Category Archives: review

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

‘The Jag’ a sweet ride at NJRep; Estelle Bajou gives incredible performance

Dan Grimaldi is the 70-year-old father Chick and Estelle Bajou is Carla, a genius car mechanic in "The Jag." (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)
Dan Grimaldi is the 70-year-old father Chick and Estelle Bajou is Carla, a genius car mechanic in “The Jag.” (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

“The Jag” is a play about a broken man, his broken son, their broken 1967 Jaguar, and the socially challenged young woman who helps to fix all three.

Written by award-winning playwright Gino DiIorio, the world premiere of this 90-minute drama with lots of laughs continues at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch through Feb. 12. (Other plays of his that premiered here include “Release Point,” “Apostasy,” “Winterizing the Summer House” and “Dead Ringer.”)

Continue reading ‘The Jag’ a sweet ride at NJRep; Estelle Bajou gives incredible performance

George St. Playhouse’s ‘Mama’s Boy’ family drama about Lee Harvey Oswald

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If you think Mama Rose from “Gypsy” is a stage mother from Hell, you should meet Marguerite Oswald, mother of John F. Kennedy’s  assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

In “Mama’s Boy,” a family drama by Rob Urbinati that continues through Nov. 6 at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, you wonder why her youngest son didn’t turn his rifle on a mother   who never stops interfering, being bossy, critical or condescending to those closest to her. Continue reading George St. Playhouse’s ‘Mama’s Boy’ family drama about Lee Harvey Oswald

‘Mad Love’ at NJRep continues thru Nov. 20

Alex Trow and Graham Techler in "Mad Love" at New Jersey Repertory Theater, Long Branch, NJ
Alex Trow and Graham Techler in “Mad Love” at New Jersey Repertory Theater, Long Branch, NJ

“Mad Love,” a romantic comedy for cynical times, according to its subtitle, is about people trying to connect — first intimately, then socially.

One could say it’s usually better to get to know a person before you jump into bed with them, but that’s not the way things always work in these modern times.

This four-character, 90-minute play is by Marisa Smith,  whose “Saving Kitty” was staged in 2013 at the New Jersey Repertory theater in Long Branch, NJ, is directed by Evan Bergman.

Continue reading ‘Mad Love’ at NJRep continues thru Nov. 20

‘Producers’ at Paper Mill great start to new season

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Paper Mill Playhouse has launched its 2016-17 season with “The Producers” and will follow it with the U.S. premiere of “The Bodyguard.”

First, a hit Broadway musical winning a record-breaking 12 Tony Awards and ran for six years. (“Hamilton” had the most Tony Award nominations-16.)

Second, a musical based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 movie that first was staged in London (2012-14), launches its national tour in Millburn (Nov. 25 to Jan. 1) starring Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Deborah Cox and, one assumes, eventually will make its way to Broadway.

What a great way for the 77-year-old theater — the recipient of the 2016  Regional Theatre Tony Award — to start the season.

Continue reading ‘Producers’ at Paper Mill great start to new season

New Jersey Rep’s ‘Iago’ continues to Sept. 25

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As if there weren’t already enough intrigue, backstabbing and  romance going on in Shakespeare’s “Othello,” a new play called “Iago” puts a modern twist on the tale with its New Jersey premiere at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch.

A four-character drama loosely based on the grand love affair between Lawrence Oliver and Vivien Leigh, it’s set mostly in England from 1947 to 1957, taking us behind the scenes when the play was the thing that mattered the most. Continue reading New Jersey Rep’s ‘Iago’ continues to Sept. 25

‘Mrs. Wilson’ shines light on first woman President

In 1915, when two people using a telephone to hold a conference call very modern idea, the U.S. Senate majority leader was completely at odds with the Democratic President of the United States over foreign policy. A 100 years later, it seems, not much has changed. At least now when it comes to politics.

“The Second Mrs. Wilson,” a new play written by George Street Playhouse favorite Joe Pietro (his fifth here) and directed by Gordon Edelstein, artistic director of the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven (where the show received its world premiere in May), focuses on the relationship between President Woodrow Wilson and his marriage to Edith Galt against the backdrop of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles and creation of the League of Nations.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. Wilson’ shines light on first woman President