Monday, April 4, 2022

Center Players of Freehold Present World Premiere of Gary Morgenstein's "A Tomato Can't Grow in the Bronx"


A Tomato Can't Grow in the Bronx
by Gary Morgenstein
directed by Bernice Garfield-Szita

WHEN: April 1-10, 2022; Fridays April 1, 8 @ 8PM, Saturdays April 2, 9 @ 8PM, Sundays, April 3, 10 @ 2PM
35 South Street, Freehold
TICKETS: Adults $27; Seniors/Students $25

The award-winning Center Players of Freehold presents the world premiere of Gary Morgenstein’s A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx, a multi-generational comedy/drama set against the backdrop of the tumultuous 1960s.

A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronx is an uplifting story of a dysfunctional family who overcome their fears and differences to find a way to come together,” says Morgenstein. “In these unsettling times, theater should light a path through the terror, through faith in ourselves and each other, aided by the timeliness and approved treatment of laughter.”

A Tomato Can’t Grow in the Bronxis a poignant glimpse of a working-class family trying to adjust to the changes in the world around them and their own family conflicts. Adult children consider leaving their crumbling Bronx neighborhood to seek the American dream of an idyllic suburban home where tomatoes can grow. The family is forced into upheaval, and as a result, evolves in more ways than one.

“Art is a reflection of its time, and this play, even though it is set in 1968, examines many of the same issues that we are faced with today,” said Center Players’ Artistic Director Bernice Garfield-Szita “From our collective struggle to survive, to communicate, and to connect in a world where there are forces outside of our control.”

The cast features Tracy Howard (Manalapan), Jackie Kusher (Jackson), Justin Marinelli (Manalapan), Lou Mastro (South Amboy), Gianna Minardi (Waretown), and Andrea Wolff (Holmdel).

To ensure the safety of cast, crew and patrons, COVID protocols are in place. All patrons must wear a mask while inside the playhouse and show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of entering the theater.

About Gary Morgenstein (Playwright)

Gary’s novels and plays have been featured in national media from The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Parade Magazine, the New York Post, and Sports Illustrated to NPR. An accomplished novelist, his six novels include the critically acclaimed dystopian political novels A Mound Over Hell (“1984 Meets Shoeless Joe”) and A Fastball for Freedom (“a dystopian Field of Dreams”), An award-winning playwright, Morgenstein’s drama A Black and White Cookie, about the unlikely friendship between a conservative African American newsstand owner and a politically radical Jew, won the 2021 Broadway World award for Best Play and Best Actor for its October premiere at Silver Spring Stage outside Washington. Morgenstein’s latest play is Free Palestine, about the firing of a Jewish teacher of Israeli-Palestinian studies. Morgenstein also wrote the book for the off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Anthem. He lives in Brooklyn.

About Center Players

Center Players, Freehold, NJ's resident theater company, currently celebrating its 20th season at Center Playhouse (35 South Street, Freehold), is a respected, award-winning organization. The group presents high quality, engaging productions featuring local talent in downtown Freehold. In addition to their signature plays, the theater also sponsors free play readings and other special events and offers dinner and theater packages with several local restaurants. For more information, visit