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This article by Simon Saltzman was prepared for the September 15, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Fall Arts Preview: New Names for the New Season
Are New Jersey’s professional theaters giving the likes of Chekhov, Ibsen, Moliere, and Shaw a vacation? The new season lineup significantly favors plays by many of our most highly regarded contemporary playwrights, including Steven Dietz, Mary Zimmerman, Theresa Rebeck, Charles Evered, Lee Blessing, and Leslie Ayvasian. If you haven’t yet heard of some of them, you will.
Just as the times effect change in a theater’s mission, as do trends in funding, support, and attendance, so does the political atmosphere. Probably not since the Civil War has our country been faced with such social and political divisiveness. Let us be grateful that our theaters remain free of censorship, corporate influence, and government control, and continue to offer a safe and nurturing haven for writers and artists to express their often provocative views. But what stand, if any, should our regional theaters take in a time when individual freedoms and Constitutional rights are being threatened to insure our safety? Is it as important that our theaters be catalysts for political and social ideology as it is for them to provide an escape by playing it safe?
In the fall of 1990, as Emily Mann was beginning her first season as artistic director of the McCarter Theater, she expressed her mission this way:”I want to stimulate and challenge an audience — each play has to be an event — always surprising. The season will reflect who I am.” There is no doubt that Mann’s statement remains true to her original vision 14 years later as she answers to the above: “I don’t believe the theater is just a place of escape, and I’m not a fan of didactic theater, of theater used as a tool to preach to a particular point of view. But I believe wholeheartedly in theater’s ability to stimulate discussion, even debate, around subjects that touch our lives.”
Mann directs McCarter’s season opener, the world premiere of “Last of the Boys” by Steven Dietz, whose play “Fiction” had its premiere there last season and is currently produced by the Roundabout Theater Company Off-Broadway. About “Boys,” a reunion of two Vietnam vets, friends for 30 years, Mann says, “this remarkable play reminds us in no uncertain terms of how much unfinished business we’re carrying around when it comes to Vietnam. About making hard choices and living with them, about consequences, about telling the truth. Whatever you think about Robert McNamara, the Iraq war, or the war on terrorism, there’s a place for you, a voice for you, a question for you in this play.”(September 9 to October 17).
Next up at McCarter is “Polk County,” a re-discovered musical by Zora Neale Hurston, directed by its co-adaptor Kyle Donnelly (October 12 to 31).
The magical spinner and stager of tales, Mary Zimmerman (“Metamorphoses” and “The Odyssey”) returns to McCarter to direct her fairy-tale inspired “The Secret in the Wings” (January 4 to February 13). Mann will also come back to ring “The Bells” by acclaimed contemporary playwright Theresa Rebeck (March 22 to April 10). Director Daniel Fish (“The Importance of Being Earnest”) will unveil his edgy re-imagined “Hamlet” (May 3 to June 19).
It’s the 14th season as well for Bonnie J. Monte as the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey artistic director, who says, “I always seek out plays that reflect and provoke thought about what’s going on in the world.” The John Steinbeck classic, “Of Mice and Men,” (to October 3) is about the pursuit of the American dream. “I picked ‘Macbeth’ (October 19 to November 19) because it’s about leadership gone awry,” she says. “It speaks very clearly about what happens to a nation when ambition becomes unbridled.”
The season lightens up with “Illyria” (November 30 to December 26), a musical adaptation of “Twelfth Night” in which a girl disguised as a boy steals the heart of both a lord and a lady, a typical Shakespearean device in praise of serendipity.
David Saint has been artistic director of the George Street Playhouse for the past seven years. As expected, Saint energizes any talk on theater, political or otherwise, by saying, “the theater is one of the few places left in our society where people are free from political spin and the one place where we don’t curb a writer’s imagination or view. As I read what comes in,” he says, “I can see that writers want to write plays with political themes.
“As an example, Arthur Laurents and I decided that it was a good time to bring the 1967 Tony Award-winning musical ‘Hallelujah, Baby!,’ about the African-American experience in this country up to the present, and see how much has, in fact, changed, stayed the same, or gone back since the Civil Rights Movement.” Saint says his production boasts a rigorously re-written book by its original author, Laurents (who also directs), (October 5 to November 7).
With a chuckle, Saint says that he is balancing this season as he did the previous one with a play by Laurents, a card-carrying liberal, and following it with a play — “Celadine” starring Amy Irving — by Charles Evered (“Wilderness of Mirrors”), a former naval intelligence officer and an avowed conservative. (November 16 to December 12).
Lee Blessing’s (“A Walk in the Woods) new play “The Winning Streak” will have its East Coast Premiere (January 4 to 30), followed by Ken Ludwig’s madcap farce “Lend Me a Tenor” (February 8 to March 6). After a play “to be announced,” the season closes with lauded contemporary composer Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last five Years” (April 19 to May 15).
The return of the Crossroads Theater, as well as the return of Ricardo Khan as artistic director, is encouraging. Two world premieres begin the season. “History of the Word,” a chronicle performed by a young multi-cultural cast (October 15 to 24), and “Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song” (December 3 to 12).
Love and political unrest in Kingston propel “Two Can Play” by Jamaica’s most celebrated playwright, Trevor Rhone (February 25 to March 6). That play is followed by The Genesis Festival of new and emerging playwrights (April 6 to 10). A season finale still “to be announced” will follow “Genesis.”
The only new kid on the block is Michael Gennaro, who, as the new president-elect and CEO of the Paper Mill Playhouse, has already prescribed a season that appears to signal a new vision for the historic playhouse. In his first full season at the helm of the Paper Mill Playhouse, Michael Gennaro says, “although my first season will have a more expansive view, it is very accessible to all ages. We are doing shows that have never been done here before. It’s amazing that a classic like ‘She Loves Me’ is getting produced here for the first time. I’m walking a fine line. We have a traditionally older audience, but while we want to hold on to them, my goal is to contemporize our jewel of a theater and make it relevant to the young.”
Gennaro’s contribution to the staging of political theater is, however, the production of the Gershwins’ 1933 classic Pulitzer Prize-winning satirical musical “Of Thee I Sing,” whose book is most notable for its vicious humor at the expense of the American political system. Could this show (now through October 17) be timelier? Next on the Paper Mill stage is that sweetheart of a musical “She Loves Me” (October 27 to December 5).
“The Baker’s Wife” has a reputation of being a “cult musical” (it has many fans despite having closed out-of-town). Despite this, Gennaro says, “I love it and think it is Stephen Schwartz’s best score.” (April 4 to May 22).
Then there is that famous 1972 cult film “Harold and Maude.” It re-appears as a musical with Estelle Parsons (January 5 to February 6). John Mahoney (Martin Crane on television’s “Frazier”) stars in the one drama of the season — “The Drawer Boy.” (February 23 to April 3). The final musical of the season will be the lauded “Ragtime” (June 8 to July 17).
Passage Theater artistic director June Ballinger says “we chose plays for their intriguing insights on topics that touch most everybody’s lives.” This season they include Robert Kalfin’s “Willie B. Came Into the Sun,” about the relationship between a Viet Cong captor and his prisoner (October 14 to November 7); Leslie Ayvazian’s “Rosemary and I,” about a writer struggling to come to terms with her family’s complicated history (February 3 to 27); Seret Scott’s “Second Line,” about two African-American college students challenged by their commitment to each other and their dedication to advancing the Civil Rights movement (May 5 to 29).
Both Playwrights Theater of New Jersey in Madison and New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch have as their mission to nurture and produce only new work. P.T.N.J’s artistic director, John Pietrowski, and NJ Reps’ artistic director, SuzAnne Barabas, have also begun a co-producing arrangement that allows a new play to continue its development after its initial engagement.
To this end, the season at Playwrights Theater opens with John Walsh’s “The Circumference of a Squirrel,” a play (seen last season at NJ Rep) in which a young man tries to break free of the legacy of his father’s many fears. (October 28 to November 14).
The second of the co-productions is Lee Blessing’s “Whores,” about the granting of asylum to national leaders accused of atrocities, takes aim at the media, our legal system, and politics. It begins its New Jersey premiere engagement at NJ Rep (October 9 to November 14) and then re-opens at PTNJ (February 3 to 20).
PTNJ will also present on its own the world premiere of Russell Davis’s “The Song of Grendelyn,” about a rock star in a foul mood who shows up at her childhood friend’s home, where she has to deal with the friend’s unimpressed 11 year-old child (April 7 to 24).
The NJ Rep follows “Whores” with the world premiere of Mary Fengar Gail’s “Touch of Rapture,” a mystery surrounding an artist’s legacy (January 13 to February 20). Other premieres include Ruth Wolff’s “Aviators,” about an academic couple whose relationship is strained by events from their past (March 31 to May 8); Richard Strand’s “Ten Percent of Molly Snyder,” a play that shows how any of us might be driven to the brink by the endless twists of daily bureaucracy (May 19 to June 26), and Vincent Sessa’s “A Child’s Guide to Innocence,” a play that follows the lives of three generations of an Italian-American family over a 50-year period (July 7 to August 14).
Happiness is most assuredly induced by the sense of discovery that comes from witnessing the birth of a new work of genuine artistic merit, especially in a place that respects and values uncensored truth.
635 North Delmorr Avenue, Morrisville, 215-295-3694 www.actorsnetbucks.org.
Amadeus, Through October 3. $12. Friday, September 17.
Sleuth, Through November 7. $12. Friday, October 22.
Stalag 17, Through December 19. $12. Friday, December 3.
Crossroads Theater, 7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 973-624-1584 www.africanglobe.com.
Out of Sight & Out of Her Mind. One-woman show presented by E. Denise Peoples. $25. Thursday, September 16.
Love Blues. Opening show of the 10th anniversary season. Through September 19. $20 to $25. Thursday, September 16.
When a Man Loves a Woman. Fundraiser and awards gala. $100. Sunday, October 10.
Hallelujah Chorus. A Gospel musical celebration. Through May 1. $20 to $25. Friday, April 29.
Midnight Train to Georgia. Through June 12. $20 to $25. Friday, June 10.
Black Nativity. Through June 19. $20 to $25. Friday, June 17.
120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, 215-785-0100. www.brtstage.org.
Cliffhanger, Opening night of drama by James Yaffe. Through October 31. $25. Tuesday, October 12.
Holiday, Opening night of drama by Philip Barry. Through December 19. $25. Tuesday, November 30.
I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm, Opening night of winter musicale conceived and directed by Edward Keith Baker. Through December 23. $25. Sunday, December 12.
Talley’s Folly, Opening night of Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Lanford Wilson. Through February 13. $25. Tuesday, January 25.
Fences, Opening night of Pulitzer Prize winning drama by August Wilson. Through April 3. $25. Tuesday, March 15.
Olympus On My Mind, Opening night of musical comedy by Barry Harman and Grant Sturiale. Through May 22. $25. Tuesday, May 3.
Mount-Burke Theater, Peddie School, Hightstown, 609-490-7550 www.peddie.org/capps.
Dramatist Workshop Series, Staged readings of “Creation” by Jeffrey Ford, and “Some Time Off” by David Occhino. Discussion with authors follows. Free. Wednesday, September 22.
Dramatist Workshop Series, Staged reading of “Three Women” by Sandra Rae Johnson followed by discussion with the author. Free. Wednesday, October 13.
Dramatist Workshop Series, Staged reading of Paul Watkins recent work. Author of several novels, some of which are in the process of being considered for movies. Wednesday, April 13.
99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, 732-842-9000 www.countbasietheatre.org.
Creature from the Black Lagoon, with the Jazz Passengers. The Jazz Passengers have created a new score for an old movie, “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.” They’ll perform live as the film is shown. $15 to $18. Saturday, October 23.
Capitol Steps. They’re the comedy troupe that put the mock in democracy. $25 to $35. Friday, November 19.
The Nobodies of Comedy, Andy Campbell, Jon Fisch, Mark Gross, Jamie Lissow and others you’ve never heard of. $25. Friday, January 14.
Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk. The four-time Tony Award winning musical and Broadway show, choreographed by Savion Glover. $30 to $68.50. Friday, February 4.
Marc Salem’s Mind Games. Family entertainment from a performer who blends mind control, mental mystery, and humor. $15 to $25. Friday, February 11.
David Sedaris, Satirist, comedian, author and NPR commentator David Sedaris performs, with book signing after the event. $20 to $35. Friday, April 1.
An Evening with Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, Comedic improvisation. $25 to $55. Saturday, April 16.
7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-545-8100.
History of the Word, $30. Saturday, October 16.
Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady of Song, $30. Saturday, December 4.
Two Can Play, $30. Saturday, February 26.
9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7717 www.gsponline.org.
Hallelujah, Baby!, Musical tour through history directed by Arthur Laurents. Tony Award winner in 1968, the play follows young Georgina through societal challenges, economic hardships, and a fight for civil rights. Through November 7. $28 to $52. Tuesday, October 5.
Celadine, World premiere stars Amy Irving in a romantic comedy by Charles Evered. Directed by David Saint. Through December 12. $28 to $56. Tuesday, November 16.
The Winning Streak, Drama by Lee Blessing about a father and son who have little in common. Through January 30. $28 to $56. Tuesday, January 4.
Lend Me a Tenor, Comedy about show business. Directed by David Saint. Through March 6. $28 to $56. Tuesday, February 8.
TBA, Through April 10. $28 to $56. Tuesday, March 15.
The Last Five Years, Musical love story by Jason Robert Brown featuring Colin Hanlon and Sarah Litzinger. Through May 15. $28 to $56. Tuesday, April 19.
1200 Old Trenton Road, 609-584-9444 www.kelseyatmccc.org.
Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar and Grill. Opening night for Life 40’s presentation of Bruce Graham’s play of love, death, rebirth, and a very strange book deal. Through September 26. $12. Friday, September 17.
How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Opening night for Pennington Players musical. Through October 10. $15. Friday, October 1.
Of Thee I Sing. Opening night for Pierrot Productions presentation of George S. Kaufman’s 1930s musical comedy. Through October 24. $15. Friday, October 15.
Quilters. Opening night for MC Cubed Studio Theater Production of the musical tale of a pioneer woman and her six daughters. Through November 7. The location is the black box theater in the Communications Building. $12. Friday, October 22.
Heaven Can Wait. Opening night for Yardley Players’ drama about a prize fighter and an over zealous angel. Through November 7. $12. Friday, October 29.
Oliver! Opening night for Playful Theater Productions of Lionel Bart’s musical. Through November 28. $15. Friday, November 19.
A Christmas Story. Opening night for Pennington Players drama based on Jean Shephard’s 1983 movie. Through December 19. $12. Friday, December 10.
The Foreigner. Opening night for Maurer Productions On Stage comedy about a fisherman who pretends not to speak or understand English. Through January 16. $12. Friday, January 7.
The Last Five Years. Opening night for contemporary romantic musical by Jason Robert Brown. Through January 30. $15. Friday, January 21.
Nunsense, Opening night for Stars in the Park’s musical comedy. Through February 13. $15. Friday, February 4.
The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Opening night for Pierrot Production’s comedy about a theater troupe stranded in a snow storm. Through February 27. $12. Friday, February 18.
Incorruptible, Opening night for Like 40 Productions light comedy about the dark ages. Through March 13. $12. Friday, March 4.
Seussical The Musical!, Opening night for Playful Theater’s musical based on Dr. Seuss books. Through April 10. $15. Friday, April 1.
Sweet Charity, Opening night for Pierrot Productions bittersweet musical comedy by Neil Simon about a dance hall girl. Through May 1. $15. Friday, April 22.
91 University Place, 609-258-2787 www.mccarter.org.
Last of the Boys, World premiere of “Last of the Boys,” written by Steven Dietz and directed by Emily Mann. Two Vietnam vets, united by a war which divided a nation, come together for a final hurrah. Featuring Tom Wopat, Joseph Siravo, Jenny Bacon, Deborah Hedwall, and Steven Boyer. Through October 17. $38 to $48.
Polk County, A play with music by Zora Neale Hurston and Dorothy Waring. Directed by Kyle Donnelly. Music direction by Chic Street Man. Through October 31. $28 to $48. Tuesday, October 12.
David Sedaris, NPR commentator and best-selling author David Sedaris performs his sardonic humor and incisive social wit by slicing through the euphemisms and political correctness surrounding today’s political climate. $27 to $30. Monday, October 18.
Princeton Triangle Club Show, The 114th annual edition of the Princeton Triangle Club show includes the politically incorrect all-male kickline. $20 to $30. Friday, November 12.
A Christmas Carol, First night for the family holiday story that has become a Princeton tradition. Donations of non-perishable canned food items invited. Performances through Sunday, December 24. $31 to $45. Tuesday, December 7.
The Secret in the Wings, Five classic fairy tales adapted and directed by Mary Zimmerman include Three Blind Queens, Allerleirah, The Princeton Who Wouldn’t Laugh, Silent for Seven Years, and Beauty and the Beast. Not suitable for small children. Through February 13. $28 to $48. Tuesday, January 4.
The Bells, World premiere of a spine-tingling new drama set in the later years of the Alaska Gold Rush. Written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by Emily Mann. Through April 10. $33 to $48. Tuesday, March 22.
Hamlet, Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of a young man haunted by the death of his father directed by Daniel Fish. Completely re-imagined for the intimacy of the Berlind stage. Through June 19. Tuesday, May 3
One Center Street, Newark, 888-466-5722 www.njpac.org.
Jamie Farr in “Say Goodnight, Gracie”, Emmy-award winning actor Jamie Farr (Mash) stars as George Burns in “Say Goodnight, Gracie,” the Broadway hit. The play takes audiences on a moving journey through the American century as seen through the eyes of George Burns. $14 to $60. Friday, February 4.
Lumia Theater, 179 Broadway, Long Branch, 732-229-3166 www.njrep.org.
Whores, $30. Saturday, October 9.
Aviators, $30. Friday, April 1.
Ten Percent of Molly Snyder, $30. Friday, May 20.
Child’s Guide to Innocence, $30. Friday, July 8.
5 South Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, 609-466-2766.
Marriage Can Be Hazardous to Your Health. Opening night for the Arnold Kane comedy about a mid-life crisis. Through October 9. Kane wrote for the Bob Newhart Show, Private Benjamin, and The Love Boat: The New Wave. $23.75 to $25.25. Friday, September 3.
Hot ‘N Cole. Opening night for a new revue featuring more than 50 Porter songs. Through December 4. $22.50 & $24. Friday, October 22.
Bed Full of Foreigners. Opening night. To January 22. $22.50 & $24. Friday, December 10.
Little By Little. Opening night. Drama. Through March 19. $22.50 & $24. Friday, February 4.
Charring Cross Road. Opening night. Drama. Through May 7. $22.50 & $24. Friday, April 1.
Brookside Drive, Millburn, 973-376-4343 www.papermill.org.
Of Thee I Sing, Pulitzer-Prize winning musical about American politics. Music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin; book by George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind. Directed by Tina Landau. Through October 17. $30 to $67. Wednesday, September 8.
She Loves Me, Musical set in Budapest is the inspiration for The Shop Around the Corner and You’ve Got Mail. Directed by James Brennan. Through December 5. $30 to $67. Wednesday, October 27.
Harold & Maude: The Musical, Musical based on the cult film, Harold & Maude, about a widow and a young man. Directed by Mark S. Hoebee. Through February 6. $30 to $67. Wednesday, January 5.
The Drawer Boy, Heartwarming story about friendship stars John Mahoney, most recently known for his role on Frasier. Through April 3. $30 to $67. Wednesday, February 23.
The Baker’s Wife, Musical about a new baker in a rural French village. Through May 22. $30 to $67. Wednesday, April 13.
Ragtime, Tony-Award winning musical about three families during the beginning of the 20th century. Through July 17. $30 to $67. Wednesday, June 8.
Mill Hill Playhouse, Front and Montgomery streets, Trenton, 609-392-0766.
Willie B. Came Into the Sun, Drama set in the mountains of Vietnam by Jean Sterret and directed by Robert Kalfin. Through November 7. Opening night is Thursday, October 21. $28. Thursday, October 14.
Rosemary and I, Drama about a writer struggling to come to terms with her family’s complicated history. Written by Leslie Ayvazian. Through February 27. Opening night is February 10. Thursday, February 3.
Second Line, World premiere of Seret Scott’s drama about two middle class African-American college students. Through May 29. Opening night is May 12. Thursday, May 5.
210 Dunhams Corner Road, East Brunswick, 732-254-3939 www.playhouse22.org.
The Heiress, Opening night for drama based on the Henry James novel “Washington Square.” Through October 10, dark September 24 to 26. $20. Saturday, September 11.
The Boys Next Door, Opening night for drama about four mentally challenged men in a group home. Through November 21. $20. Saturday, October 30.
Snakebit, Opening night for comic drama about friendship. Through March 6. $20. Saturday, October 30.
The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Opening night for the drama about mid-life crisis. Through May 1, dark April 22 to 24). $20. Saturday, April 2.
What The Butler Saw, Opening night for a comedy thriller by Tim Kelly. Through June 26. $20. Saturday, June 4.
Visiting Mr. Green, Opening night for a comedy about community service. Through August 14. $20. Saturday, July 23.
33 Green Village Road, Madison, 973-514-1787.
Circumference of a Squirrel, Opening night for a comedy and New Jersey premiere. Through November 14. Thursday, October 28.
Whores, Opening night for a satire and New Jersey premiere by Lee Blessing. Through February 20. Thursday, February 3.
The Song of Grendelyn, Opening night for a drama and world premiere. Through April 24. Thursday, April 7.
Route 28, North Branch, 908-725-3420 www.rvcckids.org.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Based on the legendary Texas brothel, the Chicken Ranch, which operated until 1973. $40. Saturday, September 18.
Capitol Steps, Comedy about politics. $24 and $29. Saturday, October 23.
Dysfunctional Holiday Revue, Second City satire. $18 and $23. Friday, December 10.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Windwood Theatricals presents the stage version of the MGM musical. $34 and $39. Friday, February 4.
915 White Horse Pike, Oaklyn, 856-858-5230.
The Foreigner. Opening night performance for comedy by Larry Shue. Through October 9. $18. Friday, September 10.
Evita. Opening night performance for Rice and Weber musical about Argentina’s First Lady Eva Peron. Through November 20. $18. Friday, October 22.
Some Enchanted Evening. Opening night performance for an evening of Rogers and Hammerstein songs. Through February 12. $18. Thursday, January 13.
Fences. Opening night performance for Pulitzer Prize drama by August Wilson. Through April 2. $18. Thursday, March 3.
I Do! I Do! Opening night performance for musical about marriage. Through May 21. $18. Thursday, April 21.
Grease. Opening night performance for musical about rock and roll in the 1950s. Through August 6. $18. Thursday, July 7.
Mason Gross Performing Arts Center, 85 George Street, New Brunswick, 732-932-7591.
The Brothers Karamazov. Opening night of play based on novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky. $10 to $20. Friday, October 1.
The Afghan Women, Opening night of play written by alumnus William Mastrosimone. $10 to $20. Friday, November 5.
Much Ado About Nothing, Opening night of Shakespeare’s comedy directed by professor emeritus William Esper. $10 to $20. Friday, December 3.
We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, Opening night of comedy by Dario Fo. $10 to $20. Friday, February 4.
Death in Venice, Opening night of Thomas Mann’s classic. $10 to $20. Friday, February 25.
A Doll’s House, Opening night of Henrik Ibsen’s drama. $10 to $20. Friday, April 1.
False Start, Opening night of drama by resident playwright Peter Hanrahan. $10 to $20. Thursday, April 28.
F.M. Kirby Theater, Drew University, Madison, 973-408-5600 www.njshakespeare.org.
Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck’s American classic directed by Joe Discher. Featured actors include Mark Mineart, Graham Winton, Chris Landis, Victoria Mack, and Joe Mancuso. Preview. Through October 3. $26 to $48. Tuesday, September 7.
Hamlet: Prince of Denmark, Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. Big Brother meets the bard in this riveting production, an abridged version of Shakespeare’s most popular tragedy. $10. Wednesday, October 6.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, An abridged version of Shakespeare’s beloved comedy. $10. Thursday, October 7.
Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Scottish play directed by Bonnie J. Monte. Featured actors are Robert Cuccioli and Laila Robins. Preview. Through November 19. $26 to $48. Tuesday, October 19.
Illyria, New operetta by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel adapted from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. A regional theater premiere, the production debuted in New York City in 2002. Preview. Through December 26. $26 to $48. Tuesday, November 30.
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 877-782-8311. www.StateTheatreNJ.org.
Jay Leno. The comedian and “Tonight Show” host performs at this gala grand reopening of the newly restored State Theater. $35 to $150. Sunday, October 3.
The Full Monty. Broadway’s hit musical. Also, Saturday, October 16. $22 to $52. Friday, October 15.
Miss Saigon. From the authors of “Les Miserables” comes another of the most popular musicals of all time, “Miss Saigon.” $22 to $52. Wednesday, November 3.
Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, presented by the Aquila Theater Company. $16. Sunday, November 14.
Comedian Jackie Mason. $25 to $60. Wednesday, December 1.
Fiddler on the Roof. Classic American musical, spawned hit songs “If I were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Sunrise, Sunset.” Also, Saturday, December 4. $22 to $52. Friday, December 3.
CONTACT. Winner of Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Choreography, this dance musical is divided into three sub-stories. Also, February 5. $22-$52. Thursday, February 3.
Carmen, by Opera Verdi Europa, Nothing can tame the gypsy Carmen, opera’s independent femme fatale, presented in the original French with English supertitles. $25-$50. Friday, February 11.
Bill Cosby. The world-famous comedian delivers his unique brand of comedy, drawn from everyday life experiences. $49. Saturday, February 26.
Rent. Based on Puccini’s opera “La Boheme,” “Rent” is a Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning Broadway musical set in New York’s East Village. Also, March 3. $22-$52. Wednesday, March 2.
The Invisible Man, The Aquila Theater Company performs H.G. Wells’ classic. $16 Thursday, April 7.
Smokey Joe’s Cafe. The greatest hits of the 1950s and 1960s are on the menu at “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” celebrating the music of pioneering rock ‘n’ roll songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Also, Saturday, May 7. $22 to $52. Friday, May 6.
Hamilton Murray Theater, Princeton University, 609-258-1742. www.theatreintime.org.
Fair Game, Scandal, spirits, and seduction govern the lives of five individuals tied to the presidential campaign. Through September 25. $10. Thursday, September 16.
Rumors, Neil Simon’s comedy about life in the suburbs. Through October 16. $10. Thursday, October 7.
The Real Thing, Tom Stappard’s comedy about deception. Through November 13. $10. Thursday, November 4.
Student Playwrights’ Festival, Original student work showcased. Through December 4. $10. Thursday, December 2.
Freshman One-Act Festival, One-act plays showcased. Through February 5. $10. Thursday, February 3.
A Chorus Line. A musical collaboration about Broadway dancers by Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, Marvin Hamlisch, and Edward Kleban. Co-production with Princeton University Players. Through February 26. $10. Thursday, February 17.
Cymbeline, Shakespeare’s tale of two lovers torn apart. Co-production with Princeton Shakespeare Company. Through April 2. $10. Thursday, March 24.
The Bald Soprano and The Chairs, Eugene Ionesco’s social commentaries. Through April 16. $10. Thursday, April 7.
Hannah and Martin, Drama about Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt and her lover, Martin Heidegger. Through May 28. $10. Thursday, May 26.
Algonquin Arts Theater, 171 Main Street, Manasquan, 732-345-1400 www.trtc.org.
Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Preview performance of a farce by Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo. Runs through Sunday, October 17. $24 to $34 Thursday, September 30.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane. Preview performance of a Tony Award winning comedy by Martin McDonagh. Opening night is Saturday, January 22. Runs through Sunday, February 6. $24 to $29. Thursday, January 20.
The Syringa Tree. Preview performance of a Obie Award winning tale about growing up in apartheid South Africa. Opening night is Saturday, March 26. Runs through Sunday, April 10. $24 to $34. Thursday, March 24.
Two River Theater, 21 Bridge Street, Red Bank, 732-345-1400 www.trtc.org.
You Can’t Take it With You, Preview performance of the Pulitzer Prize comedy which opens the company’s new theater. Opening night is Saturday, May 7. Runs through Sunday, May 22. $24 to $34. Thursday, May 5.
475 DeMott Lane, Somerset, 732-873-2710 www.villagerstheatre.com.
Moon Over Buffalo, Farce by Ken Ludwig centers around the cast and crew of a repertory theater in 1950s Buffalo. Through October 3. $16. Friday, September 17.
Once on This Island, Musical by Lynn Ahrens and Steven Flaherty. Through November 21. $14. Friday, October 29.
The World Goes Round: The Songs of Kander & Ebb, Musical revue conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Strohman, and David Thompson. Through March 20. $14. Friday, February 25.
The Miracle Worker, Drama about Helen Keller and her teacher by William Gifson. Through May 1. $14. Friday, April 15.
Oliver!, Musical by Lionel Bart. Through June 26. $14. Friday, June 3.
Art, Drama by Yasmina Reza. Through October 23. $14. Friday, October 8.
Side Man, Drama by Warren Leight. Through February 12. $14. Friday, January 28.
A Skull in Connemara, Drama by Martin McDonah. Through May 28. $14. Friday, May 13.
Gemini, Comedy by Albert Innaurato. Through July 23. $14. Friday, July 8.
For the complete calendar events in central New Jersey, go to www.princetoninfo.com/us1evts.htm
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