New Jersey Stage

Thursday, November 17, 2011


(RED BANK, NJ) -- The holidays are more and more these days about did you get the latest gadget or the most expensive gift. But for some with the current economy they are stressed out and doing with less and less. Highway 50 Films new film Nothing For Christmas takes hard look at how people such times survive their financial struggles and how the communities rally around their neighbors.  Nothing For Christmas will be featured at Clearview Arts Cinema, 36 White Street in Red Bank on December 1st, 2011 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. 

"What I love about this film is it about old time community, where people rally around their family and friends when times get tough," said Stewart Schneck, who plays the beloved rabbi who mentors Betsy Perry, a troubled teen that hates the holidays and vandalizes Christmas decorations.

Betsy Perry is played by Mackenzie English, formerly of Monmouth Beach, currently of Los Angeles. She started her career as a child actress on the set of Saturday Night Live working along the likes of the Adam Sandler, the late Chris Farley and Will Farell. More recently she gained critical acclaim in the Los Angeles Times for her role as Zoe in the play To The New Girl.

"It saddens me that Christmas and Hanukah are no longer about giving anymore, but it has become about what can you do for me or what's in it for me," Said English. "It needs to be more about faith, family, friendship."

She added that the strength of this film is the deep friendship between the rabbi and his catholic friend Betsy.

Schneck agreed.

"This film goes against stereotypes and shows that both faiths have so much more in common," He added.

"Rabbi Yamowitz is a man that's goal in life is to heal the World; he deeply senses other needs and desires to heal those suffering and make them whole," Scheck said. "He loves the Perry's, they are his friends and neighbors that, he has shared many years with through good times and bad."

The struggles the Perry face are embodied in Jerry Perry, Betsy's father, play by Brian M. Wixson, Who appeared in What Happens In Vegas as featured Trumpet Player and also in the Garden State Film Festival feature film The Yard.

"Jerry is everyman, he is your father, your friend, who has lost his job in the ever shrinking hardware business," Wixson said.

He added that his value as a man is challenged. And when he can't pay his mortgage and loses everything, he fears his family and community will give up on him.

"People out there right now can relate to this story, they are losing their jobs, their life savings and just want that happy Wonderful Life ending to save them for all their hardship," Wixson said.

One of the members of the community that has a simpatico with the rabbi is Has Orton a decorated war veteran that has turrets syndrome, and has deep empathy for the family.

Orton, played by Bob Cleary of Wanamassa, who started his career 35 years ago at Brookdale Community College and has is featured in commercial for B&H Photo, feels his character like the rabbi, feels the Perry's pain during the holidays.

"Hans has enormous empathy for this formerly employee that now is being evicted from his home and can't even afford simple needs such as food for his family," Cleary said.

This also Cleary 5th film working with director Sean Guess of Guess Films and his first with David Pirrocco of Highway 50 Films and Jacked Cat Productions. Pirrocco who has worked with Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper and Jon Bon Jovi, hopes to continue to raise the productions of the films. And both he and Guess will work again on the 6th film Asbury Park U.S.A.; that has added  Producer Paul Sacco, who works with the likes of James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.

They will even roll a new trailer for Asbury Park, U.S.A. on the night of the Nothing For Christmas showing.

Tickets can be mail ordered by calling 732 216-1977 or e-mailing . Tickets can also be purchased at the theater. First come first served and no refunds.