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Theatre Preview: June 2018

originally published: 05/26/2018

Theatre Preview: June 2018

A look at plays coming to stages around the Garden State. Remember to add your shows to the NJ Stage event calendar.  Listings are always free and seen by thousands each week.

The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ presents Tartuffe By Molière (Translated by Richard Wilbur) until June 10th. Tartuffe, the consummate con man, hypocrite and womanizer, meets his match under Molière’s deft pen. A masterpiece of biting social commentary brilliantly enclosed in a swirl of witty verse, outrageous characters, and delightful machinations; you’ll laugh and wince simultaneously as you hear how familiar this 17th century family sounds to our 21st century ears!  The production is directed by Bonnie J. Monte.

Cape May Stage presents Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End from May 23 - June 22.  Written by Allison Engel and Margaret Engel, this is a loving tribute and lampoon of life in the suburbs filled with light-hearted humor and nuggets of wisdom that give insight into the life and family of the beloved 1960s columnist. Kate McCauley Hathaway stars as Erma Bombeck. The production is directed by Marlena Lustik.

Theatre Preview: June 2018

Paper Mill Playhouse presents Half Time from May 31 through July 1st. An incredible true story of ten ordinary seniors with extraordinary dreams who audition to dance at halftime for a major basketball team. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa, or swing–instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers–and the young coaches who inspire them along the way–as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes, and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of the 20,000 screaming fans.

American Theater Group at SOPAC presents the World Premiere of Small Town Story from May 31 to June 10th. Inspired by true events, this is a musical about a musical that rocked a community. Deep divisions arise in town when it’s announced the annual high school musical will be Rent. As the escalation drives wedges between parents and students- and teachers and neighbors – secrets are uncovered that threaten to tear them apart. Small Town Story explores the indelible power of theatre, the inherent dangers of silence and the potential of young people to change the world. 



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Axelrod Performing Arts Center presents Disney’s NEWSIES: The Broadway Musical from June 1 - June 17. Adapted from the Disney film, it is based on the real-life NYC Newsboy Strike of 1899 with a score by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Shop of Horrors, Aladdin) and Jack Feldman and a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein. While on Broadway, Newsies received 23 major theatrical nominations– including eight Tony Award nods – and won Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Score and Choreography. 

On June 1, NJPAC Stage Exchange presents a reading of The Hombres. Commissioned by Two River Theater, The Hombres looks at the intimacy of male relationships through the point of view of Machismo culture. Set in New Jersey, the play follows Julián, a gay Latino yoga teacher, as he clashes with the Latino construction workers working outside his studio—particularly the older head of the crew, Héctor, who seeks from Julián something he never expected.

Theatre Preview: June 2018

Mayo Performing Arts Center presents Shrek The Musical from June 1-3. Based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film, Shrek the Musical is a Tony Award-winning fairy tale adventure that brings all the beloved characters you know from the film to life on stage and proves there’s more to the story than meets the ears.

The Theater Project presents Kaleidoscop Kabaret from June 1-3. This is their annual presentation of short plays written by The Theater Project’s member playwrights is being hosted in Union Center by Unity Bank, in a cleverly converted annex at its Union branch. Member playwrights participating in this year’s Kabaret are Luigi Jannuzzi of Hillsborough, Lynn Marie Macy of Cranford, Joseph Vitale of Denville, Stephanie Griffin of Ocean Grove and Mary Jane Walsh of Basking Ridge. Novelist, playwright, screenwriter and workshop founding member William Mesce Jr of Linden will also showcase work at the event.

Theatre Preview: June 2018

Two River Theater presents the World Premiere of Songbird from June 9 to July 1st. Written by Michael Kimmel, the play involves fading country star Tammy Trip returning home to the honky-tonk that launched her music career, planning to help the son she abandoned launch his own. But will her arrival do more harm than good? Dreams, ambition, love, and heartbreak—along with a good deal of whiskey—all collide in this acclaimed new musical, based on Chekhov’s The Seagull. Featuring Music & Lyrics by Lauren Pritchard and Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.

Theatre Preview: June 2018Eagle Theatre presents The Last Five Years from June 1 through July 1st.  An emotionally powerful and intimate musical about a man and a woman who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The musical’s unconventional structure consists of Cathy telling her story backwards while Jamie tells his story chronologically; the two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. Music and Book by Jason Robert Brown; Directed by Ed Corsi; Music Direction by Jason Neri.

Jersey City Theater Center presents Yarns By No Dominion from June 7-9. No Dominion Theatre Co.’s Yarns began initial development in November 2015. The concept for this original devised theatre project derived from a passage from Debbie Stoller’s crochet how-to manual, The Happy Hooker: “...[A] lace manufacturer admitted that he expected his workers to turn a few tricks on the side to make up for his not paying them a living wage....this may even explain how the word “hooker” came to have such wayward connotations.” 

The Princeton Festival presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum from June 10 through July 1st. This Tony-winning Broadway farce is light, fast-paced, witty, irreverent and one of the funniest musicals ever written. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum takes comedy back to its roots, combining situations from the time-tested, 2000-year-old comedies of Roman playwright, Plautus, with the infectious energy of classic vaudeville.

Theatre Preview: June 2018Surflight Theatre presents Nice Work If You Can Get It from June 12-24. A hilarious new screwball comedy, Nice Work If You Can Get It pokes fun at the Prohibition era in a clash of elegant socialites and boorish bootleggers, all set to the glorious songs of George and Ira Gershwin. The show includes such Gershwin favorites as: “Nice Work if You Can Get It”, “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Someone to Watch Over Me.”

East Lynne Theater Company presents the World Premiere of On The Sunny Side of the Street from June 13-July 21. A cast of four bring the lyrics of the incredible Dorothy Fields to life in this world premiere revue, with Charles Gilbert as musical director and accompanist, and Karen Cleighton as choreographer, under the direction of Gayle Stahlhuth. During her almost 50-year career, Dorothy Fields wrote lyrics for more than 400 songs; worked on 15 Broadway musicals, sometimes as book writer and/or lyricist, and almost 30 Hollywood films.  

Theatre Preview: June 2018

New Jersey Repertory Company presents the World Premiere of Mercy from June 14 - July 15. After the untimely death of his wife, Orville tries to get on with his life. His father is taking care of the baby, while his boss aggressively tries to comfort him. However, everything changes for Orville when he inadvertently meets the man responsible for his wife’s death.Written by Adam Szymkowicz; Directed by Gail Winar.

Shadow Lawn Stage at Monmouth University presents The Fantasticks from June 21 to July 1st. The world’s longest-running musical, The Fantasticks is a funny and romantic musical about a boy, a girl, and their two fathers who try to keep them apart. The narrator, El Gallo, asks the audience to use their imagination and follow him into a world of moonlight and magic. The boy and the girl fall in love, grow apart and finally find their way back to each other after realizing the truth in El Gallo’s words that, “without a hurt, the heart is hollow.

Phoenix Productions Presents: In the Heights at the Count Basie Theater from June 22-24. Set over the course of three days in Washington Heights, New York City, In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open, and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding the traditions you take with you and which ones you leave behind. 

Mayo Performing Arts Center presents Dirty Dancing from June 23-24. This worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. 

Monmouth University presents National Theatre Live in HD with Macbeth by Shakespeare on June 27. The ruined aftermath of a bloody civil war. Ruthlessly fighting to survive, the Macbeths are propelled towards the crown by forces of elemental darkness.

Theatre Preview: June 2018

UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage presents Her Dream / His Nightmare on June 29-30. Couple Bo and Val have been in a loving relationship for the past three years. Val is a newly devoted Christian excited about her new life while Bo is divorced with 2 children from a previous marriage. Life is perfect until Val discovers that he isn’t being totally honest with her, and they will have to weather the storm of their relationship. Will he be the man of her dreams and make them a reality, or will she she stay stuck in his nightmare?!

The Broadway Theatre of Pitman presents Chicago from June 29 - July 22. Set in the 1920’s, this jazz soaked musical sizzles, starring two women trying to work the judicial system. Tensions arise when Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star and famed double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly acquire the same lawyer. The two compete for the spotlight and attention of their lustful lawyer. Featuring timeless songs including “All That Jazz” and “Class.”






Pegasus Theatre Company presents "Human Error"
(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- Pegasus Theatre Company presents Human Error from September 21-30 at the West Windsor Arts Center. The play by Eric Pfeffinger asks: What does it take for people on opposite sides of the political spectrum to see past their differences and even become friends? According to Human Error, it takes a blundering fertility doctor and a case of mistaken identity, which force two couples to face an absurd situation together. 
East Lynne Theater's "Arsenic and Old Lace" Is Breaking Records
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company has seen many successes since its founding in 1980, but none like "Arsenic and Old Lace."  Although first produced on Broadway in 1941 by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, Joseph Kesselring’s comedy is still the most produced play in this country today. Yes - It' just that good!
Old Library Theatre Presents "Bat Boy"
(FAIR LAWN, NJ) -- Old Library Theatre, Fair Lawn Recreation Department's resident theater company and NJACT's 2017 Community Theater of the Year, presents "Bat Boy" from September 14-16.  When a half boy/half bat creature is discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia, the local sheriff brings himto the home of the town veterinarian. Though he’s eventually accepted as a member of the family, when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded townspeople, they turn on him.
Premiere Stages To Present Brick City
(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Nicole Pandolfo’s Brick City from September 6-23 in Kean University’s Bauer Boucher Theatre Center in Union, NJ.  In the play, worlds collide in Ms. Pandolfo’s topical and compelling new play when Jessie, a combative high school senior with a disability, and Darnell, the star player of the high school basketball team, find themselves together in extended study hall during the most important marking period of their lives.  As Darnell inches dangerously close to throwing away a lucrative college scholarship and Jessie a potential career as an artist, both discover things aren't always as simple as they may seem.
Candace O’Donnell To Perform "Sarah Bernhardt-La Divine" To Benefit Cape May Stage
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- Candace O’Donnell will be performing her latest work “Sarah Bernhardt-La Divine” as a benefit for Cape May Stage on August 27th at 8:00pm. In the play, written & performed by O’Donnell, Sarah Bernhardt survived the siege of Paris, an amputation, vicious anti-Semitism, and many tempestuous love affairs to become the toast of Europe and indeed the world.


REVIEW: "Fern Hill" at NJ Rep
(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — The latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company is Fern Hill by Michael Tucker.  Wonderfully directed by Nadia Tass, the play features an all-star cast and a story about three couples in the latter half of their lives who come up with a rather intriguing way to avoid a retirement home.
Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen
When Bruce Springsteen was about to release his debut album, the record company wanted him to say he was from New York City, but he refused.  It’s somewhat ironic that over 40 years later, he has turned a legendary Broadway theatre into his home five nights a week with Springsteen on Broadway - a show that has performed in front of over 150,000 people and grossed more than $75 million since making its debut on October 12, 2017 after several preview performances. 
15 World Premiere Plays
New Jersey may be a short ride to Broadway, but its home to great theatre as well.  In addition to wonderful revivals and productions of recent Broadway and Off-Broadway hits, the state offers audiences the first chance to see many plays each year.  The 2018-19 season lineups for many theatres have been announced and here are 15 World Premieres taking place in New Jersey that caught our eye.
REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean
(UNION, NJ) — Craig Garcia’s new play, Linger, gives new meaning to the term “nuclear family” and offers a powerful story, terrific performances, and fine direction by John J. Wooten.  Sadly, it has also changed the way I'll remember my favorite song by The Beach Boys.  I will never hear it without thinking of this play.
Difficult Questions "Linger" at Premiere Stages
There are two key questions at the heart of Craig Garcia’s play “Linger”: How well do parents actually know their children? And what things — even terrible things — are they capable of?






Event calendar
Monday, Aug 20, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Industry Ball 2018 @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

FINDING FEEBAS @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

Alex Laurenzi Quartet @ 1867 Sanctuary at Ewing, Ewing - 8:00pm


FILM

Eighth Grade @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 7:00pm

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