Friday, October 18, 2019

WEST ORANGE PREMIERE OF “DIWAL'OWEEN,” A FAMILY COMEDY FILM

DIWAL'OWEEN—FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS VS. FRIGHT NIGHT: A FAMILY COMEDY FILM

WHEN: Sunday, October 20, 2019, beginning at 5:00 PM 
WHERE:
West Orange Arts Center at 551 Valley Road in West Orange
ADMISSION: There is a $10 suggested donation, and the event is free for children 12 years and under. 
Seating is limited to the first 45 registrants.
Register online at woarts.org

West Orange Arts Council (WOAC) invites the community to the West Orange Premiere of "Diwal'Oween” a family comedy and winner of 11 Awards from Bali to Baltimore. 

  • There will be pre-film activities for children and adults including Rangoli (Indian art during Diwali, the five-day festival of lights), face painting and costume judging contest with prizes from local vendors.
  • Light refreshments will be available before and after the 40-minute film.
  • A film discussion and Q & A with filmmaker Shilpa Mankikar, cast and crew will follow.

Shilpa Mankikar,Award-winning American filmmaker, documentarian, director and writer, and a graduate of Oberlin College and the MFA Film Program at Columbia University in New York, NY, filmed many scenes from the movie with local student talent on location in South Mountain Reservation and New Jersey locations.

Mankikar is based in New York, Los Angeles, &  Mumbai. Diwal'Oween is the winner of 11 Awards including the Best Family Series at Baltimore New Media WebFest, the Audience Award, and Best Actor at Jersey City Halloween Popup Fest, and 2nd Place web content at the New Delhi (India) Short Film Awards. It was nominated for Best Family Series and Best Diverse Content at Toronto Webfest, and Best Web Content at the Largo Awards  in Switzerland.

See film trailer at:  www.diwalloween.com

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

For more information about the event visit www.woarts.org or email info@woarts.org.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Upcoming Events from Jersey Jazz

WHEN: Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 2:00 PM
WHERE:
Barnes and Noble, 44 Brick Plaza, Brick, NJ

Sanford "Sandy" Josephson is the author of two books about jazz: Jeru's Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan (Hal Leonard Books: 2015) and Jazz Notes: Interviews Across the Generations (Praeger/ABC-Clio: 2009). He has also written about jazz musicians in a variety of publications including American Way magazine, the New York Daily News and Jersey Jazz, of which he is the editor.

About Jeru's Journey: In a career that spanned more than 50 years, Gerry Mulligan was revered and recognized as a groundbreaking composer, arranger, bandleader, and baritone saxophonist. His legacy comes to life in this biography, which chronicles his immense contributions to American music, far beyond the world of jazz. Mulligan's own observations are drawn from his oral autobiography, recorded in 1995. These are intermingled with comments and recollections from those who knew him, played with him, or were influenced by him, as well as from the author, who interviewed him in 1981.

jazz.org

Sandy Sasso Quartet

WHEN: Saturday, October 19, 8 PM
WHERE: Watchung Arts Center, 18 Stirling Road, Watchung, NJ
slsasso.com

Sandy Sasso Kicks Off an Exciting Jazz Season!

A benefit concert, featuring acclaimed jazz vocalist Sandy Sasso, will be held at the Watchung Arts Center on Saturday, October 19 at 8 PM. Ms. Sasso will be accompanied by master musicians Brad Mandigo on piano, bassist Mike Carino and vibraphonist Behn Gillece. All sales from tickets will be donated to the Arts Center to help it present additional dynamic musical and artistic programming to the community.

The WAC is a gem of a venue for all the arts. Because all proceeds from our concert will benefit the WAC, I feel I'm doing something very worthwhile, not only for me and my band, but for all the people who work so hard at keeping the Arts Center open and thriving" - Sandy Sasso.
The performance will be followed by a dessert reception with an opportunity to meet the performers.

Invite Peace and Wellness into your Life!

spa_set_orchids.jpg

Meditation and Optional Yoga
Facilitated by Jean Marie DuHamel,MA, CEC, SD, RYT

WHEN: Mondays, October 21st, and November 11th! Meditation~6:30-7:30 pm~$15; Optional Yoga~5:50-6:20
WHERE: Rutherfurd Hall, 1686 Route 517, Allamuchy
FEE
: $7
Click Here to Register or call (908) 852-1894 ext. 338

Invite Peace and Wellness to your life as you begin or continue your Meditation Practice with Jean Marie of Fostering the Journey.

IN ADDITION, join us for one half-hour of gentle Yoga before meditation if you choose.

Please bring a mat for Yoga

KEAN STUDENTS PRESENT PLAY DEALING WITH RACISM, SEXISM

Tickets to An Octoroon

AN OCTOROON
By Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by E. Teresa Choate

WHERE: Bauer Boucher Theatre Center, 1000 Morris Ave, Union, NJ
WHEN: October 11 - 19, 2019
CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS

The Kean Theatre Conservatory proudly presents The Octoroon, a new production broadly adapted from the wildly popular 19th century melodrama by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault.

We invite you to examine racism and sexism through the lens of whiteface, redface, and blackface with a multi-ethnic cast that is both adhering to and leaping across the lines of broad racial and sexual stereotypes.

There will be a talk-back after every performance, so be sure to stay once the play ends.

An Octoroon is for mature audiences only, regardless of one’s age.

Quote by Ben Brantley from the New York Times

BOOK SIGNING THIS WEDNESDAY @ RUTHERFURD HALL

Come to Rutherfurd Hall

WHEN: October 16, 2019 at 7:00 

Author Joe McGee will sign and speak about his book, Letters for Annie:Memories from World War II.

Halloween Paint Night Thursday!

WHEN: Thursday, October 17th, Kids Paint Night at 6:30 pm, Adult Wine and Paint Night (BYOB) at 7:00 pm

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

Upcoming events at The Shakespeare Theatre!

Costume, Prop, and Everything Else Sale!

WHEN: Saturday, October 19, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE:
Thomas H. Kean Theatre Factory, 3 Vreeland Road, Florham Park
RSVP to our Facebook event!


On stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre:

Something Wicked This Way Comes

WHEN: Monday, October 28, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison
TICKETS: $35
Buy tickets!

This year’s Something Wicked This Way Comes shines a lantern light on witches. We’ll deliver a potent brew of tales about witches good and bad, scary witches, funny ones, little twitchy witches, trios of them, their pets, their peeves, and their peevish pets! Not to mention their brooms!

Join us for a delightful evening of witch lore and arrive a bit early to enjoy a complimentary cup of witches brew and some Halloween treats before the performance!


Lend Us Your Ears Play Reading Series

Marisol
by José Rivera

WHEN: Monday, November 4, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison
TICKETS: $18; $16 for subscribers; and $10 for students!
Buy tickets!

Presented as part of The Shakespeare Theatre's participation in LatinX ConXiónes, the 2019 project of the Morris Arts and Culture Collaborative.


Renaissance Runway: A Time-Traveling Fashion Show!

WHEN: Wednesday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison
TICKETS:  $35
Buy tickets!

If you watch shows like Downton Abbey, The Crown, and Outlander as much for their fabulous period costumes as for their great stories, this event is for you! Travel back in time and get an insider’s glimpse of some of the Shakespeare Theatre’s favorite costumes, where the streets of Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, Italy become our “runway.” You’ll get an earful of fascinating fashion facts and the Theatre’s costumers will talk about some of the particular challenges of creating period clothing in modern times. There will be funny moments, a rich array of music, and “a blaze of finery” with our company artists appearing as our “top models”!

Tickets are $35 and include a wine and cheese reception, so you can enjoy some nibbles before feasting your eyes on these beautiful costumes. Great event for groups!


Something Merry This Way Comes

WHEN: Monday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE:
F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave., Madison
TICKETS: $35
Buy tickets!

Our annual holiday gift for our audience, Something Merry is just that – a collage of merry holiday tales, songs, and poems read by company members. We try to provide an antidote to the commercial glitz and blitz that permeates our lives each year at holiday time with this refreshing, nostalgic celebration of all the good things that the season symbolizes and encourages.


Upcoming classes at The Shakespeare Theatre:

Shakespeare in the Classroom

WHEN: Thursday, November 7, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Designing and Building and Painting, Oh My!

WHEN: Friday, November 8, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m

Register for an upcoming class!


For more information about any of these upcoming events, visit ShakespeareNJ.org! Visit our website!

Monday, October 14, 2019

“THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN” OPENS IN WEEHAWKEN THIS WEEKEND

“If you do this, I will own you forever.”

Canadian photojournalist Paul Watson is haunted by the words he heard a dead soldier say as he took the photo, in 1993, that would win him the Pulitzer Prize and reshape American foreign policy.

Playwright Dan O’Brien, struggling with ghosts of his own, reaches out to Watson, and the two forge a friendship as they reckon with the traumas that have shaped their lives. The Body of an American is a bold, radically theatrical and poetic true story that ranges from Afghanistan and Iraq to the Canadian High Arctic.

Two actors play more than thirty roles in an exhilarating new form of documentary drama. The Winner of the inaugural Edward Kennedy Prize, the Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play, and the PEN Award for Drama.

WHEN: October 17-November 3
WHERE
: Theatre at the Wilson School, 80 Hauxhurst Ave., Weehawken
TICKETS: $25 (limited seating)
800.838.3006 or www.hudsontheatreworks.brownpapertickets.com

JAZZ THIS WEEK IN NEW BRUNSWICK

NOMINATIONS ARE IN. JAZZ FANS HAVE SPOKEN! NOW IT'S TIME TO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE  ARTISTS

SO MANY of the nominees have performed for NBJP!

(Akiko, Brian Charette, Jerry Weldon, Radam Schwartz, Joe Magnarelli, Winard Harper, Brian Landrus, Nick Hempton, Johnny O'Neal, Champian Fulton,  Freddie Hendrix, Charlie Sigler, Vuyo Sotache, Paul Bollenback,  Charlie Apicella,  Benny Bennack III, Michelle Lordi, Victor Jones...and many more!)

Click the link below to cast your vote! You can vote daily until the end of October.

http://www.nycreadersjazzawards.com

The Awards Ceremony will take place at Birdland,  Sunday November 24, at 4PM. Our own Virginia DeBerry will be a PRESENTER! Click here for Tickets

Keyboardist David Braham Leads Jam Session at October Social

David Braham

WHEN: Sunday, October 20. Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and the music is performed from 3-5 p.m., with one short intermission.
WHERE:
Shanghai Jazz, 24 Main St. in Madison
ADMISSION: free to members. $10 for non-members, and there is a $10 food/beverage minimum
To reserve your spot in the jam session or for more information, email music@njjs.org

Organist/pianist David Braham will lead an "old fashioned jam session/open mic" at the New Jersey Jazz Society's monthly Jazz Social. Joining Braham in the house band will be guitarist Mark Strickland and drummer Diego Lopez.

Braham has played with jazz giants such as saxophonists Lou Donaldson, Houston Person, and David "Fathead" Newman; and AllAboutJazz has described him as "one of the best organists on the scene today.

Guitarist Strickland was influenced by Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Pass. He has performed with drummer Grady Tate and bassist John Heard, among others. Drummer Lopez established himself on New York's music scene in 2000, working with such musicians as pianist Hilton Ruiz, clarinetist-saxophonist Paquito D'Rivera, and tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri.

Funding for the NJJS Socials has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lines in the Dust: JCTC Revives New Jersey Play About Race, Class & Public Education

WHEN & WHERE: 13-show run, with 10 shows (10/18-11/3) at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, and three shows (11/7 – 11/9) at New Jersey City University’s West Side Theatre, 285 West Side Ave., Jersey City; Doors: 7:30/ Show: 8:00  *Sunday Shows Only: Doors: 5:30/ Show: 6:00
TICKETS:
for Merseles studios visit: www.JCTCenter.org; for West Side Theatre, visit: https://www.njcu.edu/community/center-arts/theatre-dance

Lines in the Dust, the Main Stage Projection of the 2019 fall season of Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC), is a New Jersey Story depicting the volatile mix of race, class and inequality in public education.

A JCTC production and part of the nonprofit arts organization’s Stories of Greenville program, Lines in the Dust is being presented in a, New Jersey 07305.

Lines in the Dust, by Obie-Award winning actress & Pulitzer Prize nominated writer, Nikkole Salter, tells the story of the lengths a mother will go through to ensure a better future for her daughter. Set in 2010, Lines in the Dust explores the issue of separate and unequal schooling. The story follows a mother and Newark resident seeking to send her daughter to a better school in Millburn, which seems a risk worth taking, but may end up requiring a bigger sacrifice than she ever could have imagined.

Lines in the Dust is a contemporary fable about the injustices of a public school system where the quality of your children’s education can depend on solely on your street address. Originally commissioned by Luna Stage in West Orange to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Brown Versus Board of Education, the plays reveals the persistent racial and economic inequities defining public education in 21st century America.

Although fictional, Lines in the Dust is based on true events and real lives. The play’s ‘context issue’ may be school residency fraud, but the heart of its story are people struggling to maintain a sense of value in an amoral, hierarchal societal system where access to quality education often determines who has power.

If anything, the issue of educational disparity has only gotten more dire since Lines in the Dust premiered in 2014. Budget cuts, overcrowded classrooms and understaffing afflict schools across the county, especially with populations made up of working class and multiracial families. In Jersey City alone, more than 200 public school teachers were fired last May.

“I saw this play when it first opened and was so impressed with how intelligently written it is,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC.  “With all the problems with Jersey City schools, especially in neighborhoods like Greenville and Westside, the time is right to bring this new production of Lines in the Dust to Jersey City. What is happening with public education is just another form of segregation. Our children are our future, and how we educate all our children will determine what that future will be.” 

Lines in the Dust was commissioned by and received its world premiere at Luna Stage, then was followed by subsequent productions at the Cleveland Public Theatre, ETA Creative Arts in Chicago, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, Tennessee Women's Theatre Project in Nashville and the Black Theatre Troupe, Phoenix, Ariz.

The JCTC production is the first New Jersey production of the play since its initial run in 2014. In addition to a revised script, the new version features a new set design, as well as multimedia components, including video-mapping projections.

"I'm excited to share Lines in the Dust with Jersey City,” said Salter. “While the play takes place in Essex County, after seven productions across the country, I find that the story's dynamics resonate beyond the specificity of any town or region. I'm grateful my play is being produced at Jersey City Theater Center, and I hope the play and the production contribute to the important conversations about public education happening this ballot season in Jersey City."

The JCTC production is also the first time Lines is the Dust is being staged in New Jersey since its Luna Stage premiere in 2014. The director of the show is Cheryl Katz, a New Jersey-based theater professional, who is currently the co-director of The New Jersey Play Lab and was Artistic Director of Luna Stage when Lines in the Dust was commissioned. “I am thrilled with the success the play has had since its World Premiere, and even more gratified to have a hand in bringing this important and timely play back home to New Jersey, " said Katz.

LSO OPENS SEASON WITH MUSIC THAT WILL WARM YOUR SOUL

Livingston Symphony Orchestra Opening Gala Concert

WHEN: Saturday, October 19, 7:30 PM
WHERE
: Livingston High School Auditorium, 30 Robert Harp Drive, Livingston. The venue is wheelchair accessible with free adjacent parking and assistive hearing device availability.
ADMISSION: $25 (adults); $15(seniors and students); and free (children under 12 accompanied by adult).

The program, from sunny Spain (Bizet’s “Carmen” and Rimski- Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol”), to frozen Finland (“Sibelius Symphony No.2), will truly warm your soul.

The concert opens with excerpts from Bizet’s “Carmen,” one of the most popular and oft performed operas of all times. The opera is a melodramatic story of love and murder set in Spain, with characters including soldiers, gypsies, smugglers and bullfighters, all depicted with finesse by the composer. “Carmen” was very different from previous operas that were based on mythology or morality plays, and it was initially rejected by French audiences. Unfortunately, Bizet died three months after the opera’s debut at age 36, calling “Carmen” a “definite and hopeless flop.” The opera went on to a rapturous reception in Vienna and throughout Europe, and remains among the top three operas performed today (along with “Aida” and “La Boheme”).

The concert continues with Rimski-Korsakov’s “Capriccio Espagnol,” a five movement suite based on Spanish folk melodies. Originally planned as a showcase for violin and orchestra, the work evolved to feature many solo players and be described by the composer as “glittering with orchestral color.” Featuring a large percussion section, the piece exemplifies the Spanish countryside in all of its heat and gypsy flavor. Solo cadenzas and fragments can be heard from the violin, flute, clarinet, harp, horn and harp, and in the “Fandango” Andalusian Dance movement, every section takes its turn leading the orchestra.

After intermission and a chance to meet and greet musicians, the concert concludes with Sibelius’ “Symphony No.2.” Sibelius’s music has been described as both nationalistic and also reflective of the bleak Finnish landscape, replete with forests, birds, and lakes. Written partially in Italy, some scholars have speculated that the symphony’s second movement described a struggle with Don Juan and the devil, a “confession of the soul” per the composer. The symphony is also viewed as four atmospheric tone poems based on the rich mythology of Finland. Regardless of interpretation, the intense and dramatic closing tune of this piece is just superb.

The orchestra is led by knowledgeable and approachable Maestro Anthony La Gruth, on hand to provide further insight in what promises to be an exciting program. For more information, call (973)980-1809 or visit www.lsonj.org or Facebook: Livingston Symphony-NJ.

GUEST REVIEW: 1920’s THRILLER RAMPS UP THE SPOOKINESS @ CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY

By Jane Primerano

Ghost Train starts out like your average thriller: six people stranded in a rundown railroad station on a rainy night, a perfect formula for scary, but it takes as many zigs and zags as a switchback track. (Above, left to right; Peter Kendall, Caroyln Popp, David Sitler, Campbell Symes, CJ Carter & Sarah Giacomini. Photo credit: Chris Young).

The Centenary Stage Company production’s opening night, Friday, Oct. 4, used the actors, the set and special effects to create the proper amount of spookiness, as well as some humor.

Of the six characters there is a couple on their wedding night, a couple on the verge of separating, a single woman of a certain age with a parrot and a rather odd young man with a long scarf and longer stories. Expectedly, the station master tells a scary story of a train accident 20 years ago that very night, Friday the 13th (of course).

Events ramp up the tension until Miss Bourne (she of the parrot) becomes hysterical and partakes of some (more than some) brandy proffered by Teddy Deakin (the odd young man). With Miss Bourne out for the count, the other five start experiencing things the station master warned them about. Other characters appear, and may or may not be who they say they are.

The play, written by Arnold Ridley in the 1920s, is a clever example of the thriller genre with a healthy dose of humor built in. Some of the audience laughter is of the nervous variety, but the cast keeps a delicate balance between humor and comedy.

The production was directed by Carl Wallnau, founding director of the Centenary Stage Company and chair of the fine arts department at the university. He used the set and special effects as characters in the story. The dingy station and the lights and sounds that represented the ghost train were right on. Centenary’s sets are well known for their utility and cleverness, but this one is excellent even by those standards.

As usual with Centenary, the cast was superb. Justin Pietropaolo as Teddy handled the twists and turns of the character with ease. The couples, played by Peter Kendall and Campbell Symes and CJ Carter and Sara Giocomini, were perfect 1920s young marrieds. Stationmaster David Sitler was appropriately creepy, and Miss Bourne Carolyn Popp appropriately annoying.

Lauren T. Mack appears in the second act as the mysterious and possibly crazy Julia Price. She does a great job in a tough role, but perhaps the blonde wig could be toned down a bit.

The other speaking parts are Michael Irvin Pollard as Herbert Price and Craig MacDonald as John Sterling. They did a fine job of being people who were not as they first seemed.

Ghost Train continues with 8 p.m. Saturday shows on Oct. 5, 12 and 19 and 2 p.m. Sunday shows Oct. 6, 13, and 20. There will be two Wednesday 2 p.m. matinees on Oct. 9 and 16 and two Thursday evening shows at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 10 and 17. Tickets range from $27.50 to $30 depending on the show. Well worth it.

ST. JUDE'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL BENEFIT CONCERT IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY - SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19TH @ 4PM

The Historic Mt. Zion Baptist Church In Newark, NJ Hosts the

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Benefit Concert

WHEN: SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19TH @ 4PM

FEATURING: Nancey Jackson-Johnson, Rev. Stef and Jubilation and Pastor Samar Biggham

Call 973.454.3629 or SRMinatee@aol.com

Saturday, October 12, 2019

HALLOWEEN CELEBRATED ALL MONTH @ MORRIS COUNTY LOCATIONS

Morris County Park Commission

halloween header

WHEN: Oct 2 – 31

Brace yourself for the best Halloween ex-FEAR-iences this season! Enjoy haunting activities at various locations throughout Morris County during the month of October. From trembling, nature-themed tales to creating boo-tiful flowers, there is something for everyone to enjoy! Learn more here!

Only a few days left to the event of the year: Denzel Washington to appear @ the Crossroads Theatre Gala

CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS

WHERE: New Brunswick Performing Arts Center Theatre, Livingston Ave., New Brunswick

Friday, October 11, 2019

REVIEW: “CHASING RAINBOWS” POIGNANTLY REVEALS THE MAKING OF AN AMERICAN ICON: JUDY GARLAND

by Ruth Ross

With the success of the film Judy, starring Renee Zellweger, and the opening of the Paper Mill Playhouse’s inaugural production, Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz, we can officially declare 2019 “The Year of Judy (Garland).”

Marking the 80th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, the musical (book by Marc Acito) chronicles the early life and career of one Frances Gumm of Minnesota who went on to become Judy Garland֫—the film’s star and a subsequent American icon. That it does so with familiar melodies (some of them given new lyrics by Tina Marie Casamento), inventive and energetic choreography, and terrific pipes on the part of the actors makes Chasing Rainbows a must-see addition to the theater scene and a worthy candidate for a Broadway production.

Born to minor league entertainers and small-town movie theatre owners Frank and Ethel Gumm (Left: Lesli Margherita and Max Von Essen) and facing dire financial straits, the three Gumm sisters and their mother travel west to Hollywood with an eye to their landing film contracts and roles in the new cinema form: talking motion pictures. Their hopes are pinned on the talents of “Baby” Frances, a little girl with an outsized voice. Unfortunately, moguls like Louis B. Mayer are seeking “beautiful girls” for their films, whether they can act or not. This means that a rather plain teenaged Frances (re-named “Judy Garland” by comic George Jessel; right, Ruby Rakos) is subjected to unkind, harsh comments about her looks and administered a raft of increasingly strong amphetamines to help shed her childlike pudginess, along with barbiturates to help her sleep at night—actions that led to her addictive behavior later in life. But Judy is feisty: Threatened with losing the role of Dorothy, she learns to modulate the volume of her voice and refuses to wear the curly blonde wig and frilly dresses designed for her character, convincing Mayer that she, a plain, ordinary girl from the Midwest, is the very personification of the little farm girl who travels “over the rainbow” to follow the yellow brick road to Oz.

The show clocks in at two hours 20 minutes, a tad long for Broadway, but Director Denis Jones keeps the action moving along smartly, despite 33 songs, 19 in Act I and 14 in Act II! While the script could be tightened up by omitting some less important numbers, his crackling choreography, performed by terrific dancers, maintains the high energy level.

That he’s assembled a very talented cast resounds to Jones’ credit; it helps that several have been with the musical since its conception, appearing in productions at Flat Rock Playhouse and Goodspeed Opera House. Ruby Rakos is superb as Frances/Judy. Without imitating the real Judy, she convinces us who she is through similar musical phrasing. When she stands up to Louis B. Mayer (a pompous Stephen DeRosa; above, center, with Colin Hanlon and Karen Mason), we want to cheer. And the moments with her dad Frank (played with sympathy and heart by Max Von Essen) are particularly tender and a welcome respite from the high energy production numbers.

Lesli Margherita’s Ethel Gumm is not as pushy as Mama Rose (Gypsy), but she’s willing to do anything, even endanger her daughter’s health, to attain success. In contrast, Karen Mason as Mayer’s powerful secretary Kay Koverman provides Judy with the security she needs by supporting the teen’s point of view, and Colin Hanlon as voice coach Roger Edens gives her confidence and sound advice she relied on for the rest of her career. Another of the show’s veterans, Michael Wartella (Above, right, with Rakos), captures the spark and verve of a young Mickey Rooney (Joe Yule), and, boy, he can sure dance!

The rest of the ensemble is equally as fine. Charmers include Sophie Knapp as an adorable (and loud) Baby Gumm, while Violet Tinnirello brings down the house as a very perky Shirley Temple.

Production values, as usual, are superior. Alexander Dodge’s scenic design takes us from Minnesota to Antelope Valley CA to Hollywood in the wink of an eye. Linda Cho’s costumes are eye-popping and appropriate to character and action; Japhy Weideman’s lighting fits the various atmospheres very well. Matt Kraus’ sound is very loud; with everyone miked, your ears can sometimes hurt. Modulating the sound would go a long way to creating more nuance than the show has.

Chasing Rainbows. Isn’t that what every would-be entertainer does to secure the dream of stardom? Judy Garland caught hers in The Wizard of Oz, although the fruits of that success weren’t always what she thought they would be. The cruelty of the casting system left its mark on her psyche for the rest of her life, but her rather plain looks led her to develop her acting skills and musical delivery. She went on to enrich our lives with her musical performances, so it’s very interesting to learn more about how she got there. Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz is both enlightening and entertaining, an original piece of musical theater worthy of the venerable Paper Mill Playhouse. See it before it hits The Great White Way! (Above, right: Wartella, Hanlon and Mason admire Rakos’ ruby slippers)

Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz will be performed through October 27 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Dr., Millburn, NJ. For information and tickets, call the box office at 973.376.7676 or visit www.PaperMill.org online.

MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY SUNDAY SCREEN SERIES FEATURES FILMS OF MERYL STREEP

FILMS OF MERYL STREEP

This season will bring the return of our Sunday Series, a four-part screening and lecture series with acclaimed film critic, Stephen Whitty, featuring films with none other than the award-winning actress… Meryl Streep!

Often described as the “best actress of her generation”, Ms. Streep is particularly known for her versatility and accents. Nominated for a record 21 Academy Awards, 31 Golden Globes and a slew of others, her five-decade body of work has proven her cross-generational appeal.

In every film portrayal, whether it be a strong, dominating fashion Queen (Miranda Priestly), a world renowned Chef (Julia Child), a free-spirited Mother (Donna Sheridan), or as the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century (Margaret Thatcher), viewers find themselves whisked away on that character’s journey.

WHERE: School of Communication and Media - Presentation Hall, Room 1040, Montclair State University, 1 Normal Ave., Montclair
ADMISSION: free

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2–5 PM

Sophie's Choice

"Sophie's Choice" (1982) - A Drama/Romance starring Meryl Streep as "Sophie." In 1947, a young writer named Stingo moves to a boarding house in Brooklyn to write a novel and is befriended by Polish immigrant Sophie Zawistowski and her emotionally unstable lover Nathan Landau.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2–5 PM

Out of Africa

Out of Africa (1985) - Meryl Streep in her Oscar nominated role as Karen Blixen, a wealthy Danish woman who travels to Africa to start a new life with a new husband, only to discover that all is not what she expects…; she now has to discover love and courage in ways that she never knew existed.


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2–5 PM

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada (2006) - “Gird your loins”, as a recent college graduate (Anne Hathaway) with big dreams of becoming a journalist in New York City who does not know the difference between “Jimmy Choos” or a basic flat shoe, stumbles into a co-assistant position supporting the top editor (Meryl Streep)….. of a prestigious fashion magazine?...


SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2–5 PM

The Post

The Post (2017) – Meryl Streep stars as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper—The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers—and very freedom—to help bring long-buried truths to light.

PIANIST’S TRIBUTE TO GEORGE GERSHWIN IN SUCCASUNNA

Rhapsody in New with Eric Olsen

WHEN: October 12th, 2019 at 7:30pm
WHERE:
Investors Bank Theater at the Horseshoe Lake Complex, 72 Eyland Ave, Succasunna  VIEW MORE DETAILS
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Eric Olsen, critically acclaimed jazz and classical pianist, presents his unique tribute to the music of George Gershwin. An expert in musical transfiguration, Eric will premiere a specially arranged jazz version of Gershwin’s signature piano work, retitled Rhapsody in New, with the incomparable jazz bassist Ratzo B. Harris.

"Life is a lot like jazz...it's best when you improvise." – George Gershwin


UPCOMING EVENTS

IMPRESSIONABLE WITH RICH GENOVAL-AVEO
WHEN: Oct 25th at 8:00pm
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ENCORE OF THE STARS NEXT DOOR
WHEN: Nov 9th at 7:30pm
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CHRIS WESTFALL—CELEBRATE THE WONDER OF IT ALL
WHEN: Nov 30th at 7:30pm
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SEE ALL UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING JAZZ EVENTS AT THE STATE THEATER

stnj.org

Auditions “Little Mermaid JR!”—Ages 6 - 13

DON'T FORGET TO REGISTER FOR YOUR AUDITION HERE