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Big News! Emily Mann to retire as McCarter Theatre's Artistic Director following 2019-2020 season
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An interview with Robert Caisley

By Gary Wien


"Lucky Me", the latest work by playwright Robert Caisley, will be presented by New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, NJ. The show runs from July 31 to August 31, 2014.

Sara Fine's having a bad week. The light bulbs in her apartment keep burning out; the aquarium is perpetually full of dead fish; the cat's gone AWOL, again, and her blind, elderly father -- who chased off her last beau -- is immediately suspicious of Tom, the new neighbor, a TSA agent who just brought Sara home from the emergency room on New Year's Eve with a fractured 5th metatarsal. As Tom's attraction to Sara intensifies, he learns of an increasingly bizarre streak of bad luck that's been haunting Sara for years – twenty two years to be precise.

Sara Fine sounds like an interesting character.
I've got some friends who think they are either lucky or unlucky and whenever I ask them to provide me with any evidence to support their theory, it seems like the same kinds of things that happen to me. So, I started thinking about a character who, in many ways, sort of wills herself to be the unfortunate, unlucky individual she claims to be.

But what we find out in the play is that its just coincidental. And all it takes is somebody to not be frightened off by her bad luck to sort of turn around her life.

I personally think this is a comedy, but it does have a dark side to it. I really wanted to write a play that was broader in its comic appeal and also had a real romantic center to it. I described it to myself as a romantic comedy.

So I thought about a woman that's incredibly unlucky -- not only in love, but in life in general -- and just design a series of bizarre things that happen to her that don't seem to happen to anyone else, and then introduce a love interest and see what happens when he tries to deal with the various issues she has.

NJ Rep is one of the theaters that really believes in and depends on producing new work. How important is it for a playwright to have theatres like that? Many theatres consider new works a harder sell.
Yeah, what's interesting about that is I teach theatre history at the University of Idaho and I'm still trying to figure out where in the history of theatre did we get this obsession with the distinction between new plays and plays that have been done before? Because I think the golden age of dramatic writing in the United Kingdom was during the Elizabethan period when Shakespeare was writing.

Shakespeare made his career on new plays and he was competing with a bunch of other playwrights who were writing insatiably to meet the demands of an audience who only wanted to see the next new play.

I'm not sure if it's the cost of theatre has become such that theatres have to market something other than the thing itself that they are producing, which is the story told in front of a live audience by live actors, or something else. Somewhere along the way, the theatre establishment made the audience adopt this prejudice towards a new play being something of a risk and an old chestnut being a guarantee of entertainment.

Personally, I've had some of my most thrilling experiences in the theater seeing something that's never been done before and I've had some of the most God awful experiences in the theatre seeing plays that for hundreds of years have been touted as tried and true classics!

It's absolutely vital that theatres like NJ Rep continue to have a robust production calendar. I only wish more professional theatre companies took the same view of new work and were excited by new work as opposed to being nervous or cautious or daunted by the fact that they've never heard of the play or the playwright.

NJ Rep is a particularly great theatre for playwrights like myself to collaborate with because they not only do new work, but they do them really well. And they market them to the audience like "It you don't see it now, you're going to miss the chance to see it for the very first time." Plus many plays have gone on to have an afterlife beyond NJ Rep.



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American Girl Live: An Interview With Laila E. Drew and Shelby Miguel
Please note: Due to the potential of a major winter storm on Saturday, both performances of American Girl Live at Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown have been postponed and rescheduled for President’s Day, Monday, February 18 at 2 pm and 5:30 pm. All tickets will be honored on that date. If you cannot attend the new date, please contact the box office at 973-539-8008.
"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in conjunction with TROIKA Entertainment is will present KINKY BOOTS, the smash-hit musical that brings together four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Tony Award-winner for Best Score for KINKY BOOTS), at Sound Waves in Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City from April 30 until May 5 with two performances on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets starting at $35.00.
The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.


It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.






Event calendar
Friday, Jan 18, 2019


MUSIC

John Forster at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

David Massengill - Folk Concert @ Christ Congregation Church, Princeton - 8:00pm

SAL "THE VOICE" VALENTINETTI @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm

The Elvis Birthday Bash @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:30pm


THEATRE

"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Annie Jr. @ The Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Some Girl(s) @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm







COMEDY

Big Apple Comedy Club @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm


MISC

The Jason Bishop Show to Benefit CASA @ Pfleeger Concert Hall, Rowan University, Glassboro - 7:00pm

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