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Articles By Adam F Cohen

REVIEW: "The Great Gatsby" at Paper Mill Playhouse

For 85 years, Paper Mill Playhouse has presented musicals and plays with loving flair. The house is saturated in history – near financial ruin, fire, and a devotion to theatrical arts. For a banner anniversary, the theater unfurls a resplendent, largely glorious world premiere production of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby reflecting the complications of romance. Book a seat on the Morris & Essex New Jersey Transit line for the musical ride of your life.

published on 10/23/2023

REVIEW: "Disney's Hercules" at Paper Mill Playhouse

There’s a fine line with Disney’s adaptations of its animated musicals to the stage. Of the cannon, only “Lion King” has successfully fully made the leap from two dimensional. Paper Mill Playhouse and Disney’s stab at updating the big screen version of “Hercules” has wonderful elements, many strong performances, a solid book, but feels under baked in battle for audience dollars. There's clear appeal for families, especially boys which is admirable.

published on 03/02/2023

REVIEW: "The Sound of Music" at Paper Mill Playhouse

An enduring, Tony Award-winning classic, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein III’s The Sound of Music is a ubiquitous, stalwart musical theatre crowd-pleaser given an enthralling new production at Paper Mill Playhouse. 

published on 12/08/2022

REVIEW: "Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol" at Mile Square Theatre

Holiday theater offerings intended for families offer the awakening of future long-term theater lovers.  An early holiday present awaits families at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre in an exquisitely realized, vibrant production of Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. 

published on 12/04/2022

REVIEW: "Her Portmanteau" at George Street Playhouse

The multilayers of family are vibrantly on display in George Street Playhouse’s production of playwright Mfoniso Udofia’s “Her Portmanteau.” The dynamics, relationships, language and slights linger after the houselights rise.

published on 10/21/2022


REVIEW: "On Your Feet" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Gloria and Emilio Estefan, international recording stars, producers, promoters, restauranteurs, found romance and the rhythm in their humble Little Havana beginnings that brought them worldwide fame.  Gloria, a Cuban-American singer and actress is a seven-time Grammy Award winner, a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, and has been named one of the Top 100 greatest artists of all time by both VH1 and Billboard. Estefan's record sales exceed 75 million worldwide, making her the second best-selling female Latin artist in history and one of the best-selling female singers of all-time. 

published on 10/19/2022

Review of "The Wanderer" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Biographical jukebox musicals follow an established path – heroic artist is especially talented; challenged by demons (bad relationships or addiction); defy barriers and the adoring crowd stands soaking in hit from a bygone time.  Michael Wartella firmly joins the pantheon of supremely talented theatrical performers who embody a real-life rocker and slays with an iconic performance.  At the Paper Mill Playhouse, he owns the theater as doo wop/rocker Dion in a new production “The Wanderer.” 

published on 04/03/2022

Review: "Clue" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Clue, the mystery boardgame of my youth, has been wonderfully, intelligently and hysterically been brought to the stage of the Paper Mill Playhouse.  It’s no mystery why this deftly directed and designed production is so entertaining.  Every aspect of the show is well done and deserves praise.  Do not pass, go directly to and book tickets.  The production runs through February 20, 2022. 

published on 02/03/2022

REVIEW: "A Jolly Holiday: Celebrating Disney's Broadway Hits" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Live on stage, Paper Mill Playhouse premieres a new Disney musical revue, perfectly timed for the season “A Jolly Holiday: Celebrating Disney’s Broadway Hits.”  Set at a holiday party on a stage festooned with presents, Christmas trees, a heart, menorahs, five insanely talented performers sing and dance to your heart’s delight.  I defy you to resist singing along, tapping your feet, clapping or beaming ear to ear beneath your mask. 

published on 12/06/2021

REVIEW: "Songs for a New World" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Over 600 days have passed since Paper Mill Playhouse’s last opening night.  Ironically, that opening was for a musical revue called “Unmasked.”  Thrillingly, Paper Mill returns with a rousing new production of Jason Robert Brown’s “Songs for a New World.”   

published on 10/20/2021

An Interview With Chris O'Connor, Artistic Director of Mile Square Theatre

Chris O'Connor is the founder and Artistic Director of Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken.  Adam F. Cohen spoke with him about the theatre company's history, how it is dealing with the COVID-19 situation, and whether the situation might affect how the company chooses work or presents online programming in the future.

published on 05/05/2020

Broadway Weekends at Home Offers Online Classes

Covid-19 may have shuttered Broadway, the West End and tours across the world.  But it didn’t extinguish the dream actress Jeanna De Waal and her sister Dani had five years ago.  That dream, of bringing the Broadway experience to people of all stripes and abilities.  Broadway Weekends evolved from multi-day in-person camps for those triple threats with day jobs or school, into Zoom-based classes of all types.  Taking advantage of the time and medium allowed the De Waal’s and their team to pivot and broaden the scope of Broadway Weekends at Home to include working professional performers teaching some 25 classes a week to enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds via Zoom.

published on 04/26/2020

REVIEW: "Conscience" by Joe DiPietro at George Street Playhouse

Political polemics abound, especially in an election year where viruses get politicized.  This concept is theatricalized in the George Street Playhouse’s production of Joe DiPietro’s play Conscience.

published on 03/10/2020

REVIEW: "5 Times In One Night" at Mile Square Theatre

Having just endured a break up, the last thing in the world I wanted to do was review a play entitled 5 Times in One Night.  But this production is an astute, fierce, playful, and highly entertaining evening hosted by the intimate Mile Square Theatre. 

published on 02/27/2020

REVIEW: "A Merry Little Christmas Carol" At Mile Square Theatre

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol has had many, many adaptions for all forms of media and art.  Mile Square Theatre’s “A Merry Little Christmas Carol” might be the finest yet.  It’s pure theatricality and invention is nothing short of brilliant.

published on 12/19/2019

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REVIEW: "Pipeline" at Mile Square Theatre

Parenting is a puzzle.  The intention is do well by your child by all means.  And those intentions start with a firm foundation of communication. Dominique Morisseau's play Pipeline explores the repercussions of parenting, race, education, marriage, and communication.  The play – running at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre– is a gripping drama.

published on 09/13/2019

REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre

Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

published on 12/07/2018

REVIEW: "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn" at Paper Mill Playhouse

One man’s ambition is comfortable yet to another it is anathema.  This is the simplest way to convey the central theme of Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn – now playing at Papermill Playhouse.  The show is a rich, effervescent, beautiful, fun, musical that is well worth booking tickets for.  It enthralled my phone addicted 13 year-old and earned a shout out on Instagram - high praise in and of itself.

published on 12/05/2018

REVIEW: The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi

(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- Children’s theater is a misnomer in the hands of director Chris O’Connor and the cast of The Garden of Rikki Tikki Tavi.  This is a pristine imaginative in everyway production – funny, engaging, charming. It is the perfect introduction for theater for any age.  You can’t be bored with the colorful costumes, snappy actors, witty script, and beautiful set.  It’s the perfect bromide to uncertain spring weather while opening parents and children up to lots to talk about beyond screen-time.

published on 04/18/2018

REVIEW: "The Sting" at Paper Mill Playhouse

(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Scott Joplin’s classic rag “The Entertainer” is highly recognizable. It was used to great effect in an Oscar winning movie called “The Sting” which happed to star Paul Newman and Robert Redford.  Joplin was born in Texas and found his true calling as a ragtime composer in Chicago in 1893.  His compositions helped fuel ragtime into a major craze. Joplin’s rags are a featured part of the absolutely entertaining new musical “The Sting” which premiered at Paper Mill Playhouse on April 8th.

published on 04/09/2018

REVIEW: "Driving Miss Daisy" at Mile Square Theatre

The quiet freemasonry of pride, time, companionship, and aging provides for a quiet but thought provoking production of Pulitzer Prize winner Alfred Uhry’s “Driving Miss Daisy” in Hoboken by Mile Square Theatre.  It illustrates the friendship of an African American man and Caucasian woman in the South, largely of convenience but overtime gelling into actual respect and love.  Sadly, in today’s fractious time, it also highlights how far we have to go.  And this understated but powerful production is a perfect representation of the power and craft of strong acting, writing, and theater.

published on 02/10/2018

REVIEW: "The 39 Steps" at Mile Square Theatre

Ingenious.  Captivating.  Hysterical.  Thoroughly entertaining.  Those are just some of the adjectives which describe Mark Shanahan’s production of “The 39 Steps” playing at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken.

published on 12/04/2017

REVIEW: "The Net Will Appear" at Mile Square Theatre

Finding meaningful connections across a divide is the theme of many an artistic work.  Building bridges and friendships can be difficult in a world of Instagram and noses in phones.  Generations are apt to swipe their way into relationships.  But do they last? Are they real, caring relationships that will have a lifelong impact? These are some of the issues brought to bear in Erin Mallon’s likable world premiere play The Net Will Appear at Hoboken’s Mile Square Theatre.

published on 09/26/2017

REVIEW: "Betrayal" at Mile Square Theatre

Mile Square Theatre’s expertly realized revival of the 1978 “Betrayal” — Harold Pinter’s brief, biting, time-reversed drama about two marriages and the seven-year-long affair that intersects them — you begin to sense there is something a good deal more profound at work.  This is a master class in restraint, grace, and nuanced acting. 

published on 04/04/2017

REVIEW: "Stone In The Road" by Silly on Sixth Children's Series

Stone in the Road is a bit of a departure for Silly on Sixth Children’s Series at Hudson Theatre Ensemble.  And that is a good thing.  There are no princes, princesses, or frogs.  No fairy godpeople to make things right.  But the familiar elements - actors, song, moral - are all firmly and gratifyingly in place.  Youngsters of all ages will be entertained and kept engaged by the simple, fun, theatrical bauble.

published on 04/02/2017


REVIEW: "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown"

(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- Mary Catherine Burke, director of Mile Square Theatre’s production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” has a stated preference for comedy with bite. In this she successfully mines Charles Shultz’ Peanuts comic strip for all the inherent anxiety and wit. With strong bright Sunday comic, Saturday morning cartoon candy colored lighting (Elaine Wong) and a wisely kid perspective skewing set (Jen Price Fick) and musical director (Terri Gorgone) at the keys, the intrepid, peppy cast of six sings and dances their way into your hearts. They cast of six wily charms into your hearts radiating atomic warm into a smiling audience.

published on 02/04/2017

A Look At "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" at Mile Square Theatre

Mary Kate Burke Director of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken knows the importance of theatrical entertainment – in any time. Her exuberance for theater and this production comes out within seconds of saying hello.

published on 01/31/2017

REVIEW: The Bodyguard The Musical

There are two primary reasons to see The Bodyguard The Musical (playing at Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ: Deborah Cox and Jasmine Richardson. If Cox weren’t already a star, she would be after this performance. She is a vocal dynamo recreating the Whitney Houston catalogue and putting her own styling, shadings, and vocal theatrics to hits like “I Will Always Love You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “How Will I Know” and “One Moment In Time.”

published on 12/05/2016

REVIEW: "A Christmas Carol: The Musical" at The Growing Stage

It is hard to be a Scrooge about A Christmas Carol: The Musical presented by The Growing Stage in Netcong. Peppered with Equity members, the production is well sung and a holiday bauble sure to please kids of all ages.

published on 12/02/2016

REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life - A Live Radio Play" At Mile Square Theatre

Mile Square Theatre has the ultimate bad day, feel good, holiday tonic in their clever production of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

published on 12/02/2016

REVIEW: "Young Frankenstein" at Old Library Theatre

Mel Brook’s musical catalogue is receiving vital revisals this fall with Papermill Playhouse’s “The Producers” and Old Library Theatre’s “Young Frankenstein.” And what a welcome both are. Just in time for Halloween, Old Library presents a lively new production directed by Jeffrey Fiorello. Head over to Fair Lawn, avoid the rain and fall chill for the opportunity to treat Brooks’ characters and his fans to more of what they crave: splashy numbers full of Borscht Belt humor, bawdy double-entendres and plenty of dance breaks.

published on 10/22/2016

REVIEW: "The Producers" at Paper Mill Playhouse

Mel Brooks’ award winning musical comedy “The Producers” based on his 1968 film has been winningly and lovingly revived at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, New Jersey. Given our geo-political climate, there is nothing more rewarding and nurturing than tucking into a familiar favorite with a bright, charming cast; spectacular dancing; and feeling one’s face smiling and chest heaving laughter as Mr. Brooks’ show. The Mel Brooks musical features a book written by Thomas Meehan and Mr. Brooks, with music and lyrics by Mr. Brooks and original direction and amazing choreography by Susan Stroman.

published on 10/07/2016

REVIEW: Long Gone Daddy

Remember that moment your spouse said he or she wanted a baby? Maybe you were at a Springsteen concert in amazing acquired seats. Perhaps the thought of parenthood sent you scrambling, reflecting on your own childhood and father. Joseph Gallo’s, Long Gone Daddy, is a one-man journey that balances parenthood, marriage and the Boss at Hoboken’s jewel of a theater – Mile Square Theater.

published on 07/20/2016

REVIEW: Circle Mirror Transformation

In a small town Vermont community center an acting teacher Marty (Deborah Hedwall) leads four students through a six-week workshop. The art of the pause, truth and honesty, relationships, communication are slowly articulated through out the course of the intriguing evening. Annie Baker’s Obie-award winning play “Circle Mirror Transformation” has been skillfully rendered anew at Mile Square Theater in a production directed by the theater’s Artistic Director Chris O’Connor.

published on 06/23/2016

REVIEW: Nunsense at Rhino Theatre

The surviving nuns of the Little Sisters of Hoboken are beset with mishap. Having lost the other 52 of their order to some rancid vichyssoise made by their own cook, are putting on a variety show to raise the money to bury the final four nuns as their previous fundraising fell slightly short and they had to resort to popping the poor dears in the freezer…temporarily. With the board of health breathing down on them and some of their funds diverted to other forms of entertainment, these enterprising nuns sing and dance their way into your hearts.

published on 06/04/2016

Goodnight Moon at Mile Square Theater

Generations of parents lull children to sleep with Margaret Wise Brown's classic "Goodnight Moon." I can't tell you how many times I read it to my daughter. It is a simple listing of things in a great green room and someone wishing goodnight to all of them and an old woman whispering "hush." The Mile Square Theater Company in their warm new space brings the book alive through a glorious musical adaption by Chad Henry.

published on 04/24/2016

REVIEW: The Princess Finds A Way

Once upon a time, an amazing children’s theater company, put on a musical called “The Princess Finds A Way.” The company, Silly on Sixth in Hoboken, crafted a creative, engaging production aimed at boys and girls alike. At the ripe old age of 18, the princess (Leah Sayad) must get married to claim her Queen-dom. However, Megan doesn’t want to get married, she just wants to run her land and live her life. With her wise aunts and loyal friend she hatches a plan to win the contest set up to marry her off to the winner. The plan involves disguising herself as a prince, beating her odious relative, and a handsome prince she doesn’t quite remember having nursed back to health after the war. Happy endings ensue along with a positive message of fighting for what you want, working hard, playing fair, and taking care of others.

published on 04/03/2016

REVIEW: "Jackson Is Gone"

(WEEHAWKEN, NJ) -- Kudos to Hudson Theater Works for championing the premiere of Joanne Hoersch’s “Jackson is Gone.” Hoersch has a unique voice and presents an intriguing premise that makes for an evening apt to spark conversation.

published on 11/07/2015

Cinderella In Hoboken

(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- Kid’s theater with a positive message is amazing. In the hands of the incredible Hudson Theater Ensemble’s Silly on Sixth Street, children’s theater is a passionate alchemy of creativity and craftiness to be treasured. The company’s new production of “Cinderella Cinderalla” twists the tale just enough to be recognizable and palatably entertaining for children of all ages.

published on 11/01/2015

Buzz Theatre Presents "I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change"

"I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change" was a long running off-Broadway production with a book by New Jersey native Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts. The adventurous Buzz Theater Productions presents this entertaining, well-sung, very funny musical at the Preakness Reformed Church in Wayne, NY this weekend.

published on 10/04/2015


REVIEW: A Midsummer Night's Dream At Mile Square Theater

With the backdrop of New York City at dusk and the Hoboken pier, Mile Square Theater’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” has an unbeatable setting. Set in the 1950’s of Hoboken, bobby sox and greasers play the lovers of Shakespeare’s play. The conceit doesn’t add or detract from the play so much as give the lovers and players comfortable costumes for much of the show.

published on 07/26/2015

REVIEW: Hudson Theater Ensemble's "Elves and the Shoemaker"

It is a sad day when your nine-year-old child is largely resistant to the charms of well-produced and executed children’s theater. But for the three to seven year olds who are impressed by cute songs, nuanced – not cloying performances by charming actors with solid comedic timing that doesn’t talk down, head over to Hudson Theater Ensemble’s Silly on Sixth production of the “Elves and the Shoemaker.”

published on 06/14/2015

REVIEW: "Next To Normal" at Rhino Theatre

Great theater, really great theater, should work on many levels at the same time: emotional, intellectual, physically. "Next to Normal" at the Rhino Theatre does just this. It isn't perfect, but nothing in life is. And that is entirely the point of this Pulitzer and Tony winning musical from Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey as directed by Jo-Ann Ventor and Carmela Wolosz which is moving on all these levels. Whatever your weekend plans for the new few weeks, consider making this production part of them. You will be rewarded wholly.

published on 06/13/2015


Remember your first dance, maybe it was at summer camp or school. And then consider the rash of emotions involved in going and finding someone to go with. Factor in autism – “a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke)” and the excitement and trepidation of this rite of passage is illuminated in a whole new light. Alexandra Shiva’s excellent documentary “How to Dance in Ohio” focuses on a series of young adults in Columbus with Autism preparing for their first dance.

published on 05/04/2015

A Look Inside The Montclair Film Festival

Film festivals are multi-day events staged by arts organizations, universities, private organizations, and/or film societies. They provide an opportunity for filmmakers of all ages and backgrounds and films of all genres to get screened in front of a real live audience and sometimes get professional reviews and prizes. Filmmakers whose movies get accepted into a festival receive press attention, wider exposure to an audience that could include prospective agents, funders, and distributors. New Jersey has the now four year-old Montclair Film Festival running May 1st through 10th in a variety of venues in Montclair. This year’s festival features over 150 films and events over ten days, includes awards, and expands to include two weekends to offer more repeat screenings and more films.

published on 04/26/2015

Love American Style -- Almost, Maine - Hoboken, NJ

Love, amour, distance, commitment, hope, loss, pain – these are the elements at play in Hudson Theater Ensemble’s charming production of John Cariani’s “Almost, Maine.”

published on 04/18/2015

REVIEW: Hunchback of Notre Dame

(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Papermill Playhouse launched their newest musical "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" Sunday, March 15th.  The production is backed by Broadway legends Alan Menkin (Music) and Stephen Schwartz (Lyrics).  The two teamed previously on the Disney animated movie of "Hunchback" and "Pochohantas." Yet this is the first on stage collaboration between the two.  And they offer a lush, emotionally rich score and searing songs which veer from liturgical, ballads, to dramatic.   

published on 03/17/2015

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