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REVIEW: Struck at NJ Rep

By Gary Wien

originally published: 07/08/2016

REVIEW: Struck at NJ Rep

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — The latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company is Struck by Sandy Rustin.  On stage now until the end of the month, the play is a comedy involving a woman who was “struck” by a young bicyclist in New York City who works for ancestry.com. As the play opens, we see the injured Vera Resnick hobbling into her apartment on the Upper West Side, helped by her husband Nate. She’s in good spirits.  In fact, she feels oddly connected to the biker and wonders if the accident might have had a higher purpose.  

Vera (played by Susan Maris) and Nate (played by Adam Bradley) evaluate the situation as she lies on the couch. Her legs are badly cut and Nate gets her ice to help reduce the swelling.  As a lawyer, one of his first thoughts involves taking a picture in case they need to sue the bicyclist.  Vera not only is against taking the kid to court, she sort of feels sorry for him.  In fact, she decides to learn more about the bicyclist on Facebook and finds a rather limiting profile.  His lack of friends seems to make her feel even more sorry for him.

“He was born in 1993,” said Vera.  “I was already having sex in 1993.”

“Is that how you measure time?” replied her husband.

Falling somewhere between mystical and flighty, Vera wonders if this might be the universe’s way of waking her up.  She’s an actress, although judging by her upcoming auditions it doesn’t seem like she’s going places.  In her mind, there’s some sort of a connection between her and the bicyclist.  She decides to call him and invite him to the apartment — something her husband recommended NOT doing and a decision her quirky Texan neighbor, Vicky, could not believe.



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“You gave the bike murderer your address?” Vicky exclaimed.

REVIEW: Struck at NJ Rep

Vicky, played by Jenny Bacon, steals nearly every scene she is in.  An incredibly quirky, spiritual/mystic type person, she believes Vera is pregnant.  This is news to Vera even though her and Nate have been trying.  Vicky says she is never wrong about these things and rattles off a few examples.  She seems protective of her neighbor and wants to be there when he arrives.

“Do you think he rode his bike here?” asked Vera.  “I hope he didn’t stop riding his bike because of me.  It’s so good for the environment!”

“You don’t even recycle,” said Vicky.

James, the bicyclist arrives, in full bike gear.  He is glad that Vicky is doing better and gives her a small gift. It’s a free pass to ancestry.com where she can look up and learn about her family’s history.  Vicky asks if he’s ever looked up his own family history, which he had, and she persuades him to tell his story to the two of them.

It’s a story that seems very familiar to Vera.  In fact, it sounds like her own family’s story — one that changed dramatically during the Holocaust.  Could James be a missing link in her family’s history? You’ll have to see the play for yourself.  It contains a myriad of twists and turns — many that are completely unexpected — and, with the help of comedy, manages to touch on some very sensitive issues.

NJ Rep has another winner with Struck, a very funny comedy that features an excellent cast behind fine direction by Don Stephenson.  Susan Maris and Adam Bradley are wonderful as Vera and Nate, while Benjamin Puvalowski does a terrific job as James. Mathew Shepard is very good playing the straight man in a limited role.  And Jenny Bacon’s performance is worth the price of admission alone.  This is one of those plays in which a supporting actor gets the best material to work with and shines the whole way through.   

Highly recommended! Struck runs until July 31 at NJ Rep (179 Broadway in Long Branch, NJ). 

REVIEW: Struck at NJ Rep


PHOTOS BY SUZANNE BARABAS



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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.
Pebble Players Presents "Heathers, the Musical: High School Edition"
(SUMMIT, NJ) -- Celebrating their 10th season, Pebble Players has been entertaining Summit residents and audiences from surrounding towns with sophisticated Off-Broadway quality performances. The 2018 Season opens with "Heathers The Musical: High School Edition," directed by Jayne Myers and choreographed by Jaimie Woodruff.  Performances are Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 18 at 2:00pm. 
NJPAC Presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Duke Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies from Thursday, March 21, 2019 - Saturday, March 23, 2019. The high-style music of “The Duke” is the heart and soul of this 1981 Tony-winning Broadway hit, directed with dazzle by André De Shields (The Wiz). Mercedes Ellington, granddaughter of Duke Ellington, re-creates the original show’s elegant dancing and tapping as choreographer.
Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater present Teahouse by Lao She
(PRINCETON, NJ) --Princeton Chinese Theatre in collaboration with the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theater at Princeton University will present Teahouse by Lao She on November 16, 17 and 18 at 8:00pm and November 17 at 2:00pm in the Donald G. Drapkin Studio at the Lewis Arts complex on the Princeton campus. Teahouse is considered a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese theater, spanning 50 years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People’s Republic, bringing together over sixty characters who represent all walks of life. The production is directed by senior Changshuo Liu.
Axelrod's Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts Program Presents "Peter Pan"
(OCEAN TOWNSHIP, NJ) --  A family musical that’s perfect for the holiday season, “Peter Pan” is flying onto the Axelrod stage December 8-16. Axelrod’s award-winning Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts program presents one of Broadway’s timeless classics in a fully staged production directed by Lisa Goldfarb with musical direction by Randy Hurst and choreography by Wendy Roman.  


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!
"It's a Blast!" Go See Rock of Ages 10th Anniversary Tour NOW! at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino!
The five-time Tony award-nominated Broadway musical, Rock of Ages, returns to the stage with a 10th Anniversary Tour at Atlantic City’s Hard Rock Hotel & Casino! Performed in the venue’s ultra-modern Sound Waves theater, Rock of Ages runs from now until November 4, 2018.
There's One In Every Family: "Charley's Aunt" at The Shakespeare Theatre
On stage now through November 18 at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, “Charley’s Aunt” is described as “part Oscar Wilde, part ‘Fawlty Towers,’ with a dash of South American spice!” This side-splitting British farce from 1892 has drag, mistaken identity, romance and plenty of physical comedy. Join Jesse and Dave at rehearsals in Florham Park to hear from the cast and director what makes this such a hilarious and enduring show.






Event calendar
Thursday, Nov 15, 2018


MUSIC

New Politics @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

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

TOTO @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 8:00pm


THEATRE

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

ANNIE, The Musical @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 8:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 7:30pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 7:30pm

Spring Awakening: The Rock Musical @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm







DANCE

PARSONS DANCE @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 8:00pm


FILM

Crybaby Matinee: March of the Penguins @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

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