Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
TWO WEEKS LEFT!GOOD AVAILABILITY THIS WEEK:
WHEN: OCTOBER 31 at 8pm and November 2 at 8pm
WHERE: George Street Playhouse, 103 College Farm Rd., New Brunswick
BUY TICKETS NOW
Not strictly cultural, but important, nevertheless:
WHEN: Saturday, November 3 | 8AM
WHERE: Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex, Northfield Ave., West Orange
- USATF Certified Course
- Meet and greet with the NJ Devils' mascot and alumni
- Interactive family-friendly fun and games
- Photobooths and selfie contests
- Free admission to Essex County Turtle Back Zoo with event registration
WHEN: November 1 through November 5; Thursday, November 1 at 7:30PM; Friday, November 2 at 8:00PM; Saturday, November 3 at 2:00Pm; Sunday, November 4 at 5:00PM and Monday, November 5 at 7:30PM
WHERE: The Little Theatre, 400 Jefferson Street, Hackettstown
TICKETS: $12.50 for adults and $10.00 for children under 12.
A hit on Broadway, A Year with Frog and Toad was nominated for three Tony Awards – including Best Musical. Based on Arnold Lobel's well-loved books, and featuring a hummable score by Robert and Willie Reale, this whimsical show follows two great friends – the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad – through four fun-filled seasons. Waking from hibernation in the Spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in the differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make believe... all charm, A Year with Frog and Toad tells the story of a friendship that endures throughout the seasons.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The CSC box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5PM and two hours prior to every performance. The CSC box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. Centenary Stage Company can also be found across social media platforms; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Like and follow to receive the latest in CSC news and special offers.
The 2018-2019 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, The House of the Good Shepherd, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.
WHEN: Saturday, November 3rd, at 7pm
WHERE: The Tabernacle, 26 Simpson Avenue, Mount Tabor, NJ
TICKETS: $45 General Admission
Info & Tickets
Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of 13, which began a 50-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting, and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at the age of 18 and has continued to create well crafted, introspective and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide.
From top-40 hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman,” the last two recorded by his brother James, Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling and touching ballads to full orchestra performances.
Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, shared the stage with major artists such as Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule, touring internationally. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin or something from the best of Broadway.
Livingston is a full professor at Berklee College of Music, where he has taught a Stage Performance course since 1989. He teaches young artists invaluable lessons learned over the course of an extensive career on the road; the course is consistently voted the most popular at the College. His book, Stage Performance, released in 2011 offers those lessons to anyone who is interested in elevating their presentation standards to professional standards.
Livingston's 50th year of making music was celebrated by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, both declaring January 18, 2017 "Livingston Taylor Day".
Dr. Ruth Wesheimer
WHEN: Sunday, November 4, 5 pm
WHERE: Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, 411 E. Clinton Ave., Tenafly
ADMISSION: $16 JCC members/$20 public
Ruth Westheimer, better known as Dr. Ruth, will be making a special appearance at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades on Sunday, November 4, at 5 pm, to speak about her life and the lessons she’s learned.
Known for speaking frankly about intimate matters, Dr. Ruth has enjoyed an illustrious career as a late-night radio, television and a pop culture celebrity whose humor and warmth entertained and educated thousands of viewers and listeners since the 1980s. However, there is much more to her story than most people know, and she will be sharing it with her JCC audience. Born to German, Jewish parents, Ruth was sent to Switzerland on a Kindertransport at age 10 to escape the Nazis; her father was taken by the Gestapo, and after the war, Ruth learned that both her parents had been killed in the Holocaust. She immigrated to Palestine, trained and served as a Hagenah sniper, was wounded in an explosion, and ultimately came to the US, where she worked as a maid before moving on to become a college professor, author and celebrity. Her new book, Roller-Coaster Grandma – a graphic, novel-style autobiography for ages 8-12 that depicts the ups and downs of her 90-year-journey, uses a trip to an amusement park with her grandchildren as its backdrop.
Dr. Ruth will share her amazing story in context of her book, which explores how she learned to be strong and resilient in face of hardship and how we can all apply her lessons to our own lives. Always witty and good-humored, Dr. Ruth’s presentation is sure to be hysterical and uplifting.
Program will include Dr. Ruth’s special brand of Q&A. Books will be available for purchase and signing. The event is co-sponsored with the James H Grossmann Memorial Jewish Book Month Endowment Fund.
Your Move: Modern Dance Festival
Art House Productions in partnership with Friends of Loew’s
WHEN: Friday, November 2 at 7:30pm, Sunday, November 4, at 2:oopm
Sunday, November 4, at 5:00pm
WHERE: The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater, 54 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ, 07306, adjacent to the Journal Square PATH Station
TICKETS: $18 in advance ($25 at the door).
For tickets and further information please visit www.arthouseproduction.org
Your Move: Modern Dance Festival is New Jersey’s preeminent annual modern dance festival, designed to support choreographers from New Jersey, New York, and beyond. Morgan Refakis, Christie Freeman and Meagan Woods co-produce a festival consistently recognized for high-caliber modern dance. Now in its 9th season, Your Move is thrilled to continue its partnership with Friends of the Loew’s at The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theater.
The 2018 festival features Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC). Other choreographers include: Felicia Avalos, Lauren Connolly, Gwendolyn Gussman, Joe Monteleone, Patrick O'Brien, Javier Padilla, Ambika Raina, Morgan Refakis, Jordan Ryder, Phoebe Sandford, Adriana Santoro and Shannon Yu 余香儒.
Kyle Marshall is a 2018 NY Dance and Performance “Bessie” Jury Award recipient and a 2017 NJ State Council of the Arts Fellow. His dance company, Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC) sees the dancing body as a site for celebration, an igniter of social change and a container of history. KMC has performed at venues including: Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Joe’s Pub at the Public, Actors Fund Arts Center, NJPAC, NYC Summerstage, Wassaic Arts Project, and Conduit Dance (PDX). Commissions have included: "Dance on the Lawn" Montclair's Dance Festival, NJPAC and Harlem Stage. Kyle currently dances with the Trisha Brown Dance Company and doug elkins choreography. Kyle is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance.
Art House Productions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to the development and presentation of performing and visual arts programs in Jersey City, NJ. Art House Productions presents original theater, music events, visual arts, experimental performance, classes, video/new media and the quarterly citywide arts festival, JC Fridays. For more information about our programs, please visit our website at www.arthouseproductions.org.
TICKETS: adults $23 in advance; $28 at the door. Tickets for students and seniors are priced at $18 in advance and $23 at the door. Group discount rates are available. Tickets may be reserved by phone (973-928-7668); online via the theater’s website (www.theaterleagueofclifton.com); or regular mail. The Theater League’s mailing address is: PO Box 4072, Clifton, NJ 07012. Godspell is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI), New York.
The ensemble cast includes Chris Robertson as Jesus and Craig Woodward as John The Baptist/Judas joined by Mariah Ayscue, Laura Bolt, Christie Brady, Gregory Gwyn, Reujen Lista, Sarah Medcalf, Danielle Petrucelli, Joseph Pierone, Hana Salvacion and Zariah Rivera.
Golem: Objects of Security
by Brooklyn-based artist Ryan Bock
WHEN: On View: September 29 - November 3, 2018. Closing Reception: Saturday, November 3, 6-11pm
WHERE: DEEP SPACE GALLERY, 77 Cornelison Ave., Jersey City
Spend an evening with the artist—ask him about his paintings, drawings, sculptures, and on-site installation. This is Bock's final exhibition of 2018—come help him make this year a smashing success and make one of his pieces part of your personal collection!
“My natural human inclination toward security is stifling my growth. I’m attempting to propel myself out of my comfort zone, off a cliff in both my personal and professional life in order to reach a higher comprehension of where I stand,” Ryan Bock says of his forthcoming exhibition, The Golem: Objects of Security. Paired with the artist’s shifting perspective is his presentation of previously unexplored mediums and the reimagining of practiced ones. Shapes of antiquity meet those of contemporary society and iconic symbols are abstracted and separated from their contexts. These new works include painting, sculpture, drawings, and experimental short film.
Inspired by the myth of the Golem of Prague, particularly by the German horror film that the exhibition’s title adapts, Bock confronts the duality of self-protection. It is said that the rabbi brought the Golem to life to protect the Jewish ghetto, but in time the guardian turned against its creator, desecrating the people and places in its path.
The things our contemporary society considers foundational to life—medicine, information technology, economies, stability—are the fabric of The Golem. Rather than accepting them as assurances of comfort and protection, Bock exposes their inherent vulnerability to compromise and thus the dangers they pose to the very security we rely on them for. Bock’s works give form to unexposed dark matter, calling attention to the webs and mazes that distract us from reflecting on our own contemporary condition.
Bock cautions us: Anything we view as armor may also provide the means of our demise.
Ryan Bock’s sixth solo-exhibition, The Golem: Objects of Security, includes new works, installation, and experimental short film.
JUNIE B. JONES THE MUSICAL
Book & Lyrics by MARCY HEISLER Music by ZINA GOLDRICH
Adapted from the JUNIE B. JONES series of books by BARBARA PARK
Directed by ALLISON FALKENSTERN
Choreographed by: SAMANTHA BRENNER & NACHI LEDERER
WHEN: Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 am from October 27 through December 16 (off Thanksgiving weekend)
WHERE: BLACK BOX PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, (200 Walraven Drive. (just off Palisade Ave., GPS: 290 Walraven Drive), Teaneck, NJ 07666.
TICKETS: $20 for adults, $18 for students/seniors, and $12 for children under age 12
Group rates for 10 or more are available by calling (201) 357-2221. Tickets can also be purchased at the venue; please call (201) 357-2221 for box office hours.
Tickets on sale now at BLACKBOXPAC.COM
Following last year’s successful run at The Black Box Performing Arts Center, Junie B. Jones is back with new friends, different dance numbers, and the same lovable story that is sure to delight fans of all ages!
This production of Junie B. Jones The Musical - presented in special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI) - features a rotating cast of Black Box Repertory Company members, as well as new talent: Samantha Brenner, Tyler Fuentes, Jason Felix, Sara Giacomini, Cassandra Guglielmo, Danielle MacMath, Mikey Miller, and Larissa Terese. This revival run features some brand new choreography, revamped blocking, plus new props and costumes! Director Allison Falkenstern has reinvented Junie B so that both new and returning audiences will be leaving the theatre wanting more!
The Black Box Performing Arts Center continues to emerge as the Tri-State area’s premiere destination for both cutting-edge professional theater and collaborative performing arts education — in the heart of Teaneck, NJ— just a quick ride over the George Washington Bridge. Junie B. Jones The Musical continues BBPAC’s third full season of professional theater, which includes four more ‘mainstage’ productions, ongoing immersive late-night rock musicals, ongoing pop musicals for kids, and the development of original works for the stage.
The Ed Laub Trio
WHEN: October 31, 2018 (Happy Halloween!), 7 PM
WHERE: Shanghai Jazz, 24 Main Street, Madison
- Josh Marcum – Bass
- Linus Wyrsch — Tenor Sax and Clarinet
With Special Guests:
- Vincent Curatola of the HBO Series - The Sopranos
- Gene Bertoncini – World-renowned guitarist
- (former guitarist in the Tonight Show Band with Johnny Carson)
Reservations Required: www.shanghaijazz.com
Book & Lyrics by STEVEN SATER Music by DUNCAN SHEIK
Directed by MATT OKIN
Assistant Directed by MICHAEL GARDINER
Choreographed by SAMANTHA BRENNER
Music Direction by KATHY SHEPPARD
WHEN: NOVEMBER 3-18, 2018; Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays 8 PM; Sundays 2 PM
WHERE: BLACK BOX PERFORMING ARTS CENTER, 200 Walraven Drive. (just off Palisade Ave., GPS: 290 Walraven Drive), Teaneck, NJ
TICKETS: $30 for adults and $25 for students/seniors.
Tickets are now available at www.blackboxpac.com.
Group rates for 10 or more are available by calling (201) 357-2221.
Tickets can also be purchased at the venue.
Following the inaugural summer of Shakespeare in the Park in Bergen County and season opener One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Black Box Studios is proud to announce the 2nd main stage show of the 2018-2019 season: a new production of Spring Awakening. With book and lyrics by Steven Sater and music by Duncan Sheik, Spring Awakening is a rock musical adaption of the seminal play Spring’s Awakening by Frank Wedekind.
Spring Awakening features the talents of Samantha Brenner, Tyler Fuentes, Mikey Miller, Oscar Selby, Ellen Revesz, and Laurence Wallace, with Black Box Repertory Company members Allison Falkenstern, Jason Felix, Sara Giacomini, Samuel Hapner-Goldman, Danielle MacMath, Larissa Terese, and starring Stephan Marcellus of NBC’s The Voice.
The Black Box Performing Arts Center (home of Black Box Studios) continues to emerge as the Tri-State area’s premiere destination for both cutting-edge professional theater and collaborative performing arts education — in the heart of Teaneck, NJ— just a quick ride over the George Washington Bridge. Black Box was the recipient of the 2017 Teaneck Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 Cultural Arts Award, and currently serves on the Chamber Board as the Chair of the Cultural Arts Committee.
In addition to main stage productions, Black Box PAC hosts special events including Open Mic Nights, Comedy Nights, and Junie B. Jones The Musical on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am.
A Panel of Third Generation Voices Responds
Manya Gaver ■ Jonathan Hanlon ■ Alexa Joachim
This Sunday, the Sister Rose Thering Fund for Education in Jewish-Christian Studies will host its Eighth Annual Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf Lecture. This year, the event will place a special focus on ensuring that the story of the Holocaust continues to be passed down to future generations.
Join us as we welcome Michael Rubell, director of Morris Rubell Holocaust Remembrance Journeys, and a panel of third generation Holocaust survivors for "The Next Generation: Will the Story Survive?" on Sunday, November 4, at 2 p.m. in Bethany Hall, Seton Hall University. Hear from insightful young men and women whose grandparents experienced first-hand the trauma of the Holocaust either as victims or liberators. They will share their thoughts on how their family history impacts them and will explore their and our responsibility to remember and act in the turbulent times of the present and into the future. The audience will be encouraged to pose questions to the panelists during the event.
This event is free and open to the public through the generosity of the Dr. Marcia Robbins Wilf Lecture Endowment. R.S.V.P. is requested by November 1st.
To register and for program details visit www.shu.edu/go/robbinswilf
Light reception to follow
Admission is free
Trilogy Repertory is pleased to announce auditions for its children's theater production of
Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz
PERFORMANCE DATES: Saturdays, 1/12/19, 1/19/19, and 1/26/19
WHERE: libraries located in Somerset and Morris Counties.
This is a touring production that will perform three times a day for young children and their families.
Director Peter Curley is seeking 7 high energy and enthusiastic actors who love children.
- Dorothy: female, age 17-29
- Scarecrow: male, age 20-50
- Tin Man: male, age 20-50
- Lion: male, age 20-50
- Glinda the Good Witch: female, age 18-39
- Wicked Witch of the West: female, age 18-49
- The Wizard of Oz: male, age 50-70
WHEN: Sunday, November 25, at 6 pm.
WHERE: Bernards Township Community Center, 289 South Maple Avenue,
Basking Ridge, NJ
For more information or questions, please email Peter Curley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part of NBJP's mission is to showcase the next generation of jazz musicians ... the future "greats!" This is a chance to see them NOW!
"Joy and spirited musical communication" characterize Garnett's drumming. Living legend Abbey Lincoln and the late great Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, James Carter, Regina Carter, and Cyrus Chestnut have all called on Mr. Garnett for the energy and fire that he brings to the bandstand. Mr. Garnett has also worked in the bands of many great artists:Roy Hargrove, Benny Golson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kevin Mahogany, Clark Terry, Eric Reed, Wycliffe Gordon, Milt Hinton, Marcus Printup, Greg Osby & Ellis Marsalis. Currently Mr. Garnett resides in Brooklyn and performs around the U.S. and internationally.
COME EARLY, TAVERN ON GEORGE FILLS QUICKLY!
Jazz guitarist Roni Ben-Hur has earned a sterling reputation as a musician and educator, renowned for his golden tone and ability to charm peers, students and listeners alike. He has recorded a dozen albums as leader or co-leader, with The New York Times praising his "crisp, fluid style."
Harvie S attended Berklee College of Music and moved to NYC in 1972, where he worked and recorded extensively with a host of major jazz artists. Harvie has recorded, performed and produced music exclusively as Harvie S since 2001. In 2008 Harvie S with Kenny Barron Due album, Now Was the Time, was released on HighNote/Savant Records. He has been a member of the Westchester Jazz Orchestra since 2007.
Nancy and Spencer Reed's unique brand of vocal and instrumental styling (Nancy: voice & bass, Spencer: voice & guitar) has been enjoyed by audiences for over 30 years. Their forte is their vocal blend, with tight yet natural phrasing and unusual harmony. Both grew up in New York City and started their musical collaboration as teenagers in the Bronx. They were influenced by the classic performances of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, Carmen McRae and Jackie and Roy. Their audience is always treated to a warm, relaxed vibe yet the music is swinging and intense. They offer an unusual selection of rarely heard tunes punctuated by unique treatments of jazz standards.
Monday, October 29, 2018
WHEN: Saturday, November 3, 8:00pm
WHERE: Maurice Levin Theater, JCC MetroWest, 760 Northfield Ave., West Orange
TICKETS: Senior: $13 / General Admission: $15 / Free for NJJFF ’19 Sponsors
By Ruth Ross
The loud, raucous laughter you may have heard coming from Madison on Saturday night was provoked by the uproarious Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s penultimate offering of the troupe’s 36th season, an old chestnut of a British comedy, Charley’s Aunt. Although more familiar to American audiences in its musical version, Where’s Charley? (which propelled Ray Bolger to stardom), the original version, written by Brandon Thomas in 1892 for a local hunt club’s annual sponsorship of a new play, can be considered the granddaddy of modern farce, preceding such gems as Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) and Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear (1907). (Above L-R: Isaac Hickox-Young, Erica Knight, Seamus Mulcahy, Emiley Kiser and Aaron McDaniel)
STNJ’s version of Charley’s Aunt pays faithful homage to the genre’s fast-paced, wacky formula of earnest young lovers vs. scheming parents/guardians, a preposterous disguise, an unflappable butler, witty dialogue, physical comedy and cross-dressing. The result: an evening of absurd fun—just the antidote to take one’s mind off our present-day woes.
Thomas’ ridiculous plot revolves around college boys Jack Chesney and Charles Wykeham, who, to gain the affections of the lovely Amy Spettigue and Kitty Verdun, invite the girls to tea in Jack’s rooms. The fly in the ointment is the lack of a chaperone so necessary to maintain respectability. When Charles learns that his guardian (whom he has never met), the elderly Donna Lucia D’Alvadorez, is coming to London, they attempt to enlist her in their scheme, but she declines to attend. What to do? Well, recruit their hard-up friend Lord Fancourt (“Babbs”) Babberly to don his amateur theatrical costume and impersonate Donna Lucia. The lie results in madcap mayhem as lecherous father/uncle/guardians disrupt the plan, the real Donna Lucia appears and complications multiply like rabbits. (Above L-R: Hickox-Young, McDaniel and Seams Mulcahy)
Once again, Joseph Discher proves he is an accomplished director of comedy; he keeps the action swirling around the stage without mishap as his talented cast deals very well with credible posh British accents delivering snappy repartee. Aaron McDaniel is smashing as Jack, the scheme’s mastermind. Thinking quickly on his feet, he’s always one step ahead of anyone else, his intelligence on full display, even if it’s used for silly mischief. Isaac Hickox-Young’s lovable yet dim Charley is no match for his friend’s connivance, which sets him adrift when things inevitably go wrong. On the distaff side, Emiley Kiser’s ditzy Amy Spettigue provides good dramatic foil to the more cynical Kitty Verdun, played with wise calculation by Erica Knight. As the real Donna Lucia, Erika Rolfsrud sails around the stage like a frigate; dignified yet girlish, she has great fun tweaking the situation without revealing her true identity. In a smaller role, that of Ela Delahay, Sally Kingsford ably conveys the young girl’s fanciful, romantic nature, notwithstanding her coincidental appearance on the scene. (Above, right: Rolfsrud and Sally Kingsford)
Adding to the bedlam are the two old men, both stock characters of English comedy. Stephen Spettigue, uncle of Amy and guardian of Kitty, is portrayed with bluster by John Ahlin; his courtship of Charley’s (fake) Aunt is lecherously hilarious. In contrast, David Andrew MacDonald’s Col. Sir Frances Chesney (below, right, with Mulcahy), Jack’s father, is more circumspect in his wooing, ever the gentleman who, when refused by his would-be inamorata, takes no for an answer and casts his marital net elsewhere. And overseeing the hijinks is the butler Brassett, played by Peter Simon Hilton (above, left) as a supercilious curmudgeon who has the true measure of these ridiculous people he serves and is not above letting the audience know exactly how he feels about them.
Seamus Mulcahy (right) as “Babbs,” portraying Charley’s very fictional aunt, is a force unto himself. His agility at physical comedy, his expressive face, his ability to milk a line of ludicrous dialogue are the true engines that drive the pandemonium to heights of wild laughter. Just watching him manage a hoop skirt is worth the price of a ticket.
This mayhem unfolds on an elegant set designed by Brian Prather: an Oxford college room, a garden and a London drawing room provide a canvas suitable to the time, place and action. Natalie Loveland’s elegant costumes befit each character. In his shorts, knee-high socks, white shoes, blazer and cap, Charley is the quintessential Oxford toff, and as he wrestles with them, Babbs’ hoop-skirted dowager’s black dress and lace scarf almost become characters themselves.
Debuting 1892, Charley’s Aunt was a huge hit, with an original London run of 1466 performances over four years and a long Broadway run in 1893! Yet underlying the fluff and silliness onstage, Charley’s Aunt has a deeper, more important message: It’s the power of love—the force that makes us do great and stupid things, sacrifice ourselves for it—is, as Discher says in his Director’s Notes, what “makes all the trouble worth it.”
So, give yourself and your family/friends a pre-Christmas gift of tickets to Charley’s Aunt. Its message of love and acceptance is even more important. Leavening such a weighty theme with absurdity provides worthy diversion from the upcoming election and political mischief Once again STNJ proves that it is a formidable theatrical force in suburban New Jersey. We are lucky to have such a talented troupe in our midst.
Charley’s Aunt will be performed at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theater, 36 Madison Ave., Madison, on the campus of Drew University through November 18. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.408.5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org online.
Photo credits: Jerry Dalia.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
By Ruth Ross
Courtroom dramas are among the most popular, long-lived genres on film, stage and television. Think Twelve Angry Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Few Good Men, Judgment at Nuremburg and the venerable Perry Mason television series so popular in the late 50s – early 60s. Most follow a set formula, with an important revelation made in the penultimate scene that completely turns the plot on its head and surprises the characters as well as the audience. (Above L-R: Peter Frechette, Flor De Liz Perez, Margarita Levieva, Melissa Maxwell, John Bolger)
That said, The Trial of Donna Caine, now making its world premiere at George Street Playhouse, fits comfortably in the genre. Despite feeling a bit like a “paint by numbers” set, Walter Anderson’s drama “inspired by actual events” is saved by its discussion of women’s role in the military—in this case, the toughest of the armed services, the Marines. Unfortunately, what starts so promisingly ends up being rather predictable, with a saved-by-the-bell disclosure that comes out of nowhere.
The Trial of Donna Caine is inspired by real-life events surrounding the “Ribbon Creek Incident,” a 1956 training mishap that resulted in the drowning deaths of six U.S. Marines. Playwright Walter Anderson has updated the play so that three of the recruits are female, as is their drill instructor Staff Sgt. Donna Caine (Flor De Liz Perez, left), who finds herself on trial for their deaths. To instill trust and engender esprit de corps in what had been a less-than-stellar platoon, she led them, against regulations, into a tidal creek, noted for its varying depths and the vicissitudes of the tides. When Caine is accused of the serious crime of manslaughter, feisty attorney Emily Zola Ginsberg takes up the cause and, mounting a spirited defense of her client, takes on the military establishment to expose the truth.
Anderson’s script is riveting and timely, for the most part. We are all familiar with the glitches produced by newly installed computer software; not enough mention was made about such software early in the play. Had there been, the revelation would have been inevitable.
That said, Director David Saint lets several characters get away from him. As Ron Kuby-clone defense attorney Vincent Stone, Peter Frechette speaks too quickly and often sounds more like he’s reciting written dialogue than uttering words he thought of himself. Similarly, John Bolger’s prosecutor Roy Gill sounds equally unconvincing, especially when talking on the telephone. And Julia Brothers’ Lt. Col Sandra Eden, Caine’s commanding officer and advocate for men and women Marines training together, sounds wooden, mechanical, although privately she expresses compassion for Caine that is poignant. (Right: Kally Duling and Michael Cullen)
Other actors nail their characters admirably well. With her non-nonsense attitude leavened with a touch of humor, Melissa Maxwell’s Judge Easton maintains tight control on the court proceedings, and Ryan George as Donna Caine’s attractive fiancé “Gunny” Walker walks a fine line between telling the truth and protecting her. Michael Cullen is blustery yet caring as Sgt. Maj. Clayton Williams, who is willing to admit he at first opposed women in the corps but has evolved; his personal connection to Caine and her father surely had something to do with it.
That leaves dynamic performances by Margarita Levieva (Ginsberg), Flor De Liz Perez (Caine; both left) and Kally Duling (PFC Ellen Colessio). Despite the sappy reference to Emile Zola in her character’s name, Levieva’s Ginsberg is dogged, spirited and kind, despite her client’s refusal to cooperate. She fleshes out Ginsberg’s back story in a matter of fact manner, not currying pity from Caine or the audience, but her personal connection to Stone—just as Caine has to Williams—sounds a bit too pat, too coincidental to be believable. Perez portrays Caine as a “Marine’s Marine,” unbending, scrupulously following regulations, sure she didn’t make a mistake about the tide and full of shame at having caused the deaths of her recruits. At times unlikeable, Perez’s Caine becomes more human as the trial progresses, so that we ultimately root for a verdict in her favor. And Duling is resentment personified as PFC Colessio, a recruit on the receiving end of Caine’s religious application of Marine regulations. As she goes after Caine under cross examination, she loses our sympathy, which makes her change of heart after learning more about her drill instructor all the more satisfying.
James Youmans is to be lauded for his scenic and media design. The use of screens and projections to change scenery makes for smooth transitions that might otherwise be distracting. Jason Lyons’ lighting design enhances the atmosphere, as does the original music and sound design by Scott Killian. (Right: John Bolger, Melissa Maxwell, and Julia Brothers)
The premise for The Trial of Donna Caine is timely and relevant, especially when we are involved in a 17-year-long war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two coincidences I noted are annoying but do not really affect the plot or outcome of the drama. Perhaps, as the run proceeds, the actors will settle into their roles and give more convincing performances. That I was blindsided by the revelatory disclosure is, I think, because the involved actors spoke so quickly that I missed its initial hint.
If you love courtroom dramas, you’ll probably enjoy The Trial of Donna Caine. A respectable addition to the genre, it will engender discussion about the recent decision to open military combat positions to women.
The Trial of Donna Caine will be performed at George Street Playhouse’s temporary location at 103 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, through November 11. For information and tickets, call the box office at 732.246.7717 or visit www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org online.
Photos by T. Charles Erickson
Friday, October 26, 2018
PIANIST STEVEN MASI: CHAMBER MUSIC BY BRAHMS
WHEN: Sun, October 28, 3 pm
WHERE: Kaplen JCC, 411 East Clinton Avenue, Tenafly
For more information, visit jccotp.org/Thurnauer or call 201-408-1465.
Pianist Steven Masi will be joined by friends for a performance of chamber music by Johannes Brahms, including the Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano, Sonatensatz for Violin and Piano and the Quintet for Piano and Strings. Steven will be joined by violinists Laura Goldberg and Samuel Katz, violist Sarah Adams, cellist Barbara Stein Mallow, and clarinetist Diana Petrella. The concert, which will conclude with a reception, is free with suggested $10 donation.
Dorothy Kaplan Roffman, founding director of the Thurnauer School of Music said, “Steven has been a treasured faculty member at the Thurnauer School of Music for more than 20 years. We are delighted to present him and his wonderful musician friends in an afternoon of glorious music by Brahms.”
Acclaimed as an artist of unusual sensitivity and virtuosity, pianist Steven Masi has concertized extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia. In 2017, Masi released his recording of the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, on the Albany label. Writing in Fanfare Magazine, Colin Clarke wrote, "Masi hardly seems to feel technical hurdles. It is as if everything is in the service of Beethoven." As a recitalist and chamber musician he has appeared at the Casals Festival, Aspen Music Festival, Chattauqua Festival, Park City International Festival, Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, and Music Festival of the Hamptons. He has been guest soloist with The Atlanta Symphony, American Symphony, and New Symphony Orchestra of London. In Germany he was an artist member of the Bonn Chamber Music Society and recorded extensively for the Southwest German Radio and Aulos Records. He has toured the United States with the Bonn Woodwind Quintet, and as a member of the Odyssey Chamber Players and Leonore Trio. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Mr. Masi lives in Leonia, New Jersey with his wife, clarinetist Diana Petrella and son Aidan. Read more at StevenMasi.com.
About the JCC Thurnauer School of Music
The JCC Thurnauer School of Music has been named a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Serving over 400 students from infancy through adulthood, it offers a comprehensive program similar to the finest pre-college conservatories. The Thurnauer experience includes instrumental lessons, ensembles, and classes, master classes with world-renowned artists; a chamber music series; faculty recitals; frequent student performances; and a 20+ year partnership with the Englewood Public School District. The school is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education and received an award for “excellence and high standards” from The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
19th ANNUAL RUTGERS JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL
WHEN: Oct. 30 – Nov. 11
WHERE: AMC Loews New Brunswick 18, 17 US Highway 1 South, New Brunswick (AMC); and Princeton Garden Theatre (PGT), 160 Nassau Street, Princeton
TICKETS: Film tickets are $13 with discounted tickets for seniors and students available. Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended as screenings often sell out prior to the festival.
The Rutgers Jewish Film Festival heads into its nineteenth season, offering a great diversity of award-winning, international films. Fifteen feature films, five New Jersey premieres, and thought-provoking discussions with filmmakers, actors, scholars, and other noteworthy guests will be featured. The festival is sponsored by Rutgers’ Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and supported by the Karma Foundation.
The Interpreter, the Slovakian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2019 Academy Awards, opens the festival at the AMC with a special appearance by critically-acclaimed Austrian lead actor Peter Simonischek. Appearing in more than sixty films since 1980, Simonischek was the lead actor in the German film Toni Erdmann, a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2017 Oscars. An emotional journey through rural Slovakia ensues when a man is hired as an interpreter by the son of the Nazi officer who murdered his parents during World War II. A moving tale that deals with memory at both a personal and collective level, the film focuses on the unlikely friendship that develops between the two men. Opening night also includes a buffet dinner and dessert reception for festival sponsors. Two additional screenings of the film will be held: On November 4 at AMC (also attended by Simonischek), and on November 7 at PGT.
Documentary films are presented on a variety of topics including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the hijacking of an Israeli passenger bus, baseball, and identical triplets separated at birth. Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel is the heartwarming story of the 2017 Israeli national baseball team making it into the World Baseball Classic for the very first time. New Jersey native Seth Kramer, a director of the film, as well as New York Mets player Ty Kelly will make a special appearance at the November 4 screening of the film at AMC.
The New Jersey premiere of Who Will Write Our History, a film about brave resistance fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto who risked their lives to document Jewish life in the ghetto, is a main festival feature. The film is based on Professor Samuel Kassow’s book of the same name. Prof. Kassow, Trinity College, will be the guest speaker at the November 11 matinee screening at the AMC. Acclaimed director Roberta Grossman, the film’s director, will make a guest appearance at the November 5 screening at PGT.
A special panel discussion, “Writing about Historical Events,” with Samuel Kassow and Moshe Zonder will be held on November 11 at 2:00 p.m. at the AMC. Zonder was the head writer for Fauda, the enormously popular Israeli television series turned Netflix Original. A prolific screenwriter for film and television, he also has a background in investigative journalism as a reporter for the Israeli newspaper Maariv. Zonder is participating in the Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist program sponsored by the Israel institute. Kassow, who wrote the book Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering A Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto, is an expert on the history of Ashkenazi Jewry. The program is free, but tickets are required for entrance.
As part of the Bildner Center’s effort to support and supplement classroom learning about the Holocaust, the festival will present a free film screening for middle and high school students from across New Jersey. A Bag of Marbles, a moving French film that showcases the fortitude and resilience of two young Jewish brothers who must flee occupied France for the Free Zone in 1941, will be presented in partnership with Rutgers’ Herbert and Leonard Littman Families Holocaust Resource Center. Henry and Bernard Schanzer, twin brothers now living in New Jersey who were hidden together as young boys on a farm in France, will speak with the students after the screening.
Closing night features the powerful Israeli drama An Israeli Love Story, set in the tumultuous years of 1947-1948 and based on the real life story of theater director and actress Pnina Gary. A young couple must navigate both their budding romance and their commitment to the struggle for Jewish independence from the British. An additional matinee showing will be held on November 8 at AMC.
For the schedule, ticket information, and speaker updates, visit the website BildnerCenter.Rutgers.edu/film. Festival staff can also be reached by phone at 848-932-4166, or by email at email@example.com.
Following is a full list of films and dates. Check the website for additional speakers.
New Jersey Premiere
The Body Collector (Netherlands, 2016, drama, 142 minutes)
Dutch with English subtitles • Director Tim Oliehoek
The highest-rated mini-series in Dutch television history, this true-life drama depicts the heavy price paid by journalists in their search for truth and justice. As the idealistic editor-in-chief of De Telegraaf, Hans Knoop becomes personally involved in the hunt for Pieter Menten, a Nazi war criminal living a lavish existence in a villa outside Amsterdam. This dramatic film follows Knoop’s struggle to uncover Menten’s dark past.
Thursday, November 1, 7:00 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Avi Lewis, documentary filmmaker
After the war, charismatic David Bermann recruits fellow Holocaust survivors for a money-making scheme to realize their shared dream of rebuilding their lives in America. Their clever strategy brings in much-needed cash, until David’s secret past begins to catch up with him. Accused of collaborating with the Nazis, he must convince both his friends and American interrogators of his innocence. This dark comedy is based largely on co-screenwriter Michel Bergmann’s debut novel The Traveling Salesmen, inspired by his own family history.
- Tuesday, October 30, 3:30 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Michael Levine, Rutgers University
- Wednesday, November 7, 7:30 p.m., at PGT
Speaker: Professor Benjamin Lapp, Montclair State University
- Saturday, November 10, 9:30 p.m., at AMC
Disobedience (UK/Ireland/USA, 2017, drama, 114 minutes)
English • Director Sebastián Lelio
After living in New York for decades, Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns to North London for her estranged father’s funeral. Her arrival causes an uproar in the Orthodox Jewish community that shunned her decades earlier for her attraction to Esti (Rachel McAdams), her childhood best friend. Based on the novel of the same name by Naomi Alderman, Disobedience examines the boundaries between personal freedom and faith as Ronit and a now-married Esti rekindle their repressed romance.
Sunday, November 11, 4:00 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Michal Raucher, Dept. of Jewish Studies, Rutgers
The Dybbuk (Poland, 1937, drama – New Restoration – 123 minutes)
Yiddish with English subtitles • Director: Michał Waszyński
A rich, ethnographic tapestry of Jewish legend, The Dybbuk is a Yiddish-language drama based on S. Ansky’s seminal play about a bride possessed by a dybbuk, or disconnected soul. The film weaves a mystical tale from the Hasidic shtetls of the late nineteenth century with the story of two close friends, Sender and Nisn, who vow that their first-born children will marry one another. The Dybbuk presented here is a new restoration of the 1937 classic, which was originally filmed just before the outbreak of World War II.
Thursday, November 8, Noon, at AMC
Speaker: Dr. Agnieskza Legutko, Columbia University
Foxtrot (Germany/France/Israel, 2017, drama, 108 minutes)
German, Arabic, and Hebrew with English subtitles • Director: Samuel Maoz
When Michael and Dafna receive the news that their son Jonathan has died at his military outpost, the family struggles to cope with their unfathomable loss. The film reveals the surreal events that led to Jonathan’s death, and circumstances that mirror a family and society trapped in an unending cycle of conflict. Inspired by the director’s own experience as a soldier in the Israeli army, Foxtrot portrays a tragic yet universal story of grief as it moves from trauma to catharsis.
Winner: Israeli Academy Awards in multiple categories, including Best Film and Best Actor
Sunday, November 4, 7:00 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Yael Zerubavel, Dept. of Jewish Studies, Rutgers
Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel (USA/Israel/Japan/South Korea, 2018, documentary, 91 min.)
English • Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, and Jeremy Newberger
Heading Home follows the unlikely story of Israel’s national baseball team and its advance to the World Baseball Classic for the first time in history. The 2017 line-up includes several Jewish-American Major League players - Ike Davis, Ty Kelly, and Ryan Lavarnway. While some have little connection to Judaism, the players find themselves unexpectedly engaged in soul-searching during their first-ever visit to Israel, developing a sense of pride in their heritage while defending their team’s reputation on the field.
Sunday, November 4, 2:45 p.m., at AMC
Speakers: Seth Kramer, director, and Ty Kelly, New York Mets
Saturday, November 10, 7:15 p.m., at AMC
The Interpreter (Slovakia, 2018, drama, 113 minutes)
German, Slovak, Russian, and Ukrainian with English subtitles • Director: Martin Šulík
When Ali is hired as an interpreter by the son of the SS officer who murdered his parents during the war, an unlikely road trip ensues. Their emotional trek takes them through the Slovak countryside, where Ali and Georg discover a nation eager to forget its role in the Holocaust. Meanwhile, the two men develop an unexpected friendship as they uncover the complexities of their overlapping stories.
Tuesday, October 30, 7:00 p.m., at AMC (OPENING NIGHT)
Speaker: Peter Simonischek, lead actor
Sunday, November 4, 11:45 a.m., at AMC
Speaker: Peter Simonischek, lead actor
Wednesday, November 7, 1:00 p.m., at PGT
An Israeli Love Story (Israel, 2017, drama, 93 minutes)
Hebrew with English subtitles • Director: Dan Wolman
Based on the true story of theater director and actress Pnina Gary, An Israeli Love Story tells a passionate story of love and independence. Set in the turbulent years of 1947-1948, Eli and Margalit are torn between their love for one another and where they see their own futures in the Jewish state. Margalit seeks the spotlight in the budding theater world of Tel Aviv, while Eli’s allegiance is to the struggle for Jewish independence from the British. As their commitment to each other grows, the harsh reality of life in Israel intervenes.
Thursday, November 8, 3:30 p.m., at AMC
Sunday, November 11, 7:30 p.m., at AMC (CLOSING NIGHT)
Speaker: Director invited
The Last Suit (Argentina/Spain, 2017, drama 86 minutes)
Spanish, German, Polish, and Yiddish with English subtitles • Director: Pablo Solarz
Abraham Bursztein has built a successful life in Argentina, but at 88, finds his place in the world diminished. When his daughters arrange his move into a retirement home, he plots a secret, one-way road trip, refusing to fade quietly away. This charming film accompanies Abraham on his bittersweet journey back in time and halfway around the world, where he plans to keep a promise to the Christian friend who saved him from certain death at the end of World War II.
116 Cameras (USA, 2017, 16 minutes)
English • Director: Davina Pardo
A Holocaust survivor's story is preserved so that she will be able to tell it forever - through an interactive hologram.
Saturday, November 3, 9:30 p.m., at AMC
Tuesday, November 6, 11:30 a.m., at PGT
Thursday, November 8, 7:30 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Natasha Zaretzky, Rutgers-Newark and NYU
New Jersey Premiere
Muhi: Generally Temporary (Israel/Germany, 2017, documentary, 89 minutes)
Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Directors: Rina Castelnouvo-Hollander and Tamir Elterman
Muhi: Generally Temporary recounts the extraordinary journey of a Palestinian boy whose spirit sustains him and the staff at the hospital where he has lived for more than seven years. Born with a congenital disease, Muhi was rushed from Gaza to Israel as an infant for a life-saving treatment. This inspiring documentary explores Israeli-Palestinian tensions through the lens of Muhi’s unique circumstances, seeing past the limitations of identity, nationality, and religion and beyond the broader conflict that divides this lively child’s world.
Nominated: Israeli Academy Award for Best Documentary, 2017
Sunday, November 4, 12:15 p.m., at AMC
RBG provides an intimate portrait of the exceptional life and career of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from her battles for women’s equality in the workplace to her ongoing legacy on the U.S. Supreme Court and her unlikely role as a pop culture icon.
Thursday, November 1, 4:00 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Ruth Mandel, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University
Sunday, November 11, 1:15 p.m., at AMC
New Jersey Premiere
Remember Baghdad (Iraq/UK/Israel, 2016, documentary, 69 minutes)
Arabic, English, and Hebrew with English subtitles • Director: Fiona Murphy
As descendants of the scholars who wrote the Babylonian Talmud, Iraqi Jews held a presence in the country for 2,600 years, until their remaining numbers were forced to flee in 1967. In this moving documentary, four families reflect with nostalgia, clarity, fear, and regret on both the heyday and turbulence of Jewish life in their native country. The film entwines archival footage with home movies and scenes from contemporary Baghdad, where one Jewish man returns to purchase a house and stake a claim to his ancestral homeland.
Sunday, November 11, 11:45 a.m., at AMC
In 1984, four armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked a bus en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon, taking the passengers hostage and steering the bus towards Gaza. Through interviews with Israeli officials at the time and dramatic reenactments of the bus takeover and the daring rescue, this powerful documentary portrays the human drama and personal stories behind both the hijacking and subsequent investigation that rocked Israeli society.
Thursday, November 1, 1:15 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Moshe Zonder, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist, Bildner Center, and head writer of Israeli TV series Fauda
Tuesday, November 6, 2:00 p.m., at PGT
Three Identical Strangers (USA, 2018, documentary, 96 minutes)
English • Director: Tim Wardle
Through a series of coincidences, three complete strangers discover they are identical triplets who were separated at birth and adopted by different families. Though they lived within 100 miles of each other, the triplets and their families did not know of the others’ existence. This remarkable documentary follows the chain of events set in motion by their serendipitous reunion, unearthing an extraordinary and disturbing secret that transcends the triplets’ own incredible story.
Winner: Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival
Saturday, November 3, 7:15 p.m., at AMC
Sunday, November 4, 5:30 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Allan V. Horwitz, Board of Governors Professor, Department of Sociology and Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research, Rutgers
New Jersey Premiere
Who Will Write Our History (USA, 2018, documentary, 90 minutes)
English and Polish with English subtitles • Director: Roberta Grossman
Soon after the Nazis sealed the Warsaw Ghetto, a brave group of resistance fighters compiled and hid some 35,000 pages of testimonies about life in the ghetto. Gathered over three years, the documents were hidden underground in milk cans and metal cases. Combining excerpts from this secret archive with interviews and rare footage, this powerful documentary dramatizes the pen-and-paper rebellion waged by those who risked their lives to ensure that the truth would outlive them. The film is based on the book of the same name by Samuel Kassow.
Monday, November 5, 7:30 p.m., at PGT
Speaker: Roberta Grossman, director
Sunday, November 11, 3:30 p.m., at AMC
Speaker: Professor Samuel Kassow, Charles H. Northam Professor of History, Trinity College
Writing about Historical Events: A Panel Discussion
- Professor Samuel Kassow, Trinity College
- Moshe Zonder, Schusterman Visiting Israeli Artist, Bildner Center
- Moderator: Nancy Sinkoff, Academic Director, the Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life
Zonder and Kassow will discuss the challenges of developing historical and contemporary events for the television and movie screen.
Sunday, November 11, 2:00 p.m., at AMC
Entrance is free. Tickets are required.