Category Archives: New Jersey Repertory Company

Christopher Daftsios playwriting debut will blow your boots off

Joy Donze and Christopher Daftsios in the world premiere of "Lily" at the New Jersey Repertory Theater in Long Branch. Written by Daftsios, the revenge play centers on an aging, over-sexed country singer who meets his match during a post-performance encounter.(PHOTO: Andrea Phox)
Joy Donze and Christopher Daftsios in the world premiere of “Lily” at the New Jersey Repertory Theater in Long Branch. Written by Daftsios, the revenge play centers on an aging, over-sexed country singer who meets his match during a post-performance encounter.(PHOTO: Andrea Phox)

Can one sorry and sordid aging country music superstar change his tune when confronted one post-show night by a determined young woman who seeks revenge for past wrongs?

You bet he can!

He has no choice in this world premiere of “Lily” at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch playing through Nov. 24.

It’s the first full-length play written by Christopher Daftsios, a NJ Rep regular who also plays the alcoholic singer Toby Crenshaw. The drama is so full of unexpected twists and turns it caused the audience to gasp at times. Continue reading Christopher Daftsios playwriting debut will blow your boots off

Having a great memory is not always a great thing in D.W. Gregory’s new play

Amie Bermowitz and Steve Brady in “Memoirs of a Forgotten Man” at NJ Rep through Sept. 15. (PHOTO: Andrea Phox)

What if you had the ability to remember everything that had ever happened to you. Everything you observed, heard, read — everything — would it be a good thing or a bad thing?

“Memoirs of a Forgotten Man,” an intriguing new play at the New Jersey Repertory Theater on Broadway in Long Branch through Sept. 15, explores what happens to a family with a son who has this skill at the wrong time in the wrong place.

Written by D.W. Gregory, her best known play is “Radium Girls” about factory workers exposed to radiation poisoning from painting watch dials in an Orange, N.J., factory. 

Continue reading Having a great memory is not always a great thing in D.W. Gregory’s new play

Twists, turns, betrayal help make ‘The Source’ a must-see theater event

From left, Conan McCarty, Eleanor Handley and Andrew Rein in a scene from the world premiere of Jack Canfora's "The Source." (PHOTO: SuzAnne
From left, Conan McCarty, Eleanor Handley and Andrew Rein in a scene from the world premiere of Jack Canfora’s “The Source.”
(PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

In the New Jersey Repertory Company’s excellent, nicely staged, absorbing world premiere “The Source,” a newspaper mogul calls a late-night meeting with two of his top executives to plan a strategy to deal with a serious and potentially illegal issue.

Allegations soon will be leveled that his company hacked into the cell phone of a murdered 14-year-old girl to obtain her voice mail messages. 

Illegal or not says Roland (Conan McCarty), the mogul, the company is  not going to look good to the public whose sympathies will be with the dead girl’s family.

 And that’s not all. Continue reading Twists, turns, betrayal help make ‘The Source’ a must-see theater event

Michael Tucker’s comedy ‘Fern Hill’ explores aging friends and their foibles

Jill Eikenberry and John Glover in a scene from "Fern Hill." (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)
Jill Eikenberry and John Glover in a scene from “Fern Hill.” (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

An amazing display of top notch acting by six very talented theater pros is on display in the world premiere of “Fern Hill” at the New Jersey Repertory Theater in Long Branch, N.J., through Sept. 9.

These are the kind of actors we see on TV (“Law and Order,” “Elementary,” “The Sinner,” “Veep”),   in movies (“The Birdcage,” “Annie Hall,” “Manhattan,” “Flags of our Fathers”),  perhaps in a featured or recurring role, who take these gigs so they can support their theater habit. 

The two-hour play features Tony Award-winner John Glover (“Love! Valour! Compassion!); three-time Tony nominee for best actress in a musical Dee Hoty (“Footloose,” “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public,” “The Will Rogers Follies”); Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Feature Actress in a Musical Jill Eikenberry (plus five Emmy Award nominations for “L.A. Law”); Tony nominee Tom McGowan (“La Bête”); David Rasche (seven Broadway shows) and Jodi Long (five Broadway shows). Continue reading Michael Tucker’s comedy ‘Fern Hill’ explores aging friends and their foibles

Edna Ferber festival features 5 new one-acts, ‘Selina Peake’ reading

Why have so few people heard of Edna Ferber?

Before Lois Lane was a ground-breaking female reporter at the Daily Planet, Edna Ferber worked at the Appleton Daily Crescent and the Milwaukee Journal, had published her first novel, and covered both the 1920 Republican and Democratic National Conventions for the United Press Association.
Before ballet choreographer Agnes de Mille created dances that advanced plot and developed character in “Oklahoma!” (1943)

and before Betty Comden, with writing partner Adolph Green, provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved Broadway shows (such as “On the Town, 1944), Edna Ferber’s novel “Show Boat” was made into a ground-breaking Broadway musical  (1926).

It’s recognized as the first “modern” American musical.

Continue reading Edna Ferber festival features 5 new one-acts, ‘Selina Peake’ reading

Alli Angelou juggles grad school, job, and stage debut with NJRep

Alli Angelou, Lincroft section of Middletown, is in the world premiere of "Wild Horses," a coming-of-age story running at the New Jersey Repertory, New Jersey Repertory Company, 179 Broadway in Long Branch Company.
Alli Angelou is in the world premiere of “Wild Horses,” a coming-of-age story running at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch Company. (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

Alli Angelou was at work at the New Jersey Repertory Theater in Long Branch recently when her boss, artistic director SuzAnne Barabas, walked in and said she was going to be in their next play.

OK. Sure. No problem.

Angelou, who graduated from Middletown High School South in 2012, has been Barabas’ assistant at the professional, non-profit theater specializing in new American plays for about seven months. But that’s not why she got the job.

“She knew I could sing,” Angelou said. Continue reading Alli Angelou juggles grad school, job, and stage debut with NJRep

‘Wild Horses’ takes you on a journey to the crazy summer of 1972

Estelle Bajou in the National New Play Network world premiere roll out of "Wild Horses" by Allison Gregory. (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)
Estelle Bajou in the National New Play Network world premiere roll out of “Wild Horses” by Allison Gregory. (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

The Women with no name walks into a karaoke bar (a former Tastee-Freeze) in Anywhere, U.S.A. in 1996 packed with people who’ve been there for awhile.

She orders a drink, listens to the singers while observing  the crowd, and as it slowly thins out sits at a table and starts talking about the summer of 1972 when “A Horse with No Name” was rockin’ the charts and a local radio station was running a contest to name it.

Continue reading ‘Wild Horses’ takes you on a journey to the crazy summer of 1972

God’s mercy, a priest’s responsibility at center of new NJ Rep play

Ames Adamson (left) and Jared Michael Delaney in "The Calling," a world premiere by Joel Stone playing at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Brand, NJ, through February 4, 2018. (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)
Ames Adamson (left) and Jared Michael Delaney in “The Calling,” a world premiere by Joel Stone playing at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Brand, NJ, through February 4, 2018. (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

Two men. One, an aging priest whose belief that God is merciful and Jesus is his savior, has never wavered. The other, a middle-aged lapsed Catholic who’s an ICU nurse ministering to very sick people, who agonizes over what kind of God let’s good souls suffer.

Both men are passionate about helping people. Both are deeply concerned about human life and death. Both come to drastically different conclusions about God’s purpose in all of this. And both believe he is right.

That’s the premise of Joel Stone’s interesting two-hander “The Calling,” receiving its world premiere through Feb. 4 at the New Jersey Repertory Company, 179 Broadway, Long Branch. Continue reading God’s mercy, a priest’s responsibility at center of new NJ Rep play

‘Mutual Philanthropy’ explores millionaires and struggling families

From left, Lauren Casillo, Jim Macdonald, Joseph Carlson and Vivia Font in the East Coast premiere of Karen Rizzo's "Mutual Philanthropy." (PHOTO: Andrea Phox)
From left, Lauren Casillo, Jim Macdonald, Joseph Carlson and Vivia Font in the East Coast premiere of Karen Rizzo’s “Mutual Philanthropy.” (PHOTO: Andrea Phox)

American millionaires in the 21st century have changed.

No longer are they a monolithic group of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who disproportionately control social and financial power and trace their ancestry back to the Revolution.

They are post Woodstock grand-babies of baby boomers who got a good education (or dropped out to create a start-up) and found success in jobs such as finance, the media, entertainment, and more recently the tech industry, and represent diverse ethnicities.

But they feel a bit guilty about it. They reject being a conspicuous consumer. That, they rationalize, is  for the one percenters.

Playwright Karen Rizzo explores what happens when a rich couple — they call it “being comfortable” — tries to close the economic inequality gap between themselves and another couple in the East Coast premiere of the 90-minute play “Mutual Philanthropy” directed by Evan Bergman at the New Jersey Repertory Theater in Long Branch. Continue reading ‘Mutual Philanthropy’ explores millionaires and struggling families

5th Theater Brut fest of plays, music, art opens today at West End Arts

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The New Jersey Repertory Company is throwing a coming out party for its new West End Arts Center during the first week of October with a Theater Brut arts festival featuring 28 new short plays, plus music, poetry, art and photography events.

This is the fifth Theatre Brut (pronounced brew) for the professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 and the most ambitious since it acquired the 28,000 square-foot former grammar school in the West End section of Long Branch as a second space.

Theater Brut’s stated goal is to foster the “creative impulse unfettered by social and artistic convention.” That objective also could be applied to the founders, artistic director SuzAnne Barabas and executive producer Gabor Barabas.

Instead of going the traditional route of first raising money to fund a complete renovation before opening the doors to the public — which could take years, not counting building a cinema arts theater and apartments for visiting artists as well — the decision was made to create programming and invite the public in as soon as possible.

Continue reading 5th Theater Brut fest of plays, music, art opens today at West End Arts