Category Archives: NJ Theater News

‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ opens in two weeks at Two River Theater

Poster image for "Dancing at St. Patrick’s Day is in the rearview mirror but two weeks from today Brain Friel’s  “Dancing at Lughnasa,” winner of the 1992 Tony Award for Best Play, begins performances at Two River Theater in Red Bank. Opening night is April 20.

Friel’s play — set in the summer of 1936 during the Celtic harvest festival of Lughnasa — is considered a modern masterpiece about the Mundy sisters, five unmarried women who live together in County Donegal, on the west coast of Ireland. Their brother, Father Jack, has just returned from 25 years as a missionary in Uganda.

The story is based on the memories of the narrator, Michael, the grown-up illegitimate son of one of the sisters. He also speaks the lines of his 7-year-old self about that summer, when everything seemed to be on the brink of change. Continue reading ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ opens in two weeks at Two River Theater

Two River adjusts season so Santiago-Hudson can helm NYC ‘Othello’

Exterior of Two River Theater Company in Red Bank, NJ.
Exterior of Two River Theater Company in
Red Bank, NJ.

Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ, is swapping out  “Ooo-Bla-Dee,”  written by Regina Taylor and the last play of the season  (June 9-July 1), for “Songbird,” written by Michael Kimmel with music and lyrics by Lauren Pritchards, so that Ruben Santiago-Hudson  can make his directorial debut at Shakespeare in the Park with “Othello” in Manhattan.

Well that certainly beats “My dog ate my script” excuse. And congrats Mr. RSH. Hope to snag one of those free tickets this summer

Santiago-Hudson was nominated in 2017 for a Tony for Best Direction of a Play for “Jitney,” which also featured Two River Theater regular Brandon J. Dirden. Continue reading Two River adjusts season so Santiago-Hudson can helm NYC ‘Othello’

McCarter Theatre reveals 3 world premieres for diverse 2018-2019 season

From left, Douglas McGrath, Dominique Morriseau, Ken Ludwig, Eleanor Burgess, and David Hare all have plays being staged at McCarter Theatre in Princeton next season.
From left, Douglas McGrath, Dominique Morriseau, Ken Ludwig, Eleanor Burgess, and David Hare all have plays being staged at McCarter Theatre in Princeton next season.

Let’s cut to the chase …

The Theater Series in order:

— Douglas McGrath’s world premiere adaptation of “The Age of Innocence,” Edith Wharton’s classic gilded age love story, directed by Doug Hughes.

— Dominique Morisseau’s incendiary “Detroit ’67,”  directed by Jade King Carroll

— World premiere of Eleanor Burgess’ “The Niceties,” a riveting look at race and history directed by Kimberly Senior

— World premiere of Ken Ludwig’s “The Gods of Comedy,” directed by Kathleen Marshall

— David Hare’s Tony Award-winning “Skylight,” directed by Emily Mann, McCarter’s Theatre artistic director and resident playwright Continue reading McCarter Theatre reveals 3 world premieres for diverse 2018-2019 season

Michael S. Rosenberg leaves La Jolla Playhouse for McCarter Theatre

McCarter Theatre Center’s Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of nationally respected arts leader Michael S. Rosenberg as its managing director.
McCarter Theatre Center’s Board of Trustees has announced the appointment of nationally respected arts leader Michael S. Rosenberg as its managing director.

McCarter Theatre Center’s Board of Trustees have announced the appointment of Michael S. Rosenberg as managing director. A nationally respected arts leader, Rosenberg will work together with McCarter’s artistic director/resident playwright Emily Mann and special programming director William W. Lockwood in leading Princeton’s Tony Award- winning arts institution.

Currently, Rosenberg is the managing director at La Jolla Playhouse in California, will join McCarter Theatre Center this spring. Continue reading Michael S. Rosenberg leaves La Jolla Playhouse for McCarter Theatre

Paper Mill’s next season leads with new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical

Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJI’m wondering if the project Andrew Lloyd Webber alluded to but wouldn’t name on NBC’s Today show this morning is the world-premiere musical “Unmasked” that leads off the all-musicals 2018-2019 season of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ.

Andrew Lloyd Webbers new book, "Unmasked" is being released March 7, 2018. (Harper)
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s memoir “Unmasked” to be released March 7, 2018. (Harper)

Based on his new autobiographical book of the same title being released tomorrow, it’s expected to be an intimate and sometimes unexpected interpretations of his best-loved songs, rediscovered gems and some new material specially written for this production. John Doyle directs. It runs Sept. 27-Oct. 28.

Continue reading Paper Mill’s next season leads with new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical

Harry Connick Jr signs to perform, co-write ‘Sting’ musical at Paper Mill

Harry Connick Jr. (PHOTO: Music Theatre International)
Harry Connick Jr. (PHOTO: Music Theatre International)

Harry Connick Jr. will play Paul Newman in the world-premiere musical production of “The Sting” at the Paper Mill Playhouse (March 29-April 29). Once again, this Tony Award-winning theater is  serving as an out-of-town launch pad for Broadway.

Since the 2004-’05 season, Paper Mill has staged the world premiere of nine productions. Four moved to the Great White Way: NewsiesHoneymoon in VegasThe Bandstand and A Bronx Tale.  These two , “Harold and Maude” and “A Wonderful Life”   did not.

The Bodyguard (2016) made its U.S. premiere here and is on a list of Upcoming and Announced Broadway Shows compiled by Playbill.com and last updated Feb. 12,

Besides “The Sting” (March 29-April 29, 2018), the current season began with the world premiere of “The Honeymooners”  (Sept. 28–Oct. 29). Currently running through Sunday is the East Coast premieres of both the hysterical comedy “The Outsider” (Jan. 24-Feb. 18) and the musical “Half Time,” formerly called “Gotta Dance,” (May 31-July 1, 2018).  Continue reading Harry Connick Jr signs to perform, co-write ‘Sting’ musical at Paper Mill

Paper Mill releases video of its world premiere ‘Honeymooners’ musical

The Paper Mill Playhouse has released a video of its world premiere of “The Honeymooners,” now in previews, opening Sunday (Oct. 8) in Millburn, NJ. Michael McGrath as Ralph Kramden, Michael Mastro as Ed Norton,  Leslie Kritzer as Alice Kramden, and Tony Award-nominee Laura Bell Bundy as Trixie Norton. Lewis J. Stadlen plays Old Man Faciamatta, Lewis Cleale is Bryce Bennett, and David Wohl is Allen Upshaw. 

For more info, bios, tech crew, etc, click here.

 

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

‘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

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.

Continue reading McCarter Theatre announces an exciting 2017-2018 season