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Articles By Maddie Orton,

Jersey Arts Podcast: Peter Filichia - Theater Appraiser

You may know Peter Filichia from his 19 years as The Star Ledger's theater critic or as a columnist for Masterworks Broadway, author of several books, Broadway Radio personality, or playwright. Filichia has worked in and around the theater for decades, he's seen shows in 47 states and 20 foreign countries (he keeps a list), and after nearly 30 years of hosting the Theatre World Awards, he will be honored with their 2024 TWA Special Award.

published on 05/23/2024

Jersey Arts Podcast: Jazz's James Austin, Jr. Celebrates Stevie Wonder

If you're a Stevie Wonder fan, you have to give jazz pianist and bandleader James Austin, Jr's music a listen. His 2018 debut album, Songs in the Key of Wonder, reinterprets Stevie Wonder's beloved catalog with a Jazz spin, creating beautiful new tracks.

published on 05/09/2024

Jersey Arts Podcast: NJ Youth Symphony Celebrates 45 Years of Music Education

Involvement in New Jersey Youth Symphony, a program of Wharton Arts in Union County, is not just about honing musical technique, it's also about developing life skills. On Sunday, May 5th, the organization will celebrate its success with students and alumni at the NJ Youth Symphony 45th Anniversary Concert. As a special treat, founding Music Director/Conductor (and current Founder/Artistic Director of the Discovery Orchestra) George Marriner Maull will be back for the first time to guest conduct part of the concert.

published on 04/25/2024

Jersey Arts TV: Broadway Stars Perform Sondheim Classic with American Theater Group

No one writes songs about relationships quite like Stephen Sondheim, and A Little Night Music, now being performed by American Theater Group at Hamilton Stage, is no exception.

published on 03/15/2024

Jersey Arts Podcast: At 'Matilda' in Concert, Composer David Newman, Danny DeVito and NJ Symphony Orchestra will Share the Stage

David Newman talked with the Jersey Arts Podcast about scoring films like "Matilda," his legendary family, and preserving film music for future generations.

published on 03/14/2024


Tony Nominee Jennifer Weber shares The Hip Hop Nutcracker's Famous Fan

The Hip Hop Nutcracker translates Tchaikovsky's beloved ballet music into an incredible holiday story told through hip hop dance. Director and Choreographer Jennifer Weber—who is also the Tony-nominated choreographer behind Broadway’s & Juliet and KPOP—brought the idea to life 10 years ago in partnership with NJPAC. Now, a decade of touring and two films later, The Hip Hop Nutcracker has become a tradition of its own and returns to NJPAC on December 23rd.

published on 12/14/2023

2X Grammy Award Winner Gloria Gaynor Still Loves a Challenge

Gloria Gaynor is best known as the queen of disco with her mega-hit dance anthem, "I Will Survive," but this Jersey girl has never stopped taking risks and building on her success. JerseyArts chats with the music legend about growing up in New Jersey, how she got her big break, the legacy of disco, her new "Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive" documentary, and her Sept. 16 concert at bergenPAC.

published on 08/24/2023

"Shipwrecked!" an Epic Outdoor Journey

On the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's Outdoor Stage arrives an epic play with an equally epic title: "Shipwrecked! An Entertainment—The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself)."

published on 06/22/2023

Luna Stage Explores NJ's Black History Through the Lens of Howe House

The historic James Howe House was home to a formerly enslaved man, abolitionist and Montclair's first African American homeowner. Thanks to a large-scale collaboration between historians, preservationists, artists, and the teams at Luna Stage and Crossroads Theatre Company, the story of Howe House over the last nearly 200 years will be told through the upcoming play "The Ground on Which We Stand."

published on 04/20/2023

"The Shot" Reveals Historic Washington Post CEO Katharine Graham's Harrowing History

During her tenure as President of The Washington Post, Katharine Graham published the Pentagon Papers, ran the Watergate story and served as the first female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but her journey to career success was a traumatic one.

published on 03/24/2023

Bradley Gibson is Ready to "Go the Distance" as Hercules

Bradley Gibson (“A Bronx Tale,” “The Lion King,” “The Partner Track”) has big sandals to fill as the titular role in “Disney’s Hercules,” but if anyone’s ready to play the lovable demigod, it’s him. As a child, Bradley was a huge fan of the 1997 animated Disney movie, and taking on the character has helped him find new meaning in, and love for, the story.

published on 02/16/2023

Caroline Rhea on the Art of Stand-up Comedy

Comedian Caroline Rhea is back on tour for the first time in years, and she's got plenty of material! Most recognized for her work as Hilda Spellman on the hit TV series Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Rhea is also known and loved for The Caroline Rhea Show, as a voice on Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb, her recurring spots on Hollywood Squares and The Match Game, A Very Sordid Wedding, A Mrs. Miracle Christmas, and her many stand-up specials.

published on 12/30/2022

A Homecoming at Crossroads Theatre Company

Crossroads Theatre Company's upcoming production of Chicken & Biscuits Dec. 21-31 at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center as is about coming home. The play itself is a comedy about a family reuniting and will run over the holidays as many people head home to celebrate and hopefully catch some theater with family and friends. It is also a homecoming of sorts to returning Artistic Director Ricardo Kahn, who co-founded Crossroads Theatre Company in 1978, returned in 2020, and is working with director Lynda Gravátt, one of his early collaborators.

published on 12/15/2022

"Jersey City Nutcracker" Brings Holiday Tradition Home

For more than a decade, Jersey City has had its own special holiday tradition: Nimbus Dance’s Jersey City Nutcracker. The city-centric show runs from Dec. 9 through 23 at the new Nimbus Arts Center. Host Maddie Orton talks with Nimbus Dance Founding Artistic Director Sam Pott, who choreographed and co-wrote the piece, School Director Harumi Elders, and student dancer Izzy Baculod about being a part of this celebrated annual show.

published on 11/24/2022

Renée Elise Goldsberry Talks About "Hamilton," "Girls5eva," and Her Ever-Evolving Concert

Renée Elise Goldsberry is the Grammy and Tony-winning talent behind Angelica Schuyler in Hamilton and currently appears on She-Hulk and Girls5eva.

published on 09/15/2022

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Zimmerli Art Museum Offers First Look at Newly-Acquired Jersey City Museum Collection

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick is showcasing its newly-acquired American art collection from the former Jersey City Museum for the first time. "American Stories: Gifts from the Jersey City Museum Collection” shares Jersey City history through work from artists like Chakaia Booker, May Stevens, Shelia Pepe, Melvin Edwards, and Jaune Quick-to-See Smith.

published on 09/01/2022

B'way's Alex Newell, Mark Evans and Charlotte d’Amboise Serve Up Political Satire in "The Last Supper"

A 1995 indie comedy about death has found new life as a musical. "The Last Supper" tells the story of a group of liberal grad students who decide to play judge, jury, and even executioner with conservative dinner guests. Adapted by Jeremy Desmon and Jeff Thomson, the show explores political extremism, punditry, and morality through bitingly dark humor.

published on 07/22/2022

VIDEO: Launching Pad for Theater Pros Turns 60

On sunny summer afternoons, the walkway at Middlesex County’s Plays-in-the-Park overflows with theater lovers. Thousands of audience members pour into the outdoor community theater to see quality productions — and maybe even Broadway-bound performers — for the price of a few dollars and a lawn chair.

published on 06/17/2022

PODCAST: How Basement Productions Prepared Sarah Rasmussen for McCarter

You could say that Sarah Rasmussen, McCarter Theatre's new Artistic Director has been training for this role since the 7th grade. From auditioning kids in the backyard of her South Dakota home to presenting her artistry on major stages across the country, Sarah has maintained her sense of playfulness with the art form. Now her McCarter directorial debut, "Ride the Cyclone", combines that whimsy with music, stunning design, and a perfect story for this moment in time. The show began preview performances on April 30th.

published on 05/01/2022

VIDEO: Netflix “Blown Away” Star Alex Rosenberg Joins WheatonArts

Artist Alex Rosenberg became internationally known for his work on the Netflix competition show “Blown Away” and was recently named Glass Studio Director at Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center. Correspondent Maddie Orton talks with Rosenberg about his love of glassblowing, the next chapter for WheatonArts, and “Wheaton Springs” — the organization’s 2022 season kickoff event on April 2nd.

published on 03/23/2022

VIDEO: The Growing Stage's Boogieman Isn't Such a Bad Guy

What if the Boogieman brings children nightmares to help them? That's the idea behind playwright Angelle Whavers' new show for young audiences, "Boogie," now playing at The Growing Stage — the Children's Theatre of New Jersey.

published on 02/25/2022

PODCAST: Jersey's own Javon King Talks RENT Farewell Tour

The musical RENT changed theatre — taking home four Tony Awards and creating generations of super-fans. Believe it or not, it’s been 25 years since the show hit Broadway, and Jersey's own Javon King plays Angel in RENT’s 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour. A Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award-winner and Rider University alum, Javon is happy to be back in the Garden State performing at Mayo Performing Arts Center January 21-23.

published on 01/21/2022

Motown Songwriter's Music Took Center Stage in "Elliot & Me"

A new musical about brotherly love set in Bayonne took the stage at Hudson Theatre Works from December 2-12, 2021. “Elliot & Me” tells the true life story of Elliot Willensky — a magnetic and carefree songwriter — and his younger brother Steven — who is both admiring of, and frustrated by, his cool older brother.  

published on 12/16/2021

Jane Lynch and Kate Flannery's Swingin' Little Christmas Special

Jane Lynch may be best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of the acerbic, Glee Club-hating Sue Sylvester, but she is currently touring with a sentimental send-up of '50s and '60s TV Christmas specials. Coming to New Jersey Performing Arts Center this week, "A Swingin' Little Christmas!" stars Jane Lynch and features Kate Flannery of "The Office," "Glee" Music Director Tim Davis, and The Tony Guerrero Quintet.

published on 12/09/2021

PODCAST: Gyllenhaal, Warwick & Colbert Headline 10th Annual Montclair Film Festival

Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dionne Warwick, and Stephen Colbert are among the many artists and filmmakers participating in this year's Montclair Film Festival, which opened October 21 and runs through October 30. Festival founder and Board Chair Bob Feinberg, Board of Trustees President Evie McGee Colbert, and New Jersey-based filmmaker Scott Morris share what they are most looking forward to as the festival kicks off its 10th anniversary season.

published on 10/24/2021


Beloved Shakespeare Character Takes the Spotlight in "Snug"

A new play based on a beloved, old character takes The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s outdoor stage. “Snug” expands on the lives of the mechanicals from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with merriment, mischief, magic, and love. correspondent Maddie Orton talks with the cast and creator of "Snug" about life imitating art and creating theatre despite challenge after challenge.

published on 07/29/2021

PODCAST: RENT’S Adam Pascal Takes the Show on the Road

Adam Pascal was a rock ‘n’ roll musician who had no theatrical credits when he landed the role of Roger in RENT—a show that would garner him a Tony nomination and forever change the sound of Broadway. Now, Pascal shares his journey through the shows he’s performed along the way: Aida, Cabaret, Memphis, Chicago, and more.  His solo acoustic concert, “So Far,” is coming to the Arthur Pryor Bandshell in Asbury Park on July 28 and BellWorks in Holmdel on July 29 as part of Axelrod Performing Arts Center’s Vogel Summer Concert Series.

published on 07/22/2021

PODCAST: From Play to Podcast - How Mile Square Created Theatre in Quarantine

Joseph Gallo transformed his solo play, "The Playbill Gallery," into a podcast when the pandemic hit. The result is a moving tribute to the live theatre experience, heard by an audience in isolation. Mile Square Theatre's Playwright-in-Residence Joseph Gallo and Founder/Artistic Director Chris O'Connor talk to producer Maddie Orton about their first audio play: "The Playbill Gallery (a love story).”

published on 05/13/2021

VIDEO: Hamilton’s Phillipa Soo Helps NJ Arts Through Benefit Concert

"Hamilton” star Phillipa Soo recently lent her talents to a cause close to her heart: protecting the arts community. Her April 16 virtual concert through Rowan University benefited The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund. Correspondent Maddie Orton talks with Soo about the pandemic’s impact on the theatre community, the exciting releases of "Hamilton" on Disney+ and "Over the Moon" on Netflix, the importance of cultural representation in her work, and her upcoming benefit concert.

published on 04/20/2021

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