New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

The King Of East Jabip

By Gary Wien

originally published: 08/20/2016

The King Of East Jabip“My dad wanted me to write a play with a character that would be around his age,” explained Kelly McCarthy.  “He was interested in a character that he felt still had things in life he wanted to do and didn’t want to give up just because he was older.”

McCarthy, from Sea Isle City, spent 15 years as a professional journalist in a career that began with the Main Line Times, covering Philadelphia’s historic Main Line region.  Her father is the award-winning actor Tom McCarthy.  Following in his footsteps, Kelly began acting at age 4, building a resume that includes stage and television credits. She thought about writing a play many times, but never got around to doing it until her father got a grant for his daughter to write a play for him to act in.  The result is The King of East Jabip, a heartwarming comedy about a family dealing with a father’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.  The play will be presented September 9 to October 9 at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton — the first world premiere production in the theatre’s history.

“It started with me writing about a husband and a wife,” said Kelly McCarthy.  “At some point when I was writing it, I felt there was something wrong with this man and I didn’t know what it was.  There was some issue he was dealing with, it wasn’t just that he felt he hadn’t done enough in his life.  I don’t know how it evolved, but I realized the character had Alzheimer’s.  So, this is a man who still wants to do things and he’s just found out that pretty soon he’s going to have a hard time accomplishing some goals he always wanted.  He has an urgency.”

The play started out with just the husband and wife.  It received a reading at the Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia where Kelly received important feedback.  She let their advice sink in and took a break from the play for a while.  When she returned to it, she heard the voice of a daughter for the first time.   The third character helped her round out the story.

As part of her father’s grant, Kelly was able to study playwriting in Ireland at the Fishamble Theatre Company as well with Bruce Graham and Michael Hollinger, a pair of Philadelphia area playwrights.  She also took advantage of the National Playwrights Symposium at Cape May Stage, attending for three years where she met some of the biggest names in the business. The experience helped her as she worked on her first play.



The article continues after this ad

 


“I’ve learned so much in Cape May,” said Kelly McCarthy.  “That, to me, is like graduate school.  They bring in brilliant writers and you’re immersed for a week.  You are with your peers and have a true safety net there.  You don’t feel intimated; you feel like you have the love and support of everyone.  Everybody wants everyone to do well.  Just to get the advice from these master playwrights is invaluable and has helped me a lot.  Once it’s over, I go into terrible withdrawal!”

It’s appropriate that her first play will be presented at Eagle Theatre, because she had a special feeling the first time she walked into the theatre.  Her father was starring in Glengarry Glen Ross at the Eagle and she mentioned finishing her first play to Ed Corsi and Ted Wioncek (the co-artistic directors at Eagle Theatre).  They said they would love to read it.  She spent the weekend making a few changes and then sent it to them.

The King Of East Jabip“I was only looking for a reading and then I got an email a few days later,” recalled Kelly McCarthy.  “Ed said, ‘I love it! Are you sure you want a reading or are you game for a full production?’ I jumped out of my chair, screaming and ran to my parents saying, ‘My God! They want a full production!’”

Throughout the process, Eagle Theatre has helped assist Kelly McCarthy in several workshops, drafts, and staged readings of play, including a public reading at their New Works Development Series.

“After several years of living with a bunch of characters in my head and on the printed page, it will be nice to finally get into a rehearsal room and watch them come to life,” said Kelly McCarthy.  “I imagine it will be like a birthing. And this playwright is past her due date. I’m ready to cut the umbilical cord.”

The playwright recently turned 50 and can relate to the idea of wondering how much time is left to accomplish all she wants to do.  She wonders how fast can she write and how many plays can be produced. But she doesn’t mind starting her playwriting career later than most, she’s comfortable with how things turned out and is excited about the future.

“There’s no right age when to start something,” she added.  “I think any time something comes is the right time.  It’s just the way it happens.  I think when I was younger, I wouldn’t have had as much to say.  When this came to me now, I’m lucky to have it.  I just want to focus on what I can write going forward.”

 




Gary Wien has been covering the arts since 2001 and has had work published with Jersey Arts, Elmore Magazine, Princeton Magazine, Backstreets and other publications. He is a three-time winner of the Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist and the author of Beyond the Palace (the first book on the history of rock and roll in Asbury Park) and Are You Listening? The Top 100 Albums of 2001-2010 by New Jersey Artists. In addition, he runs New Jersey Stage and the online radio station Asbury Music. He can be contacted at gary@newjerseystage.com.



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
Tuesday, Jul 23, 2019


MUSIC

Steve Earle and the Dukes @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Tuesdays on Broadway: Tito Puente, Jr. (Latin Band) @ Broadway Bandshell Long Branch, Long Branch - 7:00pm

Robinson Treacher @ Congregation Beth Israel, Scotch Plains - 11:00am

Big Bang Boom! @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 10:00am and 12:00pm


THEATRE

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 10:30am and 7:00pm


COMEDY

LADIES OF LAUGHTER @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm







KIDS

Big Bang Boom! @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 10:00am and 12:00pm

View all events











 






















For more on our awards, click here








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.