New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


For great Jersey music and much more, tune into our radio station at AsburyMusic.com

Mary Jane Is A True Original

By Gary Wien


Mary Jane Ajodah's New York debut is about a singer named Sally Clanton who has a dream of making something out of her life. After talking with Mary Jane, I have no doubts that she's not Sally. She may be still in high school, but she's already hitting it big.

Mary Jane is a 15-year-old playwright from Carteret whose original musical western "A Handful of Dust" is making its New York debut at The Grand Theater in August. The show will run from August 24-26.

The play is set in the old west and features hard rocking guitars and wild gun fights. Mary Jane previously staged it both in Carteret and as part of the Edison Fall Festival.

"It's a story about the American dream," explained Mary Jane Ajodah. "And you can see in the audience that the American cowboy spirit takes over."

The idea for a musical western came from a suggestion made at a senior center. Mary Jane and her brother had just finished performing an original rendition of "Beauty and the Beast" when they asked the audience what sort of play would interest them. One lady offered up a western and they decided to create one for her.

Mary Jane not only wrote the book but composed the music for the play and also stars in "A Handful of Dust". It probably shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to learn that one of her biggest inspirations is Mel Brooks, an artist who liked to dabble in all aspects of the business as well.

"I act, write, sing and compose music," said Mary Jane. "It's really the culmination of these things. I wouldn't be happy just acting alone or singing alone. The acting complements the singing and the composing complements the acting."

Her plays all feature the idea of friendship with family and storylines filled with action. She creates shows where a parent could bring their kid to see action without sex or nudity. "These are plays that I'd be able to watch with my parents and something I'd be interested in watching," she said. "They're not kiddie plays. They're something mature, but not too mature."

Mary Jane seems mature well beyond her years. Since breaking into theatre, she's been involved in every aspect of the business. She's acted, directed, written and directed plays. She even handles the casting. While her friends are struggling to find out what they want to do with their lives, Mary Jane has a pretty sound plan in place.

"I'm very interested in film," said Mary Jane. "Someday I hope to create my own movie company. That's where I want to head with this sort of thing, but, for now, I'm pretty much concentrating on stage work. Any time I've had a whim for anything, I just jumped right into it. Acting is where I found my niche after jumping into many different things. That's where I found I was happy."

She chooses not to act in her high school productions because the shows are always ones that have been done a thousand times before and that's not what she's about. She's not about heading down the path generally taken, she's a true original.



For more by this author, click here




More Articles You Might Like

NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
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, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present  Murder Mystery Weekends
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
"Kinky Boots" Comes To Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City
The Theater Project Presents 5th Annual One-Act Play Competition
The Theater Project Presents 5th Annual One-Act Play Competition
Centenary Stage To Hold Non-Union Open Call Auditions For 2019 Summer Musical Season
Centenary Stage To Hold Non-Union Open Call Auditions For 2019 Summer Musical Season






Event calendar
Friday, Mar 22, 2019


MUSIC

East Coast In Lullaby @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

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

Swingadelic Featuring Rob Paparozzi @ Roys Hall (Blairstown), Blairstown - 8:00pm

Carolyn Messina at Table 42 @ Table 42, Dover - 7:00pm

Tom Chapin with Dan Pelletier at the Minstrel @ Morristown Unitarian Fellowship, Morristown - 7:30pm

Finding Neverland @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm

Music of Cream @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 8:00pm

Summer of Love IX @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

WARRANT @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 6:00pm

Selwyn Birchwood @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Mamma Mia @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Native Gardens @ Eagle Theatre, Hammonton - 8:00pm

The Source by Jack Canfora @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm

Sassy Mamas presented by Dunbar Repertory Company @ Middletown Arts Center, Middletown - 8:00pm

CURIOUS GEORGE: THE GOLDEN MEATBALL @ The Growing Stage: The Childrens Theatre of New Jersey, Netcong - 7:30pm

Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 7:00pm

Ken Ludwigs The Gods of Comedy @ Matthews Theatre @ McCarter Theatre, Princeton - 8:00pm

Theo @ Marion Huber Theater @ Two River Theater, Red Bank - 8:00pm


COMEDY

Comedy Night at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm


FILM

Hairspray Sing-Along with host Jeremy Grunin! @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 8:00pm


KIDS

Celebrate Holi @ iPlay America, Freehold - 4:00pm

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.