Monday, April 30, 2018

REVIEW: SPARKLING, THOUGHTFUL CONVERSATION CONTINUES @ DREAMCATCHER REP IN SUMMIT

Image result for dreamcatcher repertory theatreBy Ruth Ross

President Trump’s contention that the theater should be a safe place, uttered after the cast of Hamilton treated audience member V.P. Mike Pence to some unscripted lines, would have puzzled the Greek dramatists who used the theater to shake up the status quo through either biting comedy or tragedy that illuminated the hubris that brought human beings to their knees before the gods.

Building on a one-night event last season, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has mounted a mainstage world premiere of Continuing the Conversation: An Evening of Short Plays Inspired by Current Events that will be performed in Summit through May 13. You may think you’re inured to such “ripped from the headlines” plotlines so ubiquitous on television, but never before will you have been as captivated and moved as you will be by this production.

Directed by company members Laura Ekstrand, Jessica O’Hara-Baker and Harriett Trangucci, the six one-act plays deal with themes in the forefront of current public consciousness: sexual harassment, media fatigue, the post-hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, Confederate icons, the violence in Charlottesville and the decision to run for elected office. That these weighty matters are addressed with warmth, sensitivity and even humor makes them ideal for continuing conversation at one of the company’s post-performance talkbacks or in the car on the way home from the theater!

By virtue of their single act format, one-act plays tend to develop character quickly, with snappy dialogue, and tightly developed plots. Thus, a critic must be on guard not to give too much away and spoil the effect.

While all six are arrestingly written, performed and directed, the two that stand out for me are Downtown by Suzanne Bradbeer (directed by Trangucci) and The Presentation by Lia Romeo (directed by O’Hara-Baker). Downtown addresses the events in downtown Charlottesville where the white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched to protest the removal of Robert E. Lee’s statue from a city park. Noreen Farley is stellar as Dani whose afternoon of “fishing for the quiet” is upended by her daughter Carrie Anne (Beth Painter) who brings photographic proof that her younger brother Seth (Ben Kaufman) was there. Farley’s Dani desperately resists the idea that her boy could have been involved in the melee; her motherly instincts war with the image on Carrie’s cellphone. In the final moments, our hearts break for the mother forced to face hard facts about her offspring.

Image result for dreamcatcher repertory theatreThe Presentation uses broad humor that, as silly as it seems, really gets to the heart of a problem that’s been plaguing the world for, well, centuries. As animated, upbeat Samantha (Daria M. Sullivan) finishes a presentation about sexual harassment in the workplace to what appears to be a group of men (played by Aquino, Kaufman and Gary-Kayi Fletcher), the lights reveal them to be Vikings! The subsequent discussion devolves into a back-and-forth about raping, killing and pillaging, barbaric activities practiced by the Vikings who terrorized much of Europe during the eighth and ninth centuries. Just the idea that not much has changed vis à vis male-female relationships is as sobering as the playlet is funny. O’Hara-Baker’s light but deft directorial hand doesn’t let the silliness overshadow the serious message.

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The other four plays are equally as fine. Richard Dresser’s Nevertheless She Persisted uses the words of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s putdown of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s objections to Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General to cast a sharp eye on male-female interactions through the lens of a friendly gathering of two couples. When Carey (Amanda Salazar, far right) calls out Bob (Michael Aquino, left) on his tendency to hit her when she’s not paying attention to him, he, his wife and her husband deny it ever happened. Carey’s perception and experience are blithely labeled “fake news,” and Carey feels “the truth is under attack.” It’s interesting to watch Bob’s wife Jen (Beth Painter) and Carey’s husband Morgan (Ben Kaufman) squirm in discomfort; perhaps they’ve witnessed Bob’s behavior but are not willing to admit it. Ekstrand resists the temptation to hit the audience over the head to make the point; she has her actors use body language and facial expressions to telegraph that Bob is a bully and gets away with it because no one wants to speak up and ruin a friendship. Silence in this case is not golden.

Aurora Amanda and Michael (002)The saddest of the lot is Silent Aurora by Dania Ramos, directed by Trangucci. Soon after Hurricane Maria, Ruben, from the Army Corps of Engineers, comes to inspect a school in Puerto Rico’s central mountains. The books are ruined, the library roof has collapsed and the electricity is intermittent, but the most searing devastation is psychological: Star student Aurora has not spoken since the storm and her obsessive-compulsive behavior telegraphs her PTSD. In contrast to Ruben’s officious demeanor (Michael Aquino is maddingly effective in this role), Ramos has the teacher Sonia (Salazar) plaintively cry, “The greatest nation on earth has forgotten its citizens!” Salazar conveys not only the teacher’s despair at what has happened to her home and school but the terrible toll it has taken on her student, played with expressive eyes by Salazar. (Above: Salazar and Aquino)

In the “Year of the Woman,” William (Fletcher) considers leaving his hated job in corporate law to run for political office. Seeking Special Counsel, he seeks out his former teacher Roberta Muller (Noreen Farley), even going so far as to visit her at the nursing home where her family has “put her.” In moments of lucidity from her dementia, Mrs. Muller utters some very sound advice and opinions about politics and politicians, leading William and his wife Beth (Salazar) to confront the reality of such a momentous decision. Again, Farley portrays a woman battling what she knows is the truth; batty or lucid, her performance is always convincing.

The final offering, Monumental by David Lee White and Kate Brennan (directed by Ekstrand), confronts the dilemma facing Joseph Bedford College regarding the portrait of its racist founder. Concurrent scenes—the time of its 1958 unveiling and the 2018 demonstrations to take it down—highlight the difficulties faced by both camps. “Take it down.” “Leave it up.” The two sides, administrators Harold (Kaufman, in 1968) and Farley (as Bedford descendant Liz in 2018) vs. students Paul and Maria (Fletcher in 1958 and Sullivan in 2018, respectively), effectively argue in song, giving a glimpse into each of the problem.

Continuing the Conversation is a worthwhile addition to drama’s canon. The six thought-provoking plays should provide much fodder for serious thought and talk. With humor and sensitivity, they tackle thorny problems in such a manner as would make the ancient Greeks proud.

Continuing the Conversation will be performed at the Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit, through May 13. For information and tickets, visit www.dreamcatcherrep.org online or call 908.514.3654.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

SUMMIT PLAYHOUSE TO PRESENT “TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD” MAY 4-20

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Directed by Kevern Cameron

WHEN: May 4-20, Fridays & Saturdays 8 PM; Sundays 2 PM
WHERE:
Summit Playhouse, 10 New England Ave., Summit
TICKETS: $25 general admission; $20 students/seniors
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows three years in the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem and their father, Atticus.

A classic of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird tells a story of race, class, justice and growing up that still resonates today.


Atticus Finch...............Mike King
Bob Ewell....................Chip Prestera
Boo Radley.................Steve Gabe
Calpurnia....................Tasha Williams
Dill Harris...................Logan Guvenel
Heck Tate..................Jeff Maschi
Helen Robinson..........Jsatanna Rome
Horace Gilmer............Bob Loucks
Jean Louis Finch........Karen Thornton
Jem Finch..................Cyrus Shields
Judge Taylor..............Hank Barre
Mayella Ewell…….......Sarah Pharaon
Miss Maudie .............Joelle Bochner
Miss Stephanie..........Lauri Macmillan
Mr. Cunningham........Lewis Decker
Mrs. Dubose..............Anne King
Nathan Radley...........Lewis Decker
Reverend Sykes.........Craig Mayer
Scout Finch............... Rosie Gaeta
Tom Robinson...…......Josh Musgrave
Townspeople............ Amie Quivey, Alice Levine, Bob Velasquez, Rona Rome, Tatiana Rodriguez, DeAndre Rodriguez, and Dana Hawkins

Friday, April 27, 2018

THIS WEEKEND AT UCPAC IN RAHWAY

Continuum Dance Co. Showcase: Season One.

Continuum Dance Co. Showcase: Season One

WHEN: Apr 28, 2018, 7:30 pm - Apr 29, 2018, 2:30 PM
WHERE:
UCPAC'S Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton Street, Rahway
TICKETS: $8, $12
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Continuum Dance Co. is a company of dancers that have lived and breathed dance from a young age. Though they are now pursuing full-time careers in various professional fields, dance remains ingrained deep in who they are. Continuum Dance Co. wants these ardent dancers and choreographers to continue to express their craft outside of their day-to-day professions. Our Season One Showcase features Contemporary, Jazz, and Hip-Hop pieces choreographed and performed by our group of talented young artists.

Sensory Friendly Theatre: Theatreworks' CHARLOTTE'S WEB

Sensory Friendly Theatre: Theatreworks' CHARLOTTE'S WEB

WHEN: Sun Apr 29, 2018 2:00 PM
WHERE:
UCPAC Mainstage, 1601 Irving St, Rahway
TICKETS: $8.00
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Theatreworks' production of Charlotte's Web is based on E.B. White's loving story of the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a little gray spider named Charlotte. Wilbur has a problem: how to avoid winding up as pork chops! Charlotte, a fine writer and true friend, hits on a plan to fool Farmer Zuckerman -- she will create a "miracle." Spinning the words "Some Pig" in her web, Charlotte weaves a solution which not only makes Wilbur a prize pig, but ensures his place on the farm forever. This treasured tale, featuring mad-cap and endearing farm animals, explores bravery, selfless love, and the true meaning of friendship. This production is presented as part of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders’ Sensory Friendly Theatre (SFT) series – live performances specially designed and adapted for children with autism and other sensory sensitivities.

As always, there are no added fees no matter how you choose to purchase your tickets. The UCPAC has a NO REFUNDS and NO EXCHANGES policy that applies to all ticket sales. Discount codes cannot be combined and cannot be applied to past purchases.

Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM-5 PM, with extended hours of 11 AM-8 PM on Thursdays. The Box Office is also open starting 1 hour before Hamilton Stage events, and 2 hours before Main Stage events.

Box Office: (732) 499-8226

AN EVENING OF SHORT PLAYS INSPIRED BY CURRENT EVENTS OPENS @ DREAMCATCHER REP IN SUMMIT

WHEN: April 27-May 13; Friday and Saturday 8 PM; Sunday 2 PM;
WHERE:
The Oakes Center, 120 Morris Ave., Summit
TICKETS: $35, $30 seniors/students
Sunday, April 29, Senior Sunday, all tickets $20, free post-show talkback
May 6 free post-show talkback
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
Use discount code SHORT for a 10% off a full price ticket.

Sexual harassment. Media fatigue.  Hurricane Maria's devastation of Puerto Rico.  Confederate icons. Charlottesville violence.  Deciding to run for elected office.

These are the "ripped from the headlines" topics that will be explored in DRT's "Continuing the Conversation" final Main Stage production of the season, premiering Thursday, April 26.

A follow-up to Dreamcatcher's Evening of Short Plays in Response to the Election, Continuing the Conversation is an opportunity to check in with the community on what's important to us in real time. Written on themes chosen by the writers in the months prior to the production, Continuing the Conversation will be focused on the interaction between the stories we tell in the theatre and the lives we are living. It's a chance to connect artists to audience in an immediate way, with several discussions following the performances throughout the run.

2 SCREENINGS @ 7TH ANNUAL MONTCLAIR FILM FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND

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Related imageGRIND

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, 8:45 p.m; Sunday, April 29, 3:15 p.m 
WHERE: 
Clairidge 4, Clairidge 5, Bloomfield Ave., Montclair
Ticket information to the Montclair Film Festival can be found here.

The documentary short film GRIND and comedic short Arcade Wars produced by DreamPlay Media are screening this month during the 7th Annual Montclair Film Festival in Montclair. Both films will leave the viewer wanting more. Audiences watching GRIND will find themselves immersed in the narrative and be moved by what ultimately changed Robert Wilmote for the better. Getting to see Arcade Wars will definitely have you chuckling and leave you feeling as though you yourself just went for one wild ride.

"Every time one of our films is accepted into a festival we are very humbled," says Igor Alves, managing producer of DreamPlay Media. "I am extremely proud of the work that we create as a team. Our latest documentary GRIND really stands out, powerfully showing the inspirational story of the transformative Robert Wilmote.”

The format-bending short film GRIND features Robert Wilmote, a Liberian refugee forced to flee the most drastic and terrible circumstances imaginable. Having narrowly escaped war in Africa, Robert’s struggles continue in the U.S. when he succumbs to the gangster life, becoming a convicted felon in Newark, New Jersey. At his absolute bottom, Robert realized he was meant for greater good. Through dramatic reenactments, featuring Wilmote himself, we discover how Robert’s passion for fitness and helping others empowered him to become a champion. This film highlights you must find something deep in your heart that will make you change.

GRIND is directed by Yuri Alves. Featuring Robert Wilmote, Justina Valentine. Executive Producers: Igor Alves, Yuri Alves, Mike Gomes. Cinematography by Mike Gomes. Original Music by Benjamin Zecker. Camera Operators: Mike Gomes, Yuri Alves.1st Assistant Camera: Marco Penajoia. 2nd Assistant Camera: Caroline Sincaruk. Gaffer: Gabriel Kurzlop. Sound: Victor Buitrago, Production Coordinator: Li Kurzlop. Edited by Yuri Alves. Additional Editing: Caroline Sincaruk. Colorist: Alex MacLean. Supervising Sound Editor / Mixer: Mert Ozcan. Post Production Color Services by: Rogue. Post Production Sound Services by: The Record House. Associate Producers: Daniel Dowding, Paul Burger. Consulting Producer: Christopher Santiago. Supported by Newark Arts, Express Newark. Special thanks to The City of Newark, New Jersey, and Newark Office of Film and Television.

GRIND has been recognized by the 2017 INDIEFest Film Awards as Best Documentary Short, in the One-Reeler Short Film Competition for an Award of Excellence, and with a 2017 Impact Docs Award in the Documentary Short category.

GRIND is running in the 2018 Africa World Doc Film Festival during which it will screen in Africa in May. GRIND has also been accepted into the 2018 European Independent Film Festival in Paris and will screen there in May. Additionally, GRIND will screen in June during the 2018 Portuguese Film Festival in New York City.

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ARCADE WARS

WHEN:  Monday, April 30, 5:30 p.m; Tuesday, May 1, 6:15 p.m.
WHERE:
Clairidge 2, Clairidge 1, Bloomfield Ave., Montclair
Ticket information to the Montclair Film Festival can be found here.

In Arcade Wars two players compete hard at a movie theater arcade in New Jersey. When the stakes get raised, expectations get flipped. It’s not just a game. Featuring Phil Mazo and Kelvin Nova. Created by Phil Mazo. Produced by: Phil Mazo, Yuri Alves. Cinematography: Yuri Alves, Mike Gomes. Editing and Sound design by Phil Mazo. Executive Producer: Igor Alves.
“The ratio between months spent putting together Arcade Wars and its final two-minute running time really makes no sense whatsoever,” states Phil Mazo, co-producer of Arcade Wars. “ I got through it by deciding to take pleasure in the process for its own sake. I figured the benefits I would reap were: practice in the craft, a lesson that tedium is a necessary ingredient to completing a project, and a sense of integrity in not stopping till I felt I couldn’t possibly do any better with the pieces I had to work with.”

Mazo admits, “Submitting it to a festival was an afterthought and the fact that it got in is such an incredibly gratifying reward. I feel very honored, and it serves as great encouragement for the next time I obsessively devote countless hours on a film with no promise that by the time I’m done it’ll be any good or have an audience.” Mazo also acknowledges Yuri Alves, his ‘grind partner’, for his direct contributions to the project and that while many times “working in the same room as him — he on his projects and me on mine, his solidarity really helped make the hard work more bearable.”

About Montclair Film Festival
Now entering its 7th year, the Montclair Film Festival is the signature program of Montclair Film, a year-round 501c3 non-profit arts organization dedicated to entertaining, educating, and engaging diverse audiences through the power of visual storytelling. Featuring over 26,000 patrons and 150 attending filmmakers and industry guests, the festival has grown to become one of the top regional festivals in the United States. Easily accessible from Manhattan, the festival has received strong support and coverage from regional, NYC, and national press, industry trades, and strong celebrity attendance, including guests such as Stephen Colbert, Richard Curtis, Jon Stewart, Richard Gere, Julie Taymor, Rob Reiner, John Turturro, Mavis Staples, Bill Nye, and many more.

About DreamPlay Media
DreamPlay Media is a creative and original media company, based in Newark, NJ, focused on producing world-class, socially minded visual storytelling through a cinematic approach. It has produced award-winning campaigns for Nike, Prudential, City of Newark, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, and dozens more, as well as highly acclaimed original documentary and short films, earning recognition for work in the fields of video, web development, graphic design, photography, social media and branding. Brothers Igor Alves and Yuri Alves are co-founders of DreamPlay Media.

DreamPlay Media recently announced the creation of DreamPlayTV, a multi-channel, city-oriented visual storytelling network featuring original digital series, films and local stories with global appeal. The inaugural edition, DreamPlayTV | Newark, features the people, culture and places of this historic, ascendant city. Initial channels include stories linked to arts, music, food, travel, local craftsmanship, education, human profiles and more.

A Special Collaboration of Luna Stage with Montclair State University

TheOrangeProject.care@gmail.com for reservations

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

THE CHESTER THEATRE GROUP ANNOUNCES 2018-19 SEASON

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The Chester Theatre Group is proud to announce our 2018-2019 season:

  • "Disenchanted!" a musical directed by Roseann Ruggiero
    October 5 - 20, 2018
  • "King Lear" directed by Kevern Cameron
    February 8 - 24, 2019
  • "Home of the Great Pecan", a comedy directed byGeorge Seylaz
    April 26 - May 12, 2019
  • "The Who's TOMMY", a musical directed by Alan Van Antwerp
    June 28 - July 14, 2019
  • "The Bald Soprano", the second presentation of our CTG Black Box Series, directed by Rachel Lichter
    [Dates TBA]

CONGRATULATIONS to our five talented directors. We look forward to our 51st season at the Black River Playhouse and hope you will all join us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

RESISTANCE DOCUMENTARY TO BE SCREENED THIS THURSDAY

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HAM Summer Camps Include Dr. Seuss Theater, Build a Time Machine

Oh, the places you’ll go when you enroll in a summer camp at HAM!

From a “Dr. Seuss Theater Anthology Camp” to “Build a Time Machine,” the Museum is offering more than 40 different camps for children ages 4 to 15. New camps and returning favorites include: Comic Book Creation, Claymation Animation, Photography Boot Camp, Circus Camp, Art and Music, Mythical Beasts and Wonderful Watercolors.

Summer camp begins June 18 and runs weekly through Aug. 17. Most camp programs are half-day with morning sessions running from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and afternoons from 1 to 4 p.m. A supervised lunch and after care is available.

Register before May 15 and save $20 per camp, per child. You can also save on tuition by purchasing a Family Museum Membership.

All HAM instructors are professional teachers and artists, ensuring an enriching and fun camp experience.

Find descriptions for all camps and to register, please visit our website, or call the Museum at 908-735-8415.

HAM ArtParty 2018: A Secret Garden of Delicious Delights

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, at 6 p.m.
WHERE
: Hunterdon Art Museum, 7 Lower Center St., Clinton
TICKETS: $175

The Hunterdon Art Museum cordially invites you to our signature fundraiser for the year “ArtParty: The Secret Garden.”

On that date, the charming Toshiko Takaezu Terrace will blossom into a magical and intimate garden. You will enjoy an evening of exotic food, vibrant music, signature cocktails, an amazing art auction and much more.

This enchanting evening will feature the talents of Hunterdon County’s premier caterer and event planner, Mia Emerson of 15 Landsdowne Catering, event designer Egil of Eggsotic Events and Mark Drabich of Metropolitan Seafood.

Order your tickets here, then get ready to enter a chic space enlivened by the sweet sounds of live jazz from La Vie en Rose and energized with lively conversation and stunning works of contemporary art in our beautiful historic building.

Proceeds from our signature fundraiser benefit our education programs and exhibitions of contemporary art, craft and design.

ArtParty Secret Garden sponsors are: 15 Landsdowne Catering, Evco Mechanical Corporation, Provident Bank, CHUBB, St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, The Lucky Cupcake Company, Eggsotic Events, Metropolitan Seafood, Starr’s Party & Tent Rentals and Unity Bank.

House of Hamill to Perform at Riverside Rhythm & Rhyme Songwriter Series

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Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme (RR&R) songwriter series presents the Celtic duo

House of Hamill

WHEN: Sunday, April 29, 2018, from 4 - 6 pm
WHERE:
The Investors Bank Theatre at RoxPAC, 72 Eyland Avenue, Succasunna
TICKETS: $20 general admission; $15 for SSG/RAA/Jersey Arts members; and free for under 18. At door day of the show if space available - CASH/CHECKS ONLY.
Advance tickets are available online at https://www.skylandssongwriters.org/rr-r

House of Hamill, the dynamic fiddling duo of Rose Baldino (Burning Bridget Cleary) & Brian Buchanan (Enter the Haggis) will headline the show.  Both Baldino and Buchanan are accomplished traditional fiddle players as well as classical violinists, with over 25 years of writing and performance experience between them. Together, they write unusual new fiddle tunes and exciting, unpredictable original songs while breathing new life into traditional and contemporary songs. Confident and unique lead vocalists, the blend of their two voices in harmony is hypnotic and irresistible.

Whether House of Hamill is playing songs from their debut album "Wide Awake" (September 2016) or stomping through a set of original jigs and reels, their chemistry onstage is always engaging and often hilarious. You'll leave with tired feet, a huge smile, and a new appreciation for the versatility of folk instruments in a modern context. House of Hamill is on the bleeding edge of a new generation of traditional musicians.

RoxPAC is a great local venue which can accommodate about 150 patrons, offers ample parking and is conveniently accessible from Routes 80, 46 and 10. Furnished with comfortable padded seating, great acoustics and theatre lighting, there is not a bad seat in the house! Concert goers will have plenty of time after the performance to enjoy dinner out at any number of local food establishments in town.

Riverside Rhythm and Rhyme is an eclectic coffee house/listening room style venue in the heart of Roxbury Township showcasing local and regional independent artists. This monthly outreach performance songwriter series is presented by the Skylands Songwriters Guild (SSG) in cooperation with the Roxbury Arts Alliance (RAA) and is an "XPN Welcomes" event.

Busy, Bubbly '”Junie B. Jones” Comes to MCCC's Kelsey Theatre April 28

JunieBJones_KelseyJunie B. Jones

WHEN: Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
WHERE:
Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.
TICKETS: $12 for adults, and $10 for children, students and senior citizens. Free parking is available next to the theater.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.

Youngsters will enter a world of fun when  comes to Central New Jersey when Theatreworks USA brings the irrepressible first grader to the stage.

Based on Barbara Park's best-selling book series, this endearing musical chronicles a day in the life of our very outspoken and very active leading kid as she describes it in her "top secret personal beeswax journal.” Among Junie’s challenges are getting used to a new bunch of friends, meeting a new teacher, adjusting to wearing glasses, participating in the annual kickball tournament and other familiar childhood challenges. Young audiences will easily connect with this warm and bubbly heroine, who finds a way to succeed in the end and learns important lessons about friendship and acceptance along the way.

Theatreworks USA is America's largest and most prolific professional not-for-profit theater for young and family audiences. Since 1961, Theatreworks USA has enlightened, entertained, and instructed more than 96 million people in 49 states and Canada.

Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater. For a complete list of adult and children's events, visit the Kelsey website or call the box office for a brochure. 

2018 “LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER” OPENS IN MAPLEWOOD ON SATURDAY

Listen To Your Mother (LTYM) --MATINEE SHOWLISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER—NORTH JERSEY EDITION

WHEN: Saturday, April 28th, at 3:00 and 7:00 PM
WHERE:
The Woodland, 60 Woodland Road, Maplewood, NJ
TICKETS: $40, $55

Listen to Your Mother is a national series of original live readings about motherhood, presented across the United States with the mission of taking the audience on a well-crafted journey that celebrates and validates motherhood (in all of its complexity, diversity, and humor) in the form of original readings performed live on-stage by their authors. (www.listentoyourmothershow.com).

The 2018 Cast includes NJ writers, Amanda Eigen, Adam Epstein, Jen Gregory, Kim Kassnove, Tina Kelley, Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, Brooke Lefferts, Mary Tautin Moloney, Rosemary Ostmann, Dorri Ramati, Emily Regas, Krista Ruhe, and Amy Salomon.

There will be a sign language interpreter at the 3:00 PM show. Please email Midtown Direct Rep at middirrep@gmail.com to arrange for seats in direct view of the interpreter.

Listen to Your Mother aims to support motherhood creatively not only through artistic expression but also financially, through contributions to non-profit organizations supporting families. We are thrilled to announce that this year’s LTYM show, will be donating a percentage of our ticket sales to the NEW JERSEY chapter of MOMS DEMAND ACTION.

ROLLICKING FARCE TO OPEN @ GEORGE STREET PLAYHOUSE IN NEW BRUNSWICK THIS FRIDAY

by Larry Shue
directed by Kevin Cahoon
with Colin Hanlon (Modern Family), Ann Harada (Smash, Avenue Q), Jonathan Kite (2 Broke Girls), Kate Reinders (Wicked and Something Rotten) Zach Shaffer (The Man Who Came to Dinner), Stephen Wallem (Nurse Jackie) and Hayden Bercy

WHEN: April 24 - May 20
WHERE: George Street Playhouse, 103 College Farm Road, New Brunswick
TICKETS: start at $44 for Preview performances. Student tickets are $15.
To purchase tickets or for more information, visit the George Street Playhouse website at www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org, or call the box office at 732-246-7717
Groups of 10 more receive additional discounts.  For information about bringing a group to the Playhouse, call 732-846-2895 ext. 134, or visit GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org/groups.


CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS

Awkwardness reaches hilarious new heights in the final show of our season.  When an unexpected party guest turns into an unwanted house guest, Willum executes an elaborate plan to rid himself of the wacky GI who came to dinner. With a team that includes friends, a would-be lover and an oblivious boss, creative acts of desperation quickly dissolve into utter mayhem and merriment. The twists and turns of this madcap comedy lead to an ending that leaves you feeling happily hoodwinked!

A rollicking farce from the author of the award-winning comedy The Foreigner.

Tenafly High School Presents Broadway Level Production

Tenafly High School's Award-Winning Performing Arts Department presents

Mar122018_0723Legally Blonde

WHEN: Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April, 26, 27, 28, 7:30 PM
WHERE:
The Collins-Tall Auditorium, 19 Columbus Drive, Tenafly, NJ
TICKETS: $20 premium; $10 for seniors and students reserved; $10 for general admission.
To purchase tickets visit www.tenaflytheatre.com or buy at the door. For more information or to request an interview, email sahncooper@tenafly.k12.nj.us.

The Tenafly High School is proud to present Legally Blonde as this year’s spring musical—based on the popular novel by Amanda Brown and the hit-movie of the same name—which chronicles the highly- entertaining story of a vivacious sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to win back her ex-boyfriend. The show has been cast and directed by Tenafly High School Theater/Speech Director Samuel Ahn-Cooper and Music Director Jim Millar and features music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach.

Mar122018_0651Legally Blonde tells the story of Elle Woods, a fashion savvy, UCLA sorority girl who finds her life turned upside down when she is dumped by her boyfriend Warren. In an effort to prove she is more than a ditsy blonde, she follows him to Harvard Law, where she struggles to fit; but in the end, she defies expectations, learns enough about law to successfully defend a murder trial, and manages to stay true to her smart, delightful self, despite the fact that no one shows much faith in her.

“There are many reasons I wanted to direct this show,” says Samuel Ahn-Cooper. “The script is funny, the music catchy and the characters are real. But, the main reason is that Elle Woods is an incredible feminine role model. While others put down her abilities and intelligence, Elle hardly ever doubts herself for a second. She is accepted to Harvard Law School, wins an important internship and is successful in her first court case. She decides on a goal and knows with 100% certainty that she can attain it, even as others only respond with incredulity or mockery. Amazingly, Elle never sees herself as stupid, despite the fact so many other people believe this so strongly about her. She smashes through all the stereotypes. In today’s climate, Elle Woods is the woman we need.”

Mar122018_0703The show has been cast, directed and choreographed by the following Tenafly High School professional staff: Samuel Ahn-Cooper, Director/Choreographer; Jim Millar, Music Director; Steve Moger, Technical Director; and Gina Ventura, Choreographer. The cast features: Elle – Ariel Fromm; Margot – Naomi Friedman; Serena – Lizzy Palo; Pillar – Dene Chung; Kate – Marina Hoffmann; Warner – Jack Goldsmith; Emmett – Andy Chang; Callahan – James Park; Paulette – Sam Kurtz; Vivienne – Alika Saxena; Brooke – Alize Abdelhak; Dewey/Kyle /Lowell–Anthony Parmelee; Nikos/Frat Boys – Guy Maslaton; Carlos/Frat Boys – Brad Moyer; Enid – Gili Zaifman; Padamadan – Arjesh Gupta; Aaron – David Zhitkov; Elle’s Mom/Delta Nu/Judge–Amanda Pyun; Elle’s Dad/Winthrop – Omer Raz and other talented actors.

African, Chinese, Flamenco, Historical Jazz, Modern and Aerial Dance Set at RVCC

Raritan Valley Community College’s (RVCC) Visual and Performing Arts Department presents

Students On Stage: Spring Performances at RVCC

DanceWorks
an evening of student and faculty dance produced by Loretta Fois, Director of RVCC’s dance program

WHEN: Tuesday and Wednesday, April 24 and 25, at 8 p.m.
WHERE
: Edward Nash Theatre at the 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg
TICKETS:  General admission tickets cost $12 each, $8 for students and seniors. For tickets, call 908-725-3420. For additional information, call 908-218-8876.

The program will feature works created by faculty and students—all performed by RVCC student dancers. Faculty choreography will include the premiere of Hooplah, choreographed by Professor Loretta Fois. The piece will be performed by the Raritan Valley Dance Ensemble, which tours local K-12 schools, senior centers and assisted living facilities.

Six student pieces were chosen for the concert and the choreography covers a diversity of styles including Chinese dance by Tina Chen (Branchburg); Flamenco by Gillian Gottlieb (Hillsborough); aerial dance by Ariel Lleva (Raritan); and modern dance pieces by Elanna Etemad (Warren), Nathan Forster (Warren), and Emily Stecher (Berkeley Heights). The student choreography is the culmination of a semester of classwork as the students created and rehearsed the new works to be performed.

Hot Miss Lil, choreographed by guest artist Barbara Angeline, is inspired by 1930s jazz dance and music. It incorporates the music and life story of Lil Hardin Armstrong, a jazz pianist, singer, composer and band leader who excelled in the music industry for almost five decades but whose reputation was overshadowed by the fame of her husband, Louis. Barbara Angeline is Artistic Director of Hysterika Jazz Dance, a dance company dedicated to expanding the legacy of jazz dance as an American art form. She is a full-time professor at Rutgers University and guest teaches at Drew University, Hofstra University and New York University’s Steinhardt School.

Knowing –  Embodied Truth is a new work by Kimani Fowlin, an African dance artist and master teacher. The piece, featuring four dancers and live percussion, reflects on community, empowerment, connection, blessing, individuality, acceptance, cooperation, justice, love, one’s unique self and collective expression—all set to the rhythm of the drum. Fowlin is the Director of Dance at Drew University and a faculty member at Rutgers.

Raritan 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 www.raritanval.edu.

Farmstead Arts Presents Spring 2018 Artists Showcase

ed_walter_POPsSpring 2018 Annual Artist Showcase and Sale

WHEN: April 22 to June 3; gallery hours will be Sundays 1:00 – 4:00 (except May 6) and Monday – Wednesday 10:00 -1:00.
WHERE:
Farmhouse Galleries, Farmstead Arts Center, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge
ADMISSION: Free
The Farmhouse is wheelchair accessible.
For more info, www.farmsteadartscenter.org
Email:
admin@farmsteadarts.org
Phone: 908-636-7576

The Farmstead proudly presents its fifth annual Artists Showcase in galleries housed in the beautifully restored 18th century Dutch colonial farmhouse. The artists will present works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic, oil, pencil, charcoal, collage, ceramic, pottery, and digital composition. Among the artists exhibiting are Basking Ridge residents Tina White, Ed Walter, Alex Bigatti, Sandy Furst, Tammy DeVoe and Irene Grabowski, Warren artists Margaret Fanning, Debbie Limoli and Peggye Tombro, Bedminster resident E. Susan Haiken, Tracy Mistichelli of Three Bridges, Bloomfield resident Kevin Grzeka, and Stefano Junior of North Plainfield. (Above: “Pops” by Ed Walter )

tina_white_Catskills-LakesideMost works are for sale and many of the artists will be present at the opening reception.

Funds for this event have been made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Local Arts Program Grant administered by The Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission. (Left: “Catskills Lakeside” by Tina White)

The Company Theatre Group to present Steve Martin’s Comedy “The Underpants”

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THE UNDERPANTS
Adapted by Steve Martin

WHEN: 6 shows only. April 21, 22, 28, 29, May 5 & 6. Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm
WHERE:
Hackensack Performing Arts Center, 102 State Street, Hackensack
TICKETS: $20-$25 at the door if available
90 minutes, no intermission
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE HERE
Visit www.theatrecompany.biz for details
Children under 4 are not permitted into the theatre. Teens and kids under 16 not permitted without parent.

The Underpants was written for the stage in 1910 by Carl Sternheim and adapted in 2002 by comedy legend Steve Martin. It is a laugh-a-minute comedy that begins with conservative German government clerk Theo Maske chastising his young wife Louise after he finds out her underpants fell down in public. SCANDAL! What comes next is a door-slamming, double entendre spewing, laugh riot of gentlemen callers, a nosy neighbor, an oblivious husband, and very proper scientist (Mr. Coluca) who walks into the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mr. Coluca (“The Blacklist,” “Blue Bloods,” “Bull,” and the upcoming Netflix Series “The Good Cop”) will join Sean Evans, Larry Kadish, Andrea Prendamano, Mark Quiles*, Bailey Shada, James Van Nostrand. Creative team includes Darren Rosen (Set Design), Phil Sosinsky (Sound) , Nicole Lentes (Wardrobe Designer), Danielle Rosato (Publicity), Frank Costello (Props/Décor), Lois Lichtenberger (Props/Décor/Script Assistant)

Mr. Coluca has appeared in multiple commercials, TV shows (The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, Bull, and the upcoming Netflix Series The Good Cop) and films (including the soon to be released The Week Of (Adam Sandler), Hot Air (Steve Coogan & Neve Campbell) and the Independent films The Mimic, Abe & Low Tide). He is a proud member of The Company Theatre Group and appeared in their 2014 production of Breaking Legs.

ABOUT THE COMPANY THEATRE GROUP
An associate Member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The Company Theatre Group is the only professional theatre company in residence at the HACPAC located at 102 State Street Hackensack, NJ

Founded in 2007, The Company Theatre Group is a non-profit, professional company of actors, writers, and directors in residence at The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, Hackensack, NJ.

Drawing inspiration from the acclaimed Group Theatre, The Company is dedicated to developing and nurturing artists in an imaginative and safe setting, while at the same time pushing the boundaries of contemporary theatre with its non-choreographed style of production.  Like the Group Theatre, The Company creates heightened authentic human behavior on stage. “Life in Fiction” we like to call it. Truly living in the moment. So, no two performances are ever the same.

The Company creates an entertaining environment and a thought-provoking experience where each audience member can feel like a 'fly on the wall', watching the lives and events of real people in real situations unfold and sometimes unravel right before their eyes.

ART/JEWELRY EXHIBIT TO OPEN IN LIVINGSTON SUNDAY, APRIL 29

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For information, call Vivian Olshen 973.650.3674

Monday, April 23, 2018

Ironbound Treasures and Community Dinner

INFO@NEWESTAMERICANS.COM
848-445-0547

Be a part of “A Christmas Carol”: Community Ensemble Auditions Begin This Week at McCarter Theatre

McCarter’s annual tradition of A Christmas Carol includes a Community Ensemble made up of local performers who help bring the story to life.

Join us at one of the following auditions for an opportunity to be a part of this exhilarating McCarter tradition.

Upcoming Auditions*

WHEN: Thursday, April 26, 7:00 – 8:30pm
WHERE
: Rider University Bart Luedeke Center, Studio 14

WHEN: Tuesday, May 1, 6:00 – 7:30pm (Session 1); 8:00 – 9:30pm (Session 2) 
WHERE: McCarter Theatre Berlind Rehearsal Room, 91 University Pl., Princeton

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

*Adults and children ages 14 and up are eligible to audition. Auditions for children ages 5 to 13 will be held in the fall.

mccarter.org

609.258.6504

Saturday, April 21, 2018

REVIEW: STIRRING “MAN IN ROOM 306” @ LUNA STAGE COMMEMORATES KING’S DEATH A HALF CENTURY AGO

Image result for luna stageBy Ruth Ross

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on the Lorraine Motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, the morning after he delivered his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech in support of the city’s sanitary workers. Although we don’t know how he spent those hours preceding the rally in his motel room, playwright Craig Alan Edwards imagines him mulling over his life; his personal relationships with his father, wife and colleagues; his successes and failures; his anxieties; and the future of the nonviolent movement to secure civil rights for blacks and poor people of every race and creed.

The result is The Man in Room 306, written by Edwards 23 years ago, workshopped at Luna Stage in 1995 and produced in 2008, starring Edwards and directed by Cheryl Katz, which is where I first reviewed the play. In the half century (!) since Dr. King’s death, one might have hoped that his goals had been reached; sadly, just looking around us, it’s all too plain that while some have been achieved, we still have work to do.

To commemorate this milestone anniversary, Luna has revived The Man in Room 306 but with a new actor and director. Once again, this tour de force production reveals a more human side to the great civil rights leader that few people know or remember, in an absorbing, extraordinary piece of theater and art—rendered even more relevant with the rise of the alt-right and prevalence of hate speech on social media.

Scenic designers Christopher and Justin Swader have replicated King’s actual motel room to evoke the venue where he spent his last hours. A half-eaten meal, an unfinished game of solitaire and papers strewn about suggest the life of a real human being soon to be interrupted. A video projected on the room’s back wall and depicting the preceding march adds immediacy to what we know lies ahead. Andy Evan Cohen’s sound design includes pigeons cooing, wings flapping and gun shots “heard” by King in a recurring nightmare, along with the prescient sounding thunder of an impending storm. And to convey the passage of time, Devon Cameron deepens the light coming through the motel windows, adding to the ominous atmosphere.

Image result for luna stageDirector Jerome Preston Bates keeps the action tight and focused, but it’s Jamil A.C. Mangan who carries the performance on his broad shoulders—always front and center—and speaking nonstop in the dulcet Southern vocal intonation that morphs smoothly into King’s more familiar preacher declamation style. Addressing the audience directly, he gives voice to his anxieties and dreams, and recalls important people in his past, even adopting their voices as they “speak” to him. His grandmother, Mama, who instilled a love of vocabulary in her precocious grandson; his overbearing and opinionated preacher father, who had his son’s life mapped out for him yet admonished him to “play it safe”; and his lively, sometimes neglected, wife Coretta who worried that his only suit might disintegrate from constant wearing! Edwards and Mangan reveal a man who would rather read the newspaper sports section than write a speech for the next day’s march, a man who dreams of being a major league baseball pitcher, a man who delights in playing practical jokes and having them played on him. And Mangan is masterful in the long, opening telephone conversation with an unknown caller; his delivery is natural, convincing and paced just like a natural conversation.

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Mangan’s King is anguished by the death of a 16-year-old boy killed in the Memphis march after he left the demonstration; by the memories of the four little girls killed in the Birmingham church bombing; and by the Mississippi children so poor that all they ate for lunch was a quarter of an apple and some crackers given to them by their teacher. Yet this King is not without humor; witness his recreation of meeting Coretta in Boston and snowing her with his oozing charm or his admission that he once wanted to become an opera singer! In a stirring scene that has him on his knees, weeping and singing a hymn to God, seeking forgiveness and, ironically, asking the Lord to “take him home”—presumably to Heaven, Mangan ably conveys King’s struggle with his personal doubts and limitations.

Luna Stage Presents 'Man In Room 306' In Honor Of MLK

And finally, Mangan’s delivery of King’s speech to the rally of sanitation workers is prophetic and sad, communicating the power of the words so beautifully that one weeps for what might have been if King had not been murdered.

The best thing about Craig Edwards’ script and Jamil Mangan’s splendid performance is that an iconic figure is humanized, reminding us that many of our idols have feet of clay, whether they be our preachers, our politicians or our parents, and that forgiveness of missteps is important if we are to move forward to the Promised Land, whatever that is for us, individually or collectively.

The play’s title says it all: The Man in Room 306 is the story of a man, not a symbol. As such, this production, appropriate for an audience including both teenagers (who might not know much about Martin Luther King, Jr., other than what they’ve read in history textbooks) and those old enough to remember seeing him on television or, perhaps, marching with him in Washington, D.C., deserves to be seen. You’ll be sorry if you miss it.

The Man in Room 306 will be performed Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange through May 13. The theater is wheelchair accessible and has an interesting Context Room for background information about Dr. King and the production. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.395.5555 or visit www.lunastage.org online.