Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Liberation in the Pit!

What a great time I had Monday night in the Student Center Pit while various women entertained me with great skill....talking about their vaginas.

Vaginas? Yes. "The Vagina Monologues" had it's second annual run at Rowan University last night. Written by Eve Ensler and directed by Kristen Brozina, the play tells true-stories taken from real women from all walks of life. Topics included sexuality, pleasure, masturbation, homosexuality. And ranged to some darker topics such as rape, sodomy, and sex crimes in Congo and Bosnia.

The event, sponsored by the Venue Magazine, donated all proceeds to the Camden County Women's Shelter.

"It allows women to be completely open," said Kristen Brozina, 20, Millville. Brozina, a junior at Rowan University, directed the special event for the second year in a row and participated in the monologues herself. “It really is groundbreaking,” she said.

The young female performers displayed wide ranges of emotions while breaking barriers of dialogue many audience members had not yet seen on a stage. The actresses were not limited to the sole theatre department, in fact, many of them were from various majors and walks of life: Biology, Journalism, Psychology, as well as a mother, first-generations Americans, an EMT to name a few.

Monologues told compelling and sometimes humorous accounts of pleasure, shaving, first loves, masturbation, tampons, ethnicity, and homosexuality. One performer decided to find a new word for her vagina: “c--t.”

Rebekah Macchione, 20, Rowan Junior theatre major, proceeded through each letter of the word and how it made her feel and how the word came together in harmony. After the monologue, she proceeded to gain audience participation, all chanting “C--T!” an action one normally never hears in public, let alone chants.

But not all monologues were geared towards these experiences. A large portion raised awareness about various parts of the world where women are sodomized and raped through horrific sex crimes. Women from Bosnia and Congo were represented on the stage in emotionally charged moments of dialogue.

Women in need of help, shelter, advice should call the Camden County New Jersey Coalition for Battered Women at (201) 336-7575. Their hotline is open 24 hours a day.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring Time is here!

(took this picture in my backyard this afternoon!)

As they say "March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." And that could not be more true than seeing how this month started with blistery snow blizzards, and now spring could not be more present. Buds a busting, weeds are popping, and South Jersey is jam-packed with new shows. Below is an update of what can be seen this weekend and what's up-and-coming. I can hardly fit it all in one post, but here goes!

Special Event--

CASINO NIGHT - The Road Company (Williamstown , NJ) - Saturday, April 4, 7:30pm. VFW Post 1616. 1940 N. Black Hor se Pike. Williamstown, NJ 08094. Tickets $35 single and $60 per couple. $30 Fireman/Police/Military/Veteran. Must be 21 years or older to enter. Purchase tickets online.


Neil Simon's BAREFOOT IN THE PARK - Cumberland Players (Vineland, NJ) - Friday & Saturday 8pm. FINAL TWO PERFORMANCES. Directed by Carol Heney (Millville, NJ). Located at the Little Theatre 66 E. Sherman Ave. Vineland, NJ 08362. Tickets $13. Call (856) 692-5626.

MAN OF LA`MANCHA - Sketch Club Players. Fri (Opening Night) and Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. Tickets range from $13-$15. 443 Glover St. Woodbury, NJ. (856) 848-8089 for tickets. (additional performances next weekend starting Thursday April 2 at 8pm)

THE COCOANUTS - Broadway Theatre (Pitman, NJ). Friday & Saturday 8pm. Tickets are $25.
Directed by and Starring Ted Wioncek as Groucho Marx. FINAL TWO PERFORMANCES!

A FEW GOOD MEN - Ritz Theatre Company. Fri & Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. Tickets range from $20-$30.  (additional performances next weekend April 3 at 8pm)

GODSPELL - The Kelsey Theatre. Fri & Sat 8pm, Sun 2pm. Tickets are $16 Adults, $14 Seniors, $12 Students with ID. 1200 Old Trenton Road. West Windsor, NJ 08550. (609) 570-3333.

SHAKESPEARE SCENES - Act Out Theatre. Barnes & Noble Bookstore 1553 Almonesson Dr. Deptford, NJ. Saturday at 1pm. Free admission (scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew, and Henry VI)

High School - 

THE WIZ - Pitman High School. Fri & Sat 7pm. Tickets are $10 Adults, $5 Students/Seniors. 225 Linden Ave. Pitman, NJ. (856) 589-2121.

ANYTHING GOES (1962 version) - Bridgeton High School. Tickets are $5. 

CRAZY FOR YOU - Gloucester Catholic High School at the Deptford High School Auditorium. Friday & Saturday 8pm Tickets are $10. (856) 456-440 ext: 282.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Break with the Neighbors

Instead of spending a week on the South Jersey Rialto, I spent it with the neighbors (New York City) First trip was Monday night with my mother. I go to the city too much, yet rarely do I have the chance to share it with family, so this was nice. We went all over 5th Avenue and then went to the theatre at night. 

After waiting in a fairly quick TKTS line (which is unheard of) we got tickets to Avenue Q which just opened a short SEVEN years ago on Broadway at the Golden Theatre on 45th Street. Currently it is the one of the longest running shows currently playing and ranks 25 in longest running Broadway shows....and you sure can tell. 

The show was extremely funny, the text was well written and the songs were a laugh-a-minute. My problem lied within the actual acting. Not saying these people weren't bad. Each character/puppet was seamless on stage and the voices were beautiful. I think they might have been missing some simple basics (had trouble hearing some songs and dialogue) The show seems slightly calculated and to the trained actor's eye, felt like a monday night performance. Overall, however, it was plenty of fun. And my mom remarked "I needed that!" alluding to the comedy. And don't we all need some comedy in our lives? 

"Only for now! (SEX!)
Is only for now! (YOUR HAIR!)
Is only for now! (George Bush!)
Was only for now!
Don't stress, relax
let life roll off your back
except for death and paying taxes
...Life may be scary, but its only temporary
...Everything in life is only for now!"
from "For Now!"
Avenue Q


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

"Dizzy from the Night"

So I auditioned for Ordinary People with the Off Broad Street Players for the 3 weeks. And after long sessions of emotions grueling callbacks, I got the cast list and....

I got cut.

Thats the life of an actor. Hahaha. But life goes on and after seeing the current cast list, I am extremely excited for the highly talented cast assembled from some of OBSP's finest actors. I will post the list closer to the actual date of the show (October 2, 3 4, 2009) And as bad as it feels to get cut, I'm okay with it and I take secret enjoyment in the "downs" of a theatre career because I've had some fantastic experiences in the past few years. I'm very lucky to have had the roles and casts I've worked with. 

Sunday In the Park With George, a Sondheim musical recently revived at Studio 54 has been on my iPod all day. Its says: "Art isn't easy." Now is the time, I suppose, to not have theatre at the moment. All is well! Life is good ;) And...

Auditions are announced all over South Jersey! (and NYC!)
South Jersey:
AIDA - The Ritz Theatre - March 23 @ 7pm RITZ THEATRE. March 25 @ 7pm WALNUT ST. THEATRE. Performances run July 9 - Aug 8

ANYTHING GOES - Haddonfield Plays & Players -  Vocals: May 3 @ 5pm, Dance: May 5 @ 5pm. Callbacks: May 5 @ 6pm. Performances run July 16 - Aug 8. (audition by appointment)

HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, ALL SHOOK UP, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, PETER PAN - Broadway Theatre (Pitman, N.J.) - Sunday March 29 - Audition form is available on website, appointment scheduling has begun. Headshot & Resume required. 

BYE BYE BIRDIE - Roundabout Theatre Company - Open Call. Saturday April 4th, 2009, @ 10am. 115 W. 45th Street (btwn 6th & 7th) Seeking ages 15-22, Headshot, Resume, 16 bars of music required. Any actor cast would be required to join Actor's Equity Association. 

"A little bit of hype can be effective
as long as you can keep it in perspective
even when you get some recognition
everything you do you still audition"
-"Putting It Together"
from Sunday In The Park With George

Monday, March 9, 2009

Paul Simon Collection Slideshow

One great art form emerging in the Off Broad Street Players Theatre Company is the professional photography of various shows. Paul Simon, a parent and volunteer in OBSP, has been photographing OBSP productions for the past three years and has captured hundreds of great moments on the stage in his lens. Photographed shows include: Camelot, South Pacific, Honk Jr!, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Foreigner, The Wizard of Oz, All Shook Up, Hello, Dolly!, and Beauty & The Beast.

The Slideshow below features hardly a glimpse of the beautiful work he has captured, some of the photos I've been lucky enough to appear in. Featured shows in-order-of-appearance include: Camelot, Beauty & The Beast, The Foreigner, and South Pacific.

Tomorrow there'll be sun!

Did anyone notice the beautiful weather this weekend? Especially on sunday? Oh how nice it is to be able to enjoy warm breeze pass by and feel utter re-connection with the Earth. I thought at the beginning of the week, when I received my e-mail that classes had been cancelled over the "inclement" weather, that soon enough the weather would change. I had no idea how soon! They say that March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb. But in one week? 

A great line might come from the musical Annie, that "the sun will come out, tomorrow!" Not only in the sense of weather, but with all of the events our nation faces. The students of the Arthur P. Shalick High School Drama Academy nicely painted these words on their stage this weekend as I sat in the audience. These students did a very nice job with this production. I had never seen the show before and I was really surprised at the amount of commentary it had on the country mixed with heartfelt comedy. Times of economic distress plagued the nation far worse than they do today, but nevertheless, we face our own times. But we can always hold onto the words of that little orphan: 

"So ya gotta hang on 
'Til tomorrow 
Come what may
...You're only
a day away."
-from "Tomorrow."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Quick weekend update.

This is just a very brief reminder of what to see if you're looking for some quality theatre this weekend on the South Jersey Rialto.

High School--

ANNIE - A.P. Shalick High School, 718 Centerton Road, Pittsgrove NJ 08318. Tickets are $7 adults $6 Students/Seniors.

THE APPLE TREE - Buena High School, 125 Weymouth Rd. Buena NJ 08310.

BRIGADOON - Woodstown High, 140 East Ave. Woodstown NJ 08098, Tickets $8 Adults, $5 Students/Seniors

42nd STREET - Salem High School 219 Walnut st. Salem NJ 08079

Regional/Community/Collegiate -

OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD - Tohill Theatre, Rowan University. My review is posted on the Whit here.

A FEW GOOD MEN - The Ritz Theatre Company. Performances open tonight at 8pm.

THE COCOANUTS - Broadway Theatre of Pitman. Performances open tonight at 8pm.

"It'd be alright if they weren't such...big stars"

Hey hey thespians and theatregoers, I am really happy to get some early information on the upcoming cast of the wildly funny play Moon Over Buffalo, written by Ken Ludwig, directed by John Muller, and produced through the Off Broad Street Players Theatre Company in Bridgeton, NJ.

DISCLAIMER: This cast list is a working list and is subject to change. But as of now:

GEORGE- Thurman Hogan (Thurman has performed numerous times with OBSP. He has also done over 60 performances of The Nutcracker with the South Jersey Ballet. Thurman was also featured in the National Tour of Hair.)

CHARLOTTE - Beverly Beardsley (Beverly "Bev" has been featured most notably with OBSP as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and most recently as Ernestina Money in Hello, Dolly! Bev made her OBSP directorial debut last spring with the outrageous comedy The Foreigner.)

ROSALIND - Lauren Van Embden (Lauren was most recently featured as Catherine Simms in The Foreigner and most notably as Nurse Nellie Forbush in South Pacific with OBSP and as Babe Williams in The Pajama Game at NJPAC.  A graduate of Leheigh University and Wiedner School of Law, she practices law in Millville while serving as the Chairwoman of the Levoy Theatre Preservation Society.)

HOWARD - Zach Ott (Zach, a junior at Cumberland Regional High School, has most notably been remembered as Dennis in All Shook Up and Peter in Jesus Christ Superstar with OBSP. He has also been featured in productions of Footloose, South Pacific, The Wizard of OZ, Beauty & The Beast, and The Foreigner)

PAUL - Andrew Jarema (Andrew, a psychology major at Rowan University, was recently seen headlining the cast of All Shook Up as Chad as well as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of OZ and John in Jesus Christ Superstar. Andrew has been featured in productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (as Hero...AP Shalick High School) Hello, Dolly!, The Foreigner,  and South Pacific with OBSP)

ETHEL - Kim Hitchner (Kim, a former member of the Screen Actors Guild, has been most notably featured in productions of Gypsy, Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, Footloose, to name a very few. Kim has also served as the director of Costuming for productions of South Pacific and All Shook Up.)

RICHARD - Tracy Treadway (Tracy made his OBSP debut as Pellinore in Camelot, and has also been featured as King Herod in Jesus Christ Superstar and as Froggy LeSeur in The Foreigner)

EILEEN - Megan Kleefeld (Megan is making her OBSP debut with Moon Over Buffalo)


Moon Over Buffalo
Written By: Ken Ludwig
Directed By: John Muller
May 15  & 16 at 8pm
May 17 at 3pm
Robert L. Sharp Auditorium at Bridgeton High School
Tickets are $13 Adults, $11 Students and Seniors

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch...AGAIN!

The Off Broad Street Players are hosting auditions tonight at 7pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, (14 Fayette St. Bridgeton, NJ) for their upcoming production of "Moon Over Buffalo." Director John Muller is looking for a I'll be there to probably hang out with people (because thats how SJ theatre is) but not audition. 

Also, on March 10th, OBSP will host auditions for their fall drama "Ordinary People" based on the Robert Redford movie starring Mary Tyler Moore. Same place, same time. That one you can certainly count on me being there for...auditioning. I would hope to see all you great thespians there!

ACTORS: Auditions, for me, are a nightmare. I get so paranoid before, during, and after auditions. There are plenty of tips to pick up from others or from your own experiences For instance: Wear an appropriate outfit, dont get drunk before you go on, and smile and volunteer as much as you can. But the best advice is just to be prepared. One great site for preparation is MusicalTheatreAudition.com. Also, if you are auditioning for a show and don't know much about it, the best thing, first to know, is the character you're auditioning for. A fantastic source that I've used time and again is Stage Agent. Have fun, stay warm, and BREAK A LEG!

"What does he want from me?
What should I try to be?
So many faces all around,
and here we go.
I need this job, oh God,
I need this show."
-"I Hope I Get It."
from A Chorus Line

Monday, March 2, 2009

Jim is busting out all over!!!!

I am absolutely ecstatic! Waking up this morning I noticed there was snow all over my world and a plethora of messages telling me not to go to Rowan University for class today. Also, checking in with our neighbors, all broadway shows are scheduled to perform according to an article posted this morning on Broadwayworld.com. So, if the roads clear up, maybe I should trek up to Times Square and go see something.

Maybe not.

But the big news that somehow I'm just now stumbling upon is that Fox Pictures has acquired the production rights to Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel starring Hugh Jackman as Billy Bigelow, which is damn fine by me! Of course I sent out my usual text messages to show my blissful happiness over this news. Why am I so excited? This was my first musical I performed in community theatre and it's very dear to me, as well as very dear to those around me. Time Magazine named Carousel the BEST musical of the 20th century, and Richard Rogers claimed this work as his favorite of all his musicals.

Carousel follows the story of Billy Bigelow, a carousel barker, and his love for the mill-worker Julie Jordan. Both losing their jobs for seeing each other, they fall in love. Penniless, they live with Julie's aunt Nettie Fowler. Julie suddenly discovers she is pregnant and Billy teams with hoodlum friend Jigger Craigin to rob a ship for money. Billy dreams of having enough money to provide the best he can as a father for his daughter. The course of the robbery goes terribly wrong and Billy stabs himself. He then finds himself in a purgatory where he is given one chance to return to Earth for one day to see his daughter.
The score includes such favorites as June is Bustin Out All Over, If I Loved You, and the famed You'll Never Walk Alone.

"BILLY: On a night like
this I start to wonder
What life is all about.

JULIE: You were right about
there bein' no wind.
The blossoms are comin'
down by theirselves.
Just they're in time to, I reckon."
-from "If I Loved You"

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Our Country's Good - GO SEE IT!

Andrew and I went to the opening night of "Our Country's Good," directed by David Sullivan, at the Tohill Theatre at Rowan University. It was a perfect night at the theatre. I would suggest you go next weekend. This show was extremely professionally performed. I won't go into too much detail, as I have a review being published next Thursday in The Whit.

Here is a preview of the show featured in The Whit.

"The theatre is an expression
of civilization
It will remind them that
there is more to life
than crime, punishment.
We will laugh, we may be
moved, we may even
think a little.
Can you suggest
else that will
such an
-Captain Phillip
from "Our Country's Good"
by Timberlake Wertenbaker.

It's almost like being in love!

I was sitting at work, waiting for 7 o'clock to arrive so I could leave. I knew that I would have just enough time to rush over to Woodstown High School from work, to buy a ticket to their 7:30 performance of Learner and Lowe's "Brigadoon" which opened last Friday and continues performances next Thursday, Friday, at 7:30pm and Saturday at 2:00pm. I graduated from Woodstown High and knew how special it would be to see all of my good friends back on the stage.

I sat in the third row, not knowing what to expect. Suddenly the cast began the show in the audience, singing the opening title. The show continued, I won't pick it apart bit by bit. But overall, the magic of quality high school theatre is still alive in Woodstown. This production was masterfully executed, with a beautiful set, extraordinary costuming, glorious talent, and a score of music so warm that it leaves us undoubtedly satisfied.

Bravo to this cast, to Paul Kranz (director), and to all who put this show together for our community. It tells the tale of a town that only comes alive every 100 years, and my goodness, did it come alive.

I encourage you all to attend next weekend. I will be going again on Thursday night. Tickets at $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Performances are held in the Woodstown High School Auditorium.

Here's a clip of Frank Sinatra singing one the love song "Almost Like Being In Love" from BRIGADOON

"Brigadoon, Brigadoon,
There my heart forever lies.
Let the world grow cold around us,
Let the heavens cry above!"
from Learner and Lowe's "Brigadoon"