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CurtainUp in New Jersey
As my duties and assignments as a theater reviewer include all Broadway, most Off-Broadway and many Off-Off Broadway shows, my coverage of New Jersey theatres is limited to those that have been a regular part of my beat. I will, nevertheless, post information about up-coming shows worth checking out and mini-reviews of some I manage to catch but don't have time to review in more detail. Once a show we've reviewed closes, it will migrate to our Master Index of All Shows Reviewed at CurtainUp (Master Index) so that the review will still be available for reference. The little box headlined NEW JERSEY CONNECTIONS, includes besides a link to my own annotated list of area theaters, links to the NJTheatre Alliance website and its information regarding special programs and services, as well as several other websites you may find helpful.
New & Noteworthy September-October 2014
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (September 24 - October 18) Joe DiPietro wrote the book and lyrics and Jimmy Roberts wrote the music for this skitsical that celebrates the modern-day dating and mating game. That it recently ended a run Off Broadway that lasted more than a decade should give you a clue to its mass appeal. The Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960. (973) 971 - 3706
Perfect Wedding (November 12 - December 6) - This is the New Jersey premiere of British playwright Robin Hawdon's (Don't Dress for Dinner) sex farce in which a groom wakes up with an extremely attractive estranger in his bridal suite bed. The best man can't find his girlfriend, and the bride just wants to take a bath! No one does this kind of riotous comedy like the Brits, so we should give it a try. The Bickford Theatre, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ 07960. (973) 971 - 3706
Romeo & Juliet (November 5 - 22) William Shakespeare's play about the passion of young love and the tragedy of old hatred is getting an innovative (a blend of Renaissance and contemporary) and intimate staging that features just five actors covering all the roles. Actors Shakespeare Company, West Side Theater at New Jersey City University, 285 West Side Avenue, Jersey City. (201) 200-2390
Proof (September 30 - October 24) David Auburn's play, in which the daughter of a brilliant but unstable and now deceased mathematician deals with the conflicts in her family and the unsettling truth behind one of her father's discoveries, won both the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for Best Play. Cape May Stage, 31 Perry Street, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609) 884 - 1341
Master Harold…and the boys (October 28 - November 28) - Winner of both the Drama Desk and Critics' Circle Awards for Best Play, South African playwright Athol Fugard stunningly dramatized this coming-of-age story about two waiters preparing for a dance competition in a South African teashop and their relationship with the owner's son. Cape May Stage, 31 Perry Street, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609) 884 - 1341
The Clandestine Marriage (October 2 - 18) The 18th century comedy by David Garrick has been updated to the Roaring '20s. Revolving around an improbable secret marriage are an interfering aunt, a jealous sister, a social climbing father, an aging lothario and his nephew. Sounds like fun. Centenary Stage Company, in residence at Centenary College, 400 Jefferson Street, Hackettstown. (908) 979 - 0900.
Underneath the Lintel (November 6 - 22) A librarian makes an unexpected find in the overnight return box…a much mistreated book 123 years overdue in Glen Berger's intriguing one-person play. The plot follows the librarian in his pursuit of the miscreant, even if it means traveling the world. Centenary Stage Company, in residence at Centenary College, 400 Jefferson Street, Hackettstown. (908) 979 - 0900.
Fly (October 1 - 11) Trey Ellis & Ricardo Khan (Crossroads' artistic director) collaborated on this play about the famed African-American Army Air Corps fighter squadron known as the Tuskegee Airmen who flew over the skies of Europe and North Africa during World War II. The world premiere play deals with the many challenges as they proved they could fly, and paved the way to an integrated American military. Crossroads Theatre Company, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick. (732) 545 - 8100
The Butter and Egg Man (September 23 - October 24) There's always a spot for a vintage George S. Kaufman comedy. The opening night for this 1925 laugher about two producers who need funding for their Broadway show is scheduled to open on the 84th Anniversary of the show's Broadway opening. The East Lynne Theatre Company, in residence at The First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, 500 Hughes Street, Cape May, NJ 08024. (609) 884 - 5898.
Billy Bishop Goes to War (October 29 - November 15) John Gray and Eric Peterson's play with music follows a heroic World War 1 fighter pilot down in the trenches, up to the skies, through the halls of Buckingham Palace, and inside the human spirit as he attempts to reconcile his love of flying with the horrors of war. The Garage Theatre Group, in residence at Becton Theatre at Farleigh Dickinson University, 960 River Road, Teaneck, NJ (201) 569 - 7710
Come Back, Come Back, Wherever You Are (October 6 - November 1) 92 year-old Tony Award winner Arthur Laurents is directing the world premiere of his own play about a woman coping with a devastating loss, her overbearing mother-in-law and the advances of a sexually persistent new suitor. Shirley Knight and Alison Fraser head the cast. Read CU review shortly after opening. George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. (732) 246 - 7717
A Moon to Dance By (November 17 - December 13) Jane Alexander, Robert Cuccioli and Gareth Saxe star in this new play by Thom Thomas about Frieda Weekley, the often-scandalous widow of D.H. Lawrence and inspiration for his most controversial works including Lady Chatterly's Lover and Women in Love. Edwin Sherin is directing. Read CU review shortly after opening. George Street Playhouse, 9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ. (732) 246 - 7717
Miss Nelson is Missing! (September 26 - November 1) - The acclaimed children's theatre company is presenting the world premiere of a musical with book, music & lyrics by Joan Cushing. Based on the book by Harry Allard, the story concerns the attempt by the worst behaved class in the whole school to find their missing teacher after they are subjected to the meanest substitute in the whole world. Growing Stage Theatre: Children's Theatre of New Jersey At the Historic Palace Theatre Route 183 Netcong, NJ 07857 (973) 347 - 4946
Having Our Say (September 11 - October 18) McCarter's Artistic Director Emily Mann's adaptation of the book by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth went from its premiere at McCarter in 1995 directly to Broadway . This heart-warming and spunky play about the indomitable Delany sisters is being revived in celebration of Mann's 20th anniversary season. Read CU review. McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton 08540. (609) 258 - ARTS
She Stoops to Conquer (October 13 - November 1) - Sparks fly in this boisterous vintage comedy by Oliver Goldsmith when a young urbanite arrives at a country estate to court a woman, only to mistake her father for an innkeeper and her for a saucy barmaid. Read CU review shortly after opening. McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Princeton 08540. (609) 258 - ARTS
Dead Ringer (October 15 - November 15) It's Texas, 1885 in this new play by Gino Dilorio about a horse trainer who lives on a ranch with his invalid sister. Because he can't watch her during the day, he confines her in a root cellar. The delicate balance of their relationship is upset with the arrival of a stranger. Read CU review shortly after opening. New Jersey Repertory Company, at the Lumia Theatre, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740 (732) 229 - 3166
On The Town (November 11 - December 6) The fleet is in and New York will never be the same in this classic musical with music by Leonard Bernstein; book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green; based on an idea by Jerome Robbins. Read CU review shortly after opening. Paper Mill Playhouse, Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ 07041 (973) 379 -3636.
Blood: A Comedy (November 5 - 22) This new play by David Lee white, deals with faith, science, family and hot pepper cheese cubes. In it, Jacqueline Stanzi, an eccentric atheist struggles with confusion and memory loss, while deciding that the only way to save her mind - and her highly dysfunctional family - is for them all to get religion. Read CU review shortly after opening Passage Theatre Company, Mill Hill Playhouse, Front and Montgomery Streets, Trenton, NJ 08611, (609) 392 - 0766
Any Other Name (September 4 - 20) Originally workshopped at Trinity Repertory Company, George Brant's thriller is set in 1840s London. In it, a struggling poet visits his idol in search of inspiration but instead unleashes a madness that feeds his insatiable hunger for fame. It sounds intriguing. Read CU review shortly after opening.
Our Dad is in Atlantic (October 1 - 18) Following the death of their mother, the father of two young Mexican boys leaves them with their grandmother while he goes to the United Stages looking for better work. When the grandmother dies, the boys are shunted off to distant relatives, and when that situation becomes too difficult, they decide to look for their father in this new play by Javier Malpica. This is a co-production with The Growing Stage. Read CU review shortly after opening. Playwrights Theatre, 33 Green Village Road, Madison, NJ. (973) 514 - 1787
The Grapes of Wrath (October 21 - November 21) This is Frank Galati's acclaimed adaptation of the novel by John Steinbeck about Tom Joad and his family's flight from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma during the Great Depression. Read CU review shortly after opening. The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, 36 Madison Avenue, Madison, NJ 07940 (973) 408 - 3278. The Turn of the Screw (October 8 - 25) Credit Jeffrey Hatcher for adapting the spine-tingling yarn by Henry James. About a naïve governess who is hired to care for two children in a remote country house in Essex and becomes convinced that the brother and sister are somehow possessed by the ghosts of two former servants. Tri-State Actors Theater, 74 Main Street/Fountain Square, Sussex, NJ. (973) - 875 - 2950
A Midsummer Night's Dream (October 20 - November 8) William Shakespeare's magical and mischievous celebration of fools in love never ceases to delight. Two River Theatre Company, 21 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank 07701. (732) 345 - 1400
Smell of the Kill (October 2 - 25) Desperate housewives do desperate things in this comedy by Michele Lowe. It lasted but a few performances on Broadway but New Jersey may prove to be more receptive to three malicious wives who figure out how to deal with three miserable unloving husbands. Women's Theater Company, Parsippany Community Center, 1130 Knoll road, Lake Hiawatha, NJ. (973) 3
Slings & Arrows-the complete set
You don't have to be a Shakespeare aficionado to love all 21 episodes of this hilarious and moving Canadian TV series about a fictional Shakespeare Company