New Jersey Stage

Monday, November 28, 2011

Colie Brice and the New Age Blues Experience Debuts on New Google Music Service

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- In conjunction with cyber monday, AERIA Records is offering a FREE download of "Slaying the Dragon" a new live recording by Colie Brice and the New Age Blues Experience is resonating well in Google's new music Android Market. The track appears along side the Dave Matthews Band, Warren Haynes, Ben Harper, and the Grateful Dead among other bands as a mover and shaker in the Jam Rock category.

The band was recently nominated as the Top Avant-Garde Act in the 2011 Asbury Park Music Awards and will appear at their annual Holidaze extravaganza 12/28/11 at the Saint in Asbury Park - a legendary local venue for original live music also based in Asbury Park, NJ.

The band features Colie Brice on lead vocals, keyboards and guitar, Alan Gowa on lead guitar and guitar synth, Jay Walker on bass, and Joe Savio on drums.

For more information and a free download go to: https://market.android.com/details?cat=JAM_ROCK&id=music_movers_shakers

For more information on Colie Brice, visit http://coliebrice.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

$30,000 AWARDED TO THE HISTORIC STRAND THEATER, STRAND VENTURES, INC.

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) – Strand Ventures, Inc., a qualified non-profit arts and cultural organization that manages the daily operations of the historic Strand Theater, also known as the Strand Center for the Arts has been awarded $30,000 by the OceanFirst Foundation of Toms River that will support operations of the Strand; a premier arts, cultural and historical destination delivering high quality entertainment, arts education and cultural programs throughout the Central New Jersey Region, especially serving populations in both Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Founded in 1996, OceanFirst Foundation is the first foundation in the nation to be established by a bank as a part of an initial public offering.  OceanFirst Foundation has contributed nearly $22 million to over 600 local charities in Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties since its inception. Its four priorities include Housing, Health and Wellness, Improving the Quality of Life, and Youth Development and Education. For more information about OceanFirst Foundation and the Arts & Cultural Grant Program, visit www.oceanfirstfdn.org or call 732-341-4676.

The historic Strand Theater, located at 400 Clifton Ave. in Lakewood, was designed by world-renowned theater architect Thomas Lamb in 1922 and is listed on the N.J. and National Register of Historic Places. The Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) purchased the Strand in 1999. A program of capital improvements by the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) provided the funding, at no cost to the taxpayers, for the construction, renovation and restoration of the theater, inside and outside.

Today the Strand Theater is considered an anchor in the downtown for creating economic growth, providing incentives for job creation, and attracting pedestrian traffic. The Strand offers year-round entertainment in plush, air-conditioned surroundings. It is a perfect venue to showcase comedians, musicals, dinner theater, stars from television and movies, and legendary musical entertainers. The reception gallery includes a catering facility for 250 people, a dance floor, and restrooms. It is ideal for theater-in-the-round, smaller events and receptions.

The Strand relies on the support of Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Township of Lakewood, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; and the LDC and the UEZ programs along with many businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kevin Smith: Live From Behind to Be Broadcast From the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto to Participating Movie Theatres Across North America


(TORONTO, ONTARIO)-- AK27 Productions and Cineplex Entertainment, via their Front Row Centre Events, present Kevin Smith: Live From Behind featuring Jay & Silent Bob Grow Old, an interactive event hosted by Kevin Smith on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 9.30 p.m. EST. Live from the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, the event will be broadcast via satellite to more than 70 movie theatres in Canada and 500 movie theatres in the United States.

The event will be split into two seamless segments, starting with Kevin introducing fellow actor and long-time friend Jason "Jay" Mewes. The two will host their highly rated podcast Jay & Silent Bob Get Old. The second half of the event will be a Q&A session with Kevin as he answers questions from the live theatre audience and from fans via Twitter. This will be the first Kevin Smith Q&A broadcast in North America where Kevin interacts with the live theatre audience and his fans on social media simultaneously.

Tickets for Kevin Smith: Live From Behind go on sale Wednesday, November 23rd for SCENE members and to the general public on Friday, December 2, 2011. The SCENE program is free to join, to enroll visit www.scene.ca . Tickets can be purchased at participating theatre box offices and online at www.cineplex.com/events or their mobile site m.cineplex.com.

Kevin Smith is a screenwriter, actor, film producer and director as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and Internet radio personality best recognized by viewers as Silent Bob. He is most famous for his cult film catalogue including Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and his newest film Red State, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Smith also sports three DVD releases of his various college Q&A's (An Evening With Kevin Smith, An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder, A Threevening with Kevin Smith, as well as an EPIX Original Q&A special Kevin Smith: Too Fat For 40. Kevin has also published two books full of essays and blog postings (Silent Bob Speaks and the New York Times Best Selling My Boring Ass Life), as well as Shootin' the Sh-t with Kevin Smith - a collection of the best material from SModcast, Smith and producer Scott Mosier's weekly podcast. www.smodcast.com .

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OLD TIME HOLIDAYS MEETS NEW TIME REALTIES IN NOTHING FOR CHRISTMAS

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

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

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

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

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

Schneck agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL 2011 AT DREAMCATCHER

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Kick off the holiday season with the Dreamcatcher Company with their annual irreverent spoof of the holiday specials of yesteryear.  If you enjoyed the corny fun of those old-fashioned holiday variety shows starring Donny and Marie, Perry Como and The Mandrell Sisters, you'll love A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3 at 8:00 p.m.  Located in the intimate third-floor theatre at The Baird Center at 5 Mead Street in South Orange, Dreamcatcher takes a break from their mainstage schedule to perform their affectionate send-up of traditional holiday entertainment.

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

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL, a unique and hilarious way to celebrate the holiday season, will take place at Dreamcatcher on Friday and Saturday, December 2 & 3 at 8:00 p.m.  All tickets are $20.00, and can be purchased in advance at www.dreamcatcherrep.org, or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.  The performance is at The Baird, located at 5 Mead Street in Meadowland Park, a few blocks from the center of downtown South Orange.  For information and tickets for any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Baird, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-378-7754, ext. 2228, www.DreamcatcherRep.org.

Songwriters by the Sea – Holiday Edition

(Lakewood, NJ) – The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents Songwriters by the Sea – Holiday Edition, sponsored by 90.5 The Night on Saturday, December 17 at 8pm.  Musical legends Marshall Crenshaw, Willie Nile and Rhett Miller, join our hosts Joe D'Urso and Joe Rapolla to headline our first Songwriters by the Sea - Holiday Edition!  Expect an evening of holiday cheer as the artists share their favorite holiday songs and stories, as well as their greatest hits.


Opening the show will be local favorite Emily Grove, North Jersey's Denny Tilton and up and coming songwriter Chris Gruen. 

Please bring a toy or food donation as 90.5 The Night and the Strand will be collecting for local food banks and children's charities.

Tickets are $29.  Make your ticket reservations online at www.strand.org or call 732-730-5925.  The STRAND box office, 732 – 367 - 7789, is open on Thursday and Friday, between 12 pm and 5 pm and 3 hours before each show. The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

East Lynne Theater presents "Christmas Presents from the Past"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all.  And sixty-seven cents of it was in pennies.  Pennies saved one and two at a time. Three times Della counted it.  And the next day would be Christmas."

    Thus begins one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (1862-1910). Della wants to purchase the perfect present for her husband, but can she do it with only one dollar and eighty-seven cents? 

     Presents come in all shapes and sizes, and this holiday season, the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is offering its own "Christmas Presents from the Past," on November 25 and 26, and December 4, 9 and 10 at 8:30p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. in Cape May, where the company is in residence.

     The theme about presents continues with Mark Twain's (1835-1910) "Susie's Letter from Santa Claus."  Writing to his own daughter as if he were St. Nick himself, Twain strives to be sure that he clearly understands what Susie wants for Christmas, and best to deliver it.

     "The Christmas Masquerade," by Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) is about a Christmas Eve ball, where every child, rich and poor, are allowed to dress up in any costume they choose. One year, no matter how hard the parents tried to undress their children, the costumes would not be removed.  Will the Mayor’s daughter be forever a shepherdess and the cobbler’s son a prince?  The resolution involves Christmas presents.

     According to "What the Bells Saw and Said" by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the spirits of the bells meet at midnight every Christmas Eve to discuss the state of affairs where they ring. Their presents to those listening below, are their own melodic voices – voices which ring for all to have peace, love, and good will for all.             

     These classic tales were adapted by ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth who also performs the thirty-some characters in storytelling fashion. Her past solo Christmas performances of stories by L. Frank Baum, Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, Edward Everett Hale, and Bret Harte have been praised by reviewers and audience alike. With the flick of a wrist, the bend of the waist, the turn of the head, and a change in the tone of voice, she brings a character to life in a heartbeat.

     Gayle is in her thirteenth year as ELTC's artistic director, and as such, has directed over half of the 61 different shows she's produced (not including repeats), including "Why Marry?," the first play to win the Pulitzer Prize, and the time-travel adventure "Berkeley Square." She's appeared in Off-Broadway, regional, touring productions, and on the Chautauqua circuit, and she and her husband, Lee O'Connor reside in West Cape May, NJ and Manhattan.

     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 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.

     Meanwhile, learn about a variety of cheeses and support ELTC at "Cheese School," sponsored by Seaside Cheese and Cape May Winery on Monday, December 5 from 7:00-9:00p.m. at the winery, 711 Townbank Rd., North Cape May. Contact ELTC for details.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Comes To The Strand

(Lakewood, NJ) -– The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 7 at 7:30pm.  Moscow Ballet performs the Great Russian Nutcracker with top Russian dancers in this beloved, family Christmas story.  2011 marks the 19th tour to 60+ North American cities by these impeccably trained Russian dancers.  Performing the Great Russian Nutcracker, the dancers leap, spin, and lunge in their telling of the traditional, family-friendly Christmas story with a Russian flavor. Tickets are $27.50-$102.

Moscow Ballet features top graduates of Perm, Vaganova, Moscow State Academic Choreographic and Kiev schools and is praised by NY Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay as, "Expansive…the Russian style is elegantly generous, and so the experience is never meager." 

The company evolved out of the "Glasnost Festival Tour" created by award-winning Juilliard alumnus, composer/conductor and theatrical producer, Akiva Talmi.  Moscow Ballet made its debut in 1993 with an all-star Russian cast in the Great Russian Nutcracker, directed and choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, a soloist with Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre.  Since then Moscow Ballet has added Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet to its repertory.

"Knock-out dancer, thrilling, and elegant" says NY Times of Moscow Ballet; "Aristocratic finesse" comments Cleveland Plain Dealer; Charleston Today raves, "Breathtaking and awe-inspiring;" "Spellbinding and completely fabulous," states San Francisco's Stark Insider; and DC's ionarts.com agrees, "Particularly astounding."

Make your ticket reservations online at www.strand.org or call 732-730-5925.  The STRAND box office, 732 – 367 - 7789, is open on Thursday and Friday, between 12 pm and 5 pm and 3 hours before each show. The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

Cape May Stage Presents Steve Murray's "This Wonderful Life"

(Cape May) –- Cape May Stage officially begins its holiday celebrations at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at Bank and Lafayette Streets on November 25th with award-winning playwright Steve Murray's "This Wonderful Life"- the visually stunning stage adaptation of the perennially popular holiday film, It's a Wonderful Life. This one-man tour-de-force production offers a new theatrical twist on this beloved holiday tale.

Directed by Artistic Director Roy Steinberg, the virtuosic Larry Daggett (Broadway's Ragtime, Candide, Damn Yankees, Follies, National Tour of Red Hot and Cole) returns to Cape May Stage after appearing as Cosme McMoon in 2009's Souvenir to portray George Bailey, Clarence the Angel, Mary, Old Man Potter, and twenty more of Bedford Falls' finest citizens. "The characters in It's a Wonderful Life run the gamut from the best (George) to the worst (Potter) in each of us," says Daggett.  In this 90-minute performance, Daggett recreates more than two-dozen characters from the film while he also serves as a narrator, offering amusing commentary on the action.

"When working on a piece where you play multiple characters (often having scenes with each other) the actor's mind becomes focused on a myriad of details: what character am I at this moment? What do I sound like? How do I carry myself? Where is my focus?  It's easy to become so inundated by the technical demands of such a role(s) that the actor stops focusing on the story." Daggett notes.  "For me, Steinberg is the perfect director.  He sees the whole picture. He reminds me of large themes and at the same time suggests tiny bits of business, all of which help to clarify the story."

The story unfolds on Christmas Eve when George Bailey fears he's failed his family, his friends and his community, until an angel-in-waiting named Clarence shows him how bleak life would have been if he'd never existed. Those who have enjoyed Capra's film can't forget the image of a man standing alone on a bridge on Christmas Eve...the story of how he got there, and how he found his way back home.

Audience members don't need to be die-hard fans of the film to enjoy this twist on the heartfelt holiday classic.  Daggett notes, "It's a story at the heart of American mythology: any individual with a pure heart can overcome corporate greed. It also reveals the secret to finding happiness: focus on what you have, not on what you lack."

Brimming with hope and humor, This Wonderful Life reminds us of the power of perspective, friendship and family, just in time for the holiday season.

This Wonderful Life opens Friday, November 25th at 8 p.m. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. through December 31st at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse located at the corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets (405 Lafayette) in downtown Cape May. Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors, and $15 students. During the current run Cape May Stage is participating with several Cape May gourmet restaurants in money-saving "Dinner & A Show" package promotions. Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.org.  Make this heartwarming family experience a part of your holiday tradition this season.

This Wonderful Life is presented through the gracious support of The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia and The Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall. 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.


Pictured: Larry Daggett | photo credit: Aleksey Photography

BROADWAY STAR JIM STANEK HEADLINES 4TH WALL THEATRE FUNDRAISER


(Bloomfield, NJ) –- 4th Wall Theatre, Inc., a non-union professional theatre in residence at the Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College, is presenting a fundraiser, "Flop of Ages: GREAT Songs from Bad Shows."  The show is an hour and a half of entertainment, featuring show-stopping numbers from Broadway shows that not only stopped, but flopped.  The one-night-only performance is the centerpiece of 4th Wall's 15th anniversary season fundraising efforts.  The show will feature members of the 4th Wall family of performers, along with a few special guests from the Broadway stage.  The singers will be performing wonderful songs by writers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, to name just a few.  The event will be held at 7:30pm on Monday, December 5, at the Westminster Arts Center on the campus of Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, New Jersey.  The evening will include a live auction and a post-performance reception.

The fundraiser is the concept of Paul Puccio, the group's Dramaturge, and a member of the Board.  Puccio observes "Musicals are so collaborative, and success in the theatre is so much a matter of timing, that many flops either have glorious songs that never found the right home or are actually quite good plays that came along at the wrong moment. It's rare that a theatre company will take the risk and produce a musical that received reviews that bottomed out – but a concert like this one gives us an opportunity to sample some terrific material from plays that may not see the light of day soon or ever again."

Kate Swan, 4th Wall's Artistic Director, will stage the production.  She is joined by musical director, Markus Hauck.  Both Swan and Hauck bring a great deal of experience to the project.   Swan is a Broadway dancer turned director/choreographer, and Hauck is a graduate of Boston Conservatory with numerous regional musical theatre credits.   Of the project, Swan says, "4th Wall, like so many other arts organizations, is finding new ways to raise funds in these challenging economic times.  We think that these one-night-only concert events are a fun way to thank our audiences for their support of our mission, which is to bring under-produced, edgy, and new works to the stage."

4th Wall has assembled an array of talent for "Flop of Ages: GREAT Songs from Bad Shows," including some favorite actors who have appeared on the 4th Wall stage over the group's 15-year history.  In addition, the company has invited a few special guests from the New York stage to join them including Jim Stanek, a well-known performer who has appeared in The Story of My Life, Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, and Indiscretions on Broadway in addition to numerous regional productions. Broadway performer Mary Stout, whose credits include On the Twentieth Century, Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast, My Favorite Year, and Me and My Girl, along with numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions, will also appear.  Stanek and Stout will be joined by Teri Furr, who appeared in Beauty and Beast, Gypsy, and Les Miserables; and Rusty Reynolds from Miss Saigon as well as the Funny Girl Actor's Fund Benefit.

All tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Box office at 973-748-9008 ext. 279. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted.  Tickets may also be purchased online and additional information is available at www.4thwalltheatre.org.

4th Wall's 2011-2012 season continues with The Story of My Life in February of 2012, to be followed by the Broadway hit play Speech & Debate in March.  The group closes the season with the Tony Award-winning musical Parade in June of 2012. 

The Theater Project Presents Its Holiday Gift to Local Audiences with "It's A Wonderful Life – The Radio Play" Saturday, December 3 at Maplewood's Burgdorff Center

(Maplewood, NJ) -- The Theater Project will present its holiday production of New Jersey's own Liz Zazzi's "It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play"  for one performance only on Saturday, December 3, 2010 at 3pm. A pre-show singalong begins at 2:45pm.  The performance will take place at the Burgdorff  Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.  For reservations call The Theater Project at 908-809-8865 or website www.TheTheaterProject.org.

Children attend free of charge, while tickets for adults are available for $15 (suggested donation). If inclement winter weather forces a cancellation, the ‘snow date' will be Sunday, December 4 at 3pm.  The Theater Project's company of local professional actors will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare for the broadcast of the story made famous in the Frank Capra film of the same name. Information is available at www.thetheaterproject.org.

Adapted by New Jersey actress, director and playwright Liz Zazzi, "It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play" serves as The Theater Project's annual holiday gift to its loyal audiences.  "Every year, some of our favorite actors come together and donate their time to create this event as our holiday gift to our supportive community," says Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Asbury Lanes Hosts Benefit For The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Alex Biese has organized a benefit for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to be held on Thursday, December 8 at Asbury Lanes (209 Fourth Avenue, Asbury Park).  The show's lineup includes Alex Biese, Big Wilson River,and Jamie & The Magic Torch.  Doors are at 8pm.  Admission is $10 or $7 with a non-perishable food item.  All artist proceeds will go to the Food Bank.

Alex Biese is a singer-songwriter in the Americana/Folk genre.  In addition to performing, Alex covers music for the Asbury Park Press and was recently nominated for a 2011 Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist.  For more information on Alex visit http://www.facebook.com/alexbiesemusic

Big Wilson River is a Bergen County-based roots rock collective that just released a great new album entitled "Octopus" on October 14.  You can hear tracks from the album online at http://bigwilsonriver.bandcamp.com

Jamie & The Magic Torch is the new acoustic project from Jamie Theurich (The O>Matics, Calamity Menagerie).  He calls his style of music "mainstream vegan rock."  you can find out more about Jamie at http://www.facebook.com/JamieAndTheMagicTorch

The FoodBank began in 1984 when three people saw hunger at the Jersey shore and decided to make a difference. They purchased a small, dilapidated warehouse in Spring Lake. Carpenters, masons and other members of the community donated work, office furniture and supplies. Food streamed in from hundreds of donors. After one year, the FoodBank was serving 25 charities with 100,000 pounds of food.

Ten years later, nearly two million pounds of food was being distributed annually from the same small warehouse. Bursting at the seams, the FoodBank undertook a capital campaign in 1998 to construct a new facility in Neptune. Three years later, the current 40,000 sq. ft facility became a reality.

Today, the FoodBank serves over 260 pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding programs with almost 7 million pounds of food distributed annually. The FoodBank also operates a Culinary Training Program for people in need of better-paid jobs, a Kids Café and Backpack program for children, a Mobile Pantry, and Food Stamp Outreach Program. With the help of roughly 1,000 volunteers each year, the FoodBank's programs are truly a community effort, working to eliminate hunger by providing emergency food, skills training, outreach programs and advocacy for families in need.

For more information on the FoodBank visit http://www.foodbankmoc.org

Outside The Box Offers Pair Of Tickets For Performance of "The Last Waltz" As Part Of Community Turkey Drive


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -– Outside the Box, the Jersey Shore based rock band, will perform The Band's 'The Last Waltz' on its 35th anniversary at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on Friday, November 25. Tickets are available in advance for $10 at the Stone Pony box office or online at ticketmaster.com and will be $15 day-of-show.

'The Last Waltz', The Band's farewell performance from November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, was made into one of the most highly regarded rock films of all-time, directed by Martin Scorsese.  The Band, who consisted of Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson were joined by an all-star group of musicians that night including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Ron Wood, Ronnie Hawkins,The Staples and many more throughout 'The Last Waltz' performance.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, Outside the Box has teamed-up with WindMill Gourmet Fast Food and Sixpoint Craft Ale for a turkey drive supporting the non-profit organization, Move For Hunger.  Each person who brings in a frozen turkey to a participating WindMill restaurant will receive a pair of complimentary tickets to the Outside the Box performance on November 25 as well as a WindMill hot dog. The turkeys that are collected will be donated to Move For Hunger for families of Monmouth County, NJ.

“'The Last Waltz' was the first concert film I ever saw”, said Outside the Box lead singer Jeff Cafone. “Mark (Masefield) and I bonded over the movie before we started OTB in 2004.  We used to act out the performances, interviews, and personality quirks of the guests even before we could perform the music.  It is an honor to be performing 'The Last Waltz' on its 35th Anniversary and pay homage to the band that is largely responsible for the existence of OTB – The Band.”

Outside the Box will open the show with songs off of their debut album, 'Bridge', released in July 2011.

'Bridge' has already received rave reviews:

The Aquarian's John Pfeifer wrote: “While retaining that dirty Jersey vibe, ('Bridge') rocks with the rebellious spirit of Graham Parsons and Elvis Costello.”

The Star Ledger's Jay Lustig wrote:  "Bridge," highlighted by "Love Is the Villain," a song whose driving energy and hint of a snarl reminds me, more than anything else, of early Graham Parker (though you can hear traces of Petty and Costello and Dylan in there as well).”

Chris Rotolo from the Asbury Park Press said: “(Bridge) has monstrous melodies and choruses that will be engrained in the minds and on the tips of tongues of Jersey Shore beach combers for years to come.”

The JerseyBeat.com called 'Bridge': “a winning surplus of raw energy, sturdy musicianship, and positively infectious go-for enthusiasm…a totally kick-ass album”.

Rich Robinson from 90.5 FM “The Night” said: “Some of the most amazing musicians that the Jersey Shore has come out with in a long, long time.”

The album is available on itunes, www.outsidetheboxband.com or at Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank, NJ.

Outside the Box (outsidetheboxband.com) has quickly developed into one of New Jersey's most dynamic new original rock bands.  Formed in 2004, band members consist of Jeff Cafone (Guitar, vocals), Mark Masefield (Hammond B3 organ, keyboards), Francis Valentino (Drums), and Ryan Wheeler (Bass).

The band released their debut album 'Bridge', which includes eleven tracks, on July 12, 2011 and was produced by Asbury Juke member Jeff Kazee (Schaeffer Records).

OTB have shared the stage with artists such as Buddy Guy, Blues Traveler, G.E. Smith, Govt Mule, Steven Van Zandt, Jesse Malin, Ryan Cabrera, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Joe Grushecky, The Smithereens, The Fab Faux, Jeffrey Gaines, and many more.

2011 Asbury Music Awards winners


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- The 2011 Asbury Music Awards show was held on Sunday, November 13 at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ. Here is the list of the winners.

Top Male/Band Acoustic Act: Thomas Wesley Stern
Top Female/Band Acoustic Act: Emily Grove
Top Male Vocalist: CM Smith (The Amboys)
Top Female Vocalist: Eryn Shewell
Top Guitarist: Tommy Strazza
Top Bassist: Justin Bornemann (No Wine For Kittens)
Top Drummer: Wills Weller (Toothgrinder)
Top Keyboard Player: Matt Wade
Song Of The Year: The Amboys "One Of Those Nights"
Top Local Release: River City Extension – "The Unmistakeable Man"
Top Radio Personality: Maria Mar (95.9 The Rat)
Top Radio/Internet Station: 90.5 The Night
Top Music Journalist: John Pfeiffer (The Aquarian)
Best Thing To Happen In 2010-2011: All Tomorrow’s Parties Comes To Asbury Park
Top Pop Band: Quincy Mumford & The Reason Why
Top Indie Rock Band: No Wine For Kittens
Top Rock Band: The Amboys
Top Heavy Rock Act: Toothgrinder
Top Young Band (Under 21): Fish Tank Mafia
Top Live Performance: River City Extension
Top Jam/Groove Band: Wakah Chan
Top Avant Garde Act: Chemtrail
Top Americana: River City Extension
Top Blues Band: The Eryn Shewell Band
Top Punk/Ska Band: Lost In Society
Poet Laureate: Dan Weeks
Top Club DJ: DJ Jack The Ripper
Top Music Website: TheAquarian.com
Top Multi-Instrumentalist: Nick Cucci (River City Extension)
Top Live Original Music Venue: The Saint
Beyond Asbury Top Record: Glen Burtnik "Where Music Lives"
Living Legend Award: Lance Larson
Lifetime Achievement Award: Jason Dermer

Friday, November 11, 2011

George Street Playhouse Presents World Premiere of The Nutcracker And I

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -– Fans of George Street Playhouse's holiday hit INSPECTING CAROL had best be getting their laughing muscles ready for another laugh-out-loud comedy from the same theatre and director. George Street Playhouse and its Artistic Director David Saint will bring THE NUTCRACKER AND I to New Brunswick beginning November 29, perpetrating yet another holiday spoof upon the patrons of the Playhouse. Master of parody, Gerard Alessandrini of FORBIDDEN BROADWAY fame, and Emmy award-winning writer Peter Brash have set the beloved holiday classic on its ear, with a hilarious take on the ballet, utilizing the music from the original Tchaikovsky score with a new story and original lyrics.  The show closes On December 31.

At a chaotic dress rehearsal for the local dance company's annual production of The Nutcracker Ballet, the lead dancer has an unfortunate accident with a prop Christmas tree – bringing new meaning to the old adage "break-a leg!" When the pain killers kick in and vision of sugar plums dance in her head, we're off for a wild adventure in Snow Globe City with a life-sized Nutcracker (of course) and the Sugar Rush Fairy in hot pursuit.

George Street Playhouse audience favorite (from GSP productions of INSPECTING CAROL and Ken Ludwig's THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY; TV's NEWHART, BOSOM BUDDIES) and farceur extraordinaire, Peter Scolari returns to New Brunswick, and gets to flex his comedic muscles in a variety of roles. Annie Golden, noted songstress and actress (from the band The Shirts, the movie version of HAIR, and Broadway's LEADER OF THE PACK) joins in the fun playing the Sugar Rush Fairy. They are joined by a cast of notables including Haley Carlucci, Maria in the recent Broadway revival of WEST SIDE STORY; Nick Dalton from the national tour of LEGALLY BLONDE; AJ Shively the son from the recent Broadway revival of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES; Ed Staudenmayer from the Broadway cast of Frank Wildhorn's WONDERLAND and 13-year-old newcomer Aidan Benavides, a veteran of local stages who hails from Morganville, NJ.

The creative team for THE NUTCRACKER AND I consists of director David Saint, choreographer Joseph Simeone, and music director and arranger David Caldwell. They are joined by Scenic Designer James Youmans, costume designer David Murin, lighting designer Joe Saint, sound designer Dan Moses Schreier and projection designer Steve Channon.

"I have known Gerard since we were both growing up in Massachusetts and he was writing parodies to Christmas carols," said Mr. Saint. "I am so pleased to be bringing this hilarious holiday farce to life in New Brunswick. We have assembled an amazingly talented cast, and a slate of extraordinary designers as well, and I am thrilled to be bringing them all to George Street for the enjoyment of our patrons and their families."

Flexible admission and subscription packages, as well as a individual tickets, are now available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office, 732-246-7717 and online at www.GSPonline.org. THE NUTCRACKER AND I is recommended for audience members aged 10 and older. Discounted tickets for groups of 10 or more may be purchased by calling 732-846-2895, ext 134. George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue, in the heart of New Brunswick's dining and entertainment district, and easily accessible by car or public transportation.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists. Noted Arts Administrator Norma Kaplan was appointed Managing Director in September 2011. Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics' Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the recent Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In addition to its mainstage season, GSP's Touring Theatre features four issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 70,000 students annually. George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by its lead season sponsor, Johnson & Johnson.

New Smiths Tribute drops December 13th from American Laundromat Records

(MYSTIC, CT) -- American Laundromat Records has enlisted a herd of indie-rock luminaries — including The Wedding Present, Built to Spill's Doug Martsch, Throwing Muses co-founder Tanya Donelly, Telekinesis and Stars — to contribute covers of more than 20 classic songs by The Smiths for a new tribute album to be released December 13, 2011.

The double-CD set is available for pre-order in three configurations: a $13 bundle, which includes the CD and a one-inch promo pin; a $20 bundle, which includes the CD, a limited-edition 7-inch with three more covers, a download of those tracks, and the pin; or a $35 bundle, which includes the CD, the 7-inch, the downloads, the pin, a T-shirt and a "private preview of the album."

In a fitting touch, American Laundromat Records secured a photo of '60s U.K. pop star Sandie Shaw for the cover art; Shaw was a favorite of both Morrissey and Johnny Marr who, in 1984, covered The Smiths' "Hand in Glove."

Please, Please, Please: a tribute to The Smiths | Tracklist

Disc 1

1. "Panic" — Kitten
2. "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" — The Rest
3. "What Difference Does It Make?" — Joy Zipper
4. "Shoplifters of the World Unite" — Tanya Donelly w/Dylan in the Movies
5. "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" — William Fitzsimmons
6. "I Won't Share You" — Sixpence None the Richer
7. "Well I Wonder" — Sara Lov
8. "Half a Person" — Greg Laswell
9. "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" — Dala
10. "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" — Chikita Violenta


Disc 2

1. "Sheila Take A Bow" — Telekinesis
2. "Is It Really So Strange?" — Solvents
3. "Hand In Glove" — The Wedding Present
4. "How Soon Is Now?" — Mike Viola and The Section Quartet
5. "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out" — Trespassers William
6. "Rubber Ring" — Girl in a Coma
7. "I Know It's Over" — Elk City
8. "What She Said" — Katy Goodman (La Sera, Vivian Girls)
9. "London" — Cinerama
10. "Reel Around the Fountain" — Doug Martsch (Built To Spill)



Exclusive Limited Edition Bonus 7-inch (pre-order "B" & "C" customers only)

1. "Asleep" — Stars
2. "Girl Afraid" — C'est la Mort
3. "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" — The Caulfield Sisters

Strand Presents American Boychoir Performance With Pre-Show Dining By Branches

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) -– Branches-Perfect Catered Affairs of West Long Branch will provide pre-show dining at the historic Strand Theater prior to the American Boychoir performance on Friday, December 16th.  Purchasers of VIP level tickets will be able to enjoy buffet-style selections in the elegant Strand Gallery prior to the show.  A full bar will be available.

"We are thrilled to be working with Branches-Perfect Catered Affairs for this special evening.  The option of pre-show dining on-site offers our patrons the convenience of enjoying a full evening of entertainment in one location. We hope theater-goers will take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience the American Boychoir plus the award-winning food of Branches this holiday season", said Camille Biamonte, Executive Director of the Strand Theater.  Branches is renowned for its exceptional event planning and catering at its banquet facility in West Long Branch and at off-site locations.

The American Boychoir is regarded as the United States' premier concert boys' choir. Under the leadership of Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Litton-Lodal Music Director, The American Boychoir continues to dazzle audiences with its unique blend of musical sophistication, effervescent spirit, and ensemble virtuosity. Boys in grades 4 through 8, reflecting the ethnic, religious and cultural diversity of the United States, come from across the country and around the world to pursue a rigorous musical and academic curriculum at the Boychoir school located in Princeton, NJ.  The Boychoir performs with world-class ensembles including the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic.  They have performed with internationally renowned soprano Jessye Norman, prominent jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, pop diva Beyonce, and at Carnegie Hall with Sir Paul McCartney. 

The Strand Gallery, a beautifully-appointed banquet room located directly off the Theater lobby, is available for private events, including holiday parties, birthdays, and weddings.

VIP level tickets, which include dining and the show, are available for a $15 premium over the cost of show tickets. Show tickets are $25 or $31 plus a $4 service charge.  Pre-purchase is required for VIP tickets.  To purchase tickets, view the full calendar of events, and for Strand Gallery rental information please visit The Strand's website at: www.strand.org, or call the theater at 732-367-7789. The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood, NJ.

GENE & SHELLEY ENLOW RECITAL HALL PRESENTS BRANFORD MARSALIS & JOEY CALDERAZZO, THE BRANFORD MARSALIS QUARTET

(HILLSIDE, NJ) -- Gene & Shelley Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University presents Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo with the Branford Marsalis Quartet on Friday, December 9 at 7:30 pm.  Performing selections from his recently released album, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, this unique presentation of duo and quartet features Marsalis' spectacular collaboration with longtime Quartet pianist, Joey Calderazzo as well as pieces by the entire quartet.

NEA Jazz Master, renowned Grammy Award winning saxophonist and Tony Award nominee Branford Marsalis is one of the most revered instrumentalists of our time.  He is the leader of one of today's finest jazz quartets and a frequent soloist with classical ensembles.  While still a Berklee College of Music student, Marsalis toured Europe playing alto and baritone saxophone in a large ensemble led by drummer Art Blakey.  Other big band experience with Lionel Hampton and Clark Terry followed over the next year, and by the end of 1981 Marsalis, on alto saxophone, had joined his brother Wynton in Blakey's Jazz Messengers.  Other performances with his brother, including a Japanese tour with Herbie Hancock, led to the formation of his brother Wynton's first quintet, where Marsalis shifted his emphasis to soprano and tenor saxophones.  He continued to work with Wynton until 1985, a period that also saw the release of his own first recording, Scenes in the City, as well as guest appearances with other artists including Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.

That year he joined Sting, singer and bassist of pop band The Police, on his first solo project, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, alongside other notable jazz and session musicians.  He became a regular in Sting's line-up both in the studio and onstage.  In 1994, Marsalis appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool.   The album, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic in African American society was named "Album of the Year" by Time Magazine.

In 1988, Marsalis co-starred in Spike Lee's movie, "School Daze," also rendering several horn-blowing interludes for the music in the film.  His witty comments have pegged him to many memorable one-liners in the film.  From 1992 to 1995 Branford was the leader of the Tonight Show Band on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  The Branford Marsalis Quartet has toured and recorded extensively, receiving a Grammy in 2001 for its album Contemporary Jazz.

Marsalis placed greater emphasis on classical music since the 2001 release of his album Creation.  Performances with symphony orchestras and chamber ensembles worldwide have become a significant part of his itinerary, with his most intense period of classical playing in 2008, when Marsalis toured the United States with Philarmonia Brasileira.

Marsalis became involved in education at the university level, with appointments at Michigan State, San Francisco State and North Carolina Central universities (2005–present).  After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr. created the concept of a Musicians' Village in the city's Upper Ninth Ward, with the Ellis Marsalis Center for Music as the Village's centerpiece.  This project, undertaken by New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity with Marsalis' and Connick's active participation, has proven to be one of the most successful recovery efforts in the region, and has already provided dozens of musicians of modest means with the opportunity to own decent, affordable housing.

Marsalis won a 2010 Drama Desk Award in the category "Outstanding Music in a Play" and was also nominated for a 2010 Tony Award in the category of "Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre" for his participation in the Broadway revival of August Wilson's "Fences."

In June 2011, after working together for over 10 years in a band setting, Branford Marsalis and Joey Calderazzo released their first duo album titled Songs of Mirth and Melancholy, on Branford's Marsalis Music label.  Their world premiere performance was on June 29, 2011 in Koerner Hall at the 2011 TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

Tickets to Branford Marsalis & Joey Calderazzo with the Branford Marsalis Quartet at Enlow Hall are $55 and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.SHOW (7469), online at http://enlowhall.kean.edu , or in person at Kean University's Wilkins Theater Box Office.  Enlow Recital Hall is located at 215 North Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205.

WQXR is a media sponsor of Gene & Shelley Enlow Recital Hall.  For complete Enlow Hall 2011-12 Season information, please visit the website or contact Ms. Cory Ransom, Director, Operations (908) 737-5932, ransomco@kean.edu.

NNPN World Premiere of Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– "Bakersfield Mist" is a new comedy by Stephen Sachs that premieres at the New Jersey Repertory Company December 1, 2011 - January 22, 2012 as part of a National New Play Network rolling premiere. The play began its triumphant run in Los Angeles where it has been held over month after month for the past six months and is now coming toLong Branch. The Los Angeles Times awarded its Critic's Choice award to "Bakersfield Mist" stating that it "strikes it rich on every conceivable level" and handles "highbrow artistic issues while zinging in plenty of uproarious one-liners."Back Stage called the play "a deftly crafted …absorbing, hilarious…triumph," and critics have consistently reached into their treasure-trove of adjectives to retrieve superlatives such as: "spectacular... incomparable" (The San Diego Jewish World,) "exquisite" (BroadwayWorld.com,) "brilliant" (OnStageLos Angeles. com,) "outstanding" (LA Weekly,) and "captivating" (StageSceneLA.com.)

The unlikely heroine of "Bakersfield Mist" is Maude Gutman, an unemployed, foul-mouthed, Jack Daniels swigging bartender, who lives in a trailer park in the seamy part of town. Events are set off when on a whim she purchases what she considers to be the ugliest painting in a thrift shop for three bucks, but then becomes convinced that it is a Jackson Pollock worth millions. Maude prevails in convincing the foundation that authenticates Pollock's work to send their straight-laced, no-nonsense, and elegantly attired expert, Lionel Percy, to pass judgment on the work. There is obviously a lot at stake and Lionel has great misgivings since undocumented, and unknown Pollocks rarely surface and the market is flooded with fakes. He knows that there are forgers and charlatans constantly nipping at his heels who are anxious to take him down, and to besmirch and destroy his carefully crafted, hard-earned reputation. Lionel's no light-weight and his opinion is the final word on such matters for he is an instructor in Abstract Impressionism at Princeton University and the former director at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His negative bias is confirmed when the first encounter he has at the trailer-park is with the killer dogs of Maude's neighbor, who literally nip at his heels, as he sprints desperately for his life. Nor is he reassured when he encounters Maude's decorating skills that give the term "shabby-chic" new meaning. Maude knows that this is her only chance to turn her pathetic life of defeat and grinding poverty around, and that two simple words from Lionel can achieve this. She reaches desperately into her meager and threadbare bag-of-tricks to convince him of the painting's authenticity, as the play becomes a thought-provoking game of cat-and-mouse.

Inspired in part by true events, "Bakersfield Mist" is a provocative and delightful comedy about class distinctions, truth, life, and the meaning of art. Hailed by both audiences and critics alike, "Bakersfield Mist" is a "must-see."

"Bakersfield Mist" is directed by NJ Rep's Artistic Director, SuzAnne Barabas and stars John FitzGibbon and Linda S. Nelson.

Strand Presents "Scrooge – A Christmas Carol"

(LAKEWOOD, NJ – The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents Scrooge – A Christmas Carol on Saturday, December 3 (2pm and 7pm) and Sunday, December 4 at 2pm.  The Strand Center for the Arts invites you to experience all the tradition and wonder of Charles Dickens's Christmas classic with state-of-the-art staging magic created by the Riddlesbrood Traveling Theater Company.  Tickets are $15-20 (plus service charges)

Start a tradition and treat yourself and your family to the perfect holiday gift!  We've decked the halls with your favorite holiday music, sparkling sets, and special effects tied together by a high-spirited cast dressed in lavish costumes to bring this tale of 19th century London to life. And to add to the merriment, we've added a dollop of humor sure to tickle a smile from the crotchety old Scrooge himself.

This year's cast showcases talented local performers, including students from our own Strand School of the Arts.  Scrooge – A Christmas Carol is holiday fun for the whole family!  So make your reservations now for Scrooge - A Christmas Carol.

Make your ticket reservations online at www.strand.org or call 732-730-5925.  The STRAND box office, 732 – 367 - 7789, is open on Thursday and Friday, between 12 pm and 5 pm and 3 hours before each show.

The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ. For more information, visit http://www.strand.org

State Theatre presents Dark Star Orchestra


(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ)-— State Theatre presents Dark Star Orchestra—Fly Through the Night Fall Tour for one night only on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 8pm. Tickets range from $27-36.

Giving homage in a continually evolving artistic outlet, the Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) recreates historic Grateful Dead concerts with compelling accuracy. The group has their craft so well refined that even members of the Dead themselves, rhythm guitarist/singer Bob Weir, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and keyboardist Vince Welnick, have appeared on stage and performed with these live music interpreters. DSO concerts have been hailed as "the next best thing to being there," due in part to the band's impeccable musicianship and attention to detail.

Offering a continually evolving artistic outlet within the Grateful Dead's musical canon, members of Dark Star Orchestra seek out the unique style of each performance era and offer their own interpretations and improvisations at each show. Using entire set lists from the Grateful Dead's decades of touring as a launching pad, Dark Star Orchestra recreates song for song performances straight from the set list of these historic shows.

While faithful improvisation is pinnacle, precision is of equal importance with DSO, which position the stage plot based on the year of Grateful Dead show to be performed, adapting phrasing, voice arrangements, and even arranges specific musical equipment for the various eras of Dead music performed. At the end of each performance, the band announces the date and venue where the original show just covered took place. Dark Star Orchestra dips into every incarnation of the Dead, so most fans can "see" shows that happened long before they were born.

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.

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.

ROWAN'S GOT OPERA!

(GLASSBORO, NJ) -– Showcasing the vocal talents of its students from around the region, the Rowan Opera Company presents a diverse evening of pieces from classic and more contemporary works in Rowan's Got Opera on November 18 and 19, 2011 at 8 pm in Pfleeger Concert Hall on the Glassboro campus.

Under the direction of Marian Stieber and Jon Garrison, the Company performs scenes and selections from a variety of works, including Candide by Bernstein, Der Rosenkavelier by Strauss, Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute by Mozart, H.M.S. Pinafore by Gilbert & Sullivan, Madama Butterfly and Tosca by Puccini, The Old Maid and the Thief by Menotti, Rigoletto by Verdi and Susannah by Floyd.

The performers include Rajeer Alford from Cherry Hill, Andrea Berges from Egg Harbor Township, Matthew Bratsch from Matawan, Sean Clancy from Bellmawr, Rebecca Clement from Mullica Hill, Jessica Rose Cohn from Philadelphia, Paula DiGianivittorio from Philadelphia, Brian Graziani from Winslow, Brittany Griffith from Egg Harbor Township, Janay' Hair from Millville, Kathleen Hickey from Point Pleasant, Stephanie Krizek from Keyport, Navise Lockett from Cherry Hill, Michael McEntee from Budd Lake, Cassandra Moore from Woodstown, Paul Proulx from Audubon, Alicen Ragonese from Elk Township, Jelisa Ransom from Vineland, Corrie-Rose Recchia from Ocean Township, Kaitlyn Shaginaw from Atco, Marissa Truglio from Matawan, D. Travis Washington from Pine Hill and Michael A. Wolf from Marlton.

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

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

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

SIMPLE GIFTS TO PERFORM AT MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– In live performance, the musicians of Simple Gifts are all over the map — in a good way.

A concert by the Pennsylvania-based trio of instrumentalists can be a whirlwind tour that carries you from a Gypsy campfire to an Appalachian cabin; from a breath of the Scottish Highlands to a blast from the Russian steppes. You'll hear Irish jigs and Klezmer frailachs; dances from a Mediterranean celebration and twin fiddling from a Scandinavian seaport.

You'll even hear original compositions that are as steeped in tradition — and the joy of storytelling — as songs that were crafted more than 500 years ago. All of it put forth through the brilliantly simple formula of "three women plus twelve instruments equals one good time."

Those three women are stringed instrument specialists Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon, with concertina innovator and mathematics professor Rachel Hall — and together they've accrued loyal new converts with every appearance, even while continuing to delightfully confound all attempts to summarize their sound.

Littleton and Hirshon, who often perform in a duo format, boast proficiency on some dozen or so instruments, including fiddles, guitar, banjos, mandolin, recorders, "banjolin" and various percussive devices — to say nothing of hammered dulcimer and bowed psaltery; instruments that are rarely encountered in performance, let alone played with such virtuosic passion.

On the evening of Monday, November 21, the women of Simple Gifts visit Monmouth University for an intimate performance that takes place inside the historic Lauren K. Woods Theatre, at the eastern end of the school's campus in West Long Branch.

Presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth University as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series, the 7:30 p.m. concert is expected to draw from the traditionalist trio's five full length, independently released recordings — all of which are readily available through such 21st century outlets as iTunes and CD Baby.

Home to Monmouth University's Department of Music and Theatre Arts — and scene of a celebrated Shadow Lawn Stage summer series — the Woods Theatre is a uniquely configured space, with wraparound tiered seating that affords a birds-eye view of the onstage performance. The beautifully renovated former carriage house of the fabled Guggenheim family summer estate offers an "up close and personal" ambience — the perfect way to experience the warmth and  generosity of a concert by Simple Gifts.

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. 

The Theater Project's 10th Annual Young Playwrights Competition

(UNION, NJ) -- The Theater Project, is accepting submissions for its 10th annual Young Playwrights ' Competition. The competition seeks original works only, no adaptations.  All submissions must be at least 10 but no more than 30 pages typed in play format, and all entrants must be New Jersey residents in secondary schools (ages 13 to 18). Entries must be postmarked by January 23, 2011.

The winning scripts will be performed in March 2012 by The Theater Project during the state-wide Family Week at the Theater celebration of theater and New Jersey's youth. Monetary prizes and certificates will be awarded at that time to all winning authors. First place will receive a $600 savings bond, second place will receive a $400 savings bond and third place will receive a $200 savings bond.

The goal of the Young Playwrights' Competition is to encourage the next generation of theater practitioners and audience by honoring their work and bringing it to life. The competition was inspired by a generous donation from Linden resident Bill Mesce, Jr., an award-winning playwright and screenwriter, whose recent novel The Advocate was published by Bantam Books.

How to Enter: By January 23, 2012, please submit a 10-30 page script to The Theater Project, Box 101, Union, NJ 07083 or e-mail to TheaterProject@aol.com. All entries must include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope), a 50 word biography of the author including contact information, and the $5 entrance fee (check or money order, payable to THE THEATER PROJECT) which can be sent via snail mail for emailed scripts. Only one entry per author. Please remember that you must be a resident of New Jersey and a secondary school student in the 2011- 2012 academic year to be eligible.

All questions can be directed to The Theater Project at (908) 809-8865 or by email at THEATERPROJECT@aol.com.

Exciting Adaptation of A Christmas Carol on Stage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey

(MADISON, NJ) -– The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey concludes its 49th season with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapted for the stage by Neil Bartlett. This unique and ingenious production features a cast of nine actors playing more than 50 roles, including some of literature's most beloved characters. Shakespeare Theatre's Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs.  "When I came across this wonderful new adaption, it made my director's pulse quicken.  It's a director's dream with its infinite opportunities for inventiveness," said Ms. Monte.  Performances begin on December 1 and continue through January 1.   Performances are Tuesday through Sundays at The Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage – the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre in Madison. For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.  

Bartlett's unusual adaptation finds the mean-spirited miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Shakespeare Theatre veteran Philip Goodwin) alone and unloved in his cold house on Christmas Eve. Mired in his irascible and rigid ways, his very name synonymous with greed and misanthropy, Scrooge's last chance for redemption lies in the spectral hands of his dead business partner and three holiday spirits.  Originally created for the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in England, Bartlett's A Christmas Carol contains only Dickens' own words.  "I wanted to do it using Dickens' words, and nothing but," wrote Bartlett.  "Dickens himself prompted this decision; after all, he wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud for an audience.   His words don't describe; they enact."    In addition, Bartlett has included spoken and sung Victorian carols delivered a cappella throughout the play.

Adaptor Neil Bartlett is a famed British playwright, award-winning novelist, Olivier Award-nominated director and the former artistic director of the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in London.  He is the author of the novel The House on Brooke Street and has published adaptations of The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, and Oliver Twist, which received rave reviews in its American premiere in Boston, New York and San Francisco.   About his production of A Christmas Carol at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, The Guardian wrote, "This is one of those rare and festive offerings for which no adult will need the excuse of a child in tow to book a ticket." 

Philip Goodwin returns to the Shakespeare Theatre stage for his second season to play Ebenezer Scrooge. Mr. Goodwin appeared earlier this season as Inspector Bertozzo in Accidental Death of an Anarchist, and previously performed in The Little Foxes. He has appeared on Broadway in Tartuffe, The Diary of Anne Frank, and The School for Scandal, and Off-Broadway in King Lear, Pericles, Macbeth, and Hamlet (The Public); Grace (MCC); The Room/Celebration (Atlantic Theatre Company); Drowning (Signature Theatre); The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (New York Theatre Workshop) and numerous productions at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.

John Ahlin (Mr. Fezziwig) is in his fourth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, having previously appeared in All's Well That Ends Well, The Comedy of Errors, and King John. Ahlin has appeared on Broadway in Waiting for Godot, Journey's End, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Voices in the Dark, One Mo' Time, Whoopee!, and Macbeth. Mr. Ahlin has also performed at TheatreWorks, Pittsburgh Public, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Old Globe Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Center Stage, and Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

In his thirteenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre, Greg Jackson (Bob Cratchit) has performed in Timon of Athens, The School for Wives, The Winter's Tale, Amadeus, The Comedy of Errors, The Bald Soprano, The Play's the Thing, Triumph of Love, Love's Labour's Lost, Othello, and many more. He most recently performed the role of Alan in Opus at Portland Center Stage, and the roles of Richard Hannay, Man 1, and Man 2 as the sole male understudy in the Broadway transfer of The 39 Steps.

In his ninth season with the company, Ames Adamson adds The Ghost of Christmas Past to his Shakespeare Theatre credits, which include Timon of Athens, Hamlet, King Lear, A Christmas Carol, Henry V, Merry Wives of Windsor, Illyria, Love's Labours Lost, King John, and Arms and the Man.

Erin Partin (Belinda) is in her tenth season with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, having previously played in The School for Wives, The Cherry Orchard, Les Liasons Dangereuses, A Midwinter Night's Dream, The Crucible, Love's Labours Lost, A Child's Christmas in Wales, Othello, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, The Grouch, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, and Midsummer Night's Dream.

A veteran of four seasons with The Shakespeare Theatre, Tina Stafford (Mrs. Cratchit) has previously appeared in A Christmas Carol, Carnival!, and A Child's Christmas in Wales. Ms. Stafford has also appeared in York Theatre's Musicals in MUFTI series, The Paper Mill Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, TOTS (Houston) and TUTS (Atlanta), La Jolla Playhouse, Utah Shakespearean Festival, The Denver Center, and many others.

Clark Carmichael, now in his ninth season with the Theatre, plays Ebenezer Scrooge's cheerful nephew Fred and as the younger Scrooge. His previous shows at The Shakespeare Theatre include All's Well That Ends Well, Henry VI, As You Like It, That Scoundrel Scapin,  The Tempest, Carnival!, Two Gentlemen of Verona (The Musical), and many others. Clark has appeared on Broadway in Tom Stoppard's Jumpers, and has appeared at the Red Bull Theatre, The Culture Club, Two River Theatre Company, Missouri Repertory Theatre, NY Fringe Festival, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and many others.

Blake Pfeil makes his Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey debut as Tiny Tim. His most recent credits include a year as a company member/resident composer of the Gyeonggi English Village in South Korea, and Huntington Theatre Company, Theatreworks Colorado, Company One, New Repertory Theatre, and Rehearsing a Dream (HBO). Mr. Pfeil is the host of Standing Room Only (WERS, 88.9 FM, Boston).


Susan Maris (Fred's Wife) is in her third season with the company. Previous work with the Shakespeare Theatre includes The Grapes of Wrath, The Servant of Two Masters, Othello, and Shakespeare LIVE! Ms. Maris has worked with Manhattan Theatre Source, Toy Box Theatre Company, and Prospect Theatre Company, along with appearing on screen in She Gave Me Water and Limitless.



About the Director

2011 marks director Bonnie J. Monte's twenty-first season as artistic director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.  Since 1990, she has directed 47 productions for the company, including this season's productions of The Misanthrope and Othello, No Man's Land, The Taming of the Shrew, The Misanthrope, and Hamlet.  Her many adaptations of classic works, including Enrico IV, The Cherry Orchard and Pride and Prejudice have earned her critical acclaim.  Her adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters was recently published by Playscripts, Inc.


Special Performances

Preview performances for A Christmas Carol are December 1 & 2 at 8:00pm, and December 3 at 2 pm. These Preview performances offer opportunities for reduced-priced tickets while enjoying the excitement of the very first performances in front of an audience. As always, the first Preview performance is Pay What You Can night.   Visit The Shakespeare Theatre Box Office between noon and curtain on December 1st and purchase a ticket for what you are able to pay for that evening's 8:00pm preview performance (offer subject to availability).  Pay What You Can is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Stone & Magnanini LLP/Smart Family Foundation, an independent family foundation.

For no more than the cost of a regular ticket, three Symposium Series performances are offered for each show and include a post-play discussion with the cast and artistic staff.   Symposium performances for A Christmas Carol will be December 6th at 7:30 PM and December 10th& 17th at 2:00 PM

For each production, The Shakespeare Theatre presents the popular education program Know the Show. From 7:00 to 7:30 p.m., an artist from The Shakespeare Theatre will present a pre-performance talk that provides background information and an insider's perspective on the production.  Know the Show will be held on December 8th at 7:00 p.m.  General admission is $5 for the general public, $4 for ticket package holders. Tickets to that evening's 8:00 p.m. performance may be purchased separately.

American Reggae at an All-Time High

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Echo Movement emerged onto the American reggae scene a few years ago with a cult hit "I Think God Smokes Weed." Now, the outspoken humanists from the Jersey Shore (the "real" Jersey Shore, as they say) have landed their new album, Music Played On, at #4 on the iTunes Reggae Chart its opening week.

"We were surprised to see the numbers coming in, to see all the love around us," said lead singer Stephen Fowler.

Recently home from two national tours, New Jersey-based reggae/rock outfit Echo Movement will be performing at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Saturday, November 19 at 7:30.

In addition to love, Music Played On is drenched in philosophy, social issues and metaphysics.  If those sound like boring subjects, try hearing them discussed over reggae.

"Marshall Mcluhan famously said 'the medium is the message,' and our medium is reggae-inspired music. Our messages might be complex, but they'll always assume the simple manners of reggae," said David Fowler, Stephen's brother, keyboardist and Echo's main songwriter.

Echo Movement has toured the US extensively since signing onto their first run with the Vans Warped Tour in 2009. They maintain an unusual closeness with fans.  The band also takes touring as an opportunity to disprove many misconceptions about their Jersey Shore roots.

"Most people think of the Jersey Shore as a bunch of fist-pumping guidos and trashy girls. Nothing could be further from the truth. The local community is full of very normal, warm, intelligent people," said Fowler.

Music Played On is available on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and other digital retailers.

Monmouth U welcomes Paul Byrom, a tenor for all seasons

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– He's been called "The Swanky Tenor" — a vocal artist who emerged from a seemingly crowded field of Irish Tenors with a flair for the romantic that's caused hopelessly smitten fans to swoon, and a smooth style that owes as much in its way to Michael Buble as to the iconic John McCormack.

He could just as easily be branded "The Sporting Tenor;" an avid fan who's been seen and heard everywhere from the football field at Barcelona to a Six Nations rugby match in Dublin — and TD Garden in Boston, where he's become a fixture at Celtics basketball games.

When Paul Byrom takes the stage of the Pollak Theatre on the evening of Sunday, November 20, he'll be bringing the stuff that's allowed him to connect with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, in cities all over the planet, and in front of appreciative listeners that have included the President of Ireland, the Emperor of Japan, and the President of the United States.

Presented by the Center for the Arts at Monmouth University as part of the 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series, the 7 p.m. concert will mark the Dublin-based singer's sole New Jersey date in support of This is the Moment, the new album that keynotes Byrom's first U.S. tour as a solo headline performer.

Arranged by master bass player and "trusty right hand man" Joe Csibi, This is the Moment finds the tenor (who's put his stamp on songs by everyone from Charles Aznavour to the Moody Blues and U2) introducing new originals by some sought-after songwriters. The star characterizes the live show as "a mixed bag of music…(ranging) from the musical hits of Broadway, to well known favorites from Ireland," as well as "one or two classical crossover pieces" from the singer who made the Classical Billboard charts with his 2008 Christmas album.

Also promised are "one or two of my favorites from my time with Celtic Thunder" — the superstar vocal group of which Byrom was a breakout star from 2007 to November of 2010. The five solo singers, who had the honor of officially kicking off New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 2009, found their greatest success here in the United States  — a fact that led to Byrom's decision to revisit his own solo performing career with a coast-to-coast stateside tour.

"Tickets are limited and hopefully will sell out quickly," asserts the singer in one of the frequently updated blog entries that he offers to fans with the lilting signature "Keep well My Loves, My Doves, My Eggs."

"Much like my Grannie's pies, once they are gone, they are gone!!"

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

The Caring Canvas Hosted Josignacio's Art Unveiling Ceremony and Dedication in Asbury Park, NJ


(Asbury Park, NJ)--  The Caring Canvas, a premier traveling art gallery that combines fine art with philanthropy founded by Laura Brunetti, hosted an art unveiling and dedication on Saturday afternoon on November 5, 2011 at the Asbury Park Transportation Center located on Main Street in Asbury Park, NJ. The gathering was free and was open to the public.

Contemporary Cuban Artist Josignacio of Miami created the 8 foot X 9 foot masterpiece 'Tree of Life'. The Caring Canvas and the artist presented this gift and dedicated it to the Children of Asbury Park. Josignacio's original triptych art, 'Tree of Life', consists of three consecutive paintings that represent a powerful convergence of the past, present and future to create one extraordinary image of humanity. The painting is valued at $180,000.

Josignacio was born in Havana, Cuba. He is a contemporary Cuban Artist (painter), neo-figurative, mostly abstract, who has resided in the USA since 1989 and he is notably known for the creation of the plastic paint medium in 1984. The Plastic Paint Medium is a painting technique consisting in the use of epoxy resins as an "agglutinating medium" and "pigments" as colorants, obtaining a real plastic finish with a new visual effect.  Some of his artwork is currently available on display at the Laura Brunetti Art Gallery located in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida as well as online at artnet. Josignacio currently resides in Miami Beach, Florida.

The celebration included the honorable Mayor Ed Johnson who conducted the unveiling and speeches were presented by Doug Ferrari of SICA (Shore Institute for the Contemporary Arts), Freeholder Amy Mallet and Mental Health Association's Director of Development Laura Oncea. Singer and songwriter Dave Miller performed live acoustic music throughout the
afternoon and special guest vocalist 'Quint Essence' of Asbury Park sang The National Anthem. Light fare and refreshments were served while Monmouth County families as well as guests from NYC enjoyed this exciting event.

One of the most creative humanitarians in New Jersey, Laura Brunetti, founded The Caring Canvas and has had unstoppable success with her art exhibits and community projects. Right where Josignacio's painting is installed in the transportation center; Laura hosted a free Caring Canvas summer camp for the children of the city this past August every Tuesday and Thursday. It was a very meaningful location to place Josignacio's art where children's art was created at Laura's camp.

Susan Belfer, President of Belfer Communications cheered, "Josignacio's art is a celebration of the growing arts & culture scene that Asbury Park has cultivated throughout history. This is a true gift to the community. As we unveiled his art, it was clear to all of us that the TREE OF LIFE was always meant to be right there. Josignacio's art will be admired by thousands of visitors each year in the legendary city of Asbury Park, NJ."

Stay tuned for the next Caring Canvas project. Organizations that wish to work with The Caring Canvas can contact us at 732.239.1559 or on our Facebook fan page THE CARING CANVAS.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey closes 2011 Play Reading Series with Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy

(MADISON, NJ) -— The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey concludes its 2011 Lend Us Your Ears play reading series with The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan.  The reading will be held on Monday, November 14th at 7:00 pm at the Shakespeare Theatre's Main Stage, the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Road) in Madison.   Tickets are $15 each for adults and $10 for students.  For tickets or more information, call the box office at 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. 

Lend Us Your Ears provides patrons the opportunity to join the Shakespeare Theatre's directors, actors and artistic staff in exploring diverse and exciting plays.  This script-in-hand reading will feature members of The Shakespeare Theatre's esteemed company of actors as well as prestigious guest artists, and will begin with background information about the play.   Following the reading will be a talk-back session with the director, cast and audience which provides valuable feedback on the play and its potential for future production.   

The Winslow Boy, which premiered on Broadway in 1947 and was made into a film in 1948, is inspired by an actual event involving a young English cadet accused of theft.  In Rattigan's intriguing and compelling play, in which he quotes from actual court transcripts, Ronnie Winslow's parents and sister are convinced of his innocence, and with the help of one most famous barristers in England, they fight for their family honor against the strict codes of conduct of the Osborne Navel College and the government.  

Rattigan is the author and screenwriter of the plays and the film versions of The Browning Version, The Deep Blue Sea, and the Academy Award-winning Separate Tables.  He also co-wrote or wrote several original screenplays as well as screenplays based on other author's material including The Yellow Rolls-Royce and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

Sir Terence Rattigan was knighted in 1971 and would have celebrated his 100th birthday in 2011.

The Winslow Boy reading will be Monday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. at the F. M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre.  A question and answer session with the audience and the cast will follow the reading. 

Tickets
Tickets for the reading series are $15 each for adults; student tickets are $10 each. For tickets, call the box office at 973-408-5600, visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org or email boxoffice@shakespearenj.org.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Main Stage, the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, is conveniently located in Madison at 36 Madison Avenue (Route 124) at Lancaster Road (on the Drew University campus), just minutes from routes 287, 78 and 10. Parking is free.

The F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre is barrier free with access into the Theatre via a ramp and elevator access to all floors.   Wheelchair seating and transfer seating is available.  Braille and large print programs are available.   Infrared listening devices are available free of charge.  Some performances are audio described.  Contact the theatre for more information.   For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey's only professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

Kean University Presents Spring Awakening


(UNION, NJ) -- The Department of Theatre at Kean University presents the rock musical Spring Awakening November 11 through 19 in the Wilkins Theatre.  The musical is inspired by the play of the same title written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind.  One of literature's most controversial masterpieces, so daring in its depiction of teen-age self-discovery it was banned from the stage and not performed in its complete form in English for nearly 100 years, it frankly portrays issues of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide.  Alternate rock is employed as part of the folk-infused rock score, juxtaposing a modern sensibility with the mores of the past.

Set in late nineteenth century Germany -- a world where the grown-ups hold all the cards -- the adolescent children yearn for answers, for the freedom to explore and understand themselves as sexual beings, to boldly and blindly claw their way through the inner and outer tumult of their own sexual "awakenings."  The Broadway musical ran for more than 900 performances and received eleven 2007 Tony Award nominations, winning eight, including Tonys for best musical, direction, book, score and featured actor. The show also won four Drama Desk Awards, while its London production won four Olivier Awards.

"Spring Awakening reveals the teenage exploration of sexuality and the frustration due to the oppression from adults in their lives," said Holly Logue, acting dean of Kean's College of Visual and Performing Arts, and director of the production.  Parents of young children who saw the musical when it premiered in New York raved about the opportunities it started for conversation between parent and child.  "I myself experienced this," continued Logue, "when my then 14 year old daughter chose to bury her head in my shoulder to avoid seeing the explicit love scene.  Perhaps she didn't want to see it with me or perhaps she didn't want to see it at all – but afterward, as we walked, our conversation was open, meaningful, and heartfelt."

The Kean production of Spring Awakening features Lauren Sodono, a junior at Kean University with a double BA major in Theatre Education and English Education as the central character, Wendla.  Melchior is played by Brandon Elia, a senior BA Theatre major and Greg Scalera, Kean theatre student and singer/pianist for local rock band The Agony Family, portrays Moritz.  The cast includes Samantha Mellina (Martha), Danielle Morris (Thea), Samantha Furst (Anna), Cara Ganski (Ilse), Emily Conklin (Petra),       Jasmine Taylor (Perta), Jason Gillis (Hanschen), Kyle Bergslien (Ernst), Justin Ferretti (Georg), Brandon Arias (Otto), Anthony Crouchelli (Rupert), Aaron McMillan (Deiter), Lucas Pinner (Reinhold/Ulbrecht), Katelyn Morgan (multiple adult women) and Anthony Mowatt (multiple adult men).

Performance times for Spring Awakening are Nov 11, 12, 16, 18, 19 at 8:00 pm; Nov 12, 13, 19 at 2:00 pm; Nov 17 at 5:00 pm.  Tickets are $15 standard, $10 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.

Foundation Provides Grant Funding to Strand Ventures, Inc.

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) -— The Investors Charitable Foundation, which provides charitable funding to not-for-profits that enrich the communities served by Investors Bank, has awarded a $5,000 to Strand Ventures, Inc.  The grant will help the organization offer scholarships to at-risk youths.

Strand Ventures operates a comprehensive performing arts center in the historic Strand Theater, a 1,042-seat venue that has hosted some of world's most renowned performing artists.  The theater is also home to the Strand School of the Arts, which offers art education courses throughout the region.  The charitable grant will provide $500 scholarships to 10 at-risk, financially disadvantaged youths.  The scholarships will enable them to attend an eight-week semester of art education classes during the autumn season.

"In behalf of our students and the community we serve, I would like to thank our friends at the Investors Charitable Foundation for their continuing generosity," said Camille Biamonte, executive director of Strand Ventures, Inc.

"For more than a decade, Strand Ventures has enriched its community with top-quality performances and educational programs," said Kevin Cummings, president and CEO of Investors Savings Bank and a member of the Foundation's board of trustees.  "We are confident that the young people enrolled in this program will benefit greatly from a wide-ranging arts curriculum."

About the Investors Charitable Foundation
Investors Bank, headquartered in Short Hills, New Jersey, is a full-service community bank that has been serving customers since 1926. With $10 billion in assets and a network of more than 80 retail branches, Investors delivers personalized services and products tailored to the needs of its customers. Investors' banking services include complete deposit, loan and cash management products for consumers and businesses.

The Investors Charitable Foundation supports non-profit organizations that enrich the quality of life in the communities the Bank serves.  To date, the Foundation has dispensed more than $6 million to support initiatives ranging from community and civic improvements to the fight against diseases.

For more information contact Investors at 1.800.252.8119 or visit www.myinvestorsbank.com.