Thursday, February 21, 2019

Chatham Players’ Laugh It Up with Rick Abbott’s Hilarious “Play On!”

by Rick Abbott
directed by John A.C. Kennedy

WHEN: February 22, 23 and March 1, 2, 8, 9 at 8pm and March 3 at 3pm
: Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic Avenue, in Chatham
TICKETS: $25 for adults and $23 for youth/senior
Tickets can be purchased at our Box Office or Online. To access the theater’s new online ticketing service, where you can now reserve your particular seat, simply go to The service is available 24 hours a day and tickets can be purchased online up until three hours prior to curtain on the day of a performance. Chatham Playhouse’s box office will begin accepting phone reservations on February 12 at (973) 635-7363. For information regarding box office hours, please call the box office number listed above. Patrons with special needs requiring seating accommodations should contact the Playhouse at least 24 hours prior to the performance. Without prior notice, accommodations cannot be guaranteed. (Above L-R: Ali Archetti of East Hanover as Violet and Shane Long of Jersey City as Billy)

A uproarious behind-the scenes comedy in the tradition of Noises Off. An unlucky troupe of actors desperately tries to put on a play in spite of meddling from the playwright. Will they manage to pull off the opening night without a hitch? Of course not! Don’t miss this non-stop, mischievous backstage romp!  Those who have participated in community theater – especially New Jersey’s actors and backstage volunteers – seem like the ideal audience for this well-staged and well-cast production of a play that revels in the amateurish pitfalls and ego-driven excesses of community theater. At just under two hours, though, including two intermissions, Play On! will move fast enough that it won’t have the time to outwear its welcome. (Above, right L-R: Rachel Gesner of Short Hills as Smitty, Lauri MacMillan of Rockaway as Polly and Jim Clancy of Basking Ridge as Henry)

The talented group of actors that make up the Play On! cast are Jessica Phelan of Montclair as Aggie, Shane Long of Jersey City as Billy, Aaron Kellner of West Orange as Gerry, Jim Clancy of Basking Ridge as Henry, Roseann Ruggiero of Ledgewood as Louise, Julie Anne Nolan of Little Falls as Phyllis, Lauri MacMillan of Rockaway as Polly, Chip Prestera of Stirling as Saul, Rachel Gesner of Short Hills as Smitty and Ali Archetti of East Hanover as Violet.

Director John A.C. Kennedy said, “I’m lucky enough to have a group of excellent actors, portraying a company of pretty good actors, struggling to make sense of a comically inept script that continues to change up until “Opening night.”  Bad actor jokes run thin for me after not too long, but I think the audience, particularly those with community theater experience, will recognize, enjoy and really be able to get behind the efforts of this valiant-but-challenged troupe.”

Rounding out Kennedy’s talented production team, the Producer is Joe DeVico, Stage Manager is Joëlle Bochner, Scenic Designer is Steve Ruskin, Costume Designers are Christina Kirk, Kai Movsovich & Carol Saso, Lighting Designer is Ed Whitman, Props & Decoration by Tish Lum & Kate Pierce and original music is composed and performed by the Sound Designer, Joe DeVico.

About the Chatham Playhouse

The Chatham Community Players has been entertaining residents of Morris County and the surrounding area since 1922. The organization’s mission is to produce high-quality theater for a diverse audience, while elevating its standard of excellence and providing a creative outlet with educational opportunities and outreach programs. For more information, including details of CCP’s 2018-2019 season, visit Funding has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Photos by Howard Fischer.