New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MARK W. JONES APPOINTED PRESIDENT, CEO OF STATE THEATRE, NJ

 (New Brunswick, NJ) -- Following a six-month national search, State Theatre Board Chairman Warren R. Zimmerman announced today the appointment of Mark W. Jones, a 30-year veteran of arts administration and leadership, as the fifth President and Chief Executive Officer of the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ. Jones will assume his duties on January 3, 2011.

"The State Theatre is indeed fortunate to have found such an experienced, enthusiastic, innovative, and strategic-thinking individual to become our fifth President and CEO," said Warren R. Zimmerman, chairman of the State Theatre Board of Trustees. "Mark's years of experience in the theater world will ensure the continued success that our patrons, donors, and New Brunswick deserve from one of the region's preeminent independent performing arts organizations. I am very excited to begin working with Mark to continue making our theater the best it can be."

As State Theatre President and CEO, Jones will set the artistic vision of the theater; create and direct strategic plans; oversee day-to-day operations (including management of a 30-member, full-time staff); continue to strengthen the financial position of the organization through fundraising, sales, investments, and ancillary revenue streams; and handle board development, along with the executive and nominating committees. He will work closely with the Board of Trustees to ensure that the State Theatre remains a vibrant institution for the benefit of the people of New Jersey.

"I am honored to be chosen for this position, and to follow my predecessor Wesley O. Brustad, who did such a remarkable job during his tenure at the State Theatre," said Jones. "It is with humility that I accept the challenge of becoming President of this very important New Jersey arts organization. I am already extremely impressed with the quality of the State Theatre's programs, the generosity and dedication of the members of the board, and the talents and commitment of the staff. The lifeblood of any arts institution is its people—and here at the State Theatre, we have some of the very best. We will all work together to broaden and further strengthen the financial base, while enhancing the State Theatre's reputation as a premier New Jersey cultural destination and an important arts education resource for New Jersey's families."

Working more than three decades for many cultural institutions, Jones comes to the State Theatre with a wealth of experience. Most recently, he spent three years at the helm of Millburn, NJ's Paper Mill Playhouse, as executive director. Prior to his time at Paper Mill, Jones was the executive director for Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA. In addition, he spent 12 years as the executive director for the Jose Limon Foundation in New York, and also worked with New York's Glimmerglass Opera and the Music-Theatre Group.

A New Jersey native, born and raised in Ewing Township, Jones is a graduate of Rider University in Lawrenceville. He received additional education at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, as well as the Harvard University/John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shore Repertory Theatre Company Presents "Scrooge the Musical"

 (Manahawkin NJ) -- The newly formed Shore Repertory Theatre Company (formerly the Strand Theatre Ensemble), presents their 9th annual production of the holiday musical extravaganza, "Scrooge the Musical" this year at the 800 seat, state of the art Ocean First Theater at the Stafford Township Arts Center (STAC) in Manahawkin. "Scrooge", previously presented for the last 8 years at The Strand Theater in Lakewood, is now being mounted at The Ocean First Theater/STAC in order to provide more family friendly ticket pricing as well as safe and plentiful parking for audience members.

"Scrooge" is based on the Charles Dickens Holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol", with a delightful score by Leslie Bricusse. Follow Scrooge and the spirits of Christmas on a delightful tour of Scrooge's life. With colorful characters and all the charm of 19th century London, Scrooge is a "must see" classic to kick-off the holiday season.

"Scrooge"  is directed by New Jersey Association of Community Theaters award winner Jan Topoleski and features audience favorite Gary Alan Powell reprising his role as "Ebenezer Scrooge" for his ninth consecutive year. "Scrooge" boasts a cast of nearly 50 adults and children. Audience members will be delighted by the same elaborate sets, costumes, and special effects that have made "Scrooge" an Ocean County tradition for thousands of theatre-goers.

Performances are on December 17 at 7:30pm & December 19, at 1:30 pm & 6:00pm. The Ocean First Theater/STAC is located at 1000 McKinley Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 Seniors & Children and $14 for groups of 15 or more and may be purchased online at www.njstac.com or by calling the Box Office at (609) 489-8600.

Chester Theatre Group Holds Auditions for Urinetown: The Musical

(CHESTER, NJ) -- The Chester Theatre Group is holding auditions for their upcoming Production of URINETOWN: THE MUSICAL. Directed and Musically Directed by CTG veteran Clifford Parrish with Choreography by Megan Fiorentinos, this Tony winning satirical comedy musical, with music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, and book by Kotis satirizes the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, bureaucracy, corporate mismanagement, and municipal politics. The unconventional plotline shatters audience expectations of a pleasant ending.

Audition Times/Dates:  Sunday,  Dec. 5 from 7 pm to 9 pm; Mon., Dec. 6 from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm  No callbacks scheduled! Production Dates:  Opens Friday February 25, 2011 and runs Fridays/Saturdays at 8pm - Sundays at 2pm through March 20, 2011.  Location: The Black River Playhouse-corner of Maple and Grove in Chester, New Jersey.

Auditionees are asked to come prepared to sing at least 16 bars, with sheet music in the proper key.  An accompanist will be provided.  Readings will be from the script.  Please come prepared to move as dance audition will follow singing and readings.

<b>Plot Breakdown:</b>

In grim Gotham-like city of the future, a 20-year drought has occurred. As a result, the government has banned private toiletries and the citizens must use pay-to-pee toilets regulated by a monopolistic company, the Urine Good Company, which charges exorbitant prices. Bobby Strong, the assistant custodian at the poorest urinal in town, decides enough is enough. With the help of the daughter of the CEO of the Urine Good Company, Hope Cladwell, Bobby ends up leading a rebellion which frees the citizens.

 <b>Character Breakdown: </b>
 Officer Lockstock (baritone), Penelope Pennywise (high belt), Bobby Strong (baritenor) 20s, Little Sally (mezzo), Cladwell B. Cladwell (baritone) mature CEO type, Hope Cladwell (soprano) 20s.

The ensemble is made of 10 - 12 men and women, all of whom have characters, lines and singing. This is a very choral show, so those who enjoy choral singing will have a great time.  If you have any questions, you may contact director, Clifford Parrish at (908) 696 0411 or on Facebook.

For further information about The Chester Theatre Group, please visit our website at http://www.chestertheatregroup.org

Friday, November 26, 2010

Kat & Me -- Kindred Spirits

By Gary Wien
People who share the same passion have a tendency to run into each other somewhere down the line.  I can't remember where or when I first met Kat (Kathleen Falcey), but I think we were bound to meet since we both share a passion for music.

I don't generally write about my own life.  In fact, I usually prefer to remain on the outside; but when I was talking to Kat recently I realized that not only are both of our histories very similar but both are largely unknown to the people we see each week.  So, with that in mind, here's a look at two kindred spirits... two people who turned a love for music into something more.

Unlike many people in the business, neither of us had much luck being a musician.  Kat says she took piano lessons as a kid, but only for a little while.  Meanwhile, I picked up a little piano, little guitar, and took bass lessons only to have to quit due to injuries to my hand.  I kept on writing music, but that's as far as I'd get.  I did manage to perform on stage several times in front of hundreds of people (as part of an acting career few in the area knew I had), but I prefer to be out of the spotlight.  Regardless, we both discovered a love for the arts and for simply being around musicians.

"In some magical way most musicians are drawn to me, just as much as I am drawn to them," explained Kat.  "I have always had that certain connection and still do."

For Kat, the connection began as a college student in California when she would go to every No Nukes concert and somehow find a way to get backstage and hang out with the musicians on the bill.  She soon found herself having a knack for getting into situations that normal music fans could only dream about.

"One favorite memory of mine was back in the ‘80s," recalled Kat.  "I was attending a gig for The Romantics at Whiskey-A-Go-Go on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood.  I remember getting in with an expensive bottle of champagne up my sleeve and pushing up front to the stage and sharing the bottle with the band.  That's me!"

As for me, I spent my high school years hanging out at the Asbury Park Rock ‘N Roll Museum (a great little place that was located in the old Palace Amusement Building) and sneaking into The Stone Pony.  My friend and I had a key that would actually open the door to the Pony by the back bar.  We learned how to judge when the bouncer was in front of the door and when he wasn't due by watching the shadow and got pretty good at quickly firing open the door, doing a spin-a-rama and heading to the bar as if we had been there all night long.  We saw countless shows that way, but my big break actually came from working in a restaurant owned by Debbie Harry's family.  Debbie, of course, is also known as Blondie and her restaurant used to get lots of musicians in town for Arts Center shows.  One day a waitress heard me playing John Eddie's music in the kitchen and said I should meet her husband who's a soundman in the area.  That meeting led to jobs at the WNEW shows on the boardwalk in Asbury Park where I worked alongside and met artists like Joan Jett, Robert Cray, Southside Johnny, and Pat Dinizio.

Backstage is a place that really does separate the pretenders from those who belong there.  I've seen many people wilt because they were too starstruck, but it never phased me and it never phased Kat.  It just seemed natural to us.

When I was in high school, I imagined I'd be working at Rolling Stone or Spin magazine someday.  After college I went a different route, but eventually returned to writing about music.  Kat eventually returned to music as well.  In fact, her business (Tunes2ya.com) is celebrating its 6th year anniversary this month.  She basically provides a one-stop shop for musicians including booking, press, publicity, public relations, promotion, tour support, representation, networking artists with other artists, and overall assistance to help her clients reach the goals they set for themselves.

Kat's not a fan of soliciting business.  She generally won't approach artists, but will hand out her business card to someone once in a while.  Whether or not they choose to call her back is up to them, she doesn't get involved in the hard sell.  What impresses me the most is how she refuses to sell out or sell herself short -- she needs to believe in the artist before she'll take them on as a client.

"I have to be a fan of the music first and foremost," said Kat.  "If the mouthwash makes me gag, I cannot promote it truthfully and with integrity.  If an artist reaches out to me and I am not connecting with their sound/vibe/performance, then I will refer them to someone that I feel should be able to do a better job. I am approachable and will share my contacts if I feel I am being respected."

That idea of respect is something else I have in common with Kat.  I wish I could learn a thing or two from her, while she refuses to let people burn her I have been burned so many times by the industry that I still have ashes on my skin.  I've always lived my life by what I call the "Catcher In The Rye" mantra of "don't be a phony."  Unfortunately, the music business -- even outside of the big city -- is full of phonies.  People have attacked me, blacklisted me, and ridiculed me for having the guts to say what I know they wish they could say.  I never asked to be a martyr and wish I wasn't alone, but somebody's got to point out what's really going on rather than gloss it over for the corporate media paying their paychecks.  I went deep into debt running my own magazine after a merger went sour and I continue to spend hundreds of dollars a year to do what I do, but I believe it's worth it.  The artists that Kat and I run into -- some we can truly call friends -- are worth the time and the energy and the money we put into it.  We're not asking for much back, just a little respect.

"Let's face it, no one ever gets involved in music for the money.  When I first started out my mom called me every other day to ask me if I was making any money yet? I told her the only question she could ask me was "am I still enjoying what I'm doing?" Because whether I make money or not, I am in this for the passion and challenge of achieving artists' goals -- goals that I know we can work as a team together to accomplish," said Kat.

Kat will work out yearly or quarterly fees based on the services an artist requests and through a payment plan that fits their budget.  She currently has booked artists in dozens of rooms throughout the country but says some of her favorites include The Rockwood Music Hall and Stage and The Bitter End in NYC; World Cafe Live and Tin Angel in Philadelphia; Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Lestat's in San Diego and The Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles, California; The Basement and 3rd & Lindsley in Nashville; John & Peter's in New Hope; and Grounds For Sculpture, Triumph Brewery, and KatManDu in New Jersey.

One of the things I love about Kat is her taste in music. Some of my favorite Jersey artists are people Kat works with.  The list includes artists like Frank Thewes, Arlan Feiles, Mike Montrey, Scott Rednor, Joe Whyte, the Jo Henley Band, Roger Salloom, and Sean Cox.  She also works with female artists like Christine Martucci, Lisa Bianco, Liz Longley and Sarah Zimmerman, Sandy Zio, Patty Blee, and Laura McGhee.  Along with working with local artists she has also worked with artists known throughout the world such as Yarn, Girls, Guns and Glory, Geoff Achison, Roger Salloom, and the Late Robert Hazard.

In addition to booking shows, Kat has also been deeply involved with several benefit causes like Jam For Life (jamforlife.com) and www.TorchysTroubadors.org, which she created to help those suffering from Lyme Disease.  She's also set up tributes to the late Robert Hazard in Cape May and Nashville and coordinated the New York Song Writers Circle at Grounds For Sculpture last August and has another show planned for June 17, 2011.

Some things you may not know about Kat:  she has three children (a daughter 28 and sons 23 and 13); has been married for 17 years to a man she's known for over 40 years; she used to surf all over California and Mexico; and received the Distinguished Lifetime Citizen Award in Mexico in 1986!

"If I ever had to do it over again, I would have taken that scholarship to Pratt or Parson's and pursued my passion for art; instead, I moved to California, surfed, and studied marketing and PR!" Kat said.

As for myself, if I had to do it over again I probably would have gone straight to writing after college.  I made the mistake of listening to people who said you couldn't make a living as a writer.  It may not be a very profitable living, but, at least, you're able to look yourself in the mirror each day knowing that you're doing what you love. 

I guess both of us enjoy doing what we do because we know that far too many people simply give up on their dreams.  We all face pressure to make a living, pressure from our parents, and the general idea growing up means shedding your dreams.  In the theatre world Kat would be called an "Angel" because people like her actually help dreams come true.

We could use more angels like Kat...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

[title of show] Creators Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell To Share Insights on the Show's Beginnings At George Street Playhouse's Sunday Symposium, December 5, 2010

(New Brunswick, NJ) -– George Street Playhouse's long-running Sunday Symposium series is designed to give their audiences a behind-the scenes glimpse at the genesis of the production currently on stage.  On Sunday, December 5 following the 2PM matinee, [title of show] creators Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell will discuss the journey their show has taken, in a discussion facilitated by GSP Artistic Director David Saint.  Admission to this very special event is FREE. 

Jeff Bowen (Music and Lyrics) wrote the music and lyrics for and starred in the Broadway musical [title of show] for which he won an OBIE Award, as well as a GLAAD Media nomination and, along with his cast mates, a Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance by an Ensemble. He was awarded the Jim Owles Human Rights Award and was named one of the 100 most influential people in Out Magazine. He has written music and lyrics for Villains Tonight! for the Walt Disney Company, the Easter Bonnet competition for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the Actors Fund 125th Anniversary Gala, the Vineyard Theatre's 25th Anniversary Gala, the 53rd Annual Drama Desk Awards, Broadway in South Africa, and Broadway Bares 18: Wonderland. He has composed music for several shows at P.S. 122 including Avant-Garde-A-Rama in Sparklevision, Hello, My Name Is Avant-Garde-A-Rama; Sparklefest 2000 at Dixon Place; The A-Train Plays; and the film Boat Mime. As an actor he has performed works at The O'Neill Center, Manhattan Theatre Source, Ars Nova, the Vineyard Theatre and appeared in the Actors Fund benefit of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the August Wilson. He co-wrote and starred in the web series, "the [title of show] show" as well as scoring and performing its theme song. He is currently developing a half-hour sitcom for ABC. Jeff is a proud member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, Actors Equity Association, the Writers Guild Association, the Dramatists Guild of America, Yale Dramat, and National Audubon Society.

Hunter Bell (Book)earned an OBIE Award, a GLAAD Media nomination, a Drama League nomination, a Jim Owles Human Rights Award, and a 2009 Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical all for [title of show]. Other credits include the book for Silence! The Musical, the book for the 137th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, Bellobration!, and the book for Villains Tonight! for Walt Disney Imagineering Creative Entertainment/Disney Cruise Lines. He has contributed material to numerous benefits and events including the Easter Bonnet and Gypsy of the Year competitions as well as Broadway Bares, all for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. He is also a co-creator of the web series the [title of show] show on titleofshow.com. A finalist in the Warner Brothers Comedy Writers' Workshop, Hunter has written numerous spec scripts, pilots, and industrial films, and developed new works at the Dramatists Guild, the O'Neill Center, Irish Rep, PS 122, Goodspeed/Chester, Manhattan Theatre Club, the Neighborhood Playhouse, CanStage, and the Manhattan Theatre Source, and is currently in development with ABC television creating a new half-hour sitcom. As an actor, he has performed both on and off Broadway, at the St. Louis Rep, Great Lakes Theatre Festival, the North Shore Music Theatre, The MUNY, Dallas Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Vineyard Theatre, Stages St. Louis, Alliance Theatre, Carnegie Hall, York Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse, and the Paper Mill Playhouse. In 2003, he won the Connecticut Outer Critics Award for Best Actor in a Musical. TV credits include, "Guiding Light," Disney's "Out of the Box," and Great Performances on PBS. Film credits include: Goodbye Baby, and Men Who Stare at Goats. Born in Tuscaloosa Alabama, Hunter is a graduate of Woodward Academy, a distinguished alumnus of Webster University's Conservatory of Theatre Arts (where he earned a BFA in Musical Theatre), an honorary inductee to the Yale Dramat, and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, Actors Equity, SAG/AFTRA, and the Writers Guild of America.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theater, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics' Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the recent Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In addition to its mainstage season, GSP's Touring Theatre features three issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 60,000 students annually.   George Street Playhouse programming 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 by its lead season sponsor Johnson & Johnson.  Continental Airlines is the official airline of George Street Playhouse.

For further information, contact the George Street Playhouse Box Office at 732-246-7717.  George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick's dining and entertainment district.

Strand Presents "A Christmas Carol"

(Lakewood, NJ) -— For three days you can relive the classic tale of "A Christmas Carol" from Friday, December 17 to Sunday, December 19. December 17 at 8:00pm, December 18 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm and December 19 at 2:00pm.  Relive the immortal tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, taken from the pages of the Charles Dicken's classic tale of finding your holiday spirit. You can count on the comical touch of Riddlesbrood to make "A Christmas Carol" your musical holiday wish come true. You'll be laughing and becoming a part of the show at the same time as the characters interact with their audience. 

The Riddlesbrood touring theater company specializes in producing top quality live comic entertainment, and presenting. Like many other touring theatre companies, Riddlesbrood operates out of a central location and performs at various venues throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The troupe starts the creative process each year by writing shows for the upcoming season, casting the proper talent and rehearsing the productions. Typically, there are 3-4 shows per year starting with a spring show and culminating with on for the Christmas season. Most of our performers have been part of the Riddlesbrood family for a year or more, which creates a powerful esprit de corps not found in most other theatre troupes.

Tickets are only $20 for adult and $15 for children. So what are you waiting for? Join the fun! We hope to see you there! For more information about Riddlesbrood and a quick look at some of their other performances visit their website at www.riddlesbrood.com. 

For more information call the box office at 732-367-7789 or visit the website at www.strand.org. The Strand Theater is located at 4th Street and Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

FOOTLIGHTERS CELEBRATES HOLIDAY SEASON WITH ORIGINAL MUSICAL

(CINNAMINSON, NJ) -– With the arrival of the holiday season, Burlington County Footlighters celebrates with Mrs. Claus Goes On Strike, an original musical for the whole family, December 4 and 5, 2010. Performances are Saturday at 11 am, 1 & 3 pm and Sunday at 1 & 3 pm at The Playhouse, 808 Pomona Road in Cinnaminson, NJ.

With book and lyrics by Maple Shade resident Beth Rancani and music by Cinnaminson resident Matt Becker, Mrs. Claus Goes on Strike is a family-friendly musical that is sure to get audiences in the holiday spirit.

Mrs. Claus is feeling overworked and underappreciated. She is always by Santa's side taking care of the reindeer, wrapping presents and making sure the dolls look their very best on Christmas morning. She cooks, cleans and organizes the big guy's workshop and no one notices what goes on behind the scenes. All the glory goes to Santa Claus. So, one day she decides it is time to go on strike and teach those boys a lesson. Her absence is felt by all, and Santa's elves try and fill the void by interviewing a variety of characters to fill her shoes. Christmas is fast approaching and no one is happy....especially Santa, who misses his wife more than he will admit.

Tickets are $5. For reservations or additional information, call 856-829-7144 or visit www.bcfootlighters.com.

Funding has been made possible in part by the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, from a grant to the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Department of Resource Conservation, Division of Cultural Affairs & Tourism.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GLEN BURTNIK JOINED BY CELEBRATED MUSICIANS FOR ASBURY PARK FUNDRAISING CONCERT

(ASBURY PARK, NJ)-– The city of Asbury Park has revealed the line-up of musical guests that will join headlining-performer Glen Burtnik on November 18 at the legendary Stone Pony. A fundraising event for Asbury Park Musical Heritage 2011, the concert will kick-off what will be a year-long celebration of the city's rich musical heritage happening in conjunction with New Harmonies, a Smithsonian exhibition, coming to Asbury Park in March 2011.

Burtnik will be joined on the legendary Stone Pony stage by acting band members Marc Muller, Sarah Tomek, Eric Safka and Jeannette Jones. A guitar phenomenon, Marc Muller is a celebrated musician that has shared the stage with some of the music industry's best, including Shania Twain, Elton John, Dr. John, Carly Simon and countless others.  Tomek, a bright young drummer, has performed with local legends Lance Larson, Jerzy Jung and Jon Bon Jovi.  Keyboardist Eric Safka of the Matt O'Ree Band and bassist Jeannette Jones, a New York hard-rock veteran, will round out Burtnik's band for the evening.

In addition to the city's former mayor, Kevin Sanders, and his band The Mayor's Players, special guests Outside the Box, Victory Gin, Christine Martucci, George Wirth and Emily Grove, will also join Burtnik for the fundraising concert.  Martucci, renowned for appearances on both VH1 and MTV, and winner of Asbury Park Music Award's Top Female Vocalist and Top Local Release, will contribute soulful and powerful vocals.  Wirth, a singer-songwriter celebrated for his intimate storytelling, and Grove, a rising voice in the industry, will add to the musical diversity on stage.In addition, Burtnik promises a few surprise guests may round out the evening at the Stone Pony.

The Asbury Park Musical Heritage 2011 concert will begin at 7:00 p.m.General admission is $20.00 and VIP tickets are $100.00.Interested parties can reserve tickets now via Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com and 800-745-3000) or by calling the Stone Pony box office at 732-502-0600.

The November-18 fundraising concert is sponsored by the Asbury Park Press.To learn more about Asbury Park Musical Heritage 2011, please visit www.asburyparkmusic2011.com.  The New Jersey tour of New Harmonies, a Smithsonian exhibition, is made possible by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.To learn more, please visit http://www.museumonmainstreet.org.

About Asbury Park Musical Heritage 2011
In 2011, the city of Asbury Park will be the first urban city to display New Harmonies, a traveling Smithsonian exhibition.  In conjunction with the exhibition, Asbury Park will create a year-long series of events that embrace the rich musical heritage of the city.The celebration is expected to include concerts, plays, art exhibitions, educational programs, lectures, films and more.To learn more, please visit jhttp://www.asburyparkmusic2011.com.

Roxey Ballet adds Stuart Loungway to the artistic staff

(Lambertville, NJ) -- Stuart Lounway began his dance training with Tania Lichine and John Clifford before receiving a full scholarship to the prestigious School of American Ballet. As a member of San Francisco Ballet Company and Joffrey Ballet  and as a Principal Dancer with American Repertory Ballet, he performed in works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Mark Morris,  and many others. Mr. Loungway maintains an active schedule as a master teacher, choreographer, performer, and served on the dance faculty at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Selected as Who's Hot, by National Dance Critics Association Chair Karyn Collins, Mr. Loungway's choreography, as expressed by Robert Johnson of Dance Europe, is "elegant and evocative" and "bodes well for the future of dance." His work and company have been featured in the national dance publication "Pointe Magazine".

His work has been featured at Ballet Builders/New Choreographers on Pointe. He is the recipient of the Individual Fellowship Recipient in Choreography, awarded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in recognition of the high artistic merit of his work. Most recently he has served as an Artist-in-Residence at Rutgers University, Desales University, and recently finished work on a newly-commissioned work, for his company Terra Firma Dance located in New Brunswick NJ.  He is very pleased to join the staff of Roxey Ballet for the 2010/11 season of dance as a rehearsals assistant, coach and choreographer. A newly commissioned work will be premiered during Roxey Ballet's "Evening Of Romance and Dance" concert on February 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,and 13, of 2011.

"I have know Stuart for over 20 years. He is a very talented artists and has much to offer the NJ Arts Ecosystem. I am honored to have him as a member of our team. The dancers will enjoy all he has to offer them artistically." said Mark Roxey founder and CEO of Lambertville based Roxey Ballet.

The Theater Project Presents Script-in-Hand Staged Reading of New Play by NJ Playwright Matty Daley on November 20

(Cranford, NJ) -- The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, will perform a script-in-hand staged reading of "Without X-Cess", a new play by New Jersey playwright Matty Daley on Saturday, November 20 at 3pm. The production will be followed by a lively discussion with the playwright, director, actors and audience.

The performance will take place in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue. Admission is free. The material is for mature audiences only.

Currently a student at The College of New Jersey, Matty Daley is a two-time past winner and honorable mention recipient of The Theater Project's Young Playwrights Competition. He is also a recent semi-finalist in Stephen Sondheim's National Young Playwrights Competition. In 2011, he is looking to continue his studies as he pursues a graduate degree in dramatic writing.

"Without X-Cess" imagines a world 20 years from now where all the women have disappeared. What if men had to go through labor pains and morning sickness? Will humankind perish or will the men who remain step up to the plate?

Reservations are not required. For more information, contact The Theater Project at (908) 659-5189 or by email at THEATERPROJECT@aol.com.

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL AT DREAMCATCHER

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- They just don't make holiday specials the way they used to….especially this one.  If you enjoyed the corny fun of those old-fashioned holiday variety shows starring Andy Williams, Perry Como and The Mandrell Sisters, you'll love A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre on Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4 at 8:00 p.m.  Located in the intimate third-floor theatre at The Baird Center at 5 Mead Street in South Orange, Dreamcatcher takes a break from their mainstage schedule to perform this affectionate spoof of traditional holiday entertainment.

The Dreamcatcher Resident Acting Company will entertain with holiday songs, comic sketches and improv, and lots of good old-fashioned fun.  Each year's show is original; last year's performance included a Rockettes-style production number, take-offs on current reality shows and a post-holiday scene at the returns counter of a department store.  This year's show will include musical spoofs, television commercials for outlandish holiday products, and more.  Performing in the show are Dreamcatcher Company members Clark Carmichael, Harry Patrick Christian, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley, Dave Maulbeck, Scott McGowan, and Jessica O'Hara-Baker.

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL, a unique and hilarious way to celebrate the holiday season, will take place at Dreamcatcher on Friday and Saturday, December 3 & 4 at 8:00 p.m.  All tickets are $20.00, but audience members receive a $3 discount when purchasing online at www.dreamcatcherrep.org.  The performance is at The Baird, located at 5 Mead Street in Meadowland Park, a few blocks from the center of downtown South Orange.  For information and tickets for any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Baird, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-378-7754, ext. 2228, www.DreamcatcherRep.org.

Monday, November 15, 2010

State Theatre presents ABBA MANIA

(New Brunswick, NJ) -- State Theatre presents ABBA MANIA on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 8pm. This ABBA tribute includes all the hits, "Dancing Queen," "Mamma Mia," "Super Trouper," "Fernando," "Waterloo," and more.  ABBA MANIA is sponsored by Financial Resources Federal Credit Union. Tickets range from $22-57.

Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny and Anna Frida, collectively known as ABBA, dominated the charts for nearly 10 years and enjoyed nine UK number ones. ABBA's timeless songs were written to be enjoyed live and ABBA MANIA gives the audience exactly that—2 hours of uplifting, dance inducing and sometimes heart-breaking songs, live with fantastic staging, lighting, and effects. The show recreates ABBA's sound not only perfectly, but respectfully too.

ABBA MANIA formed in 1999 and the show has been selling out theatres and concert halls internationally ever since. This show has toured the world in its quest to bring the music of the Swedish supergroup to their millions of fans, old and new. In 2007, it grossed over $1 million at the box office in Sydney, Australia. ABBA MANIA has also ventured to Denmark, Belgium, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the UK.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517.

The State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people's lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Continental Airlines is the official airline of the State Theatre. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98. 3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2010 Asbury Music Award Winners

The 2010 Asbury Music Awards was held on Saturday, November 13 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. NewJerseyStage.com did not attend, but is comprising a list of award winners based on news reports. Here is a list of the winners.


Lifetime Achievement Award -- Tim McLoone
Top news publication -- The Aquarian Weekly
Top Radio Station -- Brookdale Public Radio (The Night)
Top Radio Personality -- Billy O'Bryan
Top Americana - River City Extension
Top Local Release -- Status Green
Top Guitarist -- Doug Mikula
Top Heavy Rock Band -- Toothgrinder
Top Journalist -- John Pfeiffer
Top Drummer Award -- Brett Smith
Top Indie Rock Band -- No Wine For Kittens
Top Female Vocalist -- Jerzy Jung
Top Pop Band -- Status Green
Top Male Vocalist -- Anthony D'Amato
Top Live Performance -- Status Green
Top Keyboard Player -- Mark Masefield
Poet Laureate -- Chris Rockwell
Top Rock Band -- Outside The Box
Top Record 2010 Beyond Asbury -- The Bouncing Souls
Top Groove Band -- Dub Proof
Multi Instrumentalist Award -- Joe Harvard
Top Young Band Under 21 -- Quincy Mumford and the Reason Why
Top Female Acoustic Act -- Amanda Duncan
Top Male Acoustic Act -- George Wirth
Top Blues Band -- Jo Wymer and the Itty Bitty Band


New Jersey Stage congratulates this year's winners. Although we did not attend, we hope to be able to support the AMAs in the future. We spent several years trying to help make the AMAs a legitimate award to be taken seriously in the music world and were destroyed in the process. We have gotten word that there will be some major changes to the AMA process starting next year and we will keep our fingers crossed that the changes come. It is our belief that the AMAs serve an important role in not only the Asbury Park music scene but the New Jersey music scene as a whole. Unfortunately, when rules are not consistent it demeans the idea of the award and that is what turned us against the awards. We will take the AMAs seriously when the award process is taken seriously.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Reality Show to Benefit Native Americans

(Long Branch, NJ) -- The vast majority of Americans would likely agree that, throughout the United States' history, the government's treatment of Native Americans was nothing short of abhorrent. However, while most people are quick to agree that the United States greatly wronged the indigenous people, few realize that this disregard for their well-being continues to this day.

Since they were initially forced onto reservations and forced to assimilate into the European way of life by the United States government, a vast majority of the Nations have had their health and living conditions decline.

While utter poverty and technological isolation remain completely alien to the average American, these struggles have become a sad fact of life for many Native Americans. Upon seeing these reservations, the average American would likely assume they were in a third world country.

The physical environment of some reservations is beyond shameful: the structural integrity of many of the houses and schools has been compromised.

For decades, the Native Americans have lived in a cultural limbo. Their native languages and heritage are quickly dissolving, trapping their youth between American society and Tribal custom. More than eighty percent of the nations' Native speakers are sixty-five years and older making a distinct possibility that in the years to come many Nations that have tens of thousands of speakers will lose their language and culture that are interconnected.

Native Americans feel as though they lack a true place in the modern world; depression, drug abuse, and suicide have become major issues on the reservations.

After witnessing the conditions on some of the reservations and seeing the successes of others, Mary Jo Christian and Marc Victor created a TV show which highlights the great contributions the Native Americans have given to mankind as well as to portray their resilience to overcome hardship.  Even though The American Indians did not technically get the right to vote until 1964 the Indians have willingly defended America with their heart and soul and have gone into battle with a greater sense of the moment. According to Senator Dorgan, they have received more purple hearts and congressional medals of honor than other culture. They open every ceremony, Pow-Wow and festival with their great warriors who have fought in battles for this great nation. They view the American flag as a sacred entity and will lay down their lives for it as they have.  As a result Marc and Mary Jo made it their mission to improve the lives of the Native peoples. They have spent the last several months on the road, criss-crossing the country in an attempt to meet with as many Tribal leaders as possible.

"In traveling the reservations we have found a need to set up a non-profit organization, to support the Nations with some very serious issues," said Christian. "In speaking with elders and youth we have found that the loss of the native tongue is having an impact on the youth as they feel uncomfortable [and] torn between two cultures. The Indians are in a quagmire of not being able to teach their language…"

Marc and Mary Jo began working closely with tribal elders, and launched the American Dream Catcher Organization, the goal of which is to raise funds to aid and preserve the rapidly declining Native American culture. The duo found they were warmly welcomed by tribal elders, many of whom also acknowledge the importance of the organization's work.

"I have had the opportunity to visit with Mary Jo and Marc several times over the past few weeks," said Robert ‘Corky' Old Horn, a Crow elder. "I am very impressed on their dedication to better the lives of Native American Youth and help Indian Nations retain and re-enforce their native languages."

The organization's first major project will be Dream Catcher - Search For The Ultimate Warrior, a reality television series in which Native Americans will vie for the title of "Ultimate Warrior" by competing in a series of physical American Indian challenges.

"Twenty-four tribes are to compete for a solar and wind generation facility and tech school worth approximately one-million dollars," said Victor.

The search for financial backers for the program has become increasingly successful, and the production of the pilot episode will commence this November. The show will present a unique opportunity for Native Americans to showcase their culture and their famous hand-made goods. For the first time, Native Americans will be able to integrate their handmade goods into a television series, and generate much needed revenue for the ailing tribes by selling these hand-crafted items via the internet foregoing the wholesalers foregoing the middle man.

"At the conclusion of each episode the announcer will state that all products seen on this episode and every previous episode can be found on our website under each one of the participating tribes and purchased directly from the artisan where they get the revenue rather than the wholesaler. The reason for this is simple, most transactions with the wholesaler the artisan gets paid $40-$200 for products that in turn sell for $2000-$4000," said Victor.

This single format can have a significant impact when the sale of one product could equal or surpass their yearly or average income of approximately $3,500 a year. Society's stereotype is that the Indians live off their casino revenues, when in reality only 3- 5% of the Nations have any significant revenue for their tribal members.

To quote Bob Wall, one of the show's producers, "This information needs to be given to the world so that the world can find out what great people the Indians are."  Bob Wall is one of the three fathers of Martial Arts in America and is the creator of Kickboxing. He is also a long time business partner of Chuck Norris.

Even with all of these hardships throughout time the Indians remain some of the most positive, loving and openhearted people that Christian and Victor have come across.  They have given them gifts of their heart, their home and their food, as well as their irreplaceable precious ancestral antiquities for nothing else but the fact of Victor's and Christian's desire to trumpet the greatness of the Indian cultures.

Yet the outside world with their "New Age" white wanna-be Indians, define what they are doing as disrespectful to the Indian people without even taking a moment to find out in detail what these fine people are doing out of their own pocket in their own challenging moment in their own medical predicament.  They have chosen to rise above self pity and focus on something meaningful to help the community as well as themselves to recover.

Because of the direct involvement of Native American elders, youth, and Tribal leaders as producers and owners of this show and non-profit,  Dream Catcher - Search For The Ultimate Warrior presents an unparalleled opportunity for the tribal people to speak of their oral histories and contributions to this fine country. For the first time in mainstream television history, the American Indians will have control of their own image.

This project, which has been warmly received by many Native American leaders, will generate much needed revenue for the tribes, and help prevent the extinction of their tribal language that is inner-connected with their culture.

For more information, visit http://www.fifthdimensionproductionsllc.com

Cape May Stage Presents a New Adaptation of the Classic Story "The Little Prince"

(Cape May, NJ) -- Cape May Stage, Cape May's professional Equity theatre, in collaboration with Bristol Riverside Theatre of Bucks County, PA, is proud to announce an astonishing and beautiful new take on a classic story.  Often regarded as a children's story, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's, is actually a tale for all ages about understanding how to laugh, love and cry again.  Opening November 26 and running through December 30, this new adaptation, directed and re-conceived by stage and screen puppeteer Scott Hitz, uses life sized puppets, live actors, original music, and magnificent sets to bring to life the heart-warming story of the Little Prince who gains rare and unique insights into love, loss, and laughter.  Perfect for the whole family, this heart-warming production exemplifies the best of what the holiday season means to each of us.

In association with Monkey Boys Productions, (puppet builders on Avenue Q and Little Shop of Horrors), The Little Prince stars Philadelphia-based actors Lenny Haas as the Aviator, Broadway stage and screen puppeteer Marc Petrosino (Little Shop of Horrors) as the Men in Planets, and Carole Anne Raffa as Rose, the desert flower.  Joining the cast from Los Angeles is Leila Ghaznavi as the Little Prince and NY-based stage and screen puppeteer and Emmy winning designer Michael Shupbach as the Fox.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's simple tale of a wayward prince has become one of the most beloved stories of all time, having been translated from the original French into over 180 languages, spawning scores of adaptations, including multiple films, songs, and at least one opera.  Ostensibly a children's story, the prince's travels throughout the universe bring him into contact with several flawed adults, each of whom bears a condemnable character defect. The prince eventually travels to Earth, where he learns valuable lessons about individuality and love, and the responsibilities involved therein.  His adventures on Earth bring to bear a harsh mirror to the human existence, commenting on the futility of the rat race and the disconnect we share with one another.  In the end, The Little Prince presents to us an unmistakable plea to keep what's important in life close to your heart.

This script, by John Scoullar and Rick Cummins, is adapted, directed and conceived by Scott Hitz, and features puppets by multiple Emmy Award-winning designer Michael Schupbach of Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop. This premiere concert version at Cape May Stage marks the first stop on its journey to theatrical prominence. This production of The Little Prince is a multi-layered visual feast to awaken the child tucked away inside us all.

The Little Prince officially opens Friday, November 26 at 8:00 PM at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at the corner of Bank & Lafayette Streets in downtown Cape May.   Performances are November 26 through December 30, 2010, Thursdays –Sundays, 8PM Saturdays & Sundays, 3PM.  Tickets are $35 adults ($40 on Saturday evenings), $30 seniors, and $12.50 students. Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's Web site, www.capemaystage.com.

This production is generously sponsored by the Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall and The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia.  This season's sponsors include 410 Bank Street/Frescos, Exit Zero, The Washington Inn, Cape May Winery, and Lucky Bones.

Auditions For "Funny Girl - In Concert"

(BLOOMFIELD, NJ) -- The 4th Wall Theatre is holding auditions for "Funny Girl - In Concert" on Saturday, November 13 at 4:00 and Sunday, November 14 at 6:00 pm at the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts, 593 Bloomfield Avenue (corner of Broad Street) in Bloomfield, NJ. Sign-up starts half an hour prior to the start of auditions, please do not arrive before then. Callbacks will be held on Monday, November 15 beginning at 7:00 pm at the same location.

FUNNY GIRL - IN CONCERT

SEEKING 7-8 women and 7-8 men to perform in a concert version of FUNNY GIRL (book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill), directed by Josh Penzell and music directed by Markus Hauck.

The role of Fanny, who sings more than half of the score, will be shared among several of the women in the show; when not playing Fanny or Mrs. Brice, the women will play other parts and sing in the ensemble. Similarly, the men, when not playing specific parts, will sing as ensemble.

PRODUCTION DETAILS
The cast will rehearse music for two weeks in December (approximately Dec 4-Dec 18) and learn staging in January (approximately Jan 3-20). The show will run only one weekend, Jan 21-22 at 8pm and Jan 23 at 2pm.

AUDITION DETAILS
Auditions will be held on Saturday, November 13 at 4:00 and Sunday, November 14 at 6:00 pm at the New Jersey School of Dramatic Arts, 593 Bloomfield Avenue (corner of Broad Street) in Bloomfield, NJ. Sign-up starts half an hour prior to the start of auditions, please do not arrive before then. Callbacks will be held on Monday, November 15 beginning at 7:00 pm at the same location.

Auditioning actors and actresses should prepare their own song (NOT from the show) that is appropriate to the role(s) for which they want to be considered; please bring legible sheet music in your key. Callback material (songs and sides) will be provided at the audition. Auditioners are encouraged to become familiar with the show or film in advance. All roles are open, and adult actors of all ages and ethnicities are encouraged to attend.

Non-union/small stipend paid. Please bring a headshot and resume stapled together if you have them, and be prepared to provide a list of any conflicts you might have during the rehearsal process.

For more information and cast breakdown - http://www.4thwalltheatre.org/shows/audition.html

"The Nutcracker" Comes to The Strand In Lakewood

(Lakewood, NJ) -- PAE is celebrating its 30th anniversary of The Nutcracker at The Strand Theater for two days! Saturday, November 27 at 2pm and Sunday, November 28 at 2pm! Follow Clara and the Nutcracker prince through a fantastic tale of a giant growing Christmas tree, a battle with the mice, meeting the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Kingdom of Sweets and traveling through a land of beautiful snow.  

The cast includes guest artists from New York companies including the Met at Lincoln Center, New York City Opera ballet and Washington Ballet along with talented young company dancers and children chosen by auditions. Locally, PAE (Performing Arts Ensemble) have performed at the Strand Theater, M PAC, Union County Arts Center, Colleges, Two Rivers Theater and many other venues. PAE always varies the scenery from year to year for a fresh look. They have performed at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall festivals and BMCC in NYC as well as Disney World and Hershey Park, PA.

Tickets range from $26.00 (Orchestra/Loge), $22.00 (Mezzanine) and $17.00 (Tier). There is also a $2.00 Senior/Child discount available plus service charge. Tickets are available by calling the Strand box office or 732-614-5426 or 732-610-4003 to reach PAE.

For more information about PAE call 732-614-5426 or 732-610-4003.  Visit PAE's website for upcoming shows, photos and more at http://www.performingartsensemble.org. For more information call the box office at 732-367-7789 or visit the website at http://www.strand.org.

The Strand is located at 4th Street and Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

The Strand Presents "Irish Christmas in America"

(Lakewood, NJ) -- Get into the holiday spirit with 'Irish Christmas in America' coming to The Strand Theater on Saturday, December 11 at 8:00pm. Produced by Oisín Mac Diarmada of the award-winning lrish group, Téada, the atmospheric 'Irish Christmas in America' show once again features top Irish singer & accordion-player Séamus Begley in the 2010 touring line-up. After an incredible reaction from audiences during the 2009 tour, Séamus Begley from West Kerry, rejoins a host of top musicians and dancers on stage for an engaging performance rich in history, humour and boundless energy.

The magic of the Irish harp and uilleann pipes from leading exponents Gráinne Hambly and Tommy Martin augments the rhythmic pulse of Brian Cunningham's stunning old-style Irish dance. This family-friendly performance features evocatively-sung Irish ballads and holiday carols, lively fiddle tunes, and thrilling Irish dancing. Narration brings to life ancient customs and stories, while evocative photographic images provide a backdrop of rich historical context.

"Captivating" Irish Music Magazine. "Lively and reflective...a powerful evocation of the season" Folk Wax. "A celebration of family and good times at the winter season" Gather.com. Tickets are $25.00 for all seats plus service charge.  Come and join us for a night that will live on in your memories.

For more information about the music, members and more visit their homepage at http://www.irishchristmasinamerica.com.  For more information call the box office at 732-367-7789 or visit the website at www.strand.org.

The Strand is located at 4th Street and Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

Ronnie Spector - "Best Christmas Ever" At The Strand

(Lakewood, NJ) -- Just in time for the holiday season, beehive bad girl Ronnie Spector will be at The Strand Theater on Thursday, December 16 at 7:00pm. Ronnie's catalog of holiday hits include the definitive rock & roll versions of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", "Sleigh Ride", and "Frosty The Snowman". The last two recordings being the Top 15 most played holiday songs on the radio for the past 5 years according to Ascap.

Ronnie's album ‘Ronnie Spector's Best Christmas Ever', was released November 9, 2010 by Bad Girl Sounds/ The Orchard. 'Best Christmas Ever' features five rare holiday gems destined to become contemporary classics. She recorded four tracks under the guidance of Bobby Eli (the famed Philadelphia producer, songwriter and founding member of MFSB) and the fifth song with producer Johnny Gale (Ryan Shaw/Robert Randolph), with contributions from her long-time touring musicians, bassist Jeremy Chatzky (Bruce Springsteen's Seeger Sessions Band, Steve Earle) and keyboardist Joe McGinty (Psychedelic Furs, Ryan Adams), among others.

'Best Christmas Ever' is imbued with Ronnie's deeply felt and vividly recounted holiday memories from her childhood in New York City. "These songs recapture the original feelings of Christmas I had growing up," Spector says. "The minute I got into that studio I knew these were going to be my new Christmas hits."

Tickets range from $45.00 (Orchestra/Loge), $35.00 (Mezzaninne), and $25.00 (Tier). Join us for a holiday spectacular night. Want to see more of Ronnie Spector? Visit her homepage to discover her life story, and see where she will be performing next at www.ronniespector.com/. For more information call the box office at 732-367-7789 or visit the website at www.strand.org.

The Strand is located at 4th Street and Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

"Forever Plaid” takes the Axelrod Performing Arts Stage

(DEAL, NJ) -- The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is pleased to present "Forever Plaid" by the newly formed Shore Repertory Company on November 20 at 8 pm & November 21 at 3 pm., This deliciously goofy revue centers on four young, eager male singers killed in a car crash in the 1950s on the way to their first big concert, and now miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was.Forever Plaid stars include Jan Topoleski, Ryan PJ Mulholland, Joseph Ficarra and Matthew Rae.

Singing in the closest of harmony, squabbling boyishly over the smallest intonations and executing their charmingly outlandish choreography with over-zealous precision, the "Plaids" are a guaranteed smash, with a
program of beloved songs and delightful patter that keeps audiences rolling in the aisles when they're not humming along to some of the great nostalgic pop hits of the '50s. The harmonizing quartet sing a series of well-loved '50s-'60s songs, and perform comedy antics which includes a Perry Como tribute, Calypso music and a hilarious re-enactment of The Ed Sullivan Show--jam-packed with plate twirlers, jugglers, impersonations and even Topo Gigio all in 3 minutes and 11 seconds. The show features many top songs from the 50s hit charts, including "Lady of Spain,” "Three Coins in the Fountain,” "Heart and Soul,” "Sixteen Tons,” "Catch a Falling Star,” and "Shangri-La.”

Since Forever Plaid first opened in New York on May 20, 1990, it received unanimous rave reviews and ran for over four years. It has gone on to spectacular worldwide successes. It was written directed and
choreographed by Stuart Ross and vocal arrangements by James Raitt.  Forever Plaid has been a sensational hit, provoking laughter and tears (sometimes at the same time). Audiences of all ages have adored the ‘50s
and'60s music, wholesome story, and never-ending comedic banter of ‘Plaid.'

 The Axelrod Performing Arts Center is located at 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, NJ. Tickets may be purchased online at www.axelrodartscenter.org or by calling the Box Office at (732) 531-9106 ext. 142.

ROWAN COMPANY OFFERS DRAMATIC EVENING OF OPERATIC MASTERPIECES

(GLASSBORO, NJ) -- Combining a variety of works into one dramatic musical evening, the Rowan Opera Company presents Operatic Masterpieces on November 19 and 20, 2010 at 8 pm in Pfleeger Concert Hall on the Glassboro campus.

Under the direction of acclaimed artists Marian Stieber and Jon Garrison, the company offers a diverse night of scenes from a mix of classic operas with piano accompaniment. The program features the "Flower Duet" from Delibes' Lakme, selections from Strauss' Die Fledermaus, "Regina coeli" from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, "Fredda ed immobile" from Rossini's The Barber of Seville, the final scene from Verdi's La Traviata, a duet from Bellini's Norma and more.

Stieber is professor of Voice and head of the Vocal Division at Rowan in addition to leading the Opera Company. She has earned critical acclaim as both an opera singer and concert artist, performing roles such as Mimi in La Boheme, Violetta in La Traviata, Marguerite in Faust, The Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro and the title role in The Merry Widow. Stieber has performed as a soloist with the Philadelphia Singers, Basically Bach Festival, Germantown Oratorio Society, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra and Philadelphia Youth Orchestra and has frequently appeared with The Philadelphia Singers at The Kimmel Center and at Carnegie Hall in New York. At Rowan, she has directed previous Opera Company productions of Carmen, The Magic Flute, Dido and Aeneas, The Pirates of Penzance and more. She has served as vocal director for numerous musical theater productions at The Ritz Theatre.

Garrison has enjoyed a long international career singing with conductors, opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the world. His operatic debut was as Rinuccio in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi with New York's Metropolitan Opera and he has subsequently sung 21 roles in more than 200 performances with The Met. He also has sung with more than 50 different opera companies across the United States and around the world. A renowned interpreter of 20th and 21st century music, he performed the leading tenor role in world premieres of The Gardens of Adonis by Hugo Weisgall; Holy Blood, Crescent Moon by Stuart Copeland; and Rasputin by Jay Riese; the American premiere of Mary, Queen of Scots by Thea Musgrave; and the premiere of The Song of Majnun by Bright Sheng. As a concert soloist, he has appeared with more than 90 symphonies here and abroad. He performed the title role in Harrison Bertwhistle's The Mask of Orpheus with the BBC Symphony, the recording of which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Recording in 1997.

Pfleeger Concert Hall is located in Wilson Hall on the campus of Rowan University, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ. Tickets are $10, general admission; and $5 for seniors, non-Rowan students, Rowan staff & alumni. Rowan students are admitted free with valid ID. For tickets and information, visit www.rowan.edu/fpa or call the box office at (856) 256-4545.

Morgan La Civita Continues Dedication To National Downs Syndrome Society

Morgen La Civita continues her efforts to bring awareness to NDSS.org through her music.

Morgen had already made her mark in the world of radio and television voice overs, as well as commercial copy writing, when she made the transition to songwriting.

In less than 18 months, she has been featured on 14 albums, has had several songs licensed by top tier music libraries and has received radio airplay on major market stations, including WWOZ in New Orleans, Jazz88 in San Francisco and NBC's "Good Morning New Orleans".

While "Old Souls" is  La Civita's second album, it is also in a way her first.

Her debut release "From the Basement" was a collection of music from her successful catalog ,and though personal and dramatic,  "Old Souls" tells you exactly who she is as an artist.

Each song tells a personal and intriguing story that keeps the listener captivated with the album's unique fusion of Blues, Soul, and World music.

Intense percussion rhythms blended with slide guitar and moving piano pieces, take you on a journey around the world and then back again to a Louisiana bayou.

The album opens with "On and On", a Celtic influenced "swamp song" and ends with the moving acoustic piano version of Morgen's tribute to voodoo queen Marie Laveau, entitled "Pretty Marie".

Along the way, check out award winning tracks "Who is This Woman"(honored as one of Songwriter Universe Magazine's Top 5 songs of the month for October) and "Grandmother's Song"(American Songwriter Magazine's 2Place winner for October) which tell personal stories from Ms. La Civita's childhood.

"Old Souls" is now available digitally via iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.com.

100% of  proceeds from "Old Souls" will again go to benefit NDSS.org.

State Theatre presents Juggling/Comedic Duo The Passing Zone in Gravity Attacks!

(New Brunswick, NJ) — State Theatre presents juggling duo, The Passing Zone on Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 3pm. In their new show, Gravity Attacks!, veteran jugglers Jon Wee and Owen Morse invite the audience to join them in their fight against the world's most destructive evil force—gravity. Juggling combined with comedy and dangerous stunts make up an unforgettable and hilarious experience for families of all ages. Tickets range from $15-35.

Gravity has been keeping us all down for far too long, and finally someone is doing something about it. The Passing Zone puts gravity in its place, overpowering it with seemingly effortless dexterity. Objects fly through the air, like chainsaws, torches, and knives. You'll even see three people from the audience floating through space, orbiting planets, narrowly escaping dangerous collisions! It's a high-energy, interactive, gut-busting theatrical show that will thrill audiences of all ages.

Morse and Wee met in 1986 at a juggling convention and knew instantly they were meant to be a team. Just two weeks after their first performance together they won the Silver Medal at the International Jugglers' Association Teams Competition; the following year they won gold. The recognition earned them an invitation to the Comedy and Magic Club in Los Angeles, which led to their first national television appearance on The Tonight Show in September 1990.

The Passing Zone has been awarded five Guinness World Records and 18 Gold Medals from the International Juggler's Association. They were recently presented with that organization's Award of Excellence, for “excellence in the art of juggling through professional performance,” which is the most prestigious award in juggling  (essentially the Juggling Hall of Fame), given to only thirteen acts worldwide since the organization's inception.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517.

The State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people's lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Continental Airlines is the official airline of the State Theatre. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98. 3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre.

Vaune Peck displays 'Natural Tendencies' in her first solo show at Monmouth University

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- As counselor and coordinator of arts programming for Monmouth University's Center of Distinction for the Arts, Vaune Peck has involved herself "hands-on" with each and every aspect of the award-winning program — helping to make the school's slate of events into one of the most popular programs in New Jersey, and elevating the seemingly mundane role of "administrator" into a lively art all its own.

Everyone from stage-struck students to seen-it-all superstars knows Vaune as the woman who brings together all of the gloriously disparate elements that comprise a "typical" season at Monmouth — a character who's equal parts diplomat, commanding officer, CEO, go-fer, mom, ringmaster and shepherdess of the flock — to say nothing of making those trains run on time.

However, few outside of the West Long Branch campus are aware that Vaune Peck gets "hands-on" with her life's mission in a more visceral, immediate way — as a visual artist of energy, accomplishment and masterful technique.

The Exhibit runs through Friday, December 17, the 800 Gallery at Monmouth University plays host to Natural Tendencies, an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, photographs and mosaics — many of them created expressly for this event — that reveal Vaune Peck to be the rare "front office" person whose affinity for artists derives from her own very real passion and prowess with the medium of expression.

In other words, this is no vanity project from a frustrated dabbler, but a long-overdue first solo show from a creative individual who's been keeping herself very busy.

As the name suggests, Natural Tendencies takes its cues from the natural world in all its manifestations —the parts that are kissed by pastoral summer breezes, and the parts that come equipped with beaks and teeth and talons.

Traversing both land masses (from the artist's world travels to her literal backyard) and media, the collection features works in softly hued oils and in gleaming carved alabaster — with the awesome diversity of nature shining through in ways that are both dynamically matter-of-fact (the sharply etched detail of a polished stone red tailed hawk) and representational (the floral flow of a painted folk-dancer's skirts).

"Working with stone, each piece is something of a discovery," remarks the sculptor, whose relatively recent explorations in alabaster are well represented in the exhibit. "As you polish the surface down, you never know what's going to be revealed."

As a painter, on the other hand, the artist tends to "find something I like, paint it…conquer it…then move on," sounding rather like the huntress.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Think of it as Ailey 2.0

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) – Not a "second company." Not a farm team. Not a road show, and most definitely not "the next best thing" to the standard of excellence in contemporary American dance.

Now in its 36th year, the Ailey II dance company continues to represent the next quantum leap forward for the modern American dance tradition. Merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of the most outstanding emerging choreographers, it's an organization with one foot in the future — and another grounded in the legacy of the celebrated choreographer who brought the beauty and humanity of the African-American experience to soaring new heights.

When the late Alvin Ailey established Ailey II as a bridge between his school and the professional dance world, there was little question as to who would set the pace — and for nearly forty years, Artistic Director Sylvia Waters has guided and nurtured young artists who have gone on to become some of the most acclaimed dancers, teachers and choreographers of the past two generations.

On the evening of Sunday, February 13, 2011, a troupe of 12 performers — hand-picked from the student body of The Ailey School, with many of them new to the touring production — will take the stage of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University, as part of the school's Center of Distinction for the Arts slate of events for 2011.

The 7 p.m. performance is scheduled to be preceded by a Dance Master Class workshop, featuring members of the Ailey II company and presented inside the newly renovated Lauren K. Woods Theatre, accessible at the eastern side of Norwood Avenue (Route 71) on the Monmouth campus. All members of the public are invited to this event, with start time and ticket information TBA.

Having performed and developed works by such leading American masters as Alvin Ailey, Talley Beatty, Ulysses Dove, George Faison, Lar Lubovitch, and Ailey's Artistic Director Judith Jamison, the Ailey II company returns to the Pollak stage as part of an international tour that takes them to 35 American cities and universities — and to Europe for the first time in the company's history.

For the Monmouth University show (the last US stop before a six-city UK excursion), Ailey II will perform a program that spotlights a pair of ballets (The Hurt and Takademe) by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Artistic Director Designate Robert Battle — a major artist who created his first work for Ailey II in 1999.

Also on the program are two new productions — Doscongio by San Francisco choreographer Robert Moses (set to movements of Chopin's sonata for cello and piano) and Donald Byrd's eclectic and complex ballet Shards — as well as the premiere of an all new ensemble work by Kyle Abraham that employs hip-hop and postmodern movement elements to recreate life on The Corner.

This tour of Ailey II is made possible by a grant from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

This tour engagement of Ailey II is funded through the American Masterpieces program of the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

A dynamic duo brings Gershwin back (to stay) at Pollak Theatre

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) – "I've Got Rhythm"; "Summertime"; "Strike Up the Band"; "S'Wonderful";

Need more? "Shall We Dance"; "They All Laughed"; "They Can't Take That Away From Me"; "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."

Better yet, let's all agree that the sibling songwriting partnership of George and Ira Gershwin comprised one decidedly dynamic duo. Writing for Hollywood, Broadway and the concert stage, the two brothers built bridges between the popular entertainment vernacular of their era and American symphonic music at its most inspirational — conquering Carnegie Hall by way of Tin Pan Alley.

The Gershwin songbook has served to bring out the best in some of their fellow musical duos,  long after George Gershwin's too-soon death at the age of 38 — twosomes like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong; Judy Garland and Dick Haymes, not to mention Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

On the night of November 5, 2010, another great duet act brings the 20th century's greatest songbook legacy to life, as KT Sullivan and Mark Nadler come to the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University with their hit-packed program Gershwin...Here to Stay. Joined onstage by Chicago jazz pianist Jon Weber, the two top cabaret artists  — who, together and separately, have also paid tribute to the works of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and many others — strike a "Sweet and Lowdown" balance between the Gershwin canon (including George's instrumental classics) and their own prodigious interpretive talents.

An actress, recording artist and award-winning cabaret performer who's performed regularly at the Oak Room of NYC's Algonquin Hotel (as well as "top rooms" on three continents), KT Sullivan has been likened to "whipped cream atop a surprisingly nutritious dessert," with a vocal style celebrated for "caressing Gershwin ballads with tenderness."

A one-of-a-kind talent known for his near-acrobatic piano playing, comic exuberance and an astonishingly encyclopedic command of the Songbook (and the people who wrote it), Mark Nadler intersperses his vocals with displays of tap dancing, along with entertaining facts from the life of Gershwin. Nadler and Sullivan have previously pooled their Gershwin passions for the off-Broadway revue American Rhapsody, as well as the cabaret show Sweet and Lowdown (a duet that featured a re-enactment of the entire Astaire-Rogers film "Shall We Dance").

The 8:00 p.m. November 5 performance of Gershwin...Here to Stay is preceded at 3 p.m. by a Songwriting Workshop, presented in Room 135 of Howard Hall (off the Pollak Gallery) on the West Long Branch campus, and hosted by Sullivan and Nadler. The concert co-stars — both recognized as experts on the great songwriters, and the American songwriting tradition — will discuss the qualities of a classic song, and will offer a critique of written work presented by aspiring songsmiths. Separate admission to this event is available for $10, and there's no cost for admission to anyone who holds a ticket to that evening's show.

‘Broadway' is back, and Berg's bringing it, to Monmouth U's Pollak Theatre

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) — His creative collaborators have included winners of the Oscar, the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize — as well as a former editor of MAD magazine and a member of the thrash-metal band Anthrax.

He's produced major concerts starring such Broadway greats as Michael Crawford, Bernadette Peters and Rita Moreno — and he's received acclaim and honors for everything from his countless private/corporate events, to his tireless efforts for charities and nonprofits.

He's Jersey's own Neil Berg, and when he's not busying himself with 1,001 different creative endeavors, he's taking to the road with a theatre-sized musical revue that's very quickly become "the number one touring Broadway concert in the United States." Now encompassing some 120 cities, it's a road that takes him back to the Pollak Theatre, as one of the favorite frequent attractions in Monmouth University's Center of Distinction for the Arts.

Musical theater fans who thrilled to Berg's smash production 100 Years of Broadway (and its encore edition, 101 Years of Broadway) can expect the same stellar standard on the night of November 19, 2010, when Berg and a cast of Great White Way veterans take to the Pollak boards with a fresh new selection from the songbook of the best-loved shows in musical theater history.

The 2010 concert presentation is called — wait for it — 102 Years of Broadway, and what the title may lack in surprise value is more than compensated for by the level of assembled vocal talents, backed by Berg's all-star band of New York pros, as well as by the full faith and credit of the greatest songwriters who ever lived.

Past editions of Berg's concert show have boasted the talents of Betty Buckley, Ben Vereen and Liz Callaway, among many others — and 102 Years continues the tradition of featuring Broadway cast members, performing the songs from the hits in which they starred.

Standing in the spotlight on this year's tour are Rita Harvey (who portrayed Christine on Broadway in Phantom of the Opera, and co-starred with Rosie O'Donnell and Harvey Fierstein in the hit revival of Fiddler), as well as returning favorite Carter Calvert (whose many credits include Broadway's It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues and the national tour of Cats). Other shows represented by Broadway veterans include Les Miserables, Evita, Wonderful Town, and Jesus Christ Superstar.

For additional information, or to purchase tickets, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

Kean University Crosses to The Other Shore

(UNION, NJ) -- Kean University Department of Theatre presents The Other Shore by Pultizer Prize winning playwright and author Gao Xingjian.  This thought-provoking avant-garde production will be performed in the Zella Fry Theatre on the university campus in Union, NJ from November 12th through the 20th.

Written in 1986, The Other Shore was originally scheduled to be produced by the Beijing People's Art Theater, where the playwright was an artist in residence.  For political reasons, however, it was banned and never staged in mainland China.  Thematically, the play addresses issues of collectivism and individualism—themes that Xingjian has addressed throughout his career, and ones that are considered to be highly volatile in the Communist Chinese context.

"Xingjian was pushing a lot of political buttons at the time," said Anna DeMers, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Kean University, where she concentrates on movement for the actor training.  DeMers directs the production, adding, "I wanted to explore with the students a piece that asked to be developed through the body.  My training as an artist and my specialty is in physical theatre and movement."

Stylistically, Xingjian's works seldom follow conventional narrative modes, so The Other Shore lends itself to DeMers' choreographic approach.  That the play was never allowed to be produced in China is somewhat ironic given the fact that Xingjian originally wrote it as a ‘‘pure drama'' and has steadfastly stated his belief that literature should remain independent and free of political considerations.

The work nevertheless raised the ire of authorities, and it proved to be a turning point in Xingjian's life: although it was not the first of Xingjian's works to be banned, the state's decision on The Other Shore convinced the playwright that if he was to continue to write unhindered by state controls, it would not be inside mainland China; Xingjian left his native land for France, where he lives in exile.

The play's title refers to the concept of ‘‘paramita'' or ‘‘nirvana,'' the land of enlightenment in Buddhism. According to Buddhist belief, humans experience an actual visible life full of suffering, but by living according to the virtues of ‘‘paramita''—morality, patience, meditation and wisdom—they can cross the ‘‘river of life'' to the other shore and experience enlightenment.

"The Other Shore has many themes that overtly begin with a Chinese cultural perspective," continued DeMers.  "In fact, there is a moment in the play when a Zen master speaks about Buddhism.  But we've incorporated phrases of prayers from many religious sects into the production – Christian, Muslim, Islamic and Jewish.  The journey of self discovery is universal."

With a Master's of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College focused on directing and movement, DeMers' passion is creating new performance pieces, which have included: Scherzo (Blueprint Theater Project/NYC), Comings & Goings (VOCI Dance), Feedback on an 8 Count (Harwood Dance), and Phobias (Empty Spaces).  She has written and produced her plays at various festivals, such as Fe-or-Male (Orlando Playfest), Solo Face and Hidden Mandala (Orlando Fringe).  As a long time collaborator with Empty Spaces Theatre Co. in Orlando she choreographed and/or co-directed Beckett Festival, Ubu Roi, Stripped, and Oedipus.  Regionally, DeMers served on the creative teams of Gone Missing (Mad Cow), 9 Parts of Desire (Sarah Lawrence) and Twelfth Night (Kean University).  Last May at Kean she previewed her dance-media performance Look This Way,that investigates the intersection of dance, live media, postmodernism and deconstruction.

The cast of The Other Shore features: Becca Bowe, Brandon Elia, David Farrington (who was seen this past fall with Kean University's professional theatre in residence, Premiere Stages, in Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods starring Emmy-winner Kim Zimmer), Shabazz Green (who frequently understudies roles with Premiere Stages, and performed in their production of HUMBUG), Steve Sharkey, Samuel Spare, Natalie Bailey, Megan Bandelt, Becca Dagnall, Cara Ganski, Cathy Garcia and Katelyn Morgan.

"Using their own physical landscapes, the actors were crucial to how the production developed," noted DeMers.  "We built a sense of ensemble and trust first and added the script later.  We picked moments that they themselves created through asking, ‘When do you trust what you want to do as opposed to what the crowd is doing?' and ‘How does the spiritual journey fit in to day to day living?'"

The Other Shore performs November 12, 13, 17, 19, 20 at 8 p.m., November 13, 14, 20 at 2 p.m. and November 18 at 5 p.m.  A discussion with the cast follows the Nov 18th performance.  Tickets are $15 standard, $12 for seniors and Kean faculty, staff and alumni and $10 for students, and can be ordered by calling the box office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).  Group rates are available for parties of 10 or more and can be arranged by calling Paul Whelihan, audience services coordinator at 908-737-4077.  Visit the website at www.keanstage.com.

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, boasting a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment, offering more than 50 undergraduate degrees and more than 45 options leading to a master's degree, doctorate, professional diploma and/or state certification(s). Five undergraduate colleges and the Nathan Weiss Graduate College now serve more than 15,000 students.

Julio Iglesias Comes To The Ritz Theater in Elizabeth

(Englewood Cliffs, NJ) -– Julie Iglesias - "The Master of the Love Ballad" - will have his exclusive New York/NewJersey area performance at the Majestic Ritz Theater on Friday December 3, 2010 at 8:30pm. Considered one of the top 10 performers of all time in album sales. More than 77 albums, 300 million records in 14 languages. Julio Iglesias promoted Romantic Classics in 2006 and was seen all over the world on Television shows and in the United States, he appeared on Dancing With The Stars where he sang his hit "I Want To know what Love Is," he also appeared on "Good Morning America," "The View," "Fox and Friends" and "Martha Stewart.". Don't miss this concert by this Spanish icon of Love Ballads. Tickets can be purchased "online" or by phone at (908)352-1919. Share this concert with your friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Recently, the 66-year-old singer - who tied the knot with partner of 20 years Miranda Rijinsburger in September - said the couple's intimate union in Marbella was the "culmination of many years of love".

He said: "It's the culmination of many years of love, mutual understanding, affection and unconditional support, a relationship that has brought us five children who are our very soul. If Miranda hadn't come into my life, my mind wouldn't be as focused on the future as it is right now - it would be focused on the present, and very likely, more and more in the

The original Latin Sex Symbol, Julio Iglesias's 1984 release "1100 Bel Air Place" sold three million copies in the U.S. alone, producing two hit singles, "To All the Girls I've Loved Before," a duet with Willie Nelson, and "All of You," a duet with Diana Ross. His latest worldwide release "Romantic Classics," a Top 40 hit in the US, features songs from the '60s, '70s and 80s – a success with audiences of all generations.

A talented vocalist from a young age, in 1968 Iglesias won the Benidorm International Song Festival, a songwriter's contest in Spain, with "La Vida Sigue Igual" and signed a contract with Discos Columbia, the Spain branch of Columbia Records. He represented Spain in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, earning fourth place.

Soon thereafter the young artist released a number one hit throughout Europe with "Un Canto A Galicia." The single sold 1 million copies in Germany alone. It was followed in 1975 with an Italian hit "Se mi lasci non vale" ("If you leave me, it can't be").

In 1978, he signed a contract for CBS International, adding English, French, Portuguese, and German to his language repertoire. Iglesias released "De Niña a Mujer" (1981), which produced his first English-language hit, a Spanish cover of "Begin the Beguine" -  No. 1 in the U.K..

 Iglesias's career continued to blossom in 1988, when the young, sexy singer won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album with "Un Hombre Solo" ("A Man Alone"). Later that year he recorded a duet with Stevie Wonder, "My Love," which also achieved crossover success.

2003 saw the release of the Spanish album "Divorcio." (Divorce) In its first day of sales alone, "Divorcio" sold a record 350,000 copies, and quickly reached the #1 spot in Portugal, France, Italy, Russia and Spain.

 But "Romantic Classics" was Iglesias's premier debut on the Billboard charts, entering at number 31 in the USA, 21 in Canada, 10 in Australia, and top spots across Europe and Asia.  The now world-recognized artist gained popular appeal with appearances on U.S. TV shows such as "Dancing With The Stars," "Good Morning America," "The View," "Fox and Friends," and "Martha Stewart."

The Majestic Ritz Theater is located at 1148 East Jersey Street in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Cape May Stage Offers a Sign-Interpreted Performance for The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)

(Cape May, NJ) -- Cape May Stage, Cape May's premier professional Equity theatre, with the generous support of PNC Arts Alive, is proud to announce a spectacular evening of live theatre on Friday, November 19.  Theatrical interpreters for the Deaf Celeste Herse and Anne Maselli will interpret the Stage's 8:00 pm performance of one of London's longest-running plays, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The ASL signed performance will take place at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at Bank and Lafayette Streets.

Herse, a local interpreter in the South Jersey area, is thrilled to return to the Stage this fall after previously interpreting several of the Stage's productions last season.  "I love theater because it takes you to different places and signing performances is such a unique experience. As an interpreter, not only do you have to listen, but also translate and communicate each emotion like an actor to make the story come alive," explains Herse.  Herse will be joined on stage with theatrical interpreter and colleague, Anne Maselli. "Having a partner to work with on stage creates great interaction.  It's more meaningful for the Deaf to see two people interpreting and it's a lot of fun," states Herse.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) was written and performed by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 1987.  From there, it moved to the Criterion in London's West End, running for nine record-breaking years.  Complete Works is a madcap romp through everything ever written by the greatest writer of the English language.  Three actors perform each of Shakespeare's plays in the first act, in styles wildly divergent from their original: Titus Andronicus, for example, is performed as a cooking show and Othello is told through gangsta rap.  All of Shakespeare's histories are told as a football game using the British Crown as the football, and all of his comedies are reduced to one reading, the justification being that they all use the same plots, anyway.  At the end of the first act, the actors realize they've left out the greatest play of them all -- Hamlet -- and the second act is spent rectifying this.  In all, it's two hilarious and enlightening hours of theater that you're unlikely to experience anywhere else!

PNC Financial Services Group is the presenting sponsor of Cape May Stage's ASL Interpreted Performance. The support is part of PNC Arts Alive, a five-year, $5 million investment from The PNC Foundation to help area residents gain access to the arts, and help arts organizations expand and engage audiences.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) featuring theatrical interpreters is scheduled for Friday, November 19 at 8:00 PM. at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at the corner of Bank & Lafayette Streets in downtown Cape May.   Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm through November 20th.  Tickets are $35 adults ($40 on Saturday evenings), $30 seniors, and $12.50 students. Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's Web site, www.capemaystage.com.

This production is generously sponsored by Sturdy Savings Bank and co-sponsored by The Fudge Kitchen.  This season's sponsors include 410 Bank Street/Frescos, Exit Zero, The Washington Inn, Cape May Winery, and Lucky Bones.


photo credit: Aleksey Photography (Pictured L to R:  Jake Paque, Mark Irish, & David Schmittou)