On Stage: Curtain Goes Up for Genuine Classics

From Shakespeare to "The Music Man," theater groups present big-name performances.

There are good plays and then there are great plays. And the truly great ones endure for decades, or even centuries.

William Shakespeare's name is virtually synonymous with classic, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is kicking off its 50th anniversary season with "Henry IV Part I" this week.

The play is about Henry IV protecting his kingdom and Prince Hal's rise in power. It also features Falstaff, considered by many to be The Bard's greatest creation.

A newer classic play, Thonton Wilder's "Our Town" will be performed by , beginning June 8. And Villagers Theatre in Somerset will soon be marching to the musical classic "The Music Man."

Classic TV is even coming to the area when Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake presents stage adaptations of classic "Carol Burnett" and "All in the Family" episodes.

That's just a small sampling of what area theaters have to offer. For more information about plays, musicals, concerts and audition notices, read the On Stage Scoop.


Summer of Love Concert Canceled: Due to scheduling conflicts, Glen Burtnik’s Summer of Love Concert scheduled for June 8 at has been canceled. The MPAC Box Office with contact ticket holders shortly for refund and exchange options. For more information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

A Killer Time: is staging "Assassins," the musical by Stephen Sondheim with a book by John Wediman, through June 3. The show is about nine people who assassinated, or tried to assassinate, presidents of the United States. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on May 18 and 26, and June 1, 2, 8 and 9. Performances on May 19, 20, 27 and June 3 begin at 2 p.m. The theater is located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville. For more information, visit BarnTheatre.org.

Audition Alert, "Winnie the Pooh:" Tri-State Actors Theater is holding auditions for "Winnie the Pooh" on Saturdays through June 9 at the Performing Arts Center, Sussex County Community College in Newton. Auditions are for the company's Intern Training Program for ages 13 through 18. Call 973-383-0510 for more information.

Audition Alert, "Spring Awakening:" Villagers Theatre is holding auditions for "Spring Awakening" on May 29, 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at the theater, located at 475 DeMott Lane in Somerset. Callbacks by invitation will be held May 30, 7 to 11 p.m. Teens ages 13 through 19 are encouraged to audition with written consent of a parent or guardian due to the mature subject matter of the production. The show is Rated R (this production will not contain nudity). See the theater's website for full information about its approach to the show, as well as a parent permission form required. For more information, including a character breakdown, go to VillagersTheatre.com.

Audition Alert, "The Wiz:" The Growing Stage children's theater in Netcong will be producing "The Wiz" this summer with a complete cast of high school and college aged students. This new programming initiative is for high school students who have completed their first year of high school or are currently in college. There is no fee to participate. "The Wiz" sets Dorothy's adventures in the Land of Oz to music in a dazzling, lively mixture of rock, gospel, and soul. Auditions will be held on May 29 at 7 p.m. Those auditioning should have 16 measures of a song prepared with sheet music for the accompanist. The production will be under the direction of Steve Graham, who has been with Growing Stage since 2005 as both a professional performer and stage manager. Laura Petrie will be the Musical Director. Laura has been the musical director for the company’s Main Stage presentations for the past five years. "The Wiz" will open July 14 and continue through July 29, with performances set for Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m. There will be no understudies. Rehearsals will take place primarily in the evening. Cast members will have the opportunity to work with the professional production team of the Growing Stage in the building of sets, props and costumes. Those more interested in the technical aspects of theatre are welcome to attend the audition. For additional information, please contact Steve Fredericks, executive director of the Growing Stage at exdir@growingstage.com or call the theater at 973-347-4946. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. For more information, go to GrowingStage.com.

Royal Drama: will open its 50th season with "Henry IV, Part One," May 30 through June 24. The history play features the title king, who tries to protect and expand his empire while struggling with revolt and an irresponsible heir to the throne. It also includes the legendary comic character of Falstaff. Performances are at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre on the campus of Drew University in Madison. For information, go to ShakespeareNJ.org.

Get Ready For a Wilde Time in Newton: Tri-State Theater will present Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," May 31 through June 17 at the Performing Arts Center, Sussex County Community College in Newton. For tickets and information, call 973-383-0510 or go to TriStateActorsTheater.org.

Here There Be "Monsters:" The Darress Theatre will host "Monsters," a play by Jon Henry, June 1 through 3. The one-act comedy is about a woman's journey to self-awareness and enlightenment in a world where the lines between reality and the imaginary are blurred. Not recommended for children under 13. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on June 1 and 2, and 3 p.m. on June 3. The theater is located at 615 Min St. in Boonton. Tickets cost $12. For more information, go to DarressTheater.com.

Let's Hear it for the Boyz: Boyz II Men will take stage at on June 1 at 8 p.m. The R&B group's hits from the 1990s include “End of the Road,” “I’ll Make Love to You,” “On Bended Knee” and “Water Runs Dry.” Tickets cost $37 to $67. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

You'll Be Glad to Spend Some Time Together, with "TV Classics:" Pax Amicus Castle Theatre will present "TV Comedy Classics Live on Stage," June 1 through 16. The show features scenes from "The Carol Burnett Show" and "All in the Family." Performances are June 1, 2, 9 and 16 at 8 p.m. and June 10 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15. Opening night tickets (June 1) are two for $25. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. For reservations, call 973-691-2100.

Centenary Stage Company's Little Theatre Productions: The Centenary Stage Company presents the Young Performers Workshop Spring Festival of Shows, featuring "Cats," "Cabaret," "Bye Bye Birde" and "The Act.  Performances run from June 1 to June 10 in the Centenary Little Theatre on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown. The YPW Spring Festival features more than 80 young performers, ages 8 to 18, from Warren, Morris, Hunterdon, Somerset and Sussex counties. Tickets cost $10, $8 children 12. For tickets or more information, call 908-979-0900 or go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Cheers for Bebe Neuwirth: Broadway and television star Bebe Neuwirth will perform a concert at on June 2 at 8 p.m. Neuwirth has won two Tonys (For "Chicago" and "Sweet Charity") and is best known for her role as Lilith on the sitcom classic "Cheers." Tickets cost $42 to $77. Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

That's Life: Dover Little Theatre will present a special performance titled "You CAN get there from here…" on June 2 at 8 p.m. the show is written and performed by Kristin Ace and is described by the theater as a side-splitting poignant comedy. Tickets cost $20. For more information, call 973-328-9202.

Audition Alert, Jersey Voice One-Act Festival: will hold open auditions for its 18th annual Jersey Voices One-Act Festival on June 3 and 5 at 7 p.m. at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave. in Chatham. Performances are on July 27 and 28, and Aug. 3 and 4. Being sought are men and women, ages 20 to 70, and one female teenager to play a 14-year-old character. Actors will fill roles for six one-act plays, and may read from sides that will be available or present a monologue they bring themselves. For more information, including descriptions of the plays, go to ChathamPlayers.org.

Ring a Ding Ding, the Rat Pack is Back: will present "The Rat Pack: Together Again!" on June 3. The show will feature impersonators Tony Sans, Johhny Petillo and Geno Monroe taking audiences back to the time when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. ruled show biz. Tickets cost $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors, or $18 for students. For more information, go to MorrisMuseum.org.

Take the Midnight Train to Morristown: The "Empress of Soul," Gladys Knight will perform at on June 7 at 8 p.m. Knight is a seven-time Grammy winner whose hits include "Midnight Train to Georgia," "Neither One of Us (Wants to be the First to Say Goodbye)" and "Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me." Tickets cost $57 to $115. Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Come visit "Our Town:" will present Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," June 8-24 at the Somerset Valley Playhouse, 689 Amwell Road in Hillsborough. The classic play follows a young romance in small-town turn-of-the-century New England. Tickets cost $15, $13 seniors/students. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or go to SVPheatre.org.

That’s a Lot of Trombones: Villagers Theatre in Somerset will stage Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man" June 8-24. The classic show features some of the most loved Broadway tunes of all time, including "Till There Was You," "Seventy-Six Trombones" and "(You Got) Trouble." Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors/students. For more information, call 732-873-2710 or go to VillagersTheatre.com.

Big Band Sounds in Chatham: will present Big Band Evolution, a 17-piece rock big band under the direction of Joe DeVico, on June 8 at 8 p.m. at the Chatham Playhouse. The benefit concert will feature big band-style interpretations of contemporary music. Attendees are invited to bring wine, beer or a beverage. Tickets cost $20. The Playhouse is located at 23 N. Passaic Ave. in Chatham. For reservations, call 973-635-7363. For more information, go to ChathamPlayers.org.

Getting Jazzy in Randolph: Pianist Rio Clemente will lead a jazz concert at the Randolph Performing Arts Center on June 8 at 7 p.m. Clemente will be joined by Gene Perla on bass and Matthew Crawford on drums. Jazz violinist Vitali Imereli will be the special guest. A meet-and-greet, wine-and-cheese reception will begin at 7 p.m., followed by the performance at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30, $27 in advance. For more information, call 973-927-5800 or go to TheMusicDen.com.

Let's Hear it For the Bad Guys: Tony-nominee and "American Idol" finalist Constantine Maroulis will perform a show titled "Life Upon the Wicked Stage: Broadway's Greatest Villains, Thieves and Ladies of the Evening" at the on June 9, 8 p.m. The show honors the sinister side of Broadway with showstoppers from “Sweeney Todd,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Oliver!,” “Jekyll & Hyde,” “Damn Yankees,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Man of La Mancha.” The performance is a benefit for the Bickford Theatre Guild’s support of the Morris Museum. A Meet-the-Stars Reception will follow the performance. The theater is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For tickets and more information, please call 973-971-3706 or go to www.morrismuseum.org.

Sandbox Series at Growing Stage Theatre: The Growing Stage Theatre will begin its Sandbox Series with "Going to the Theatre" on June 9 at 11 a.m. The show, conceived and designed by Danny Campos, introduces kids the world of theater. The series is designed for kids in preschool to kindergarten. Tickets cost $10. For more information, go to GrowingStage.com.

Young Performance Workshop: Centenary Stage Company's Young Performers Workshop will hold interviews June 9 and 10 on the campus of Centenary College. The five-week Summer Intensive will be held July 26 to Aug. 19, Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The YPW Summer Intensive offers conservatory-style training in acting, voice and dance. Tuition is $995 for the first student and $895 for the second student. No prior experience is required, but students must complete an interview process to be admitted. The YPW Summer Session will culminate in full-length musical productions performed for the public in a 10-day Festival of Shows. For more information or to arrange an interview, call 908-979-0900, ext. 2 or go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Classical Sounds: The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jacques Lacombe, will perform Mahler's Ninth Symphony on June 9 at 3 p.m. at . For tickets and information, go to NJSymphony.org.

Summer Shakespeare Master Class at Centenary Stage Company: Centenary Stage Company is presenting a master class titled "Returning to the Source: The Merchant of Venice," July 10 through July 26. The class is being taught by Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso and will offer actors the opportunity to study Shakespeare by returning to the source material on which "The Merchant of Venice" is based. Participants will explore the play word by word and scene by scene in the contest of the time and place in which it was created. Kim and Occhiogrosso founded the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in 1981. Occhiogrosso had directed "Hamlet," "The Tempest," "Romeo and Juliet," "A Midsummer Night’s Dream," "The Merchant of Venice," and many other classic works. The class is limited to 15 participants. Class will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2 to 5 p.m. July 10 through 16 at Centenary Stage Company on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown. Tuition is $350 if paid and registered before June 25; $400 after June 25. To register, call the Centenary Stage Company Box Office at 908-979-0900. 

Growing Stage Theatre Hiring Camp Counselors: The Growing Stage Theatre, located at The Palace Theatre in Netcong, is seeking applicants for summer arts day camp counselor positions. All college and high school students (high school must have completed their sophomore year) with an interest in theater, music, the arts and/or education are being sought to fill these positions. Interviews will be held on June 2, beginning at 10 a.m. at The Palace Theatre. Positions are paid. Camp runs Monday through Friday, July 9 through Aug. 10, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, go to GrowingStage.com.

Villagers Seeking Submissions: Villagers Theatre in Somerset is seeking submissions for its 2012-13 Villagers Independent Producers (VIP) series. In the VIP Series, writers, directors and performers are encouraged to take creative control of their productions to a far greater extent than a more traditional setting might allow. This format provides maximum freedom and flexibility in both content and scheduling. Consequently, the productions will not be billed as part of Villagers' regular season, but will be announced in complete detail as arrangements are finalized with the individual VIP participants. Also include any and all staff you have on board or would like to ask to be on board. Include a brief description of the production, including number of cast members, and a brief concept or vision of production. It is always helpful if you submit a copy of the script (and cast recording for musicals) in electronic format with your submission, however, it is not required with your initial submission. Should the committee consider one or more of your submissions, an interview will be arranged. Deadline for submissions for the 2012/2013 VIP Series is May 31.  If you have any questions, contact vip@villagerstheatre.com.

Summer Camp at Centenary Stage Company: The Centenary Stage Company is offering young artists the TYRO Acting Program and the Young Performers Workshop Summer Intensive Program during the months of July and August. The TYRO Theatre Programs provide an introduction to theater skills and performance in a two-week session from 9:30 a.m. to noon for kids ages 6 to 8 and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. for children ages 9 to 11. The program runs July 9 through July 20. The cost of tuition is $200 per student. The TYRO Program is led by Maria Broadeur, the CSC education director. Brodeur is a professional actress and arts educator with experience in children’s theater who holds a BA in theater and education from Rutgers University. The YPW Summer Intensive offers training in acting, voice, and dance with specialized electives taught by theatre professionals. The program includes three full-length musical productions and The One Act play festival performed for the general public. Acceptance into the program is based on an interview with program director Michael Blevins scheduled for June 9 and June 10 at 11 a.m. For more information, call 908-979-0900 or visit CentenaryStageCo.org

Summer Camp at Brundage Park Playhouse: Registration is open for summer theater camps at Brundage Park Playhouse in Randolph. The camps offer three different groups: “Budding Stars” for kids 5 to 7, “Summer Stages” for kids ages 8 to 14, “Budding Stars” for kids 5 to 7, and an “Advanced Performers Workshop” for students in grades 7 through 11. For more information, go to BrundageParkPlayhouse.org.

Summer Camp at Playwrights Theatre: Registration is open for the ’s Creative Arts Academy summer camp for kids and summer theatre program for teens beginning June 25 and running all summer long in two-week sessions. Summer programs include a Full-Day Theatre Academy. Also being offered are a Half-Day Summer Camp, and a Getting Ready To Audition class for high school students. For more information, call 973-514-1787 or visit ptnj.org.

This post is shared across Patch sites serving Morris, Somerset and Sussex communities. Comments below may be by readers of any of those sites.

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Hank Barre May 29, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Don't forget Bernards Township "Plays in the Park" produced by Trilogy Repertory which presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum July 12,13,14, 19, 20 and 21. This will be followed by Inherit the Wind July 27, 28 and August 2, 3, and 4. All performances are free to the public at the Pleasant Valley Park amphitheater at 8 PM. For further information call 908 204-3003.
Natalie Davis May 29, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Thanks, Hank!


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