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Into The Rabbit Hole

By Gary Wien

originally published: 03/27/2017

Into The Rabbit Hole

There are few things worse than the death of a child.  One family’s struggle with dealing with and overcoming their grief is the foundation of Rabbit Hole by David Lindsay-Abaire.  The Pulitzer-Prize winning play is being performed by The Company Theatre Group in April.

In the play, a series of complex characters deal with the death of Danny, a 4 year-old boy, in their own way.  The situation threatens to destroy the relationship of the boy’s parents.  Meanwhile, Jason, the boy who accidentally killed Danny with his car, tries to offer a ray of hope with an intriguing concept:  What if you could travel through a rabbit hole like Alice to another time, place, and circumstance where your son was still alive?

“How do you move on after a tragedy like that?” wonders Louis Scarpati, the Managing Artistic Director of The Company Theatre Group who will direct the production. “How do you get your life back together?”

Previous incarnations of the play have focused on the grief, but Scarpati wants the hope to shine through.  It’s the idea that people can find a way to move on; that it is a sad story, but one which explores the complex human condition of grief while offering something more.

The emotional ride of Rabbit Hole forces the director and cast to navigate a balance between telling the story and avoiding the production to become too morbid for the audience to watch. 



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“It’s not a morbid piece,” explained Scarpati.  “There is hope.  It’s a journey for each of the major characters from the beginning where it’s complete and utter loss to how they each get themselves back to living their lives.  It’s a sad story.  The death of a child is always a sad story.  It’s the actors’ job and my job to bring it out of them.  To get the message behind the story, navigate, and keep the right balance because you don’t want people to leave at intermission due to the story being too devastating.”

In a world in which there are few plays with great roles for women, Rabbit Hole is the exception.  There are three wonderful female characters in this play — Becca (the mother of Danny), Izzy (Becca’s sister), and Nat (the mother of Becca and Izzy).  In the original Broadway production, Cynthia Nixon won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Becca.  In addition, Tyne Daly was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Nat.  The play itself was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, losing to The History Boys by Alan Bennett.

The Company’s cast includes: Andrea Prendamano (Becca), Larry Kadish (Howie), Jenny Robbins (Izzy), Elizabeth Nicholas Synnott (Nat), and James Van Nostrand (Jason).  

The Company Theatre Group currently presents its shows at the Hackensack Cultural Center, but will soon have a new space.  In fact, they hope to have their next production in September be presented in the new Hackensack Performing Arts Center - a much larger and more modern space, which is part of the city’s downtown redevelopment.

The theatre group was founded in the summer of 2007 and is one of the newest members of the prestigious New Jersey Theatre Alliance.  The Company’s goal is to create an environment and an experience where each audience member can feel like a ‘fly on the wall’, watching the lives and events of real people unfold and sometimes unravel right before their eyes.  Rabbit Hole is a perfect example of their mission.

“Everybody can relate to this kind of story,” said Scarpati.  “It’s ripped right out of the headlines.  There’s a real life incident like this every day of the week.  Our job is to bring that forth truthfully while, at the same time, not making it too far over the cliff so there’s no turning back.  That’s what we pride ourselves on doing.  This one’s a challenge.  I think we’re up for it.”

Into The Rabbit Hole

April 21-30 at Hackensack Cultural Arts Center





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Center Players Presents "The Emperor's New Duds"
(FREEHOLD, NJ) --  Center Players Dessert Theater will present a family-friendly production of “The Emperor’s New Duds” at Center Playhouse, 35 South St, in downtown Freehold, NJ from December 7 – 16. A musical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s the “Emperor’s New Clothes,” the play was written by Bernice Garfield-Szita, who co-directed the production with Enid Bush.
Centenary Stage’s Young Performers Workshop presents 2018 Winter Festival of Shows
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Based on the Gospel According to St. Matthew with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, Godspell is composed of various musical parables from The Gospel. Jesus Christ recruits a group of followers and teaches them various lessons through song and dance. Toward the end of the second act, the show begins to follow a more linear narrative as Jesus is betrayed by Judas and eventually crucified. Performances are Sunday, December 9 at 5:00pm; Saturday, December 15 at 8pm and Sunday, December 16 at 7:30pm.
The Shakespeare Theatre Presents "The Winter's Tale"
(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 from December 5 to December 30. 
American Theater Group Announces Full Cast & Creative For "Tell Them I'm Still Young"
(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- American Theater Group has announced the full cast and creative team for its World Premiere production of Tell Them I’m Still Young, a new play by Julia Doolittle, which will run at the South Orange Performing Arts Center from January 24 - February 3, 2019. Joining the previously announced Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Streets, Men of a Certain Age, Brooklyn Nine-Nine) andMichele Pawk (Hollywood Arms, Hairspray, Mamma Mia) are Janice Amaya (Seen/Unseen) and Seth Clayton (The Madrid).
Holmdel Theatre Company Presents 'ART'
(HOLMDEL, NJ) – The Holmdel Theatre Company (HTC) will present 6 performances of Yasmina Reza’s ‘ART’  from December 7th through December 16th. Translated from French by Christopher Hampton, the play tells the story of what happens when Serge buys an expensive painting, and the reactions of his two closest friends, Marc and Yvan, to his purchase. As what begins as a discussion about the quality of the painting that Serge has purchased quickly devolves into petty jabs and personal attacks, the three men border on destroying their friendships.


Broadway’s Mandy Gonzalez LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
Broadway is in the house at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center for the Arts with a Fearless live concert performance by Broadway star, Mandy Gonzalez!
"The Spitfire Grill" and Caitlin Geisser Return To Their Roots
“I saw something in her that you rarely come across,” recalled Ted Wioncek III, Artistic Director at Eagle Theatre in Hammonton. “She’s more than wise beyond her years; I believe she’s going to be a game-changer and a trendsetter for this art form.”
Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s Friday, October 26, 2018, and the Broadway’s Next H!T Musical cast is just about ready to take the stage at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, located on the campus of Ocean County College in Toms River, NJ.
The Last Apple Pie: "Apples In Winter" Opens At Centenary Stage
Jennifer Fawcett’s new play centers around a mother in a kitchen, doing something countless people across America will take part in over the upcoming holiday season: making an apple pie.
See Andrea McArdle LIVE! in Annie at Deal Park’s Axelrod PAC!
Leapin’ Lizards! Annie’s finally made it to the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, NJ, and it stars Broadway’s original Annie, Andrea McArdle, as Miss Hannigan!










Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


MUSIC

THE GAY BLADES @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

HERMAN'S HERMITS STARRING PETER NOONE & THE BUCKINGHAMS @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

Nelson Riveros Trio: “The Latin Side of Wes Montgomery” @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Hawaiian Music and Hula @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm

Pop 2000 Tour @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

THE MACHINE PERFORMS PINK FLOYD @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 8:00pm

THE FAB FAUX A HARD DAY'S NIGHT AND REVOLVER IN THEIR ENTIRETIES @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm

Swamp Boogie Trio @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 8:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 8:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Enchanted April @ The Summit Playhouse, Summit - 8:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 7:30pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

Into the Woods @ Studio Playhouse Upper Montclair, Upper Montclair - 8:00pm

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Todd Barry at SOPAC @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 8:00pm


DANCE

BALLET FOLKLORICO DE MEXICO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


KIDS

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm and 7:00pm


LECTURE

Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ Mainebiz Health Care Forum, Newyork - 8:00pm

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