Category Archives: NJ Theater News

‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Paper Mill Playhouse shakes up the house

Let’s just cut to the chase.  Nat Zegree practically steals the show at Paper Mill Playhouse playing the brash — let’s make that audacious — Jerry Lee Lewis  in “Million Dollar Quartet.” He ought to know what he’s doing by now as it’s the fifth time he’s played that part in the many productions of this jukebox musical about an unplanned event some say is a seminal moment in rock ‘n’ roll history.

The 2 1/2 musical features more than 20 classic hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Memories Are Made of This,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Hound Dog,” “(Ghost Riders in the Sky” and  “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.”

Continue reading ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ at Paper Mill Playhouse shakes up the house

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McCarter Theatre announces an exciting 2017-2018 season

McCarter Theatre just revealed a 2017-2018 season that includes the world premiere of Tony Award-winner Christopher Durang’s  “Turning Off the Morning News”; a revival of Regina Taylor’s gospel musical “Crowns” that had its world premiere here 15 years ago; a rare staging of Sam Shepard’s “Simpatico” in collaboration with Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre,  a recipient of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions; Marie Jones’ Irish comedy “Stones in His Pocket” with two actors playing 15 plus characters. The musical biography “A Night With Janis Joplin,” written and directed by Randy Johnson, fills out the schedule.

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World premiere ‘Orient Express’ to make next stop at Hartford Stage

The world premiere stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” closes Sunday at  McCarter Theatre in Princeton but its next stop will be at the Hartford Stage, Conn., as part to its 2018 Spring s

McCarter Theatre Center couldn’t be more excited to have ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ at Hartford Stage as the play’s next step in its journey,” said McCarter Theatre Center Managing Director Timothy J. Shields. “Hartford Stage is an ideal partner to continue the process of bringing the enduring legacy of Agatha Christie’s fabulous characters to life for today’s audiences.”

Continue reading World premiere ‘Orient Express’ to make next stop at Hartford Stage

Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient" was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it's the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)
Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient” was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it’s the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. Is it Broadway bound? (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)

Agatha Christie + Hercule Poirot + Ken Ludwig. That’s a theater trifecta. And that’s also before you know who makes up the creative dream team for the world premiere of the stage version of “Murder on the Orient Express,”  beginning  three weeks of performances tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. (Two more performances already have been added.)

Emily Mann, McCarter’s artistic director, is at the helm. Her team includes Tony Award-winning designers: sets by Beowulf Boritt (Act OneOn the Town); costumes by William Ivey Long (15 Tony noms.; 6 wins); lighting by Ken Billington (Chicago), and sound by Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

This is headed to Broadway, right?

Continue reading Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season, which includes two potential Broadway transfers.
Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season,  including two potential Broadway transfers.

Give a playhouse the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2016 and watch it turn its 2017-2018 season into one featuring two world premieres — which have all the earmarks of potential Broadway transfers — and two East Coast premieres.

Announced today, the season includes: the world-premiere musical “The Honeymooners” (Sept. 28-Oct. 29), ” Annie” (Nov. 22-Dec. 31),  East Coast premiere of “The Outsider” (Jan. 24-Feb. 18), the world premiere of “The Sting” (March 29-April 29) in a new musical stage adaptation,  and the East Coast premiere of the comedy “Half Time” (May 31-July 1). Continue reading Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

‘Shakespeare in Love’ joins Moliere, Joe Orton on NJ Festival stage 2017 season

The stage version of the 1998 Oscar-winning (7) film “Shakespeare in Love” will be staged for the first time in the northeast region of the USA this fall as part of the 55th season of the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre. Zounds!

Longtime artistic director Bonnie Monte will direct. The NJST plans to  transform its 308-seat theater into an Elizabethan playhouse.  Sounds good to me. A non-profit NJ regional theater with a small house gets dibs on what I think is a “get.” Only two other American theaters so far have it booked this year. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard,  productions are being done in repertory at the Utah Shakespeare Festival (June 30 – Sept. 8) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Feb. 18 – Oct. 29). The show begins previews Oct. 11 in New Jersey. Continue reading ‘Shakespeare in Love’ joins Moliere, Joe Orton on NJ Festival stage 2017 season

‘Lion in Winter’ opens tonight at 2River Theater

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Tony Award nominee and Obie Award winner Michael Cumpsty (The End of the RainbowHamlet) and three-time Tony Award nominee Dee Hoty (FootlooseThe Best Little Whorehouse Goes PublicThe Will Rogers Follies) star as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in “The Lion in Winter” opening tonight at the Two River Theater in Red Bank.

Also in the cast of this American classic are Noah Averbach-Katz (John), KeiLyn Durrel Jones (Richard), Ronald Peet (Philip), Hubert Point-Du Jour (Geoffrey), and Madeleine Rogers (Alais).

The creative team for The Lion in Winter includes scenic designer Kristen Robinson, costume designer Andrea Hood, lighting designer Jennifer Tipton, and sound designer Josh Schmidt. The hair and makeup design is by Dave Bova & J. Jarad Janas, the fight direction is by J. Steven White.

Performances continue through Sunday, Dec. 4 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank, NJ. Tickets are available from 732.345.1400 or tworivertheater.org.

Van Zandt & Milmore return to Shore with new musical ‘Man*O*Pause’

From left, Tom Frascatore, Jeff Babey, Glenn Jones and Billy Van Zandt in "Manopause: the Musical." (PHOTO: Danny Sanchez)
From left, Tom Frascatore, Jeff Babey, Glenn Jones and Billy Van Zandt in “Manopause: the Musical.” (PHOTO: Danny Sanchez)

The very successful two-person TV/stage/film writing team of Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore will present a sneak peek of its latest stage production — the musical “Man*O* Pause — for two nights only at McLoone’s Supper Club in Asbury Park.

This time, however, the longtime writing partners and Jersey Shore artists are working as a threesome.  Their 24th stage production is based on an idea pitched  by musician and all-around entertainer Wayland Pickard.

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McCarter Theatre reveals 2016-17 season, premieres by Ken Ludwig, Nilo Cruz

Tony Award-winning McCarter Theatre’s 2016-17 season features the world premiere of Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient
Express” adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig; a world premiere from Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz; works by fellow Pulitzer-winners Ayad Akhtar and Lynn Nottage, and Bedlam Theatre Company’s “Hamlet” and “St. Joan” in repertory.

Woo, hoo!! I. Am. Psyched. This is why, I tell my husband, I won’t consider moving to Washington state so he can live near his sisters. I just can’t leave McCarter Theatre behind. Or other NJ theaters such as Two River Theater,  George Street Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Paper Mill Playhouse, and more.

Continue reading McCarter Theatre reveals 2016-17 season, premieres by Ken Ludwig, Nilo Cruz

2 River Theater tonight opens new play by Mexican playwright

 

Ever since John Dias took over as artistic director at  the well-respected nonprofit Two River Theater, he has reached out to the local Hispanic community with various events. “Ropes” is just the latest offer in the Red Bank-based theater’s s mission to be more inclusive.

Written by Barbara Colio and translated by Maria Alexandria Beech, the theater has scheduled several Spanish language and school-time performances in addition to English performances.

Colio’s  “Cuerdas” (or “Ropes”) won the 2009 Mexican National Fine Arts Prize for Playwriting.

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