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Spotlight On Janine Squillari

By Gary Wien

Have you ever been set up on a really bad blind date? Janine Squillari almost was, but a pre-date phone call spared her an awful night out. Little did she know just how much that phone call would change her life.

She was doing accounting work in New York City for some clients who thought she would be a great match for their friend. They passed her name on to the guy who called one day at seven in the morning. She was caught a bit off guard at the early call. Janine told him that she was just about to go do Tai Chi in the park with a friend. Here's how she remembers the conversation:

"Oh yeah, go and kick a tree. So, are you a Vegan?" he asked.
"No, no I eat meat," she replied.
"Well, you know what works for you. Whatever floats your bowel movement! You know what I'm trying to say... So, I hear you look like Sarah Michelle -"
"Sarah Jessica Parker" she interrupted.
"Oh yeah, so you're like six feet tall?"
"No, I'm five-seven. You know she's like five foot four?"
"Oh yeah, that tv is deceiving..."

The conversation just started to get weirder and weirder. When she got off the phone she wondered, "Why do I keep getting these crazy people coming into my life?" She then sat down and started writing out the conversation, which became part of the basis behind her play entitled "I Need A Guy Who Blinks."

The play just finished up a run at the Paradise Theater (64 E. Fourth Street) in New York City. It's a one-woman show dealing with Janine's personal relationships and how she works through her problems with the aid of a boxing dummy. Hence the title.

The play starts out with Janine at a party in which she's being grilled by people about still being single. Questions fly out at her from all parts of the room, bouncing around like a pinball machine.

"Where are you from? Are you married? You're not married? Do you have a boyfriend? You don't have a boyfriend, well why don't you want a boyfriend? You're pretty, have you ever been married? Engaged? Proposed to? Nobody's ever wanted to marry you ever? Well don't you want to have children? Ms. Squillari, do you like men?"

At this point she screams out, "There's nothing wrong with me!" and so begins her search for Mr. Right in New York City.

"The first part of my show is funny, the last half-hour is kind of confrontational," said Squillari. "She questions herself. Like maybe if I did this, maybe if I did that... Maybe if I had a bigger apartment, maybe if I had bigger boobs, maybe I have to have more stuff, maybe I didn't buy him enough stuff. There's a whole questioning leading to this breakdown where she doesn't want to be alone. She says, 'God just take me. If I have to be here alone, I don't want to do it.' But then within that breakdown she realizes that she's not alone and that she has a lot of support around her. She's just given too many pieces of herself away and she takes them back and then stands for herself."

Squillari grew up in the Monmouth Beach area and briefly attended Monmouth University. She moved to New York City and got a degree in accounting. While in school, she started taking acting lessons and found that she really enjoying acting. Up until that point in time, she didn't think about acting because she couldn't see it as a feasible career since no one she knew had done it.

This was the third time the play has been staged this year. The play made its debut at the Stampede Theatre Festival this past January. The show sold 60 tickets the first night and 70 for the second and final night. The Trilogy Theatre (where the festival was held) even invited her back for three weeks of three performances per week. Squillari is hoping to find another theatre to pick it up and continue the run. The play's message is universal enough that she thinks it can work anywhere.

"Even though the guys may be very quirky, usually people will say they can relate in some ways to the characters," she explained. "They didn't date the same guys, but similar issues came up."

Ironically, a guy that Squillari dated who helped form one of the characters came to the show and didn't recognize himself. And she found out the hard way that it's a little too difficult to be dating someone while this play is running.

"It's ok being single," she concludes. "Mistakes and all that. We all do it and there's nothing wrong with it. It doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you."

For more by this author, click here

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!
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Broadway’s Next H!T Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
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Event calendar
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018


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


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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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