Friday, April 2, 2021


Center Players “Off Stage” proudly presents a virtual broadcast of 

Meet the Oakleys 

WHEN: Saturday, April 10th, at 2pm
WHERE: streaming
While the event is free, registration is required via the website or on Facebook.  Donations can also be made on those sites, as well as on the Heritage Society site.

The historical dramatization is produced in partnership with the Heritage Arts Program of the Freehold Township Heritage Society.

An original play, Meet the Oakleys is based on the 13 families from Monmouth County who lived at the historic Oakley Farm located at 189 Wemrock Road in Freehold from the early 1800s to the 1960s. The farm has seen victory and defeat, birth and deaths, feast and famine, joy and sorrow. Many are aware of the conflicts and tragedy of the Battle of Monmouth, but the farm saw its own share of important history as well. Period costumes, family photos, music performed by the Oakley Briar Pickers folk musicians and vintage films of the people who lived in the house and worked the land, add authenticity to the production.

“Who would think an old house and farm nestled in Freehold for hundreds of years could have so many inspiring stories and perhaps ghosts from days long ago?” noted Center Players Artistic Director Bernice Garfield-Szita. “When Richard Smith and Denise Warren approached me with the concept of writing and producing a play about Oakley Farm and its residents beginning hundreds of years ago, some of whom were Richard's relatives, it really intrigued me. It seemed like an ideal project for Center Players’ Off Stage virtual productions that would be both entertaining and educational.”

Garfield-Szita directed this piece of living history, coordinating a team of over 15 actors, and “behind the scenes” technical, costume and prop people all working together via Zoom. The interior and exterior settings in the house and the barns that are seen in the broadcast were photos taken by Mark Lamhut.

The production will culminate with a talk-back with the playwrights, director, actors and historian, Cheryl Polverino, whose historic writings helped make Meet The Oakleys come to life.

Celebrating its 20th season at Center Playhouse, Center Players is a respected, award-winning organization, presenting high quality, engaging productions featuring local talent in downtown Freehold. In addition to their signature plays, the group also sponsors free play readings and other special events and offers dinner and theater packages with several local restaurants. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has formed “Center Players Off Stage” to provide virtual programming until it is once again safe to open the Playhouse doors.