On Stage: Assassins, Henry IV, Lots More

Some popular shows are finishing their runs while new productions are getting ready to open

One week a bunch of new shows are opening, and before you know it, they're all getting ready to finish their runs.

This weekend marks your last chance to see "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" by Chester Theatre Group, "Southern Comforts" by the Women's Theatre Co. and "The Crucible" at Brundage Park Playhouse.

The curtain will also soon be coming down on Dover Little Theatre's "Company" and Chatham Community Players' "Cabaret."

But new shows are on their way. "Assassins" opens at the Barn Theatre this weekend and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will open its new season next week with "Henry IV Part I."

There are also plenty of concerts, comedy shows and family presentations to see. Read on to find out all about them.


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.

What Good is Sitting Alone in Your Room When You Can Go See "Cabaret:" conclude their 90th season with "Cabaret," running through May 19. The classic musical is set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power and Sally Bowles, a performer at the Kit Kat Klub, starts a relationship with Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer. The cast includes Katherine LeFevre as Sally and John Sechrist as the Emcee. Tickets cost $25, or $23 for seniors and youths (note: the show is recommended for mature audiences). Click here for tickets. Phone reservations will be accepted starting April 24 at 973-635-7363. The Chatham Playhouse is located at 23 N. Passaic Ave. in Chatham.

Sorry, Didn't Mean to Bug You: The Growing Stage Children's Theater is staging "Diary of A Worm, A Spider, And A Fly" through May 20. The musical was written by Joan Cushing based on the books by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Biss. The world premiere show is for all ages and gives audiences a look at the world from a bug's perspective. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $18, or $14 for seniors and children. For more information, go to GrowingStage.com.

What a Beauty: is staging "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" through May 20 at the Black River Playhouse. The darkly comic story is set in the mountains of Connemara in Ireland, where Maureen Folan is in her 40s and has her first, and maybe last, chance at love. But her potential relationship is threatened by her manipulative mother. The show is directed by Stephen Catron and features Garaldine Baillod, Victoria Steele, Matt Meier, and Dale Monroe. Tickets cost $18, or $16 for seniors and students. The playhouse is located at 54 Grove St. For more information, call 908-879-7304 or go to ChesterTheatreGroup.org.

Southern Hospitality: Women's Theatre Co. is presenting Kathleen Clark's "Southern Comforts" through May 20 at the . The play is about a widower and a widow who try to form a relationship later in life. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. on Sundays. The playhouse is located at 1130 Knoll Road. Tickets cost $20, $18 seniors. For more information, go to WomensTheater.org.

Conjuring Up Some Drama: Brundage Park Playhouse is performing Arthur Miller's "The Crucible" through May 20. Set during the Salem Witch Trials, the play was written in 1952 in response to the red scare and McCarthyism. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on May 18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. on May 20. For more information, call 973-989-7092 or go to BrundageParkPlayhouse.org.

We've Got "Company:" Dover Little Theatre is performing Stephen Sondheim's "Company" through May 20. The concept show follows a bachelor named Robert as he makes his way through a series of encounters with women. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22. For more information, go to DoverLittleTheatre.org.

Laughter on the Fly: The improvisational humor of Off Book is returning to the Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake, with an R-rated show on May 19, beginning at 8 p.m. The show will be directed and hosted by Nick deVries. Audience members are invited to bring props they want to see used by the performers, and suggestions for improv skits. No one under 16 will be admitted. All tickets cost $15. For more information, call 973-691-2100 or go to PaxAmicus.com. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake.

Audition Alert, "Sleeping Beauty:" The Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake will hold an open cast call for "Sleeping Beauty" on May 19 at noon. Auditions are open to young adults, ages 13 to 19. Performances are July 14 and 21, 11 a.m. and selected weekdays at 10 a.m., July 22 through 20. The producers are seeking actors to play a king, a queen, a silly troll, an enchanted prince and a dozen good fairies. A free acting workshop with Stan Barber, the director, is part of the rehearsal period. For more information, call 973-691-2100 or go to PaxAmicus.com. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake.

Chatham Community Players' Annual Meeting: will hold its annual meeting on May 16 at 8 p.m. Representatives will discuss the group's 2011-12 season and next season. The winners of the Dawley and Shipler awards will be recognized. All are welcome–casts, crews and audience members. Punch and desserts will be served after the meeting. Reservations are not necessary. The theater is located 23 N. Passaic Ave. For more information, go to ChathamPlayers.org.

Now We're Cooking: TV chef Lidia Bastianich is coming to on May 17 at 8 p.m. She will discuss her life, career and, of course, food. Tickets cost $42 to $77. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. There will be a book signing following the show. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

A Killer Time: will present "Assassins," the musical by Stephen Sondheim with a book by John Wediman, May 18 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, go to BarnTheatre.org.

They Ain't Just Fiddling Around: Bowfire is coming to on May 18 for an 8 p.m. performance. The lineup features some of the finest fiddle and violin players, who will perform jazz, classic, bluegrass, Celtic music and rock. Tickets cost $37 to $62. 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.

More than Skin Deep at Villagers: "More than Skin Deep," a musical revue to raise awareness and support for The Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related Skin Types, Inc. will take place at Villagers Theatre on May 19 at 8 p.m. The show will feature performances of Broadway songs that deal with differences and overcoming adversity. Tickets cost $20. For reservations and more information, call 732-873-2710 or email boxoffice@villagerstheatre.com.

Love and Dance: New Jersey Ballet will perform "Giselle" on May 19 at 8 p.m. at . Tickets cost $32 to $57. 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 The company will also present two family-friendly performances of "Pinocchio" on May 20, beginning at 1:30 and 4 p.m. The show is for kids ages 4 and up. Tickets cost $12 to $15. 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.

New York Comedy in Newton: The Big Apple Comedy Club is coming to The Newton Theatre for a May 19 performance, beginning at 8 p.m. The bill will feature performances by Tom Cotter (who has appeared on Comedy Central's "Premium Blend," "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," and "Last Comic Standing); Michele Balan ("Last Comic Standing"); Moody McCarthy ("Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Last Comic Standing); and Jessica Kirson. Tickets cost $20 to $25. The theater is located at 234 Spring St. in Newton. For more information, call 973-383-3700 or go to TheNewtonTheatre.com.

Court Will Be in Session: The Brook Arts Center in Bound Brook will present a concert titled "Court Celebration" on May 19 at 8 p.m. The evening will feature a reunion of bands who often played at The Court Tavern in New Brunswick, which closed its doors earlier this year after more than 30 years. Bands playing include The Wooden Soldiers and the Blisters, an art show in the lobby and DJs. Tickets cost $10. For more information, go to BrookArts.org.

Wise Men Say, Go See Jesse Garron: Jesse Garron (AKA "The Closest Thing to the King") will bring the music and style of Elvis Presley to Newton Theatre on May 20, 3 p.m. Backed by the Jesse Garon Band, Garron will recreate moments from Elvis' 1968 comeback special and the "Aloha From Hawaii" special, as well as other hits from the '50s, '60s and '70s. The theater is located at 234 Spring St. in Newton. Tickets cost $22 to $25. For more information, go to TheNewtonTheatre.com.

Audition Alert, Pixie Dust Players Summer Season: Pixie Dust Players will be holding auditions for its summer season on May 20 and 21 at, 10 New England Ave. in Summit. The group will be casting for "Winnie the Pooh," a 30-minute show with music and many featured parts. Kids ages 5 to 12 who love to sing, dance and act are being sought.  Rehearsals will be held Sundays through Tuesdays, 4 to 7 p.m., beginning June 4. Performances are July 12 through 15.

The group is also casting "Into the Woods Jr.," based on the Stephen Sondheim musical. Strong singers and actors ages 10 to 18 are being sought. Rehearsals are Sundays through Thursdays, 7 to 10 p.m., beginning June 4.  Performance dates are July 26 through 29.

The third show of the season is "The People Garden," running Aug. 2 through 5, with rehearsals beginning June 3. Kids ages 6 to 12 (4-foot-10 and shorter) who love to sing, dance and act.  For more information, or to sign up for an audition, go to PixieDustPlayers.com.

Young Playwrights Festival: will present staged readings of the winning plays of the 2012 NJ Young Playwrights Festival on May 21 and 22 at 7 p.m. Junior high school and elementary school plays will be performed on May 21, and high school plays will be performed on May 22. The readings will feature professional actors and directors and reservations can be made by calling 973-514-1787, ext. 21 or by email at njypf@ptnj.org. Admission to the readings is free, but reservations are required, as seating is limited.

Audition Alert, "Spring Awakening:" Villagers Theatre is holding auditions for "Spring Awakening" on May 28 and 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-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 features 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-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.

Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2012-13 Season: announced that "A Chorus Line" will open its 2012-13 season, running Oct. 3 to Oct. 28. Next up with be "The Sound of Music" (Nov. 23 to Dec. 30), followed by Ken Ludwig's comedy "Lend Me a Tenor" Feb. 13 to March 10. The musical "Thoroughly Modern Millie" will be performed April 10 through May 5, and the season will finish with Disney's "The Little Mermaid," May 29 through June 30. Meanwhile the current season will conclude with "One on this Island," May 30 through June 24. For more information, go to PaperMill.org.

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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