New Jersey Stage

Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Interview With Dan Coleman, Rock On Radio

by Gary Wien

If it's Sunday night, it's time for Rock On Radio -- a weekly radio show broadcast on a mix of AM/FM and online radio stations throughout the world. Hosted by Danny Coleman, the show features interviews and live performances from artists in the New Jersey music scene broadcast and streamed from the studio at NewJerseyStage broadcasts an encore recording of the show every Thursday (1pm and 8pm) and Friday (7pm) on our station, htttp:// -- we caught up with Danny to see how the show was going and how it's rejuvenated his own personal music career.

Tell me about Rock On Radio. When did you first get the idea to do a radio show like ROR? How difficult was it for you to actually get things rolling? And when did the show first broadcast?
The idea for ROCK ON RADIO came to me back in 2007 when a band that I was in at the time, made a live appearance on a friend of mine's radio program. We did a half hour segment, where we talked and he spun a song off of our CD. I thought, "Wow what a great concept." He deviated from his format for me, but it spawned the concept. I also remember the thrill of hearing my band on the radio when I was 16 yrs. old and thought how neat it would be to combine both elements and give others the same opportunity to showcase their talents.

It wasn't difficult to get it going at all. I saw a Craigslist ad. that read "Radio Show Ideas/Hosts Wanted." I pitched the idea, they bought it and ROCK ON RADIO was born on April 26, 2009.

What about your own music background and your DJ background?
Always loved music. I fell in love with the drums when I was about 10 yrs. old. I remember being fascinated with a drummer at a wedding. When it was done, he gave me his sticks, I was hooked! I've been playing since I was 11 yrs. old. I got into my first band when I was 14 yrs. old in high school, got hooked on Rock 'n' Roll and the rest is history...

I took up percussion in 2000, bought a set of congas and then bongos; put them together with all of my "weapons of mass percussion" that I already had and started doing background live and studio work for local musicians. I've since (as I stated earlier) branched out.

My DJ background is virtually non-existant. A year after I graduated high school I went to broadcasting school. I graduated, but radio wasn't paying as much as my day job, so I gave up on it until a back injury forced me out of work and I answered the Craigslist ad.

In a perfect world, would you prefer to be a rock star or a famous DJ?
In a "perfect world" I'd be able to do some have. If I had my choice, it would be ROCK STAR. I love the thrill of performing, making people happy, watching them enjoy theirselves because of what my band is doing. I want to experience that on a large scale at least once before I'm too old and look possibly even more ridiculous!

I mean, c'mon, to be like Bruce or Bon Jovi, U2 or any others who've had 60-80,000 people singing the songs that they've written back at them from a sold out stadium or arena has got to be the ultimate adrenaline rush.

What would be the perfect Rock on Radio broadcast for you? (maybe a guest you've always wanted or just the vibe in the studio)
Hmmm...great question. I guess, it would be to interview a prominent musician or band. I love my indie original artists, but it would be nice to have an established act call in or stop by. Due to the personalites of the ROR staff, the vibe is always light hearted and friendly. Almost eveyone who has appeared have told me afterward that it was "the most fun that they've ever had doing radio." The "Relaxed Atmosphere" made them feel very "comfortable." I pride myself on this reaction because it means that the show is meeting my and its' expectations. That is exactly how I wanted the show to come across on air; hopefully it does.

What were some of your favorite moments in the studio so far?
I can honestly say that every week is a favorite; I have been blessed with many fantastic guests. However, the "Christmas Spectaculars" where I take the show to 2-3 hours have been the best yet. We have a party, many former guest call or just show up at the station and join in. Other than my one booked guest, I never know who is going to come thru the door. this past year was the best yet and I only anticipate them getting better.

One thing that always impresses me is just how much work you put into promoting the show. During an average week, how much time would you say you spend on promotion?
Not enough! LOL! I'm glad that you noticed though. I do spend several hours a day doing what I have termed "Shameless Self Promotion." If I don't make the show recognizable....who will? I create once a week events, post and repost on facebook, use myspace, twitter. On a daily basis I reach out to newspapers, online music mags. as well as other stations in an attempt to increase name recognition and listenership.

What's been your most successful avenue for promotion?
facebook, my bumperstickers and t-shirts have all been big contributors. By far though, the most successful has been public appearances. Showing up at Katmandu, doing gigs whenever asked at all of the Asbury Park venues, participating in and emceeing events have all been huge in the promotion of the show; and of course being syndicated on THE PENGUIN! I can't thank you enough Gary for what you've done for me and my program...very much appreciated!

What do you hope people get out of your show?
I hope that they get to know my guests on a more personal level. Many people have seen my guests in coffee house, bars, and showcases; but many don't know them as individuals. I want my listeners to be entertained, informed and to feel like they know me, my guest and all of us at ROCK ON RADIO on a more personal level every week.

Finally, how has doing the radio show increased your own exposure or changed things for you musically?
It has totally resurrected my music career. I had pretty much put my drum kit aside and was concentrating solely on doing percussion for various local friends. The radio show opened up the Jersey Shore area to me, since probably 75% of my guests have been from the shore scene. Lance Reichert and his acoustic showcase at Katmandu in Trenton also has increased my visibility tremendously. Lance sends me many of the artists that come thru the doors of Katmandu. Also, playing drums for the amazing Jo Wymer for a period of time definitely increased my name recognition. My association with her, due to the radio show, has led me to many of the people that I still associate with and play drums and/or percussion for today.


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The ShowRoom, Asbury Park's art-house movie theater, is partnering with author and Asbury Park historian Helen Chantal Pike on Sunday, March 27 to present "Roots, Rock and Ray." The interactive event will start at 1:00 p.m. and include a panel discussion led by Pike and Gary Walker of WBGO, the nation's premier jazz radio station.

"Roots, Rock and Ray" was planned in conjunction with the Smithsonian's traveling exhibition "New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music" on display at the Asbury Park Library from March 12 through April 17. It will also coincide with a city-wide jazz and blues themed weekend slated from March 25 to 27.

Pike, editor of the anthology, "Asbury Park: Where Music Lives" and curator of "Roots, Rock and Ray," will join Walker in discussing excerpts from the film "Ray Charles: America," examining the musical influences that informed the iconic artist's work. A notable event in Asbury Park's rich music heritage, Ray Charles performed two sold-out concerts at the Paramount Theatre in 1962. Pike, Walker and other panel members will use this noteworthy event as a springboard into the exploration of Asbury Park's jazz and blues history.

"The ShowRoom is looking forward to partnering with our friend Helen Pike for ‘Roots, Rock and Ray.' This afternoon of film and music hosted in an intimate art-house setting is the perfect representation of the original programming that is happening throughout Asbury Park in conjunction with New Harmonies. I am happy our venue provides the resources needed for a presentation of this caliber," said Michael Sodano, co-owner of The ShowRoom.

Following the panel discussion and film outtakes, guests will enjoy performances by Sandy Sasso, an internationally acclaimed jazz singer and former owner of Sasso's Music in Long Branch; Dorian Parreott, a jazz saxophonist whose band opened for Ray Charles in 1957 and later went on to become band director and chair of the Fine Arts Department at Asbury Park High School from 1968 to 1991; Gladstone Trott, conductor of the Downtown Glee Club in New York City, member of the Lakewood Jazz Ensemble, and longtime conductor and organist for the St. Augustine choir in Asbury Park; as well as performances by bluesmen Willie Mitchell and Al Holmes.

Pike's anthology "Asbury Park: Where Music Lives" will be available for purchase at "Roots, Rock and Ray." Essays from performing musicians Perreot, Trott and Mitchell are included in the historical anthology.

"Roots, Rock and Ray" will kick-off at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. Tickets for the event are $12.00, $5.00 for students. For more information or to reserve tickets, please visit or call 732-502-0472.

About The ShowRoom

Since opening in April 2009, The ShowRoom has continued to present relevant and provocative movies and events that engage audiences for a memorable experience. It is a versatile entertainment space on Cookman Avenue's Art Bloc that is renowned for its roster of critically acclaimed, independent, classic, foreign, family and festival-winning films. In addition, The ShowRoom endeavors to provide the community with a welcoming and acoustically ideal environment for live performances, workshops, seminars and mixed-media presentations. Owners Michael Sodano and Nancy Sabino are film-industry veterans with more than 25 years of experience in creative communications for corporate productions. With The ShowRoom, first-rate cinema and a dedicated entertainment venue has returned to Asbury Park's growing downtown arts community. For more information, please visit or call 732-502-0472.

Getting out the word on iPoet, March 5 in Long Branch

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -— Ours is a city that takes the power of the word very seriously — a birthplace and home to famous novelists, short story writers, rock stars, journalists, even a Poet Laureate of the United States.

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 5, Long Branch celebrates the rich written legacy, and spotlights a new generation of poetic voices, when the event known as iPoet returns for the first of several scheduled showcases in 2011. The community room of the Long Branch Free Public Library at 328 Broadway will be the setting once again, as a group of prominent local people and a special guest host join in welcoming the area's best young poets..

Scheduled from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., the March edition of iPoet will be hosted by one of the real rising stars of spoken word performance — Brooklyn-based Rock Wilk, whose acclaimed appearances at the Nuyorican Poets Café and Asbury Park's Showroom have allowed him to put together the first national tour of his autobiographical one man show, "Broke Wide Open." The veteran musician, arranger and author has also released a new volume of poetry entitled "A Harlem Love Story," available from his website

A collection of guest speakers — including Long Branch City Council members John Pallone and Michael Sirianni, historian and author Helen Pike, New Jersey Repertory Company's Carl Hoffman and dedicated poetry lovers from the Long Branch Free Public Library and Long Branch Historical Association — will read from a selection of classic American verse. At the heart of the event is a chance to see and hear the work of some talented and creative young writers, from area grade schools and colleges, as well as from the Inkwell's weekly Loser Slam and other independent, word-powered events in and around Long Branch.

Admission to the event is free of charge, with participants invited to bring family and friends, and enjoy complimentary refreshments while meeting fellow poets and enthusiasts during a reception for the event.

To obtain a sign-up form or find out more about iPoet, contact Kate Angelo, director of Outreach and Adult Programming at Long Branch Free Public Library, at Robyn Ellenbogen, Community Arts Coordinator for the Long Branch Arts Council, is also available for media interviews regarding this event and can be contacted at

The iPoet series is sponsored by the Long Branch Arts Council, the Long Branch Free Public Library and the Long Branch Historical Association, and supported by Investors Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Monmouth County Arts Council and the City of Long Branch. Future iPoet sessions (on April 9, May 14 and a June date to be announced) will pay tribute to some world famous writers with a connection to Long Branch, such as Norman Mailer and Dorothy Parker.

The Long Branch Arts Council is a partnership dedicated to working with the city government, civic and business organizations and the arts community to re-establish the City of Long Branch as a thriving regional center for the arts. Our aim is to accomplish this goal by attracting artists and arts organizations, by coordinating fundraising and development efforts, by establishing arts education programs, and by presenting arts-oriented events that draw upon the natural resources, accessibility, historic assets and "people power" that are unique to our beloved city.

4th Annual Singer-Songwriter of Cape May - March 25-26

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The 4th annual Singer-Songwriter of Cape May will be held March 25 & 26, 2011 at historic Congress Hall and select showcase venues in Cape May, New Jersey.

SS Cape May will feature two afternoons of music business keynotes, panels, songwriting workshops, musician clinics, mentoring & demo listening sessions, exhibits and performance critiques at the historic Congress Hall Hotel & the Harrison Conference Center. The music business conference is open to the public but requires registration.

SS Cape May celebrates new music and the participating acts and artists will shine with night time performances at select local venues. The participating venues in 2010 were: Aleathea's Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May, C-View Inn, Cabana's On The Beach, Jackson Mountain Cafe, Lucky Bones Backwater Grille, Martini Beach, The Mad Batter, Merion Inn, Victorian Garden at Marquis de Lafayette, Ugly Mug, The Pilot House, and Congress Hall's Brown Room, Boiler Room and Grand Ballroom. The local community is invited to share in the celebration of independent artists at the SS Cape May showcase venues. All showcase performances will be Free and Open to the Public.

Registration is required for the conference and takes place on Friday at noontime in Congress Hall. Showcase performances are FREE and open to the public.

On Friday March 25--LUCY KAPLANSKY and Saturday March 26, PAT DINUZIO, will host as keynote speakers and featured performers.

Attending for the Fourth year is Kat Falcey of Kat will host a 2 night ACOUSTIC Showcase at Aleathea's Restaurant located at THE INN of CAPE MAY.
The legendary Michael Tearson--formally WMMR now with SIRIUS RADIO will be MCing Friday nights show.


7PM -- Russell Norkevich-- Flemington, NJ ON PIANO

7:45pm--Sheli Aarden-- Trenton, NJ

8:30pm--John Alberici-- Hazlet, NJ

9:15pm--Gillian Grassie-- Philadelphia, PA ON HARP--2008 NYSWC winner

10PM--Reed Waddle-- Boston, MA 2009 NYSWC WINNER

10:45pm--Stephanie Carlin-- Brooklyn, NY

Saturday March 26, 2011 -- MC KAT FALCEY with

7pm-- Elizabeth Pugh-- Philadelphia, PA

7:45pm--Nikki Sue-- Jersey City, NJ

8:30pm--Mary Scholtz-- Philadelphia, PA

9:15pm--James Popik/Ten Foot Tall Trio-- Hopewell, NJ

10pm--Greg Provo Trio-- Princeton, NJ

10:45pm--Steve Siegler-- Red Bank, NJ

For more information

4th Wall Theatre will hold open auditions for all roles in its 2010-2011 season finale: A Man of No Importance

Music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and a book by Terrence McNally, and based on the film starring Albert Finney, A Man of No Importance tells the story of Alfie Byrne, a closeted bus conductor and Oscar Wilde devotee, in 1964 Dublin. As he leads his amateur theatre troupe toward a production of Wilde’s Salome at the local church, he struggles to find acceptance, not only from his sister, co-workers, the church and world-at-large, but within himself.

Directed by 4th Wall Artistic Director, Kate Swan. Musical Direction by Markus Hauck.

A Man of No Importance will be staged at The Westminster Arts Center (WAC), corner of Franklin and Fremont Streets (449 Franklin St) in Bloomfield, NJ, where the company is in residence.

Auditions: Monday and Tuesday, March 28 and 29 at 7:00 pm at WAC.

Sign up starts at 6:30 pm. Those auditioning must sign-in by 8:00 pm.

Callbacks: Wednesday, March 30 at 7:00 pm.

Actors should prepare a song that best shows off their range and ability to tell a story. An accompanist will be provided. Sides will be available at the auditions. Ages 18-60s are encouraged to audition and must be able to learn an Irish accent. All roles are open. Please bring a headshot and resume (if available) stapled together.

Rehearsals will begin the last week of April and the production opens June 3, and runs 3 weekends. Non-union, small stipend paid.

Cast Breakdown

ALL cast members must be able to learn an Irish accent. The Ensemble is full of well-defined featured parts, and its members will be very involved in the telling of Alfie’s story as a sort of Greek chorus. Seeking one male or female Irish folk or step dancer for a small feature during “Our Father.”


ALFIE BYRNE (Baritone, 40 - 50)

A middle-aged Dublin bus conductor and closeted gay director of an amateur theatrical troupe, the St. Imelda’s Players.

ROBBIE (Tenor, 21 - 35)

The handsome, young bus driver Alfie begins to fall in love with.

CARNEY (Baritone, 45 - 60)

The butcher, Lily’s boyfriend, and one of St. Imelda’s prominent actors until he reports Alfie to the church sodality for putting on an "obscene" play. Might also play Oscar Wilde (see below).


The famous Irish, 19th century playwright, novelist, and poet who haunts Alfie Byrne’s waking hours until Alfie cannot tell where Wilde ends and he begins.

JAMES MICHAEL “BALDY” O’SHEA (Baritone, 50 - 70)

Alfie’s retired friend and stage manager who takes every opportunity to poke at Alfie about St. Imelda’s rag-tag productions.

BRETON BERET (21 - 35)

A handsome, dangerous young man who tries to seduce Alfie. Ensemble.

FATHER KENNY (50 - 60)

St. Imelda’s curmudgeonly but caring priest. Ensemble.


St. Imelda’s actor and propmaster who is extremely dedicated to his craft. Ensemble.


Former gymnast and St. Imelda’s resident electrician. Ensemble.

SULLY O'HARA (30 - 40)

Currently unemployed, Sully has occupied his extra time by joining the St. Imelda’s Players. Ensemble.


LILY BYRNE (Alto, 42 - 52)

Alfie’s sister and roommate who wants nothing more than for Alfie to find a wife and move out so that she is free to marry Mr. Carney.

ADELE RICE (Soprano, 18 - 25)

A pretty young woman who has fled her hometown after becoming pregnant out of wedlock. She meets Alfie on his bus, and he woos her into taking the leading role in Salome.

MISS CROWE (30-55)

A member of the St. Imelda’s Players, Miss Crowe has taken on the additional responsibility of costume design. Ensemble.

MRS. CURTIN (35 - 45)

Mother of nine kids, St. Imelda’s player and choreographer with a strong tendency towards tap dancing in her choreographic choices. Ensemble.

MRS. GRACE (35 - 55)

A kindly woman who recently took time off from St. Imelda’s players to tend to her ailing husband. Mrs. Grace paints watercolors. Ensemble.


The middle-aged married woman who is having an affair with the younger Robbie. Ensemble.

Dreamcatcher Offers Variety of Programs for The New Jersey Theatre Alliance's Stages Festival and the 14th Annual Family Week at the Theatre

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE, professional Theatre in Residence at the Baird Center in South Orange, is offering a number of special programs during the month of March as a part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance's The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre, an annual statewide event that provides discounted and free theatre performances, workshops and events for families throughout the month of March.

The first of its special programs is a discounted ticket offer on its next mainstage production, DISTRACTED by Lisa Loomer. DISTRACTED was a hit Off-Broadway last season, where audiences responded to its humor and relevance, making it one of the year's most popular shows. The play tells the story of nine-year-old Jesse, who has a problem, according to his teacher and a slew of specialists. But is it ADHD, or just normal boyishness? The reviewer at Time Out New York proclaimed it "my favorite comedy of the year!" Student tickets (aged 13 and up) for the Saturday, March 5 8:00 pm performance are $10 with the purchase of one full-price adult ticket. This highly entertaining play contains many challenging themes that will provide a unique opportunity for discussion with your teen.

DISTRACTED will run at Playwrights Theatre of NJ, 33 Green Village Road in Madison from Friday, March 4 through Sunday, March 20. Performances are Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and students, with special rates for subscribers and groups. To take advantage of the Stages Festival offer, purchase your full-price tickets at or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006. Then reserve your discounted student ticket at 973-3787754 x2228.

Dreamcatcher's next special program is a Free Sample Class Day for its Summer Theatre Conservatory, a program for students aged 10-17 during the month of July. Students in this varied program will take classes in subjects like acting technique, improv, voice, and dance and will have the opportunity to create and put on a show! The Sample Class Day will be held Saturday, March 26 from 10 am to 2 pm, where students will get a taste of what's in store for them in the summer program. The STC is a fun way for students to explore their interest and deepen their skills in the performing arts during their summer vacation. Professionals in their field teach all classes, and students receive individual attention, constructive feedback, and the support needed to achieve their personal goals. Reservations are required for the Sample Class Day, and enrollment is strictly limited. To register, please call 973-378-7754 x2228 or email

The third Stages Festival event that Dreamcatcher provides is a free cabaret performance at the South Orange Library, 65 Scotland Road in South Orange. Singers from the Dreamcatcher company will perform "The Fabulous Fifties," a cabaret where audience members can sing along using the lyric sheets provided for them. The 45-minute cabaret performance will take place on Wednesday, March 30 at 1 pm. No registration is required – just come! For more information, call Phyllis Kalb at the South Orange Library at 973-762-0230.

The Stages Festival – which includes the 14th annual Family Week at the Theatre– is a statewide event offering free and discounted tickets to attendees of all ages at the states professional theatres, as well as in non-tradition venues like libraries, schools, senior centers and museums. The program was developed to encourage families to attend professional theatre together by making the experience affordable, accessible and exciting.

All across the state, patrons will receive free and discounted tickets to over 100 performances and special events, including free classes, workshops and backstage tours. Since its inception in 1998, the program has served over 75,000 people. The New Jersey Theatre Alliance encourages our audiences to bring not only children, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, care-givers and more in their theatre parties. To receive a full schedule of statewide events for The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre please visit

The New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the only state-wide service organization for profession theatres; it provides a wide variety of programs and services for the state's professional theatres and the audiences who enjoy them.

The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support comes from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest of NJ, The HMS Fundation, Johnson & Johnson, The Karma Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, McCarter & English Attorneys at Law, The George Ohl, Jr. Trust Foundation, Prudential Foundation and The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement. Beyond the Stage programming is made possible by the support of Bank of America.

Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Winning Local High School Student Playwrights Announced for The Theater Project's 9th Annual Young Playwrights Competition

(Cranford, NJ) -- The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, has announced this year's winners of its annual Young Playwrights Competition. Four winners were selected and their original plays will be performed on Sunday, March 6 at 3pm by The Theater Project's company of professional actors.

The prize-winning young playwrights are:

First Prize: Janine Puhak – resident of Cranford, student at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung

Second Prize: Lauren Friezo – resident of Montclair, student at Kimberley Academy in Montclair

Third Prize (tie): Victoria Grayner – resident of Dumont, student at Dumont High School in Dumont

Third Prize (tie): Arthur Mezzo and Melanie Cuccioli – residents of Mountainside, students at Governor Livingston High School in Berkeley Heights

These students will be receiving savings bonds as prizes prior to seeing and hearing their winning plays being performed by The Theater Project. The performance is open to the public and will take place at 3pm on Sunday, March 6 in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue. Admission is free. The production will be followed by a lively discussion with the playwrights, actors and audience.

The competition was open to New Jersey residents in secondary schools (ages 13 to 18). Student playwright Janine Puhak will receive a $600 savings bond for being selected as the first prize winner. Second prize winning playwright Lauren Friezo will receive a $400 savings bond, while third prize of a $100 savings bond each will be awarded to Victoria Grayner and to co-authors Arthur Mezzo and Melanie Cuccioli.

The efforts of three additional student playwrights will also be saluted on March 6 as Honorable Mentions and will receive citations and gift certificates. These winners are:

o Nicole Jaeckel – resident of Green Brook, student at Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung

o Mariel Kennedy – resident of Watchung, student at Pingry School in Martinsville

o Sean Pollock – resident of Mountain Lakes, student of Mountain Lakes High School in Mountain Lakes

The goal of the Young Playwrights Competition is to encourage the next generation of theater practitioners and audience by honoring their work and bringing it to life. The competition was founded eight years ago and continues to be funded thanks to the generous donations of Linden resident Bill Mesce, Jr., an award-winning playwright and screenwriter. Kevin C. Carver of Hillsborough generously donated his time and energy to again coordinate this year's competition's submission and review process.

"This is truly one of the highlights of the year for all of us at The Theater Project," said Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project. "We once again received so many wonderfully written scripts and the community can certainly be very proud of our area youth. We are really looking forward to showcasing these up-and-coming playwrights and giving their original provocative pieces a deserving spotlight on our stage."

Additional information is available at or by calling (908) 659-5189.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Jersey Theatre Alliance welcomes Etta Rudolf Denk of Bank of America and June Ballinger of Passage Theatre Company to the Board of Trustees

(West Orange, NJ) -- The New Jersey Theatre Alliance (NJTA), the service organization for the state's professional theatres, welcomes community leaders Etta Rudolf Denk of Bank of America, and June Ballinger of Passage Theatre Company in Trenton to their Board of Trustees.

Etta Rudolf Denk is the Senior Vice President – NJ Market Manager; Corporate Social Responsibility / Market President Team of Bank of America New Jersey.  She joined Bank of America as the Market Manager in New Jersey in 2008 and is responsible for the alignment and delivery of Bank of America's marketing and charitable resources to meet constituent and community needs across New Jersey.  She leads the planning and execution of all local sponsorship, philanthropic, community and business development initiatives.

As an active champion for meaningful change, Etta's leadership and advocacy for public and private partnerships has positively impacted many New Jersey communities. Etta's accomplishments have been widely recognized and celebrated throughout her career.  Notable awards include the Percy B. Menagh Award from the American Institute of Banking; the Distinguished Service Award from New Jersey Community Capital; and the Center for Non-Profit Corporations Chairperson's Award.

Prior to joining Bank of America, Etta worked for nearly 25 years in the banking / insurance industry most recently with JPMorgan Chase where she was responsible for corporate philanthropy, sponsorship and community development activities.

A graduate of Rutgers Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Etta received a BA in Urban Studies.

She is a resident of Maplewood, and is active in numerous organizations including The Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, the Center for Non-Profit Corporations, the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey, the Bergen County Workforce Investment Board and Paterson Restoration Corporation.  In 2004, she was appointed by former Governor Jim McGreevey to the Faith Based Advisory Commission.

"For nearly three decades, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance has served as an incredible resource for theatre professionals and enthusiasts alike," said Denk.  "I'm honored to be a part of such an impactful organization, and look forward to helping further their mission in the years ahead."

June Ballinger joined Passage Theatre Company in 1995, and assumed her current role as Executive Artistic Director in 1996. Dedicated to developing new plays for the American theatre, June Ballinger has introduced New Jersey audiences to premiere works by emerging and established writers including William Mastrosimone, Leslie Ayvazian, Yusef Komunykaa, Russell Davis, David Lee White, and more. Prior to becoming a producer, she performed in many new works at theatres nationwide such as New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Actors Theatre of Louisville, Primary Stages, The Chelsea Theatre Center, The Kennedy Center, and the original Broadway cast of Pack of Lies starring Rosemary Harris. She began her career as a founding ensemble member of the Magic Carpet Play Company in San Francisco.

During her tenure at Passage, June has worked to promote cultural tourism, contributing to Trenton's resurgence by continuing the theatre's emphasis on new work and keeping the arts relevant to the daily lives of its diverse community. She is a member of New York 's Ensemble Studio Theatre, and the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.  June is a 2003 Fellow of Leadership Trenton, and lives in Trenton with her family.

"Passage has been a member of the Theatre Alliance for 14 years, so I've seen first hand how the organization supports and nurtures New Jersey's professional theatres, and the theatre-going community," says Ballinger.  "I am thrilled to join the board because I believe so strongly in the Alliance's mission.  New Jersey professional theatres are so fortunate to be part of such a generous, forward-thinking, supportive organization."

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the only statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation and audience development. It provides its member theatres and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs. The Alliance assists member theatres in their growth and development, as well as the promotion of their programs, helping them reach their full potential. For arts patrons, the Alliance is able to provide a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience.

John McEwen, Executive Director of the Theatre Alliance says: "We are delighted to add the expertise, energy and unique perspectives that Etta and June bring to our board as the New Jersey Theatre Alliance explores exciting new ways to advance its mission in support of professional theatre and quality of life in New Jersey."

Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from foundations, corporations, businesses and individuals.  United is the official airline of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.


(BLOOMFIELD, NJ) -- 4th Wall Theatre, a non-union professional theatre in Bloomfield, announced that the company will present a new original musical Wicked Moon as part of the company's M.I.D (Musicals-in-Development) Stage Series this coming March. M.I.D. Stage is a program designed to present new musical theatre works-in-progress by new or "up and coming" composers and writers. "This series is 5 years old and is a signature event for the company," says 4th Wall Artistic Director, Kate Swan. "The presentation of new musicals is a natural extension of our mission to produce seldom seen or produced theatrical pieces."

Billed as "a contemporary romantic musical comedy," Wicked Moon features music by Varick Bacon, lyrics by Bloomfield resident Powers McElhone, and a book and additional lyrics by Richard Aellen. The musical tells the story of the Wicked Moon Cabaret club, where we meet club owner Arlene. The right man for her married someone else, the wrong man wants to marry her niece and her best friend would rather talk like a man than trust one. Add a landlord who wants to terminate her nightclub lease, a charming young music director, and the return of a lost love and this musical is complete.

The show features a stellar cast including Bloomfield residents Christine Orzepowski and Kim Mesiti. They are joined by Fran Leonardis of Ringwood, Tom Waltz of New York, John Zisa of Maywood, Brian James Grace of Clifton and Clinton Scott of Hawthorne. Jeremy Kronenberg of New York City directs at 4th Wall for the first time. He is joined by Music Director Lisa Lemay, who is returning to 4th Wall after serving as music director for last season's Sweeney Todd, and Kate Swan of Teaneck who choreographs. Kathi Iannacone from New York is the Production Manager, and Karl Loveland of Metuchen serves as Stage Manager for the show.

According to the writers, Wicked Moon began as a song that became a love story that grew into three stories of love. Composer Varick Bacon and lyricist Powers McElhone had already written the song "I Must Be Dreaming," by the time they contacted librettist Richard Aellen with the idea of creating a musical incorporating the song. The lyrics tell of someone yearning for a lost love. That someone -- the singer -- became Arlene Lewis, and the process began of envisioning her life in musical theatre terms.

"Talented writers are an essential ingredient for this series, and this trio has put together an interesting little gem that we are happy to showcase," says Gwen Ricks-Spencer, 4th Wall Executive Director. While a senior at Harvard, composer Bacon wrote the score for the Hasty Pudding Show. More recently, he studied composition with John Wallowitch and has collaborated with a stellar group of lyricists including Carleton Carpenter. Lyricist Powers McElhone's works have been performed in cabarets and theatres from coast to coast, and book writer Richard Aellen is an award-winning playwright and novelist. His works have included the musical Nobody, based on the life of Bert Williams, which received its premier at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival this year.

The staff of Wicked Moon will work with the show's writers as part of the production process. The show is being mounted as a workshop, with minimal sets, costumes and lights, but will include a talk-back session with the audience after each evening's performance. "This format allows for useful feedback to the writers, staff and performers. The audience can focus on the story without being distracted by sets and props and costumes," said Ricks-Spencer. "M.I.D. Stage provides a platform for new and emerging writers to see their creations in a workshop setting. Our hope is that one day these works will become the main stage productions for other theatres."

Wicked Moon runs in Bloomfield at the Westminster Arts Center on the campus of Bloomfield College for three nights only, March 10, 11 and 12, 2011. Performances will begin at 7:30 pm to accommodate talk-back sessions with the cast and crew following each evening's performance. Tickets are only $15 and may be reserved by calling 973-748-9008 ext. 279. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted. Tickets may also be purchased on-line; additional information is available at

Deadline Looms For Bergen County Theatre Scholarship

(BERGEN COUNTY, NJ) -- Skyline Theatre Company is announcing another year of giving back.  High school seniors in Bergen County have the opportunity to get a little help as they move on to their college career. Skyline is continuing to offer a $1000.00 cash scholarship to support Bergen County students who will be furthering their education majoring in theatre, television, film, or communications. The Harry K. Berkheiser Jr. Scholarship, named for New Jersey educator and founding STC member Harry K. Berkheiser Jr., will be awarded yearly to a Bergen County high school senior who has a true passion for, and will be furthering their higher education in, one of these art forms. Any Bergen County senior majoring in theatre, television, film or communications may submit an application, found on the STC web site, The deadline for all applications is March 15, 2011.

"Harry was a true inspiration to all of the students and teachers his passion touched throughout his career," says Sam Scalamoni, STC’s Managing Artistic Director. Mr. Berkheiser passed away on October 9, 2007.  "Through generous donations from his family, friends and colleagues we are able to offer this scholarship for young people who show a true commitment and dedication to these branches of the arts." The cash scholarship will be awarded to the winner at Skyline’s annual gala, "Broadway for the Arts," held on Saturday, April 9th at the Saddlebrook Marriott.

Skyline Theatre Company is a Bergen County professional theatre company that brings professional artists from New York City to produce Broadway style musicals and plays. Its Artists in Focus series brings professionals from the entertainment industry into the classroom to teach workshops and seminars.

Applications for the Harry K. Berkheiser Scholarship must be postmarked by March 15, 2011, and returned to Scholarship Committee, Skyline Theatre Company, PO Box 1115, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410-8115. Applications are reviewed and awarded by a committee of the STC Board of Trustees consisting of professional artists and educators.  Continued tax deductible contributions to secure the longevity of this valuable scholarship may be sent to STC at the same address.

Skyline Theatre Company is a proud associate member of the prestigious New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and is comprised of a diverse group of artists, business people and educators who are committed to bringing high quality theatre and arts programs to Bergen County.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Belated Birthday Celebration For John Lennon

by Gary Wien

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -- FEBRUARY 19, 2011) -- For the last few years, Glen Burtnik has been organizing shows to pay tribute to the work of the Beatles with friends of his from the music business. The shows went to great lengths to showcase individual albums exactly as the music was originally recorded -- note by note, instrument by instrument; often using dozens of performers to replicate the work of the Fab Four. On Saturday, February 19, Burtnik provided a different sort of tribute to the songs of John Lennon. The show, which ran through Lennon's work from the Beatles to his solo albums, was a bit looser, allowed for creative takes on the songs, and was even a little sloppy at times... in other words, it was probably exactly as John would have wanted it.

Lennon turned 70 last October and this show was a belated birthday celebration of the man and his wonderful career. A packed house filled the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ for the event. Regular cast members Bob Burger, John Merjave, and Dusty Micale once again joined Glen on stage. Special guests for the night included Pat DiNizio of the Smithereens, Earl Slick (who recorded with Lennon on Double Fantasy), Mike Stein, James Egan, Joe Nocco, Kim Pulsive, Dave Anthony, Taylor Hope (who provided beautiful violin accompaniment for many songs), and Glen's daughter Sally.

In addition, Glen once again brought many of his favorite artists from the Asbury Park music scene to New Brunswick. The list of Jersey Shore artists included Christine Martucci, Lisa Bouchelle, Anjelia, Rick Barry, Emily Grove, Rosemary Conte, Jerzy Jung, and Jo Wymer.

The show opened with nearly 20 voices singing "Because" in unison, an effect which added layers to the song, making it sort of haunting in a good way. It was a beautiful way to kick off the tribute.

"Wait a minute... where are my lyrics?" asked Burtnik after the song. He began playing "In My Life" while he waited for a stage hand to locate the lyric sheet.

Lyric sheets would be incredibly important during the night as Glen and friends would tackle nearly 40 songs throughout the show. Veterans of Glen's Beatle tributes were treated to a dozen songs from John Lennon's solo career, many of which had never been performed at the shows before. In addition, the show featured two songs written about Lennon and plenty of numbers from throughout the Beatles catalog.

Pictures of Lennon throughout his career and videos of John with and without the Beatles were shown above the artists. At times I found myself mesmerized by the images. I realized I could actually watch a slideshow of John for two hours and be happy. I'm sure I wasn't the only one in the theatre to think that.

Highlights of the first set included "Grow Old With Me", one of the last songs written by Lennon. It was originally intended for the Double Fantasy album, but postponed and would appear in an early version on the Milk and Honey follow-up. A lineup of female singers of various ages took turns at lead vocals, giving the song a visual interpretation that was very nice.

Bob Burger once again was a hit with the State Theatre crowd every time he had the opportunity to take lead vocals. My favorites from the night included his brilliant take on "Julia", "Dear Prudence", and the crowd-favorite -- an energetic version of "I Am The Walrus" that closed out the first set to a standing ovation and a roar of approval.

Highlights from Glen included wonderful versions of "Starting Over" and "Jealous Guy" along with "This Boy", a song that Burtnik included in his sets early in his career. Joined by John Merjave and Bob Burger, "This Boy" reminded me back of the day Glen's band performed the song live on the old radio station Y-107 in Long Branch. The three musicians work so well together on these shows it made me wonder how they would sound if they attempted an original band together. Since Burtnik and Burger are regular songwriting partners, it might be worth a shot.

Speaking of John Merjave, the musician who is well known in the Beatles' community for his work with the band Liverpool, was simply incredible on lead vocals with "Nobody Told Me", "Whatever Gets You Thru The Night", and "Watching The Wheels" -- three of my favorites by Lennon.

Other highlights of the first set included a string of guest vocalists; Jo Wymer belted out a great, bluesy version of "Come Together"; Christine Martucci practically owned the stage during a powerful take on "Yer Blues"; Kim Pulsive provided a stellar version of "Working Class Hero" and reminded me of a real-life ‘Leather Tuscadero' on guitar; and Pat DiNizio, who took lead for three songs ("I'll Be Back", "I'm A Loser" and "Nowhere Man") with "Nowhere Man" being the best of the three by far.

After a short intermission, Glen and friends returned for a second act that was highlighted by a pair of songs written about Lennon. The first was "Killing The Thing That You Love" which was written by Burtnik and Burger and released by Styx on their Cyclorama album.

"The genius of a generation
Blown away just like a leaf on the wind
And now you're looking for salvation
But you can't forget the places you've been
And you can't erase a lifetime of sin
And you can't escape the answers as you

Look in the mirror
At what you've become
Dredging the river for what you have done
Killing the thing that you love
Like Lennon's assassin
Lennon's assassin"

While the song was played, the images in the slideshow above the artists moved in rapid-fire speed, giving the illusion that John's life was literally passing in front of our eyes. Sadly, the effect also reminded me of rounds of bullets being fired from a gun. I'm not sure if that was intended or not, but as beautiful as the slideshow was during this song, it was just as eerily sad and showed how quickly his life was taken and how much more he surely had to give.

The second was an amazing new song by Dan Reed called "Dear John". It featured lines like, "Dear John, have you heard? We're still singing in your name" that pretty much encompassed everything about the night. Dan's song led right into a great cover of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away". Dan's appearance was one of the overall highlights of the night.

Other highlights included "The Ballad of John & Yoko" done by Rick Barry (although personally I would have loved to see him attempt something like "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier" or "Crippled Inside"); Anjelia gave a moving version of "Love" dedicated to her father who passed away earlier in February; "Imagine" -- perhaps the best song sung by Burtnik in the night; a fun romp with "Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey"; and the trio of "Strawberry Fields Forever" bleeding into "Revolution" before the set closed with "A Day In The Life".

Glen and the band were brought back for two encores -- "Ticket To Ride" and the very appropriate "A Hard Day's Night". Although a few song titles, most notably "Mind Games", were shouted out throughout the night, nobody in the audience could complain about the setlist. While I would have loved to see the artists dig a bit deeper into Lennon's solo work, Glen and the band gave everyone their money's worth and then some.

Burtnik returns to the songs of the sixties on Saturday, March 12 when he presents "The Summer of Love Concert: A Celebration of the Music of the Woodstock Nation" at the Count Basie Theater in Red Bank. And on July 23, Burtnik will return to the State Theatre with "Jersey Beatles Bash V" -- a note-for-note take on the classic "Revolver" album.

East Lynne Theater Company auditions for its summer/fall season 2011

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- East Lynne Theater Company will have two audition days of open calls for Equity actors: the full-day of auditions in NYC is an AEA required call and the four-hour day in Cape May, NJ is a non-required call. On Saturday, March 19 from noon to 4:00 PM, the call will be at the theater's venue, The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May, NJ. Sign-up for this non-required audition begins at 11:30 AM and continues through 3:55 PM. On Friday, April 15, from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM, the required call will be at the Actors' Equity Audition Center, 165 West 46th St., 2nd Floor, NYC. Sign-up for this audition begins at 8:30 AM, and continues through 5:25 PM. Lunch break is from 1:00-2:00 PM. At both auditions, non-union actors will be seen as long as no Equity actors are kept waiting.

The company operates under an Equity SPT 3 Contract with rehearsals beginning on Monday two weeks before the opening-performance week, and a Wednesday through Saturday night performance schedule, with one exception, which is noted below. Rehearsals for all shows will be in Cape May. Artistic Director, Gayle Stahlhuth, who is directing all three productions, will be at both auditions. Actors are asked to audition with a brief humorous monologue, or read from "The World of Dorothy Parker." Sides for this production for all four roles will be available at the auditions. Visually-impaired performers may request an advance copy of the sides by e-mailing A reader will be provided for those auditioning with sides.

The Equity Stage Manager is already hired for the season, but "Dulcy" is required to have an Equity ASM. The ASM will be paid an extra $10 a week above the usual ASM's salary for taking on a small role in the production as well as the duties of an ASM.

Seeking actors for the following: "He and She," a seven-character 1920 Broadway comedy/drama by Rachel Crothers running from June 15-July 23 about the dilemma of a career woman who is a wife and mother; "The World of Dorothy Parker" (World Premiere) running from July 27-Sept. 3, adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth for a cast of four, compiled of humorous and touching tales and poems including "A Telephone Call," "Here We Are," and "The Lovely Leave" all by the famous Algonquin Round Table wit; and "Dulcy," the 1921 Broadway comedy by George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly about a woman who believes she can solve every problem, running from Sept. 21- Oct. 15, with a cast of eleven. (Note: for “Dulcy” there will be no performance on Wed. Oct. 5, but an added performance on Sun. Oct. 9 at 7:30 PM.)

A complete breakdown of all the roles may be found at The Actors' Equity Association website or through ELTC’s at The East Lynne Theater Company is committed to nontraditional casting and equal employment opportunities. Actors wishing to mail pictures and resumes should mail to the office: 121 Fourth Ave., West Cape May, NJ 08204 – and not to the church. To learn more about the company, go to


"He and She:" TOM HERFORD – a successful sculptor, very much in love with his family, age range 40ish; ANN HERFORD – a successful sculptor who loves her family, age range late 30s-early 40s; DAISY HERFORD – Tom's sister who works for him as a secretary and is in love with Keith, very practical and romantic at the same time, age range late 20s-early 30s; MILLICENT HERFORD – Tom and Ann's daughter, beautiful, full of life, and believes she’s ready to fall in love, age 16; DR. REMINGTON – Anne's father, a physician who is kind, but concerned about Ann having a career and being a wife and mother, age range 60ish; KEITH MCKENZIE – Tom’s assistant, pleasant, in love with Ruth, but wants to marry a woman who doesn’t have a career, age range mid-30s; RUTH CREEL – a friend of Anne's, a successful magazine editor who would like to marry Keith if she can keep her career, age range mid-30s.

"The World of Dorothy Parker:" WOMAN 1 and MAN 1 - perform together in "Here We Are" and play the couple in "The Lovely Leave,: age range 20-30; WOMAN 2 - performs "A Telephone Call" and is a foil for Man 2, age range 40-55; MAN 2 – the narrator for "The Lovely Leave," a foil for Woman 2, and has several solo poems, age range 40-55. All four actors must have excellent ensemble comic timing, move well as there will be dancing, and be adept at poetry and rich language.

"Dulcy:" DULCINEA SMITH – a newlywed who, in trying to help people, gets them in trouble (in humorous ways), age range 25-35; GORDON SMITH – her husband, businessman, smart, very in love with his wife, age range 25-35; WILLIAM PARKER – Dulcy's brother, a young man in love, age range 25-35; C. ROGER FORBES – businessman, age range 50-60; MRS. FORBES – Roger's second wife, age range 35-40; ANGELA FORBES – Roger’s daughter, adored by William, age range 20-25; TOM STERRETT – believes he’s doing everything right to get ahead in the business world, the type who would do anything to please the boss, age range 25-35; SCHULER VAN DYCK – aristocrat with the feeling of never having worked a day in his life, age range 30-40; VINCENT LEACH – a successful writer, friend of the Smith's, age range 30-40; HENRY (or HENRIETTA) – the Smith's servant, with a past, age range 40-50; and BLAIR PATTERSON – a lawyer, age range 45-55.


(CINNAMINSON, NJ) -- Burlington County Footlighters brings the stories of Beatrix Potter to life on stage with the family-friendly production, The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and His Friends, on March 5, 6, 12 and 13, 2011. Performances are Saturdays at 11 am, 1 & 3 pm and Sundays at 1 & 3 pm at The Playhouse, 808 Pomona Road in Cinnaminson, NJ.

Adapted by playwright Joseph Robinette, based on the life and stories of Beatrix Potter, the show weaves together the beloved tales of Peter Rabbit, the Tailor of Gloucester and Jemima Puddle-Duck with the fascinating life of their creator in an enlightening entertainment for all ages.

Director Nick Sano and assistant director Meredith Sano of Maple Shade guide a group of talented young performers from throughout the region. The cast features Sophia Chasca of Delran; Sarah Craig of Cherry Hill; Allison and Sadie Donahue of Cherry Hill; Danielle Gallo of Marlton; Mia Gambino of Marlton; Basha, Charlie and Molly Gardner of Ambler (PA); Corrine Gilmore of Cinnaminson; Lisa Krier of Maple Shade; Rose Lloyd-Slifkin of Delran; Scott Macintosh of Westampton; Marti Palmieri of Beverly; Alicia and Kimberly Phillips of Marlton; Blair Schuler of Cinnaminson; and Lauren Scully of Marlton.

Tickets are $8. For reservations or additional information, call 856-829-7144 or visit

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.

Eryn Shewell Returns To New Orleans

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Eryn Shewell knows what it means to miss New Orleans. The award-winning artist blends rock, jazz, blues, and soul together in the same way the sounds can be heard throughout The Big Easy on any given night. She fell in love with the city when she first performed on a New Orleans stage a few years ago, and has returned for four tours of the city. This March, she'll return for a fifth.

"New Orleans is the greatest city in the world," said Shewell. "A home away from home. I never feel more like myself than when I'm down there. Beautiful culture and a beautiful city. I hope to someday move there."

Four dates have already scheduled and more are expected to be added shortly. Dates include:

March 2nd - Neutral Ground Coffee, 5110 Danneel Street
March 6th - Cafe Negril, 606 Frenchmen Street
March 7th - Cafe Negril, 606 Frenchmen Street
March 10th - Checkpoint Charlies, 501 Esplanade Avenue

In previous trips, Shewell has shared the stage with artists like Walter Wolfman Washington, Eric Lindell, The Soul Project, and Saaraba. She's also shared bills with Marcia Ball, Sonny Landreth, The Radiators, John Hammond, Johnny A, and Shannon McNally. An adopted member of the New Orleans music community, she lent a hand to the latest record by Walter Wolfman Washington during one trip.

Shewell's most recent release, 4th & Broadway, was released at the end of 2009. She has been nominated for several Asbury Music Awards within the past few years and took home the award for Top Female Vocalist in 2009.

For more information on Eryn, please visit

Kean University Is Alive with Sound of Music In March

(UNION, NJ) -- Kean University in Union NJ is offering a variety of musical events throughout the month of March. With performances in the stunning Gene and Shelley Enlow Recital Hall, the intimate Kean Hall concert venue and the University Center Little Theatre, Kean's line-up includes a diverse blend of ethnic music, classical performance, jazz and opera.

On March 3 at 8:00 pm in Kean Hall, Sharon Roffman on violin and Julie Albers on cello perform Duos for Violin and Cello. These two spectacular virtuosos return to Kean from their international performances to present a celebrated repertoire that includes duos by Kodály and Handel-Halveson.

Sharon Roffman, a prize winner at the 2003 Naumburg Foundation International Violin Competition, graduated from the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, as a student of Donald Weilerstein and Itzhak Perlman. Her a diverse career includes performances as soloist with orchestra, in recital, as chamber music collaborator and in educational outreach presentations. Julie Albers made her major orchestral debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1998, and thereafter has performed in recital and with orchestras in the U.S., Europe, Korea, Taiwan and New Zealand. In addition to solo performances, Miss Albers regularly participates in chamber music festivals around the world. 2009 marked the end of a two year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Three.

The China Anhui Traditional Orchestra performs on March 5 at 7:30 pm. Since its inception in 1956, the orchestra has established itself as a leading art institution in China's traditional music arena. Using traditional instruments including the pipa, bamboo flute, erhu, jinghu and guqin, the orchestra will be performing music in the traditional Anhui folk style. This 50 piece ensemble will enthrall audiences in the state-of-the-art Enlow Recital Hall on Kean's east campus.

On March 6 at 3:00 pm, Enlow Hall will host guitarist Pedro Javier Gonzalez. Presented in association with Teatro Sí , the "Spanish Guitar Master," in his U.S. Debut Tour, will perform flamenco in its purest essence in the modern day fusion style. Pedro Javier González is a renowned Barcelonan musician, who has developed his own language on the guitar - combining traditional Flamenco and modern style in his concerts. He has won several awards in the field of Flamenco guitar, and performed with artists such as Toti Soler, Joan Manuel Serrat, Angelo Branduardi, Victoria de los Angeles, Maria del Mar Bonet, Alejandro Sanz, and Manolo García.

The University Little Theatre will transform into a jazz club with a performance by a quintet of noted musicians starring alto saxophonist Andy Fusco and featuring percussionist James Musto on March 10 at 8:00 pm. New York City-based Fusco first earned notice for his 1978-1983 stint with the Buddy Rich Big Band, also touring with Gerry Mulligan and Mel Lewis. He made his headlining debut in 1996 with Big Man's Blues; Out of the Dark followed three years later. Musto is a popular drummer in the metropolitan area, and a frequent performer at Kean University.

On March 24 at 8:00 pm a concert performance of Verdi's tragic masterpiece, Rigoletto will be presented in Enlow Recital Hall. This opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi is considered by many to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi's middle-to-late career, first performed in 1851. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. The all star cast gracing the Enlow Hall stage includes: Katherine Harris, soprano; Joy Hermalyn, mezzo soprano; Jin Hwan Byun, tenor; Richard Hobson, baritone; Bae Joon Lee, bass; Allison Brewster Franzetti, piano; Anthony Scelba, double bass.

Tickets for performances vary, ranging from $15 to $40. For further information and to make reservations, contact the Kean Stage box office at 908.527.7469. Tickets can be purchased online at Kean University's Little Theatre and Kean Hall are on the main campus at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union NJ. Enlow Recital Hall is immediately across Morris Avenue at 215 North Avenue, Hillside NJ. Visit the Enlow Hall website at

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.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Shakespeare Live! offers family performances

(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's acclaimed educational touring company, Shakespeare LIVE!, will present several one-hour family performances of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream at The Theatre's Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue, at Lancaster Road, in Madison. Since 1997, Shakespeare LIVE! has presented more than 1,300 performances to more than a quarter of a million young people, at over 750 schools and other venues throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and Connecticut. Tickets are $15 for adults which includes one free ticket for a child under age 18 with each ticket purchased. For tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit

One-hour family performances of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar will be held Friday March 11 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, April 16 at 2 p.m.. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. Shakespeare LIVE! presents a brand-new staging of Shakespeare's searing drama about a nation at a political crossroads. Rome's leaders are faced with a choice between loyalty and duty, between patriotism and propaganda—a choice that will have fatal consequences. As retold by Shakespeare, history has never been more exciting!

One-hour family performances of Shakespeare's most popular comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream will be held Wednesday, March 9 at 7 p.m., Saturday March 12 and April 16 at 11 a.m. at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre. Shakespeare LIVE! always offers a fresh, imaginative take on this perennial audience favorite. When starry-eyed young lovers and zany would-be actors cross paths with mischief-making fairies in a magical forest, the result is one of the world's most uproarious comedies. A Midsummer Night's Dream is the ideal "first Shakespeare" for elementary grades, and a riotous roller-coaster ride for teens (and adults).

For tickets to or more information about Family performances of Julius Caesar and A Midsummer Night's Dream, call the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's box office at 973-408-5600, via email at or visit

The March performances are part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Family Week at the Theatre program cosponsored by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Shakespeare LIVE!, celebrating its 15th season, travels to schools and other venues throughout the state and wider region with 60-minute versions of two of Shakespeare's most popular plays: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM and JULIUS CAESAR. To inquire about bringing Shakespeare LIVE! to your school or venue, call 973-408-3980 or e-mail

Shakespeare LIVE! is part of Shakespeare for a New Generation, a national program of the National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest. The National Endowment for the Arts in cooperation with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare for a New Generation. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in Shakespeare for a New Generation, bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to thousands of middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States. This is the eighth year of Shakespeare in American Communities, the largest tour of Shakespeare in American history. For more information on Shakespeare for a New Generation, please visit

Funding for Shakespeare LIVE! is provided, in part, by Investors Savings Bank, The Turrell Fund, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, the Ambrose and Ida Frederickson Foundation, Provident Bank Foundation and the Merrill G. and Emita E. Hastings Foundation.

Axelrod Performing Arts Center Welcomes Award Winning Broadway Stars to Monmouth County

(Deal, NJ) -- The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will honor celebrated masters of Broadway at the annual cocktail gala and performance on Saturday, March 12, 2011 located at 100 Grant Avenue in Deal, New Jersey. The unforgettable event kicks off with a festive champagne cocktail reception at 7:00 PM followed by a rare performance by Brian Stokes Mitchell at 8:30 PM. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting the ticket office at 732.531-9106. Proceeds benefit future arts and community initiatives of The Axelrod PAC. Visit for additional information.

The evening's performance will feature Tony Award Winner Brian Stokes Mitchell, star of such Broadway hits as "Ragtime", Man of La Mancha" and "Kiss Me Kate". Dubbed "The Last Leading Man" by the New York Times, Brian Stokes Mitchell has enjoyed a rich and varied career on Broadway, television and film, along with appearances in the great American concert halls.

Honorees for the evening will feature legendary Broadway geniuses and Monmouth County natives such as Jeff Blumenkrantz, Tony nominated Broadway Composer and Actor, Andrew Gans, senior editor of and Barry Habib, Broadway producer of Tony nominated "Rock of Ages".

Axelrod Gala Honorees 2011
Axelrod Awards for Artistic Excellence

Jeff Blumenkrantz began his career as an actor, performing in such Broadway shows as Into the Woods (1987), Threepenny Opera (1989), Damn Yankees (1994), How to Succeed in Business... (1995) and A Class Act (2001), and on TV/film in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Will & Grace, all three Law and Order series, and the Great Performances (PBS) telecast of Candide in Concert.

It was Audra McDonald's recording of his song "I Won't Mind" (lyrics by Annie Kessler and Libby Saines) that jump-started his songwriting career. Since then, he has received a Best Original Score Tony nomination for his songs in Urban Cowboy, and he contributed the song "I Think" to the acclaimed Off-Broadway production, The Audience. His one-act pieces, Woman with Pocketbook and Precious Little Jewel, have been performed at several regional theatres, and he has received song commissions from both Carnegie Hall and the Guggenheim's Works and Process program. Most recently, his songs have been recorded by Sutton Foster, Rebecca Luker, Megan Mullally, Victoria Clark, and Lauren Kennedy.

Andrew Gans has worked as a writer/editor for Playbill Magazine since 1992. He is currently Senior Editor of, where he is a reporter and author of the weekly column "Diva Talk," which offers interviews with and reviews about the women of the musical theater.

He has also written liner notes for several recordings, including "Betty Buckley 1967" and the "Broadway Scene Stealers" series. As a performer, he has sung at Manhattan's Town Hall as well as the cabarets Don't Tell Mama, Judy's, The Green Room and more.

Andrew is a graduate of this JCC's nursery school and, later, Brandeis University. Proud uncle of Sara and Rebecca, he resides in Manhattan with his not-so-miniature miniature dachshund, Gilligan.

Barry Habib is an American Entrepreneur. He is the Lead Producer, Managing Partner and majority shareholder in Rock of Ages - a musical theatrical production running on Broadway and Toronto, as well as Touring the US.

He is the Founder & Creator of Mortgage Market Guide, which helps to interpret and forecast activity in the mortgage rate and bond markets.

Barry previously founded Certified Mortgage Associates, a leading mortgage provider in Monmouth County, NJ. Barry had been consistently recognized as one of the Top 10 Loan Mortgage professionals in the US.

Barry is also a professional speaker on the financial markets, housing, negotiation, technical trading analysis, and motivation. During the past sixteen years, Barry's teachings have helped hundreds of thousands in attendance. Barry has also enjoyed a long tenure as a market expert on FOX and CNBC Networks, including his Monthly Mortgage Report show, which ran for 13 years on Squawk Box.

Along the way, Barry has successfully managed a Hedge Fund, authored a stock advisory newsletter, owned an insurance agency, and acted as managing partner in a real estate investment company.

Barry currently a Principal Managing Director in HIS - Health Care Imaging Solutions, a company which he helped create. HIS is doing important work in helping to detect early signs of cancer and heart disease.

As for hobbies, Barry has been featured in four Hollywood Movies, including "Barry Munday", "Sympathy for Delicious", "Lonely Street" and "Nic and Tristan Mega Dega".

The joys of Barry's life are his Wife and business partner Toni, as well as his four children, Dan, Nicole, Jake and Jared.

Gala Honorary Chairs:
Herbert and Evelyn Axelrod
Anne and Sheldon Vogel

Gala Event Chairs:
Donald Epstein
Bobbi Krantz
Toby Shylit Mack

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New Jersey Theatre Alliance Awarded Citation of Excellence For AN Unprecedented Twenty-Two Consecutive Years

Photo: (left to right): Steve Runk, Executive Director, NJ State Council on the Arts; Carol Ann Herbert, Council Member, NJ State Council on the Arts; Sharon Burton Turner, Chair, NJ State Council on the Arts; John McEwen, Executive Director, New Jersey Theatre Alliance; Kim Guadagno, NJ Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of State; Germaine B. Trabert, Council Member, NJ State Council on the Arts  
(West Orange, NJ) -- At a recent gathering in Trenton, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance – the service organization for the state's professional theatres – was awarded a Citation of Excellence from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  The award is given to a select number of organizations in the state who receive the highest assessment in the annual independent peer review process. The Alliance, known throughout the nation as an exemplary service organization, has achieved this honor for an unprecedented twenty-two consecutive years.  Designation as a Major Impact Arts Service Organization was also awarded to the Alliance at the same time by Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno, along with State Arts Council leadership.  Legislators from across the state also participated in this celebratory occasion.

John McEwen, Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, was on hand to accept the two prestigious awards from the Lieutenant Governor and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

"On behalf of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Board, membership and staff, I am honored to accept these awards," said McEwen.  "We are fortunate to have the support and commitment of our state's leaders who place a high value on the arts, and a State Arts Council who is viewed as a national role model.  We are also grateful to have a legislature that recognizes the arts as economic engine for our state, and one of the essential elements that make New Jersey a superior place to live and work."

Founded in 1981, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the only statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation and audience development. It provides its member theatres and arts patrons a wide range of supportive services and programs. The Alliance assists member theatres in their growth and development, as well as the promotion of their programs, helping them reach their full potential. For arts patrons, the Alliance is able to provide a variety of services to enhance their theatre-going experience.  For more information, and to find out about its programs and services, visit the Alliance website at or call (973) 731-6581 ext. 14.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a division of the NJ Department of State. It receives funding in direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey through a dedicated Hotel/Motel Occupancy fee and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish.

Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from foundations, corporations, businesses and individuals.  Continental Airlines is the official airline of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

A Close Shave at Kean University

PHOTO CREDIT:  Paul Whelihan
(UNION, NJ) -- The Theatre Department at Kean University presents the Stephen Sondheim / Hugh Wheeler musical, Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on February 25 through March 5 in the Zella Fry Theatre on the Union, NJ campus. The Tony Award-winning musical tells the story of Benjamin Barker, alias Sweeney Todd, who returns to London after 15 years' exile on false charges.  When he learns from his former landlady, Mrs. Lovett of the atrocities committed against his wife by the very judge who wrongly transported him, Todd vows a bloody revenge.  Opening in 1980 with Broadway veterans Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou, and popularized for modern audiences by the 2007 movie version with Johnny Depp in the title role, the piece is brimming with humor and a resplendent score despite its macabre premise.

"In the style of the Grand Guignol, it's both horrific and hysterical," said Holly Logue, Acting Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and director of the production.  "And in the intimacy of the Zella Fry Theatre, people can experience a front row splash!"

Joey Morales is a second year theatre major at Kean who portrays the murderous Sweeney Todd.  A native of Jersey City, Morales has already appeared in Kean productions of "…Spelling Bee" (Mitch), As Is (Rich), The Pillowman (Ariel) and Encores!Retrospective (Soloist).  Regionally he has played in Ragtime, Showboat and Secret Garden and can be heard in professional recordings of Little Shop of Horrors as Audrey II and South Pacific.

Mrs. Lovett is played by theatre education major Robyn Lee who has performed at Paper Mill Playhouse in Children of Eden and at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Carnival. This past summer she performed in a concert version of Brigadoon at the Shubert Theatre in Manhattan along side the original Benjamin Barker (Mr. Cariou) and Christine Ebesol.  She's been seen in productions around the country that include Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Mrs. Walker in Tommy and Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors.

The cast includes the gifted ensemble of Kean students:  Allison Cloonan (Middletown), Elio E. Llleo (West New York), Lissette Valentin (Kearny),  Samantha Mellina (Westfield), Katelyn Morgan (Phillipsburg), John Kushnerick (Edison), Cassandra Otten (Shrewsburg), Zach McCullough (Matawan), Travis Morgan (Carteret), Cara Ganski (Vineland), Anthony Crouchelli (New Milford), Greg Scalera (Colonia), Krystle Haliotis (Linden), Josh Schnetzer (Asbury), Ryan Kaczynski (Edison), Emily Deluca Daly (Manalapan), Patrick Getty (Metuchen), Tony Mowatt (Union), Abby Nadel (Springfield), Lauren Sodono (Colonia), and Jonathan Wells (Middlesex).

Tickets for Sweeney Todd are $15 standard, $12 for faculty, staff, seniors and alumni and $10 for students.  Call the Kean University box office at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit  For further information on the College of Visual and Performing Arts, visit

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.

Asbury Media Exposition to Be Held 3/5/11 at Dos Locos in Asbury Park

(Asbury Park, NJ) -- On March 5, 2011 ASBURY MEDIA will be hosting a free exhibition of the pro audio, remote recording, and video production services the company provides to local artists, organizations, and businesses. The event will be held at Dos Locos at 911 Kingsley St., Asbury Park, NJ and features original music by prominent local artists such as:

The Sunday Blues - For more information please visit:

Ben Franklin - For more information please visit:

No Wine For Kittens - For more information please visit:

Colie Brice and the New Age Blues Experience - For more information please visit:

DJ Re-kon  - For more information please visit:

Hosted by MC Lil' Erik

Additionally, exhibitors representing other local music interests will be on hand including WBJB 90.5 the Night, AA Music Consulting, AERIA Records, Asbury Music Company, Bands on A Budget, Blow Up Radio, Classick Material, Hey Cole, Indie Solutions, Jersey Shore Sound, Kristen Driscoll Photography, Lady Liberty L.L.C., Lake House Music, New York Guitar Festival, Phanphest Enterprises, Russo Music, and Stupid American Music.  

About ASBURY MEDIA: Headed by Asbury Media founder and multiple Grammy® award-winning audio engineer Tom Ruff, Asbury Media provides audio mastering, remote audio and video recording, sound reinforcement, stage lighting, post-production sound for video, and video editing facilities.

Additionally, Asbury Media provides technical customer support to corporations in the media industry. Our experienced staff provides phone, email, and online chat support for a variety of software applications. Currently providing 13 hours of daily live coverage, our team supports users in the US, EU, Asia and Australia. Services include the creation and maintenance of support web sites, the tracking of support requests via a combination of industry-standard and internally-developed systems, and the creation of automated graphical reports for management.

For additional information, please visit:

Strand Presents Summer Theater Workshops 2011

(Lakewood, NJ) -- The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents the Strand School of the Arts' Summer Theater Workshops.  The Summer Theater Workshop experience is available to students entering grades 1 through 12 in the 2011-2012 school year.  The Youth Session runs July 11 - August 5th and the Teen Session runs July 6 - August 3.

Our half-day Youth Session is designed for students who want to learn the skills required for success on the stage.  The four-week session meets four times a week and covers audition techniques, acting, improvisation, vocal technique, creative movement and more.  The workshop is appropriate for children with all levels of experience.  The Youth Session concludes with a performance of Disney's The Jungle Book KIDS on our main stage*.

*Disney's The Jungle Book KIDS Performance Schedule:  Saturday, August 6th @ 12pm   
Youth Session Fee: $495 per student ($445 if registered and paid in full by April 30th)

Our full-day Teen Session meets over 5 consecutive Wednesdays.  Our session includes intensive instruction in all 3 "triple threat" disciplines (acting, dancing & singing).  Students will work on songs, dances, and scenes both individually and as a group.  The workshop will conclude with a Showcase performance on our main stage*.

*Teen Showcase Performance Schedule:  Saturday, August 6th @ 12pm
Teen Session Fee:  $350 per student ($315 if registered and paid in full by April 30th)

Enrollment documents online at  For additional information contact Lindsay Wood, Director of Education, at 732-367-7789 x215.

The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

The Annual Brookdale Guitar Show Moves to Spring

(LINCROFT, NJ) -- Brookdale Public Radio is proud to present the original and best guitar show on the Jersey Shore, and this year, the 2011 Brookdale Guitar Show is moving to April! The 2011 show will fully utilize the multi-level Donald D. Warner Student Life Center on Brookdale Community College's Lincroft campus, which provides comfortable large venues for performers, patrons and vendors.

For the first time in 14 years, the Brookdale Guitar Show will be held on April 10, 2011, 10am - 5pm. Spring weather will allow the event to expand its success to the outdoor patio of the Warner Student Life Center. Once again, the show will boast 2 large rooms of vendors, a full day of music, clinics and giveaways! Regular admission is $15. Children up to the age of 5 are free. Discounted tickets are available at the door with any valid student ID card, a 90.5 The NIGHT Membership Card, or an instrument to sell or trade. Purchase your tickets online or at the door the day of the event. Parking is free. Expected attendance is approximately 3,000 guests.

A complete list of performers, clinics and other entertainment are being updated daily on the shows website (

Brookdale Public Radio, 90.5 The NIGHT is a non-commercial educational public radio station licensed to Brookdale Community College. 90.5 The NIGHT is the ten-time winner of The Asbury Music Award for "Top Radio Station to Support Local Music".

You can become a member of Brookdale Public Radio, 90.5 the NIGHT on line at, or call 732.224.2492. For more information, listen to commercial free Brookdale Public Radio, 90.5 the NIGHT.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: The Subject Was Roses

by Gary Wien

Timmy Cleary returns from war, but finds himself smack in the middle of the on-going battle between his mother and father in Frank Gilroy's The Subject Was Roses, a powerful family drama playing at George Street Playhouse now through March 6. Michael Mastro, who was part of the cast for George Street's productions of The Pillowman and The Sunshine Boys, returns as director. He leads an exceptional cast comprised of Chris Wendelken (Timmy Cleary), Lee Sellars (John Cleary), and Stephanie Zimbalist (Nettie Cleary).

Set in the Bronx just after the end of World War II, the play revolves around the personal relationships of the three and how a few years apart has changed each of them.

Timmy's mother, Nettie, harbors dark secrets about her husband that she doesn't reveal to her son, but which have deeply affected her marriage. She's waited years for her son to come home, but Timmy's return isn't what she expected.

John, Timmy's father, is a hard-working Irish Catholic with a mean temper. He couldn't believe his boy, who was always sick, would make it in the army. John, who never had the opportunity to go into the service himself, now sees his son in a new light - as a man.

Together, Timmy's parents vie for his attention the way divorced parents fight for custody of their children. While Nettie thought she would have her boy all to herself, she finds herself battling an image of her husband that exists in Timmy's head. Meanwhile, the longer Timmy stays in the house the more things become clearer to him; drinking all night isn't the reason he's getting sick each day, and his parents' happiness is just a facade.

The play does a wonderful job of showing an intense level of conflict between the three family members and detailing how sometimes, even a kind gesture, can go terribly wrong. Both the acting and directing is perfect. Sometimes plays like this, which live off of conflict, can be a bit difficult to sustain interest, but The Subject Was Roses actually makes it hard to look away. The audience knows something will be resolved, but isn't sure how – or who – will provide the resolution.

The Subject Was Roses premiered on Broadway in 1964 and ran for nearly 900 performances. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1965, and took home both the Tony Award and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, beating out The Odd Couple and Tiny Alice.

In case her name sounds familiar, Stephanie Zimbalist was indeed one of the stars of the popular television show, Remington Steele, in addition to a fine theatrical resume. Lee Sellars was recently seen on Broadway in the revival of West Side Story and was part of George Street's production of The Pillowman a few years back. Chris Wendelken, who does a fine job as Timmy, makes his Equity debut here after spending the last year touring the United States and Europe with Big Dance Theater in Comme Toujours Here I Stand.

George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For more information on the theatre visit

Photos by T. Charles Erickson

Winners of the Spring 2011 New Jersey Film Festival Competition Announced!

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- All the works that were part of the NJ Film Festival Competition were selected by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 33 finalists which were publicly screened at our Festival. The finalists were selected from 323 works submitted by filmmakers from around the world. In addition, the judges chose the Prize Winners in conjunction with the Festival Director.

Winner Best Feature Film
= Showbiz Software Bundle
Risen - Neil Jones

Winner Best Documentary Film = Gorilla and Story O Software from Jungle Software
Atlantic Crossing: A Robot's Daring Mission - Dena Seidel

Winner Experimental Film = Gorilla Software from Jungle Software
Broken Clouds - Yuri Alves

Winner Best Short Film = Gorilla Software from Jungle Software
The Filmmaker - Marcello Fabrizi

Winner Best Student Film = Stock Footage
Urva - Emre Ozdemir

Honorable Mention Winners:
Kings - Barbara Mones
Crawdad - Kelly Stephenson
The Red Machine - Stephanie Argy and Alec Boehm
Living for 32 - Kevin Breslin
Heart of Now- Zak Forsman
Vento - Marcio Salem
Charlie and the Rabbit - Rodrigo Ojeda-Beck and Robert Machoian
Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone - Christopher Metzler and Lev Anderson