New Jersey Stage

Friday, April 29, 2011

Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock & Roll in the Garden State

(Morristown, NJ) -- A groundbreaking exhibition, organized by the Morris Museum, explores New Jersey's pivotal role in the development of the rock & roll genre. Jersey Rocks will explore the rise of rock & roll in New Jersey from its early years through the 1970s and beyond, as "rock" evolved into new genres. This major exhibition will feature musicians, fans, concert venues, events, and DJ's– many of which made up the world of New Jersey rock & roll.  The exhibit is open from May 5 – September 5, 2011 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ.

Here in the Garden State, a unique mix of performers and places, technology and talent created sounds that would dominate the airwaves and rock the nation.  Visitors will explore rock & roll's rise in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, when the state was fertile ground for the new sound—and then will see how the beat changed, and rock splintered.  And at Jersey Rocks, everyone will have a chance to sing along, dance to the music, and rock on in the Garden State.

Beginning with the origins of rock & roll in the late 1940s to early 1950s, the exhibition will explore doo-wop, be-bop, gospel, and rhythm and blues and African-American artists' contributions to rock's roots, through photos and videos of performers and their stories. This section will also examine the legacy of Les Paul and his contribution to the technology that made rock & roll—the solid body electric guitar.

The next section will celebrate the rise of rock & roll in the 1950s through mid-1960s. Visitors will travel back in time to Wildwood and the 1950s, where Bill Haley and His Comets debuted "Rock Around the Clock", and "visit" Palisades Amusement Park and The Clay Cole Show, with performers such as Lesley Gore and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, along with Tony Mart's in Somers Point, NJ, the first "real" rock club on the Jersey Shore.  The role of DJ's and how they helped market and spread rock & roll will be highlighted through personalities, such as Jocko Henderson, Alan Freed, and Cousin Brucie. Through objects such as records, stage clothing, photographs, gold records, and backdrops, performers of the period who will be spotlighted include Joey Dee and the Starliters, Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, Dionne Warwick, the Shirelles, Connie Francis, Lesley Gore, The Angels, The Delicates, the Happenings, the Critters, the Duprees, Ricky Nelson, and the 1910 Fruitgum Company.

The golden age of rock & roll, mid 1960s – 1970s, will explore the rising market of rock & roll, the originality of the music and how it increasingly reflected the times (e.g. Vietnam War) and New Jersey's contributions to the technological revolution that enabled rock & roll to become a national phenomenon.   Some of the leading venues and music happenings highlighted include a "visit" to the Atlantic City Pop Festival, held two weeks before Woodstock; Newark Symphony Hall as a concert venue that hosted the Rolling Stones, Peter Paul and Mary, and Jimi Hendrix; and what made the Capitol Theater in Passaic a "substitute" for the Fillmore East. Some of the technological advances featured include an authentic 1960s Guild guitar, made in Hoboken, with a built-in stand; an Ampeg amplifier, made in Linden; and a Guild Echorec, which allowed your voice to echo.

Specific stories include:
    * The (Young) Rascals – shift in rock & roll, moving away from American Bandstand and becoming more influenced by "psychedelia"
    * Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt as teenagers playing at the Upstage Club.  Another Jersey Shore venue: The Stone Pony
    * The Jersey Shore Sound via the history of Asbury Park, where a rock & roll scene emerged as the city underwent a decline
    * Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul, and Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and their contribution to the Jersey Shore sound


The next section examines how rock splintered in new directions in the mid-1970s and beyond.  Four major performers, all NJ natives, that made national and international marks on music, will be highlighted:

    * Disco queen Gloria Gaynor
    * Bon Jovi's appeal as a "hair band"
    * Hip hop exemplified through Queen Latifah
    * Pop music through the lens of Whitney Houston's records
    * The Misfits and the rise of punk

Other NJ performers to be featured include the Smithereens and Blondie (Deborah Harry).

Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be invited to make a personal statement about rock & roll by designing an album cover, designing a "t-shirt" using magnetic pieces at an interactive station, writing their concert memories, or adding new voices to the exhibition by telling their NJ rock & roll stories on the talk-back wall. At several "lounge" areas throughout the exhibition, visitors will be prompted by question cards to think about the first album/8-track/cassette/CD they ever bought; other New Jersey venues where they saw concerts; and where they think New Jersey rock is headed next.



Jersey Rocks: Performances and Programs
To purchase tickets for all events, call the Box Office, 973.971.3706

Jersey Rocks summer pass: $175 includes LaBamba concert, all lectures, both acapella concerts and complimentary exhibition pass (general museum admission) valid May 5 through September 5, 2011. ($150 for museum members)


Launch Party: Rock This Town!
Friday, May 13 – 7:00 PM
Tickets: $75 per person
A boardwalk-themed bash to celebrate the opening of Jersey Rocks: A History of Rock & Roll in the Garden State.  Bruce Springsteen tribute band, The E-Street Shuffle will be performing and refreshments will be served.  Advance purchase is required.

Jersey Rocks Lecture Series 1
Cousin Brucie- Rock & Roll...And the Beat Goes On
Talk & book signing, Thursday, May 19 - 6:30 PM
$15/Members  $20/Non-Members

One of the pioneers of rock & roll radio, Bruce "Cousin Brucie" Morrow witnessed firsthand the birth, growth, and growing pains of rock & roll. He will discuss the importance of rock & roll in New Jersey, and how New Jersey contributed to rock & roll history, taking you back to the roots of this exciting and explosive musical era.

After the talk, Cousin Brucie will sign copies of his book, Rock & Roll…And the Beat Goes On, a retrospective celebrating the rock scene and the events of the 1960s and early 1970s, including artists such as Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and more.

Concert: Richie "LaBamba" Rosenberg –
LaBamba and the Hubcaps with Quiet Storm
FRIDAY June 3 - 7:30PM
Tickets: $45 per person
Concert and dancing, with LaBamba and the Hubcaps, one of New Jersey's most successful and well known bar bands. Opening act: Philadelphia acapella group Quiet Storm.  Light refreshments will be served.

Jersey Rocks Lecture Series 2
Charlie Horner on Rhythm & Blues Vocal Groups
Doo Wop (Part 1) Wednesday, June 8 -  6:30PM
Doo Wop (Part 2) Wednesday, June 15 – 6:30 PM
$15/Members, $20/Non-Members

Both lectures in the series:
$25/Members, $35/Non-members
Charlie Horner, of Somerset, NJ, was described as "one of the foremost authorities on early rhythm & blues and vocal group music" by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum in Cleveland. He'll present a history of doo wop and r&b vocal group music. These multi-media programs include rare photographs of singers, record labels, sheet music, and memorabilia.

Acapella Concert
FRIDAY July 15 7:00PM
$20/Members $25/Non-Members
Enjoy an evening of scat and doo wop singing performed by The Copians, Sheps, 14 Karat Soul, and Nickey Addeo & the Nite Owls.

Jersey Rocks Lecture Series 3
Last Bastions of Rock
Screening and director's talk with Fritch Clark

Thursday, July 21 6:30PM
$15/Members $20/Non-Members

For both lectures in the series, $25/Members $35/Non-members

Director Fritch Clark will join us for a screening of his 2010 documentary Last Bastions of Rock, a lively and compelling new music documentary that pays tribute to New Jersey's rock venues past and present, centered on the ongoing success of the Court Tavern in New Brunswick, as well as the rise, decline, and ultimate demise of the Melody Bar in New Brunswick and City Gardens in Trenton.  Mr. Clark will talk about the documentary making process, why New Brunswick was perfect for the club scene during this time, and take questions from the audience.

Jersey Rocks Lecture Series 3
Claudia B. Ocello and Dewar MacLeod –
NJ's Rock & Roll Venues
Thursday July 28  - 6:30PM
$15/Members $20/Non-Members

For both lectures in this series:
$25/Members $35/Non-members

Join Dewar MacLeod, professor at William Paterson University, and Claudia Ocello, Morristown-based museum consultant, and project coordinator for the Jersey Rocks exhibition for a talk about the role of rock & roll clubs in New Jersey.  Highlights include the scene for dancing and Disc-O-Teen, a Newark-based TV dance show; and live music at the Capitol Theater in Passaic.

Acapella Concert
Friday, July 29 -  7:00PM
$20/Members $25/Non-Members

Enjoy an evening of scat and doo wop singing performed by Sammy and the Del-Larks, Quiet Storm, Joe Z, and Bobby Thomas's Tribute to the Orioles.

Crawfish Fest Returns To Augusta In June

(AUGUSTA, NJ)-- Michael Arnone brings his annual Crawfish Fest to New Jersey on Friday, June 3 (campers only), Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, NJ. For the 22nd year, fans will flock to Arnone's Crawfish Fest for their annual New Orleans "fix" of music and food.

The 2011 Crawfish Fest Line-up features some of the best Swamp-Rock, Zydeco, Delta Blues, Cajun, Funk and Brass Bands that New Orleans and Louisiana have to offer, with a food menu to match. Visitors to the Crawfish Fest regard this event as the single most important Louisiana and New Orleans Style Music, Food and Camping festival north of the Mason Dixon line.

Friday June 3rd is for three-day Camping Ticket holders only. The camping check-in begins at 10 a.m. EST and each camper receives free jambalaya samples on Friday night. Friday's performances will be on the Jager Stage in the Jager Pavilion featuring (The Meters co-founder) George Porter Jr & Runnin' Pardners, Devon Allman's Honeytribe and The Tin Men. Following in the footsteps of his dad, Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band, Devon Allman and his band bring their unique blend of guitar-driven rock to the pavilion. Matt Perrine of The Tin Men was just seen in the Season Two premiere of HBO's Treme.

On Saturday and Sunday visitors will enjoy an array of memorable performances on four stages – the Main Stage, the Jager Pavilion, the News 12 NJ Dance Hall, with the wooden dance floor, and the Kids Stage (all but the main stage is under cover).

The Radiators, who's farewell tour will hit the Crawfish Fest Main Stage on Saturday June 4th for what is sure to be an epic final performance. With over a dozen albums, they'll crack out their hits and crowd favorites in what is sure to be one of the greatest moments in CFF history. We're honored to have one of the final performances of this trailblazing swamp-rock band as they head into retirement after giving the fans what they want – funky rock with danceable beats – for over three decades.

Also appearing on Saturday will be Grammy award-winner Tab Benoit, known for his love and hard work restoring the Louisiana Wetlands. Sonny Landreth, who can also be seen touring with Jimmy Buffet. New Orleans favorite Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, and former cab driver turned bluesman Mem Shannon and The Membership. The Savoy Family will play two sets of their honed down, hard-core Cajun music laced with an earthy sensuality. Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie, Geno's sound is deeply rooted in traditional Creole music with strong influences from Cajun music and also country and western. Southwest Louisiana's premier Zydeco ensemble, Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas, joining us for another set will be The Tin Men. Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra will bring their 12-piece explosion of righteousness to the Main Stage.

One the Kid's stage, NJ's own Polka Dot and 17 year-old singing sensation Summer Rae McLaughlan will keep the kids entertained and dancing when they aren't getting their faces done up at the face painting booth.

For the folks camping, the day continues into the night with four bands on two stages. Singer-songwriter Carolyn Wonderland will open the Jager stage and will be followed by NOLA Brass Band Bonerama. They can evoke vintage funk, classic rock and free improvisation in the same set; maybe even the same song. A 2nd set of the day by Geno Delafose & French Rockin' Boogie will be followed Baltimore's own funk band- The Bridge – on the News 12 NJ Dance Hall stage.

Headlining the Main Stage on Sunday, June 5th will be The New Mastersounds featuring Art Neville (of the Neville Brothers and The Meters). They will cap this year's edition with two hours of their special blend of Funk. Joining them on Sunday will be New Orleans rock band Cowboy Mouth and Anders Osborne, known for his deep-blues slide guitar, rugged, soulful singing and vast gifts as a songwriter. Legendary guitarist/vocalist Guitar Shorty is a giant in the blues world. Credited with influencing both his ex brother in law Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. The Iguanas reflect the diversity of musical styles found in their home state by fusing blues, Classic R&B, Zydeco, Cajun, Tex-Mex and Roots Rock & Roll. For those looking to dance Nathan & The Zydeco Cha Chas will grace us with a full set on the News 12 NJ Dance Hall stage. Grammy Nominee Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole will offer up two sets of Blues, Zydeco, Country and Old Soul on Sunday. Let Matt Angus Thing with Anthony Morgan's Choir take you to church Sunday on the main stage and take in the eclectic mix of The High & Mighty Brass Band, who recently opened for Galactic in the northeast, Johnny Ace and Sidewalk Zydeco has repeatedly drawn a "highly recommended" rating from "Time Out NY" magazine for it's NYC shows and has played to packed dance floors in midtown NYC.

Sunday's Kids stage acts to include the award-winning Swingset Mamas, and Summer Rae McLaughlan for an encore performance.

The New Orleans menu includes boiled crawfish with corn and potatoes, chicken & sausage jambalaya, grilled alligator sausage, Shrimp Creole, red beans & rice with pork sausage, catfish, crawfish, oyster, shrimp, hot sausage Po-Boys, crawfish pie, crawfish bread and Crawfish Etouffee. Festival enthusiasts, who prefer a more traditional menu, may choose from grilled Portabella mushroom sandwiches, vegetarian Red Beans, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream, fruit cups, sno-balls, beignets and other desserts.

Also, be sure to check out Michael Arnone at this year's Sync Up Conference on April 30 at 9 a.m. CST where he'll join other highly regarded industry executives for a panel discussion titled Curating a Music Festival. It will be streamed live.

Want to know more about the Crawfish Fest? There's now an app for that! Search for "Crawfish Fest" in the Android App Market Place and the iPhone App in the iTunes App Store to keep up to date on stage performances, shopping, and the menu.

Visit www.crawfishfest.com to purchase Saturday or Sunday single day tickets, Saturday/Sunday two-day combo tickets, group tickets, 4-day/3-night camping and The King Crawfish Krewe VIP tickets. Tickets will also be available at the gate. Free parking is available.

The Sussex County Fairgrounds, 37 Plains Road, Augusta, NJ are located off Interstate Route 80 at Exit 34B, just one hour west of Manhattan and thirty minutes from the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains. For more information about tickets, entertainment, food, crafts and lodging, visit www.crawfishfest.com. Please, no recording devices, are pets, food and ice chests.

The Residence Inn Marriot in Mt Olive, NJ is offering fest goers a special rate. Call them for the Crawfish Fest rate. (973) 691-1720

Sponsors include Bud Light®, News 12 New Jersey, J├Ągermeister, WFDU-89.1FM, WNTI-91.9FM, 84RV.com, DonQ® Rum, Blackbeard Spiced Rum, Residence Inn® Marriott, State Shuttle, Century Link, ITC Promotions and Crystal® Hot Sauce.

For more information visit http://www.crawfishfest.com

Theater is Alive and Well in New Jersey

Rick Busciglio, theater writer/reviewer for New Jersey Footlights and Examiner.com and professional speaker on entertainment topics,has created a multimedia/interactive lecture or presentation: "Theater is Alive and Well in New Jersey." The presentation includes photos and videos from many of the professional and community theaters in the state, in addition to theater profiles, current and upcoming plays, discount ticket opportunities and more. The objective is to promote live theater-going throughout the state .... both community theater and the not-for-profit professional theaters.

Rick is semi-retired from a career in broadcasting, e.g. VP of Marketing for a cable and satellite channel in the U.S. and Briton, Senior VP of Television at several NY ad agencies.  He writes two blogs on New Jersey theater, and serves on the
board of the Chester Theatre Group in Chester. Also, Rick has lectured internationally (via cruise ships) from Istanbul to Honolulu, and currently in the New Jersey-Pennsylvania area on the great productions, performers and composers of American musical theater and "The Great American Songbook." More information regarding booking, contact and examples of his presentations are available on his website www.memory-Iane.org.

Rick resides in Chester Township, Morris County, NJ with his wife Betty and his Yorkie "Mac."

Monmouth County Arts Council Offers Grant Workshops

(Red Bank) - The Monmouth County Arts Council (MCAC) is pleased to announce that the Local Arts Program Grant guidelines, application and workshops for the Fiscal Year 2012 are now available on line at www.monmoutharts.org.  The Local Arts Program Grants provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State provides the people of the state access to quality arts experiences in their communities, making the arts an integral part of people's lives and their communities.

Workshops and Deadline:
May 19, 2011 (Thursday) 10:00 a.m.   Grant Workshop and ADA Requirements 
@Phoenix Productions 111 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701                                                                              

7:00 p.m.  Grant Workshop and ADA Requirements (Repeat workshop)   
@107 Monmouth St., Suite 1, Red Bank, NJ 07701 (Upstairs)
                                           
May 23, 2011 (Monday)    7:00 p.m.  Grant workshop and Creating a Long Range/Strategic Plan
@Phoenix Productions 111 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, 07701                            

Grant Application Deadline:  June 20 (Monday) 4:00p.m. Postmark or Hand-delivered to MCAC Offices 107 Monmouth St. Suite 3, Red Bank, NJ 07701

This Application is available in Large Print upon request.  Applicants in need of an assistive listening device or other assistance contact MCAC at 732-212-1890 ext 3 or cad@monmoutharts.org no later than one week prior to the workshop date.

Curtain up for Irreverent Rep with "Beyond Therapy"

(Asbury Park, NJ) -- Monmouth County's newest theater troupe, Irreverent Rep, will raise the curtain on its premiere effort, "Beyond Therapy" by Christopher Durang at The Showroom on Cookman Avenue for four performances (April
29th-30, May 6-7).


Conceived by David Sorin of Howell, Irreverent Rep will strive to become part of the cultural renaissance of Asbury Park by bringing lesser-done, provocative works to the stage.  Sorin is best known by the local theater community as the founder of downtown Freehold's Center Players. 

"We plan to present shows that are less mainstream, thought provoking and socially relevant," says Sorin.  "I never underestimate the intelligence of our audiences," he continues, "and we feel the diverse population of Asbury Park will be well-served by our mission to bring topical, thought provoking material to the stage."

"Beyond Therapy," says the show's director, Mateo Venuto of Point Pleasant, is an hysterically funny slice-of-life set in the 1970's.  The story embodies a number of social messages that still hold true today, including sexual identity and the quest for mental health."  

According to Bernadette Gill, Jackson, the troupe's outreach coordinator, "we chose The Showroom on Cookman Ave. as the venue for our initial offering because its intimate size and central location are a natural fit for 'Beyond Therapy.'  We are actively searching for a permanent home in Asbury Park and are thrilled to be making our debut in the heart of the town's renaissance district."  

Irreverent Rep has also partnered with Restaurant Plan B to offer pre-show, prix fixe dining right across from The Showroom.  Tickets and additional information are available online at www.IrreverentRep.com.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Remembering Robin 2011: A Benefit For Camp Nejeda

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The second annual show in memory of Robin Suhoskey will be held on Sunday, May, 22, at the Wonder Bar, located on 5th and Ocean in Asbury Park (www.wonderbarasburypark.com). The show will include performances by Maybe Pete, Piehole (featuring Billy Walton), Woodfish, Underground Logic, Rob Tanico, Rob Dye, Michael Brett and Outside The Box plus special guests.  Tickets are available at the door at 4:PM for $10. 

A resident of Ocean Grove, Ms. Suhoskey passed away in early 2010 of complications from Diabetes. A strong supporter of Jersey Shore music, Robin is greatly missed, not only by her family and friends, but also by many of the participating musicians. Along with supporting local original artists, she was also a volunteer usher at The Paramount Theater and a member of Jersey Shore Jazz & Blues Foundation (www.jsjbf.org). Last year's show featured 13 acts, including Jen Chapin, JoBonanno, Bob Burger and Maybe Pete.  Many performers graciously volunteered to play without having to be asked. There were over 300 people in attendance enabling the organizers to make a donation of $2500 to the American Diabetes Association in Robin's name.

This year's show will benefit Camp Nejeda, one of only a handful of Diabetes camps nationwide which own its facilities, providing a full season of residential camping exclusively for children, teens and families affected by Type 1 Diabetes. Founded in 1958, the camp's 72-acre campus includes a lake, archery range and biking trails. Campers learn how to manage their diabetes, make healthy food choices and --- most of all... maintain a positive attitude. Camp Nejeda is a member of the Diabetes Education and Camping Association and is accredited by the American Camp Association. The camp currently offers seven weeks of residential camping and three long-weekend family camps. For more information about Camp Nejeda, visit www.campnejeda.org or contact the Camp Nejeda Foundation at information@campnejeda.org or (973) 383-2611.

The emcee for the event is Gary Wien of The Penguin (www.thepenguinrocks.com) online radio station.  His upcoming book, "Are You Listening?" takes a look at the top 100 records of the past decade (2001-2010) by New Jersey artists.

Jersey Singer-Songwriters To Take Over Tin Angel

(PHILADELPHIA, PA) -- For one night, four singer-songwriters from the Jersey Shore will take over Philadelphia's legendary listening room, Tin Angel.  On Thursday, May 5, Keith Monacchio, Michael Brett, Mike Askin, and Tony Tedesco will give Philly music fans a taste of the Jersey Shore's local scene.

The show begins at 8pm.  Admission is $10 for ages 21 and up.

Tin Angel is a unique music venue featuring a wide variety of top flight national and local attractions in an intimate cafe style setting. In addition to excellent acoustic and other "unplugged" entertainment, Tin Angel offers candle lit table seating, great coffees, cappuccinos, teas and desserts, as well as a complete selection of liquors, wines, beers, and mineral waters. Tin Angel is located at 20 S 2nd Street in Philadelphia.  For more information visit http://www.tinangel.com

Phoenix Productions Holds Auditions for HAIRSPRAY

(Red Bank, NJ) – Phoenix Productions, Central New Jersey's award-winning community theatre company, announces open auditions for their July production of HAIRSPRAY which will play at the Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, for six performances on July 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 and then at the Strand Theater, Lakewood, for two performances on July 30.

Auditions are open and no appointment is necessary.  Auditioners are asked to prepare 16 bars of a song that is similar in style to the show (i.e. Grease, Little Shop, etc). Bring sheet music in the correct key, an accompanist will be provided. There will be a dance audition so bring or wear suitable attire including footwear.

Casting Requirements: HAIRSPRAY calls for a large cast.  In addition to the numerous lead and featured roles, the ensemble for HAIRSPRAY is involved in 17 musical numbers! Needed are male and female dancers with strong pop singing voices and great personalities to play high schoolers for various roles in the ensemble of "The Corny Collins Show" and "Motormouth's Teens."   Especially looking for African-American singers and dancers.

All roles are open.

Please see www.phoenixredbank.com for Character Descriptions and more information

Audition Dates:      
Saturday May 14 from 2-6pm
Monday May 16 from 7-9pm
Wednesday May 18 from 7-9pm

Location:     
Phoenix Rehearsal Center at 111 Monmouth Street, Red Bank
(right next to the Count  Basie Theatre)

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents SHAKESPERIENCE:NJ

(MADISON, NJ) — The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will host teachers and students in grades 5 - 12 through from 15 schools across the state for the fifth annual Shakesperience:NJ – two days highlighting and celebrating the study of Shakespeare through performance -- on May 16 and 17 at The Theatre's Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison.  The initiative offers an opportunity for middle and high school students to spend an entire day sharing the excitement of Shakespeare as actors and audience members. Each group of students will appear on the Main Stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre to present a 20-minute Shakespeare scene to an audience of their peers, teachers, parents and professional actors from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey who will serve as commentators and adjudicators. 

The 15 schools scheduled to participate in this year's two-day Shakesperience:NJ festival are Bloomfield High School, Faith Hope Love Academy in Kendall Park, Hamilton Preparatory Academy  in Elizabeth, High Tech High School in North Bergen, Hillsborough Middle School, Kent Place School in Summit, Lacordaire Academy in Montclair, Madison High School, Memorial High School in West New York, Montville High School, Our Lady of Mount Carmel School in Tenafly, Orange Preparatory Academy in Orange, The Pennington School, Purnell School in Pottersville, and Trinity Christian School in Montville.

Shakesperience:NJ is the product of a partnership between The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Rider University and the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  The Folger Festivals Project was launched in 1986 as a national outreach initiative to extend the reach of the Library's teaching philosophy and to inspire student Shakespeare festivals across the nation.  In 2007, the Shakespeare Theatre and Rider University were chosen by the Folger Shakespeare Library to establish the annual statewide festival in New Jersey.

Shakesperience:NJ represents a step toward the creation of a national model for statewide student Shakespeare festivals based on the highly successful student Shakespeare festival at the Folger Shakespeare Library.  The institutions partnering to launch Shakesperience:NJ share a common mission of promoting the teaching of Shakespeare through performance, which has long been recognized to be the most effective and exciting way to introduce young people to Shakespeare's plays. Performance-based instruction heightens student interest and increases creative thinking and problem-solving skills. Through numerous classes and workshops with teachers and students, this philosophy has been introduced in schools throughout the state. The creation of a statewide student festival is intended to showcase the results of this performance-based learning, and to encourage more schools and teachers to make performance a key component of the language arts classroom.

The program enables young people to come together with their peers from diverse backgrounds to celebrate their shared achievements in the study of English literature.  Student festivals provide important structure and closure to performance-based study, instilling in students a sense of pride and ownership of their own learning. The Shakesperience:NJ Festival is designed to be an educational, collaborative experience, not a drama competition. Students will have the option of receiving feedback from professional commentators, but the focus of each day is on Shakespeare's works and the creativity and variety of student interpretations.  

In addition to the student performances, each day will include entertaining educational interludes such as Shakespeare trivia games and swordplay demonstrations conducted by a Master of Revels and professional guest artists.  For more information about Shakesperience:NJ, call 973-408-3980.

MAY "MEET THE ARTIST" SERIES AT DREAMCATCHER

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE, professional Theatre in Residence at the Baird Center in South Orange, presents two free readings of new plays as part of its "Meet the Artist" series in May.  The readings will be presented at a special location, at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum at 165 Hobart Avenue in Summit.  Visitors can enjoy the spring blooms on the beautifully cultivated grounds of the Arboretum before repairing to the Wisner House for the evening play readings.

"Meet the Artist" has been a favorite feature in the Dreamcatcher season since the company's inception sixteen years ago; this series allows playwrights to hear their work performed by professional actors, and then provides them the opportunity to receive feedback from the audience.  After each new play reading, the floor is opened to discussion between the playwright, director, actors and audience to allow the writer to instantly discover which aspects of the play are effective, and which need more attention to be fully realized.  It is also an opportunity for Dreamcatcher to hear works under consideration for future production in the coming season.

On Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., the company will read RANDOM HORRIBLE THOUGHTS ABOUT LOVE by David Lee White, the Associate Artistic Director of Passage Theatre Company in Trenton.  This is a collection of five short comedies that were developed independently and performed for the first time together here.  This script will be directed by Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand, and will feature DRT company members Clark Carmichael, Harry Patrick Christian, David Miceli, Jessica O'Hara-Baker and Harriett Trangucci, with special guest Angela Della Ventura.

On Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m., Dreamcatcher will read a new play by Suzanne Bradbeer, SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS, a comedy about a frustrated New York actress who decides to take an offer to perform with a new classical company in Las Vegas, with hilarious results.  Dreamcatcher has previously produced two of Bradbeer's plays, FULL BLOOM and YOU MISS THEM WHEN THEY'RE NOT AROUND.  Directed by John Pietrowski, Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, the reading will feature Dreamcatcher company members Laura Ekstrand, Scott McGowan, and Jessica O'Hara-Baker, joined by guests Jaclyn Ingoglia and Matt McCarthy.

RANDOM HORRIBLE THOUGHTS ABOUT LOVE will be read on Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., and SHAKESPEARE IN VEGAS will be read on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is free.  The performances are at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum at 165 Hobart Avenue in Summit.  For information on this or any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at the Baird Center, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-378-7754, ext. 2228, www.DreamcatcherRep.org.

Dreamgirls Dazzles with stellar Broadway performers!

(Asbury Park, NJ) -- ReVision Theatre is thrilled to announce the cast of DREAMGIRLS, A One Night Only Benefit Concert to support ReVision Theatre's 2011 season on May 14 at 8 pm at The Paramount Theatre.

Featured performers are Nikkieli DeMone (B'way Ragtime, Saigon, Rent, Emmy Award Winner), Patrice Covington (Nat'l Tour Dreamgirls, Ain't Misbehavin, Beehive), Christian Dante White (Scottsboro Boys; Bway Hairspray, The Wiz, Jersey Boys), Bernard Dotson ( B'way Chicago, Ragtime, Finian's Rainbow), Curtis Wiley (Nat'l Tour Lion King), Wendy Fox (Nat'l Tour Lion King), Tony Perry (Ain't Misbehavin), Dominique Sharpton, Briana Davis (Lead vocalist Gary Sinise & Lt. Dan Band, The Last Word), Sean Watkins, Thaddeus McCants, Ruperta Nelson, Faren Brook Collins, Michael Dexter, Nikki Jenkins, Jason Veasey, Lauren Lebowitz, Clyde Voce, Haley Swindal, Shira Elias, Brandon Hightower, and Spiro Galiatsatos.

Directed by Jamibeth Margolis (Director Warsaw (NYMF and other venues), Family Dinner (Beckett Theatre), Assistant Director of B'ways Caine Mutiny), with choreography by Kenny Ingram (B'way Lion King) and Musical Direction by Michael Thomas Murray (ReVision's Tommy, The Bikini's, Rocky Horror, Off B'way Murder Mystery Blues), DREAMGIRLS (Winner of 6 Tony awards) follows the story of a young female singing trio from Chicago get their big break at an amateur competition and begin singing backup vocals for James "Thunder" Early. However, things begin to spin out of control when their agent, Curtis Taylor, Jr., makes Deena and not Effie, the star of what will become known as "The Dreams." With music by Academy Award nominee Henry Krieger and lyrics and book by Tony and Grammy-winning Tom Eyen, DREAMGIRLS features the unforgettable hits: "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," "One Night Only", "I Am Changing", and "Listen."  This once in a lifetime performance is not to be missed! The performance will take place at the historic Paramount Theatre on Saturday May 14 at 8 pm and is a benefit concert for ReVision Theatre.  Catch the Dream!

The DREAMGIRLS creative team includes, Clifton Chadick (Scenic), Robin Shane (Costume), Jake Degroot (Lighting), and Karoline Budna (Sound Design).

"Dreamgirls is the annual benefit concert that supports the start of what is our most exciting and extensive season yet, states Producing Artistic Director David Leidholdt.  We could not be more thrilled with this amazing cast and creative team.  This benefit concert is an opportunity for our supporters to be properly dazzled while helping us kick off our highly anticipated 2011 season and spring with a bang!"

Tickets and season subscriptions are on sale now! www.revisiontheatre.org or by phone 732-455-3059 or at a ReVision Theatre  ticket outlet, Flying Saucers Retro Kitchenware, 659 Cookman Ave,  in Asbury Park.   Please consider buying your season tickets in advance as you will receive the greatest discounts.

ReVision Theatre is a professional regional Equity theatre company dedicated to producing invigorating theatre with a fresh new perspective reaching the diverse community of Asbury Park and beyond. ReVision Theatre produces reinventions of previously produced classics, overlooked or forgotten work in a new way, and new work with a fresh voice. ReVision Theatre produces readings, workshops, cabarets, concerts, and main stage productions. ReVision Theatre is a not for profit 501(c) (3) organization.

Luna Stage Presents World Premiere of The Tallest Building in the World

(WEST ORANGE, NJ) -– Luna Stage proudly presents the world premiere of The Tallest Building in the World by Matt Schatz, a new play that asks us to consider what is gained and what is lost when we try to reach for the sky.  The production runs for five weeks, Thursdays through Sundays, beginning on Thursday, April 14th, with the first of five preview performances.  Opening night is Friday, April 22nd, and the show closes on Sunday, May 15th.  All Thursday performances begin at 7:30pm, Fridays and Saturdays are at 8pm, and Sunday matinees are at 2pm through May 15th, 2011. Tickets are on sale now, $20-$30, on the Luna Stage website: www.lunastage.org or by calling 973-395-5551. The theatre is located at 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ, in the heart of the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange.

With equal measures of ego and genius, a low level bureaucrat at The Port Authority sets out to build the world's tallest building — an easy task, as long as he can get his architect, his engineer, the owner of the Empire State Building, and the Laws of Physics to cooperate. Based on actual events, The Tallest Building in the World examines the 1960s birth of the World Trade Center towers and the partnerships and friendships that were tested along the way.

David Bonanno leads the outstanding cast of five as "Gino", the engineer turned bureaucrat who must manage all the temperaments and egos to get his project off the ground.  Mr. Bonanno has appeared on Broadway in Light in the Piazza, directed by Bartlett Sher at Lincoln Center Theater, and recently completed a tour with Christopher Lloyd as Howard in Death of a Salesman. 

Pun Bandhu portrays "Yama", the temperamental and reluctant architect who must reinvent his craft to rise to this challenge. Mr. Bandhu received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama and was in the world premieres of AR Gurney's Far East (Williamstown Theatre Festival, directed by Daniel Sullivan) and Theresa Rebeck's The Bells (McCarter Theatre Center, directed by Emily Mann), among others.  He can be seen in the upcoming film Two Days in New York opposite Chris Rock.

Kane Prestenback plays "Lee", the brash young engineer whose revolutionary ideas hold the key to the project's success or failure. Kane recently made his London Theatrical debut at The Old Vic with the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange, hosted by Kevin Spacey, in Anna Moench's Halo/Titanic.

Rounding out the cast are two ensemble players who give life to all of the opposing forces: The Port Authority, displaced Radio Row merchants, and even an iconic building or two.

Drew Dix founded a theater company in the West Village (Theater In Action) and directed the company's operations from 1981-1991. He has performed at the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, the 78th St. Theater Lab and various theatres on Theatre Row and does voice over work with Motion Capture Studios in Manhattan.

Nehassaiu deGannes performed with Alec Baldwin in EQUUS at Guild Hall. Additionally, she has performed in numerous productions at LaMAMA in NYC and regionally at Trinity Rep. 

Playwright Matt Schatz is also a lyricist, composer, and bookwriter whose other full-length plays and musicals include Love Trapezoid, a finalist at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference and Yale Institute for Music Theatre; Exchanges, with music by Michael Kooman; and The Baby is Blue.  He is a three-time recipient of an EST/Sloan Commission and a two-time Shubert Fellow.

Troy Miller, who is directing the production, holds an MFA in Directing from Trinity Rep in Providence, RI, and is making his Luna Stage debut with The Tallest Building in the World.  His past directing credits include Craig Lucas' Bathroom Humor at Playwrights Horizons and – as both director and choreographer - The Bully with Vital Theatre and Together This time: A rock musical for the NY International Fringe Festival.

The Tallest Building in the World is the final production of Luna Stage's inaugural season in The Valley Arts District. The play was originally commissioned by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science and Technology Project and was read in Luna's New Moon Play Reading Series in the fall of 2009.

Cheryl Katz, Director of Play Development at Luna Stage, says about the play: "Of course, it is not possible to even mention the words World Trade Center without evoking memories and emotions associated with the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. From the perspective of the present, audiences cannot help but see in these past events, the future that lies ahead, but this play does not seek to comment upon the tragic loss of life associated with the destruction of these iconic buildings ten years ago.  Rather, The Tallest Building in the World tells a story of ingenuity, of persistence and of the desire we all have to be remembered."

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2011 Schedule Announced!

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies, Showbiz Software, New Brunswick City Market, Writers Boot Camp, Jungle Software, Johnson and Johnson and Eastman Kodak, is proud to present the 16th annual New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2011.  Showcasing new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2011 will feature 33 film screenings and workshops. The Festival will run from June 3-19, 2011. All the works selected were screened by a panel of judges including media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. These judges selected the 31 finalists which will be publicly screened at our Festival. These finalists were selected from over 371 works submitted by film and videomakers from around the world. In addition, the judges chose the Prize Winners (including over $6,000 in prizes) in conjunction with the Festival Director. Prize winners will be announced before the screenings on Sunday, June 19.

Film Premieres:
31 films will have their New Jersey or Area Premiere (Middlesex County) screenings as part of the New Jersey International Film Festival Summer 2011. Some of these include: Noemie LaFrance's incredible experimental performance film Melt; Gerry Curtis beautifully eerie short Savasana; Peter Luisi's playfully surreal romantic feature comedy The Sandman from Switzerland; John Langan's Bowling Balls -- a short comedy about two teenagers from Bayonne, New Jersey who attempt to steal an unpublished short story by J. D. Salinger from the Princeton University Library; Abdullah Al Kaabi's existential short The Philosopher starring Jean Reno; Charlotte Barrett and Sean Fallon's hilarious sex comedy with a twist Virgin Alexander; Debora Kodish and Barry Dornfeld's Eatala: A Life in Klezmer - an exhilarating celebration of the traditional folk music of Eastern European Jews, and a portrait of Elaine Hoffman Watts, a renowned klezmer percussionist; New Jersey native Ariel Frenkel's quirky black comedy Pluto; Matt Rashid and Alicia Arinella's compelling feature For Belly which tells the story of three women on the brink of transformation; Gary Mortensen's riveting documentary Shepherds of Helmand which takes viewers deep into the ongoing war in Afghanistan that is rarely seen even by reporters; Chris Campbell's Voices of Sculpture – a gorgeous documentary about the Grounds for Sculpture, a 35-acre park outside of Princeton, New Jersey; M.T. Silvia's Atomic Mom is a timely documentary about two women whose lives were directly impacted by the development of the atom bomb; Cy Kuckenbaker's Bush League is a moving and profoundly engaging ethnographic documentary of a tiny village in Northern Malawi; Rolla Selbak's Three Veils -- a poignant feature film by an Arab-American filmmaker about three young Middle-Eastern women living in the United States; and many others. See the attached schedule for more information on these and the other films or visit our website: www.njfilmfest.com.

Special Guest Appearances by Directors, Artists, and Scholars:

This summer we are pleased to announce over twenty confirmed special guest appearances by film/video directors, artists, actors, and scholars to the 2011 New Jersey International Film Festival! All visiting directors will introduce their work and do a Question and Answer session after the screenings. For more information on these special guest appearances see the attached schedule or go to our online site at www.njfilmfest.com. Note: more filmmakers will be appearing but were not able to confirm their attendance at this time. So check our website for updated information.

New Screening Facility:
We have very exciting news. Our new primary screening location Voorhees Hall #105 features comfortable, cushioned seats, stadium seating, and hi-definition projection and sound systems! Come check out our new screening space and see for yourself how great it is!

Film/Video Workshops:

The New Jersey Media Arts Center will offer 2 of its most popular workshops this summer including: Screenwriting I and The Film Business. For more information on these workshops see the attached schedule or go to: www.njfilmfest.com.

Sponsors:

The New Jersey Film Festivalsm Summer 2011 in part by The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center; The Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies/School of Arts and Sciences; The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders/ Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission thru a grant provided by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Eastman Kodak; Johnson & Johnson; New Jersey Books; WCTC/WMGQ; The Home News Tribune;  The Highland Park Mirror; The Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences; the Rutgers University Office of Academic Engagement and Programming; The Rutgers University American Studies Department; Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences Honors Program;  Rutgers University Center For Middle Eastern Studies; Writers Boot Camp; Jungle Software; New Brunswick City Market; Showbiz Software; The Rutgers University Office of Community Affairs; Rutgers University  Libraries; Rutgers University Presentation Services; The Rutgers University Enhanced Classroom Support Department; Design Ideas; Advanced Printing; Steven C. Schechter, Esq.; Share and Harris.

2010 Play Festival Winner The Good Counselor Heralded by the American Theatre Critics Association

(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University announces that Kathryn Grant's The Good Counselor was named the runner up for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play Award for 2011.  Ms. Grant received a $7500 citation and was invited to speak at the annual Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival. The Good Counselor was the 2010 Premiere Stages Play Festival Winner was the only finalist from New Jersey.  The committee of established critics selected it as the highest rated professional production from the region.



The American Theatre Critics Association (ACTA) award program was created in 1977 to honor new plays premiered at theaters outside New York City. Since 2000, it has been generously funded by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, making the $40,000 Steinberg/ATCA the largest national new play award of its kind.



In her acceptance speech at the Humana Festival Grant spoke about how the process of bringing a play to fruition reminded her of a swap meet. She then cited an online legend about a man who began his swapping with a paper clip and through a series of escalating swaps he finally ended up with a house.



"If you are lucky it can work like that," said Grant.  "I began trading with various developmental companies, revising up to stronger versions of my play.  But it wasn't until I won the Premiere Stages Festival Award that I was offered a house.  And what a dream house Kean University was, with ebullient actors, sensuous design elements and the fine leadership of artistic director John Wooten and dramaturg Erica Nagel."



After its critically acclaimed run at Premiere Stages, The Good Counselor was published by Samuel French, Inc. It joins a long list of plays developed by Premiere Stages that have been published by Sam French, Dramatists Play Service and Broadway Play Publishing.



The Premiere Stages Play Festival is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and through the generous support of individual patrons.



Premiere Stages is the professional theatre entering its seventh year in residence on Kean University.  The company focuses on the original production of new plays by both established playwrights and emerging writers.  The company "fast-tracks" plays that are considered ready for production, bringing new plays from the page to the stage in a matter of months.  The theatre casts the plays with noted performers alongside local professional talent and student actors.



Premiere Stages is a member of the NJ Theatre Alliance, the coalition of the state's professional regional theatres.  At Kean University, Premiere offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities and all facilities are fully accessible spaces. A schedule of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances is available upon request. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times.  Publications are available with advanced notice in alternate formats.



Visit the Premiere Stages website at www.kean.edu/premierestages or call 908.737.4092 for further information.

Opening night party for performer KT Sullivan

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The Mad Batter, 19 Jackson Street, is hosting an after-show opening night party for KT Sullivan on Friday, April 29. Hors d'oeuvres are provided, with a cash bar, but no other costs, to come and meet this lovely Broadway and cabaret performer and her musical arranger and accompanist, Jon Weber. 

       KT is only performing for two nights in Cape May: April 29 and 30 at 8:00 p.m., at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. in Cape May. 

     The spark for "Rhyme, Women & Song" began with KT's acclaimed salute to one of Broadway's greatest lyricists, Dorothy Fields.  Now, KT expands her vision to display the work of Dorothy's peers and heirs who have continued to enrich the Great American Songbook. To the inimitable Dorothy's "Sunny Side of the Street" and "The Way You Look Tonight," she adds

Carole King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You."  Also included are Edna Pinkard's "Kitchen Man," a spicy song from the 1920's made famous by Bessie Smith, and Carolyn Leigh's "The Best is Yet to Come," with music by Cy Coleman, that became Frank Sinatra's signature piece.  From Mary Rodgers comes "The Boy From…..," a clever parody of "The Girl from Ipanema," with music by Stephen Sondheim, written for "The Mad Show." Jon Weber is musical arranger and accompanist.  John Webber assists on bass.

     Tickets are only $30 to this exciting event and may be purchased through East Lynne Theater Company's website www.eastlynnetheater.org or by calling 609-884-5898. Those who wish to see KT at The Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel, 59 W. 44th St., New York City from May 3-28, may call (212) 419-9331 or go online to www.algonquinhotel.com.

TRENTON'S PASSAGE THEATRE TO PRESENT THE NEW JERSEY PREMIERE OF MAT SMART'S SAMUEL J. AND K.

(TRENTON, NJ) -- Passage Theatre, Trenton's only professional theater company, is pleased to announce the New Jersey premiere of Mat Smart's two-person drama Samuel J. and K., a play which traces the complex bond between two brothers as they travel to the homeland of the younger.  Directed by Jade King Carroll, performances begin May 5 and continue through May 22 at the Mill Hill Playhouse, which is located 205 E. Front Street in Trenton's Historic Mill Hill district. (Press opening: May 7).  Paul Notice and J. Mal McCree co-star.

Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. Tickets are $20 on Thursday nights, $30 on Saturday nights, and $25 for other performances. Student tickets are $10 and Seniors (65+) receive a 10% discount on full price tickets. For reservations and group discounts call (609) 392-0766; visit online at www.passagetheatre.org; or in person at the Passage Theatre Office at 219 East Hanover Street in Trenton. Tickets are also available at the door one hour before each performance at the Mill Hill Playhouse.

A simple game of pickup basketball has higher stakes than two brothers could ever imagine. When J surprises his adopted brother with a trip to K's birthplace of Cameroon, they find their game, their lives, and their brotherly bonds challenged as never before. This lively, energetic play tests certain assumptions about family and home, and allegiance to one's native soil.

Playwright Mat Smart is the author of twelve full-length plays, the book & lyrics of one musical, and numerous one-acts.  This past summer, Williamstown Theatre Festival produced the world premiere of Samuel J. and K. It then went on the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.  Mat is a co-founder of Slant Theatre Project in New York City, serves on the Board of Directors for The New Harmony Project, and is an alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Ars Nova's Play Group. He has been commissioned to write new plays by South Coast Rep and Huntington Theatre Company.  A graduate of the University of Evansville, he holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from University of California – San Diego. An avid Chicago Cubs fan, he has seen baseball games at twenty-seven of the current MLB stadiums.

"I knew I wanted to produce this play when I read it over a year ago," said Passage Theatre's Artistic Director June Ballinger. "While the two previous productions have told the story with one brother white and the other black, we have chosen to tell the story between an African American and an African born brother. This is not a story about Race. It is a story of origins, love, family and it explores the notion of knowing one's cultural history in order to fully understand and take pride in oneself.  But most of all our audience will like it because it's funny, smart, and speaks to all ages. And there is lots of great basketball!"

Paul Notice is currently finishing his MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU.  His favorite theatre credits include Insidious with The People's Theatre Lab, Brotherhood at Playwrights Horizons and the 2010 GLAAD Award-Winning play She Like Girls. Each year, Paul heads back to Georgetown University with his fraternity brothers to face off on the basketball court. 

J. Mal McCree's recent theater credits include Marcus or the Secret of Sweet  (Studio Theatre, D.C.); The Etymology of Bird (Summerstage, NY);  Zooman and the Sign (Signature Theatre, NY); Three films being released in 2011: The Art of Love; We Need to Talk About Kevin; and Recreator. Mr. McCree is a graduate of Rutgers University BFA Theatre Arts Conservatory and he is a member of the Negro Ensemble Company. Although gold is his favorite game, J. Mal regularly works out with his brother, Jaleel, helping him train for his high school varsity basketball team.

Jade King Carroll's directing credits include Sex on Sunday by Chisa Hutchinson (The BE Company); A Raisin In The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry with the fourth year drama students at Juilliard; The Etymology of Bird by Zakiyyah Alexander (CityParks Summer Stages); Cherry Smoke  by James McManus (Theatre Row); The Persians, Splittin' the Raft (People's Light & Theatre); After Adam (Playpenn); Contents of a Book, Life as a Balloon (McCarter Youth Ink Festival); The Summer House, White Baby (Passage Theatre); Like Father (Producer's Club); White Trash by Catherine Filloux (Players Theatre). She has directed workshops & readings for McCarter Theatre, New Dramatists, Second Stage Theatre, Primary Stages, Playwright's Realm, Time Warner New Play Festival, BE Company, 24 Hour Plays, Players Theatre, Chocolate Theatre and New Jersey Rep. Jade is currently the Artistic Associate at Second Stage Theatre where Carole Rothman is mentoring her in artistic direction as a TCG New Generations Future Leader.  In 2010 Jade was presented with the Paul Green Award for Outstanding Emerging Theatre Professional from the National Theatre Conference and the August Wilson Estate.

Passage Theatre performs in the historic Mill Hill Playhouse, an intimate 100-seat theater in the heart of downtown Trenton adjacent to the beautiful Mill Hill district.  Security-guarded on-street parking is available along the street by the park in front of the theater.

For 24 years Passage has been the professional Actors Equity Theater with a mission to develop and produce boundary-pushing and stylistically adventurous new works for the theatre that entertain and challenge a diverse audience.  It is housed in the 100 seat Mill Hill Playhouse in the historic district of downtown Trenton. We draw audiences from throughout New Jersey and the Philadelphia region.

Passage's mainstage season is made possible in part by the NJ State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the NEA; the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; The Times of Trenton; Trenton Marriott at Lafayette Yard; the City of Trenton Dept. of Recreation and Cultural Affairs; WIMG 1300; the Curtis McGraw Foundation, The James Kerney Foundation; PNC Bank; The Bunbury Company; The Garfield Foundation; Princeton Area Community Foundation; Bloomberg.

Broadway's Joel Rooks Returns to Cape May Stage in Say Goodnight, Gracie

(Cape May, NJ) – Back by popular demand, renowned Broadway actor, Joel Rooks will reprise his critically acclaimed role of the lovable George Burns in the Tony-nominated Best Play, Say Goodnight, Gracie, beginning May 11, 2011 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse of Cape May Stage. Written by multiple Tony and Emmy award-winning writer Rupert Holmes, Say Goodnight, Gracie, will also feature the acclaimed actress Didi Conn's estimable talents as the singular voice of Gracie Allen.  Hailed by The New Yorker as both "touching and hilarious, and a showcase for an era," Say Goodnight, Gracie previews May 11, officially opens May 12, and closes June 18 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at the corner of Bank of Lafayette Streets in beautiful downtown Cape May.
 

Playwright Rupert Holmes celebrates the life of America's funniest centenarian in this life-affirming one-man show.  Holmes, whose other Broadway credits include Curtains, Accomplice and Solitary Confinement, is the first person in theatrical history to win the Tony Award for Best Book, Best Music and Best Lyrics for his Tony award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.



In this 90-minute production, director Roy Steinberg takes theater audiences on a guided tour through the 20th century, told through the eyes of Burns.  Burns, the raconteur who savored each day from his impoverished youth on the lower East side to his career in Vaudeville, regales audiences with stories about his marriage to Allen, their rise to success on stage, screen, radio and TV, and ends his narrative touching upon his memorable "second time around".



Say Goodnight, Gracie is an unforgettable theatre experience, centering around one man's devotion to his wife: a woman who was his friend, his sweetheart, and his partner for life and beyond. A love story one hundred years in the making, it induces tears of laughter and compassion as it tells the remarkable adventures of Burns, a scrappy kid from the absolute poverty of New York's lower East Side (whose neighbors included Fanny Brice and The Marx Brothers) who fought his way with song and dance into Vaudeville.  When Burns met the romance of his lifetime, the deliciously delirious Allen, the pair teamed up as both entertainers and lovers and rode a rainbow to stardom that led them on to the heights of Hollywood and into the homes of America.



And the critical acclaim speaks for itself: "George Burns came alive again for ninety wonderful, endearing minutes! I strongly recommend it!!" hailed Jeffrey Lyons for NBC, while Robyn Carter for CBS proclaimed it "a mesmerizing, career-capping achievement!" THE NEW YORK TIMES vows that "you'll be in heaven yourself, at least for ninety minutes" while THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS declares it "an endearing journey into the past that you'll find irresistible!"



But perhaps USA TODAY defined it best: "Say Goodnight, Gracie is an old fashioned love story in which the joy of being alive is the greatest love of all." Set the date now to meet George (and Gracie!) ... and remember again what life and love and laughter can be.



About the Cast

Joel Rooks first performed the role of George Burns on Broadway as understudy to the late Frank Gorshin.  Other Broadway credits include Taller Than A Dwarf directed by Alan Arkin, The Tenth Man, The Sisters Rosensweig and the voice of the late night DJ in Frankie and Johnny in The Claire de Lune. Some of the many Off-Broadway productions he has done include The Secret Order, Rocket to the Moon, Jewtopia, Iron, Comic Potential, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Richard II, School for Scandal, After The Rain and the New York Theater Workshop's Obie award-winning production of More Stately Mansions. Films include It Runs In The Family, The Sightseer, Why George?, On The Run, American Blue Note, The Gig and His and Hers. TV Credits include Copshop, Ed, The Beat, Winchell, many appearances on all the various versions of Law & Order, and an assortment of doctors, lawyers and cops on several daytime dramas. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, Circle East and New River Dramatists.  He has been a guest teacher in the theater departments at NYU, the Mason-Gross School at Rutgers University and at the Hogeschool in Eindhoven, Holland.



Didi Conn is best known for her starring role in the film, You Light Up My Life, and as Frenchy, the beauty school dropout in Grease and Grease II.  She recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of Grease by writing Frenchy's Grease Scrapbook- We'll Always Be Together.  Ms. Conn has recorded hundreds of commercials for radio and television.  She and her husband, composer David Shire, and their son, Daniel, divide their time between homes in NY and Los Angeles.



Ticket Information

Opening May 11, Say Goodnight, Gracie performances are Thursdays thru Sundays at 8pm with 3p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees. Beginning June 1, performances run Wednesday through Sunday at 8p.m. and matinees on Sunday at 3p.m. through June 18 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse of the Cape May Stage. Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors, and $15 students. Previews on May 11 will be half-price tickets. Call (609) 884-1341 for tickets and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.com. Audio enhancement, wheelchair accessible seating, and large print programs are available with advance notice by calling the box office at (609) 884-1341.



This production is generously sponsored by The Queen Victoria ® Bed & Breakfast.


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Pictured: Joel Rooks; Photo by Aleksey Photography
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Birtherism = Racism

by Scott Wolman

Many years ago, I was friendly with a guy who I thought very highly of.  One day he used the "n-word."   Then I noticed that he used it on a number of occasions and also made other racially insensitive remarks.  I ended the friendship.

Facebook offers the opportunity to do a lot in the way of dialoguing on politics.  For the most part, I think that is a good thing because in our history, it was natural for regular people to debate and discuss political issues of the day.  Call it fear, political correctness or, more likely, a dumbing down of society to the point where people became incapable of discussing politics because they had no knowledge or insights, but political talk between regular folk became a no-no.

I think it is good that Facebook has seemingly made it feel safe to discuss political issues again.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a liberal/progressive.  I believe in gay rights, environmental protection, freedom for ALL religions or from religion, tax fairness where the rich pay reasonably to help those less fortunate, universal, single-payer health care, a woman's right to choose, financial and business regulation to reign in unfettered, cruel and unjust capitalistic greed and crime, educational opportunity, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air and Water Acts, protection of our lands, waters and skies, foreign aid, science, and unlimited access to Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream (just seeing who's paying attention).

Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and others have the right to disagree with me on many or all of those issues.  However, every argument I make to support my positions will be based on facts and honest sentiments.  I expect the same in return.

Democrats, liberals and progressives have demagogued over time.  I site Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan being portrayed as warmongers or claims that George W. Bush was still doing cocaine, and in the White House no less.  Some on the left even are among the most fervent deniers on 9-11, claiming it was an inside job or other such nonsense.

The difference is that those extremes, and others, were never held and put forth by even a large minority on the left, outside of the Barry Goldwater mushroom cloud perhaps.  And that was in 1964, about the time I was born!  We on the left much more often than not tell our extremist nutjobs that they are, well, extremist nutjobs.  Something different has happened on the right, particularly since 2008 and the coming of the Age of Obama.

With the ascent of Barack Obama fully into the public eye and then to the presidency, racists have come out full bore.  A large segment of the teabagger movement has led the birther charge on Obama's citizenship.  A fringe element, though, did not stay on the edges for long.  Instead, led by a handful of opportunists and carnival barkers, the birther position has actually become mainstream Republican thinking, with nearly half of all Republicans believing Obama is not a U.S.-born citizen. 

The following link is from Factcheck.org, a non partisan site that is wholly devoted to publishing the truth and calling out the lies.  I dare any birther to read it because there is zero doubt that Barack Obama was born in the U.S. and is Constitutionally eligible to be our president.  http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

The only reason Obama's birth remains an issue is because he is black.  That's it.  The only reason.  If this was a white man, even born in what I believe some on the right think is the foreign nation of Hawaii, there would be no birther movement.  But, Barack Obama had a Kenyan father, his hair is not blond, eyes not blue.  He is black.  We are a nation with many racists.  We have the birther movement.

I urge people I like to get off it already.  Birtherism is racism and nothing else.  There is absolute proof that Barack Obama is a naturally-born citizen of this country.  If you want to call him a socialist, Marxist, liberal extremist or something along those lines, you will show yourself as being ignorant, misinformed and silly.  I can live with you being those things even though you cannot, and never will be able to, support any of that stuff with the evidence at hand.  I can't live with you being a racist birther.  Enough already!!


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Scott Wolman is a Monmouth County resident, poet and music lover. He writes on topics social, political, musical, and anything else that strikes him.

Broadway Performers Rona Figueroa, Andy Kelso, Forrest McClendon, and Lindsay Mendez Star in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris at Two River Theater Company

(RED BANK, NJ) -— Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias, announces the full company and creative team for its production of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Performances will begin at Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Tuesday, May 17 and continue through Sunday, June 5. The opening night performance is Saturday, May 21 at 8pm. Tickets are available from www.trtc.org, over the phone from 732.345.1400, or at the Two River Theater Box Office, 21 Bridge Avenue. Single ticket prices start at $35. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and patrons aged 30 and under. 



Originally produced at the Village Gate in Greenwich Village in 1968, the internationally celebrated musical revue Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris was conceived by and has English lyrics and additional material by Eric Blau and Mort Shuman, based on lyrics and commentary by Jacques Brel. Two River's production will include changes made for the 2006 Off-Broadway Zipper Theatre production, and will be directed by Daniel Ostling, who replaces previously announced director Amanda Dehnert following her resignation for personal reasons. One of the country's pre-eminent scenic designers, Ostling has also designed this production. The choreographer is Daniel Pelzig and the music director is Greg Brown.



The company of Jacques Brel includes Broadway stars Rona Figueroa (Miss Saigon), Andy Kelso (Mamma Mia), Forrest McClendon (The Scottsboro Boys), and Lindsay Mendez (Everyday Rapture).  The on-stage band includes Greg Brown (conductor and keyboards), David Malachowski (guitar), Joshua Samuels (drums/percussion) and Joseph Wallace (bass).



"I am thrilled to be producing Jacques Brel with this glorious cast and creative team, led by Dan Ostling," says Artistic Director John Dias. "Brel's songs take us deeply into a world view that is stunningly theatrical, each one telling a complete story and filled with deep human emotions. It's no wonder that they have been performed for more than three decades, yet they still feel fresh and new. We're excited to hear them interpreted by our great company of actors and our band, which will combine the qualities of classic ‘chanson' with a contemporary pop-rock vibe."

Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived, Jacques Brel was born in Brussels in 1929 and settled permanently in France in the mid-1950s. His story-songs (which include such standards as "Ne me quitte pas," "Madeleine" and "Amsterdam," all of which are included in this revue) combine poetry, wit and unexpected humor, and profoundly evocative and insightful descriptions of the human condition. Brel performed his own work in cabarets and music halls, and he released dozens of albums and singles. His songs have been covered by artists as diverse as Frank Sinatra, The Kingston Trio, Ray Charles, Judy Collins, and David Bowie. In 1974, Terry Jacks had a worldwide hit with "Seasons in the Sun," a version of Brel's song "Le Moribund" with English lyrics by Rod McKuen.

Jacques Brel is directed by Daniel Ostling, a scenic designer and ensemble member of Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre Company since 1997 who is making his directorial debut with this production. He is a frequent collaborator with director Mary Zimmerman, including on Metamorphoses (for which he was nominated for a 2002 Tony Award) and the Metropolitan Opera's productions of Lucia di Lammermoor and La Sonnambula. His other recent credits include this year's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, at Playwrights Horizons. He is an Associate Professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.



The creative team for Jacques Brel includes costume designer Jessica Ford, lighting designer Lee Fiskness, and sound designers Drew Levy and Zachary Williamson. The casting is by Janet Foster, C.S.A. and the stage manager is Pamela Edington.

Cranford's The Theater Project to Present Carlyle Brown's Historical "The African Company Presents Richard III" April 28 through May 15

(Cranford, NJ) -- The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, is proud to present the historical and provocative Carlyle Brown play "The African Company Presents Richard III" from April 28 through May 15.

Performances will take place in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue in Cranford. Tickets range from $10-25 and are available at Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006 or at brownpapertickets.com. More information is available at TheTheaterProject.org.

134 years before Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, 108 years before Martin Luther King, Jr was born, and 6 years before enslavement of blacks fully ended in New York state, a theater company of free black actors was passionately performing Shakespearean adaptations and original works in front of packed houses in 1821 Manhattan. The African Company, as they were known, then dared to open their production of Richard III on the same night and right next door to another Richard III production by New York City's leading theater of the time starring English tragedian Junius Brutus Booth. The African Company's refusal to close down and capitulate to the pressure of their white competitors is depicted in this provocative and empowering drama.

The Theater Project believes that a more thoughtful, inspired and creative community can be stimulated by its unique brand of professional, high-quality and theatrical programming. It is dedicated to the presentation of powerful and relevant productions that explore contemporary values and topic issues in an intimate and engaging setting.

Committed to strengthening the bond our professional artists have with our patrons and donors, The Theater Project provides our Central New Jersey community with a broad range of affordable programming -- ranging from rarely-seen productions to educational offerings and programs supporting next-generation actors and playwrights to a safe developmental environment for the cultivation of new plays by authors of all ages -- in celebration of the special interactive relationship between artists and audiences only live theater can provide.

Due to Union County College's plans to utilize its Roy Smith Theater differently going forward, The Theater Project is actively seeking a new performance venue and home beginning in late Spring at the conclusion of this production. The company's priority is to stay close to its loyal audience and remain in the Cranford and Union County area. It hopes to find an existing performance space and willing partnering entity to collaborate for years to come.

"If a local business operator, building owner, school, or arts organization is interested in discussing future partnering opportunities with The Theater Project, we are eager to hear from them," says Mark Spina, Artistic Director and founder. "Our 17-year roots are right here in Union County and we owe it to our loyal audiences to turn over every stone in search of a new home so that we may continue our mission to bring live, high quality and affordable theatre to our friends and neighbors."

My Own Little World Records Launches with New Joshua Van Ness Release

(Edison, NJ) -- My Own Little World Records (MOLWR) announced it's entry to into New Jersey's local music scene with the highly anticipated new release from Joshua Van Ness. The independent label is the creation of producer and songwriter John Van Ness. MOLWR's first album release, Discovering the Universe, Joshua Van Ness' long awaited follow-up to 2008's DNA, will be available in May at Joshua's live performances. The album will be available for digital distribution in June 2011.  

"I'm extremely excited to have an album and artist of this caliber as our inaugural release," said John Van Ness.  "Joshua's music displays diversity, integrity and superior musicianship.  These are the qualities of music I value most.  Keeping them alive and present in today's music is what prompted me to create My Own Little World Records."

According to the label's founder, MOLWR will focus on music and artists that don't always fit into one traditional musical genre. 

"Our first and foremost objective is to nurture and create truly exceptional songs and musicianship," said John. "I believe quality music does not need to be pigeon-holed in order to be successful." 

MOLWR is planning more releases from new artists later in the year. 

East Lynne Theater Company honors The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May at SJCA Awards

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May will be East Lynne Theater Company's honoree on Thursday, May 19 at the South Jersey Cultural Alliance's (SJCA) 16th Annual Paul Aiken Encore Awards Dinner at Bally's in Atlantic City. East Lynne is a proud member of SJCA, and this event offers the opportunity for members to recognize those who graciously support arts organizations in eight South Jersey counties. This year, thirty awards are expected to be bestowed, including the Alliance's own 2011 Lillian Levy Standing Ovation Award to NJN and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Marc Mappen, who was formerly a dean at Rutgers University and recently retired as executive director of the New Jersey Historical Commission.    

     ELTC, founded in 1980, moved its mainstage production season from The William Carlos Williams Center for the Performing Arts in Rutherford to Cape May in 1989 when members of the Cape May community asked artistic director Warren Kliewer to consider the move. The mission of ELTC, to preserve American classic plays, is a perfect fit for a tourist town known for its classic American architecture. For two years prior to the move, ELTC's touring productions had been booked for special events by Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities. ELTC began its Cape May mainstage seasons in The Henry Sawyer Room at The Chalfonte Hotel, and went on to larger venues at The First Methodist Church and the gym attached to The Franklin Street School. The company thought it had a permanent home at the Cape May Institute (also known as Shelton College) but that was not to be when The Christian Admiral came down and the land was sold.

     With the loss of the Institute, the quest for a permanent home resumed, and in the past ten years, the company has come close to creating a four-hundred-seat theater that would have been available to ELTC and other nonprofit organizations in Cape May. But this also was not to be.

     When artist director Gayle Stahlhuth approached The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May in 1999 about a performance space, the church kindly agreed – both theater and church believing it to be an interim venue until a "permanent" home was found.  It is a balancing act between church activities and theatrical productions, but The First Presbyterian Church has become a sanctuary to the theater, particularly in these economic times. The relationship between ELTC and this church is being studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York City as a model for other such partnerships throughout the country.  The staff and board of ELTC are very proud to be giving its 2011 Encore Award to The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May – an institution that has stood by this theater company for thirteen years and counting.

     The awards themselves are designed especially for this event by artists at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center, and each is hand-made.

     The Encore Awards, a cornerstone of the cultural community in southern New Jersey, will be held from 5:30-9:30p.m. in The Grand Ballroom at Bally's, and anyone may attend. Tickets are $80.00. To be seated at or near the Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company's table, contact ELTC directly at 609-884-5898 or eastlynneco@aol.com. For more about the Encore Awards, and to purchase tickets through the Alliance, contact the SJCA directly at 609-645-2760.

     For information about ELTC's upcoming events, including KT Sullivan's "Rhyme, Women, and Song" on April 29 and 30, and ELTC's mainstage production season, contact the theater by calling 884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.

NJPAC Announces New President and CEO

(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Board of Directors of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center recently announced the appointment of John Schreiber as its new President and CEO, effective July 1st.   Schreiber currently serves as Executive Vice President, Social Action & Advocacy for Participant Media, a Los Angeles-based global entertainment company specializing in socially-relevant documentary and non-documentary feature films, television, publishing and digital media.  Participant's award winning films include An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night and Good Luck, The Cove, Waiting for Superman, Food Inc., Charlie Wilson's War, The Kite Runner, Syriana and many others.  Mr. Schreiber is responsible for managing the creation, development and execution of unique social action and advocacy campaigns for each Participant film.  A resident of Montclair, New Jersey since 2001, where he has three children in the public school system, Mr. Schreiber has been commuting to Los Angeles weekly for the past four years.

Schreiber will replace founding NJPAC President and CEO of twenty-two years, Lawrence P. Goldman, who will lead the Arts Center's new subsidiary, the Theater Square Development Corporation, focused on advancing NJPAC's founding mission to develop the land adjacent to the Arts Center.

"As we celebrate the many wonderful contributions Larry Goldman has made over the past two decades to New Jersey, the City of Newark, and our rich and diverse cultural environment, we simultaneously warmly welcome his very accomplished and capable successor John Schreiber to lead NJPAC," said William J. Marino , Chairman of the NJPAC Board of Directors who headed up the committee that conducted an international search for the Arts Center's new leader. "John brings great energy and a passion for the Arts Center's mission which he will enthusiastically apply to continue the wonderful traditions we have begun at NJPAC.  The Board and all the communities we serve welcome him with open arms and look forward to our successful collaboration."

"John is a talented and experienced leader with the right skills at the right time," said John R. Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO, Prudential Financial, Inc., a member of NJPAC's Board of Directors, and member of the search committee.  The committee, comprised of eight members of NJPAC's Board of Directors, conducted in-depth interviews over a period of several months with ten candidates from a large pool of applicants.

Termed "a visionary producer" and "impresario of brand names" by The New York Times ,  Schreiber's career has encompassed award winning theater, television, concerts, festivals, documentary film, branded entertainment, and a host of other cultural and cause-related events.  His producer credits include the nationwide KOOL and JVC Jazz Festivals, the Newport Jazz Festival, the weekly television concert series Hard Rock Live (VH-1), the Benson & Hedges Blues Festivals, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor (PBS), the New Yorker Literary and Arts Festival, the American Express Gold Card Grammy Festiva l, and, with the trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis, the Harman: How to Listen music education program.  He received Emmy® and Tony® Awards as producer of the Broadway and HBO hit Elaine Stritch At Liberty.

"I'm delighted to be coming home to New Jersey to join the remarkable NJPAC community," said Schreiber.  "Larry Goldman's visionary leadership has resulted in a performing arts center unlike any other: a place where great performers, diverse audiences and unique arts education outreach combine to offer transformative experiences for audiences of all ages. I am excited and honored to offer my ideas and experience in the service of NJPAC's bright future."

Prior to joining Participant Media, Schreiber was President of George Wein's Festival Productions, Inc., the world's largest producer of music festivals, and The John Schreiber Group, an entertainment marketing firm he operated for ten years.  He was also President of Lafayette Productions LLC, a joint venture with the Margeotes Fertitta Powell advertising agency.

Schreiber's other credits include producing The President's Summit for America's Future, a multi-day event that inaugurated Colin Powell's America's Promise volunteer effort, plus the companion Fox network special Keeping America's Promise. For the Chinese government, he produced the New York cultural exhibition A Close Look at China .  He created, developed and was lead producer of the multi-media musical George C. Wolfe's Harlem Song, which ran for six months at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater and was lauded for the positive economic impact it delivered to Upper Manhattan.

"John Schreiber is the perfect choice to lead NJPAC," said Lawrence J. Wilker, former President of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and President and CEO of TheatreDreams.  "He is a brilliant programmer, inspiring leader, and cares very much about community."

Schreiber curated and produced Carnegie Hall's American Popular Song celebration for seven years, as well as the Kennedy Center's Open House multi-cultural festival. He produced Santana: The Celebration for the Grammy Foundation at Universal Amphitheater and Carole King: Making Music with Friends at Madison Square Garden for People Magazine's 25th anniversary. He produced America's largest comedy celebration, the Toyota Comedy Festival in New York, for 10 years, and developed the Marshall's Women In Comedy Festivals. He has been a producer of gala events at the White House for five Presidents.

He has consulted, developed and produced cause-related entertainment marketing initiatives for the American Museum of Natural History, National Public Radio, Partnership for A Drug Free America, Children's Television Workshop, Comedy Central, Bravo, the Juilliard School, the New York Pops, the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, General Mills, Loew's Corporation, Miller Brewing Company, Altria, Pilot Pen, Mellon Bank, and the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Schreiber is on the national board of First Book, which provides hundreds of thousands of books to children in need across America each year. He is an honorary board member of the S.L.E. Foundation, which provides research and support for people with Lupus.

"Our search committee did a first-rate job in choosing John Schreiber to lead the Arts Center in its next chapter," said Lawrence P. Goldman, the Arts Center's founding President and CEO.  "He is a widely respected professional with a history of achievement and sensitivity to the values that NJPAC has tried to embody in its young life.  I can only wish John the same sense of joy and fulfillment that I have been privileged to experience these past twenty-two years."

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States.  As New Jersey's Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State's and the world's best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted over 6 million visitors (more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit for more information.

NJPAC is a wheelchair accessible facility and provides assistive services for patrons with disabilities.  For more information, call 888-GO-NJPAC.

Friday, April 15, 2011

ROWAN CHOREOGRAPHERS EXPLORE BALANCE IN EQUILIBRIUM

(Glassboro, NJ)  -– In Equilibrium, 11 student choreographers from Rowan University take a journey to create original work and together convey a desire for balance in a complex and evolving world. Equilibrium runs April 28 – 30 at 8 pm and May 1 at 3 pm in Tohill Theatre on the university's Glassboro campus.

The dances explore a range of subjects, from the tasks of everyday life to cultural, social and psychological diversity. Each choreographer uses movement to portray a story of self-searching, internal battle and final resolution.

The works have been created by Heather Arroyo (Perth Amboy, NJ), Maya Carr (Camden, NJ), Kaitlin Flinn (Hasbrouck Heights, NJ), Megan MacDonald (Iselin, NJ), Courtney Mackey (Riverdale, NJ), Rahlynn McMillan (Sicklerville, NJ), Denzel Maradza (Harare, Zimbabwe), Karyn Pereny (Pompton Lakes, NJ), Nicolette Walker (Pittsgrove, NJ), Katie Watkins (Deerfield Township, NJ) and Jimmy Cue (Avenel, NJ).

As Mackey and Pereny point out, “The Spring Dance Concert is an opportunity for Rowan dancers to show what they have learned and express themselves as artists on the Tohill stage. With one common thread tying our pieces together, we strive to achieve equilibrium.”

Arroyo's work is a journey through the world of mental disorders and the weight of judgment, insecurities and curiosity on your back.  Carr notes that her "Colors of the Rainbow" is a work that includes a balance of emotions and lifestyles through dance styles such as modern, African, house, ballet and hip hop, with the goal of highlighting the differences and the unity of the human experience. With "Working Title," Cue tells the story of a struggle between one of life's most basic forces. Flinn's piece is about control and the idea of an inescapable mind. MacDonald explores the internal struggle to balance business versus pleasure. In her work, Mackey suggests that material temptations can veer us off the spiritual path and make us appear different from one another when, in the end, we are the same but sometimes wind up taking a different route to realize it. McMillan strives to give the audience a chance to explore a variety of music which compliments several movements and aims to entertain the audience while having fun and enjoying art. Maradza calls his work a daring commitment to conflict and recognition of the elements of war. A family realizes that something in their lives is broken in Pereny's segment of the evening. Walker offers a fantasy of what we want but don't always get. Watkins has created an abstract piece dealing with the effects of mirror neurons.

Tohill Theatre is located in Bunce Hall on the Rowan University campus, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ. Tickets are available at the door before each performance. Tickets are $10, general admission; $5 for seniors, non-Rowan students and Rowan staff & alumni. Rowan students are admitted free with valid ID. For advance tickets, call 856-256-4545 or visit www.rowan.edu/theatredance.

Cranford's The Theater Project In Search of a Long-Term Performance Home

(Cranford, NJ) -- The Theater Project's 17-year run of provocative theatrical offerings emanating out of Union County College's Cranford campus theater is coming to an end. As a result, the professional theater company is in the process of diligently searching for a performance venue and long-term home in order to continue its mission of providing its Central New Jersey community with a broad range of affordable theatrical and educational programming.

The Theater Project's priority is to stay close to its loyal audience and remain in the Cranford or Union County area. It hopes to find a flexible performance space and willing partnering entity to collaborate for years to come. It is interested in hearing from building owners and existing organizations who believe they may have appropriate space and a desire to engage in such a dialogue.

"If a local business operator, building owner, school, or arts organization is interested in discussing future partnering opportunities with The Theater Project, we are eager to hear from them," says Mark Spina, Artistic Director and founder. "Our 17-year roots are right here in Union County and we owe it to our loyal audiences to turn over every stone in search of a new home so that we may continue our mission to bring live, high quality and affordable theatre to our friends and neighbors."

Interested individuals or organizations should contact The Theater Project at 908-659-5189 or by email at theaterproject@aol.com.

The need for a new long-term home for The Theater Project was necessitated by Union County College's plans to utilize its Roy Smith Theater differently going forward.

An award-winning Associate Member of the New Jersey Theater Alliance, The Theater Project strives to cultivate a more thoughtful and creative community by inspiring and challenging our audiences in an intimate and engaging setting through powerful, relevant and rarely-seen theatrical productions that explore contemporary values and topical issues, as well as through educational offerings and programs that benefit our Central New Jersey community. The Theater Project has recently received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Beyond its mainstage shows, The Theater Project's outreach into the community is extended by:
* An annual Young Playwrights Competition open to high school students state-wide featuring staged performances of the pieces and savings bond prizes
* An adult playwriting workshop and peer coaching group where new plays can be cultivated in a safe development environment
* Educational outreach focused on the challenges facing immigrant students in today's American high schools
* Free monthly staged readings of new plays by New Jersey-based playwrights

The Theater Project's final production at the Roy Smith Theater of Union County College will be  the historical and provocative Carlyle Brown play "The African Company Presents Richard III" running from April 28 through May 15.

The play centers on a theater company of free black actors passionately performing Shakespearean adaptations and original works in front of packed houses in 1821 Manhattan. The African Company, as they were known, then dared to open their production of Richard III on the same night and right next door to another Richard III production by New York City's leading theater of the time starring English tragedian Junius Brutus Booth. The African Company's refusal to close down and capitulate to the pressure of their white competitors is depicted in this provocative and empowering drama. Tickets range from $10-25 and are available at Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006 or at brownpapertickets.com. More information is available at TheTheaterProject.org.