New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Tune into Radio Jersey with Lee Mrowicki every Monday through Friday from 6pm to 8pm
Broadcast on Asbury Music!

Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"

By Shen Shellenberger, JerseyArts.com

originally published: 09/13/2018

Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"Fun seems to be the operative word for “Incorruptible,” the production that opens the fall season at  the Ritz Theatre Company on Thursday, September 13.

“We wanted a comedy,” said Bruce Curless, the theatre’s Producing Artistic Director, “and we also wanted to present a work by local playwright Michael Hollinger.”

“Incorruptible” fit the bill.

“You start to read the script,” Curless said, “and it doesn’t take long to realize how much fun this show will be.

“To me, the full title, ‘Incorruptible: A Dark Comedy about the Dark Ages,’ gives an accurate description of the numerous plotlines,” Curless points out.

Set at a monastery in Priseaux, France, in 1250 A.D., the story centers around a time of severe strife at the abbey. More than a dozen years have passed since their patron saint (based on St. Foy, a 13-year-old martyred in the 14th century) has worked a single miracle, leaving the church without a reliable reason for ardent pilgrims to visit.

Hollinger, a Lancaster, Pa., native and Assistant Professor of Theatre at Villanova University, said the story, though embellished with artistic license, is based on historical fact.

While touring a cathedral years ago with his wife, who was raised Catholic, the couple came across a sign for a saint’s bones housed in the church.

“I was incredulous,” said Hollinger, “so my wife explained holy relics to me.” This led him on an extensive search for information about relics, the theft of relics, and eventually incorruptibles, deceased holy people who don’t decompose.

“The play was written in the ‘90s, when the televangelist scandals were coming to light,” he said, “which helped fuel further inquiry into the history of the Church and the challenges of running a spiritual ‘business’ without being corrupted.”

Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"

With a story set so long ago and so far away, I asked Hollinger if it was possible to put himself into the play.

“Absolutely,” he said. “While writing the play, I worked as literary manager for a nonprofit theatre in Philadelphia that was committed to premiering plays by emerging playwrights.

“It’s a noble idea,” he said, “but tempered by the ever-present pressure to sell tickets and convince funders that the work is either wildly entertaining or socially beneficial, or both.”

Hollinger’s fictional abbey is also a nonprofit with noble ideas and great economic pressures, Hollinger noted. “This parallel kept the play personal for me.”

Director Al Fuchs had no previous experience with Hollinger or this play, so he did some research on both.

“The more I learned, the more excited I became,” Fuchs said. “Well, excited, and a little intimidated.”

Think about it. Hollinger has serious theatre cred. He teaches theatre at a prominent area university. And he is local. Like, he lives here. He works here. He could drop by the theatre any time.

“We had a couple of phone conversations and it was an amazing resource and opportunity for us,” said Fuchs. “I never had that experience with a playwright before.”

Then Hollinger did come to the theatre to meet with the cast.

“He spent over an hour with the ensemble and he fit right in,” Fuchs said. “It was like he had answers before we asked the questions. He confirmed what we thought we already knew.”

Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"

Knowing they were doing the justice to the work went a long way to build up the confidence of the cast. “Hollinger put his stamp and his validation on what we were doing.”

It is apparent why the cast would appreciate having this up-close-and-personal exchange, but I wondered why it was significant for Hollinger to make that connection.

“Since ‘Incorruptible’ was published over 15 years ago, it has traveled widely without me,” said Hollinger, adding that it receives many productions each year that he doesn’t know about until he gets a statement from his publisher. “So, the play doesn’t really need me anymore.”

“However, I love the collaborative nature of theatre, and I’m energized by these interactions,” he said. “Discussing the real-life historical background can help ground the collaborators and point them to parts of the play that support the nuances and complexities of the characters’ interior lives.”

This relationship is clearly reciprocal. Fuchs feels that hearing about the play first-hand from Hollinger was a tremendous help to the

cast. And Hollinger appreciated having a chance to share his insights and ideas with them.

“Ritz director Al Fuchs and his talented cast have been extremely open to hearing my two cents, for which I’m very grateful,” Hollinger said.

And Fuchs turns the compliments back to Hollinger. “The show is so smart and clever,” he said, “and it’s about so many things – fate, survival and finding what you believe in and how that can take you to the next level.”

Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"

As Curless, Fuchs and the show’s cast and crew busily prepare for Friday’s opening, that sense of fun still reigns.

“The show is inspiring, with a nice, deep message,” Fuchs added. “But it’s still a romp!”

Curless concurred, “It’s hysterically funny.”

In his time with the Ritz, Fuchs told me, he has become known for doing what he refers to as “door comedies.” “I’ve become somewhat of a master of slamming a door for comedic effect.”

“I love dramas and classical works,” he said, “but I still get the door comedies.”

“Incorruptible” is not all that different.

“It’s still a door comedy,” Fuchs laughed, “only this time I have arches.”

“Incorruptible” opens Thursday, September 13 and continues through Sunday, September 30.



Upcoming events at the Ritz Theatre include:

Main Stage:

Into the Woods, October 25 – November 18

Other events:

Ritz Theatre Film SeriesSeptember 25, October 13, October 29, November 12, December 10

Spy House, October 5 -7

Beatlemania Again, October 12

For the kids:

Rapunzel, November 15 – 17

RudolphDecember 17 – 23






About the author: Shen’s been a Jersey girl for most of her life, other than living for a three-year stretch in Portland, Oregon, and six magical months in Tokyo. Shen loves the arts in all of its various forms – from the beauty of a perfectly-placed base hit to the raw energy of rock 'n' roll – and has successfully passed on this appreciation to her three grown children. Shen’s most recent jobs include WXPN (1993-2001) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (2003-present). Shen also has been a working freelancer for 25 years, and operated her own frame shop in Mt. Holly in the late-70s.

Content provided by Discover Jersey Arts, a project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.




 


J CITY Theater Returns With "Bakersfield Mist"
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- J CITY Theater launches their first full season in four years with their Fall show: Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs at their new location – The Barrow Mansion, 83 Wayne Street.  The production runs Thursdays through Sundays from September 28th through October 13th. Set in a downtrodden trailer park in California, Bakersfield Mist is the story of Maude Gutman (Sandy Cockrell) who has recently purchased an ugly painting at Daisy’s Junk Shop for three dollars.  Turns out, the painting may actually be a lost masterpiece by Jackson Pollock.   
Old Library Theatre Presents "Parade"
(FAIR LAWN, NJ) -- Old Library Theatre, Fair Lawn Recreation Department's resident theater company, presents Parade. Six performances only: October 12, 13, 19 & 20 at 8:00pm and October 14 & 21 at 2:00pm.  Parade tells the story of Leo Frank, a Brooklyn-raised Jew living in Georgia in 1913, who is put on trial for the murder of thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan, a factory worker under his employ.
The Lord Stirling Theater Company Presents "Treasure Island"
(BASKING RIDGE, NJ) -- The Lord Stirling Theater Company will present Treasure Island in the English Barn Theater at the Farmstead Arts Center October 5-7 and October 12-14. Adapted for the stage by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig (Lend Me a Tenor, Crazy for You) from the classic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island follows the adventures of a boy named Jim Hawkins who comes into possession of a treasure map.
Premiere Stages to Present World Premiere of Liberty Live Commission "Black Tom Island"
(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Martin Casella’s Black Tom Island from October 11-21 at Liberty Hall Museum (1003 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.). Originally commissioned over a two-year cycle through Premiere’s Liberty Live Commission, Black Tom Island will feature actors Damian Buzzerio, Mason Hensley, Jenna Krasowski and Bart Shatto. Producing artistic director John J. Wooten directs.
American Poetry Theater Presents "Gun Love"
(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- The American Poetry Theater presents Gun Love from October 5-7.  The play, written by cast and community members, runs about one hour and is a collection of monologues and a skit dealing with gun violence in America.  


Two River Theater Presents The World Premiere of "Pamela's First Musical"
If anyone ever doubts that New Jersey is home to great theatre, just point them to the world premiere of “Pamela’s First Musical” at Two River Theater. The cast and creative behind this show by Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang includes a combined total of more than 25 Tony Award nominations and seven wins. It’s a cast that would look impressive at any theatre – Broadway  or otherwise. According to one of the stars, the opportunity to work with the 10-time Tony Award nominee director/choreographer Graciela Daniele and to be part of a new musical was too good to pass up.
The Jersey Devil on stage: An interview with playwright Brandon Monokian
Up-and-coming New Jersey native Brandon Monokian has worked as an actor, writer, director, producer, and popcorn sample distributor. He wrote and starred in the film Happy Yummy Chicken and co-founded the production company Love Drunk Life with Katie Frazer. Together they have produced plays, films, books, and, to support their creative work financially, a product line: lovedrunklife.com. Monokian received national attention through Revolutionary Readings (his TEDx talk at Princeton Library), which was used to fight the banning of the book Revolutionary Voices from two New Jersey libraries. 
An Interview With Nicole Pandolfo
Nicole Pandolfo is a talented playwright from New Jersey whose work has been produced on four continents along with readings and productions throughout the Garden State. Her play, Brick City, is currently being presented at Premiere Stages at Kean University now through September 23rd. The play was commissioned and developed via the NJPAC Stage Exchange program. Premiere's production features Rafael Benoit, Jacqueline Correa, Madison Ferris and Chris Grant under the direction of Jessi D. Hill.
Ritz Opens Season With "Incorruptible"
Fun seems to be the operative word for “Incorruptible,” the production that opens the fall season at  the Ritz Theatre Company on Thursday, September 13.
"Bright Star" at Surflight Theatre
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Broadway musical “Bright Star” has come to Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven. The comedian and the songwriter created the show after collaborating on a Grammy-winning bluegrass album called “Love Has Come For You.” “Bright Star” is set in the American South in the 1920s and ’40s, and it’s on a similar musical wavelength. We recently spoke with Surflight’s Artistic Director Steve Steiner, actor Adrianne Hick and director Elizabeth Lucas about bringing “Bright Star” to Long Beach Island.

From Our Magazine

An interview with Shawn Fisher

An interview with Shawn Fisher

Cape May Stage presents the World Premiere of The Shuck by Shawn Fisher from September 19 through November 9th. Fisher grew up in Vineland, NJ and remains very connected to South Jersey despite being the Head of the MFA Program in Theatre at Utah State University.  He started the National Playwrights Symposium along with Roy Steinberg at Cape May Stage in 2013 and returns each year to be part of it. In addition to being a playwright, he’s also a set designer who has created sets for many theatres throughout New Jersey.


Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen

Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen

When Bruce Springsteen was about to release his debut album, the record company wanted him to say he was from New York City, but he refused.  It’s somewhat ironic that over 40 years later, he has turned a legendary Broadway theatre into his home five nights a week with Springsteen on Broadway - a show that has performed in front of over 150,000 people and grossed more than $75 million since making its debut on October 12, 2017 after several preview performances. 


15 World Premiere Plays

15 World Premiere Plays

New Jersey may be a short ride to Broadway, but its home to great theatre as well.  In addition to wonderful revivals and productions of recent Broadway and Off-Broadway hits, the state offers audiences the first chance to see many plays each year.  The 2018-19 season lineups for many theatres have been announced and here are 15 World Premieres taking place in New Jersey that caught our eye.


Mercy: Is Someone  In Pain  Capable Of  Forgiveness?

Mercy: Is Someone In Pain Capable Of Forgiveness?

Imagine losing your wife in a car accident and instantly having your entire world change.  Your father is mostly taking care of your new baby daughter; your boss is aggressively trying to comfort you; and you are hoping to get on with your life.  Then, everything changes once again when you inadvertently meet the man responsible for your wife’s death.  Is someone in this much pain capable of forgiveness?








Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm


Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm


Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


DANCE

SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


LITERATURE

Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

View all events










 
















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.