Wednesday, October 17, 2018

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE SUPPORTS “SPIRIT DAY 2018”

Newly opened The Loft

SPIRIT DAY 2018

WHEN: Thursday, October 18

Paper Mill Playhouse and the company of The Color Purple support “Spirit Day 2018” in the video clip below.  This year’s Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to "go purple" on Spirit Day is a way for everyone to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.

WATCH A YOUTUBE VIDEO HERE

WATCH ANOTHER VIDEO HERE

Paper Mill Playhouse, recipient of the  Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2016, is currently showing The Color Purple, directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle. The Color Purple is a Tony Award-winning revival based upon the novel written by Alice Walker and the Warner Bros./Amblin Entertainment motion picture with a book by Marsha Norman and music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray.

Cast members from the 2015 Broadway revival lead the Paper Mill Playhouse company, including Adrianna Hicks (Aladdin, Sister Act - Germany) as Celie, Carla R. Stewart (Ghost - National Tour, Rent - Regional) as Shug Avery and Carrie Compere (Holler If You Hear Me, Shrek the Musical - National Tour) as Sofia.

The Color Purple runs through October 21, 2018. 

Tickets available at www.PaperMill.org.

Reminder: Do You Have Your Halloween Costume Set?

Photo credits: Avery Brunkus, 2014.

REVIEW: ACERBIC SECRET-PROBING DRAMA SEARS STAGE @ CHATHAM PLAYERS

by Ruth Ross

To (badly) paraphrase Tolstoy, “Happy families keep secrets. Unhappy families keep secrets so shocking that their divulgence could ruin images, reputations, relationships and—even worse—the way we view ourselves.”

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, shoes, living room, table and indoor

One such family, the Wyeths, is the focus of Jon Robin Baitz’s modern drawing room drama now onstage at the Chatham Players, whose carefully curated lives are about to blown apart. Daughter Brooke has returned to her parents’ home in Palm Springs, California, after a six-year absence to celebrate Christmas with her brother and her aunt. The problem? Brooke has brought with her a draft of what turns out to be a memoir dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family's history—a wound they don't want reopened: the suicide of her late brother Henry, who had been involved with the radical underground subculture in Venice, CA and a horrific incident resulting from their advocacy. In effect, Brooke draws a line in the sand and dares them all to cross it. (Above L-R: Lynn Langone, Adriana Spizuoco, David Romankov, Terri Sturdevant, Scott Tyler)

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, people standing and indoorUnder Jonathan Wierzbicki’s taut direction, the layers of secrecy are peeled away bit by bit until a stunning confession is made in the play’s final scenes. For one thing, Polly and Lyman Wyeth are Reagan Republicans so fervent that photos of Nancy Reagan, Frank Sinatra and Barry Goldwater share the fireplace mantel with those of family. That their oldest child was involved in the bombing of a military recruitment center that killed a custodian rocked their world, so much so that many of their friends abandoned them. In addition, Brooke’s crippling depression and own suicide attempt, not to mention a failed marriage, have led her to believe that writing such a memoir is vital to her recovery and her family, whether they approve of it or not. Too, Polly’s Jewish background has been hushed up, and her sister Silda Graumart (Sturdevant, above, with Tyler) is a liberal alcoholic recently released from rehab who has helped Brooke write her book. The only family member who appears to have no secrets is son Trip, the creator and producer of a successful reality courtroom television show; trying to remain cheerful in the face of disaster, he attempts to broker peace between Brooke and her parents.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and beardThe quintet of actors assembled by Wierzbicki is more than up to tackling Baitz’s riveting script. In what I believe is one of her finest performances, Lynn Langone (left, with David Romankov; Terri Sturdevant in background) is disapproving and cruel as the brittle Polly, determined to retain her place in Republican society. She maintains this demeanor until the final scenes, when she finally throws away pretense to reveal a woman who has suffered mightily and continues to do so. David Romankov’s Lyman is more loving toward his offspring, his sadness at losing a son more evident early in the play. GOP chair and former film actor (cowboys, police procedurals, much in the vein of Ronald Reagan), he sustains an almost noble stoicism in the face of adversity.

Image may contain: 2 people, people sittingScott Tyler (right) as Trip bounces around the Roy Pancirov’s sleek set like a tennis ball, trying to deflect the conversation from dangerous subjects. He clearly loves his sister and his parents, even though the latter (especially his mother) think he’s wasting his time and talent on a reality television show. And Terri Sturdevant has a grand time playing Silda, drunkenly careening around the living room, spouting Yiddish terms just to annoy Polly and sticking up for her beleaguered niece. Beneath her wisecracks is a woman at odds with her sister’s political views, sad that their one-time writing partnership dissolved over diverging ideals yet a bit gleeful to use Brooke to get back a bit of her own.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, beard, table and indoorAdriana Spizuoco (left, with Romankov) is wonderful as Brooke, the central character around whom the conflict swirls. Her angst is convincing, her sparring with her sibling natural and her reactions to her mother very believable. The loss of Henry, her best friend, is the root of her depression; in her dogged desperation to learn the truth, she’s unmindful of the others’ feelings, pushing them until the secret is revealed. She’s an actor to watch.

In his Director’s Notes, Wierzbicki notes that Baitz’s conflicted characters are “lovingly cruel, depressingly hopeful, happily woeful,” and I second that observation. The actors onstage feel like a real family. When the lights go down, we have confidence that, once the truth is out, they’ll come to terms with their grief and be more understanding of each other.

Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, Other Desert Cities is a worthy addition to the more cutting edge plays the Chatham Players have presented over the past 20 years. This community theater once again proves that there are dramatic “gems” in the suburbs of New Jersey. Attracting superb actors, they remind us that we don’t have to pay hefty tolls and parking fees to enjoy top-quality theater. Don’t miss this production.

Other Desert Cities will be performed at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave., Chatham, through October 20. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.763.7363 or visit www.chathamplayers.org online.

Photos by Howard Fischer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

ECLECTIC CONCERT @ GRACE EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN MADISON THIS FRIDAY

Image result for John Priori

MAX’D OUT!

WHEN: Friday, October 19, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
Grace Episcopal Church, 4 Madison Avenue, Madison
ADMISSION: Admission is by freewill donation at the door, and a reception follows.
For more information about Grace Community Music call 973-377-0106 or visit www.gracemadison.org

This eclectic concert has something for everyone. Versatile musician Max Morden will be joined by his trio, John Prioi, and Anders Bostrom, performing on a variety of trumpets, flutes, pianos, synthesizers, guitars & vocals, in a fusion of jazz, pop, rock, Broadway, movies and beyond, from Miles Davis, Al Jarreau, Chick Corea, to The Beatles.

Max Morden is a musician noted for his abilities to cross genres He has been heard in a variety of groups from orchestras to Broadway, and has performed with numerous artists such as Dave Brubeck, Wycliffe Gordon, Joe Locke, Billy Drummond, Rob Paparozzi, Wyclef Jean, Little Steven, Max Weinberg, Gloria Gaynor, and Bernard Purdie. Much of his professional performance is as the principal soloist for numerous churches. He serves as principal trumpet for Oratorio Society of New Jersey and Bergen Sinfonia, is trumpeter for Chico Mendoza Latin Jazztet, Cubano Be Cubano Bop, leads a trio called Max’d Out, and is principal cornet for Gramercy Brass. His work with rocker Glen Burtnik includes arranging for horns and strings, soloist, guitar, voice, and leading the horn section Glen calls the Maximum Horns. He frequently finds himself as a guest soloist with the world-renowned Celtic group Cherish the Ladies, and as conductor for an all-star big band comprised of members of the Lincoln Center, Duke Ellington, Vanguard, and Count Basie jazz orchestras. As a composer and arranger, many of his works have been published and featured on recordings, in schools, churches, bands, choirs, and for artists like Allen Vizzutti, Steve Turre, Canadian Brass, New York Philharmonic Brass, Dena DeRose, Dave Brubeck, and Scott Mendoker. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Eastern Michigan University, a Masters in Jazz/Commercial Music Performance from Manhattan School of Music, and Doctoral studies in classical performance from Rutgers University. Max has a dog named Zep, a cat named Ginger, a son named Matthew, a daughter named Amanda, and a wife named Robyn.

Anders Bostrom started his flute studies in Sweden at the age of 12. After finishing his studies at the music high school, Sodra-Latin in Stockholm, he recorded an album with the Swedish group, Sonant Space, on Caprice records. Further studies, at the Royal Academy in Stockholm in the jazz instrumental program, led to a desire for a higher level of jazz education and subsequently a transfer to Berklee College of Music, in Boston. At Berklee College of Music, Anders performed with a student group at the Norwegian Floating Jazz Festival with Gary Burton. While still in Boston, Anders won the Down Beat College Jazz Instrumentalist award and recorded with Ahmad Monsour, Sergio Brandao and Manga-Rosa, Jonatha Brook and the Story, Brian Ales and three albums with the world music group, Full Circle, on CBS records. After finishing his studies in Boston where he studied with Charlie Banacos and Jerry Bergonzi, Anders moved to New York City. In New York, Anders got to play, record, and tour with conga legend, Giovanni Hidalgo, along with other well-known jazz leaders: Walt Weiskopf, Donny McCaslin, and Roberta Picket. He additionally played with McCoy Tyner’s Latin band as a sub for David Valentin. Anders has appeared as a sideman on some 40+ albums and has for the last 20 years been playing on Broadway, where his extensive use of ethnic flutes has landed him positions in shows such as Shrek the Musical, Tarzan, Amazing Grace, and a 20 year continuing substitute at The Lion King.

John Priori, keyboards, received his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Manhattan School Of Music. While living in New York City, he performed with many different groups until finally forming his own trio called Two Plus One. The group played in and around the New York area for seven years, including performances for numerous East River dinner cruises. Mr. Priori has played with such artists as Lionel Hampton, Sal Salvador, Curtis Fuller, Jon Faddis, Lenny Pickett, Randy Brecker and Frank Foster. He is in his 13th year of teaching at Valleyview School in Denville, NJ, continues to teach privately after school, and remains an active freelance performer with a variety of groups. Mr. Priori also enjoys his work accompanying concerts for Gateway to the Arts located in Boonton, NJ and as Musical Director for the Watching School in Montclair.

Free Centenary University Lecture: “Theatrical Make-up for Novice Halloween Face Painting Artists to Aspiring Performers”

THEATRICAL MAKE-UP FOR NOVICE HALLOWEEN FACE PAINTING ARTISTS TO ASPIRING PERFORMERS

WHEN:  Monday, October 22, 7 PM
WHERE:
Rutherfurd Hall, 1686 Route 517, Allamuchy
ADMISSION: Free

Monday, October 15, 2018

REVIEW: CHALLENGING, REWARDING CROSS-CULTURAL CONVERSATION PLAY OPENS LUNA STAGE’S 2018-2019 SEASON IN A FINE MANNER

by Ruth Ross

Image may contain: one or more people and textUnfolding in the same playing space, the double dramatic arcs of Pirira, by J. Stephen Brantley, make for a challenging, yet ultimately satisfying, 70 minutes of theater—challenging for the writer, challenging for the performers and challenging for the audience. The title, a Malawi name meaning “endurance or perseverance,” is apt for the regional première of this, Luna Stage’s first offering of the season and Ari Laura Kreith’s inaugural production as the theater’s new Artistic Director.

Inspired by Brantley’s experiences as a writer for Madonna’s nongovernmental organization Raising Malawi, Pirira explores the challenges of international aid across interpersonal borders and asks how we can bridge seemingly impossible divides. “Bringing this play to Luna allows us to frame our first season as a series of powerful cross-cultural conversations about central issues that affect us all,” said Kreith. Indeed, the tribal politics so rampant today in this country makes it “useful to look beyond…both our national boundaries and our personal biases to consider how our choices can impact people, for good or bad, in far-off places,” she continued.

Photo Flash: FIrst Look at the NJ Premiere of PIRIRA

In the Malawian city of Lilongwe on July 20, 2011, American aid worker Jack and MBA auditor Ericka are forced to take shelter in the storage room of Jack’s struggling NGO as a government-incited riot against protesters rages outside. Concomitantly, in the workroom of a Manhattan florist, Malawian college student Gilbert and his gay coworker Chad begin another day. The problems of clean water, girls’ education, HIV/AIDs, homophobia, gender-based violence and personal responsibility link the lives of these four young people, as the action ping-pongs back and forth between their situations. (Above: Naja Selby-Morton and John P. Keller)

Playwright Brantley is to be commended for a literate script filled with natural-sounding dialogue that reveals his characters’ inner natures and anxieties, so that what could be considered talky enlightens us and makes us care about these four individuals. Kudos to Director Kreith who has choreographed the quartet’s movement around the black box theater’s intimate playing space. Kreith has experience with Pirira, having directed it in 2013 at Theatre 167, her previous gig; the play then transferred to Off-Broadway where it won the New York Innovative Theater Award for Best Premiere of a Play.

The four actors exhibit great chemistry, most evident when they are disagreeing with each other. John P. Keller’s Jack exudes a sad earnestness stemming from the tragic loss of his daughter and his failure to achieve the NGO’s hoped-for results: providing water for Malawians and educating girls. A sense of resignation hangs about him like a cloak, yet he perseveres. In contrast, Naja Selby-Morton’s Ericka is wound as tight as a clock, brittle and a bit of a know-it-all, even if she has just recently arrived. Her upper middle-class upbringing—private school and Columbia University—have not prepared her for the realities on the ground in Malawi, and she fights fiercely against what she sees as failures of the aid program. The bombshell she drops all but stops the plot’s thread in its tracks and links it to what is going on in America (and all over the world) today vis à vis gender politics.

Photo Flash: FIrst Look at the NJ Premiere of PIRIRA

The two young men in Manhattan, Gilbert and Chad, have nothing in common, so it first appears, other than working for the same florist. Gilbert, played by Kevis Hillocks (left) with shy gravity and a credible Malawian accent, is more closed off, clearly a stranger in a strange land, seeking a college degree in hospitality so he can open a nightclub in Malawi while working several jobs to send money home to his family. Hillock’s regal demeanor and quiet strength make him an actor to watch.

His coworker Chad, portrayed by David Gow (below), is an outspoken homosexual haunted by the murder of his boyfriend by a homophobic mob in Washington DC when Chad was a Georgetown University student. Photo Flash: FIrst Look at the NJ Premiere of PIRIRAHis incessant questioning of Gilbert is, to be sure, cringe worthy, but his sunny disposition is winning. Freer with body language than Hillock’s Gilbert, Gow sashays around the stage, eats a Ring-Ding fastidiously and sprays water on his underarms. It was difficult to take one’s eyes off him.

Over the course of the play, these four dynamic characters learn about others—and themselves. Gilbert gets to know Chad and feel sympathy for his loss, despite what his Bible-quoting pastor back in Malawi has told him about homosexuality. And through a revelation linking her to a little Malawian girl, privileged Ericka comes to appreciate what Jack has been trying so valiantly to do. “No, we are not the same, but I am sorry for your loss,” Gilbert tells Chad, beautifully communicating the empathy that can bridge cultural divides.

Photo Flash: FIrst Look at the NJ Premiere of PIRIRAOne of the delights of Brantley’s script are the places where the two plots intersect. The audience’s physical, emotional and psychological recognition binds the characters and awakens us to how much we share as human beings, despite our differences of color, culture, class, sexual orientation and political ideals.

Tautly plotted Pirira questions how and why we stand up to injustice and inequality at home and abroad. What could be preachy is rendered dramatically involving. Given Luna Stage’s mission to develop and produce thought-provoking theater, it is a worthy production to begin a new season under a new artistic director. While the action may seem challenging to follow at first, you will feel rewarded by the time the lights go down.

Pirira will be performed at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange, Thursday through Sunday from October 4 to 28. For tickets and more information, call the box office at 973.395.5551 or visit www.lunastage.org/pirira online.

Note: The play contains some raw language and adult situations. Also, sitting in the upper rows of the theater will prevent your looking from side to side as if at a tennis match.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

HAITIAN ARTS ON EXHIBIT @ 2 VENUES IN WEST ORANGE THROUGH OCTOBER 28

Microsoft Word - Haiti  en  Couleur.docx

Haiti en Couleur
The Many Facets of Haitian Art Through the Eyes and Experiences of Ayitistik

WHEN: The exhibit will be on display through Sunday, October 28. The galleries will be open one hour prior to Luna Stage performances (Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30pm - 8:00pm and Sundays from 2:00-3:30pm) and by appointment
WHERE
: West Orange Arts Center at 551 Valley Road, and at Gallery Pink (directly above Luna Stage), West Orange

The West Orange Arts Council, together with Gallery Pink, will host Haiti en Couleur, an art exhibit of the artists from the group AYITISTIK: Mona Coichy Haigler, Jean Richard Coachy, Jean P. Blaise, Jerry M.C. Georges, Marc A. Gaston, and Jean C. Dominique.

The exhibit is intended to give the viewer a taste of the many facets of Haitian art through the eyes and experiences of the artists. One of the missions of Ayitistik is to promote Haitian art and artists locally nationally and abroad through exhibition of its member's work and maintain an active, viable art presence in the community. "Our land is one of vibrancy or 'Joie de vivre.'  We're happy to be alive and through all of our adversities, and are a happy and proud people," said  Jean C, Dominique, of AYITISTIK. The exhibit is a prelude to the group's annual exhibit "Haiti: 1-12-2010, We Remember"  to be held this winter at Caldwell University commemorating the catastrophic earthquake the country experienced.

For more information about the event visit www.woarts.org or email info@woarts.org and AYITISTIK@JCDOMINIQUEART.com.

The West Orange Arts Council was established in 1998 to cultivate, inspire, and support the arts in West Orange. Area artists and community leaders remain the core of this all-volunteer organization that operates the West Orange Arts Center gallery and gift shop at 551 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ. 

Welcome to the West Orange Arts Center! is this year’s exciting year-long celebration of the arts, representing various artists, workshops, exhibits, and activities strives to enhance the lives of the residents of the Township of West Orange and neighboring communities.

LOCAL ARTIST TO EXHIBIT PAINTINGS @ ROSELAND LIBRARY

image

Evan Stuart Marshall: Weird Essex County

WHEN: Monday, Oct. 15, to Friday, Nov. 23. A reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27. The exhibit is available for viewing during regular library hours, which are Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE:
Roseland Public Library, 20 Roseland Ave., Roseland
ADMISSION: The exhibit and the reception are free and open to the public.

Marshall stated, “I’ve lived in Essex County for many years and am fascinated with its history, especially of the ‘weirder’ places like Overbrook Asylum, Kip’s Castle and the Walter Kidde Dinosaur Park. It seemed only natural to feature these places in my new series of paintings.”

WOW (Words Open Worlds) Begins on Thursday, October 18

2018 Words Open Worlds Speaker Series 

WHEN: October 18th, with a cocktail reception.  The program begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by an opportunity to meet the speaker at 7:30 p.m. 
WHERE:
Rutherfurd Hall, 1686 Route 517, Allamuchy
TICKETS: $25 per program
Click Here for Tickets or to Sponsor

SPEAKER: Patricia Teffenhart, MPA Executive Director NJCASA,  New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Continued by popular demand is the WOW series with a new name and look—WORDS OPEN WORLDS.

Rutherfurd Hall and Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Warren County (DASAAC) will host the second installment of this season's WORDS OPEN WORLDS speaker series. Patricia Teffenhart, MPA, Executive Director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) will speak about legislation, #MeToo, and public outcry for change.

The new-for-2018 Rutherfurd Hall/DAASAC speaker series is designed to inspire change.  The featured speakers will share stories that exemplify courage, creativity, and action. Although the topics may be especially sensitive, they are informative for both women and men and appropriate for audiences as 5th grade and older.

OPEN AUDITIONS FOR NEIL SIMON COMEDY SCHEDULED IN HILLSBOROUGH

bbbigbluestars

AUDITIONS: Open Auditions for "Biloxi Blues," Neil Simon's autobiographical comedy about a young Army recruit in 1943 in a boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

WHEN: Thursday, October 25, and Sunday, October 28, at 7 pm.  Callbacks TBD.
WHERE:
Somerset Valley Playhouse, 689 Amwell Road (Rte 514), Hillsborough

SHOW DATES:  January 25 - February 10, 2019

Director Todd Bennington is looking for:

  • 7 MALES (Ages 20s-50s)
  • 2 FEMALES (Ages 20s-40s)

Complete character breakdowns can be found on the Audition page of the SVP website, at www.svptheatre.org.

SPECIAL NOTE FOR AUDITIONERS: Actors playing the soldiers must have some physical stamina and also be comfortable performing scenes in just underwear and tee shirts.

LOCAL ARTIST EXHIBITS @ TEMPLE B’NAI JESHURUN IN SHORT HILLS THROUGH NOVEMBER 5

Linda LevittFaces in Thread and Oil
the artistic creations of Linda Levitt of Livingston

WHEN: weekdays through November 5
WHERE
: B’nai Jeshurun, 1025 South Orange Ave, Short Hills

Linda combines the art of oil painting with sewing to produce three dimensional and free standing artworks. “It is an arduous process that I am completely in love with - the sewing machine becomes the brush,” said Levitt.  Many of her works are in private collections.

For 25 years, she owned Dining In, a retail store in Livingston which specialized in everything for the dining room, including silk flower arrangements for the dining table and fresh flowers for weddings and large parties. 

Her many-faceted career has taken her on a fulfilling journey including creative cooking, home design and fabric dyeing, as well as painting.  

“I realized early on that I loved to make things exciting, different and beautiful,” she said.

ROLLING WORLD PREMIERE OPENS THIS THURSDAY IN LONG BRANCH

NJ Rep presents the National New Play Network rolling world premiere of

Wolf at the Door
by Marisela Treviño Orta

WHEN:  This limited engagement will be presented October 18 - November 18, 2018. Thursdays, Fridays at 8pm; Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm; Sundays at 2pm, October 18 thru November 18. A special wine and dessert talk-back with the playwright and director will follow the first preview performance, Thursday, October 18. Opening night with reception is Saturday, October 20 at 8:00 PM.
WHERE: NJ Rep, 179 Broadway in Long Branch
For tickets call 732-229-3166 or click BUY TICKETS.

Inspired by Latino folklore, Wolf at the Door draws upon legend and mythology to tell an archetypal and magical story that navigates dangerous waters. It is about survival and the struggle to find the strength to achieve personal freedom by vanquishing a wolf in sheep’s clothing

Isadora, about to give birth to her first child, finds herself increasingly threatened by her once-charming husband. Only her loyal childhood nurse stands between her and his unpredictable outbursts. One night, an incident leads to the discovery of a strange young woman hiding in the barn. What is her purpose and why is there a pack of howling wolves lying in wait? 

Directed by Daniel Jáquez, Wolf at the Door stars Desiree Pinol, Oscar A. L. Cabrera, Alexandra Lemus and Liz Zazzi.

Due to the adult nature of the play, no one under 17 will be admitted.

Marisela Treviño Orta (Playwright) is working on her grim Latinx fairytale cycle—plays which include The River Bride (2013 National Latino Playwriting Award Co-Winner, 2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival world premiere), Wolf at the Door (2016 Kilroys List), and Alcira. Her other plays include: American Triage (2012 Repertorio Español Nuestras Voces Finalist); Ghost Limb (2017 Brava Theatre world premiere); Heart Shaped Nebula (2012 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist, 2015 Shotgun Players world premiere); Braided Sorrow (2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, 2008 world premiere at Su Teatro in Denver, CO, 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama); and Woman on Fire (2016 Camino Real Productions world premiere).

GUEST REVIEW: Review: King of the vampires “Dracula” reigns at the CSC! Terrific production!

By Rick Busciglio (www.njfootlights.net)

dracula moonCentenary Stage Company has launched the 2018-19 professional theatre season with Charles Morey’s chilling adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel, Dracula.  Remember Bela Lugosi from the classic 1932 film  Dracula?  Well, Charles Morley, who has directed his own reinterpretation of this  perfect Halloween treat, gives us an equally malevolent Count Dracula. Marc Levasseur (left) with his powerful stage presence is outstanding as the King of the vampires (can a Count be a King?).  Levasseur’s Dracula towers over his prey constantly in the protection of the night to satisfy his unquenchable appetite for blood. We first meet him in his dark, gloomy castle in Romania’s Transylvania. He is “entertaining” a visitor from London, Jonathan Harker  (Christopher Young). Harker has arranged for the Count to journey to England to take up residence in an  equally gloomy, secluded Yorkshire manor house. Chris Young is impressive as the initially naïve lawyer, later as a fearless leader in the quest to stop the Count.

dracula carl cross


Count Dracula arrives in London with a cargo of his native Transylvanian soil—so he can rest between victims. Quickly he “seduces” several  beautiful young woman leaving them with nasty-looking puncture marks on their necks.  He can be stopped, or more likely paused, by a cross, garlic, or a piece of communion wafer. However, the city seems helpless against his frightful thirst. Only one man, the Dutch  professor Dr. Van Helsing (Carl Wallnau, above left, with Levasseur), can stop the bizarre feasting (or can he?). But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake. Can I say that Wallnau “nails” the part?

dracula em

Featured in the cast of 16: is Emaline Williams (above) as the pious, strong willed  Mina Murray Harker excellent as a late Dracula target cursed by being forced to drink Dracula's blood. Can they save her? Miss Williams was a standout in the CSC’s recent production of Hitler’s Tasters. Earlier, Lucy Westenra; played by Haley Barna; is the Count’s first English conquest. Both women are terrific; particularly in their chilling bedroom scenes with Dracula…. the Seducer.

dracula 2

Also excellent are: Peter Kendall as Arthur Holmwood, a young nobleman and Lucy’s fiancée… and Nicholas Wilder (above, right), a veteran of the prestigious New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre, as Dr. Seward, Lucy’s former suitor who runs the insane asylum near Dracula's new estate. Lastly, an absolute standout is Gary Littman (photo left) as the crazed, bug eating, Renfield. The stage term “scenery chewer” applies.

The supporting cast members are: Charlotte Harvey, David Littleton, Nick Bettens, Joe Anthony, Ally Borgstrom, Bianna Morris, Kathryn Pedersen, and Julia Stibich.

Production team leaders: Danielle Constance-Stage Manager; Tim Gobeliewski, assisted by ToniAnne DiFilippo-Set Design (Excellent Set); Ed Matthews-Lighting Design; Jeff Chase-Technical Director; Ashleigh Poteat-Costume Design and Makeup; and Chet Miller-Sound and Projection Design.

Writer/director Morley clearly deserves his own standing ovation. He has worked all the intricate pieces of this production as a chess master.
Even if you are very be familiar with the story from the book, or the many tv and film versions, this clever staging and impressive cast will provide a properly chillingly experience. Please see on a night with a full moon. Great date event.

Reviewed by Rick Busciglio  October 12, 2018

Performances for Dracula run from October 12 to October 28. Specific performance dates are Fridays Oct. 12, 19, and 26 at 8PM; Saturdays Oct. 13, 20, and 27 at 8PM; Sundays Oct. 14, 21, and 28 at 2PM; Wednesdays Oct. 17 and 24 at 2PM and Thursdays Oct. 18 and 25 at 7:30PM. All performances will be held in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. Centenary Stage Company’s production of Dracula is sponsored by season sponsor Heath Village and series sponsor The House of the Good Shepherd.

INTERRELIGIOUS EVENT THIS WEDNESDAY @ DREW UNIVERSITY

2018-10-17 CRCC

Inter-religious Peacebuilding in Israel-Palestine:

A Conversation with Sheikh Ghassan Manasra and Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish

WHEN: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018, 6:30 pm – 8 pm
WHERE:
Drew University Library, Learning Center Room 28, 36 Madison Ave., Madison Campus map and directions.
ADMISSION: This event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict.

Sheikh Ghassan Manasra is a globally recognized Interreligious Dialogue Facilitator and Expert, Fulbright Scholar, and Lecturer from Nazareth, Israel. He serves and has served on the board of numerous Israeli, American, and International peacemaking organizations, including The Middle East Civic Forum, Sulha Peace Project, Anwar Il-Salaam (Lights of Peace Center), and the World Congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace.

Rabbi Dr. Ron Kronish is an independent lecturer, scholar, author, blogger and interreligious consultant and activist. He is a Library Fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Previously, Kronish was the Founding Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) and through his 25 years of service to this organization became one of the leaders in the field of Interreligious Dialogue as a form of peacebuilding in Israel and internationally.

Friday, October 12, 2018

CELEBRATE THE MOON FESTIVAL IN JERSEY CITY THIS SUNDAY

Jersey City Theater Center

Image result for JCTC Dance: Moon Festival

JCTC Dance: Moon Festival
WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 14, Doors: 3:30/Show: 4:00
WHERE:
White Eagle Hall, 337 Newark Ave, Jersey City
TICKETS: $15.00 - $50.00
TICKETS

Moon Festival, a mid-October holiday celebrated in nearly every Asian nation, comes to White Eagle Hall when we present a multicultural, interactive dance performance for the whole family. Moon Festival—a culturally-rich Asian American dance concert that celebrates diversity, family, women and motherhood—is a collaboration between the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company and Akhilandeshwari Vasudevamurthy (Akhila).

The two dance companies will perform and then invite the audience to join in this ancient celebration as they invoke the power of the moon through ritualistic dance and trance-inducing rhythms. In keeping with Asian tradition, Moon Cake, a traditional Chinese delicacy where legend has it was first baked by resistance fighters during an uprising in China more than 1000 years ago—and authentic Indian Pudding—will be served.

“Both Nai-Ni and Akhila are incredible choreographers,” says Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC. “Moon Festival is a celebration of women, motherhood and family that was found in ancient cultures. How these talented, international artists blend the history of their own cultures with modern dance truly represents the power of women across Asian cultures. Moon Festival is an enriching performance for the entire family.”

COSTUME CLOSET SALE @ CHATHAM PLAYERS SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13—JUST IN TIME FOR HALLOWEEN!

Costume Closet Sale

COSTUME CLOSET SALE

WHEN: Saturday, October 13 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
WHERE:
Chatham Playhouse, 23 N Passaic Avenue, Chatham

On Saturday, October 13 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, volunteers from the Chatham Players will be holding a COSTUME CLOSET SALE, just in time for Halloween.

Motivated by the need to make some room in our costume loft, sale racks of clothing & costumes in all sizes are being offered at ridiculous prices. We'll have on sale costumes, current and vintage clothing, fabrics, footwear, outerwear, accessories, for women, men and teens. Also some props.

If you’ve been around for 97 years, you would need to begin getting rid of your unused clothes too!! Please find time to come and rummage through the racks of clothes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

OPEN CALL AUDITIONS FOR “ART” IN HOLMDEL ON OCT. 11

ART
Written by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Tyrone Henderson

WHEN: Thursday, October 11th, 7-9:30 PM
WHERE:
36 Crawfords Corner Road, Holmdel

PRODUCTION DATES: Dec. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 & 16

ART is the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, a white canvas with a few white lines, and the reactions of his friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. Marc responds with shock and anger. For him, Serge's purchase of the painting is a cruel joke. As their arguments become less theoretical and more personal, they border on destroying their friendships.

NON-TRADITIONAL CASTING/ALL ROLES ARE OPEN. NON-EQUITY ACTORS OF COLOR STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO AUDITION!

No pre-registration is required. Audition sides from the script will be provided at auditions.

THE ROLES

Marc - A very good friend of Serge’s, but not necessarily a modern art fan. Marc is somewhere in his 40s, an aeronautical engineer, a practical, down to earth man. He is not married but has been seeing the unseen Paula for some time.

Serge - A 40-something dermatologist who has had his eye on this white-on-white painting by the modernist Antrios for some time now. He has found peace in the realm of Modern Art where the old rules are thrown out and acceptance and instinct govern what is valuable. He does not appreciate Marc’s disapproval of his choice, and feels that Marc sneers at its abstract style, and, by extension, at himself.

Yvan - Just a bit younger than Marc and Serge, Yvan is still “finding himself.” He begins the play stressed about his upcoming wedding and looking for a little support. He finds none. Although the physical production of art on canvas means less to him than it does to the others, he is more in tune with the psychological responses and reasonings behind such responses than either Marc or Serge are. That aspect of his personality is what thrusts him into being the middleman in this fight between friends.

If you have any questions or concerns please CONTACT US

NJ NATIVE’S PLAY TO PREMIERE IN NEW YORK CITY

Ariel Klein is a New Jersey native, a graduate of Solomon Schechter Day School (now Golda Och Academy) and the University of Delaware.

MSB October Poster

WHEN: October 17 & 19,  7 PM
WHERE: NYR Kamer Theater, 315 W. 39th St., Studio 902, New York
www.newyiddishrep.org
TICKETS

"Why haven't I met your family yet?" In a personal narrative, My Shiksa Boyfriend explores dating, religion and identity.

This is the second workshop performance of a solo show written and performed by Arielle Beth Klein. Workshopped and rehearsed with dramaturg and director, Sidse Ploug Soerensen.

Special Halloween Paint Night in Allamuchy

For Tickets Click Here or call (908) 852-1894 ext 338

GRAMMY AWARD WINNER TO APPEAR @ WO PUBLIC LIBRARY

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, text

Join the Conversation Friday Night @ RVCC in Branchburg

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity

Ping Chong + Company

WHEN: Friday, October 12, at 1 & 7PM
WHERE:
The Theatre at RVCC, 118 Lamington Road, Branchburg
TICKETS

Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity - Video Clip -

LISTEN HERE

With stark simplicity and a narrative that feels remarkably relevant to the moment, Beyond Sacred stages the personal and complex stories of five young Muslim New Yorkers at a time of increasing Islamophobia. This interview-based theater production illuminates the daily experiences of individuals who reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, yet share the commonality of coming of age after 9/11 and of being the "other" in America. Together, their true stories create a beautiful, funny, and intensely poignant cry for tolerance at a time when such sentiments are more necessary than ever.

Beyond Sacred was developed through a community-engaged process as part of Ping Chong + Company's Undesirable Elements series, which celebrated its 25 year anniversary in 2017-18. Undesirable Elements is an ongoing series of oral history theater works exploring the effects of history, culture and ethnicity on the lives of individuals in a community.

Concerts and Pottery at the Farmstead Arts in Basking Ridge

Weekend Journey through the Past LogoWeekend Journey through the Past

WHEN: October 13th from 10:00am – 5:00 pm and October 14th from 12:00pm – 4:00 pm
WHERE:
Kennedy-Martin-Stelle Farmstead, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge
ADMISSION: free

The Farmstead will be one of 30 historic sites throughout Somerset County which will open their doors and invite the public to make a connection to local history.  A significant historic site dating back to the Revolutionary War, the KMS Farmstead has been exquisitely restored and repurposed as a local arts venue.  Visitors will be treated to tours of the Farmhouse and English Barn. 

In addition, on Saturday, October 13th at 1:00, 1:45 and 2:30, singer/songwriter Gordon Thomas Ward will present concerts of acoustic contemporary folk songs with local history themes. 

Throughout the weekend, ceramic artist Debbie Limoli will offer hands-on colonial pottery workshops in the English Barn. 

There will also be colonial games for the whole family.

More information can be found at the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage website: https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/public-works/cultural-heritage/weekend-journey

The farmhouse and barn are wheelchair accessible.  Anyone anticipating the need for additional accessibility services may make a request by sending an e-mail to admin@farmsteadarts.org in advance.

Funds for these events 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.

CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY OPENS 2018-2019 SEASON WITH ADAPTATION OF CLASSIC HORROR NOVEL

DRACULA
based on the novel by Bram Stoker
adapted by Charles Morey

WHEN: October 12- October 28. Specific performance dates are Fridays Oct. 12, 19, and 26 at 8PM; Saturdays Oct. 13, 20, and 27 at 8PM; Sundays Oct. 14, 21, and 28 at 2PM; Wednesdays Oct. 17 and 24 at 2PM and Thursdays Oct. 18 and 25 at 7:30PM.
WHERE
: the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center, 715 Grand Ave., Hackettstown
TICKETS: $25.00 matinee performances, $27.50 Friday evening performances, and $29.50 Saturday evening performances. Tickets for children under 12 are $17.50 matinee and Friday evening performances and $20.00 Saturday evening. Thursday evening performances are $27.50 for all seats with a Buy One/Get One rush ticket special. BOGO ticket special is only valid in person at the Centenary Stage Company box office beginning at 5:30PM. BOGO is not valid for advance ticket sales and may not be combined with any other offer or discount. Centenary Stage Company also offers special Buffet Matinees on Wednesday afternoon performances for groups of 25 or more. Enjoy lunch/brunch in one of our private dining rooms and receive discounted tickets to the performance. To reserve a buffet matinee or to inquire about additional group sales contact the Centenary Stage Company box office directly.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979-0900.

Before Twilight and True Blood, only one vampire commanded “the children of the night.” In this blood-thirsty tale of unholy terror, Count Dracula slips into Victorian London with a cargo of his native Transylvanian soil—so he can rest between victims. The city seems helpless against his frightful power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing, can stop the carnage. But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.

Featuring a cast of professional actors from across the tri-state area, Dracula will be directed by Charles Morey. Morey is a director, playwright and former artistic director with more than 45 years experience in the professional theatre and extensive credits from coast to coast.

MoreyPHOTO2As artistic director from 1984 to 2012 he led the Pioneer Theatre Company in conceptualizing and implementing a new mission that fully professionalized the theatre. He refocused the mission on the classics, the great plays of the contemporary theatre and produced fourteen world premieres. During his tenure as Artistic Director of the Pioneer Theatre Company he directed more than ninety productions including world premieres of Find and Sign by Wendy MacLeod, Bess Wohl's Touch(ed) and In as well as first regional theatre productions of Les Miserablés, The Producers, and The Vertical Hour. While serving as Artistic Director of the Peterborough Players from 1977 to 1988, he more than tripled the size of the Equity Company and production staff, increased the budget five-fold and more than doubled seasonal attendance. He inaugurated a highly successful New Plays Program which ultimately sent one play to Broadway and five to Off-Broadway production.

During this time, he also directed some thirty-five productions including significant world premieres by Percy Granger (Eminent Domain and Unheard Songs) and Poet Laureate of the United States Donald Hall’s Ragged Mountain Elegies. Regionally he has directed for the Contemporary American Theatre Festival (the world premiere of Bess Wohl's Barcelona), Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Asolo Theatre Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, MeadowBrook Theatre, the American Stage Festival, PCPA Theatrefest, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Florida Repertory Theatre and the Hilberry Rep. As a playwright, Morey has written over 20 plays, 11 of which were produced, including Bram Stokers Dracula.

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.

NATIVE PLANT SALE THIS WEEKEND IN PRINCETON

Northern Crescent on Queen Ann's LaceD&R Greenway Autumn Native Plant Sale

WHEN: Native plants for sale Friday, October 12: from 3 – 6 p.m.; Saturday, October 13: from 9 a.m. – 12 noon
WHERE:
D&R Greenway’s Native Plant Nursery adjacent to the Johnson Education Center. One Preservation Place, Princeton
ADMISSION: Free event; no need to register. 
609-924-4646  
www.drgreenway.org

CEO/President, Linda Mead, just finished with planting her home perennials, reminds us, “Autumn is a GREAT time to plant! Getting native perennials in the ground now gives them to settle; for roots really to establish themselves. Winter brings sufficient moisture in several forms. Then spring can arrive with all those bright fresh green shoots.”

American LadyEco-conscious gardeners know that their planting native species provides essential food for local wildlife, in migration and in breeding seasons. Along with exciting native wildflowers, the nursery offers native shrubs, trees, and grasses. D&R Greenway Land Trust’s plants are grown from locally sourced starter plants and seed. A full catalog is available online at www.drgreenway.org/PlantCatalog.html.

Home native habitats contribute to a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem. Of prime importance is the relationship of native pollinators with New Jersey’s native plants. Turning the home garden into natural habitat fosters crucial partnerships, such as monarch and milkweed. Native plants, belonging here, require less in terms of irrigation and fertilizer. D&R Greenway Staff member, Deb Kilmer, encourages regional gardeners to “plant in the fall, to gain a head start on spring growth.  It also promises early nutrition for birds, bees and butterflies.”

Tiger Swallowtail (Yellow male on left and dark female on right)  nectoring on ThistleD&R Greenway Land Trust has preserved more than 20,000 acres of land in central New Jersey, fulfilling its mission to preserve a network of natural lands and open space accessible to the public. The land trust is committed to inspiring a conservation ethic through all its programs, including increasing awareness of the benefits of native species. Habitat restoration projects began on D&R Greenway lands. Native plants’ usefulness extends even beyond home gardens to local schools, municipalities and other non-profits.

D&R GREENWAY LAND TRUST IS IN ITS 29TH YEAR of preserving and protecting natural lands, farmlands and open spaces throughout central and southern New Jersey.   Through continuous preservation and stewardship—caring for land and easements to ensure they remain protected and ecologically healthy in perpetuity—D&R Greenway nurtures a healthier and more diverse environment for people and wild species in seven counties. Accredited by the national Land Trust Accreditation Commission, D&R Greenway’s mission is to preserve and care for land and inspire a conservation ethic, now and for the future. Since its founding in 1989, D&R Greenway has permanently preserved more than 20,000 acres, an area greater than 20 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, including 30 miles of trails open to the public.

The Johnson Education Center, a circa 1900 restored barn at One Preservation Place, Princeton, is D&R Greenway’s home. Through programs, art exhibits and related lectures, D&R Greenway inspires greater public commitment to safeguarding land. 

WOMEN WRITERS OF GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK ARE CELEBRATED @ NJPAC THIS SATURDAY

Baby, Dream Your Dream: Great Women Writers of the American Songbook

WHEN: Saturday, October 13, Two Performances: 6pm & 8:30pm
WHERE:
NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark (a short walk from the Newark Penn Station stop by Newark-bound PATH Train or Amtrak.)
TICKETS: $50 - $70
BUY TICKETS HERE

A quartet of Broadway's top leading ladies—Nancy Anderson, Kenita Miller, Elena Shaddow, and Karen Ziemba—join forces to pay tribute to immortal women songwriters in this delightful cabaret performance.

Throughout musical theater history, there have been a few bold pioneers-in-heels who crashed the songwriting boys' club: Marilyn Bergman, Dorothy Fields, Mary Rodgers, Jeanine Tesori, Betty Comden and Carolyn Leigh. These are the women behind timeless songs and shows like "On the Sunny Side of the Street," Sweet Charity, On the Town, "Witchcraft," Once Upon a Mattress, and many more.

The work of these women is celebrated in Baby, Dream Your Dream, a musical revue scripted and hosted by Deborah Grace Winer. A leading expert on the classic American Songbook, Winer completed nine seasons as artistic director of the 92Y's Lyrics & Lyricists concert series, where Baby, Dream Your Dream was born.

At NJPAC, the performance will feature Nancy Anderson (A Class Act, Wonderful Town); Kenita Miller (Once on This Island, The Color Purple); Elena Shaddow (The Visit, NBC's The Sound of Music Live!), and Tony winner Karen Ziemba (Curtains, Chicago, Lincoln Center Theater's Contact). Baby, Dream Your Dream is directed by Mark Waldrop (Howard Crabtree's When Pigs Fly), with music direction and arrangements by John Oddo, who will lead an all-star jazz trio.

"Baby, Dream Your Dream blazes with relevance," says Cabaret Scenes. "This tribute to women writers couldn't be more timely," says Theater Pizzazz.

Guest Review: Musical comedy ‘Disenchanted’ great fun at Chester Theatre Group

By Rick Busciglio (www.njfootlights.net)

43138828_10155939861073775_1396638886947454976_o

The Chester Theatre Group is now presenting a funny, albeit quirky, and very timely musical comedy Disenchanted! Created by Dennis T. Giacino, it wildly explores the fairy tale take on perfect Princesses who ride off into the sunset with their perfect princes to live “happily ever after.” Do they? Giacino cleverly raises the curtain on the less than perfect life that lies beyond the Disney film fadeouts. Did you know, for example, one prince wanted his princess to do the wash! OK, this a witty, unique “poke in the eye” to the sanitized world of Disney that Giacino has charmingly unmasked.

Director Roseann Ruggiero has nicely cast eight talented young women to play 10 fairy tale princesses: Snow White (Ericka Traugh), Cinderella (Katherine Rose Brown), Sleeping Beauty (Samantha Manno), Belle, of Beauty and the Beast, and Princess Badroulbadour of Alladin (Elle Michaeli), Hua Mulan and Pocahontas (Patrina Caruana), The Little Mermaid (Alison Kurtz), The Princess Who Kissed The Frog (Daisha Davis) and Rapunzel (Susan Hagan).

What makes this production a particularly fun event is the obvious pleasure that the cast are having with their characters. The big three at the center of the production are the domineering and a bit mean Snow White; the flighty, nitwit Cinderella; and the snoring narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty (Ericka Traugh, Katherine Rose Brown, and Samantha Manno). They have great fun with all their songs, with the show opener ‘One More Happ’ly Ever After’ and the Second Act ‘A Happy Tune’ both special treats.

An audience favorite—for obvious reasons—was clearly ‘Big Tits’ with Pocahontas (Patrina Caruana) joining the trio. A showstopper turn was in the second act delivered by Daisha Davis as The Princess Who Kissed A Frog, Disney’s first black princess. She laments “Why’d it take ’em so long to give a sistah a song?” The fine voiced Elle Michaeli was a comedy delight as both Belle (“How am I French… speaking with a New York accent?) and Princess Badroulbadour, who arrives on a clever flying carpet (“Back home, I’m not even allowed to drive this thing.”) Alison Kurtz nails the now-alcoholic Little Mermaid, who has given up her land, her tail and her voice for some guy with big hair. Speaking of hair, Susan Hagan is perfect as the very German Rapunzel.

Since this is a musical…it was nicely supported by conductor/piano Tracy Lee Witko, bass Michael J. Mills, and drums Eric Weinstein.

Director Ruggiero says the message of Disenchanted is “that no matter who you are, what you choose to be or what you look like, girls are perfect just the way they are…Diverse is Perfect.”

Need a good laugh? Go and enjoy.

Please note that this is not a children’s musical. It contains strong language and mature subject matter.

The play will run weekends through Saturday, October 20th. Performances are Friday and Saturdays at 8:00 and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are $25.00 with a discounted price of $23.00 for seniors over 65 and students under 18. Tickets may be purchased online at www.chestertheatregroup.org.

The Chester Theatre Group performs in The Black River Playhouse, an intimate, 100-seat theater in the heart of Chester Borough’s historic district. The venue’s in-the-round format ensures that every seat offers an engaging, memorable experience for each audience member. The theater is located on the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue. For more information, visit the CTG website at http://www.chestertheatregroup.org.

(IMAGE: Photo credit: Paula Roper — with Susan Hagen, Patrina Caruana, Katherine Brown, Samantha Manno, Alison Kalaher Kurtz, Ericka Traugh and Elle Michaeli)