Bosco and Emma Ruck. Photo by Michael Smith