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Articles By Bruce Chadwick

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


Wacky.  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. Wacky.

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

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