New Jersey Stage

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Interview With Anjelia Pelay

by Gary Wien

Anjelia Pelay has a CD release party on November 11 at the Stone Pony (11/11/11).  Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.  The show is open to all ages.  Michael Dante Summonte and Town Hall will open the show.  NewJerseyStage.com had the opportunity to talk with Anjelia about the new CD and the release party...


How does it feel to have your first full-length CD coming out?

It feels amazing. I can't believe I have a CD coming out this year. I can't believe this is my first CD. I am truly happy about this all. And can't wait for you all the hear the album!


You've performed at many big venues in the area as part of Glen Burtnik shows, what's it like to see your name headlining a show at the Stone Pony?

It's pretty cool because it's what I've always dreamed of. Growing up I did a lot of acting, theater, and dance so if I was "headlining" a show it was playing an actual character. This is the best because it's all my own work. I wrote everything from scratch - the songs, the choreography, the script. It's a pretty cool feeling to get to share that with everyone on this night.


The record sounds incredible with several songs that should get serious airplay. What are your goals for the album? What would make it a success in your eyes?

Thank you so much! Seriously. That is such a great feeling to hear someone say. My goals are to go on tour and share my music with the world.

Over the past few years, I can't even begin to tell you how many local musicians told me I had to go see you perform live. You definitely have a considerable fanbase that includes many fellow artists. What are your thoughts on the local music community and its support of you?

I LOVE you guys! Thank you so much. That is an honor if someone really loves watching you perform live you know? When I first started playing out, I couldn't believe there were other weirdos out there like me that love to write and play music everyday as well. Haha : ) And the support system of it all is amazing in Asbury.

How important is it to have the support of artists like Glen Burtnik?

Glen is such a good guy. He's both: super talented and super down to earth. I absolutely love working with him musically and also hanging out eating ice cream with him is pretty much just as fun. It's always a good time with Glen. And the fact that he is such a great support means the world to me.

I'm calling 2011 the year of the Jersey Girl because I've heard more solid releases this year from local female artists than ever before. The list includes names like Emily Grove, Christine Martucci, Jo Wymer, Nicole Atkins, Laura Warshauer, Kelly Carvin, Linda Chorney, and Sheli Aarden. As a female artist, do you notice something special going on? Is it getting easier to be a female artist around here? Years ago, many female artists indicated it was a bit harder for them than for male artists to get noticed.

Hm. That is a hard question! Because sometimes I still feel it is harder for a female. But I am super happy for all my talented friends and their releases this year.

Speaking of getting noticed, one of the first things I noticed about you was your admiration for Marilyn Monroe. Tell me about that.

As long as I can remember, I was being compared to Monroe a lot in the sense that we are both very misunderstood. When people first meet or see me they usually judge me as a "dumb blonde". Then when they see me perform or get to actually know me they realize I'm actually a lot smarter than they thought and have much more depth than just a "dumb blonde". I've read so many Marilyn biographies, autobiographies, her diaries,watched documentaries, etc, and I can't stress enough how much I feel for her and can relate to her.

Another aspect that's hard to ignore is the relationship you had with your father. I know his passing really affected you. Did his struggles work into any of your songs? Or are their some topics or feelings that are simply too personal for you to share in your music?

I wrote "Forever Gone" [which is on the album] about my fathers death. Sometimes when I perform it live I am crying literally in the middle of the song. Also while recording the ending vocal I cried a bit as well. But I always feel better after being able to do that. Being able to let my emotions about it out through art. I grew up playing music with my father, [he was a blues guitar player] - he is the reason I play, write, perform today. So I feel him most still with me..through music.

Finally, tell me about “Sunshine” – is that a nickname you've had or one given to you by Todd?

I've always thought I am more like the darkness than the sun, except for my hair maybe haha Todd is one of my biggest fans and he definitely likes to disagree with that one!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Light of Day Tickets Go On Sale October 29

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Roots music legend David Bromberg will be among the performers at at Paramount Theatre show on Jan. 14, 2011, that serves as the centerpiece for the 12th annual Light of Day concert series, now expanded to four-day weekend of activities in Asbury Park, N.J.

More than 100 artists will play at at least 16 different events to be held at nine different venues in the city on Jan. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 2012, which promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29 for the series of shows, sponsored by the Light of Day Foundation, Inc. (www.lightofday.org), the Asbury Park Press (www.app.com), Aerosoles (www.aerosoles.com), Ansell, Grimm & Aaron (www.ansellgrimm.com), ShopRite (www.ShopRite.com) and CBGB (www.cbgb.com).

Tickets are available  through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com), Ticketmaster charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets (including selected Walmart stores), the Stone Pony box office, 913 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park.

A wide variety of combination ticket packages – as well as single tickets to each show – will be available.

The Light of Day series of concerts, which also includes performances in Canada and several countries in Europe, raises money for the ongoing fight against Parkinson's disease by supporting research into more effective treatments and a cure for people who suffer from Parkinson's and other degenerative neuromuscular disorders.

Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson and the City Council have proclaimed Jan. 12 to 16th  as "Light of Day Week" in Asbury Park, in honor of the concert series which annually brings several thousand music fans to the city.

Multi-instrumentalist Bromberg is known for his eclectic style, and his ability to mix blues, folk, country, rock n'roll and jazz into a unique musical stew. In addition to releasing several solo albums, including 2011's "Use Me," Bromberg has performed with a renowned roster of artists, including Willie Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan and Jerry Jeff Walker. He co-wrote the song "The Hold-Up" with former Beatle George Harrison. Harrison made an appearance on Bromberg's self-titled 1971 album.

 Joining Bromberg on the Paramount Theatre bill, which will be hosted once again by Vincent Pastore, who played Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero on the HBO show "The Sopranos," will be long-time Light of Day supporters Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers,  Willie Nile, Joe D'Urso and Stone Caravan, Garland Jeffreys and John Eddie. Up and coming group the RockNRoll Chorus will also perform.

Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.

On January 15, 2011, Bruce Springsteen joined his old friend Grushecky and the Houserockers on stage at the Paramount for a sizzling set that was the highlight of the 11th annual Light of Day concert series. The show closed with an emotional rendition of "Thunder Road," that had the whole audience singing along. Springsteen also shared the stage with Jesse Malin, Willie Nile and Alejandro Escovedo during their sets at the Paramount that night and performed a solo acoustic set before Grushecky and the Houserockers came onstage. Springsteen has played at eight of the 11 Light of Day events.

Light of Day's New Jersey weekend will kick off on Thursday, Jan. 12 at Asbury Lanes on Fourth Avenue, with a Rock N Bowl-a-Thon that will pair participants with celebrity bowlers for a night of fun that will also include lots of music.

Also on Thursday night, The Saint, a legendary original music venue located at Main Street and Monroe Avenue in Asbury, will host its first Light of Day event.

On Friday, Jan. 13, Asbury Park's legendary Stone Pony, the oceanfront club where Light of Day got its start 11 years ago, will feature a tribute to the "Asbury Angels," the musicians and other members of the Asbury Park music scene who have passed on in recent years. Those being honored include Clarence Clemons, Danny Federici, Kevin Kavanaugh, Donnie Bertleson and John Luraschi.

The concert will be headlined by the Sensational Soul Cruisers, featuring J.T. Bowen, and will also feature the Nick Clemons Band, Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls, featuring Jason Federici, Boccigaluple & The Bad Boys and Jo Bonnano and the Godsons of Soul, along with many other artists.

Light of Day board member Rob Dye will also host an open mic event on Friday night at the Wonder Bar, located right down the street from the Pony at the corner of Ocean and Fifth Avenues in Asbury Park, and Asbury Lanes will have its second Light of Day event.

On Saturday, the 14th, the Light of Day shows start at noon at the Stone Pony and the Wonder Bar. Performers at the Wonder Bar will include Stormin' Norman Seldin with Pam McCoy. There will be music at both venues from noon to 5 p.m.

A children's show, featuring family-friendly music, will be held at McLoone's Supper Club in the afternoon Saturday.

In addition to the main event at the Paramount Theatre Saturday night, the Stone Pony will host a country night, The Saint will also host another night of original music, and Asbury Lanes will hold its third Light of Day event.

Throughout the weekend, the documentary "Just Around the Corner" will be shown at the Showroom, an independent movie house on at 708 Cookman Ave. in Asbury Park. The documentary, produced by Flat Broke Productions, focuses on Light of Day Foundation founder Bob Benjamin, and how he has used music in the fight against Parkinson's disease.

Light of Day 11 will wrap up on Sunday, Jan. 15 with three "Songwriters by the Sea" acoustic singer-songwriter shows at three boardwalk venues: The Watermark at noon; Langosta Lounge at 3 p.m., and McLoone's Supper Club at 6 p.m. McLoone's Supper Club will feature performers on both levels of the venue. Half-way through the show, in the Light of Day version of musical chairs, the performers will switch places, so audience members will see all performers no matter where they are sitting.

Performers at the Sunday acoustic shows will include Pat Guadagno, Jess Klein, Emily Grove, Christine Martucci, Willie Nile, John Eddie, Joe D'Urso and Lisa Bianco.

On Monday, Jan. 16, an official Light of Day breakfast will be held. Stay tuned for further details.

Concert-goers can purchase a Light of Day ticket package to gain admission to all Light of Day events at one low price. Single tickets will also be available for individual shows.

Ticket packages include (all seat descriptions are approximate):

Platinum combo package: $250, include pit or "very best" orchestra seats in the first seven rows at the Paramount. The ticket package includes a commemorative Light of Day New Jersey 2012 VIP laminate; a Light of Day New Jersey 2012 t-shirt, and a gift bag worth more than $200, plus admission to all Light of Day New Jersey 2012 events.

Gold combo package: $175, includes great front orchestra seats in rows 8 to 13 and the loge at the Paramount. The ticket package also includes a commemorative Light of Day New Jersey 2012 VIP laminate, plus admission to all Light of Day New Jersey 2012 events.

Silver combo package: $145, includes great mid-orchestra and lower side orchestra seats at the Paramount. The ticket package also includes admission to all Light of Day New Jersey 2012 events.

Bronze combo package: $109, includes rear orchestra and lower balcony seats at the Paramount, plus admission to all other Light of Day New Jersey 2012 events. The best seats for the dollar!


Individual event ticket prices are:

Paramount Theatre, 1300 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park, Saturday, Jan. 14: $175 (first seven rows, including the pit), $125 (rows 8 to 13 and the loge), $89 (mid-orchestra and lower side orchestra), $69 (rear orchestra and lower balcony), and Super Saver seats, $39 and $29, in the rear balcony.

Asbury Lanes, 209 Fourth Ave., Thursday, Jan. 12, $15.

The Saint, 601 Main St., Thursday, Jan. 12, $12, 18 to enter, 21 to drink.

Stone Pony, 913 Ocean Ave., Friday, Jan. 13: $25 in advance, $30 day of show; all ages, 21 to drink.

Wonder Bar, 1213 Ocean Ave., Rob Dye's open mic, Friday, Jan. 13, $10, 21 and over.

Wonder Bar, Saturday, Jan. 14: $15, all ages, 21 to drink.

Stone Pony, Saturday afternoon, Jan. 14: $15, all ages, 21 to drink.

McLoone's Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave., children's show, Sat., Jan. 14, noon to 3 p.m., $10, all ages.

Stone Pony, Saturday night, Jan. 14 (country show):  $20 day of show, all ages, 21 to drink.

The Saint, Saturday, Jan. 14, $12 day of show, 18 to enter, 21 to drink.

The Showroom, 708 Cookman Ave., "Just Around the Corner…" documentary, produced by Flat Broke Productions: $10.

Songwriters by the Sea shows, Sunday, Jan. 15. These tickets will be sold as part of the ticket combo packages, by advance reservations directly with the venue, or at the door on the day of the show:

Watermark, 800 Ocean Ave., noon to 3 p.m.: $15.

Langosta Lounge, 1000 Ocean Ave., 3 to 6 p.m., $15.

McLoone's Supper Club, 1200 Ocean Ave., 6 to 10 p.m.: $15.

Combo tickets save more than $100 on admission to Light of Day New Jersey 2012, and guarantee your seat at Saturday evening's Paramount Theatre show. Admission to all other events is on a capacity-dependent, first-come, first-serve basis.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MUSICIANS UNITE TO CELEBRATE "THE SOUL OF ASBURY PARK"

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- This November, Asbury Park will celebrate many of the artists who helped foster its rich musical heritage at the highly anticipated "The Soul of Asbury Park" concert.  The once in a lifetime music event will be hosted at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, November 12 and will feature noteworthy Asbury Park musicians in addition to an array of acclaimed doo-wop and soul artists.

A follow-up to the success of the sold-out, April-2 concert at the Wonder Bar that featured surprise performances by Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny Lyon, "The Soul of Asbury Park" will again pay tribute to many of the doo-wop and soul musicians who emerged from  Asbury Park and achieved great success as artists.

Sponsored by the Asbury Park Historical Society and the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation, the November-12 concert will include performances by Ray, Goodman and Brown, and Bobby Thomas with a special tribute to the Orioles.  A reunion of Asbury Park originals The Broadways is slated, along with a special appearance by Nicky Addeo and The Nite Owl Band.

Lenny Welch, one of the most successful soul musicians to emerge from the city, will also grace concert-goers with his musical talent.  Welch is best known for his hits "Since I Fell for You," which reached number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1963, "Ebb Tide" and "A Taste of Honey."

"This will be a very special event," commented Don Stine, president of The Asbury Park Historical Society.  "If you missed our sold-out concert this April at the Wonder Bar, this might be your last chance to see all of these truly great Asbury Park performers in one venue."

The Soul of Asbury Park will kick-off at 8:00 p.m. on November 12 at the Paramount Theatre.  Tickets to the concert are $20.00, $35.00, and $50.00.  A limited number of VIP tickets are available and can be purchased for $100; a meet and greet with the performers and cocktail hour beginning at 6:30 p.m. will be included in the VIP package. Valet parking will also be available for purchase.

Tickets to "The Soul of Asbury Park" can be purchased at www.Ticketmaster.com; at the Stone Pony, at First and Ocean Avenues; and at Experience Asbury, on the boardwalk at the Fourth Ave. Pavilion, Thursday through Monday.  For more information, please call 732-897-6500.

The Asbury Park Historical Society, The Madonna House, and Asbury Park's West Side Community Center will be represented at the concert.

ALEC BALDWIN. MICHAEL CUMPSTY. UNPLUGGED. at Two River Theater

(RED BANK, NJ) -— Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, announces that tickets are now on sale for an intimate evening with actors Alec Baldwin and Michael Cumpsty on Monday, November 21 at 8 pm. This special event will feature the actors in conversation, and will include scenes from great classics and comedies, as well as stories about their careers on stage and screen.

Tickets for this one-night event range from $50 to $350 and are on sale now from 732.345.1400 or trtc.org. Patrons who purchase $350 tickets will enjoy an exclusive pre-show reception with the artists beginning at 6 pm. The reception will include hors d'oeuvres provided by et al fine food, cocktails, and a photo opportunity with Alec Baldwin. This intimate party will be limited to 60 people, who will also receive premium seating in the first few rows of the Rechnitz Theater.  

Alec Baldwin made his Broadway debut in 1986 in Joe Orton's Loot. His many stage credits include an acclaimed revival of A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, for which he received a 1992 Tony Award nomination, and the title role of Shakespeare's Macbeth at The Public Theater (where he worked with John Dias, now Two River's Artistic Director) in 1998.

Since 2006 he has starred as Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock, a performance that has garnered him two Emmy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. His screen credits include films as diverse as It's Complicated, The Departed, The Cooler (for which he received an Academy Award nomination), Ghosts of Mississippi, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Hunt for Red October, and Working Girl. He is the announcer for the New York Philharmonic and currently holds the record for most times hosting Saturday Night Live.

Michael Cumpsty was most recently seen as Benedick in Two River's production of Much Ado About Nothing. He has appeared in 14 Broadway productions including Sunday in the Park with George, Enchanted April, 42nd Street, and Copenhagen. His Shakespeare credits include his Obie-winning performance as Hamlet, Richard II, and Richard III, all for Classic Stage; many productions for The Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival including the title role of Timon of Athens and Malvolio in Twelfth Night at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park; and Leontes in The Winter's Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company at their home in Stratford-upon-Avon. His film and television credits include Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie, Eat Pray Love, and The Ice Storm.

Two River Theater Company is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hickory Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Molly Pitcher Inn/Oyster Point Hotel, The Shubert Foundation, Flowerful Events, et al fine food & events, and many other foundations, corporations, and sponsors.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Comedian Joel McHale Comes to Monmouth University

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– Maybe you first noticed Joel McHale in his top-billed role on Community, the ensemble comedy series now in its third season on NBC. Portraying Jeff Winger — the disbarred attorney scrambling to get back in the game from the bottom-rung level of fictional Greendale Community College — the actor has hit just the right note as the smarmy, sarcastic (yet strangely sympathetic) ringleader of a motley study group of misfits.

Then again, you might have known Joel McHale from his long-running stint as host of the E! Channel's weekly clip show The Soup — a wild, often wickedly wisecracking vichysoisse collecting the "best" of the worst of TV in a YouTube world, in a manner that combines the sly snarkiness of Tosh.0 with the production values of the old Uncle Floyd Show.

While his leading-man looks and his six-foot-four-inch height might have fast-tracked him on a career as a local news anchor, McHale instead honed his satirical stuff in front of "tough room" audiences as an improv trouper — and his increased visibility on TV has led him to revisit his live comedy skills, as a stand-up comic who literally stands head and shoulders above the pack.  On the evening of Saturday, November 5, the Seattle native who's packed theaters from coast to coast returns to New Jersey, in his debut appearance at Monmouth University.  

For the 8:30 p.m. event, produced by Concerts East and AEG Live and presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth, the comedian takes the stage of the only venue on our West Long Branch campus that's big enough to contain him — the all-new MAC at Monmouth University. Since opening its gates two years ago, the multi-purpose sports and entertainment arena has been home court to Monmouth Hawks NCAA Basketball — and has hosted a series of sold-out concerts by top alternative rock and hip-hop acts, as well as Hall of Fame music legends Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne. In short, it's a far cry from the paintball-pelted auditorium of Greendale CC.

Mixing comedic bits that draw from his personal life (as a family-guy father of two) with anecdotes and observations that strafe the current darlings of popular culture (E! colleague Ryan Seacrest remains a perennial butt of the jokes), McHale performs a crowd-pleasing, energetic set for modern audiences; one that's simultaneously reference-savvy and candidly universal.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the MAC venue's box office opening for day-of-show ticket sales at 5:00 p.m. on November 5. To purchase tickets in advance, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. Patrons will be able to purchase up to 8 tickets for this event, and the parking lot will open at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of the show, with a $10 parking fee per vehicle.

'Civil War' speaks anew to the 21st century, at Monmouth University


(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– Its bloody battles decimated a generation, tore families asunder and exposed wounds that a nation still struggles to come to grips with.

At the heart of America's Civil War, however, were personal stories of courage, conscience and complicated emotions that played out on the most intimate of battlefields.

Here in the 150th anniversary year of the outbreak of the War Between the States, the people who lived this history — from plantation slaves to storied commanders — have returned to speak to us through Civil War Voices: Songs and Memoirs of Five Extraordinary Lives, a touring multimedia theatrical presentation that adds light and life to this darkest chapter in U.S. history.

On the afternoon of Sunday, October 30, the Center for the Arts at Monmouth University welcomes Civil War Voices to the stage of the Pollak Theatre, as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series on our West Long Branch, NJ campus.

Using stirring renditions of period songs, as well as the actual diaries and letters of the people who lived it, this musical drama by composer/arranger Mark Hayes and book author James R. Harris conjures the era of the Civil War through illuminating portraits of five real life Americans — the conflicted Southern planter and reluctant soldier Joe Harris, the former slave Elizabeth Keckley (who became Mary Todd Lincoln's closest confidante), the separated-by-war spouses Theo and Harriet Perry, and the college professor who would go down in history as the heroic General Joshua Chamberlain.

Investing familiar hymns, marches and folk spirituals like "Amazing Grace," "Dixie," "When Johnny Comes marching Home" and "Battle Hymn of the Republic" with new relevance, the play traces the timeline of the Civil War through triumphs and tragedies that impact an entire nation, or just a single household — from the birth of a child whose father has gone off to war, to the joy and grief of a freed slave at the news of the Confederate surrender and the Lincoln assassination. An ensemble of professional actors brings this fully staged and costumed musical to life in a production that's been seen at colleges, museums and performing arts centers from the Manhattan theater district to the battlegrounds at Gettysburg.

"Civil War Voices" is not just for Civil War buffs. The show reflects the struggles, large and small, of both the North and the South – stories not found in history books. "The really beautiful thing is, by the end of the play, we see that even though it was North vs. the South, we all were so much the same, with such similar human hopes and fears," said Assistant Director Katy Brown.

The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University is proud to offer the New Jersey premiere of Civil War Voices, on a Performing Arts Series program that's been honored by the NJ State Council on the Arts and the Monmouth County Arts Council for an ongoing mission of education, enrichment and dedication to the community.

To purchase tickets, or for additional information on the 2011-2012 Performing Arts season, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

East Lynne Theater Company presents "Sherlock Holmes' Adventure of the Norwood Builder"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- "We're not getting all the evidence.  I feel it in my bones. Unless some lucky chance comes our way, I fear that the Norwood Disappearance Case will not figure in that chronicle of our successes." Sherlock Holmes is speaking to his loyal friend Dr. Watson. They are trying desperately to prove that a young lawyer did not commit murder, while Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard is convinced of it.

     Step back in time, on Friday Nov. 4 and Saturday Nov. 5 at 8:00p.m., when the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company presents Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Sherlock Holmes' Adventure of the Norwood Builder" in the style of a radio broadcast, complete with live sound effects and commercials, just like the Sherlock Holmes' radio series on NBC that premiered in 1930. Artistic Director Gayle Stahlhuth, who recently adapted the works of Dorothy Parker for ELTC, wrote the script.   

     Lee O'Connor is once more portraying Holmes, and Fred Velde returns as Dr. Watson. Lee first portrayed Holmes in ELTC's William Gillette's "Sherlock Holmes" and has become one of the main storytellers for the company's "Tales of the Victorians." Fred, who was in ELTC's "Anna Christie," "Rain," and “Dulcy,” has appeared in over fifty shows in NYC, including the off-Broadway revival of Mae West's "Sex."

     Portraying several other roles are Thomas Raniszewski, James Rana and Gayle Stahlhuth. Thomas recently received critical acclaim as Warren in the Philadelphia premiere of "The Twentieth Century Way." ELTC shows include "Berkeley Square" and "Dulcy."  Actor, writer, and variety artist, James Rana, has performed throughout North America and Europe, and is making his debut with ELTC. He is the featured performer at ELTC's upcoming fundraiser on Nov. 10, and the adaptor of "The Poe Mysteries," which will be ELTC's world premiere play in the summer of 2012. Gayle recently was in "Dulcy" and directs. Rob LeMaire, who appeared in several ELTC productions including "Helpful Hints" and "The Ransom of Red Chief," with his son Bobby, is also portraying several roles, and operating the live sound effects.

     The performances are at The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes St., where the company is in residence. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for full-time students, and, as always, anyone age 12 and under is free. For information and reservations, call 884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org. "Adventure of the Norwood Builder" is part of Cape May's "Sherlock Holmes' Weekend." For other Sherlock Holmes' events, contact The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities at 884-5404 or online at www.capemaymac.org.

     East Lynne's production season would not be possible without season sponsors Curran Investment Management, Aleathea's Restaurant, and La Mer Beachfront Inn; The NJ Dept. of State, Division of Travel & Tourism; NJ State Council on the Arts/Dept. of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; and the generosity of many patrons.  An opportunity to come out and support The East Lynne Theater Company is on Thursday Nov. 10 at ELTC's annual fundraiser at Aleathea's Restaurant.  Contact the theater for details.

THE FLIP SIDE OF NILS LOFGREN

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– Nils Lofgren will perform at Monmouth University's Pollak Theatre on Friday, October 28 at 8 p.m.  In addition to performing at Monmouth University, Lofgren will donate a signed photograph of himself and Bruce Springsteen performing on stage to the Bruce Springsteen Collection.  The Collection will open at Monmouth University on November 1.

What was that they used to say about Ginger Rogers — that she could do everything Fred Astaire could do, only backwards and in heels? Well, Nils Lofgren can match any of the world's greatest guitar heroes lick for lick — even, on occasion, while upside down.

The veteran singer, songwriter and axeman first emerged from a crowded field of rock-star hopefuls in the early 1970s when he became known as the man with the moves — a player whose pyrotechnic prowess on the electrified strings was supercharged on stage by gravity-defying backflips, leaps and dance gymnastics.

Whether he was fronting the power trio known as Grin or creating FM solo staples like "Keith Don't Go" and "I Came to Dance," the Maryland-based musician was causing some fairly formidable fans to flip over his skills as sideman, collaborator and all-around lieutenant — from Neil Young (who drafted a then-teenage Nils into membership in Crazy Horse) and Lou Reed, to Bruce Springsteen, who famously rolled out the E Street welcome wagon for Lofgren when Steve Van Zandt announced his departure from full-time band duty.

More than 25 years after the landmark Born in the USA tour, Nils Lofgren continues to contribute eloquent, passionately played guitar leads — augmented, even despite double hip replacement surgery, by stadium-pleasing somersaults, trampoline flips and dance moves — to the Boss's albums and full-band concerts. In recent years, however, a new generation has discovered what thousands of longtime fans have already known: the fact that Nils Lofgren can make an audience ooh and aah simply by sitting on a stool with his guitar.

On the evening of Friday, October 28, Lofgren takes the stage of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University for a special concert presentation that offers a rare and intimate look at this ever-evolving, ever-surprising guitarist at work. Produced in conjunction with Concerts East, the 8 p.m. event is presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series on the West Long Branch campus.

On solo projects like the 2006 Acoustic Live and a 2008 album of stripped-down Young covers, Lofgren put forward a quieter, if no less intense, "flip side" to his stadium-scale stage persona — with acclaimed shows at venues like the legendary Stone Pony, and a polyrhythmic fingerstyle method of guitar playing that has drawn comparisons to British master Richard Thompson — himself a frequent guest on the Pollak stage.

Lofgren's appearance at Monmouth University's flagship auditorium follows recent one man/ one guitar gigs by folk-rock legends Roger McGuinn and Richie Havens, as well as by international hitmaker Colin Hay and musically minded movie star Jeff Daniels. Promising a set of freshly reinterpreted classics and other surprises by Lofgren and his many friends, the guitarist's show is expected to feel right at home inside the Pollak, a performance venue that has been justifiably hailed as one of New Jersey's premier theaters for acoustic music.

To purchase tickets, or for additional information about the 2011-2012 Performing Arts season, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Theater Project Presents a Showcase of Original One-Act Plays

(West Orange, NJ) -- The Theater Project, Union County College's Professional Theater Company, will perform a showcase of original one-act plays  by local playwrights from The Theater Project's Writers' Workshop one weekend only on November 10-12 at the Arts Incubator in West Orange.

This year's Kabaret also includes the first prize-winner of The Theater Project's annual Young Playwrights Competition. Inclusion of "The Tangerine Dress" by Janine Puhak of Cranford forwards The Theater Project's mission to develop the next generation of theatergoers and practitioners. Janine Puhak attends Mount Saint Mary Academy in Watchung.

The seven adult authors come from all over the state: "Feet First" by Joe Vitale (Denville), "Coda" by Rachel Rubin Ladutke (Nutley), "Thought Police" by Ed Lataro (Toms River) "Til She Drops" by Shane Mullery (Princeton), "Love on Route 27" by Jewel Seehaus-Fisher (Highland Park), "Under the Elephant" by Ed Shakespeare (Lavalette), and "Recycling Day" by Pete Ernst (Palisades Park). All the authors are members of The Theater Project's Playwrights Workshop, which also presents script-in-hand performances of original full-length plays.

Performance times are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm, with an additional Saturday matinee performance at 3pm. All performances will take place at the New Jersey Arts Incubator in the rear of the Essex Green Shopping Center on Prospect Avenue just off I-280 in West Orange, NJ. Tickets are $20 and student discounted tickets are $10.

 Reservations are recommended but not required. For more information, contact The Theater Project at (908) 809-8865 or by email at THEATERPROJECT@aol.com The New Jersey Arts Incubator is in the rear of the Essex Green Shopping Center next to the cinemas and behind Panera Bread, 495 Prospect Avenue in West Orange. Additional information is available at TheTheaterProject.org or NJAI.org.

Benefit Luncheon, Wearable Art Fashion Show and Sale In Leonardo

(LEONARDO, NJ) -- The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is presenting a fashion show and sale of unique artist-designed and created clothing and jewelry for women, men, and children on Sunday, November 13 at 12:30pm.  Wearable art will be modeled during an elegant luncheon at the renovated Beacon Hill Country Club with its spectacular views of the New York City skyline and Sandy Hook Bay.  

Each item, including clothing and jewelry for all ages, as well as shawls, scarves, hats and accessories, is an original work of art.  More than twenty accomplished, talented artists have been selected by the Arts Council jury, and many will model their own creations.

Student artists have also been invited to exhibit and sell original and affordable artist-designed hand-crafted works of wearable art, with all proceeds of student sales to benefit the newly formed Atlantic Highlands Junior Arts Council. This is an opportunity to own or give an original, wearable. work of art this holiday season. 

Tickets are only $50, $45 for Atlantic Highlands Arts Council members. They may be purchased online at http://www.atlantichighlandsartscouncil.org,or by phone to 732-737-7160 or email to barblipton@gmail.com

The Beacon Hill Country Club is located at 8 Beacon Hill Drive, Leonardo, NJ, 07716, close to the intersection of Leonardville Rd. and Rte. 36.

TWO RIVER THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS AWARD-WINNING WRITER AND PERFORMER NILAJA SUN IN NO CHILD....

(RED BANK, NJ) -— Two River Theater Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, continues its season with the critically acclaimed play No Child..., a multi-character, one-person show written and performed by Nilaja Sun and directed by Hal Brooks. Performances will begin in Two River's Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, on Saturday, November 1 and continue through Sunday, November 20. The opening night performance is Saturday, November 5 at 8pm.

Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or www.trtc.org. Single ticket prices start at $45. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and patrons aged 30 and under.

Nilaja Sun makes her Two River debut with this tour-de-force solo performance, which she based on her own experiences working in the New York public schools. Since its 2006 world premiere, Sun has received 21 awards for No Child..., and she has performed the play to acclaim in theaters around the country and internationally.

No Child... tells the story of a dedicated teaching artist and her work with a group of 10th graders in a Bronx public school. Transforming herself into 16 different characters, Sun captures the voices of an entire classroom of students, their teachers and family members, the principal, a janitor, and a security guard. Her virtuosic performance, which has been lauded for its passion and rapid-fire humor, proves that one person can make a difference—and shows us the transformative power of art.

In conjunction with this production, Two River will offer discussions and events inspired by the themes of the play. The run will kick off on Monday, October 24 from 5 pm-7 pm with "A Love Letter to Teachers," an event celebrating local educators. Sun will discuss the play over cocktails and conversation at Two River, joined by Artistic Director John Dias and Alysia Souder, a member of the Steering Committee for the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership.

Two River Theater will also use the themes of No Child... as the basis for this season's PlayBack, an original performance devised and performed by local high school students. In this intensive, 12-week program, participating students work with professional teaching artists to create an original play or musical inspired by a production in the theater's season—but drawn from their own lives, experiences, and questions about the world. Students in this year's program will have opportunities to work with Nilaja Sun on the play they create, which will be performed at the theater in January, 2012. More information about Play Back will be announced at a later date.

Says Artistic Director John Dias, "I saw No Child... in its first Off-Broadway production, and was so moved by Nilaja's performance, and her writing, that I went back to see it two more times. This is theater at its purest and most powerful. I believe, as Nilaja does, that art really can change lives, and I am delighted to bring her glorious performance—artfully directed by Hal Brooks—to our stage."

Nilaja Sun (Playwright) has received 21 awards for her creation and performance of No Child..., including an Obie, Lucille Lortel Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards including the John Gassner Playwriting Award for New American Play, the Helen Hayes Award in Washington, D.C., an LA Ovation Award, and Best One-Person Show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. She was a teaching artist in the New York public school system for eight years while performing in numerous off-Broadway shows.

Hal Brooks (Director) has worked with Nilaja Sun on No Child... since its original run in New York in 2006. His other credits include the world premiere of Will Eno's Thom Paine, the current revival of Ionesco's The Bald Soprano at the Pearl Theatre, and Two River's 2010 production of Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile. He was recently appointed Artistic Director of the Cape Cod Theatre Project in Falmouth, Mass.

The creative team for No Child... includes scenic designer Neil Prince, costume designer Jessica Gaffney, lighting designer Mark Barton, and sound designer Ron Russell. The stage manager is Whitney McAnally.

For complete biographies of the company, visit www.trtc.org.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Interview With The Monacchio's

by Gary Wien

On Friday, October 21 from 7:00pm - 10:00pm, Keith & Sheli Monacchio will host a CD release party for Wedding Album at Espresso Joe's (50 West Front Street, Keyport, NJ).  NewJerseyStage.com had the chance to speak with the two songwriters on writing together, how they avoided sounding cheesy, and what the future holds for them...

How did you and Sheli come up with the idea for the Wedding Album? Was it an idea from the start or did you just start writing songs together and liked how the songs went together?  

Keith --  When we started talking about what kind of wedding favors to give people at our wedding, we really wanted to do something different.  It was a logical choice that it would be something to do with music.  Something that represented the both of us, but was a bit different (although I once got a fish as a wedding favor, which I thought was a little presumptuous of the bride & groom.  Do people really want to leave your wedding with a pet?!!?  Hey, why stop at a  fish?  Really, what's next!?!?  How about a puppy or a kitten?   I mean,  you go to someone's wedding and then you have to go to PetSmart on the way home to get supplies!?!)

Sorry about that my rant... Anyway, I had the idea of us maybe trying to write 3 or 4 songs and releasing an EP at the wedding, just for our guests.  Well, 3 or 4 turned into 7 or 8 then we were like "we might as well make it a nice round number, so we wrote two more".  Before we knew it we had the album.  Me being me I said, we might as well have a proper release for everyone.  In retrospect, it probably wasn't the wisest choice to put the pressure of recording an entire record, along with planning, and don't forget paying, for a wedding in a 5-month span of time.  The two weeks before your wedding is really stressful for any couple.  But, then to throw in finishing up the vocal tracks, mixing, mastering, artwork, changes, sending them off to print, etc.  We really should have our heads examined.  BTW, I would totally do it all over again, because I love the songs!!

It's rather appropriate I guess to have an album like follow your last solo release. Did you ever think of the irony of an album about a guy searching for love and then the follow-up Wedding Album?

Yes, it is really ironic.  I guess when you put the feelers out without all the negative shit that goes along with it, people respond.  I went through a period  of writing songs that didn't have a proper balance to them lyrically.  What I mean is the songs were leaning to much in one direction.  Either a song was to "flowery" (although not a whole lot) or to much "woe is me" (these I had a ton of).  The Long Evening was my way of freeing myself from that kind of negative thinking, without losing that glass half-empty edge, because that's who I am at this point in my life.  Not everything is rosy, but everything doesn't suck either.

What was it like writing with Sheli? Did you two continue to write your normal way and bring ideas to each other or did you actually work as songwriting partners from the start?  

We hadn't really collaborated on writing songs before this. A few times we would run different songs by each other and maybe make a suggestion about a lyric or a chord progression, but never start to finish or working with a blank canvas.  I haven't collaborated with anyone, since Joe Baker (The Semibeings),  in the 90's. This was not totally new territory for me, but it had been quite a while since I sat down to write a song with another person.  I thought since we have been writing on our own for so long we should try to just ease into the process.  I gave her the chords and the melody, and the first line of the chorus.  Then I said "lets go to separate rooms and write a verse each and see what happens".  After she got done looking at me like I was nuts, we came up with basic shell of "I Could Get Used To You".  When we got that first song under our belts, we ditched the idea of writing in separate rooms and just sat together with guitars and started bouncing off ideas.  I think the most important thing was just being open to whatever idea the other person had and exploring it to the fullest.  It actually was quite nice to be the co-pilot and not to have all the ideas.  It took a lot of the pressure off of both of us.

I like how the album contains a pair of your extended family -- Melissa Anthony and Sean (who seems like a brother to you). You've obviously worked with Sean for a long time, what was it like recording with Melissa? I know you've been a fan of hers for a long time.  

Keith -- Melissa Anthony is hands down, the best female songwriter on the scene today,  bar none.  I don't say that because she's Sheli's daughter, I say it because she is  a phenomenal talent.  Those who see her perform once, come away thinking the same way.  I actually played a show with her before before Sheli and I even got together.  We were trading off songs and she said "here is a new song called "Salty Lungs & Loose Teeth".  I was totally knocked out by what was coming out of this girls mouth I almost fell off my chair.  What a fucking great song!!  Just a brilliant, brilliant, songwriter. An undiscovered treasure that will leave a big fat scar on the NJ scene and beyond, if she chooses to.  At only nineteen years old,  the sky is the limit for Melissa.  Everyone, should go see her band, we are. Go see them play live!!  She did a fantastic job for us in the studio, a total pro.

Sheli -- The reason I started playing guitar in 2003-2004 is because both of my kids got guitars. I wanted to bond with them somehow through the music and I was not sure where that would take us all. My son would play guitar in his room, but was shy overall and wouldn't play in front of people. He has also written songs, that not many people have heard. Melissa started playing and would shake an egg along with me at my first open mics. Then in 2005, I started performing out at various open mics and shows, and Melissa would sing along with the most beautiful harmonies. She is an absolute natural. By the time I wrote the songs for my first album Digging For Daylight, Melissa had parts in all the songs and was a part of my music that I didn't want to do without. I was still new at playing out and the fact that she was a part of it, made it so much easier and so much more fun for me. She started writing her own songs and released her first album called Paint the Walls that many people haven't heard.  At age 15 her songs were well beyond her years! We had a cd release on her sweet sixteen birthday and I cannot tell you how proud that Melissa made me. It brought me such joy performing with her and warmed my heart.  It was always my favorite part of the music. Then she started performing in we are. and I performed more on a solo basis after that. Keith and I thought it would be appropriate to have Melissa sing on this record.  One reason was to signify our new family through marriage. The other reason was because this project was so special to me. If anyone else was to join us, it would not have been the same. Working with Melissa again was one of my favorite parts of this project and something I will never forget. Her vocal additions on "Lost at Sea" and "Safe Harbor" actually brought tears to my eyes in the studio. I cannot put into words how proud I am of my beautiful and talented daughter. I am blessed to have her in my life.

Keith -- Sean Glonek has been a good friend for a long time now.  We were also in a band together, the Commons, for almost ten years. He produced all the Commons records and has since produced my solo record and Sheli's last record, as well as countless others.  The work he's doing at SRG Studios is some of the finest in New Jersey.  I realize that people think that Trenton is a ways away from everything but it's smack dab in the middle of the State. I wish more bands would look past the confines of the 3 or 4 studios recording the same zillion bands year in and year out and come to SRG.  Yes, he's my friend and I'm a big fan of his work, but I would be the same way if I was just a regular customer.  The guy is the hardest, most meticulous, engineer I've ever worked with and his musical knowledge is right up there with the best of them.  He won't rest until the song is right.


You two pull off a pretty rare trick in doing a project like this and not seeming "cheesy" in any way. The songs sound like something either one of you could or would have released on your own. Was there any worry that the idea might seem too forced or cheesy?

Sheli -- This was actually a huge concern for us in the beginning. We didn't want people to hear that we wrote an album called Wedding Album and judge the project before they even heard it. We wanted people to listen to the songs and react to the songwriting, just as most songwriters want when people hear their music. We want fans to look at Wedding Album as The Monacchio's debut album, and not the concept that we wrote an "album for our wedding".  I suppose this is why we are going ahead with an actual record release. What started out as an idea for 3 songs for a wedding favor took an unexpected turn. Collaborating over a 5 month period and ten songs later, "Wedding Album" was born. Because of the direction the project took, we are very proud of where it ended up. The title is indeed appropriate because we were having a wedding, but I would like to think if we put any other title on this record, it would still be a respected album.

Keith -- Probably the reason we open the record with "The Great Flood" which is a murder ballad.  So, even if people have reservations about the possible "cheese, sappiness" factor of something called "Wedding Album".   I'm more than positive that those feelings will diminish greatly after the father shoots his daughter's boyfriend in the closing verse of track # 1.  


Do you plan on doing future releases together or just guesting on either other's work?

Sheli -- I think both are in the cards for the future. The process of writing together was very organic. I have tried to write with people in the past. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. Regarding our writing together, I was prepared for it to go either way. I thought we would either kill one another or this would turn out to be a very unique and special collaboration. I am happy to say we are both still here to talk about this album. I would absolutely write more albums with Keith, especially knowing that we will not have only 5 months to finish a project as we did with this one.  I was lucky to have Keith record with me on my last project "Kansas" and he has been "guesting" with me ever since. I have been playing with some guitar and vocals to some of his songs as well and I do enjoy backing each other up as well. I look forward to doing both in the future.

Keith -- I think if we have a good batch of songs that we like as much as these, then there will definitely be another record.  I liked playing on Sheli's stuff, so I would love to that again for her next solo release.  I have one EP in the can, that got put on the backburner because of this project.  I'll be releasing that quietly in the spring.  As far as full length records, I think I have one more in me and then I'll be taking a much needed break from writing and recording.  I'd like to focus on other things, besides music, for awhile.  See what else is out there.

Regarding your wedding, it was a huge outpouring of support from the Jersey music scene. What was that day like for you?

Sheli -- I agree. In this last year and a half we have had mixed reactions to me and Keith becoming a couple. We've had many ups and downs during that time, however we always found a way to come together to get through everything. The roads we each have traveled separately throughout the past 20 something years have lead us to that wedding day. It was exactly what we wanted. To not just get married to each other, but also to be surrounded by our family and friends. We wish we could have had even more of our friends there but I know people understand budget issues.  Keith and I are very lucky to have such great people in our lives every day, not just on our wedding day.

How was the honeymoon?

Sheli -- Considering that the honeymoon started at 3:45 am the evening of our wedding (our flight was at 6:45 am), it was such a great way to start our lives together. We were actually given our honeymoon as a gift, and what a gift it was.  We stayed in Palm Desert, CA and visited Palm Springs, Encinitas, San Diego and Joshua Tree.  It was the perfect way to relax after planning a wedding and finishing a record! The day before we went home, we were lucky enough to attend The Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival and Keith and I compared it to PhanPhest as there were many similarities. What a great  festival, and great way to end our honeymoon before heading back to New Jersey.

What are your plans for after the cd release party? Are you going to set up a little tour together?

Sheli -- We were just talking about this! We are actually going to look at the idea of doing some short house concert tours. We believe our music is very conducive to the House Concert circle. Maybe we will take a weekend..or 5-10 days at a time on the road throughout next year.  Keith and I think it would be a great opportunity for us to get our music heard if we get out there and tour a bit. Keith tells stories of touring with The Semibeings that are quite interesting and I am trusting that he's learned what to do and what NOT TO DO over the years by the time our tour comes around.

Keith -- We'll keep the focus here for this year doing some small mini-tour type things, as well as our regular gigs.  Hopefully, we can make some plans to do a few weeks overseas in England & Ireland.  That is something I've always wanted to do and Sheli is game for doing it, as well.  Anybody have any booking contacts over there?  Give us a shout!!

Premiere Stages at Kean University Seeks Submissions for the 2012 Play Festival

(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University seeks submissions to the 8th Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival. The yearly competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). The winner of the festival will be awarded $2,000 and a full Equity production in Premiere's 2012 season. The runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June; two other writers will receive Staged Readings in March and a cash prize of $500.

Through the uniquely accelerated Play Festival process, Premiere Stages provides an encouraging and focused environment in which playwrights can see their work move quickly from page to stage. Premiere Stages also actively advocates for Festival writers, helps playwrights reach out to other theatres to secure subsequent productions, and partners with other organizations and theatres to extend the profile and life of the works developed.

"What makes Premiere unique is that we fast track plays from a sit-down reading to a fully staged production within a few short months, keeping highly topical plays relevant while affording playwrights the benefit of retaining the world premiere rights," stated John Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages. "Second productions of new plays are extremely rare, and demanding the 'world premiere' brand often stops a play dead in its tracks."

In its seven seasons, Play Festival has developed over twenty-five plays. Most recent works include the 2011 hit Follow Me to Nellie's by Dominique Morisseau, starring Lynda Gravatt (stage and screen veteran, television's Law and Order), James Christy's Egyptian Song (2011 Runner-Up and a current National New Play Network nominee), and 2010 winner The Good Counselor by Kathryn Grant, which was named as the runner up for the prestigious 2011 American Theatre Critics Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.

All entries are evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals in consultation with the Artistic Director and Resident Dramaturg. Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. Postmark deadline is January 15, 2012. No entry fee. Complete submission guidelines available at www.kean.edu/premierestages.

Premiere Stages is a member, Actors' Equity Association, and is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and through the generous support of individual patrons.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities, free parking close to the theatre and discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces. Please call for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times. Publications are available with advanced notice in alternate formats.

Cape May Stage Offers Two Special Afternoons of Theatre for John Logan's RED

(Cape May, NJ) -- Cape May Stage, Cape May's premier professional Equity theatre, with the support of Sturdy Savings Bank, is offering big discounts this month at Cape May Stage by hosting two special matinees of theatre.  The theatre's production of Red, John Logan's Tony award-winning play about abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, now playing at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse, has scheduled a 'Pay What You Can' performance on November 5th followed by a half-price 'Senior Matinee' on November 12th.

On Saturday, November 5, theatre-goers are invited to attend a 'Pay What You Can' matinee performance at 3 p.m. The ticket amount paid is entirely at the discretion of the theatergoer (you decide the ticket price!) and is intended to draw those who are deterred by the traditionally higher prices. On Saturday, November 12, seniors, 62 and over, are invited to attend a 3 p.m. performance of Red at the discounted rate of $15 per ticket (that's 50% off regular box office prices). 'Senior Matinees' sell out very quickly, so reservations are a must!

Red chronicles tormented painter, Mark Rothko's (Roy Steinberg) two-year struggle to complete a lucrative set of murals for Manhattan's exclusive Four Seasons restaurant, and his fraught relationship with a seemingly naive young assistant (RJ Barnett), who must choose between appeasing his mentor—and changing the course of art history.  Set amid the swiftly changing cultural tide of the early 1960s, Red is a startling snapshot of a brilliant artist at the height of his fame; a play hailed as “intense and exciting” by the New York Times.

Cape May Stage encourages audiences to take advantage of these two upcoming special promotions.  Tickets for designated 'pay what you can' performances go on sale at the box office at 2:45 p.m. prior to a 3 p.m. curtain time on November 5.  Patrons may elect to pay anywhere from $1 to the normal ticket price of $35 adults, $30 seniors, and $15 students. Whatever tickets have not been sold for that performance will be 'pay what you can' and will be on a first-come first-serve basis. Cash sales and exact change only. Seating for all 'pay what you can' performances is subject to availability and is not guaranteed.

Red runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse located at the corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets (405 Lafayette) in downtown Cape May. The final public performance of the current run is at 8 p.m. on Saturday evening, November 19th.

Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors (62+), and $15 students. Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.org. This production contains inappropriate language.

Red is presented through the gracious support of the Saltwood House Bed & Breakfast and Hemingway's at the Grand Hotel. This season's sponsors include 410 Bank Street/Frescos, Exit Zero, CapeSCape, The Corner Cottage Apartments, Harry's Bar & Grille at the Montreal Inn, La Mer Beachfront Inn, Lucky Bones, Cape May Winery, and The Washington Inn.

GARDEN STATE FILM FESTIVAL ISSUES CALL FOR ENTRIES FOR INDEPENDENT FILMS AND MOVIE MUSIC CATEGORIES FOR 2012 EVENT MARCH 22-March 25, 2012

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) --  A worldwide "Call for Entries" has been issued to independent filmmakers by The Garden State Film Festival.  The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2011.  Filmmakers will find submission instructions on the festival's web site at www.gsff.org.

The Garden State Film Festival, celebrating its tenth anniversary, is New Jersey's largest and most respected film festival, having attracted records crowds of over 30,000 for the past four years.  The 2012 Festival returns to the Paramount Theater On-the-Boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey, March 22-March 25th, 2012 and will feature film competition for independent filmmakers, open talent casting call, panel discussions, free school field trip opportunity, and opening and closing ceremonies. A panel of professional judges will select winning entries in a number of categories, including best Feature Length, Short , Documentary (short and feature length), Animation (short and feature length),  Music Video, PSA, Commercial and Trailers. 

In addition The Garden State Film Festival (GSFF) was the first festival to create a category to recognize the musical compositions and the role music plays in the cinematic arts.   To date, it remains the only independent film festival to recognize composers, artists and producers of scores, soundtracks and theme songs judged solely on their own merit. Producers may submit their works, regardless of whether the film has been submitted or accepted.
        
"We created the Movie Music category in recognition of the role movie music plays in the cinematic arts. NJ has a rich musical history and represents a crossroads of the film and music industries," making the largest and most respected film festival in NJ the most appropriate forum for the people behind the music." states Executive Director Diane Raver.

The GSFF invites all music makers who have written and produced tracks for independent films to be recognized for the part they play in the production of fine films. Filmmakers are invited to submit (on CD format) any movie music from an independent film in any category that will be judged by music industry professionals in the new category, dubbed the GSFF Movie Music Track Competition. Information about the Movie Music Track Competition is also on the web site at www.gsff.org.  

The winners of all competitions will be recognized at The GSFF Black Tie Awards Dinner held on March 25th, 2012 at The Crystal Point in Pt. Pleasant Beach, NJ.

About the 10th Annual Garden State Film Festival

The Garden State Film Festival was born in 2002 after a chance encounter in a Sea Girt, NJ Grocery store by 25-year film industry veteran Diane Raver and the well-known Hollywood actor Robert Pastorelli. Through his deep ties to Hollywood Mr. Pastorelli and Ms. Raver were able to bring the Garden State Film Festival to life at its successful premiere in 2003. Since that time, such industry notables such as Glenn Close, Frank Vincent, Batman producer Michael Uslan, Austin Pendleton, Kurtwood Smith, James Gandolfini, Budd Schulberg,Clarence Clemons, Bruce Stringsteen and others have lent their support. GSFF is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization held in the spring of each year at the Paramount Theater/Convention Hall complex as well as other venues in Asbury Park, New Jersey and surrounding area. For more information about the Garden State Film Festival please visit http://www.gsff.org   or call 1-877-908-7050.


About the Sponsors of the 10th Annual Garden State Film Festival

The 10h Annual Garden State Film Festival could not be possible with out the generous support of the following sponsors. Platinum sponsors, who present the festival, are The Asbury Park Press, In Jersey Magazine, Metromix Jersey Shore and the Islander. The gold sponsor is Madison Marquette. Silver Sponsors include NJ Transit, Video Corporation of America, visitnj.org, Monmouth County Arts  Council. Bronze sponsors include, Saker Shop Rites, Inc., Currents Magazine,  njscreenwriter.org and Media Services. Contributors include the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, , The Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel, , Tim McLoone's Supper Club, King Limousine and Car Service.

For more information about our sponsors please visit http://www.gsff.org/sponsors.php.

State Theatre presents 'S Wonderful - The New Gershwin Musical

(New Brunswick, NJ) -— State Theatre presents 'S Wonderful – The New Gershwin Musical on Sunday, October 30, 2011 at 3pm. 'S Wonderful is an all singing, all dancing, musical revue that celebrates the genius of George and Ira Gershwin. Tickets Range from $25-45.

Performed with a live orchestra, 'S Wonderful features over 40 timeless classics including: "Rhapsody in Blue," "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," "Nice Work if You Can Get it," "I Got Rhythm," "Someone to Watch Over Me," and more. Under the direction of Ray Roderick, musical direction of Richard Hip-Flores, and choreography of Vince Pesce, the talented cast of five triple-threat singer/dancer/actors will bring the music of the Gershwin brothers to life.

The cast includes New Jersey native and Edison resident, Kimberly Thomas; Jake Delaney; Katie Mitchell; Cassandra Nuss; and Matthew Rickard.

Incorporating five mini-musicals inspired by the real events occurring in and around the lives of the Gershwin brothers, this new musical illustrates their impact on the world then and now. First it's New York City in 1916 and Paris in the 1930s, followed by Hollywood in the 40s and New Orleans in the 50s. Like a Technicolor® movie musical, 'S Wonderful paints a picture of nostalgia and entertainment while paying tribute to the incomparable songbook of George and Ira Gershwin.

The tour is presented by Maximum Entertainment Productions and producers Todd Gershwin and Dan Chilewich of Premiere Media. The Gershwin families have authorized the use of the Gershwin songbook, making 'S Wonderful a brand new, all-inclusive Gershwin musical.

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

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

East Lynne Theater Company presents an evening of Vaudeville

 (CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is presenting "Vaudeville!" on Thursday, Nov. 10. The aggressive waiter, the down-and-out dance duo, the Irish landlady, and the spunky ingĂ©nue are just a few of the characters that will be comically brought to life by actors who have performed with ELTC. Along with original Vaudeville skits, there is music and singing, a lovely dinner, a raffle, and an introduction to the company’s exciting 2012 Season. 

      ELTC's annual gala will once more take place at Aleathea's Restaurant at the Inn of Cape May, 7 Ocean Street, and the restaurant, once again, is graciously supporting the event.

     The evening begins at 5:30p.m. with hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar. At 6:30, a sumptuous surf and turf dinner is served – along with entertainment that was created and arranged by ELTC board members Karen Case Cook, Mark Edward Lang, and Alison J. Murphy.

     Live music, provided once more by Chris Sooy and Lew London, will embrace the Vaudeville era (1900-1930). Performers include ELTC favorites Suzanne Dawson, Mark Edward Lang, Alison J. Murphy, Lee O'Connor, Thomas Raniszewski, Susan Tischler, and Grace Wright.

     New to ELTC is actor, writer, and variety artist James Rana, who has captivated audiences throughout North America and Europe. He will be performing slight-of-hand, juggling, and his own Vaudeville routines.  Rana's varied accomplishments include performing for the Big Apple Circus, to roles in television's "Law and Order SVU." Recently, he wrote and narrated "Poe: A Celebration" for NPR/Satellite radio, and his adaptation of three Poe mysteries will make its world premiere at ELTC in 2012.

     As usual, the recipient of the Historic Jackson Street Neighborhood Association Scholarship Fund in the Name of Bob and Toni Green will also be announced, and there will be a few exciting items for a live auction, including the popular "Day in Manhattan with Gayle and Lee." 

      ELTC is selling 50/50 Raffle Tickets for $50 each, with the opportunity to win $3,000, $1,500, or $500, and purchasers don't have to be present to win. Only 200 tickets will be sold. Checks should be made out to East Lynne Theater Company and mailed to ELTC's office, 121 Fourth Ave., West Cape May, NJ 08204. This year, the winners will be among the first tickets drawn; not the last three.

     Entering its thirty-second year of entertaining audiences in Cape May and throughout the country, ELTC has much to celebrate. The reviewer for "The Wall Street Journal," Terry Teachout, came to Cape May in July just to see ELTC's "He and She," giving it a great review. New Methuen Drama Books just published "Working in American Theatre," where ELTC's biography is included among other prestigious theaters in the country.

     To attend "Vaudeville!" costs $60, and checks should be made out to East Lynne Theater Company and mailed to the office. Reservations should be made by November 5. For information and reservations, please call ELTC at 884-5898. All of the proceeds for the evening go to the Equity professional nonprofit East Lynne Theater Company to support the production season and educational outreach. Donations from those unable to attend will be gratefully received, and are tax-deductible.

      Meanwhile, East Lynne’s 2011 Cape May Season still continues with "The Phantom of the Opera" on Oct. 28; "Sherlock Holmes' Adventure of the Norwood Builder" on Nov. 4 and 5 and "Christmas Presents from the Past" on Nov. 25 and 26, and Dec. 4, 9, and 10. ELTC is once more partnering with The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts' "Ghosts of Christmas Trolley Rides" which runs during November and December. 

A Dazzling Display of Russian Dance ON KEAN STAGE

(Union, NJ) --  Kean Stage presents The Lezginka Dance Company in a performance of traditional folk songs and dances, awesome acrobatics, sumptuous costumes and riveting drum and saber work.  Hailing from Daghestan, Russia, the troupe takes the stage on Sunday, October 30 at 3:00 pm in Kean University's Wilkins Theatre.

This exotic, exciting dance company was founded in 1958 in the mountainous, southernmost region of Russia.  For more than 20 years its organizer and leader was People's Artist of Russia, Tankho Izrailov.  The ensemble of 30 dancers and acrobats performs a variety of traditional dances to recorded accompaniment.  More than rhythmic movement, their choreography conveys the noble endeavors of the Daghestan people, their heroic past, their abundant present and their promising future.  Expressing boundless attachment to their native land, the dances reflect the power of human love, the people's heroic struggle for happiness and enormous pride in their country.

The Lezginka Ensemble offers an extensive program of fiery, temperamental dances of the numerous peoples inhabiting this region.  Its entire choreographic and musical works convey the strength and noble endeavors of the Daghestan people, who are in the forefront of national development of the multinational Russian people.

Each concert is a festival of dance, elegance and beauty.  The Lezginka Dance Company, with its artistic director and choreographer, Zulumkhan Khanghereiev, (People's Artist and winner of State Prize of the Republic of Daghestan), has created a program that brings forth the people's culture, traditions and high performance mastery in all its brilliance.

"For me, dance is life," said Khanghereiev.  "Let your life be like a bright, interesting and unforgettable dance."

Lezginka has performed with consistent success throughout Russia and in many other European and Asian countries.  They return to the United States with a presentation of artistic taste and cultural elegance, performed with savage vigor.  The company's stage interpretation of traditional folklore leaves an indelible impression on audiences while the wild, athletic energy of their dances leaves audiences astonished.

Tickets to Lezginka Dance Company are $30 standard, $20 seniors & students, and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.SHOW (7469), online at www.keanstage.com , or in person at Kean University's Wilkins Theater Box Office, located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ.

Jody, Janis and Stevie, Together Again: Three faces of Shore music legend Jody Joseph are onstage at Monmouth U

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) –- In this corner, the iconic Janis Joplin — the Texas tornado who so briefly and decisively tore across the musical landscape of the late 1960s, schooling that peace-and-love generation in the meaning of the blues.

On the opposite end of the stylistic spectrum, Stevie Nicks — the California curiosity-shop coquette whose elf-queen persona has been described as having "cast an arcane and eldritch spell — turning the wasteland of mainstream music into a lush forest (and scattering small woodland creatures before her formidable boots)."

Ask Monmouth County singer, songwriter and teacher Jody Joseph what these rock doyennes have in common, and she'll tell you "absolutely nothing. Nothing in common." On closer investigation, however, the long-gone Joplin and the still-touring Nicks share a very real bond — one that goes by the name of Jody Joseph.

A performer of impeccable musical pedigree (her family tree includes both cousin Jon Bon Jovi and the beloved American tenor Mario Lanza), the diminutive dynamo known as "The Hardest Working Woman in Shore Business" has long been a familiar figure at venues up and down the New Jersey coast, from a host of favorite neighborhood watering spots to the legendary stage of the Stone Pony.

On the evening of Saturday, October 22, Jody Joseph and her band (Bill Frank, Robert Kipp, Jon Rotman, Candice Theinert, Steve Brown,  Jon "Huey" Tatlow and B. Jay Willis) take the stage of another high-profile Shore area venue — the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University — for a special concert presentation entitled One Diva, One Legend, One Woman. Produced in conjunction with Concerts East, the 8 p.m. event is presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series on the West Long Branch campus.

A newly revised edition of a show, conceptually created by Renee Ludwig, that was first seen at Asbury Park's Paramount Theatre in 2009, 1D1L1W is a three-part concert that presents the versatile vocalist (who regularly channels a jukebox-worth of female and male pop icons through her own considerable talents) in character as Joplin, followed in the second act by her interpretation of Nicks.

At the conclusion of the program — and at the heart of this labor of love — stands Jody Joseph herself; a writer of original compositions and a star-quality performer who's garnered widespread acclaim for such self-released recordings as Live at the Stone Pony and the 2010 inspirational ep On My Way Home.

"I've done Janis songs and Stevie songs for years, but I never thought of doing a whole show around either one," explains Joseph, adding that she "didn't want to spend a whole night being other people" without a chance to show how those artists have influenced her own work.

"My biggest fear is that when I'm wearing the Stevie boots, I'll spin right off the edge of the stage into the VIP seats!"

The one-night-only event is sponsored by Retro Fitness, Aerosoles, and The Jacqueline M. Wilentz Comprehensive Breast Center at Monmouth Medical Center, with a portion of the proceeds being dedicated to the American Cancer Society. Reserved seating includes a $48 VIP option that offers a meet-and-greet with the artist.

Freedy Johnston Plus The Health And Happiness Show Headline Hoboken Benefit Show on October 21

(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- If you're a fan of Joe Jackson, Natalie Merchant, Ian Hunter, Marshall Crenshaw, Garland Jeffreys, Freedy Johnston, They Might Be Giants, or Joan Baez (to name just a few) then chances are you already know who bassist Graham Maby is and why his talent has been so sought after and highly regarded among his musical peers for three decades.

For the past couple of years, Graham's wife Mary Beth has been battling cancer (now stage 4) and medical bills.  Her friends and Graham's have come together to stage several shows in the coming weeks. Any and all proceeds will go directly toward medical, insurance, and other costs related to MB's illness.

The show takes place Friday, October 21 at 7pm at Maxwell's in Hoboken.  Freedy Johnston plus The Health and Happiness Show (featuring James Mastro and Vinnie Dinunzio) will headline.

To contribute, go to PayPal, and enter mbmaby.giftfund2011@yahoo.com.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

AirPlay Direct Announces "The APD Win An Americana Record Deal Contest"

AirPlay Direct, a global leader in digital distribution of content to radio and music programmers and supervisors around the globe, announces "The APD Win An Americana Record Deal Contest" this week at the 2011 Americana Music Conference.  The opportunity, which is a "FREE TO ENTER" contest for all AirPlay Direct artist members, includes a package of services worth more than $75,000.

"Americana music is a very important element of the ever-evolving, global, independent music scene," examines Robert Weingartz, Chairman and CEO of AirPlay Direct. "It's also a genre that has allowed artists to grow beyond their core fan base.  We've seen successful Americana projects from Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, John Mellencamp, Merle Haggard, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Rosanne Cash, etc.  Those are names I would never shy from being compared to.  We hope to find tomorrow's budding talent with this contest."

The full prize package includes the following:

  •     IMI Records recording contract.
  •     12 song studio recording, musicians, mixing, artwork & retail distribution. Visit www.imimusic.com for additional information on the label.
  •     AirPlay Direct & Direct Buzz global radio distribution and marketing package.
  •     Hard Rock Nashville: 2 live performances or opening act slots.
  •     Western Heart Promotions global radio promotion and reporting  package.
  •     PLA Media public relations consulting package.
  •     L.A. Consulting image and performance consultations.
  •     Radio Mavens global internet radio promotion package.


This opportunity is one that cannot be missed.  For additional information, visit www.AirPlayDirect.com

AirPlay Direct is a global digital music delivery system servicing radio and the entertainment industry with downloadable content from some of the biggest names in music, alongside rising independent artists. AirPlay Direct's web-based artist marketing, promotion, education, and advocacy platform allows artists, record labels, and music publishers to securely deliver broadcast-quality music and digital press kits to industry professionals worldwide. Our system allows media programmers and film/TV music supervisors to connect to new music, create music calls, browse top downloaded artists, and immediately download music and related artist information. AirPlay Direct recently introduced our genre-based APD Global Radio Indicator Charts™ which track the download activity that our member's music receives from our world-wide radio panel. AirPlay Direct also publishes the digital/interactive publication, the Direct Buzz. 

For more information about AirPlay Direct visit www.AirPlayDirect.com.

ROWAN THEATRE BRINGS MEE'S BIG LOVE TO THE STAGE

(GLASSBORO, NJ) -– Classical drama collides with modern-day excess in Charles Mee's acclaimed play Big Love, a fiercely extravagant adaptation of Aeschylus presented by the Department of Theatre & Dance at Rowan University. Performances are October 28 – November 6 (Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, and Sundays at 3 pm) in Tohill Theatre on the Glassboro campus.

The play has been described by The New York Times as "an MGM musical in Technicolor, a circus and, believe it, a Greek tragedy." Fifty brides flee their grooms and seek refuge at a villa on the coast of Italy in a modern reimagining of one of the world's oldest plays, Aeschylus' The Suppliant Maidens, also known as part of The Danaid Tetralogy. The grooms catch up with the brides (represented by just a few actors in this production) and mayhem ensues; with contemporary songs, romantic dances, a bit of violence and more.

Director Melanie Stewart calls it "a messy play." The production mixes pop culture references with surreal qualities and extreme physical action. It is "movement-driven theatre" that plays with time and motion. It created a very intense world. It raises issues of displacement, borders and refugees while also asking many questions, as well: Does love triumph over all? What rights do these women have? Where do these issues reside in the hearts and minds of Rowan students and audiences in 2011? 

"It is a fable for our time," Stewart says, calling it "ancient and contemporary all at once."

The cast features Dexter Anderson of Salem, MA as Nikos, Chris Bratek of Mullica Hill as Giuliano, Brittany Cinaglia of Mullica Hill as Olympia, Felix Cori IV of Sewell as Constantine, Anthony Crosby of Cherry Hill as Oed, Kaitlin Kemp of Fredericksburg, VA as Thyona, Jenna Kuerzi of Mullica Hill as Bella, Emily McHale of Mount Laurel as Lydia, Dwight Merritt of Collingswood as Leo, Joseph Napolitano of Dover, DE as Piero and Megan Oates of Bridgewater as Eleanor.

Tohill Theatre is located in Bunce Hall on the campus of Rowan University, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ. Tickets are $15, general admission; and $10 for seniors, non-Rowan students and Rowan alumni. Tickets for Rowan students and staff are free with valid ID. For tickets and information, visit www.rowan.edu/theatredance or call the box office at (856) 256-4545.

Michael Askin Celebrates EP Release In Princeton

by Gary Wien

Michael Askin, a New Brunswick area singer-songwriter, first made an impression in the Jersey Shore music scene when he joined the popular Asbury Park band known as Divine Sign sometime around 2006.  At the time, he was known as the "guitarist with mystique" – part of the band's expanded lineup which led the acoustic duo towards more of a full-fledged rock and roll sound.  He would move on to the indie band My State of Attraction, before deciding to head out on his own.  With a stripped down, alt-country/acoustic guitar sound, Askin writes deeply personal lyrics that remind me of classic songs from the '70s.

Askin was born and raised in Skillman, NJ (Montgomery Township) and has lived in the New Brunswick area for the past few years.  According to his bio, "Askin, like everyone else, has pondered his place in the world, cursed his day job, fallen in and out of love, and searched for happiness."   While pondering, he's been steadily fostering a nice following through shows at coffeehouses like Espresso Joe's in Keyport and performances in Princeton, where he's been part of Sarah Donner's Indie Music Night at the Solley Theater.  He returns to the Arts Council of Princeton venue on Friday, October 14 to celebrate the release of his first solo EP.  Jersey Shore artist Danny White will open the show.

The EP contains four songs: "Captain of a Sinking Ship", "Home Now", "Spoke Too Soon," and "One and the Same."  You can hear the last two at Michael's Ourstage.com page: http://www.ourstage.com/profile/michaelaskin

"I've always been a huge fan of the classic rock heavyweights--Neil Young, the Stones, etc," said Askin. "I also like contemporary artists of that ilk -- Wilco, Ryan Adams, Drive-by Truckers, Spoon, etc.  I'm a sucker for good ear candy, such as that 'Pumped up Kicks' song.

"I had great experiences in Divine Sign and My State of Attraction and am still friends with everyone in those two bands. I was also in a band called Loud Earth until about 2005. We had a British blues-rock sound. I still keep in touch with some of the guys from the band. The drummer and guitarist play in an excellent group called Infernal Overdrive which plays that kind of style. I guess I've mellowed out over the years!"

Preproduction of his EP began roughly a year ago.  Askin says he was fortunate to work with Amanda Duncan and Joanna Burns, two talented performers and songwriters who also happen to be great producers.   The EP was recorded in two places.  Acoustic guitars, vocals, and bass were done at Joanna Burn's place in Hazlet, while drums and strings were recorded in a local studio.

"The songs are mostly about someone trying to persevere despite long odds," said Askin. "Except for 'Spoke Too Soon'. That song's just kind of a downer. I could not be happier with the way things sound."

While Askin hopes the new EP will help him branch out a bit into new venues throughout the region, he's already had the opportunity to play one of the best places in the area for a singer-songwriter – The Tin Angel in Philadelphia.  On one occasion, Askin was part of a lineup entirely comprised of artists from New Jersey, which also included Tony Tedesco, Michael Brett, and Keith Monacchio.  A van trip from the Shore to Philly organized by Tony Tedesco brought artists and local fans and helped pack the club.

"The Tin Angel is a great room, and that was a great show," recalled Askin. "I think we independent musicians know how humbling it can be to play to empty seats, or a disinterested audience. To see a house packed with friends who had travelled so far to see NJ musicians was amazing. It just shows how strong the Jersey music community is."

One of the artists who helped perform with Askin that night is his significant other, Jerzy Jung.  Together, they form yet another tremendously talented couple in the New Jersey music scene.  In addition to sharing stages, Askin has even appeared in several of Jerzy's popular "Friday Face" posts on Facebook – something which has developed a cult following of its own.

"Friday Face has really taken on a life of its own," continued Askin. "I know its creator sees the world with a child-like sense of wonder and is a very positive person. It's great to see people responding to that."

Askin's EP release takes place Friday, October 14 from 7pm-10pm at the Arts Council of Princeton (102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton).  Admission is $10.  Jersey Shore songwriter Danny White will open with an acoustic set.