Thursday, November 30, 2017



Celtic Concerts Commemorate John Curry and the 1879 Vision at Knock, Ireland

WHEN: Saturday, December 16, 2 PM
Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, located at 921 Madison Avenue (at 73rd Street)

WHEN: Sunday, December 17, 2 PM & 7 PM (The 2PM concert in Summit is now SOLD OUT)
Central Presbyterian Church located at 70 Maple Street in Summit, NJ

Tickets may be purchased online exclusively through SmartTix at  or by phone at (212) 868-4444. Reserved patron seats are available at both venues. (Above: Pipers from the Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band are returning to the East Coast this December to join the company of the 19th annual “Pipes of Christmas” concerts. Photo by Warren Westura.)

The Pipes of Christmas will celebrate its nineteenth season with performances in New Jersey and New York this December.

cormac-de-barraThe 2017 production will mark the world premiere of Beautiful Things, an original composition by acclaimed Celtic harper Cormac de Barra (RIGHT) of Dublin, Ireland. The piece commemorates the vision of the Virgin Mary at the Knock Parish Church in Knock, Ireland on the night of August 21, 1879. Earlier this year, the remains of John Curry, the last remaining witness to the vision, were reinterred at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City from the pauper’s grave where he was laid to rest in 1934. His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, supervised the service.

For those weary of the ceaseless stream of secular seasonal music from department stores to TV, the Pipes of Christmas offers a spiritual and traditional take on the season that connects concertgoers to the holiday in a fresh, meaningful way. The show features tunes such as O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Joy to the World, and Amazing Grace, all performed live on pipes and drums, harp and fiddle, and organ and brass. Not only does the performance define Christmas cheer but also it inspires those of Celtic descent to retrace and reconnect to their ancestry.

The concert presents the music of Christmas accompanied by readings taken from the Celtic literature of Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Featured performers include James Robinson from “Outlander” and “Braveheart,” New England fiddle champion Paul Woodiel, “Riverdance” Irish uilleann piper and flutist Christopher Layer, Gaelic Mod champion harpist Jennifer Port of Golspie, Scotland, and the Pipe Major Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band from Redlands, CA.

Proceeds from the concert support an extensive music scholarship program, which includes the Carol Hassert Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship at Summit High School in Summit, NJ as well as annual gifts to the National Piping Centre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (both located in Glasgow, Scotland) the Gaelic College of Nova Scotia and Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.

Proceeds also support the Society’s sponsorship of the US National Celtic Harp Championship, the Gaelic Literature Competition at Scotland’s Royal National Mod and an annual academic research prize at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the acclaimed Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye.

Named one of New York City’s “Top Ten” holiday events, the concert is made possible by a generous gift from the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, NJ and Aberlour Single Malt Whisky.

Each year, concert highlights are webcast in hi-definition over the Christmas holiday to a global audience. The 2016 production was the recipient of the prestigious Telly Award for broadcast excellence.

About The Pipes of Christmas
Since making its debut in 1999, The Pipes of Christmas has played to standing room only audiences. Now a cherished holiday event, the concert provides audiences with a stirring and reverent celebration of the Christmas season and the Celtic spirit. Audience-goers return year after year to experience the program, many reporting that the Pipes of Christmas has become part of their family’s annual Christmas tradition.

The concert has been lavished with critical acclaim. In his review for Classical New Jersey Magazine, Paul Somers wrote, “The whole evening was constructed to introduce gem after gem and still have a finale which raised the roof. In short, it was like a well constructed fireworks show on the Glorious Fourth. The Westfield Leader described the concert as “a unique sound of power and glory nowhere else to be found.”


The Minstrel Acoustic Concert Series

WHERE: The Minstrel, Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, 21 Normandy Heights Rd., Morristown

Chorus Song Night
led by folk music legend Bill Staines plus Christine DeLeon, Scott Rovner and Mike Agranoff

WHEN: December 1 at 7:30 pm.
ADMISSION: Adults $10; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973-335-9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

Open StageOpen Stage
WHEN: Friday, December 8 at 7:30 pm.
ADMISSION: (Note: new Open Stage admission prices!) Adults $5; listeners under the age of 25 and Folk Project members, free. For more info call 973-335-9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

Folk Project Holiday Benefit Concert for the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
featuring Carolyn Messina, Gordon Thomas Ward, Sharon Goldman, Kevin Coughlin & Friends and a Frosty Morning Reunion,
WHEN: Friday, December 15 at 7:30 pm. Come early for caroling at 7:00
ADMISSION: Suggested minimum adult donation $15; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 908-591-6491 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

The Minstrel will be closed on Friday, December 22.

Bob MaloneBob Malone
George Wurzbach opens.
WHEN: Friday, December 29 at 7:30 pm.
ADMISSION: Adults $10; children 12 and under, free. For more info call 973-335-9489 or go to Handicapped accessible; free parking.

Fall Picture

Swingin’ Tern Contra Dances

WHERE: The First Presbyterian Church Parish House, 14 Hanover Road, East Hanover.

Ron Blechner will call the contras
The band will be Dr. Twamley’s Audio Snakes
WHEN: Saturday, December 2 from 8 to 11 pm; Beginners’ workshop at 7:30 pm
. No partner necessary. Please carry in clean soft-soled shoes for dancing.
ADMISSION: Adults $10; students $5. Listeners welcome (admission applies). For more information, call 973-295-6864 or go to

Donna Hunt will call the contras
The band will be Eileen Nicholson and Jill Smith.
WHEN: Saturday, December 16 from 8 to 11 pm.  Beginners’ workshop at 7:30 pm. No partner necessary. Please carry in clean soft-soled shoes for dancing.
ADMISSION: Adults $10; students $5. Listeners welcome (admission applies). For more information, call 973-295-6864 or go to

Funding has been made possible in part by funds from Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.



WHEN: Saturday, December 2, from 12-5pm.
WHERE: Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 68 Elm Street, Summit

imageThe attention paid to graphic novels and comic books has grown in recent years and an increasing number of people, whether artists or readers, are  recognizing their potential for expressive and personal stories. Once dismissed as a genre for children, the medium has truly become an art form worthy of recognition and attention. The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has heeded that call with “Getting Graphic: Novels, Memoirs & Comics,” conceived in conjunction with the exhibition Drawing it Out, currently on display in the Center’s Eisenberg Gallery. “In delving into the genre of graphic novels and memoirs, our staff and artists discovered so many interesting and unique stories,” said Sarah Walko, Director of Programs at the Visual Arts Center. “We wanted to create an event where the audience would be exposed to as many of these works as we could manage and could then meet the artists themselves.”

Graphic novelists and comic book artists will be set up throughout the art center, showcasing and discussing their work, offering workshops and book signings, and selling merchandise.

Following a brief welcome and introduction, four artists will participate in two talks in the main gallery.

  • The first, running from 2-2:30pm, will include artists Howard Saunders and Julia Alekseyva. Saunders spent 30 years as an illustrator, cartoonist, animator and a writer and created his alter-ego and the main character of his work, AxeMan, as a way to express his artistic independence post-retirement. Alekseyva, born in the USSR but raised in Chicago, is a cartoonist and illustrator who specializes in multi-media drawing. She won awards for illustrating the first graphic novel legal brief ever created (written by Bob Kohn). Her first full-length graphic novel, titled “Soviet Daughter” was published in January, 2017.
  • The second talk, which will take place between 4-4:30pm, will feature Darrell Goza and Dana Walwrath. Goza was a studio assistant for 15 years before becoming a creative director for Beatnik Productions and Dreadlockedninja Publications. For the past ten years he’s self-published through his own imprint Goza Creative/ScriptGraphics. Walrath is a writer, artist, and anthropologist and has won recognition and numerous awards for her writing, including her graphic memoir series “Aliceheimer’s: Alzheimer’s Through the Looking Glass,” about life with her mother, Alice, before and during her struggle with Alzheimer’s disease.

In addition to the two artist talks, children will have the opportunity to create comic book covers to use as holiday cards in one of the day’s two workshops.

  • The first session is for children ages 6-9, and runs from 12:30 – 2pm at a cost of $35.
  • The second session is for children ages 9-12, and runs from 2:30 – 4pm at a cost of  $50. Food and drink will also be available for purchase.

For more information on “Getting Graphic” visit To preregister for either workshop, please contact Sarah Walko at Drop-ins are also welcome.

About the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
For more than 80 years, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey has been exclusively dedicated to viewing, making, and learning about contemporary art. Recognized as a leading non-profit arts organization, the Art Center’s renowned studio school, acclaimed exhibitions, and educational outreach initiatives serve thousands of youth, families, seniors, and people with special needs every year.
The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is located at 68 Elm Street in Summit, New Jersey. Adult and children’s group tours are available throughout the year. Gallery Hours: Monday to Wednesday and Friday: 10AM to 5PM; Thursday 10AM to 8PM; and Saturday & Sunday 11 AM to 4 PM. Please call 908-273-9121 to confirm holiday hours. Visit for more information.

Additional Artists appearing include:

  • Michael Parla
  • Doug Baron
  • Lauren Purje
  • Glenn Whitmore
  • Amanda Scurti
  • Neil Vokes
  • Seamus Liam O’Brien
  • Kirsten Kramer
  • Criss Madd
  • Edward Dippolito


Panel Discussion;

Making History Visible: Faculty Roundtable on Art and Visualizing the American Nation
WHEN: Friday, December 1, 2 p.m.
Princeton University, 101 McCormick Hall, Princeton

In conjunction with the installation Making History Visible, Martha Sandweiss, director of the Princeton & Slavery Project, moderates a discussion about how visual forms, economic systems, and civic institutions shape historical narratives as well as national, cultural, and racial identities. Speakers include Wendy Warren, History; Imani Perry, African American Studies; and curator Mitra Abbaspour. Student-led tours and a reception in the Museum will follow.

Artist Talk: Michael Kenna
WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 2 p.m.
WHERE: 10 McCosh Hall

Widely considered one of the foremost landscape photographers of his generation, Michael Kenna has been making photographs of settings ranging from Japanese Zen gardens to industrial landscapes for more than forty years. In conjunction with the exhibition Rouge: Michael Kenna—featuring photographs from his work at what once was the world’s most advanced industrial site—the artist will speak to the experiences and influences of his photographic explorations. A reception in the Museum will follow.

Music in the Galleries: An Evening of Henry Cowell
WHEN: Tuesday, December 5, 6 p.m.
WHERE: Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton

In conjunction with the exhibition Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895–1925, the Art Museum and the Princeton Symphony Orchestra present internationally acclaimed Dutch pianist Nora Mulder in a concert dedicated to the music of the early twentieth-century avant-garde composer Henry Cowell. This performance features a mix of pieces that Cowell performed in a public concert in Clarence White’s studio in 1919 and others he presented at the Stowaways, a club where White was a member. Tickets can be reserved at

Museum Membership
Give the Gift of Art

Looking for a special gift this holiday season? Eager to share your passion for art? Make art a part of someone else’s life with the gift of Friend-ship—namely, a gift of membership to the Princeton University Art Museum. Friends receive discounts at the Museum Store, a subscription to our quarterly magazine, invitations to members-only receptions and events, access to the Museum Travel Program, and much more. Click here to support the Museum and give the gift of Friend-ship today!


Morris County Park Commission



WHEN: December 1-10

Celebrate 26 years of gingerbread masterpieces! Guests, young and old, marvel at the creativity and skill displayed at this charming exhibit featuring hundreds of edible structures. Stop by the Craft Show, and check out local artists and crafters’ creations. Click here for more info.


WHEN: December 2 & 3

Travel back in time, and experience the holidays during the Civil War-era. Check out how soldiers prepared food, built winter huts to keep warm, wrote letters home to loved ones, and so much more. Check it out here.

holiday workout hikeHOLIDAY WORKOUT HIKE

WHEN: December 12

Take a break from the holiday celebrations, and get moving. Enjoy a strenuous winter hike with a naturalist on the gorgeous trails. Open to ages 16 & up. Check it out here.


WHEN: December 18

Using a variety of fresh-cut greens and flowers, create a seasonal centerpiece - perfect for the holiday table! Open to grades 1-5. I want to learn more.

always evergreen


WHEN: December 19

Discover how scientists classify living things, while rotating through hands-on activity stations and a guided trail walk designed to challenge families to work together and make new discoveries. Learn more here.

Spotlight On:


WHEN: December 20

Use freshly cut seasonal greens, decorations, and a natural container to design and construct a centerpiece perfect for the table or mantelpiece, and a second smaller arrangement to give as a gift. Open to grades 6-12. More info here.


Directed by: Emily M. Windus
WHEN: December 1 - December 17; Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm, Sundays at 2pm ** Additional Matinee on Saturday, 12/9 at 2PM ** 
Somerset Valley Playhouse, 689 Amwell Road, Hillsborough
TICKETS: $20 Adults; $18 Seniors & Students

Santa checks his list for who's naughty and nice—and the Herdman kids are just plain naughty. See how they hilariously hijack the church Christmas pageant and begin to perform it in their own rough and tumble style. The real spirit of the season enriches their lives as they start to appreciate the true meaning of the peace and love brought forth by a baby in a manger. A wonderful holiday story for all ages!


Aiden Abbruzze

     Jenna Dickson 

     Alexandra Kuzian

Amanda Abbruzze

     Riley Downes

     Ileana McCabe

Tony Abbruzze

     Michele Gorka

     Karen Monti Balich

Abigayle Alexander

     Ruby Gorka

     Eric Radell

Sarah Black

     Alyssa Graf

     Rebekah Redlich

Ava Mae Bottone

     Edye Hayden

     Sam Redlich

Rob Bottone

     Nicole Hayden

     Olivia Ringel

Scarlett Bottone

     Bobby Hope

     Brian Shanahan

Dawn Carlone-Kohn

     Tyler Hope  

     Bick Treut

Alena Davis

     Victoria Komosinski

     Amanda Williams



Norbert Leo Butz headshotFEAR

By Matt Williams

Directed by Mark Armstrong

WHEN: Sunday, December 3, at 7:00pm
The Woodland, 60 Woodland Rd., Maplewood, NJ
TICKETS: $20 (advance purchase), $25 (if purchased at the door) and open to the public. Student/Senior discounts are also available.
Tickets can be purchased online through Eventbrite by clicking the link HERE.

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) is delighted to present its second reading of its 2017-1018 staged reading series, Theater at The Woodland, with a presentation of FEAR, written by Matt Williams and directed by Mark Armstrong. This event will be performed for one night only. (Above: Norbert Leo Butz)

A little girl’s disappearance in the woods near Princeton, NJ prompts a tense confrontation among a neighborhood plumber, professor, and teenage boy. In this gripping psychological thriller, three neighbors discover how far they are willing to go to defend the values—and the secrets—that define them.

The cast will feature MDR members Norbert Leo Butz (Broadway: My Fair Lady, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Award), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Tony Award), Big Fish, Wicked, TV: Netflix’s Bloodline, PBS’s Mercy Street); Maury Ginsberg (Off-Broadway: Laugh It Up, Stare It Down. Regional: The Cherry Orchard, Mother Courage. TV: Elementary, Madam Secretary, The Blacklist, and HBO’s Vinyl) and Lucas Calhoun (Broadway/West End: The Elephant Man. Regional: Improv Olympic-West, The Second City Hollywood. TV: Madam Secretary, I love you but I lied, and Billions. Sawyer Nunes rounds out the cast (Broadway: Matilda, Finding Neverland. Regional: Something Wicked This Way Comes, Because of Winn Dixie. TV: Madam Secretary, Power and Instinct. Film: Breatharians, 37, Wonderstruck. Self-produced: 50/50, Songs I Wrote in my Room.

Matt Williams began his career with a collection of one-act plays entitled, Bruce Lee Is Dead and I’m Not Feeling Too Good Either. His one-act play, Jason and The Nun, won the Double Image Festival of Short Plays Award and was subsequently published by Samuel French. His first full-length play, Between Daylight and Boonville, premiered in New York to critical acclaim, and was later performed at the Kennedy Center as part of the American College Theater Festival. His comedy Faithful Wives and Healthy Children was included in the 2017 new play reading series at Penguin Rep. Most recently, Matt developed a psychological drama, Fear, at New Harmony, and will be doing further development at Midtown Direct Rep later this year.

Mark Armstrong is a Brooklyn-based theater director and the Executive Director for The 24 Hour Plays. Recent directing credits include Christopher Shinn’s, Falling Away, and The Coming World (Williamstown), Lucas Hnath’s Odile’s Ordeal (Williamstown), Dan O’Brien’s From Kandahar to Canada, Max Posner’s Old Folks, and 30 Million, a new musical with music and lyrics by Max Vernon, and book by Jason Kim (Keen Company).  Other credits include development and directing work at Naked Angels, Primary Stages, New Dramatists, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hartford Stage, Lincoln Center Theater, TheatreSquared, Roots & Branches, The New York Neo-Futurists, and many more. Mark is the former Director of New Work for off-Broadway’s Keen Company, where he created the Keen Playwrights Lab for mid-career playwrights and led Keen Teens, producing new plays with high school actors from the five boroughs of New York City.  Mark is a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab.

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR), the resident theater company of The Woodland in Maplewood, NJ, is a professional, ensemble-based theater company of over 100 working Broadway actors and theater professionals who call South Orange and Maplewood home. Midtown Direct Rep is dedicated to developing and presenting new plays and musicals focusing on work that reflects our diverse community. Midtown Direct Rep is also the local presenter of the hugely successful event Listen to Your Mother, which showcases local writers and performers each year around Mother’s Day. Company members include two-time Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-winner Michele Pawk, Tony Award-nominees Stephanie J. Block, Megan Lawrence, and Christiane Noll, plus Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, and many others. Guest actors have included James McDonald, Michelle Hurst, Geoffrey Arend, and Academy Award®-winner Olympia Dukakis. Recent projects include work by Matt Schatz, Kate Moira Ryan, Y York, Jack Canfora, Peter Flaherty, Jeremy Desmon, Chad Hardin, James Hindman, Chisa Hutchison, David Johnston, Kait Kerrigan, Kara Lee Korthron, David Myers, Sandy Rustin, John Walch, Douglas J. Cohen, Zoe Samuel, and others. The Company is led by Managing Director Aliza Wassner, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, Artistic Associate Marni Raab, and Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017



West Orange Arts Council Holiday Boutique and Members Small Works Exhibit
WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 2  & Sunday, Dec. 3 Noon-5:00pm
West Orange Arts Center, 551 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ

Featuring original, hand-crafted jewelry, cards, clothing and home items by local artists. 

Also at the West Orange Arts Center: Last chance to view the WOAC Member’s Small Works Exhibit. For info

Image result for The Agony & The EcstasyThe Agony & The Ecstasy
directed by Sir Carol Reed

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 10, 2:00pm
West Orange Public Library, 46 Mt. Pleasant Ave., West Orange, NJ
(973) 736-0198

Hosted by the West Orange Arts Council

Charlton Heston stars as Michaelangelo. Film critic Stephen Whitty will introduce this epic film based on the novel by Irving Stone.


Book Adapted and Additional Lyrics by MARCY HEISLER
Music Adapted and Arranged by BRYAN LOUISELLE
Based on the Screenplay by LARRY CLEMMONS
Based on the Novel, "The Jungle Book" by RUDYARD KIPLING.
Directed and Choreographed by TASHA R. WILLIAMS
Music Direction by JAKE EZZO
Stage Manager AMANDA M. WINGO

WHEN: December 1-3 & 8-10, 2017; Fri & Sat 7:00PM Sat & Sun 2:00PM
WHERE: Baird Center, Theatre on 3, 5 Mead St., South Orange
TICKETS: Online Tickets: All-$15; At The Door: All-$20
Buy Tickets Now

The Jungle Book is the story of a boy abandoned to the jungle, Mowgli, who must learn to find his place within the longstanding community of animals. Taught by Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther, and Akela the old wolf, Mowgli is enlightened with the sacred master words of the hunting people.



Bands Battling Cancer Concert

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 3, 2-5 p.m.
Boys & Girls Club facility, located at 180 Colfax Ave. in Clifton
TICKETS: $20 per person and includes lunch (sandwiches and salads), dessert buffet, soda and beer. Tickets may be reserved by phone (973-928-7668); online via the theater’s website or regular mail—payment by check only. Tickets also will be sold at the door on the day of the concert. The Theater League of Clifton’s mailing address is: PO Box 4072, Clifton, NJ 07012.

The program will feature three local bands—Mixed Nutz, The Manhatten Brothers and Common Conviction—performing rock and roll and pop music from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Proceeds from the event will to go to support the Theater League of Clifton and to purchase presents for children at Hackensack Medical Center during the upcoming holiday season.

Founded in 2005, the Theater League of Clifton is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the arts through theatrical performances, while providing quality entertainment for all ages. The group welcomes volunteers in all aspects of performance and production. The organization recently concluded its fall main-stage production of the musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Mark Peterson is the president of the Theater League of Clifton. Robert Foster is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Clifton. Clifton Savings Bank is a corporate sponsor for the Theater League of Clifton.


Tickets for Canadian Brass: Christmas Time Is Here in Bernardsville from ShowClix

Christmas Time Is Here: The Canadian Brass & Somerset Hills Chorus 
featuring the Somerset Hills Chorus and the Bernards High School Concert Choir

WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 7:00pm
: Bernards High Performing Arts Center, Olcott Ave., Bernardsville
TICKETS: $20.00 - $75.00
Tickets and more information available here

Canadian Brass is, quite simply, the world’s most famous and distinctive all-brass chamber group.  In the 47 years since it was founded, it has traveled the world many times over; its recordings have sold more than 2 million albums worldwide; and it has brought the sound and excitement of brass to new audiences everywhere.  Its repertoire is enormous – from settings of the baroque and Renaissance masters to ragtime, Dixieland and jazz favorites; from great marches and patriotic songs to sacred music and Broadway hits; from classical to definitely-not-classical.


The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg has a wonderful selection of holiday favorites in December featuring comedy, classical ballet, bluegrass and jazz music, theatrical performances, and even a special tea party.

WHERE: Theatre at RVCC, 118 Lamington Rd., Branchburg
To purchase tickets for any of December’s offerings at the Theatre, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at Subscribers’ packages are available for most Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for most performances.

The Ultimate Christmas Show

The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged)
Reduced Shakespeare Company
WHEN: Saturday, December 2, at 8 p.m.
$25 & $35

Welcome to the Annual Holiday Variety Show and Christmas Pageant at St. Everybody’s Non-Denominational Universalist Church, where all faiths are welcome because people will believe anything. But there’s a problem: None of the acts scheduled to perform has arrived, so the three crazy guys of the Reduced Shakespeare Company are pressed into service to perform the entire Variety Show and Christmas Pageant by themselves. An irreverent yet heartwarming trip through the holidays, The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) is festive, funny, family fun as these Three Wise Guys send-up and celebrate everyone’s favorite winter holiday traditions.

Christmas With The Annie Moses Band

Christmas With The Annie Moses Band
WHEN: Sunday, December 3, at 2 p.m.

From the spirited renditions of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” and “Deck the Halls” to the breathtaking beauty of “O Holy Night,” the Annie Moses Band’s unique combination of chamber strings, soaring vocals and infectious rhythms transform everyone’s favorite holiday songs into pure excitement. These virtuoso musicians combine the best of beloved genres in a style that unifies audiences of all ages, classical connoisseurs and roots enthusiasts, jazz aficionados and bluegrass buffs.

It’s a Wonderful Life

Live from WVL Radio Theatre: It’s a Wonderful Life
WHEN: Tuesday, December 5, at 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.; 2 p.m. performance, $15 (special matinee pricing); 7 p.m. performance

It’s Christmas Eve in 1945, and only a handful of WVL Radio’s actors have braved the blizzard to perform that evening’s broadcast of It’s a Wonderful Life and keep the station afloat. A small but intrepid band of employees masterfully conquers multiple characters and creates sound effects using everyday household items, and saves the radio station from a winter blizzard’s doom. This clever 1940s radio-style stage adaptation of Frank Capra’s heartwarming film classic breathes new life into the poignant story of George Bailey and Bedford Falls, a tale that remains as fresh and relevant as ever.

Great Russian Nutcracker

The Great Russian Nutcracker
Moscow Ballet
WHEN: Friday, December 8, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
$40 & $50

Moscow Ballet’s spectacular scenic design, gorgeous costumes and the exquisite artistry of 40 top Russian dancers have made The Great Russian Nutcracker an American holiday tradition not to be missed. This critically acclaimed production features new characters and larger-than-life puppets set against a stunning backdrop. An ethereal Dove, a messenger of peace, leads Masha and the Nutcracker to the peaceful kingdom. Beloved Russian fairytale characters, Father Christmas and his granddaughter the Snow Maiden, add to the whimsical and imaginative storytelling that sets this Nutcracker apart. As is the custom, the students of Gotta Dance will perform along with the professional dancers of the world-renowned company. Caroline Hidalgo and Gillian Peterson coordinate the auditions and rehearsals for the 95 young dancers from Gotta Dance, which has studios in Martinsville, Warren, Basking Ridge and Branchburg.

The production will be enhanced by a special Nutcracker Tea Party event, Friday, December 8, at 6:30 p.m., in the RVCC Conference Center (Room A). Tickets cost $30 for adults, $25 for children. This unique holiday event, perfect for children and their families, will be held between performances of The Great Russian Nutcracker. Guests will enjoy a sumptuous assortment of home-baked sweet treats, seasonal tea and homemade hot cocoa. And, as an extra-special treat, each child can have his or her picture taken with a Moscow Ballet ballerina—a special keepsake from an unforgettable evening. The photo is included in the ticket price. The event is recommended for children age four and older.

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol
Nebraska Theatre Caravan
WHEN: Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m.
$40 & $50

This Broadway-style adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is rich with thrilling ensemble music, color and movement. The production has been created to tell this great and enduring tale in a manner that people of all ages can enjoy. Beautiful new renditions of holiday songs such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Wassail Wassail,” “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” “Away in a Manger,” “Greensleeves” and many more are woven throughout the classic tale. This touring show, which features a cast of 24 performers, live musicians and lavish scenery and costumes, has been seen by more than three million audience members.

The performance will include a “Show Starter” holiday shopping event. Beginning at 12:30, the Theatre’s pop-up store will feature craft vendors and artisans offering a variety of unique and handcrafted gift items.

To purchase tickets for any of December’s offerings at the Theatre, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at Subscribers’ packages are available for most Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for most performances.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit






WHEN: Friday, December 1, at 8 p.m.
Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus, 118 Lamington Road.
TICKETS: $12 per person, $8 for students and seniors. Tickets may be purchased at the door on the night of the concert or in advance from the Theatre box office, 908-725-3420. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The program will feature Franz Josef Haydn’s Missa Brevis (St. Joannis de Deo) as well as works by Bach and a cappella pieces from the Renaissance by Thomas Morley, Antoine Busnois and Josquin des Prez. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.

Directed by Dr. John Sichel, RVCC Assistant Professor of Music, the RVCC Chorale is composed of students, former students and members of the community. The holiday concert’s performers include Eleni Catanzaro, Melissa Jo Donlay, Carina Gonzalez, Gillian Koch, Kaitlin May and Mia Mazzariello, sopranos; Ruth Dilley, Jennifer Kapoian, Alison Quairoli, Jane Sausanavage and Theresa Vitovitch, altos; Patrick Gardner, Daniel Hogan, Christian Loree and Anthony Martinez, tenors; and Michael Krupinski and Rudy Plesmid, basses. Gregory Stout is the Chorale’s accompanist.

Music of the Season - Tim FarrellRaritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. Serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 50 years, RVCC is an educational and cultural center that is nationally recognized for its innovative programming, service to the community and environmental leadership. The College offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates, as well as career training, professional development, and adult and youth personal enrichment courses. The College also has a performing arts center and planetarium.

RVCC is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community’s businesses, and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit


TICKETS: $15 / $20 at
908 809-8865

clip_image002The Theater Project will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare for the big radio broadcast of the story made famous in the Frank Capra film of the same name. Audiences experience the tears and laughter of WONDERFUL LIFE performed live, along with the novelty of seeing the backstage mechanics of an old-time radio broadcast. They can also participate in a pre-show holiday sing-along at 1:45 just before the show.

“This story about friendship and small acts of kindness seems to become more and more popular every year,” says Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project. “For many of our patrons, kicking off their holidays with this event has become a holiday tradition. We’re hoping to meet some new people from Union and at the same time, introduce our “regulars” to the great shops and restaurants in the downtown shopping district.” The Theater Project has added a directory of Union Center eateries to its web site.

IMAGE: Reprising their 2016 roles as Mary and George Bailey are Anna Gundersen and David Federman, center.  The children were (left to right) Michael Mezzo, Owen Shipman, Riley Fry, Sally O’Sullivan, and Ella Shipman. (Photo credit: Kevin Sebastian).

Singer/Songwriter John Sebastian To Appear in Morristown on November 30



WHEN: Thursday, November 30, 8 PM
Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown
TICKETS: $45.00 in advance, $50.00 at the door and are available through the Bickford Theatre website at or by calling 973-971-3706.

For almost 50 years, songs by John Sebastian have been a permanent part of our American musical fabric. From The Lovin’ Spoonful to Woodstock to “Welcome Back Kotter,” this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer/songwriter and virtuoso musician was responsible for a host of hits: “Do You Believe in Magic,” “You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice,” “Daydream,” “Younger Girl,” “Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind,” “Summer In The City,” “Rain On The Roof,” “Nashville Cats,” “Darling Be Home Soon,” “Younger Generation,” and, of course, “Welcome Back.”

Raised in Greenwich Village by a mother who wrote for radio and a father who was a famed classical harmonica player, John honed his performance skill in New Jersey at Blair Academy. Making his professional debut with the Even Dozen Jug Band, John quickly became a much sought-after accompanist, working with Fred Neil, Tim Hardin, Mississippi John Hurt, Judy Collins, and Bob Dylan.

With his group, The Lovin’ Spoonful, he became an international star and had a string of smash hits which led to writing music for films such as Francis Ford Coppola’s You’re A Big Boy Now and Woody Allen’s What’s Up Tiger Lily. And then came Welcome Back, a chart-topping solo recording for the popular television show. Since then he has not slowed down, recording, touring, writing and even creating a series of instructional materials for guitar. He was the subject of a PBS special “Do You Believe in Magic: The Music of John Sebastian” and his music is heard everywhere, in movies, on television, in commercials, and on the radio.

The legendary head of Artist Relations at Martin Guitar Dick Boak, who created more than 150 signature guitar series for the greatest guitarists of the past half century, will be on hand to introduce John Sebastian. Dick’s acclaimed book Martin Guitar Masterpieces tells the stories of those collaborations. In addition, he continues to pursue his art and his music.

Whether you made to Woodstock or not, you won’t want to miss this evening of great music and fascinating story-telling with one of this generation’s greatest songwriters.

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.

Photo by Catherine Sebastian


A family-favorite shortened version

WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 4 PM.
handicapped-accessible United Way Theater, 60 S Fullerton Ave, Montclair
Free parking is available behind the building. The United Way is easily accessed from NYC via the Decamp Bus #33 or #66 and by NJ Transit train to Bay Street.

Tickets and the full schedule of performers including jazz, rock, drama, dance and family-friendly programming are available by CLICKING HERE.

Papageno - Brian Alvarado, baritone
Pamina - Pamela Jones, soprano
Tamino - Tai Collins, tenor
Queen of the Night - Heather Bobeck, soprano
Sarastro - Ian Joyal, bass
First Lady - Jessica Walch, soprano
Second Lady - Elizabeth Wojtowicz, mezzo soprano
Third Lady - Andrea Howland, mezzo soprano
Monostatos - Emmanuel Cruz, tenor
Papagena - Alexandra Haines, soprano

NARRATOR: Mia Riker-Norrie

Flute: Jordan Arbus
Piano:  Rebecca Eng
Violin I: Tristan Aniceto
Violin II: Danielle Sinclair
Viola: Darryl Manley
Violoncello:  Diana Hessinger
Bass: Jason Bloomquist

Join the professional singers of Opera Theatre of Montclair in a FREE festive evening of scenes from Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel and
Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann

WHEN: Thursday, December 7, 2017, 7 PM
the exquisitely decorated Van Vleck House & Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair.

CAST for Hansel and Gretel:
The Father - Brian Alvarado, baritone
Hansel - Madison Marie McIntosh, mezzo soprano
Gretel - Heather Bobeck, soprano
The Gingerbread Witch - Stacey Canterbury, soprano
The Sandman - Allison Arnold, soprano
The Dew Fairy - Aine Hakamatsuka, soprano

CAST for The Tales of Hoffmann:
Hoffmann - Theron Cromer, tenor
Olympia - Alize Rozsnyai, soprano
Antonia - Mia Riker-Norrie, soprano
Giulietta - Allyson Carvajal, soprano
Miracle - Mark Watson, bass-baritone
Nicklausse - Cornelia Lotito, mezzo soprano
Voice of Antonia's Mother - Tanisha Anderson, mezzo soprano

PIANO: Ryan Bridge


Annual Holiday Market

WHEN: Saturday, December 2, 2017
Neshaminy Creek Brewery!

Join us for this highly-curated Holiday Market featuring vendors selling Handmade,
One-Of-A-Kind Items, Vintage Clothing and Accessories, Vinyl and Cassettes,
Silkscreen Posters and T-shirts, Taxidermy, Vintage Toys, Antiques and Curio, Handmade Jewelry, Oddities and more!

FOOD TRUCKS INCLUDE: The Tot Cart / El Lechon De Negron / Undrgrnd Donuts
House of Cupcakes / Papermill - Home of the Spurrito / Bread and Butter

AFTER PARTY WITH: Off With Their Heads / Iron Chic / Barons / Big Nothing


Click here for Exact Directions from Your Location!


Stay tuned to our website at

 for all of our upcoming 2018 events and dates!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


by Ruth Ross


In the tradition of their previous holiday shows—think the recent productions, Elf! and A Christmas Story—the Paper Mill Playhouse has given the theater-going public a delicious bonbon of an American musical, Annie, in a crisply acted, inventively staged production that brings the 1930’s cartoon to life.

ANNIE_PAPERMILL_PHOTO_4.jpgSet in the depths of the Great Depression, the book by Thomas Meehan follows the red-headed funny-papers heroine as she flees a Dickensian orphanage in an attempt to find her parents, gets invited to spend Christmas with billionaire Oliver Warbucks, meets many famous people (Justice Brandeis, Henry Morgenthau and FDR, among others) and ends up being adopted by the gent.

From its almost disastrous 1976 debut at the Goodspeed Opera House in Connecticut, Annie has had a wondrous career: a long Broadway run, two sequels, three movie versions, numerous national and international tours, major revivals and two previous productions at the Millburn playhouse in 1983 and 2002. From Annie’s opening number, an anthem to the hope embodied in “tomorrow,” to a rousing paean to New York City, Annie continues to elicit audience sing-alongs to Martin Charnin’s now-familiar lyrics set to the music of Charles Strouse.

ANNIE_PAPERMILL_PHOTO_7A multicultural group ofadorable orphans (Gabby Beredo, Tessa Noelle Frascogna, Michelle Henderson, Eve Johnson, Lauren Sun and Sloane Wolfe) steal every scene in which they appear, whether they’re bemoaning their hard-knock life, reminding us that we’re “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” or bedeviling the nasty orphanage director, Miss Hannigan. Portrayed by a stellar Beth Leavel (right) with a thick New Yawk accent, she quivers with palpable malevolence toward her charges (“Little Girls”), drunkenly staggers around stage and, with her brother Rooster (goofy Cooper Grodin) and his blonde sidekick (ditzy Kim Sava), gleefully anticipates the success of a scheme that will land the trio on “Easy Street.” She appears to be having a grand time portraying the play’s villain!

ANNIE_PAPERMILL_PHOTO_6.jpgChristopher Seiber (left, with Annie and Grace)is spot-on as Oliver Warbucks, the dignified businessman whose corporate heart is melted by the little redhead who shares his home for the holidays. His rendition of “Something Was Missing” is especially poignant, and he executes some nifty footwork in “NYC.” Appearing as Annie at Sunday night’s performance, Cassidy Fry exhibited a fine set of pipes (although the sound system made her sound rather tinny); however, her stilted delivery sounded unnatural. Of course, no real kid says, “Leapin’ Lizards,” but Fry sounded more like she was reciting lines than conversing with the other characters. Perhaps she’ll relax a bit and sound more real as the run progresses. Erin Mackey’s Grace Farrell (Warbucks’ gal Friday) provides able support in musical numbers with Seiber and Pry and offers strong encouragement to Annie in the yearning “Maybe.”

ANNIE_PAPERMILL_PHOTO_10.jpgThe actors who portray FDR (Kevin Pariseau) and his cabinet may not have much to do, but they add to the verisimilitude of the situation. And let’s not forget Annie’s pet dog, Sandy (left); a calm and adorable Macy draws “oohs” and “ahhs” every time he appears—which is not nearly enough!

Kudos, as usual, go to the production staff. Beowulf Boritt has designed a set that morphs from gritty orphanage to the decrepit Hooverville shantytown under the Brooklyn Bridge (to remind us that this is the Depression) to Daddy Warbucks’ grand mansion, seamless changing scenes in the blink of an eye. Leon Dobkowski’s costumes and Leah J. Loukas’ wigs and make-up are reminiscent of the time and, in the case of Miss Hannigan, of the cartoon strip. Charlie Morrison’s lighting and Randy Hansen’s sound add to the atmosphere. Joann M. Hunter’s choreography is nimbly executed by the actors; the orchestra directed by Jeffrey Saver provides great accompaniment but never overpowers the singers.

My one complaint is that the volume in general is too loud, making our ears hurt and everyone sound the same, no matter where they are situated onstage. Taking it down a level will make the singing sound less tinny and strident (especially Pry’s) without spoiling the performance.

A quintessential New York Christmas story, Annie is the perfect antidote to incessant talk about Russia, health care and taxes. So bring the entire family—ages 5 to 85—to Millburn for a tuneful dose of optimism and holiday cheer. It’s the best medicine!

Annie will be performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, through December 31. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.376.7676 or visit online.

Photos by Evan Zimmerman for MurphyMade