Tuesday, July 30, 2019



WHEN: August 1 through 11, Thursdays, August 1 and 8 at 7:30 pm; Fridays, August 2 and 9 at 8:00 pm; Saturdays, August 3 and 10 at 8:00 pm and Sundays, August 4 and 11 at 2:00 pm.
WHERE: Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown,
TICKETS: Friday evening and Sunday afternoon tickets are $25.50 for adults and $18.00 for children under 12/students, Saturday evening tickets are $30.00 for adults and $18.00 for children under 12/students, Thursday evening tickets are $25.50 for all seats with a Buy One / Get One Rush Ticket Special. To redeem the Thursday evening BOGO offer tickets must be purchased in person at the Centenary Stage Company box office beginning at 5:30 pm on the evening of the performance. BOGO offer is not available for advance ticket sales.
To purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call (908) 979 – 0900.

Centenary Stage Company’s second annual Summer Musical Theatre Series continues with Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice’s iconic rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar.

The first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage, Jesus Christ Superstar has wowed audiences for over 40 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally-known series of events but seen, unusually, through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Superstar follows the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The story, told entirely through song, explores the personal relationships and struggles between Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, his disciples, his followers and the Roman Empire. The iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.”

The production is directed by Lea Antolini – Lid. Antolini – Lid serves as the CSC Education Tour Director, Assistant Professor of Theatre & Dance for Centenary University and as the producer of the 2019 Summer Musical Theatre Series. Antolini – Lid received her BMA in classical voice from the University of the Arts and her MFA in acting from Brandeis University where she also had the opportunity to teach movement for the actor under the tutelage of Susan Dibble. She has performed professionally in NYC and in cities on the east coast. Recent credits: Working, The Last Five Years, The Fantasticks! (Women’s Theater Company of NJ); The Learned Ladies, Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver!, A Christmas Carol and Christmas at Small’s Empire Music Hall (CSC); A Year with Frog and Toad, Mid – Summer Night’s Dream, Junie B. Jones and Suessical (The Growing Stage Theater Company); 400 Parts Per Million, Lying (Blessed Unrest Theater Co. NYC). Lea has received various honors including “best actress in a professional musical” (broadwayworld.com); “best featured actress in a musical” (Star Ledger 2006); “best comedian in a musical” (Daily Record 2007) and “Hardest Working actress in NJ” (Daily Record, 2006); “best actress in a play” (Daily Record 2015) and the “Jete Award” in 2014. Recently, Lea traveled to China with international dance company Nai-Ni Chen Dance, to teach dance in a prestigious festival held at Kunming University. She is also a founding member and managing director of the XY Dance Project a professional dance company in NJ/NY area, with dancer/choreographer Nijawwon Matthews. Recent directorial/choreography credits include CSC’s NEXTstage Repertory’s Avenue Q (Spring 2019) and Hair (Summer 2018). Antolini – Lid is a member in training with Blessed Unrest Theater Company in NYC, and a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5 pm and two hours prior to every performance. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ on the campus of Centenary University. 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 The House of the Good Shepherd and Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center Atlantic Health System, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sensory-Friendly Astronomy Show Slated at RVCC Planetarium in July, August

The Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium in Branchburg will present

The Sky Above

WHEN: Saturdays, July 27 and August 24. Both screenings will begin at 5 p.m.
RVCC is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ
ADMISSION: $10 per person. Seating is limited and reservations are strongly suggested.
For additional information and to make reservations, call 908-231-8805 or visit www.raritanval.edu/planetarium.
For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.

The sensory-friendly astronomy and music show, approximately 45 minutes in length, is specially designed for families with children on the Autism spectrum or those with developmental disabilities.

The program, which is appropriate for audiences of all ages, will provide a comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming to everyone. During the show, the doors will remain open so children may freely leave and return if they choose. Lights will be left dim (instead of dark) and the audio will be lowered and kept at a consistent level. The show will include music, laser lights, stories, and information about the planets, the Moon and constellations. All material will be presented on a very basic, kindergarten level.


Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras)

Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank
ADMISSION: All readings and events are free; for reservations and more information, patrons should call 732.345.1400 or visit tworivertheater.org

Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces the lineup for its 9th annual Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) festival of plays and music by Latinx theater artists. The summer festival will include free readings of new plays, live music and conversations with artists. Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is supported by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras), one of Two River’s new-play development programs, is an annual celebration of work that reflects the current national conversation about Latinx identity. The festival is curated by José Zayas, who has directed more than 100 productions in New York, regionally and internationally. His Two River credits include Pinkolandia by Andrea Thome and El Coqui Espectacular and the Bottle of Doom by Matt Barbot, both of which were introduced to Red Bank audiences in previous festivals. Two River’s current season will include the fourth mainstage production of a play developed through Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras): The Hombres by Tony Meneses, which will be directed by Annie Tippe in the spring of 2020.

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) will also include Two River’s second annual Voices of Hope readings, reflecting the diversity of the Latinx experience in our local community. Voices of Hope will feature students who are taking ESL classes at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, through Brookdale Community College. Working with Sheila Duane and Two River Theater staff, the students will write their own personal stories, which they will then share with the audience prior to each play reading.


Reservations are strongly encouraged; patrons should contact the Two River Theater Box Office at 732.345.1400 or visit tworivertheater.org. Each reading will be following by a reception in Two River’s lobby and an opportunity to meet the artists involved with the festival.

Dream Hou$e
by Eliana Pipes
Directed by Cristina Angeles

WHEN: Thursday, August 1, 7pm
Marion Huber Theater

Dream Hou$e follows two Latinx sisters who are selling their family home on an HGTV-style show, hoping to capitalize on the gentrification in their “changing neighborhood.” As they perform for the camera, the show starts to slip into the surreal: one sister grapples with turmoil in the family’s ancestral past and the other learns how much she’s willing to sacrifice for the family’s future. What’s the cultural cost of progress in America—and is cashing in always selling out?

A Night of Music with Flaco Navaja & The Razor Blades

WHEN: Friday, August 2, 7pm
Rechnitz Theater

There is a good reason why singer Flaco Navaja has the heart of a poet—he is one. A fixture of the legendary Nuyorican Poets Café and star of both HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the Tony-winning Broadway tour of the same name, Navaja has a way with words that is second only to his way with a song. An equally passionate performer in English and in Spanish, Navaja is an electric presence on stage, especially when backed by his band, The Razor Blades, a red-hot outfit complete with congas, timbales, keys and a killer horn section.

by Georgina Escobar
Directed by José Zayas

WHEN: Saturday, August 3, 2pm
Marion Huber Theater

StoneHeart is a deconstructed western that explores the parallel deterioration of a family and a society in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in the 1980s. Persecution, curses, rattlesnakes, and past lives come together in a visceral family drama where the Zermanis are forced to cope with the death of their legacy amidst the rise of a new generation of ‘society’s finest.’

Living and Breathing
by Mando Alvarado
Directed by Rebecca Martínez

WHEN: Saturday, August 3, 7pm
Marion Huber Theater 

Living and Breathing is a hilarious and incendiary conversation about race, friendship and art in today’s America. After Todd purchased a living sculpture, his best friend, Michael is deeply offended and his other best friend, Jeremy, can’t seem to pick a side. This living and breathing thing will cause a rift in a long-term friendship that was built on a history of convenience and proximity.

by Benjamin Benne
Directed by Catherine María Rodríguez

WHEN: Sunday, August 4, 3pm
Marion Huber Theater

Working mom Alma has singlehandedly raised her daughter, Angel, on tough love, home-cooked comida, and lots of prayers. But on the eve of the all-important SAT, Alma discovers her daughter isn’t at home studying. A schooling and la chancla await Angel at home—but so does a creeping realization that more’s at stake than just a test score. A sacrifice from Alma’s past weighs heavy on their present; now, Alma fears that her worst nightmare may soon be their reality. Will the American Dream cost them a life together?

Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) is supported by Bank of America. Additional support is provided by The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and Wells Fargo Foundation.

Two River Theater’s 2019/20 Season Sponsor is Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center. Two River Theater is supported in part by public support through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Private support includes the Alec Baldwin Foundation, Mary Owen Borden Foundation, Bank of America Private Bank, Brookdale Community College, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Investors Foundation, Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey, JKW Foundation, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Monmouth University, William T. Morris Foundation, Ocean First Foundation, Rumson Country Day School, The Shubert Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation at The Atrium at Navesink Harbor, The John Ben Snow Foundation, The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, VNA Health Group, and many other generous foundations, corporations and individuals.

Penny Stinkards Theater Company Performs ‘The Tempest’ at Farmstead Arts Center

By William Shakespeare

WHEN: Saturday, August 3, at 7:00 pm and Sunday, August 4, at 2:00 pm.
the English Barn Theater at Farmstead Arts Center, located at 450 King George Road in Basking Ridge
TICKETS: $15 general admission or $10 for Farmstead Members or seniors (65+). Tickets may be purchased on line at http://farmsteadarts.eventbrite.com or at the door (cash only).

A new theater company, The Penny Stinkards, will perform their inaugural production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

The Penny Stinkards will guide you through a delightful romp of Shakespeare’s final play with magic, fantastical creatures, drunken comedy, court intrigue, sweet love, and – of course – storms.

The company – whose goal it is to produce Shakespeare’s works under original conditions – dispenses with technology to produce live, acoustic, actor-focused theatre that integrates audiences into the performance. The troupe includes Emily Bonaria, Kevern Cameron, Eric Craft, Derek Egidio, Elizabeth Engelberth, Garrett Gallinot, Sarah Henley, Steve Henley, Brielle McArdle, Allegra Mroz, and Jack Roberts, each tackling a number of roles onstage and off.

About the name “Penny Stinkards”

In an Elizabethan Playhouse, the penny stinkards were the commoners in the audience. You might have also heard them called “groundlings” or “yardlings.” These penny stinkards stood in the mud and rain through the full performance, they paid a penny to get in, and – well – they smelled bad. Yes, the term was often used disparagingly. Penny Stinkards were roughians. They were uneducated. They were vocal. They were common…

But they were the heart of each performance. No one was closer to the action. If an actor couldn’t connect with these folks, the performance would fail to thrive. Unlike today’s commercial theatre where the “commoners” are seated as far from the stage as possible, the penny stinkards had the best view in the house.

We named our troupe for these people. We reclaim the term “Penny Stinkards” and use it not as an insult, but as a badge of honor. The penny stinkards are worthy of each actor’s fullest effort and won’t be pushed to the outskirts. We ARE Penny Stinkards, and we are FOR the Penny Stinkards.

The English Barn Theater is wheelchair accessible. Anyone anticipating the need for additional accessibility services please send an e-mail in advance to farmsteadartscenter@gmail.com.

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.

Legendary Grove Street Stompers Stomp Into The Bickford Theatre—New! Boxed Dinners Available

Grove Street Stompers

WHEN: Thursday, August 1st, at 7 pm
Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Hgts Rd., Morristown
TICKETS: Museum Members: $18, Non-Members: $20. All seats are reserved.       
Call 973 971-3706 or click here: Get Tickets
On-line ticket sales end two hours prior to a performance

The Grove Street Stompers were formed in 1959 by band leader and piano player Bill Dunham. This fabulous group’s repertoire includes samples of Dixieland, New Orleans and swing styles with tunes made famous by such greats as Bix Beiderbecke, Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton.

Many great jazz musicians sat in with the Stompers over the years – Pete Fountain, Wild Bill Davison, Tony Parenti, Bob Wilber, and singers Barbara Lea and Laurel Watson. Some of the Stompers have worked at venues like Eddie Condon’s, Jimmy Ryans, Red Blazer Too, and Cajun, among others.

Making their Bickford debut, this group has been a Monday night staple at New York’s venerable Arthur’s Tavern since 1962 – over 50 years! 

Check them out HERE

New! Pre-Performance Boxed Dinners!

Get a gourmet boxed dinner with a unique flair created by Chef Andrew Pantano of Culinary Creations. Dine in the Museum’s elegant Court or North Gallery, or enjoy dining al fresco on the grounds!

Choose from:

  • Honey citrus poached Wild salmon with smashed green bean salad ($25)
  • Chicken walnut and grape salad croissant with heirloom tomato salad ($20)
  • Rainbow vegetable shirataki bowl with peanut lime sauce (vegetarian) ($20)

Orders can be placed up to 4 days in advance of the concert and picked up between 6:00PM – 7:00PM on the day of the event. Beverages will be available for purchase on-site.

Order a Boxed Dinner for this evening

Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019 Celebrated on National New Jersey Day July 27

Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019

WHEN: National New Jersey Day, Sat., July 27, at 3pm
WHERE: 112 Ryders Ln, New Brunswick
For more information on the Rutgers Summer Fest 2019, call 732-932-8451 or visit https://rutgersgardens.rutgers.edu/.

In partnership with New Brunswick Cultural Center Inc./Arts New Brunswick’s Hub City Sounds 2019 Concert & Performance series

Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019, a partnership of Rutgers Gardens and New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc., a free, family-friendly event, will feature live music, dance performances, cooking demos, garden tours, chalk art, painting and more, is now part of the Arts New Brunswick’s Hub City Sounds 2019 Concert & Performance series this year.

“New Jersey is a state rich with ethnic and cultural diversity, and nowhere can you see this more than in the music, fine arts, cuisine and horticulture of the people who live in central New Jersey,” said Mary Ann Schrum, manager of programs and development at Rutgers Gardens.

This year, Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019 coincides with National New Jersey Day, celebrated on July 27 by National Day Calendar. Since 2017, National Day Calendar began recognizing each state in the order they entered the Union, starting the week of Independence Day.

In the spirit of celebrating all things Jersey, Rutgers Gardens has also partnered with Just Jersey, which offers handcrafted and locally sourced products from over 250 New Jersey-based artists, designers and creative businesses. Many of these New Jersey artists will serve as vendors at Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019 on July 27, offering visitors a unique opportunity to shop a wide range of high quality, handcrafted products.

“We are so excited for this partnership with Rutgers Gardens,” said Tracey O’Reggio Clark, interim executive director of New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc. “This will be our first time expanding our Hub City Sounds Concert & Performance series locations beyond Boyd Park, Joyce Kilmer Park and Downtown New Brunswick.”

“Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest harmonizes with our overall mission to support local artisans, musicians, and artists throughout Middlesex County and across the state of New Jersey, and with activities and events for all ages, these festivals have something for everyone,” she added.

“Come and celebrate National New Jersey Day by listening to local musical artists throughout the Gardens”, said Sarah Ferreira, Artistic Coordinator for the Hub City Sounds, New Brunswick Cultural Center, Inc. “The music program includes a children’s jam session with Mr. Ray, the New Brunswick Brass Band, The Vaughn S Jazz Trio, Live DJ Sets by DRKBXT, DJ Early, and DJ FullyFocus – featuring Busker Dennis McDonough, and many more!”

The annual Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest, which began in 1965 as an Open House, is an event planned and organized with the help of Rutgers Gardens’ student interns, who are themselves a diverse group from various fields of study and different cultural backgrounds across the state.

“The interns have worked very hard this year, in collaboration with our many partners, to feature a wide range of fun activities, entertainment and vendors,” said Schrum.

Rutgers Gardens Summer Fest 2019 includes extensive collaborations with the New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Highland Park Arts Commission, New Brunswick City Center and the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers.

About Rutgers Gardens

Rutgers Gardens’ mission is to cultivate inquisitive minds, great plants and inspired gardening through educational exploration and enjoyment. Open 365 days a year, Rutgers Gardens is one of the few botanical gardens in the country that does not charge an entrance fee. It hosts a wide range of public activities to support more than 180 acres of maintained and natural areas, and offers a diversity of educational programs for students and the public alike. It boasts one of the largest collections of American hollies in the U.S as well as pollinator gardens, a bamboo forest, and more than 10 other diverse, beautiful horticultural exhibits.

About New Brunswick Cultural Center

New Brunswick Cultural Center’s mission is to stimulate the cultural development and economic growth of arts and entertainment in New Brunswick through the enhancement, preservation, maintenance and effective administration of existing and future venues that service the primary constituent base of the New Brunswick Cultural Center. And, by nurturing emerging and viable arts, educational and entertainment organizations that reach the diverse communities of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Cultural Center and its Arts Partners thrive to establish New Brunswick as the premier arts and entertainment destination in the region.

Hub City Sounds 2019 is Back!

New Brunswick Cultural Center/Arts New Brunswick presents the

A Free Family Performing, Visual, and Culinary Arts Festival in Downtown New Brunswick

WHEN: July 27 – October 27*
see schedule for various venues

New Brunswick Cultural Center/Arts New Brunswick presents the eighth annual Hub City Sounds series, taking place this summer to fall from July 27 through October 27. This FREE family-friendly series is a performing, visual, and culinary arts festival with events for all tastes!

“We are thrilled to bring back Hub City Sounds, a festival that showcases the rich pride and diversity of our region,” said Tracey O'Reggio Clark, interim executive director of the New Brunswick Cultural Center. “We are elated to expand our program locations to include Rutgers Gardens and The Yard at College Avenue; and with activities and events for all ages, Hub City Sounds has something for everyone.”

The Hub City Sounds series includes a variety of activities for kids including a moon castle, face painters, henna, petting zoos, canvas painting, and much more. Locations for this year’s festival include Rutgers Gardens (new location), Boyd Park, Joyce Kilmer Park, The Yard (new location), and on George Street in downtown New Brunswick.

Festivalgoers are welcome to bring blankets or chairs for lawn seating at park events, and refreshments and retail will be available to purchase. Free parking is available for the Boyd Park events, exactly one block away at the Rutgers Public Safety Building, located at 55 Commercial Avenue.

The festival includes collaborations with the city of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Development Corporation, New Brunswick City Center, New Brunswick Free Public Library, New Brunswick Community Arts Council, Rutgers Department of Student Affairs, Elijah’s Promise, coLAB Arts, New Brunswick Department of Recreation, Esparanza Neighborhood Coalition, Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, Civic League of Greater New Brunswick, Rutgers Center for Latino Arts and Culture, Rutgers Collaborative, New Brunswick Jazz Project,  TEMPO Networks, United Caribbean American Network, Coalition to Preserve Reggae, Hub City Jazz Festival, and Indo-American Festival, Inc.


Just Jersey 

WHEN: Saturday, July 27, 3pm-7pm
Rutgers Gardens, 112 Ryders Lane, New Brunswick

Celebrate the Jersey summer vibe in the beautiful Rutgers Gardens; filled with live music, dance performances, food and crafts, courtesy of locally sourced artists, musicians, and vendors.


WHEN: Saturday, August 24, 12pm-5pm
Boyd Park, Rt. 18 North, New Brunswick

Revel in the island vibes with Caribbean cuisine, music, and dance performances (reggae, soca and calypso), a jerk chicken tasting contest, and a special theatrical tribute to Paul Robeson.

Indo-American Festival 

WHEN: Sunday, August 25, 11am-5pm
Boyd Park, Rt. 18 North, New Brunswick

Offering mouthwatering treats, music and dance performances inspired by the culture and traditions from Northern and Southern India. Complemented by educational Yoga demonstrations and classes.

7th Annual Central Jersey Jazz Festival

WHEN: Saturday, September 14, 1pm-6pm
On George Street (between Livingston Avenue & Paterson Street), New Brunswick

Featuring an unparalleled collaboration between three communities in three different counties: Flemington, New Brunswick, and Somerville.

Rock New Brunswick 

WHEN: Saturday, September 21, 12pm-5pm
The Yard, 40 College Avenue, New Brunswick

“Old School Meets New School,” featuring Hip Hop, House, Funk, Rock, and Punk—hailing from the 80’s, 90’s into today’s era. Nestled in the middle of a beautiful courtyard surrounded by delicious eateries, on Rutgers’ New Brunswick campus.

39th Raritan River Festival 

Rubber Duck Race

WHEN: Sunday, September 22, 12pm-6pm
: Boyd Park, Rt. 18 North, New Brunswick

A celebration of local environment and community featuring live music, vendors, the New Brunswick Community Farmers Market, activities for children, cardboard canoe races and much more. Also featuring, The Beez Foundation’s annual Rubber Duck Drop into the Raritan River, with prizes for the winners.

5th Annual Corazon Latino Festival in partnership with El Mercado Esperanza

WHEN: Sunday, October 27, 11am-4pm
Joyce Kilmer Park, 143 Joyce Kilmer Avenue, New Brunswick

A carnival themed adventure showcasing rich Latino and Caribbean culture filled with traditional cultural dances, music, visual arts displays, and much more.

For more information on the Hub City Sounds events call 908-917-2862 or visit www.NewBrunswickArts.org .

Trilogy Repertory Presents “Brigadoon” at Pleasant Valley Park

WHEN: August 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, at  8pm
: outdoor amphitheater at Pleasant Valley Park, Valley Road (next to the Veterans Hospital at Lyons), Basking Ridge
ADMISSION: free, but donations are gratefully accepted.
Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating and a flashlight for finding your way after dark! 
For information, call 908-204-3003.

The musical opened on Broadway at the Ziegfeld Theater on March 13, 1947, running for 541 performances and winning a Tony Award for Agnes DeMille for Best Choreography. The 1954 movie version starred Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, and Van Johnson.  Theatergoers will recognize the songs “Waitin' For My Dearie,” “Almost Like Being in Love” and “I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean.”

Brigadoon is directed by Jaye Barre of Basking Ridge, assisted by Marilyn Gamba and McKenna Moore, with musical direction by Joe Lesky of Somerset and choreography by Jill Cookingham of Take Flight Dance.

Starring in the production are David Rittenhouse of Califon (Tommy Albright) Jessica Albano of Branchburg (Fiona MacLauren; both left), Joseph Schmidt of Bedminster (Jeff Douglass), and Claire Dempsey of Morristown (Meg Brockie). 

The cast also consists of Rusty Cook, Tim Amalfitano, Owen McKenna, Maurice Marvi, Chuck Pisano, Bridget Lynn, Frank Skokan, Robert Vaias, John Lubarsky Caroline McKenna, Virginia LaFean, Nicole Aulicino, Nancy Barhte, Caitlyn Costello, Harry Hess, Melissa Johnson, Emmalee LaFean, Emma Marsters, Jaidyn Riley, Kristie McCain, Germaine  McGrath, Glenston Miranda, Jason Procaccini, Kaitlyn Reiser, and Caila Yarwood.

“The partnership of Trilogy Repertory and Bernards Township has produced over three decades of family entertainment and achieved several awards for both groups for excellence in theater programming.  Most prominent are the awards from ACT (Achievement in Community Theater) and the prestigious “Excellence in Cultural Arts Programming.”  Lerner and Loewe’s “Brigadoon” is made possible, in part, by support from New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and is presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI

Dive Into These Morris County Events!

Meet the Servants


July 27

During a special, hands-on guided tour at Fosterfields, learn about the domestic help at the Foster home, The Willows, during the WWI era. Help the maid with household chores, and assist in the preparation of historic foods for the cook to bake in the wood-burning cook stove. Learn more here.



July 28

Discover how your backyard weeds can be used for medicinal purposes. Touch, smell, and taste the plants, learn a variety of techniques, and try a tincture of homemade plant medicines. I want to learn more.



August 6

IT’S ALL FREE! FREE food, entertainment, ice skating, and giveaways! Join the Morris County Park Police, and over 40 law enforcement and community agencies for this national award winning evening of awareness and fun. Over 5,000 people attend each year, so bring the entire family! Check it out here.

ice cream, you scream


August 4

Enjoy an old-fashioned summer day at the lovely and historic garden of Bamboo Brook. Have a fun-filled afternoon with games, such as hoops and sticks, croquet, and a yo-yo contest, and watch the duck races as entries float through the site’s water features among historic gardens. Bring your camera along for a scenic guided tour, or bring your favorite lawn chair, blanket, and even a picnic basket. Check it out.

model t day


August 3

Calling all car enthusiasts! Join an exciting day on the farm featuring restored Model T’s from near and far. Enjoy fascinating lectures, hands-on activities, and demonstrations for all ages, food and live music, and more. Click here for more details.

tiny tot


July 9 – August 20

Explore the sandy beach and beautiful water of Sunrise Lake with your toddler on select Tuesday mornings in July and August, while enjoying exclusive access before the lakes open to the public. This special program is designed for children ages 4 and under. Learn more here.


COLLIDE: Converge. Create. Connect. This Saturday, July 27 from 5 to 7pm

www.collide.brownpapertickets.com for tickets



Based on the 1959 Vincent Price movie by Robb White
Adapted for the stage by Tommy Jamerson
Directed by Nicholas J. Clarey
Stage Manager Felicity D. Selby

WHEN: Saturday August 10, 2019 11:00am-1:00pm, Monday August 12, 2019 7:00-9:00pm, Tuesday August 13, 2019 7:00-9:00pm BY APPOINTMENT




Performance Dates: October 11-13, 18-20, 25&26, 2019; Fri & Sat 7:30PM Sun 4:00PM

Eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren hosts a party for his wife, Annabelle at a possibly haunted mansion. The guests have been invited, the house is all set to host the group and to raise the stakes, if the guests survive the night filled with scares, screams, and the supernatural they will receive $10,000 each. How hard could it be?


interACT is the theatre in residence at The Baird Cultural Arts Center in South Orange, NJ. In 2019, the entire Baird building is closing for extensive renovations and will remain closed for a few years until the project is complete. During this time, we are proud to have the support of South Orange Middle School and The Burgdorff Center in allowing us to perform our mainstage productions "On The Run" in their spaces. If you or anyone you know has a space that would be willing to house us for our remaining March main-stage production slot, please contact AD Nick Clarey at nick@interactproductions.org.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

West Orange Arts Council Presents “Street Art at the Market”

Street Art at the Market—A Community Chalking Activity

WHEN: Saturday, July 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
80 Main Street, West Orange
ADMISSION: optional suggested donation of $5 will be used to support additional WOAC events.

The West Orange Arts Council (WOAC) in collaboration with the West Orange Farmer's Market and the Downtown West Orange Alliance  presents “Street Art at the Market.” The community is invited to participate or watch the transformation of the pavement into art.

The event is being organized by WOAC Board Member Brian Convery, who coordinates gallery and pop-up shows in New Jersey, New York, Chicago and London. "The idea of chalk art really reaches all," states Convery. "What starts out as typically a child’s tool for making sidewalk art becomes an all inclusive event, where anyone who wishes to be a chalk rockstar can participate."

“Street Art at the Market” is designed to be inclusive and about human unity and connection. "This event is part of our mission to celebrate the arts and artists and engage our community with workshops, exhibits and innovative activities," adds Patricia Mitrano, WOAC Board Chair.

For more information about “Street Art at the Market” visit WOAC website, Facebook and Instagram at

IG: westrangeartscouncil




WHERE: La Vie Galerie LLC, 106 Naylon Avenue, Livingston

NAKED IN JERSEY will be a multimedia art exhibit that defines and challenges our perception of the human form which, with all our imperfections, should be admired, respected, treasured and valued.

All work accepted for this exhibit must pertain to the nude human form (not pornographic). You may submit all 2D & 3D art including illustrations, painting (all media), photography, graphic art, sculpture, etc.

Entry fee – 1 to 3 submissions $25.

  • Additional submissions (maximum 10) $5. each
  • Entry fee payable via Pay Pal to laviegalerie@gmail.com
  • Fee must be received prior to any work being considered for exhibition.
  • All submissions and entry fees must be received by August 16, 2019.

Gallery NotificationAugust 19, 2019

Accepted artwork must be delivered or received by the gallery no later than August 26, 2019 (no exception).  If shipping, the work must be packed in reusable packaging (no peanut packing) with a pre-paid return shipping label enclosed.

  • All artwork received must be framed, wired (no saw tooth hangers) and ready to be hung. Work not properly framed and submitted will not be exhibited.
  • Please submit as JPEG files – 72 dpi no longer than 7” on the longest side to laviegalerie@gmail.com
  • Label files as follows:  yourfullnamename of artwork e.g. thomasbrownemptyroad

In the submission email, please include a list of all submissions giving the following information:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Name of artwork
  • Media
  • Dimensions (unframed)
  • Price

Gallery commission on all sales is 25%

Feel free to pass this Call for Entries on to other artists.

Once accepted, you will be required to fill out and return the Artist’s Agreement and the Submission Form.

Looking forward to reviewing your work.



WHEN: Saturday, July 27, at 7 p.m. 
Pettoranello Gardens Amphitheater, Route 206 and Mountain Avenue, Princeton.  The rain location is Princeton High School Performing Arts Center.

Blue Curtain, presented in co-operation with the Princeton Recreation Department, wraps up its 2019 summer concert on with a double-bill featuring the Afro-Cuban music of OKAN and Latin-Jazz legend Charlie Sepulveda and his ensemble The Turnaround.

OKAN fuses Afro-Cuban roots with jazz, folk and global rhythms in songs about immigration, bravery and love. Co-leaders, composers and multi-instrumentalists Elizabeth Rodriguez and Magdelys Savigne will be joined by Miguel de Armas on piano, Roberto Riveron on bass, and Frank Martinez on percussion. As OKAN embarks on their first international tour that includes 23 dates with stops at London's Sunfest, Nuit d'Afrique in Montreal, Old Town Music Hall in Chicago, and Blue Curtain Princeton, the group is celebrating its recent 2019 Independent Music Awards in both jazz and world categories.

World-Class Trumpeter, Composer, Bandleader and Educator and Latin Grammy Winner, Charlie Sepulveda stands as one of the few remaining pivotal figures in Jazz and Latin Jazz music today.  Sepulveda has traversed the globe many times over the past 30 years as a member of the legendary Tito Puente Golden Men of Latin Jazz, Eddie Palmieri Orchestra, Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra as well has his own ensemble The Turnaround. 

Concerts are family-friendly and guests are welcome to bring chairs, blankets and picnics.


PST’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Breathes New Life Into a Classic

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
directed by Maeli Goren

WHEN: July 25, 26, 27, 31 and August 1, 2, 3 at 8 pm and July 27 and 28 and August 3 and 4 at 2 pm.
Hamilton Murray Theater, Princeton
TICKETS: 29.50 General Admission, $24.50 Student and Matinee Tickets.
For tickets and more information, call (732) 997-0205 or visit princetonsummertheater.org.

When Princeton University graduate and Yale MFA candidate Maeli Goren was rereading A Midsummer Night’s Dream earlier this year, a piece of text stood out to her that never had before: a speech by Titania, the queen of the fairies, in which she speaks of “[t]he spring, the summer, / The childing autumn, angry winter change / Their wonted liveries, and the mazèd world, / By their increase, now knows not which is which”—in other words, a world plunged into chaos by a changing climate. Suddenly, one of Shakespeare’s most-produced plays had become unusually timely.

After years of seeing productions set in “idyllic forests,” Goren became interested in exploring what might happen to the play if “the creatures of the forests, whether human or fairy, in their own squabbles amongst each other and their own disagreements and their. . .self-serving behavior may have caused the environment to. . .dump over itself.”

For Goren, Princeton Summer Theater was an exciting place to find out. Midsummer will be her third mainstage production with the company (she previously directed The Children’s Hour in 2018 and Metamorphoses in 2015), and it has given her the opportunity to continue her collaborations with many PST stalwarts, including Ross Baron, Maeve Brady and Allison Spann.

The eight-member cast will also include PST Company Members Justin Ramos, Dylan Blau Edelstein, Michael Rosas, and Chamari White-Mink, and introduces first-time PST performer Regan McCall.

So, what does a Midsummer with an emphasis on environmental themes look like? Well, just like Athenian maiden Helena to the newly-enchanted Lysander and Demetrius, it appears both exactly the same and indelibly altered. The play’s witty humor is given new urgency by the crisis brewing in the background, with an assist from a talented production team; puppets by designer Toria Sterling re-energize the plot’s misbegotten affections, costumes by Jules Peiperl use plastic and other unconventional materials to consider the effect of humans on the environment, original music by cast member Allison Spann gives the piece a rhythmic heartbeat, and an innovative scenic design by Jeff Van Velsor puts the audience onstage for PST’s first-ever production in the round.

In the words of costume designer Jules Peiperl, it’s a “strange, fantastical, punchy, Where the Wild Things Are, Wizard of Oz. . .Midsummer” that, at just 75 minutes, is a spectacular end (or beginning!) to an evening of summer fun in Princeton.

The company will also continue performances of Puck’s Midsummer Mischief, an original children’s play based on the events and characters of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 am through August 3rd on the Hamilton Murray stage.




WHEN: Jul 19, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019
UCPAC'S Hamilton Stage, 360 Hamilton St., Rahway

Elle Woods appears to have it all, but her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend Warner dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle ingeniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex. With the support of some new friends though, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

HEISENBERG by Simon Stephens

by Simon Stephens

WHEN: Jul 19, 2019 - Jul 28, 2019
: The Loft at UCPAC, 1601 Irving St., Rahway

THE STORY: Amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, Georgie spots Alex, a much older man, and plants a kiss on his neck. This electric encounter thrusts these two strangers into a fascinating and life-changing game. Simon Stephens' sharply original HEISENBERG brings to blazing, theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection.




WHEN: Sat Jul 27, 2019, 5:30 PM, Doors: 4:30 PM
UCPAC Mainstage, 1601 Irving St., Rahway

JERSEY ROCKS! is a live music festival featuring The Springsteen Experience: A Tribute to the Boss!

Bruce Springsteen is one of the most prolific song writers and storytellers of our time, with a large and eclectic catalog of music spanning more than four decades. Josh Schreiber and the cast and crew of The Springsteen Experience take great pride in performing this brilliant catalog of music with the utmost sincerity, respect, and gratitude.

With the addition of the four-piece Miami Horn Section, The Experience is a non-stop adrenaline rush… a theatrical concert event like no other production in the replica-rock genre today. Featuring Born to Run, Detroit Medley, Hungry Heart, Glory Days, Born In The U.S.A., and many more. The Springsteen Experience is a show for all ages with something for everyone.

Come early to experience sets from local Jersey bands Sonoa, Powerlines, Bad Blooms, and Experiment 34. This lineup with Jersey roots is sure to rock the stage!

“GREASE” ON STAGE JULY 26 through AUGUST 4 Get Your Tickets Now!

directed by Matthew Green
musical direction by Daphne Meng
choreography by Alexa Kerner​

WHEN: Friday, July 26 at 7:30pm, Saturday, July 27 at 2:00pm and 7:30pmSunday, July 28 at 2:00pm, Friday, August 2 at 7:30pm, Saturday, August 3 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm, Sunday, August 4 at 2:00pm
The Summit Playhouse | 10 New England Ave. Summit
TICKETS: Adults $20, children & students $15
Get your tickets HERE!

It’s 1959, and Rydell High School’s senior class is in rare form. At the heart of the story is the romance between greaser Danny Zuko and the sweet new girl in town, Sandy Dumbrowski. After a whirlwind summer romance, Danny and Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High for senior year. But can they survive the trials and tribulations of teenage life, and find love once more?

With hit songs including "Greased Lightning," "We Go Together” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” experience the friendships, romances and adventures of high school pals in the 1950s and see why GREASE is still one of the most popular ​musicals of all time!


14th Annual Lincoln Park Music Festival

WHEN: July 26-28
Lincoln Park Cultural District, Newark
Visit www.lincolnparkmusicfestival.com for more information about the annual event. 

Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District sparks House Music fireworks with the announcement that legendary NYC Club Shelter resident DJ Timmy Regisford will headline House Music Day at the Lincoln Park Music Festival, marking the first time ever Timmy Regisford has played a New Jersey Outdoor House Music stage!

Trinidad-born, Timmy Regisford is known for his brand of soulful dance music.  Regisford is a music industry veteran with a platinum resume that includes the position of Music Director of NY’s WBLS in 1985; A&R Director of Atlantic Records in 1988 where he signed Miki Howard and Levert; then onto A&R at MCA Records where he developed Loose Ends and Colonel Abrams and signed multi-platinum R&B group Guy featuring mega producer Teddy Riley and he also signed the icons Eric B and Rakim. As Vice President of A&R at Motown Records, signed acts Today, and Johnny Gill. In 1996, Regisford became Vice President of A&R at Dreamworks Records. Regisford was also one of the founding people behind the legendary Club Shelter parties in New York City. The inception of his internationally acclaimed club parties over 20 years ago helped pioneer the soulful house music sound that has shaped the face of house music all around the world.

On performing in Newark, NJ at the Lincoln Park Music Festival, Timmy Regisford states “I’m excited to play in New Jersey for the first time—and especially happy that it’s going to happen at the Lincoln Park Music Festival.  Looking forward to seeing everyone come out and dance and have a great time.”

Festival Line Up

The three-day festival opening weekend

  • starts July 26th with Youth, Gospel, Soul, Jazz.
  • Friday kicks off  at 12PM with the Lunchtime In The Park and Soulful Seniors segment featuring LaQuin Lay and the Family Tree Jazz Band, Gospel DJ Willie Gee and Gospel singer Darren Deac
  • Starting at 2PM, the long-running YOPAT LIVE!—acronym for Youth Outreach for Performing Arts and Technology—features Newark’s next generation such as singer Whitney Jackson, Billie, Delaney, and Deneen, rapper Yung T, a YOPAT Fashion Show and former YOPAT protégé, vocal powerhouse Tia Holt
  • Stomps and shouts will kick up at 6PM with Gospel In The Park starring Season 3 winner of the BET gospel singing competition show Sunday Best Le’Andria Johnson.  Johnson's Sunday Best coronation song, "I Shall Leap into My Destiny", co-written by Johnson, entered the Billboard Gospel chart at number 1.  Also performing Gospel is Joshua Nelson, Revival Temple Center of Deliverance Choir, Crystal Levell, and Michael Gray.
  • Starting at 8:30PM, Jersey’s own Lenny Harold, a former member of Teddy Riley’s multiplatinum, stadium rockin’ group Blackstreet will headline Soul In The Park, our R&B segment.  Soul In The Park also include soul stirring songstress Gail Campbell and close out with our first-ever Friday night dance party with DJ Cole Crush (of Soul In The Horn) and Trew & Culture.

LPMF will reach fever pitch on House Music Day Saturday, July 27th with Timmy Regisford, one of the great legends of dance music. The complete House Music Day Line Up includes “The Voice of First Choice” Rochelle Fleming; Keith Thompson singing the mega-hit “Break 4 Love”; DJ Duce Martinez of DWILD Music Radio; House Music prodigy DJ Ameer; vocalist Cynthia Tucker; Cassio Ware of Whatszzz Up Superstar; The Beat Brothas of Humble Beginnings and DJ Sassy of Newark’s Femme Tribe. 

The festival will continue on Sunday, July 28th with Hip Hop Culture Day featuring curated sets by Newark’s FORSA Radio hosted by Marcy Depina aka “DJ MD”; the three-year running popular showcase series Vibes In The City hosted by Broadway Blake; and the Caribbean-infused collective Art 4 Change hosted by founder Stan aka “SL”. Straight “outta Brooklyn” is next to blow lyricist Marcus Charles, Jersey Club Hip Hop star Kherk Cobain, Samad Savage, J.1.DA, Khalil Jibran, other surprise “special guests” and a special head-to-head DJ Exhibition between Jersey’s DJ Cheese, 1986 DMC DJ Competition World Champion and Philly’s DJ Cash Money, 1988 DMC DJ Competition World Champion and first-ever DJ inducted into the Technics DJ Hall of Fame.

Festival Hosts

Our festival hosts include actor Tobias Truvillion (BET’s In Contempt, Fox’s Empire), Hip Hip icons Rah Digga, House Music host legends Ms. Theresa the “Queen of New Jersey”, Eddie Nicholas, Marcy Depina/DJ MD (Forsa), Broadway Blake (Vibes In The City), SL (Art4Change) and Kids Zone hosts Bella Star, sister rap duo MORA MINA and youth scholar Lloyd Brown.

Festival Villages

Taste of the Festival & Artisan Way is a wide array of vendors including international foods, clothing, cultural artifacts, specialty products and giveaways.

Sustainable Health and Wellness Village (SHWV) is presented by Whole Foods showcases sustainable products and services of local and regional businesses, produce from our local farms, health screenings and more.  SHWV also includes the Senior Village, catering to the senior population with activities, information and connection to services and Veterans Village, catering to the senior population with activities, information and connection to services.  SHWV is bringing Boxing to Lincoln Park on Saturday, July 27th from 1PM-5PM with the 2019 New Jersey Diamond Glove & NJ State Tournament Live! SHWV Boxing in Lincoln Park is brought to you by Mayor Ras J Baraka, the Newark Municipal City Council and the Pan American Caribbean Boxing Organization.  Sustainable Health and Wellness Village (SHWV) is also sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health (Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Clara Maass Medical Center), Panasonic, Columbia Bank University Hospital, City of Newark, County of Essex, East Orange General Hospital, Saint Michael’s Medical Center, Horizon NJ Health, and United Healthcare among others. 

Kids Zone Village is presented by the City of Newark, Believe In Newark Foundation and Hello Fresh includes activities for children and families including NJ Devils Hockey, Girls on Bikes, Newark Thrives, I’m So Yoga Newark, Newark Chess Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Union and Hudson, Fast Signs Newark, My Brothers Keeper Newark and skate partners SQAD, Certified Skateboards, ScoreBrx, Underground Skate Shop.

About Lincoln Park Music Festival

The Lincoln Park Music Festival (LPMF) is the largest music experience rooted in traditions of the African American and Afro Caribbean diaspora in the tri-state region. LPMF has expanded into an audience of 50,000-60,000 international attendees that comes together, over two weekends, to experience multiple genres of music including Gospel, Jazz, House, Hip-Hop, Rhythm & Blues, Reggae, Dancehall, Soca, Kompa and of the Latinx/Hispanic diaspora, as well as film, tech and music business education.

About Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District (Non-Profit, 501c3)

The Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, Inc. (LPCCD) is a non-profit organization actively engaged in the practice of creative place-making. Its mission to plan, design and develop a comprehensive arts and cultural district in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of downtown Newark. Once dominated by dilapidated buildings and vacant lots, the neighborhood is being transformed through LPCCD’s efforts into a “sustainable” arts and cultural district. This redevelopment includes “green” mixed-income housing, an annual music festival and historic preservation projects. LPCCD has completed more than 100 units of housing, and has provided new housing and employment opportunities for a diverse population. LPCCD is well on its way to creating a fully productive, mixed-use neighborhood. LPCCD’s two main arts & culture programs are the annual Lincoln Park Music Festival and Lincoln Park Music Speaks.

Connect with @LincolnParkMusicFestival on Facebook and IG and follow @LPCCD on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Klezmer Tanz (Jewish Folk Music and Yiddish Dance) at Farmstead Arts Center

Klezmer Tanz (Jewish Folk Music and Yiddish Dance)

WHEN: Sunday, July 28, at 2 PM
Farmstead Arts Center’s English Barn, 450 King George Road, Basking Ridge
TICKETS: Free for kids 5 and under. Light refreshments included. $25 (single ticket), $22 (tickets for two or three), $18 (tickets for 4+) Cash only at the door.
Tickets are available at http://farmsteadarts.eventbrite.com.
More information can be found at www.farmsteadartscenter.org/performances/ or by contacting Farmstead Arts Center at 908-636-7576 or admin@farmsteadarts.org

Farmstead Arts Center will host an afternoon of upbeat, lively Jewish folk music and Yiddish dance instruction. Fun for the whole family!

The event features:

  • Tsu Fil Duvids (Yiddish for “Too Many Daves”) – a klezmer ensemble based in central New Jersey. The group’s repertoire includes traditional tunes from Eastern Europe, American klezmer and Yiddish melodies. In addition to playing at simchas (Jewish celebrations), Tsu Fil Duvids has performed concerts at synagogues in the tri-state area and has been heard at Limmud Learningfests in NY & Philadelphia, the Crossroads Theater in New Brunswick, the Marasco Center in Monroe, the Rejoice Festival of Jewish Music in South Brunswick and the JetLag Festival in the Catskills.
  • Steven Lee Weintraub -  teacher, choreographer and performer of Jewish dance, particularly Yiddish dance, the dance to klezmer music.

Steven delights in introducing people to the figures, steps and stylings of the dances that belong to Klezmer music. He has often been called the “Pied Piper of Yiddish Dance”; his years of experience leading and researching Yiddish dance allow him to quickly weave dancers and music together in astonishing ways. Young and old, from all backgrounds, find it easy to share in the joy of Yiddish dancing.

Klezmer, a type of folk music of the itinerant European Jewish musician, dates back as far as the 16th century.  Modern klezmer combines its eastern European roots with American jazz idioms to create a lively, emotion-packed program including songs from Yiddish theatre and traditional folk melodies. 

This program is made possible in part by funds from the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.


CLICK HERE for tickets

Monday, July 22, 2019


by Ruth Ross

Like wine, the flavors, aromas, and colors of Broadway musicals can change according to age and the cultural “weather,” often rendering them undrinkable or enhancing their taste and color so they surpass their origins.

Such is the case of Ragtime: The Musical, with book by Terrence McNally, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, the current summer offering of the Light Opera of New Jersey at the South Orange Performing Arts Center through July 28.

Based on E.L. Doctorow’s 1975 novel, Ragtime opened on Broadway in 1998 to mixed reviews, and while it led that year’s Tony Awards with 13 nominations, it lost to The Lion King as Best Musical. Its lavish, $10 million production budget, along with a large cast and orchestra, affected the show’s bottom line. Since then, however, the show has been produced internationally (in London and Norway), revived on Broadway (2009), presented in concert at Lincoln Center and Ellis Island, and performed regionally all over the United States.

Despite the show’s being derided as “nostalgia for a bygone time,” LONJ’s elegant, deeply affecting Ragtime speaks volumes to an age when “woke” is both an adjective and a verb. Its treatment of gender equality, racial tension and biases against immigrants continue to resonate today, reminding us that the problems of 1906 have never really gone away.

Set in the first decade of the 20th century, Ragtime: The Musical interweaves three distinctly American stories: that of Mother, a stifled white, upper class wife; Tateh, a Jewish immigrant from Latvia determined to succeed in “Amerike”; and Coalhouse Walker, Jr., a talented and daring young black pianist who refuses to be held back by bigotry. All courageously break the chains of their respective social classes and exhibit a hope for a better future. Along the way, their trajectories cross, bringing happiness and tragedy in equal measure.

Once again, Jeffrey Fiorello shows off his masterful directorial talent, melding a cast of 35 into a true ensemble; moving them smoothly on, off and around Brandon Frumolt’s very versatile, yet spare, set (made up of various platforms and a pair of rolling staircases) through 18 different scenes; and getting his principal actors to express emotions and advance the story mostly through music supplemented by brief interludes of narration and dialogue. Robert Cruz’s sound, Mark Reilly’s lighting and Laura Iocometta’s props (there’s even a moving Model T Ford!) further enhance the production’s magnificence. And Mike Patierno’s beautiful costumes enable the large ensemble to assume a myriad of roles and telegraph the social status of the actors in the blink of an eye. (Above, right: a baseball game)

Standouts include an incandescent as Christina Ryan Mother, the New Rochelle housewife who takes charge of her life when her husband accompanies Admiral Peary to the North Pole. It is amazing to watch her metamorphosis from “one who stays put” to a woman with a mission. Anthony Crouchelli is terrific as Mother’s Younger Brother; he too undergoes a transformation: from louche playboy to anarchist. With a strong voice and great stage presence, he commands our attention whenever he appears.

Dante Sterling’s suave, cool Coalhouse Walker Jr. is charming and sympathetic, and Amber Brown as Sarah (right) is heartbreakingly beautiful and vulnerable. As Tateh (above, left, with Grace Lustig), the Russian silhouette artist turned film director, Daniel Peter Vissers captures the immigrant’s optimism tinged with fear he won’t be able to provide for his child; his dignity in the face of abject poverty is palpable. Susan Speidel’s Emma Goldman is full of white-hot zeal, and Colleen Renee Lis (below, left) captures the charming silliness of Evelyn Nesbit, “The Girl in the Swing” and a real media darling of the period. Keith White’s Father is appropriately clueless about the changes in the world around him, and Justin Roth is adorable as his Little Boy.

The 18-member ensemble plays multiple roles, provides terrific vocal accompaniment and performs Aimee Sukel Mitacchion’s complex and evocative choreography with agility, energy and grace. Her having the three groups—white family, immigrants and blacks—circle is masterful. The 18 musicians led by Charles Santoro get the syncopation of ragtime music just right to provide a tuneful through line while complementing the actor/singers’ beautiful voices.

This musical pageantry envelops the audience in the very essence of American musical theater, while the lyrics and plot line strike a resonant chord in our social and cultural consciences. America in 1906 faced changes similar those of 2019: technological advancements (automobile, telephone), an influx of immigrants that threatened to change the tenor of American life, and the advancements sought and made by people of color that many white folks found unsettling.

In the 20 years I have been reviewing productions by the Light Opera of New Jersey, the troupe has never disappointed me. Their production of Ragtime: The Musical is the finest theatrical production I have seen all year. So, take your entire family—from teens to seniors—over to SOPAC to catch it before it closes next weekend. With its painless history lesson of a time of change that is, in so many ways, a harbinger of 2019, you will have much to think and talk about on the ride home and for days afterward. LONJ’S Ragtime is a must-see!

Ragtime: The Musical will be performed at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, One SOPAC Way, South Orange (behind the train station) through Sunday, July 28, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM and Sundays at 2 PM. Parking is free, and there are lots of restaurants in the area for pre-theater dining. For information and tickets, visit www.lightoperaofnewjersey.org online or call the SOPAC box office at 973.313.2787.

Wishes, The Witch, The Woods, and A Work of Heart!

A Work of Heart Productions (WHP) presents

Into the Woods

WHEN: July 26, 8 PM; July 27, 2 PM & 8 PM; and 28, 2 PM
Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre in Morristown, NJ
TICKETS: $27 General Public, $22 Seniors, $22 Students (18 & under or valid ID)
For tickets, please visit http://www.morrismuseum.org/community-performances or call the Morris Museum’s Box Office at (973) 971-3706.

Wishes, The Witch, and The Woods collide in James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim's beloved Tony Award-winning musical. “Be careful what you wish for” seems to be the ongoing theme in this timeless, yet relevant, piece...a rare modern classic. In the Brothers Grimm-inspired musical, when the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse, among the wishes of Cinderella, Jack-and-the-beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood and the Witch herself. Everyone's wish is granted, but sacrifices must be made due to the consequences of their actions as the community comes together to save each other and their kingdom. 

“We’re thrilled to be at the Morris Museum’s Bickford Theatre for an exhilarating summer production. Into the Woods is everyone’s favorite musical because it intertwines the stories we have all known and loved for generations,” says Angelo De Fazio, Woods director.

Cast members include Samantha Alexander (Mendham), Bobby Becht (Morris Township), Sarah Brown (Bridgewater), Courtney Bulger (Pompton Plains), Jillian Cetrulo (Wayne), Caitlin Dalton (Clifton), Dena Daniel (South Orange), Alan Ellis (East Hanover), Jake Feeney (Chatham), Christina Freeman (Chester), Casey Gorab (Wayne), Maggie Gryta (Chatham), Christine Hjorth (Rockaway), Alexandra Hnasko (Raritan), Kaitlyn Huamani (Gladstone), Kenny Lee (Parsippany), Hallie Lippey (Bridgewater), Nicole Lippey (West Orange), Peri Margolies (West Orange), Hayley Mason (NYC), Courtney Mincolelli (Whippany), Joey Palazzo (South Plainfield), Amanda Patanella (East Hanover), Laura Quinn (Morristown), David Rivera (Hoboken), Johnny Ross (Lyndhurst), Layla Ruppert (Convent Station), Francesca Salluce (Parsippany), Rebecca Soleiman (Morristown), Addie, Beatrice, and Charlotte Spencer (Harding), Idris Talbott (Harrison), Gianna Treiber (Florham Park), Gianna Trivisani (Oakland), Simcha Willick (Passaic), Lyra Winton (Summit), Brianne Wright (Allendale), and Joe Zedeny (East Windsor).

Production team includes director/executive producer Angelo De Fazio, executive producer and WHP founder Nicole Lippey, musical director Steven Zimmerman, and production stage manager Anthony Foti.

Make sure you use our official production hashtag: #HeartOfTheWoods.

A Work of Heart Productions (WHP) was founded in 2014 by Nicole Lippey. The company consists of professional New York City performers, and produces shows, musicals in concert, and a monthly cabaret series at the famed Feinstein's/54 Below, The Triad Theater, The Metropolitan Room, and more. WHP also offers a summer community Main Stage production, and a year-round educational program for teens and college students, Bringing Broadway Home (BBH). BBH operates in 5-6 week workshops with established professionals in the performing arts industry as Artist-Mentors to our students, alongside Master Teachers and Artistic Directors Nicole Lippey and Angelo De Fazio and Master Teacher and Music Director Susan Braden. Our roster of Artist-Mentors includes Sean Green, Jr. (Hamilton on Broadway), Erin Dilly (Broadway Legend and Tony Nominee), Hilary Maiberger (Belle, International Tour of Beauty and the Beast), Katie Travis (Christine Daae, Broadway and National Tour of Phantom of the Opera), and more!