New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


Big News! New Jersey Stage To Produce Three Fall 2019 Season Preview Guides
Click here for the story!

"Broomstick" Rides Into Long Branch

By Gary Wien


(LONG BRANCH, NJ -- SEPTEMBER 21, 2013) -- NJ Rep's latest premiere, "Broomstick", opened last weekend. Set in a remote cabin deep in the woods, the one-woman play is a fascinating study into the mind of a serial killer told as if it was a fairy-tale. It's sort of like Dahmer meets Hansel and Gretel. It's spooky, funny, and extremely well acted -- perfect to get you into the spirit of Halloween.

Andrea Gallo stars as an old, single woman who has lived in that cabin for years. Yet, oftentimes, she hasn't lived alone. The self-proclaimed witch has had a series of children be her guest for spells at a time. Some were runaways; others simply found lost in the woods; regardless of how they arrived, the witch convinces them they don't have anyone who cares for them on the outside. As the play opens, she wakes in the night to the sounds she thinks are of someone at the door. When she looks outside, she believes it's one of her kids returning home, years later as an adult.

Written by John Biguenet, the play is a masterful look inside the psychological problems that could cause someone to go off the deep end and venture where evil lurks. For the witch, this involves a series of "coincidences" through the years where she was blamed for someone else's misfortunes. There were crops that wouldn't grow, skin rashes that caused itching to the point of anguish, and strange insects that appeared to be under her control. Just enough history to have people swear they had a witch in their midst.
"When things go wrong, it's always me they blame," she says.

In her mind, all she was ever trying to do was keep the children from harm. Yet, something bad always seems to happen. She's haunted by the memory of each former guest and she's haunted by the memory of her one true love; a loss that led her to becoming the woman she is today.

Biguenet's script is often read in rhymes, furthering the nursery rhyme effect. As the play moves forward, it becomes more and more entangled into the world of schizophrenia and real-life horror. You'll likely find yourself remembering just how warped the lyrics in your old nursery rhymes really were...



Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall
And down will come baby, cradle and all


Gallo is tremendous. She's got the role down so well it's one of those performances you couldn't imagine followed by anyone else. Equally amazing is the incredible lighting and sound effects within the play (by far the best I've ever seen at NJ Rep) and a stunning stage design. The special effects for the mirror alone are worth the price of admission. Between the effects, Gallo's breathtaking performance, and superb direction by SuzAnne Barabas, "Broomstick" is a clear winner for the season! Highly recommended!

Note: while the subject matter revolves around a witch, it is clearly meant for older audiences. The play runs about 90 minutes straight, no intermission. It runs at NJ Rep through October 13 and then will move on to three additional venues as part of its rolling world premiere from the National New Play Network. Next up is a run at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey in January, Southern Rep (New Orleans) in June 2014, and Montana Repertory Theater next September.

NJ Rep is located at 179 Broadway in Long Branch, NJ. For more information visit http://www.njrep.org



PHOTO: SUZANNE BARABAS



For more by this author, click here




More Articles You Might Like

The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
The Simon & Garfunkel Story Comes To The Basie On January 23
East Lynne Theater Company presents The NJ Premiere Of "Summerland"
East Lynne Theater Company presents The NJ Premiere Of "Summerland"
​​​​​​​East Lynne Theater Company Presents 30th Season of "Tales of the Victorians"
​​​​​​​East Lynne Theater Company Presents 30th Season of "Tales of the Victorians"
Light Opera of New Jersey Presents "Ragtime, the Musical" at SOPAC
Light Opera of New Jersey Presents "Ragtime, the Musical" at SOPAC
Exit 82 Theatre Company Presents "Heads Over Heels"
Exit 82 Theatre Company Presents "Heads Over Heels"
Luna Stage Presents "Luna" - a bilingual play
Luna Stage Presents "Luna" - a bilingual play






Event calendar
Monday, Jul 22, 2019


MUSIC

THE MOUNTAIN GOATS @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 7:00pm


DANCE

JC SummerArts 2019 @ School of Nimbus Dance, Jersey City - 9:00am


KIDS

Summer 2019 Teen Creative Writing Intensives @ Drew University, Madison - 9:00am

View all events

























New Jersey Stage © 2019 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.