Articles By Bruce Chadwick
After Midnight: Boundless Entertainment in a Horrid Chapter of U.S. History
(MILLBURN, NJ) -- The musical After Midnight opens slowly as a singer wails about long bread lines in Harlem, in New York City, everywhere in America. She sings on about the awful state of affairs in America, the Great Depression.
published on 02/11/2024
Want to Beat the Blues? The Musical "Annie" Is Back
Anybody in this country who does not know what life was like in orphanages, or America, in the Depression 1930s has not been to see the musical Annie. In it, writers, directors and actors show the audience the economic and social devastation in the country, The heroine of the very upbeat, poignant story is little mop-top Annie, the cute, lovable little girl with the bright, curly red hair who gets taken in by super wealthy Daddy Warbucks, whose fortune puts Donald Trump to shame, after years of living in a dreary, rodents of some kind infested orphanage, run by the equally dreary Miss Hannigan, who gives evil a bad name. The other orphans in the play where Annie lives are the co-heroines of the play.
published on 01/31/2024
Here Comes Cher – Yet Again
The singer/actress Cher is – has always been – one of the most beloved entertainers in the world. She has been a show business star for six decades, with a hit record in every one of the decades, the subject of a play, star of several television shows (Sonny and Cher), beloved wife of Sonny Bono and one of the most outrageously dressed women in the world (those headdresses!). Does all of that make her so beloved?
published on 01/22/2024
Lenny Bruce was – "OUTRAGEOUS"
Nearly everybody over the age of 60 remembers comic Lenny Bruce and most under the age of 60 knows his name. The notorious comic was, yes, he was simply outrageous.
published on 01/06/2024
Dreams of Any Kind – Cold or Warm – Are Good Ones
So, they went and turned a perfectly good summertime play, A Midsummer Night's Dream, into a wintry play, A Midwinter Night's Dream. It opened - brrrrrrrrrr - at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, at Drew University, Madison, on December 6th.
published on 12/10/2023
The Nutcrackers Are Back and the Memories of Childhood Return
It is the holiday season and so the Nutcracker ballet, that timeless gem of Christmas, is back, too. There are a thousand fascinating stories to tell about the Nutcracker, now and in the past, and this is one of them – that of Ethan Stiefel, artistic director of the American Repertory Ballet, when he was a kid.
published on 12/08/2023
What is the Holiday Season without Santa, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and... Charlie Brown?
Yes, yes, yes, Charlie Brown and his cartoon gang have become as much a part of the holiday season as the others in the musical A Charlie Brown Christmas. This weekend, Charlie and his crew will once again stage their musical story, on Friday, November 24th (two shows) at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank and on Sunday, November 26th (two shows) at the Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC) in Morristown.
published on 11/21/2023
Murder, Murder Everywhere – Musical "Chicago," Guns and All, on way to New Brunswick
People do not get murdered every minute in the musical Chicago – it is maybe very three or four minutes.
published on 11/09/2023
Celtic Thunder to Boom in Morristown and Red Bank
Over the last fifteen years or so, Irish music and dancing has become extremely popular in America - beyond the traditional Irish songs our grandparents sang at get togethers. Groups like Celtic Thunder, one of the most popular groups, have found a happy home here.
published on 10/30/2023
Partying with the Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be the greatest novel ever written by an American (all right, Herman Melville's Moby Dick a close second). It is the story of an incredibly wealthy World War I war hero who has not seen his girlfriend in five years and tries desperately to get her back. He buys a Rolls Royce car, builds a multi-million-dollar mansion and throws the wildest parties the 1920s had ever seen. The problem is that in those long, long five years she married and had a child. So where does our rich war hero, Jay Gatsby, go?
published on 10/27/2023
Rutgers Jewish Film Festival: Throughout All the Wars and All the Troubles
When it comes to film festivals, Karen Small, the executive director of the Rutgers Jewish Film Festival, has seen it all – several times.
published on 10/25/2023
A Man for All Seasons - the Rainy Season
OK – England's King Henry VIII needs a son to be heir to his throne in the 1530s. His wife Catherine cannot produce one. His love for Catherine has diminished and the lovely, young Anne Bolyn has charmed him considerably over the recent past. So, he wants to divorce Catherine and marry Anne.
published on 10/23/2023
Out of the Jungle and Out of the New Jersey Symphony… Look out! The Dinosaurs of Jurassic Park Are on Their Way to a Theater Near You
Thump! Thump! Thump! Watch Out!
They are back. The moviedom dinosaurs you loved to hate in the Jurassic Park movies are coming back, but this time dragging the New Jersey Symphony with them in a film concert version of the classic movie.
published on 10/15/2023
Chubby Checker: Still 'Twistin' Away at 82
Singer Chubby Checker got interested in show business when he was four years old and went to a music show. By the time he was 17, he was not only a singer but had engineered his own, whole stage show. Now, at 82, he still has the enthusiasm of that four-year-old kid.
published on 10/06/2023
Pretty Woman Is Now a Musical
We here in New Jersey, we get, what, 45 million cable television networks and at least once a week they all air the hit Richard Gere/Julia Roberts hit movie Pretty Woman. I have seen it on a cable network at least once a week for the last three years. I love it and I always wished someone could take that song, and that unbeatable love story, and turn it into a musical.
published on 10/04/2023
The Little Prince Tumbles Out of the Sky and Kicks Off Play Series
One of retiring artistic director Bonnie Monte's swan songs for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is Classic for Kids, a series of three play readings spread over the beginning of the season. The series started August 12th with "The Little Prince," the classic 1943 story by Antoine de Saint -Exupery, that has been adapted for the stage by Rich Cummins and John Scoullar.
published on 08/13/2023
Two, Not Three, Is the Charm in Dance
They say three is the charm, but this coming season at the New Jersey Ballet it is two that will be the charm, two old dance chestnuts that will be made fresh again.
published on 08/10/2023
Dancing through the State: New Jersey Ballet Adds Two Theaters
The New Jersey Ballet, the state's largest dance company, is expanding yet again, this time adding two central New Jersey theaters to its long list of venues at which the company's dancers can entertain people
published on 08/06/2023
Summertime in New Brunswick and the Livin' Is Easy, and So Is the Music
The annual New Brunswick Heart Festival, a popular summer time arts gathering, has survived just about everything. It even survived the Pandemic!
published on 08/03/2023
Can Anyone Save the Shipwrecked Louis De Rougemont, Stranded Somewhere in the South Pacific?
Have you read or seen any of the Robinson Crusoe stories? The Tom Hanks movie Cast Away? Any other shipwrecked movies, novels or plays?
Here is another one – the play Shipwrecked! An Entertainment – The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as told by himself), by Donald Margulies, that is now playing at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's outdoor stage on the campus of St. Elizabeth's College, off route 24, in Convent Station.
published on 07/25/2023
A Big, Big Story in a Small, Small Play
It is early in World War II in the town of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England. Just about every night the citizens are terrified by Nazi bombing raids in the harsh war just underway. There are bombs dropping everywhere. The shrill, whistling sound of the bombs hurtling down from German airplanes are as scary as the explosions themselves. In one of the homes in the town are gathered members of the Stott family, boyfriends and friends. The play opens with the sounds of bombs and the family huddled together by resident George Stott, who is also the neighborhood Civil Defense warden. One bomb tumbles through the sky with a long shrill whistle but does not yet hit the ground. The Stotts wait, and wait, and wait. Everybody looks around quizzically and are stunned to discover that it was not a bomb that they heard, but a tea kettle whistling that its water was ready. They all give a nervous smile.
published on 07/16/2023
Jacob's Pillow Dance Company in the Berkshires is Summer Home to Most of the Dance World
How did you spend the spring?
Pamela Tatge, the executive director of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Company, in Beckett, Massachusetts, where thousands of New Jerseyans go each summer on vacation, spent it in Taiwan.
published on 07/08/2023
Pay the Rent! Wild Musical Opens at the Paper Mill Playhouse
You want a show that is wonderful but real crazy, too? Go see Rent, the Jonathan Larson musical, that just opened at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. It has 4,000 songs, 55,000 actors and scenery that looks half like a Shop Rite supermarket under construction and half like an explosion in downtown Manhattan. It's got wild costumes, a solid love story, superb choreography, suspense, friction (and it even has a drag queen!).
published on 06/19/2023
The Life of Christ from Another, Very Musical, Point of View – "Jesus Christ Superstar"
This is the official 50th anniversary of the premiere of the hit Broadway play Jesus Christ Superstar, a musical that has played all over the world and is headed for the State Theatre, in New Brunswick, this coming weekend (June 9-11). It is not the traditional story of Jesus' life and death, though, but a story that puts Judas, who betrayed Christ, in a major role. He, and high priests who punished Jesus, are the major players in the story, along with Christ.
published on 06/07/2023
A Haunting Tennessee Williams Play in Madison: "The Rose Tattoo"
As Tennessee Williams' enchanting The Rose Tattoo begins, you are looking at, are part of, a home in a small town on the Gulf Coast, somewhere near New Orleans in the early 1950s, with people running about. The house is an old, ramshackle building with a large porch and a dirt yard – very 1950s Deep South. It is home for a lower middle-class seamstress/dressmaker, the beautiful but troubled Serafina Delle Rose (Antoinette LaVecchia) and her 16 year old daughter, who is growing older very fast. Around them are friends, other teenagers, a priest, women neighbors, the usual gang of small-town folks in the South.
published on 06/05/2023
Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Welcomes New Artistic Director
It was the summer of 1996 and young Brian Crowe was being interviewed for a job as an intern by Bonnie Monte, the artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, in Madison. The phone kept ringing, actors were running in and out of her office, there was a stack of papers to read, bills to pay and letters from audience members to answer. It was bedlam.
published on 05/31/2023
Flying High -The Empire Strikes Back Zooms Into New Jersey
The rebels emerged victorious in Star Wars, the epic science fiction masterpiece – film masterpiece – of the 1970s. Would the evil Darth Vader be vanquished? Would Princess Elia restore order to the galaxy? Was the Death Star really finished? Did the Force betray the good guys?
published on 05/16/2023
Murder on the Orient Express - Whodunnit back in the 1930s and Why'd They Do It?
Starting in 1883, the Orient Express was a luxury train that carried passengers between Paris and Istanbul. It was the Rolls Royce of trains. The Orient Express carried the rich and the super rich. It also carried Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses and other assorted royalty.
published on 05/08/2023
Short Shakespeare Is Long Hit
To many people, the word Shakespeare causes severe nervousness, like a triple dose of the flu or advanced calculus.
published on 05/02/2023
Crossroads Theatre Roxxx On: History Through Entertainment
It was 2021. Ricardo Khan, the artistic director of the Crossroads Theatre Company, in New Brunswick, was scheduled to go home but someone asked him to stay in town just one more day to see Divinity Roxxx perform and meet her. He did.
published on 04/25/2023
Legally or Illegally Blonde, this Actress Really Knows this Play
Most actresses appear in a play long after it has already been a successful movie. Not Lea Sevola. She appeared in Legally Blonde: the Musical, the college beauty queen comedy, when she was 17 and then, years later, saw the movie. Now she is back again on stage, co-starring in a new version of Legally Blonde that is touring the country. Lea is legally and illegally blonde.
published on 04/17/2023
Elvis Has Still Not Left the Building
Now, nearly 46 years after his untimely and tragic death, rock star Elvis Presley has still not “left the building” as announcers used to tell eager Elvis fans after his shows, that drew huge crowds wherever he performed...
published on 03/27/2023
Once Upon a Time... the New Jersey Ballet Targets the Family
What do you think about when you hear the title "Once Upon a Time"?
published on 03/21/2023
MEOW! Cats is Back!
Years and years and years ago, when the musical Cats opened on Broadway, my late wife and I went to see it. We both fell in love with the oddball cat named Rum Tum Tugger. Several months later, we got our first cat and immediately, right away, named her Rum Tum Tugger. She was a handful - food strikes, carousing with the neighborhood Tom Cat, knocking over garbage cans, hiding in the attic over the garage once for three days complaining about everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
published on 03/08/2023
Paper Mill's Hercules - Strongest Man in World and a Delight on Stage
All of my life, people have compared me to the mythical character Hercules, the strongest man on earth. They all said I had the massive, muscular body, incredibly strong arms, bravery beyond a doubt and the remarkable ability to defeat dinosaurs and other menacing monsters in battle.
published on 03/03/2023
Don Giovanni in New Jersey – Everything Old IS New Again.
Wolfgang Mozart's opera Don Giovanni debuted way back in the 18th century and this coming weekend (Feburary 24 & 26) will be staged in a theater that opened recently, just before the Covid Pandemic, the Sieminski Theater (formerly known as the Fellowship Cultural Arts Center) in Basking Ridge, proving that everything old can, indeed, be new again. The grand old opera, first staged in Prague, will be in a new home, with English sub titles and a new emphasis on its comedy, not its drama.
published on 02/23/2023
Ray Charles On Everybody's Mind
My son recently moved to Savannah, Georgia. Right after he told me he was going there he started to hum the Ray Charles hit song, "Georgia on My Mind." Perfect.
published on 02/15/2023
How Do You Build a Better Restaurant for a Play about at Restaurant?
How do you build a better restaurant for a play set in a restaurant? You go out and get people who work in restaurants to do it, that’s how.
published on 01/25/2023
She Could Have Danced All Night: "My Fair Lady" is Back
Sami Murphy, veteran actress, is back in a huge play yet again, this time in My Fair Lady. She’s not the star, but a co-star who appears as numerous different characters in the show. You see her again and again and again.
published on 01/20/2023
DC's Reflecting Fools Will Reflect U.S. Comedic Life in Tough Times – Look Out, Mr. President
When I first started talking to Jack Rowles, the head of DC’s Reflecting Fools, a comedy show that takes pot shots at Democrats, Republicans and anybody whoever ran for office, it was right smack dab in the middle of the fight to elect a new Speaker of the House of Representatives. Everybody had a candidate and everybody had a funny story to tell about the House election. It had been 100 years since such a battle was fought to win the top spot in the House, the third most important and powerful position in the United States behind the President and Vice President.
published on 01/12/2023
The Campaign to 'Doowopify' America
Will President Joe Biden “doowopify” the United States this week?
He will if he goes to the Doo Wop Project concert/show at 8 p.m. Saturday, January 14, at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown, where five young men will “doowopify” the audience there with a show featuring the popular music of the 1950s through the early 1970s labeled The Doo Wop Projec.t. “Someone in the show came up with that ‘doowopify’ slogan and we use it all the time. It’s catchy,” said Russell Fischer, one of the five singers in the show and a New Jersey native.
published on 01/10/2023
New Jersey Ballet's Nutcracker Is the Best Ever
The New Jersey Ballet’s production of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, now running at Morristown’s Mayo Center for the Performing Arts, is the VERY BEST Nutcracker staged by that dance company I have seen in nearly thirty years.
published on 12/20/2022
"A Christmas Carol" Returns -- Happily So
Charles Dickensâ€™ rich and marvelous holiday story, A Christmas Carol, for so long a vital part of the New Jersey holiday entertainment scene, is back after its/our long battle with Covid. It opened last weekend after its Covid hiatus at the McCarter Theater in Princeton and is once again a big, bright blue box of a Christmas present for all, wrapped in a colorful red ribbon and dripping in good will and cheer.
published on 12/18/2022
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night Is A Good Night
I went to see William Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night on Saturday, the tenth day of December. Maybe that was an omen.
published on 12/11/2022
It's Time – Presents Under the Tree, Cold Weather, Carolers, Santas Everywhere You Look – and the Nutcracker, and the 50th Anniversary of It Here, Too
The holidays are here and, with them, a dozen or more productions of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’ fabled and warm-hearted ballet the Nutcracker, with its lovable kids and fierce mice. This year, too, we need colorful hats and loud horns to welcome it back because this is the 50th anniversary of the New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker, started so long ago by dance troupe artistic director Carolyn Clark and as welcome this year as then.
published on 11/29/2022
The Tribute Carpenters Have Not Only Just Begun – They Live On
I interviewed Debbie Taylor, one of the stars of Top of the World: A Carpenters’ Tribute Christmas Show, a show about the music and story of the brother/sister Carpenters that sold 100 million records (which is coming to The Levoy Theatre in Millville on December 1st; the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown on December 4th; and the Carteret Performing Arts Center on December 10th) and asked for her opinion on people’s reaction to the show, that has been touring the nation for six years now.
published on 11/26/2022
The Million Dollar Quartet Is Joined by Santa for a 1950s Rock 'N Roll Blast
On December 4, 1956, music producer Sam Phillips, head of Sun Records in Memphis, got singers Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins into his studio for a jam session. He recorded the session and played it for visitors for years. It was finally turned into a Broadway musical, The Million Dollar Quartet, in 2010. The smash musical has now pulled Santa in from his sleigh and become The Million Dollar Quartet Christmas. The play opened Friday, November 18 at the Bucks County Playhouse, across the Delaware River from New Jersey in New Hope, Pennsylvania and will run through January 1, 2023.
published on 11/19/2022
New Jersey Ballet Heads in New Directions with "New Direction"
A new era begins on Saturday, November 19th, no matter how chilly it gets, for the New Jersey Ballet, the state’s long standing ballet troupe. It will become the resident ballet company of the Mayo Performing Arts center in Morristown, one of the state’s premier theaters.
published on 11/15/2022
The Illusionists: Magic, Magic and More Magic in Morristown
Back in the 1980s I met magician David Copperfield backstage after one of his shows. I stared him straight in the eyes and described on of his more highly applauded tricks.
published on 11/03/2022
A Look Back into African American History and Luck in Life, Good and Bad
Alice Childress wrote plays, books and newspaper columns for more than 40 years and is considered one of the premier chroniclers on African American backstories, tales buried by time but tales priceless and emotion wrenching still. Bonnie Monte, executive director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, is always looking for unapplauded work and found two of Childress plays, Florence and Mojo, and combined them for a duo of plays. They opened last weekend at the theater, housed at Drew University, in Madison.
published on 10/30/2022
"Jaws" Is Coming Back to New Jersey -- Look out!
The scare-your-pants-off movie Jaws, enormous shark and all, is coming back to New Jersey this weekend as a concert movie at three cities, The Count Basie Center in Red Bank at 8 p.m. Friday, Newark’s Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Saturday and New Brunswick’s State Theater at 3 p.m. Sunday.
published on 10/25/2022
Squeezing JFK Airport on to the Small Stage at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, Taxi Stands Included
The actress on stage in the play Her Portmanteau at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick picks up the telephone to discover that her sister, whom she has not seen in years, has arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, and is waiting for her to pick her up. The actress in the apartment hangs up the phone and walks upstairs on a hidden staircase. The lighting downstairs goes dark and the lighting upstairs is turned on to reveal, in all of its noisy glory, JFK Airport. She is suddenly in front of a set of airport elevators and the top half of the stage looks just like JFK Airport. I could not believe my eyes. The airport is nearly 5,000 acres in size and there it was in front of me, re-created on this tiny stage. I never saw anything like it.
published on 10/21/2022
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is Back and So Are Its Wild Fans
The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie is a national phenomenon, a cult class, movie milestone – call it what you will. Every Halloween, many theaters throughout the county host a wild, wild party along with a late-night screening of the movie as Halloween and horror extravaganza. Bright colors are everywhere at the party – yellow, flame red, passionate pink. Lots of loud noise, too – shouting and cheering. One of the most successful is at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, which holds its party/movie on this Saturday, October 22. The party starts at 9:00pm and the film goes on at 11:00pm. The Rocky Horror extravaganza is incredibly popular, with as many as 1,200 people attending one of the shows at the State Theatre.
published on 10/19/2022
On Your Feet for "On Your Feet"
(MILLBURN, NJ) -- Everybody, up on your feet, hands in the air, hips grinding, body bouncing. It's time for On Your Feet: the Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan, a romping, stomping musical about the lives of Latino singer Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio, who shook up the American music world with a string of Latino beat hits in the 1980s and a sensational stage show that played around the world
published on 10/18/2022
Shakespeare Theatre's "The Caretaker" is a Gem of A Production
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Caretaker, by Harold Pinter, is a play about a nobly minded pair of London brothers who take in a homeless man and give him a bed in the bedroom of one, food and a chance at a new life as the caretaker of their house. It is a 1960 play and resonates today because homelessness, no matter where you look, is still a major problem in England, and America. In New York City alone, there are 52,000 homeless people, one of the highest totals in years.
published on 10/10/2022
The Wolves at McCarter Need Sharper Teeth
Sarah DeLappe’s play The Wolves: Fierce, Fearless, Female, a story about a women’s high school soccer team, needs bigger claws and sharper teeth.
published on 10/09/2022
Crazy Days in 18th Century Paris with People from Brittany to Britney Spears, Too
If someone asked me to use a single word to describe The Metromaniacs, the play that just opened at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey at Drew University, in Madison, that’s what I’d say.
published on 08/22/2022
New Brunswick Heart Festival Celebrates The Arts on Saturday
It will be a heart to heart arts festival this coming Saturday, August 13, in downtown New Brunswick when area arts councils and theaters hold the third annual “New Brunswick Heart Festival,” featuring bands, performers and live music and dance events in a three hour festival.
published on 08/10/2022
There is Much to Say about 'Much Ado...
The outdoor stage summer season for the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is going full blast these days with a perky, colorful production of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, about which there is much to say. The play is jam packed with the elements that have made the Shakespeare Theatre’s play on its outdoor, amphi-theater stage at St. Elizabeth’s University, just down the road from its indoor and permanent home at Drew University in Madison, successful. There is a gorgeous stage setting, beautiful costumes, actors running up and down the aisles in the audience, people dining on the lovely grassy grounds before and after the show and, oh yes, and it is an element, all of the airplanes, their engine roars making more noise that the applause of the audience, flying overhead.
published on 07/18/2022
Jacob's Pillow - 90 Years Young
I have never been to Pike’s Peak, the Mardi Gras in New Orleans or the Snake River. I have never been to the fabled, historic Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts, either. This summer I made it to Jacob’s Pillow, going there to see Swing Out, an impressive, pulsating, simply dazzling dance show about the Big Band dancing of the 1930s. Yes, Benny Goodman still lives. I’m glad I got there and hope I can get there again.
published on 07/14/2022
Once Is Enough
Most people loved the 2007 movie Once. Most New York critics loved it when the story opened there as a musical and grabbed several Tony Awards. I finally caught up with it Sunday at the Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, where so many New Jersey resident go on vacations. For me, Once was enough.
published on 07/11/2022
Bad Start, Powerful Finish in Superb World Premiere
I thought only Superman, with his X Ray vision, could see two plays at the same time. I was wrong. The audiences at the Unicorn Theater, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the Berkshires, can do it, too. All anyone needs to do is see the world premier play B.R.O.K.E.N CODE / B.I.R.D SWITCHING, by Tara Wilson Noth.
published on 07/08/2022
"Ain’t Misbehavin’" is Behaving Just Fine in Pittsfield
I don't know how old the Barrington Stage in Pittsfield, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires) is, but it cannot possibly ever have jumped as wildly as it has been jumping, up and down, back and forth, in the current production of Ain't Misbehavin, the musical about composer Fats Waller and his Harlem Renaissance music. This is a whopping good musical, a jewel in the crown of musical theater in America, and at the Barrington Stage, in the Berkshires, where so many New Jersey residents vacation, it is just terrific.
published on 07/07/2022
High Schools - for the Rich and for the Poor. Who’s Smarter?
Everyday in newspapers we read about problems in high schools for the underprivileged (African-Americans) and schools for the affluent (white). What has to be done to improve schools for the underprivileged and improve them even more for the rich. The poor kids do not let lavish funding, few special programs, poorly paid teachers and are in run down neighborhoods. What can be done to help them? What about the rich kids from affluent neighborhoods? How can those students get into Princeton, Yale, Harvard other prestigious schools? Their high schools get enormous funding, offer all the special programs you could dream of and have the highest paid teachers. Can we help them? Should we help them?
published on 07/05/2022
"The Great Gatsby" - Yet Again
Remember high school? You had to read William Shakespeare’s MacBeth and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. MacBeth was about the pursuit of power and fortunes in Great Britain and the 1925 novel Gatsby was about power and fortune in America’s Roaring Twenties.
published on 06/27/2022
"Enchanted April" - The Classic Second Half Theater Team
In football, the term ‘second half team’ refers to a team that plays badly in the first half but is very powerful in the second half as it wins the game.
published on 06/13/2022
Moving and Rousing Story of the ‘Freedom Riders’ of 1961
In the spring of 1961, hundreds of young people, black and white, boarded buses in the north headed for cities in the South to protest segregation on buses that had been outlawed by the courts but still used all over the southern states to discriminate against blacks.
published on 06/12/2022
Praise the Lord: The Nuns Battle the Mob in "Sister Act"
Singer Deloris Van Cartier accidentally sees her boyfriend, Philadelphia mobster Curtis Jackson, murder a man in his office in front of his fellow gangsters. She runs to police headquarters, where she meets old high school friend Lt. Eddie “sweaty Eddie” Souther, who had a crush on her back then. He needs her to testify against Curtis, but knows she might be killed before the trial. The cop has got to hide her and selects, of all places, a local convent that might soon close with its church. He reasons that the nuns will protect her. The good Lord will protect her. Who could ever find her in a convent?
published on 06/10/2022
"Fiddler on the Roof" - A Musical Cry from the Embattled Ukraine
The storied musical Fiddler on the Roof is coming to Morristown’s Mayo Performing Arts Center June 17 and 18. In case you forgot, it’s the marvelous story of a family led by a tough old father, Tevye, who puts up with a lot of change from his kids and struggles to hold his townspeople together in a changing and explosive political climate in 1905 in Russia.
published on 06/05/2022
A New Look at an Asian-American Past
Emmy Award winning actress Jodi Long is the daughter of two prominent Asian-Americans who starred in Vaudeville for years and introduced Jodi to show business. Her parents, tap dancer Larry Leung and mom Kimye “Trudy” Tsunemitsu, a dancer, worked in show business from the 1950s. Jodi has starred in some of the best dramas and musicals about Asian-Americans, such as Flower Drum Song, among numerous other plays. Her parents toured the country for years.
published on 05/25/2022
A Frightening, Thrilling and Highly Pleasing Ride through a Theatrical Amusement Park in Princeton
When was the last time you went to the Six Flags amusement park, or New York’s Coney Island? Or any amusement park anywhere? The last time you rode a roller coaster that whipped you up into the sky and back down again, your mouth wide open in a high-pitched scream, your hands and arms waving mightily in the air? All of your nerves tingling and jangling?
published on 05/16/2022
Cinderella Goes Back to the Ball, Glass Slippers and All, at Morristown
Everybody knows the story of Cinderella. She was the lovable daughter of a cranky, mean, rude, unfair, disgraceful, hateful... did I leave anything out? – stepmother in olden times.
published on 05/13/2022
Ebenezer Scrooge is Headed Back to McCarter Theatre. Can Santa Claus Be Far Behind?
It was raining yesterday, not snowing, but all of New Jersey received some Christmas news from Princeton’s McCarter Theatre –their legendary production of “A Christmas Carol” is coming back in December.
published on 05/07/2022
Some Enchanted Evening: "South Pacific" Heads to Morristown
What is it about the musical South Pacific that makes it as enjoyable today as it was back in 1949 when it opened to one of the most critic-delirious receptions in theater history?
published on 05/06/2022
'Short Shakespeare' Long on Fun
What better way to spend a spring afternoon than going to a Shakespeare play and a play in a theater not just full of adults, but one teeming with young adults, too.
published on 05/02/2022
So You Wanna Dance? "Hairspray" Musical Headed for New Brunswick This Weekend
Hairspray has succeeded as a musical and film because it manages to convey a delightful story about teenage love, weigh discrimination and generational conflict with terrific music and, most importantly, a pretty gripping story about racial discrimination in Baltimore in 1962.
published on 04/27/2022
Dion, "The Wanderer" and a Memorable Story from Rock and Roll History
The Paper Mill Playhouse is dark and funeral-like quiet. All of a sudden, as loud and thumping as it can be comes the music.
published on 04/10/2022
"Waitress" Is Back in New Brunswick -- Hold the Mayo
The Broadway theater and film hit Waitress, that closed suddenly in New York last December following a COVID spike and was shuttered through the holidays, is back on the stage, healthier than ever, on a national tour that takes it to the State Theatre in New Brunswick April 14-16.
published on 04/09/2022
"In the Beginning..." -- New Brunswick's Crossroads Theatre Company Gives "Beginnings" to New Plays with Its Genesis Festival
“In the beginning” is the opening phrase of the Bible and connotes the start of all things. The Crossroads Theatre Company, in New Brunswick, has done that just about every year since 1990 with its Genesis Festival, a week-long series of play readings. The reading is the start, the “beginning” for a drama, and not only lets the author know how the play sounds but, in the Crossroads Festival, gets a second layer- audience reaction at post play symposiums.
published on 04/02/2022
The New Jersey Ballet Goes into the Dark and Dangerous Woods to Stage Fairy Tale "Hansel and Gretel"
If you want to visit a cute little forest house made of gingerbread, cake and candy, admire the charm of the woods, like kids, despise witches and enjoy dance, the New Jersey Ballet’s Hansel and Gretel, to be staged this Sunday, March 27 at 3 p.m. at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown, is the ballet for you.
published on 03/22/2022
McCarter's New Chief, Sarah Rasmussen, Is a Burst of Energy
I have been sitting here for quite a while, staring out the window at a pond through a soft and very dreary rain. I have been trying to think of the best way to describe Sarah Rasmussen, the new artistic director of Princeton’s McCarter Theatre, who took over the reins of leadership in the middle of the pandemic. Should I say she is a new Shakespearean scholar, an impressionist of the drama, a philosophical innovator?
published on 03/20/2022
Independence Play: A Very Unknown Doctor in a Very Well-Known War
Who on earth was Dr. Mary Walker?
published on 03/12/2022
Leave the Gun. Take the Cannoli: "The Godfather" Celebrates Its 50th Birthday
You remember that scene. Pete Clemenza and a fellow gangster drove Paulie, who didn’t go to work the day Vito Corleone, the crime boss, was gunned down in lower Manhattan, to the marshes of what was to become Liberty State Park, in Jersey City, and shoot him. When they leave, burly Clemenza instructs his fellow hood, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”
published on 03/06/2022
Heating Up the Weekend with Ravel’s Romantic Bolero with NJ Symphony
Who can ever forget Dudley Moore and Bo Derek and a lot of sizzling romance to the music of Ravel’s “Bolero” in the hit 1979 movie 10?
published on 02/27/2022
"An American in Paris" and Plays Highlight State Theatre’s Return in New Brunswick
The State Theatre, in New Brunswick, is back, klieg lights and all, as are so many theaters in New Jersey, re-adjusting to a COVID – 19 world. It is back with a bang, too, with famous artists such as the Righteous Brothers, classic stars such as Itzhak Perlman, large orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic, pop shows such as Dancing with the Stars, and movie concerts such as Casablanca and Star Wars. The theatre’s new foundation, though, is a stellar line up of plays, the Broadway Subscription Series, with five plays, all musicals, each on for a weekend.
published on 02/22/2022
I Got Covid-19 and Was Saved by Entertainment
Oh, was I ever a good boy over the last two years in the Pandemic.
The government said to avoid being struck down by COVID 19 I had to get vaccinated, so I got two vaccination shots. The government said I also had to get a booster shot, so I got one. The government said a flu shot would help, so I went and got one of those, too. The government said I had to wear a mask and I did – everywhere and every day.
published on 02/14/2022
"Here’s Looking at You Kid" - the NJ Symphony Plays Casablanca
Rick Blaine, Ilsa Lund, police captain Louis Renault, Major Heinrich Strasser and all the badly dressed, ill-mannered, rude Nazis one could ship to North Africa will all be in New Jersey this coming weekend for special screenings of the beloved film Casablanca. This time, though, they’ll be trying to find freedom on that plane to Lisbon with the help of the New Jersey symphony in another of its movie concerts.
published on 02/09/2022
‘Clue’: It was Colonel Mustard in the Library with a Gun. No, it was Mrs. White in the Kitchen with a Rope. No, It Was...
You’ve played the board game ‘Clue.’ Everybody, at some point in their life, has played the wildly popular game invented in 1944 and played by tens of millions of mystery lovers ever since.
published on 02/04/2022
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Troubled by COVID in 2021, Hopes to Roar Back In 2022
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey was hammered by COVID at the end of the 2021 season and forced to cancel the last few performances of its holiday hit, A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Bloodied but not beaten, the regional theater will roar back in 2022 with a full schedule of indoor and outdoor productions, starting June 8 with Enchanted April.
published on 01/24/2022
THE END? Movie Theaters Are Hanging on for Dear Life
When I was a teenager in Morris County in the 1960s, my buddies and I went to the movies at least once week. We had plenty of movie theaters to attend, too.
published on 01/16/2022
Theaters Forced To Fight Covid Issues Again
Covid-19 is once again spreading it monstrous tentacles into the New Jersey theater world, canceling and postponing numerous plays throughout the state.
published on 01/06/2022
New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker is a Rich, Luscious Delight, Mouse King and All
Saturday started out to be a perfectly dreadful day for me. I got little sleep the night before because I drank too much coffee. My morning bagel was harder than a cement wall. I had to wring my brain inside out at a meeting with an insurance agent in an attempt to understand my new, incredibly complicated Medicare plan. I had to speed to the post office and wait on a long line to mail documents that had to get where they were going by the end of next week. It rained all day and it was hard to drive because the car had to wander through a soupy fog that belonged in a chilly horror movie. I ran out of orange juice. The car radio did not work.
Then I went to see the New Jersey Ballet’s Nutcracker and my miserable day turned glorious.
published on 12/19/2021
REVIEW: "A Child’s Christmas in Wales" at Shakespeare Theatre of NJ
I have got to be the only person in the world who has not seen the play A Child’s Christmas in Wales, read the book, seen the TV drama, watched the movie or listened to the record. I have been watching too much NFL football.
published on 12/15/2021
A Holiday Film Festival Grows in Hopewell
How could a holiday film festival be better than one with a train to the North Pole, planes and automobiles, the grown man who was an elf, scurrying Gremlins, a big old green Grinch, the nutty people from National Lampoon and the kid with the Red Ryder rifle who is certain to shoot his eye out?
published on 12/13/2021
Christmas Must Be on the Way - the Nutcrackers Are Back
The temperature has dropped to the 20s at night. Snow showers have been spotted in Sussex County, families are already shopping, trees in front lawns are being decorated with multi-colored lights, Santa’s elves are hard at work at the North Pole and chestnuts are waiting to be roasted on an open fire.
published on 11/22/2021
Christmas Must Be on the Way: the Nutcrackers Are Back
The temperature has dropped to the 20s at night. Snow showers have been spotted in Sussex County, families are already shopping, trees in front lawns are being decorated with multi-colored lights, Santa’s elves are hard at work at the North Pole and chestnuts are waiting to be roasted on an open fire.
published on 11/20/2021