Spotlight on New Jersey's Stages - Fall 2017
Now in Its 55th Season
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is known for its summer performances of the Bard, but did you know they also offer a year-round calendar of classics geared for contemporary audiences? Here's one to see: Shakespeare in Love, based on the screenplay of the Oscar-winning film, running October 11-November 12. Featuring music, colorful characters and a "feisty dog"! On the campus of Drew University in Madison.
Nearly 100, and still going strong! The Summit Playhouse, New Jersey's oldest continually running community theater, is staging The Bridges of Madison County (based on the novel of the same title) during the first three weekends in November. Founded in 1918 as a WWI relief organization, the historic playhouse has mounted over 300 productions.
3 Regional Theatre Tony Award Winners
New Jersey is justifiably proud of its three Regional Theatre Tony Award recipients: McCarter Theatre (1994), Crossroads Theatre (1999) and Paper Mill Playhouse (2016). This fall, McCarter (Princeton) is staging Simpatico (September 8-October 15) by the recently deceased playwright Sam Shepard, and Paper Mill (Millburn) and Crossroads (New Brunswick/Edison) are offering up world premieres: The Honeymooners and The Mecca Tales, respectively.
America's 6th Largest PAC
You can always count on the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark for an exciting calendar of live music, comedy, dance, theater and speakers. This world-class entertainment destination presents a hilarious evening with the Tony Award-winning Nathan Lane on October 21. Lane will share behind-the-scenes stories after a screening of his big-screen hit, The Birdcage.
For the Youngest Theater Lovers
Thanks to The Growing Stage in Netcong, young audiences can get their first taste of live theater. Billed as "The Children's Theatre of New Jersey," The Growing Stage says "Be Our Guest" this fall by presenting the popular musical, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, October 6-29.
A "Taste" of Theater
Does live theater make you a little hungry? For the classic pairing of "dinner and a show," head for the hills—the Hunterdon Hills Playhouse, that is. The Hampton venue combines Neil Simon's "madcap Mad Men" comedy Come Blow Your Horn with a full-course meal, September 12-October 12.
Over One Dozen Equity Theaters
For a small state, New Jersey has an amazing number of equity theaters, ranging from Cape May Stage to Two River Theatre (Red Bank). This fall, Centenary Stage Company (Hackettstown) is staging Moliere's The Learned Ladies (October 6-22). Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre (Summit) offers the New Jersey premiere of Every Brilliant Thing (September 21-October 8).
New Jersey's "Broadway"
Sure, you could fight the traffic and crowds to go to a Broadway show in New York—or you could just go to the historic 1926 building (with original restored 3/8 Kimball theatre pipe organ) in South Jersey that houses the Broadway Theatre of Pitman. On the heels of Shrek, The Musical (closing October 8), the theatre will stage Return of the Phantom: A New Musical on October 27-November 19. See what happens 20 years later…
100 Seats or Less
For an intimate theater experience, visit Dover Little Theatre (Dover, 100 seats), Mill Hill Playhouse, home of Passage Theatre Company, (Trenton, 100 seats) or Luna Stage (West Orange, 99 seats). Dover is mounting two Halloween-appropriate plays in October (Sweeney Todd and Zombeo and Juliet). Passage Theatre Company and Luna Stage are co-producing the provocative Paradise, starring Grant Shaud, who you might remember for his iconic role on the TV show Murphy Brown. Paradise runs at Mill Hill October 5-22 and at the Luna Stage on November 2-19.
4 World Premieres
It's a big season for world premieres in the Garden State, starting with the funny, poignant F Theory, mounted by the New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch), now through September 24. The Honeymooners is transformed from classic sitcom to a stage musical at the Paper Mill Playhouse (Millburn), September 28-October 29, and the East Lynne Theater Company (Cape May) performs A Year in the Trenches (September 20-October 14), inspired by the New Jersey WWI experience. Wrapping up the fall season of premieres is The Mecca Tales from Crossroads Theatre Company, November 9-12 at Middlesex County College in Edison.
New Brunswick's Stages, 1921 to 2019
New Brunswick has its own "theater district" with the State Theatre, located in a 1921 restored vaudeville/silent film house, and George Street Playhouse, which has announced it will open a new state-of-the-art theater for its 2019-20 season. This fall, see I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at George Street, October 10-November 12. And, of course, you must see Jersey Boys in the state that made it possible! (Playing at the State Theatre, October 13-15.)