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It's Time to Laugh It Up at the Theater

Comedy takes center stage

North Jersey’s theater groups are aiming to tickle your funny bone.

Farces, comedies and even laugh-filled children’s shows are being performed throughout the area over the next few weeks.

In the coming weeks, fans of Ken Ludwig can choose between “Moon Over Buffalo” at Dover Little Theatre or “Lend Me a Tenor” at the Barn Theatre. Somerset Valley Players is staging “Sly Fox,” and Villagers Theatre is offering “A Flea in Her Ear,” a French farce.

Meanwhile, Chester Theatre Group is presenting the musical “By Jeeves” based on the comedic stories by P.G. Wodehouse. Growing Stage children’s theater is readying “Seussical” for the whole family, and the Mayo Performing Arts Center will host standup comic Mike Birbiglia in “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend.”

But you’re not out of luck if you’re in the mood for something more dramatic. Summit Playhouse is continuing its run of “All My Sons” and Chatham Community Players is presenting “Grapes of Wrath.”

Read the On Stage Scoop to find out about more live performances taking place near you. Seriously.

The Scoop runs every Tuesday.

ON STAGE SCOOP

Family Drama: is presenting Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” through March 10. The 1947 play is set during World War II and follows the Keller family, as son Chris discovers that his father, Joe, is a war profiteer who let his partner go to jail after their firm manufactured defective airplane parts. Tickets cost $20, $15 students. For more information, go to SummitPlayhouse.org.

The Butler Did It: will is hosting Andrew Lloyd Webber's and Alan Ayckbourn’s “By Jeeves,” with a run continuing through March 11 at the Black River Playhouse, located at the corner of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester. The show is based on the Jeeves stories by P.G. Wodehouse and follows the dimwitted Bertie (played by Jeff Jackson) and his smarter manservant Jeeves (Bob Longstreet). Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on March 11 and 18. Tickets cost $24, $22 seniors/students. For more information, call 908-879-7304 or visit ChesterTheatreGroup.org.

Dust Bowl Drama: are performing Frank Galati’s Tony-winning adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath,” through March 17 at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave. The classic story is set during the Great Depression as the Joad family leaves Oklahoma for California, hoping a better life awaits them. The cast is led by Dale Monroe from Hackettstown as Tom, Debbie Bernstein from Maplewood as Ma and Tom Hodge from Denville as Pa. Tickets cost $20,  $18 for seniors and youths. For tickets and information, visit ChathamPlayers.org or call 973-635-7363.

Crazy as a Fox: is performing “Sly Fox” through March 18 at the Players’ Playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road. The comedy by Larry Gelbert is about greed in the Old West as a miser pretends to die in an attempt to fleece his phony friends of their goal. Tickets cost $15, or $13 for seniors and students. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or visit SVPTheatre.org.

Not Quite Pure as Snow: Pax Amicus Castle Theatre is presenting “Slush,” a very adult version of Snow White, through March 17. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on March 10 and 17 and at 2 p.m. on March 11. All tickets cost $15. For reservations, call the box office at 973-691-2100.

Laughing It Up in Dover: Ken Ludwig’s “Moon Over Buffalo” is on stage at Dover Little Theatre through March 17. The farce is about Charlotte and George Hay, a less-than-legendary acting couple who come to Buffalo for a performance and learn that the great Frank Capra is headed to see the show. The cast features Claire Bochenek, Judy Bornstein, Lauren Einzig, Dana Matano, Tara Moran, Tim Murphy, Mark Phelan, Thomas Reissner, Brenna Singman and Miguel Vega. For more information, visit DoverLittleTheatre.org.

Looking Back: The Women’s Theatre Co. is staging “The Last Five Years” through March 18 at the Parsippany Playhouse, located at 1130 Knoll Road in Lake Hiawatha (enter Boonton on your GPS). The one-act musical explores the relationship between a rising novelist and a struggling actress. For more information, call 973 316-3033 or visit WomensTheater.org.

Audition Alert, “The Music Man:” The Villagers Theatre is holding auditions for “The Music Man.” Adult auditions will be held on March 7 at 7 p.m. Callbacks will be held by invitation only on March 10 at 3:30 p.m. The production staff is looking to fill roles and to cast a large ensemble of adults, teens and children. Come prepared with 16 bars of a song similar in type to this production’s music; at the request of the director, please do not prepare a song from “The Music Man.” Those auditioning should also be prepared to dance. All roles are open. The Villagers is located in the Franklin Township Municipal Building on DeMott Lane in Somerset. For more information, including a character breakdown, go to VillagersTheatre.com. All questions should be addressed to donna@villagerstheatre.com or roz@villagerstheatre.com.

All You Really Need is Heart: will present the musical classic “Damn Yankees,” with a run beginning March 7 and continuing through April 1. The show, based on the novel “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” is about Joe Boyd, a middle-aged fan of the hapless Washington Senators who makes a deal with the devil that turns Joe into a power-hitting machine so that he can turn his favorite team’s fortunes around. Its songs include “Heart” and “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” For tickets and information, call 973-376-4343 or visit PaperMill.org.

Singing the Blues: Centenary Stage Company will host BluesFest on March 8, 5 to 7 p.m. at The David and Carol Lackland Center for the Performing Arts, 715 Grand Ave. in Hackettstown, on the campus of Centenary College. The lineup will include Roomful of Blues and Blood Sweat and Tears vocalist and harmonica virtuoso Rob Paparozzi, along with The Hudson River Rats, Quimby Mountain Band, the VooDudes, Rhett Tyler, and Johnny Charles and Nasty Ned. There will also be a performance by Amplified Heat on March 8, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Gazebo on Main Street. Tickets for the March 9 performance cost $25 in advance, $30 the day of performance. Tickets for the March 10 performance cost $30 in advance, $35 the day of performance. Tickets can be purchased online at CentenaryStageCo.org or by calling the box office at 908-979-0900.

Oh the Things You’ll See and Hear: The Growing Stage children’s theater will present “Seussical” March 9 to April 1. The musical features characters from several Dr. Seuss books, including “Horton Hears a Who” and “The Cat in the Hat.” Tickets cost $18, $14 seniors and children. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. For tickets and information, call 973-347-4946 or go to GrowingStage.com

Money, It’ll Get You Tickets for The Machine: The Pink Floyd tribute band The Machine will perform at on March 9, 8 p.m. The band promises to play the group’s biggest hits and obscure gems, complete with dramatic lighting and video. Tickets cost $37 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.

From Down Under: The Little River Band will take stage at on March 9 for an 8 p.m. concert. The band formed in Australia in the 1970s and has had hits in the U.S, with songs like “Reminiscing,” “Lady” and “Cool Change.” Tickets cost $37 to $57. The theater is located at 234 Spring St. in Newton For more information, call 973-383-3700 or go to NewtonTheatre.com.

Laughing at Love: Standup comic Mike Birbiglia will present “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” March 10 at 8 p.m. at . In the piece, Birbiglia talks about the romantic blunders and miscues adults make in the search for true love. Tickets cost $37 to $47. 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.

That Folksy Feeling: will host its third annual Garden State Folk and Roots Festival on March 11 at 3 p.m. This year’s concert will feature the country rock of Citizens Band Radio, Southern bluesmen Bobby Barth (of Blackfoot), and Sing Out’s Roger Deitz. Tickets cost $20. 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.

Looking Back: PBS star Avi Hoffman will star in “Still Jewish After All These Years” on March 11 at 2 p.m. at the . Hoffman’s show is billed as a “musical celebration” that takes audiences through the story of his career and life in show business. Tickets cost $30, $28 senior citizens, $20 students 18 or younger with ID. The Bickford is located at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or visit MorrisMuseum.org.

Listen Up: in Madison will kick off this year’s Lend Us Your Ears play reading series with a reading of “Eve of Ides,” a new play by David Blixt on March 12 at 7 p.m. Tickets cost $15, $10 students. Readings are held at the Shakespeare Theatre’s Main Stage, the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Ave. (at Lancaster Road) in Madison.  For tickets or more information, call 973-408-5600 or go to ShakespeareNJ.org.    

School is Cool (and Funny): will host “The Paper Bag Players Laugh, Laugh, Laugh” a musical about the first day of school on March 13 at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $12. 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.

Operatic Laughter: will perform Ken Ludwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor” March 16 through April 1. The farce is set in 1934 as the Cleveland Grand Opera company welcomes the great tenor Tito Morelli, “Il Stupendo,” for one night. After the star passes out, the company’s general manager convinces his assistance to dress up as Morelli and fool the audience, a plan that goes less than smoothly. Performances on March 16, 24, 30, 31 and April 6 and 7, beginning at 8 p.m. Performances on March 17-18, 25 and April 1 begin at 2 p.m. For more information, visit BarnTheatre.org.

French Farce: Villagers Theatre will perform “A Flea in Her Ear” March 16 through April 1. In the play, Raymonde, suspects her husband, Victor Emmanuel, of infidelity. With the help of her best friend, Lucienne, she concocts a plan involving a perfumed letter in order to expose Victor’s dalliance at the Hotel Coq d’Or and confirm her suspicions. Tickets cost $16, or $14 for seniors and students. For more information, call 732-873-2710 or go to VillagersTheatre.com.

Just in Time for St. Patrick’s Day: The Women of Ireland will present traditional Irish music and step dancing, March 17 at . There will be two performances, beginning at 3 and 8 p.m. 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.

International Sounds: will present “Italian Giants and American Icons” on March 18 at 2 p.m. The evening will feature performances of classical and popular music by such Italian and American composers as Puccini, Verdi, Richard Rodgers and Jerome Kern. They will be performed by singers Brian Ernstes, Justyna Giermola, Adelmo Guidarelli, and Risa Renae Harman. Tickets cost $30. The Bickford is located at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or visit MorrisMuseum.org.

It’s Magic: "The Magic School Bus — Live!" is coming to on March 19. There will be three performances, beginning at 10 a.m., 12:15 p.m. and 4 p.m. In the show, Ms. Frizzle takes her class on a musical adventure in which they learn about climate change, the environment, conservation and recycling. Recommended for kids in kindergarten to third grade. Tickets cost $12. 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.

Making Magic Out of Math: “MatheMagic! Starring Bradley Fields” is coming to on March 20 and 21. "Math-magician" Fields captivates students with illusions, tricks and comedy that engage children in math skills and creative problem solving. There are two performances for grades four through seven on March 20 (beginning at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.) and one for kindergarten through third grade on March 21 at 10 a.m. Tickets cost $8. 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.

All That Jazz: ’s Starlight Series will present “Jazz in Starlight” on March 20 at 8 p.m. The performance will feature jazz arrangements of classic and contemporary pop songs performed by vocalist Brynn Stanley and guitarist Grover Kemble. Tickets cost $20. 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.

Summer Camp at Brundage Park Playhouse: Registration is open for summer theater camps at Brundage Park Playhouse in Randolph. The camps offers 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.

Getting in on the Act: The is seeking original, one-act plays, short musicals and/or original dance pieces, written by New Jersey authors, for the 18th annual Jersey Voices presentation. Play submissions of any genre, style and length up to 20 minutes running time will be accepted through March 15. Selected pieces will be performed in the Players’ Black Box Theater in July and August. To email submissions or to request more information, go to jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org.

Summer Camp at Playwrights Theatre: Registration is open for the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey’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, which costs $525 when enrolled before Jan. 31. 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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