Tuesday, October 17, 2017


By Ruth Ross


My young friends tell me that the dating scene has undergone a sea change since Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Robert’s musical comedy, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, opened at New York City’s Westside Theatre in 1996; by the time it closed in 2008, after 5,003 performances, it was the second longest running Off Broadway musical. Translated into over 17 languages, it has been produced all over the globe, so it must have touched a nerve with the thirty-somethings who came to see it. (Above: George Merrick, Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Mitchell Jarvis and Karen Burthwright)

Nowadays, instead of meetings in bars or clubs, or being set up by friends or relatives, today’s relationships begin online with Tinder, OK Cupid and other dating apps. Prospective partners communicate by text or email, and often never talk to one another in person until they meet face-to-face for a drink, coffee, lunch or dinner. To me, who came of age in a very different time, it all seems rather impersonal, detached.

I guess that’s why David Saint, Artistic Director of New Brunswick’s George Street Playhouse thought it would be a good idea to have DiPietro and Roberts revise I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change to serve as the first production of the 2017-2019 season and to inaugurate the playhouse’s interim residence on the Cook College campus of Rutgers University. An updated production would replicate the original’s popularity while appealing to a younger audience.

x-defaultDiPietro has tweaked his original lyrics a bit, with lots of references to navigating the online dating scene; he has added one song and replaced another. Speed dating for “busy, busy” people is hilariously recounted as a couple (Right: Lindsay Nicole Chambers and George Merrick) goes from first date to breaking up to reconciling in the blink of an eye! The number’s title, “I Have Better Things to Do Than You,” doesn’t promise a successful conclusion to a date that began with a few swipes on a cell phone screen. “A Picture of This” replaces a song about him calling her, only this time he sends her a picture of his penis! Is this a peril of online dating? Other musical numbers in the first half of this revue involve some age-old problems facing new couples: men not listening while his date talks; his having to attend a teary movie she chose; a gal cooking lasagna for her new beau; meeting and disappointing the parents; and even matchmaking in Attica Prison. Most of it will touch a nerve no matter what the age of the audience members; some things apparently never change.

The second half of the evening revolves around problems that crop up once the couple has tied the knot. “Always a Bridesmaid” (Chambers, left) is a droll assessment of the plight of the single friend forced to purchase multiple ugly dresses and submit to the brides’ tyranny. On the flip side, new parents often become so googly-eyed over their new baby that they sound moronic; “The Baby Song” depicts male parents talking nonsense as they wield baby toys and discuss their offspring. It’s sickeningly hilarious. Being stuck in the car with the family (or using the car to escape them) and the interminable waiting while a spouse is shopping/watching a football game really hit home. Especially droll is newly widowed Rose Ritz, who sets out to make her first dating video; her ineptitude is tempered by her unvarnished candor, much to our merriment.

Fortunately, DiPietro hasn’t fiddled with two songs late in the show, both of which are poignant and affecting. “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You” conveys the sweetness of mature love very well, a nice contrast to the busy, busy people speed dating in the first number. And the couple “meeting cute” at a wake for someone neither of them knows is both funny and bittersweet. Honestly reciting their shortcomings, the two conclude “I Can Live with That,” a rueful acceptance that getting old is difficult and lonely, but less so when you’ve got someone to share life’s ups and downs.

x-defaultThe quartet of actors splendidly presents the material with great comedic timing and wonderful stage presence. Karen Burthwright and Lindsay Nicole Chambers give us a window into the female psyche. Chambers makes our heads spin as the speed dater on steroids but brings her energy level way down when her character discovers love in the funeral parlor. Burthwright’s excitement at making lasagna for her new beau is infectious, and we are as outraged as she when she receives the offensive photo from a guy she just met!

Mitchell Jarvis and George Merrick go beyond the usual guy clich├ęs to provide their characters with humanity. Jarvis is especially fine as the new father (above, with Merrick and Burthwright) and the mature lover; Merrick is especially funny as the husband waiting for his wife as she shops and will touch your heart in the funeral scene.

There’s a reason I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change ran for over a decade: Joe DiPietro really nailed the vicissitudes of dating and marriage, and he’s done it again. Yes, the revue is funny, but the lyrics dig deeper to expose the insecurities, as well as the touching aspects, of love in all its forms. But this fresh, contemporary take on love is exclusively available George Street Playhouse patrons, so if you loved the original, admire DiPietro’s work (four of his works have premiered at the playhouse) or just need a pick-me-up, you won’t want to miss I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change before it closes on November 12.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change will be performed at the George Street Playhouse’s interim location in the former New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, 13 College Farm Road, just off Route 1 South on Rutgers University’s Cook Campus. For information and tickets, visit www.georgestreetplayhouse.org online.

Photos by T. Charles Erickson


Part of NBJP's mission is to showcase the next generation of jazz musicians...the future "greats!" This is your chance to see them NOW!

PAT BIANCHI is one of the most versatile and in demand B3 players on the jazz scene today. In addition to others, he is an active member of the Pat Martino Trio, the Tim Warfield Quartet and frequently plays with Lou Donaldson. Pat is a native of Rochester, NY and graduated from Berklee College of Music. Bianchi has worked with many notable artists including: Houston Person, Terell Stafford, Mark Whitfield, Ed Cherry, Eric Marienthal, Dave Stryker, Chuck Loeb, Christian McBride, Ralph Peterson Jr, Kenny Washington, Jerry Weldon, Sean Jones, Javon Jackson, Winard Harper, Roseanna Vitro and many others.

Yvette Norwood-Tiger, vocalist, songwriter, vocal coach, recording artist & GRAMMY recording and voting member, is a Detroit native. Her CDs, A'LA ELLA! and whY NoT... Love, Peace, Joy, Jazz feature music from great composers such as Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and the Gershwins. Yvette performs with vocally clean and pure interpretations of the great American Songbook, while emphasizing intonation and storytelling. Her vocal styling and texture is often compared to that of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Sarah Vaughan.

Voted the "People's Choice" in the 2010 Jazzmobile Vocal Competition, native New Yorker Cynthia Soriano is a performer that truly captivates her audience. Cynthia appeared as an invited guest in the 2013 Pittsburgh Jazz Live International Festival. Locally, she has graced the stages of premier Jazz venues such as Smoke, Smalls, Dizzy's Coca Cola Club, Lenox Lounge, Zinc Bar and other music rooms in the metropolitan area. It is no surprise that she is a favorite on the New York jazz scene. Her rich tone and impeccable phrasing echo with the influences of Carmen McRae, Abbey Lincoln, Shirley Horn and Billie Holiday



RSVP holocaustcouncil@jfedgmw.org or 973.929.3194


MW PR photo 2

MisterWives: Connect the Dots Tour
(with Smallpools, Vinyl Theatre )
WHEN: Tuesday, October 24, Doors: 7:00/ Show: 8:00
White Eagle Hall, 335-337 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ
TICKETS: $22.50 - $28.07
16 and over
To purchase tickets, visit: www.WhiteEagleHallJC.com

Born and raised in the creative crucible of New York City, MisterWives are the latest genre-defying band to break out of the city that never sleeps and gain recognition on a global stage. MisterWives takes their critically acclaimed live show to the Jersey side of the Hudson to White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, one of the most intimate venues they’re playing on their current Connect the Dots Tour.

MisterWives (their name flips genders of the polygamy term, ‘sister wives,’) debuted at the Canal Room in NYC in 2013, soon followed by their critically acclaimed first album Our Own House and a massive global tour that had the band playing high-profile concerts and major festivals, such as CMJ Music Marathon, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, Hangout Fest, LouFest, and Austin City Limits. "The last few years have definitely been the best kind of whirlwind you could ask for!" says Will Hehir ,bassist. "We've been so lucky to get to play live for amazing audiences all around the world, develop musically as a band and grow even tighter than any of us ever thought possible.”

Connect the Dots, the band’s new record released this year, reveals an indie band evolving on all fronts. “This record lyrically and sonically goes in so many different directions, which is how the concept "Connect The Dots" came to fruition,” says Mandy Lee, singer. “Our existence is made up of so many different variables that we are constantly trying to piece together and make sense of. At times it might just look like a jumbled nonsensical mess of numbers and dots but in actuality each piece is crucial to completing the picture."

In addition to Lee and Hehir, MisterWives includes: Marc Campbell (guitar), Jesse Blum (keyboards, trumpet, accordion) and Mike Murphy (Saxophone). White Eagle Hall is the only Garden State stop on the band’s Connect the Dots Tour. It is also one of the smallest venues on their current itinerary, giving fans a rare chance to still experience this fast-rising group in an up close and personal setting.

Opening for Misterwives at White Eagle Hall are Smallpools, LA-based band (although some members are New Jersey natives) whose first single, Dreaming charted at number one on The Hype Machine, and Vinyl Theater, who hail from Milwaukee and are supporting their new record, Origami.

Originally constructed in 1910, the newly restored White Eagle Hall is an impressive new venue for arts and entertainment, including concerts, theater, performances and other events in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. White Eagle Hall features complete food & beverage service, with two bars on the mezzanine level and one on the balcony level. The restoration enhanced the intimacy and charm of this historic venue while adding the latest in sound and lighting technology, creating a distinctive and memorable audience experience.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Join us Saturday, October 21, for an Audio Described and Open Caption performance of Shakespeare in Love.

One hour prior to the 2:00 p.m. matinee, there will be a half-hour sensory seminar at the Theatre.

For tickets and more information, please visit ShakespeareNJ.org or call the Box Office at 973-408-5600.

Shakespeare in Love

Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall

Music by Paddy Cunneen

Directed by Bonnie J. Monte

Performances begin October 11!
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison (on the Drew University Campus)

Buy tickets

Originally produced on the West End by Disney Theatrical Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions, directed by Declan Donnellan, and designed by Nick Ormerod.


Ignite your creativity by enrolling in a fall class or workshop at HAM. We offer something for all tastes, so take a look below, or visit our website for our complete list of programs for children and adults.
Design, Sculpt, Build (starts Wednesday, Nov. 1): Makes loads of cool art with a variety of materials such as pastels, clay, paint and plaster. For ages 7 to 9. Sign up!
Glass Fusing (starts Thursday, Oct. 26): Our Glass Fusing class offers your child endless possibilities for creativity while learning all about color and how to safely work with glass. Kids will create one of a kind works of art, gain insight into important techniques of color and design, and learn the science behind the art of glass fusing. Learn more!

Art from Around the World (starts Tuesday, Oct. 24): We're spanning the globe to share art from other countries and continents with your child. Join us as kids explore different artistic traditions with projects including drawing, printmaking, painting and sculpture. Sign up today!

Pysanky Holiday Ornaments with Wendy Hallstrom (Saturday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m.): Learn the step-by-step process used to create Pysanky—the beautiful, elaborately decorated eggs found in Polish, Ukrainian and Russian traditions—and a little bit of the history behind these small works of art. It’s a lot of fun and the results are always impressive. For adults and teens, ages 16 and up. Sign up!

American Girls: Home for the Holidays (Saturday, Dec.9 at 10 a.m.): Enjoy some American Girl time and celebrate the holidays! We’ll make crafts from the Victorian era and other times and then celebrate the season with a tea party. For ages 7 and up. Register!

Popular School's Out Workshops Are in Early November

The Hunterdon Art Museum’s popular “School’s Out Workshops” return during the annual NJEA Convention on Nov. 9 and 10. These programs encourage children ages 6 to 10 to experiment with paint, clay, pastels and other media.
Classes are taught by artists, educators and professional storytellers to ensure an enriching and rewarding learning experience.

Thursday, Nov. 9

  • Draw, Paint, Sculpt (9 a.m.--noon): It's all in the title! Kids will create frame-worthy works of art that will amaze and delight.
  • Meet the Masters (1-4 p.m.): Learn about famous artists, while you explore painting, sculpture, collage and mixed media.

Friday, Nov. 10

  • Sculpture Sampler (9 a.m.--noon): Explore the world of three-dimensional art with clay, plus soft materials such as felt, fabric and stuffing.   
  • My Pet Project (1-4 p.m.): Pet-themed projects bring art and animals together, and include sculpting and painting using a variety of materials.

A supervised lunch is available. For more information and to register, please visit our website or call 908-735-8415.


Dearly Departed Logo

Dearly Departed
Directed by Holly J. Kowalenko
Produced by Karen Abbatiello

WHEN: October 20 - November 5; Friday and Saturday Evenings at 8:00 pm and Sunday Matinees at 2:00 pm. 
Somerset Valley Players, 689 Amwell Rd./Route 514, Hillsborough, NJ 
TICKETS:  General Admission $20 - Seniors/Students $18
For Further Info:  Call 908-369-7469
To Buy Tickets: 
Visit the website at www.svptheatre.org

Dearly Departed 1A southern comedy of caskets and country craziness puts the “fun” in funeral.  When “mean and surly” Mr. Turpin suddenly dies, his nitwit relations from church and county come together to merrily mark his demise in a hilarious melting pot which includes a loud Bible thumping widow, a businessman who cleans parking lots, a reverend with the runs, a tubby junk food enthusiast, and a super-duper suspicious wife. [Above: Linda Konopka (Bridgewater), David Williams (Flemington), and Shannah Catalano (Hillsborough)]

Theatre is wheelchair accessible.


It's officially the start of Weather Week, a town-wide celebration of Charles E. Burchfield: Weather Event, an exhibition that examines the renowned artist’s lyrical landscape watercolors and drawings through both an artistic and scientific lens.

CHECK OUT all the events happening this week!

31st Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture: Charles E. Burchfield: Wind, Sunshine, and Sky 

Learn more about Charles E. Burchfield's life and inspiration, at the
31st Annual Julia Norton Babson Lecture! This year's speakers come from the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State University, and the Smithsonian Institution.

ADMISSION: $12 members/$15 nonmembers
WHEN: Thursday, October 19, 7 p.m.
PURCHASE your tickets today!

Family Art Adventure 

Come rain or shine! Explore MAM's current exhibition Charles E. Burchfield: Weather Event.

ADMISSION: $6 members/$18 nonmembers
WHEN: Saturday, October 21, 2–3:30 p.m.
EXPLORE MAM this Saturday!

MSU/MAM Art Talk
In Burchfield's Wake: Artists Respond to the Environment

As the earth heats up and more and more people inhabit it, consuming precious resources and exploiting the landscape, we humans find ourselves confronting a need for significant change in the way we respond to our world.

ADMISSION: $12 members/$15 nonmembers
WHEN: Thursday, October 26, 7–8:30 p.m.
PURCHASE your tickets today!

Tour MAM's Galleries

Experience our galleries like never before with MAM's tours. Members get even more access to exclusive, private tours!

Art and Literacy Educator Workshop
WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 1–4 p.m.

On October 28, MAM Contemporaries will kick off their fall season with an exclusive tour of Teddi and Scott Dolph’s private collection. The Dolphs began collecting art in the 1990s, and most recently have focused on emerging artists, even street artists. They have become known for their varied collection of contemporary figurative work. Only MAM Contemporaries will receive an exclusive look at their private collection and hear about the artwork from the Dolphs themselves!

WHEN: Saturday, October 28, 11 a.m.


Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards


The Theatre at RVCC, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg
Tickets Still Available

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards is an all-female string group brought together by the love of traditional American music and the myriad of ways it can be expressed in a chamber-folk setting. With their feet solidly grounded in traditional fiddle styles, they reach for the sky with their original compositions, arrangements and interpretations of Old-Time, Bluegrass, Country and Celtic music.

This trio goes from hard-driving tunes to heart-breaking songs of Americana deftly and with the sensitivity of players beyond their years. The Dance Cards have toured the US and Europe, performing in every imaginable setting from farmers' markets to music festivals, and house concerts to concert halls, while hosting workshops on fiddling, grooving, dancing and singing in between.

All members of the Dance Cards went through rigorous training at the Berklee College of Music and bring not only a reverence to tradition but an innovative creativity to the music that they make.




Nicki Parrott photo by Brian WittmanThe Nicki Parrott Trio

WHEN: Monday, October 23, at 7:30 and the seating for this show is unreserved
Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Hgts Rd., Morristown
$17 in advance and may be purchased online at morrismuseum.org, by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office.
Tickets for the concert are available online at www.morrismuseum.org or by phone at 973-971-3706.

featuring Rossano Sportiello and Eddie Metz Jr.

The Nicki Parrott Trio will make their only New Jersey appearance this fall as part of the very popular Jazz Showcase series.

Bassist and singer Nicki Parrott moved to New York from her native Australia in 1994 and within just a few years she became the regular bassist for the Les Paul Trio. The legendary guitarist, who was not known for handing out accolades, loved her work and said, “She has that special gift you cannot buy in a music store.”

As part of the Les Paul Trio, Nicki had the opportunity to work with many guitar greats including Paul McCartney, Slash, Steve Miller, Frank Vignola, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Tommy Emmanuel. Her extraordinary talent has made her a first-call bassist for many jazz greats and she has performed with musicians such as Clark Terry, John Pizzarelli, Dick Hyman, Larry Carlton, Houston Person, Randy Brecker, Jose Feliciano, Harry Allen, and Ann Hampton Calloway to name just a few.

Critics also rave about Nicki Parrott whose playing, singing, and sense of humor have captivated audiences for the past two decades. Cabaret Scene wrote that “Nicki Parrott could make anyone love jazz,” and the international jazz publication Jazz Times applauds her musicality noting that she “…brings clear articulation, beautiful tone, a sense of rhythmic assuredness, and a touch of allure to inventive arrangements.”

The trio includes two talented and popular musicians. Italian-born Rossano Sportiello is an award-winning, accomplished pianist who has performed with many of the world’s greatest jazz musicians such as Clark Terry, Harry Allen, Kenny Davern, and Slide Hampton. His recordings have been critically acclaimed including People Will Say We’re In Love a duet with Nicki Parrott that was selected by The New Yorker as one of the top 10 CDs of the year.

Drummer Eddie Metz Jr. has been working with Nicki for several years and draws praise no matter the music. Louis Bellson called him “very musical, tasty and brilliant” while Dick Hyman said simply “one of the best in the business.” Known for his very musical approach to the drums, Eddie has been in demand since his days as a jazz studies student at William Paterson University, including luminaries such as Chick Corea, Michael Feinstein, Arturo Sandoval, Bucky Pizzarelli, Milt Hinton and Ken Peplowski.

Tickets are The Jazz Showcase Season is supported in part by the New Jersey Jazz Society, Hot House Jazz Magazine, the New Jersey State Chamber of Commerce, NJ Jazz List, and NJ Arts Daily.

The Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.


487_20061221_04State Theatre New Jersey presents
Tango Buenos Aires

WHEN: Friday, October 20, 2017, 8pm / Saturday, October 21, 2017, 8pm
: State Theatre, 15 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick
TICKETS: $25-$70
For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre New Jersey Guest Services at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at STNJ.org. The State Theatre New Jersey Ticket Office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 6pm; and at least three hours prior to curtain on performance dates unless otherwise specified. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 536. Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.
The performances are sponsored by AARP

487_20061221_05Tango Buenos Aires has become one of Argentina’s great cultural exports, known throughout the Americas, Europe, and the Far East as the most authentic and uncompromising representative of the Tango. Tango Buenos Aires was created for the "Jazmines" festival at the famous Buenos Aires cabaret "Michelangelo" by renowned composer and tango director Osvaldo Requena. The company met with tremendous success and was immediately added to the season of the General San Martin Municipal Theatre.

In 1986, the company traveled to the United States in order to represent Argentina at the Latin-American Festival, which took place at the Delacorte Theatre in New York City's Central Park during the month of August. This event was followed by an extensive tour throughout the United States, along with trips to Mexico, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador, followed by a return to the United States via Miami and San Francisco.

Since then they have traveled to dozens of countries such as Ecuador, Germany, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, Chile, Finland, Japan, China, and dozens of major U.S. cities. With each show, they bring their Argentinian culture and dance and display it for their audiences to learn and enjoy.

State Theatre New Jersey—creating extraordinary experiences through the power of live performance. The theater exists to enrich people’s lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. State Theatre New Jersey’s programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of State Theatre New Jersey. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of State Theatre New Jersey. United is the official airline of State Theatre New Jersey.


UPAFR 08-17


WHEN: Saturday, October 21, at 3pm
Dorothy Young Center for the Arts Concert Hall (Drew University, 36 Madison Avenue corner Lancaster Road, Madison, NJ)
ADMISSION: $15 prepaid, $20 at the door.
For tickets or more info, visit www.upafrondalla.org or call Diane Valencia at 732-317-3364.  Or email upafr.president@gmail.com.

The group will showcase the versatility of the rondalla—with repertoire ranging from traditional and contemporary music from the Philippines and other nations, light classical compositions to Broadway themes. 

Guest artists include tenor Anthony Lim and the Ligaya Cultural Group dancers.

Concert proceeds will benefit the Pagymanin Likas Musika rondalla instruments lending program for underprivileged children in the Philippines. 


By Ruth Ross

STNJ_SIL_5If you’re wondering why someone thought it a good idea to turn a beloved Oscar-winning film into a stage production, the answer lies in the nature of live theater: Instead of merely watching large-scale figures enact a story on a huge movie screen, the audience enters a real world unfolding before them and experiences real people interacting with one with a patently palpable immediacy. (Left: Jon Barker and Whitney Maris Brown)

With Shakespeare in Love, which Lee Hall has adapted for the stage from a screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has mounted one of the finest productions I have seen there in my 21 years reviewing the troupe. Infectious exuberance, sheer cheekiness, acerbic wit and superb acting make the very air in the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre crackle with an electrical charge that leaves us giddy and craving more.

STNJ_SIL_6Above all, Shakespeare in Love is what we’d call a “meta play”: a play about the theater and the act of creating for it. Essentially, it recounts how Will Shakespeare, a novice playwright from the provinces (where he left a wife and twins), came to write his great tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Suffering from a bad case of writer’s block and attempting to meet his obligations to theater owners Richard Burbage and Philip Henslowe, he produces no script until he encounters his muse, the freedom-loving proto-feminist Viola de Lesseps, a wealthy merchant’s beautiful daughter who loves theater so much that she disguises herself as a young man so she can appear onstage (right). Complications involving forbidden love, her impending marriage, competing business interests and disgruntled actors ensue, much to our merriment.

STNJ_SIL_4STNJ Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte has directed this “theatrical love letter” (here in its first Northeast production) with verve and style, keeping the action moving so engrossingly that the two and three-quarter hours pass swiftly by. Too, no detail to transport us to late 16-century London has been overlooked. Nikki Delhomme’s costumes (left) are true to the period (check out the sleeves that lace onto doublets and bodices), with sumptuous fabrics and design elements appropriate to the social classes of those wearing them. Kris Kukul’s evocative music and the period dances staged by Danielle Liccardo enhance the experience. And the literate script is sprinkled with quotes from other Shakespeare plays that you’ll recognize and smile at their incorporation into the clever dialogue.

STNJ_SIL_8But it’s the large cast that does the heavy lifting in Shakespeare in Love. With spot-on comedic timing and oversized stage presence, Jon Barker is a stellar Will Shakespeare, trying to juggle the competing demands of Burbage and Henslowe (played by the always wonderful David Andrew MacDonald and Edmond Genest, respectively), the irritating creditor/investor Fennyman (an appropriately nudgy Ames Adamson) and his burgeoning desire for Viola, played by the luminous Whitney Maris Brown in her first season with the troupe (I hope we’ll see more of her in the future). Even when she’s standing behind a crowd of actors, we can’t help but notice her.

STNJ_SIL_1Anthony Marble’s sly Kit Marlowe (left, with Barker) is a worthy competitor to Shakespeare; the script even addresses the authorship question by having Marlowe contribute several lines to a sonnet the budding Bard is writing! Erika Rolfsrud is marvelous as Viola’s Nurse and Queen Elizabeth (above, with Brown), one a nattering busybody and the other a woman in a traditional man’s job; we can even forgive the sovereign’s extreme predilection for dogs (reminiscent of the current queen)! And Marcus Dean Fuller makes the most of perhaps what is the least sympathetic role, that of Wessex, Viola’s moneygrubbing nobleman suitor who sees their union as more merger than marital. Patrick Toon is to be commended for his drumming as is Garrett Lawson for his hammy Ned Alleyn, the actor cast to play Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. The rest of the large cast portrays courtiers, players and servants to provide fine support.

STNJ_SIL_10The set designed by Brin Clinnin is a marvel—highly reminiscent of what we imagine an Elizabethan stage to be. A box that slides in and out from under a platform serves as a bed and a boat! Props are carried on and off or are moved around to suit the action. Kudos, too, to the dressers backstage who manage quick costume (and in one case, makeup) changes in the blink of an eye. Rick Sordelet’s fight direction features some nifty swordplay, too. (Above: Barker and Genest)

STNJ_SIL_15Onstage at regional theaters all across the nation, Shakespeare in Love has the distinction of being the most produced play this year. If you, as I do, love plays about the theater, are curious about how dramatic creation comes about and can’t resist a good love story, then you won’t want to miss Shakespeare in Love at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison where you can travel through time and space to experience one of the most exciting periods in theatrical history. Not a bad deal for the price of a ticket! But hurry, you can only do it until November 12.

Shakespeare in Love will be performed at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of Drew University in Madison through Sunday, November 12. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.408.5200 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org online.

Friday, October 13, 2017


October 20-22 in the Little Theatre

Brick City
Recipient of 2017 NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission
by Nicole Pandolfo

WHEN: Friday, October 20, at 7:00 pm, Saturday, October 21, at 3:00 pm, and Sunday, October 22, at 3:00 pm
Miron Student Center Little Theatre at Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave., Union
TICKETS: free, reservations are highly recommended.
All unclaimed seats at the time of curtain will be released to the waitlist.
To reserve seats, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or email ticket@kean.edu. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.

In this topical and compelling new play, worlds collide inside a failing Newark public school. Jessie, a combative high school senior with a disability, and Darnell, the star player of the basketball team, find themselves together in extended study hall during the most important marking period of their lives. As Darnell inches dangerously close to throwing away a lucrative college scholarship and Jessie a potential career as an artist, both discover that things aren’t always as simple as they may seem. Producing artistic director John J. Wooten directs.

Now in its third year, the NJPAC Stage Exchange pairs cutting-edge play development with insightful community dialogue. An innovative partnership between the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and three professional producing theatres, the program annually commissions three new plays by three Garden State playwrights, presents free readings of the plays with public commentary at NJPAC in Newark, and ultimately results in three full productions of the plays at the collaborating theatres the following season. In addition to Ms. Pandolfo and Premiere Stages, the 2017 recipients of the NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission are Joel Stone for New Jersey Repertory Company and Pia Wilson for Crossroads Theatre Company.

As the founder and producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, Mr. Wooten has developed and directed numerous new plays, including The Beautiful Dark, The Good Counselor and Follow Me to Nellie’s, all of which were honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. Earlier this season, he directed the New Jersey Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Obie Award-winning Skeleton Crew.

“We are excited to further expand the opportunities we can afford New Jersey dramatists through the NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission,” said Mr. Wooten. “And the richly topical themes Nicole explores in Brick City make the play a particularly good fit for our mission.”

Nicole PandolfoMs. Pandolfom(right) is a 2017 Dramatist Guild Fellow. Her work has been developed at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as a Playwright Observer, at Tofte Lake as a Jerome Foundation Fellow, and the Lark. She was a finalist for the Stanley Drama Award, the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship, and the Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers. She is a member of The Actors Studio in the Playwright/Director Unit and received her MFA at Hunter College.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.


Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.


Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University’s five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education.  Visit www.kean.edu.



4th Wall Theatre will hold open auditions for all roles in

A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry
directed by Gwen Ricks-Spencer
stage managed by Martha Thalheimer

WHEN & WHERE: Tuesday, October 24th (7:00-10:00 pm), Wednesday, October 25th. Sign-up begins at 1/2 hour prior to the audition start time, and anyone auditioning must arrive no later than 8:00 pm. Callbacks, if needed, will be held on Saturday, October 28.   
WHERE: Westminster Arts Center (449 Franklin Street) in Bloomfield
Non-union; no pay. For more information, including directions, go to www.4thwalltheatre.org/auditions.htm

SEEKING a cast of 10 adults: 1 boy (8-12), 3 women, and 7 men.

​Send inquiries to gwen@4thwalltheatre.org

PERFORMANCE DATES: during Black History Month on February 23, 24 and 25
LOCATION: Westminster Arts Center on the campus of Bloomfield College, where the company is in residence. Auditions will take place in Bloomfield and Montclair. Rehearsals will begin in November.

Set on Chicago’s South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis, and matriarch Lena. When her deceased husband’s insurance money comes through, Mama Lena dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. The Younger family’s heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration.

  • Come to auditions prepared with a 1-2 minute monologue, and be prepared to read from the show. Sides will be posted by October 20th on the 4th Wall website at www.4thwalltheatre.org/auditions.htm.
  • Please bring a headshot and resume stapled together
  • Be prepared to provide all potential conflicts for weekday evenings and weekend daytime rehearsals beginning November 1, 2017. 

    Lena Younger (“Mama”): Black. Female. 50-60’s. Walter and Beneatha’s mother. The matriarch of the family, Mama is religious, moral, and maternal. She wants to use her husband’s insurance money as a down payment on a house with a backyard to fulfill her dream for her family to move up in the world.
  • Walter Lee Younger: Black. Male. Early 30’s – mid 40’s. The protagonist of the play. Walter is a dreamer. He wants to be rich and devises plans to acquire wealth with his friends, particularly Willy Harris. When the play opens, he wants to invest his father’s insurance money in a new liquor store venture. He spends the rest of the play endlessly preoccupied with discovering a quick solution to his family’s various problems.
  • Ruth Younger: Black. Female – Early 30’s to Early 40’s. Walter’s wife and Travis’s mother. Ruth takes care of the Youngers’ small apartment. Her marriage to Walter has problems, but she hopes to rekindle their love. She is about thirty, but her weariness makes her seem older. Constantly fighting poverty and domestic troubles, she continues to be an emotionally strong woman. Her almost pessimistic pragmatism helps her to survive.
  • Beneatha Younger: Black. Female. 20s. Daughter of the Younger family. Prides herself on being an intellectual, as she is the most educated member of the family. Wants to be a doctor. Constantly questioning Mama’s traditional values. Exploring her personal identity as an African-American woman while dating both George, a wealthy African-American man, and Asagai, a Nigerian immigrant.
  • Travis Younger: Black. Male. 10 or 11. Ruth and Walter’s son. Sleeps on the couch because there is no bedroom for him in the Younger home. Curious, playful, and loves the attention of his family. Always wants to be outside. Dreams of living in a house.
  • Karl Linder: White. Male. 40s – 50s. Middle-aged. Chairman of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. Comes to the Younger house to offer Mama a deal not to move to white Clybourne Park neighborhood. Nervous and frustrated but well-meaning outsider.
  • Joseph Asagai Black. Male. 20s – 30s. A Nigerian student in love with Beneatha. Asagai, as he is often called, is very proud of his African heritage, and Beneatha hopes to learn about her African heritage from him. He eventually proposes marriage to Beneatha and hopes she will return to Nigeria with him.
  • George Murchison: Black. Male. 20s - 30s. Dating Beneatha. From a wealthy family. Judgmental and self-centered. Takes pride in his wealth and social-standing. He does not care about Beneatha’s intellect and would rather date a sophisticated society girl. Though he is well-liked by the Youngers, Beneatha is not interested in marrying him.
  • Bobo: Black. Male. 30s – 40s. One of Walter’s partners in the liquor store plan.
  • Two Movers: Black. Male. 20-40s


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WHEN: Saturday October 14, at 8 PM
Historic Edison Valley Playhouse, 2196 Oak Tree Rd, Edison, NJ
ADMISSION: $10 (cash only please)
Light refreshments will be available for sale

The Coffee House is a comedy / variety show featuring live performances from a combination of sketch comedy groups, stand up comedians, stand up philosophers, musicians, singers, and other types of performers. Each night will feature the hilarious sketch comedy of The Dog Show and a number of other acts.

The Dog Show - hosts and sketch comedy
Randy Reiman - comedian
Edward Garber - stand-up comic
Ethan Fria - music
Virginia Hogan - stand-up comic
Back Door BBQ - sketch comedy
JGeorge Estrella - wrestler, comedian, unpredictable
Katie McGrath - singer
Joe Tible - singer
Alicia Frehulfer - painting and art expo
Andrew Casertano - stand-up comic
WARNING: Due to some adult language/content, parental discretion is advised.
run time about 90 minutes to 2 hours in length with intermission

Check out the Dog Show event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/113967095949302/



You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
Director: Eric C. Schwarz
Music Director: Jim Sabo

WHEN: Monday, October 16th, 7 PM - 9 PM; Tuesday, October 17th, 7 PM - 9 PM
Historic Edison Valley Playhouse, 2196 Oak Tree Rd, Edison, NJ 08820
(908) 755-4654
Please email info@evplayhouse.com to schedule your audition appointment or to get further information. No phone calls please as it will delay your response.

Performances: December 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 2017. Friday & Saturday at 8pm Sunday at 2pm.
Rehearsals: begin mid-October. Rehearsal schedule will be based on performers' availability.

Seeking 4 Men - age 16 and over, portraying children ages 5-9. All actors who can portray this range will be considered. All cast members must be able to harmonize for ensemble numbers.

Please prepare 32 bars of a song that best shows your voice. Please bring sheet music, as an accompanist will be provided. There will also be readings from the script.

Cast Breakdown: 

  • Charlie Brown: male baritone/tenor; a sometimes optimistic, sometimes self-deprecatory lovable loser who will one day get the little red haired girl to notice him, get his kite to fly, and pitch one winning baseball game. His confidence comes from optimism. His insecurity comes from not being able to find his niche in life. Strong singing and acting skills.
  • Linus Van Pelt: male baritone/tenor; the thumb-sucking, blanket-dependent younger brother to Lucy. The irony with Linus is that he appears at once to be a 5 year old but is really the most educated character in the bunch. His confidence comes from his intellectualism. His insecurity comes from a sense of the world as a political entity. Strong singing, acting, and soft shoe or tap experience would be great but not required.
  • Snoopy: male tenor/baritone; a clownish, vaudevillian scene stealer who can really "sell it." Snoopy is at once a dog with many animal behaviors and some barking, whimpering and growling, but can dance circles around everyone else. Some barking, whimpering and growling required. His confidence comes from joy. His insecurity comes from a fear of being forgotten. Strong comedic timing and musical theatre style dance required.
  • Schroeder: male high baritone/tenor; Lucy's love interest; spends most of his time practicing the piano. His love is his piano and Beethoven. That said, he comes out and shines in his one number, "Beethoven Day," which can be a show stopper. His confidence comes from his passion. His insecurity comes from his self-perceived (and quite possibly other-perceived) nerdiness. Strong acting and singing skills. Schroeder does not actually play the piano during the show.

Based on the comic strip "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz. Charles Schulz's beloved characters come to life in this wonderfully entertaining musical by Clark Gesner. Everyone's favorite 'blockhead' - Charlie Brown - is joined by his sister Sally, blanket-hugging Linus, know-it-all Lucy, Beethoven devotee Schroeder, and of course his best friend Snoopy, for adventures and life lessons that include flying a kite, writing a book report, playing baseball, and combating the Red Baron.


Picture2018 THINK FAST Short Play Competition

WHEN: November 17, 2017 Submission Deadline
Adult Playwrights, New York/New Jersey metropolitan area
INFO: www.thetheaterproject.org

The Theater Project, an award-winning, professional theater in Maplewood, NJ, is now soliciting short plays for “Think Fast,” its fifth annual short play competition February 16-18, 2018. The contest is open to adult playwrights in the New Jersey-New York area.

The Theater Project, which also offers a competition for high school playwrights and presentations of original plays by New Jersey authors, sees this as a logical extension of its mission.

THINK FAST! is the brainchild of the members of The Theater Project’s Playwrights’ Workshop, who act as judges for the competition.  “We were looking for ways to support playwrights in the metropolitan area,” says Joseph Vitale, a member of the workshop whose plays have been produced in New York and New Jersey. “Our event gives writers the opportunity to stage their works in a professional theater and in a vibrant, culturally sophisticated community.” 

“One acts allow writers to experiment with a range of characters, topics and plots. Nothing is more exciting than seeing new work take shape, and we’re happy to be able to share that with our community.” says Mark Spina, artistic director of The Theater Project.

Plays can be either dramas or comedies but must be no more than 15 minutes running time. The deadline for submitting plays is November 17, 2017.

Plays selected will have three performances – on Friday, February 16, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 17 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 18 at 2 p.m. At each performance, the audience will vote for its favorite play. The winner will receive the “Audience Choice” award after the Sunday performance. In addition, a panel of judges will bestow awards for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Play. The recipient of the “Judges’ Choice” award for Best Play, will receive a $500 prize. Performances will take place The Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road, Maplewood, NJ.

There is no submission charge but plays selected for “Think Fast” will be required to submit a $150 production fee to help underwrite the cost of the competition.

Complete submission details are available on our theater’s web site: www.thetheaterproject.org/short-play-competition.html

The competition accepts electronic submissions only at OneActFest@TheTheaterProject.org. Include in the Subject line: “Submission + the Title of Your Play.”

The Theater Project, a professional theater company based in Maplewood, NJ, began in 1994 with the goal of bringing the best contemporary plays to our community. The company is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary.

Thursday, October 12, 2017



Multiple Personality Disorder

WHEN: October 14, 2017 at 8pm 
Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit

Buy your tickets now!

You can read more HERE

Multiple Personality Disorder features a cast of DRT regulars and special guests, including Brad Barton, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley, Lulu French, Eli Ganias, David Lee White and Sandy Sainvil. 

MPD's 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.

When purchasing, use the code HAHAHA for a 10% discount.


Jazz Returns to the Crossroads in Garwood:

Image result for Dizzy Gillespie

Greg Bufford Quintet presents a

100th Birthday Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie

WHEN: Sunday, October 15, at 4 p.m
The Crossroads, a full bar and restaurant, is located at 78 North Ave. in Garwood
To order tickets to the Dizzy Gillespie Tribute, email info@xxroads.com or call (908) 518-0323.

“Musically, we were changing the way that we spoke, to reflect the way that we felt. Our music had a new accent.” That’s how John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie described the evolution of bebop in his book, to BE, or not . . . to BOP (Doubleday & Company: 1979).

Gillespie was born on October 21, 1917, in Cheraw, SC. Today, he is remembered as one of the most influential jazz musicians of all time. A 1990 recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, Gillespie and several other jazz musicians, such as alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, pianist Thelonius Monk, and drummer Kenny Clarke, developed a new style of jazz in the 1940s, employing complex harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic patterns. He was also a virtuoso trumpet player and one of the first musicians to add Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and Caribbean flavors into jazz.

The members of the quintet are: Bufford on drums, James Gibbs on trumpet, Gene Ghee on tenor saxophone, Belden Bullock on bass, and Alva Nelson on piano.

Image result for Greg BuffordGreg Bufford, a resident of West Orange, studied under master jazz drummer Philly Joe Jones and has played with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. All About Jazz’ David Orthmann calls him “an exceptional musician with a personal sound, conception, and feeling for jazz . . . There are two overlapping sides of Bufford’s musical personality, which he projects simultaneously. On the one hand, he provides a firm rhythmic foundation and generously supports every musician on the bandstand. On the other, Bufford draws on a deep reservoir of rhythms—some boldly executed, others that barely register in the listener’s consciousness—and executes them in mesmerizing ways.”

James Gibbs, who was born in Newark and raised in Irvington, was discovered by the late jazz vocalist Betty Carter when he was playing at a WBGO-FM gala at New York’s Five Spot jazz club in 1994. He often tours with eight-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Joe Thomas and has appeared with a long list of jazz luminaries including bassist Rufus Reid, and pianists Kenny Drew, Jr, and Cyrus Chestnut.

Gene Ghee is a member of the Odeon Pope Saxophone Choir that will be appearing at New York’s Blue Note jazz club on October 30. He has played with the All-Star Newark Jazz Arkestra and was a member of the band that recorded a tribute to the late alto saxophonist Julius Hemphill on the 1997 New World Records album, At Dr. King’s Table.

Bedden Bullock, who studied at the Berklee College of Music, has played with drummer Roy Haynes, pianist Ahmad Jamahl, and saxophonist Donald Harrison, among others.

Alva Nelson was paid the ultimate compliment by JazzTimes’ Wilbert Sostre, who wrote: “Alva’s piano style, with his fast melody runs, reminds me, at times, of the great Art Tatum.”