Montclair High School Girls Volleyball: A Force To Be Reckoned With All Season

BY  |  Monday, Nov 13, 2017 11:45am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The 14 seniors on the Montclair High School girls’ volleyball team had been waiting for this season since their freshmen year.

Sure enough, their high school volleyball finale was nothing short of gratifying.

The Mounties finished the season with a winning 15-9 season, a run in the Super Essex County Tournament and a bid to the NJSIAA State Tournament. Montclair defeated North 13th Street Tech, 2-1, in the first round of the Essex County Tournament to advance to the second round.

“I think we’re incredibly fortunate that most of the team, the majority of it, have been on the team or in the program since freshmen year, so we’ve all come up through the four years together,” senior middle hitter Rebecca Herrick said. “Coming into the season, we were all at such a point where we were so connected and in tune with each other that I feel like everybody’s been waiting for this year since we were freshmen.”

Montclair was a force to be reckoned with all season long, using their veteran experience to propel them to one of their most successful seasons in recent years in which they received the No. 7 seed in the county tournament, the highest seed the program has received in head coach Pamela Reilly’s five-year tenor. Continue Reading

Luna Stage Kicks Off 25th Season With “Paradise”

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 25, 2017 12:30pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

“Paradise” at Luna Stage.

With a dream of transforming a community through theatre, Jane Mandel founded Luna Stage from her Montclair living room in 1992.

What began as just a group of women working out of Mandel’s home has now grown into a professional theatre that has contributed to over 50 new works and received several state-wide accolades as it enters its 25th season with the production of “Paradise” opening on Nov. 2.

“It’s just so wonderful that it’s the 25th anniversary,” Mandel said. “I’m proud of the fact that the work kept going and our mission has been continually realized. It makes me feel really good and I hope that we’re bringing something of value to our state, to our neighborhoods and to the people that make up our audience.”

Luna Stage prides itself on being “a home for the adventurous theatre goer” as their productions are thought-provoking and highlight diverse perspectives in society.

“I’m a big believer in theater, I think every community should have a theatre,” Mandel said. “With all this technology, everything is digital… the theatre is still alive, with human activity where we get to meet face to face and communicate with each other, which I think is very important and I hope it will always be there as an art form.”

“The play is about a young Yemeni-American woman who dreams of being a scientist and her rather disgruntled biology teacher at her high school in the Bronx,” artistic director Cheryl Katz said. “They each have their own personal burdens that they are carrying and they come together to try to do an experiment together in hope of getting her a scholarship, but conflicts arise because of her own personal situations, because of religion, culture and just the boundaries of mentorship and they each end up affecting each other’s life in a way that they hadn’t imagined possible.”

Lily Balsen and Grant Shaud

The play casts ’90s television star, Grant Shaud, best-known for playing Miles on the CBS sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Shaud will perform alongside Lily Balsen, a Middlebury College graduate who has toured internationally in a solo adaptation of “The Secret Life of Bees” and owns several New York City Theatre credits.

“It’s a beautiful play, it’s very intelligent and it’s full of a lot of humor,” Katz said. “I think this play sort of gets to the essence and core of what makes us humans.

“But certainly we’re living in a time where people have a lot of strong feelings about the Islamic culture and might not have a lot of knowledge to accompany those feelings and I think that this character is really complex and very human, full of strength, full of weakness and I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to gain a window into a culture and a faith through the particular lens of this girl that we otherwise wouldn’t have an opportunity to experience,” she added.

“Paradise” opens at Luna Stage on 555 Valley Road, West Orange on Thursday, Nov. 2 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 19. The running time is approximately two hours with intermission. Tickets for the show can purchased online at

Montclair High School Girl Soccer: Anything But A Kick and Run Team

BY  |  Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017 12:45pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

The Montclair High School Girls’ soccer team might start four or five freshman on the field come game days.

Still, despite their lack of experience, the young squad is dominating with a 10-3 record and won Super Essex Conference American Division Title, going undefeated in seven games.

Now, coming off a 5-0 win over Columbia in their last regular season game, the Mounties are seeded No. 2 in the county tournament with the drive to win it all.

Junior captain Jillian O’Toole. Photo: Mark Keith Adams

“I think we have a lot of talent. We have a lot of young players this year and I think we’re doing well, but at the same time there’s always room for improvement,” junior captain Jillian O’Toole said. “Each game I feel like we’re getting better and we’re connecting more.”

Montclair added two freshmen this year from high level clubs in forward Claire Manning and Sydney Masur in the midfield. The rookie pair has combined for eight goals on the season.

“No one is more persistent than Claire Manning,” head coach Eric Weintraub said. “Sydney Masur knows the game well and will continue to be a huge asset throughout playoffs.” Continue Reading

Wyclef Jean Visits Montclair To Talk About Carnival III and A Homecoming Performance at Wellmont Theater

BY  |  Monday, Oct 16, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Eight years following the release of his last full-length album, New Jersey rapper and producer Wyclef Jean discussed the release of his latest work, Carnival III, at the Wellmont Theater on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee is the final album of the Carnival trilogy, The Carnival and The Carnival Vol. II: Memoirs of an Immigrant.

“The Carnival III is a reinvention of 1997 and 2017,” Jean said. “The whole idea with this album is to cross the old generation with the new generation.”

Jean, a three-time Grammy winner, explained that while he’s still a “hardware guy” that loves to pick up original instruments, he has also developed skills in audio-engineering. As a result, Carnival III merges “hardware” with “software,” representing a combination of 1997 and 2017.
Carnival III features contributions from Emeli Sande, Lunch Money Lewis, Supah Mario and the Knocks.

Continue Reading

Montclair High School Boys Soccer Report: Team Chemistry, Leadership and A Deep Bench

BY  |  Friday, Oct 13, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

This season, Montclair High School boys’ soccer is settling for nothing less than its best.

Currently sitting at 8-1-1 and second place in the Super Essex Conference American Division, the Mounties are experiencing massive success throughout their regular season but are still looking to get even better come championship season.

“We’re playing well but the truth of the matter is, all of us think we can still be playing better,” head coach Toure Weaver said. “In my mind it’s a good thing that we still haven’t peaked yet and we’re still winning games, but now it’s kind of the time to really lock in and focus on details and get ready for all of these tournaments coming up.”

Montclair closed out its regular season this week at Glen Ridge before heading into the Super Essex Conference Tournament and the County and State Tournaments.

“Right now our record is really good, we’re scoring lots of goals and they’re barely scoring on us,” senior captain Ethan Schwartz said. “Our coach is really grinding, he’s the reason we have all of the success we have. We have the key pieces but he’s putting the puzzle together. He’s working non-stop day and night trying to make us better and we’re trying to do the same.” Continue Reading

Montclair High School Girls’ Field Hockey: Getting Better Every Day As A Team

BY  |  Friday, Sep 29, 2017 12:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Montclair High School girls’ field hockey team (3-1-3) has one clear goal in mind this season – to get one percent better each and every day.

“I think that with this group of girls, we’re all trying to be one percent better in every single way possible whether it be with communication or our skills etc.,” senior captain Jen Heath said. “I think that once we put all those things together, we’ll really get better as a team.”

MHS Sosi Korian (#6) and Sam Van Siclen (#5)

Despite graduating a large and dominant senior class last year, the Mounties have proven to be contenders, notching three wins and recording three ties so far this season. Montclair suffered its only loss of the season to the defending National Champions West Essex.

“Our goal is to get better every day,” head coach Mary Pat Mercuro said. “It’s not necessarily winning a certain amount of games or winning a county or state tournament, but it’s getting better. If you just keep getting better, you’ve already won, that’s our philosophy.”

Montclair earned one of its most exciting wins against crosstown rival, Montclair Kimberly Academy on Monday, Sept. 11 in a 2-1 overtime victory.

While the Cougars grabbed the first point of the contest, Mounties junior Sosi Korian put in the tying mark off a feed from senior forward Sam Van Siclen to push the game into overtime. It was the overtime period when Montclair truly shined, dominating the Cougars with shots until Van Siclen fired in the game-winner after beating the defender in a one-on-one situation. Continue Reading

NJ 11th For Change Meet With Hillary Clinton Fans At Watchung Booksellers

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017 3:55pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

One thousand Montclair locals lined up outside Watchung Booksellers to receive an autograph from Hillary Clinton, while others waited outside just to catch a glimpse of her on Tuesday night.

Along the lines, NJ 11th For Change volunteers were hard at work, advocating for voter registration and providing information on Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen’s voting record and about the other candidates running against him in the next election.

“(NJ 11th for Change) is a group of constituents of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of the 11th district, who are committed to helping him move on to the next phase of his life, which may be retirement,” said Lori Heninger of the NJ 11th for Change steering committee. “We want to help him move on because he does not represent the constituents of the 11th district. It’s very clear, we’ve done polling and because he’s the head of the appropriations committee, votes a very straight republican line which really reflects the Trump positions.”

The organization is a grassroots coalition that promotes political transparency and that has received local attention for their efforts in working to have Frelinghuysen hold a town hall meeting.

The NJ 11th for Change volunteers could be easily spotted by their signature purple gear, handing out informative brochures, stickers and even pocket copies of the Constitution, which turned out to be a hit among the younger demographic at the event.

Heninger couldn’t contain her happiness for the amount of children that asked her for a copy of the Constitution.

“We handed a whole bunch out to kids, kids were really interested and it was wonderful,” Heninger said. “Civics is not taught anymore, it’s Social Studies now, so there’s not the same immersion in U.S. government and the Constitution… the Constitution is the backbone of the United States… and I think that giving out the Constitution to people is a way to reinforce what the United States is about.” Continue Reading

Merchant of Venice Comes to Montclair State’s Peak Performances

BY  |  Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017 9:06am


With five different actors playing the infamous character of Shylock, director Karin Coonrod is excited to bring her Compagnia de Colombari in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice to Peak Performances at Montclair State University’s Alexander Kasser Theatre, opening today (Tuesday, Sept. 19) through Sunday, Oct. 1.

Coonrod brings The Merchant of Venice to Montclair after her company performed it in Venice, Italy last year on the stones of the Jewish Ghetto of Venice to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the ghetto’s founding in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

“Now we’re coming into a theatre with all of what we did in the ghetto, but we did not build a set, so our set in the Peak Performances is very very simple,” Coonrod said. “So we’ve really opened up the theatre to show just certain things… for instance we don’t have projections of the ghetto or things like that, so it’s very anti-romantic. I think the play is anti-romantic and so our production is anti-romantic, there’s no piece of romance in it.”

Coonrod describes The Merchant of Venice as a play with an incendiary reputation in which everybody has a dark heart while showing the mendacity of the mainstream culture.

“So the play has a lot of different themes in it and wants to be about love and that sort of thing and in fact it kind of gets derailed from that because everybody has so much self-interest and greed in a way,” Coonrod said.

Coonrod’s interpretation of the play is unique in her decision to have five different actors of different races, nationalities and genders to play Shylock, the Jewish moneylender and the play’s main antagonist.

“I have chosen to have that role played by five actors and they’re five very different actors who each play one of the five scenes and they come together at two moments in the play,” Coonrod said. “One is the sort of pivotal point that unhinges the play in a way and the other is a surprise towards the end.

“First of all the variety gives us a community of Shylock, we see an older black woman, we see an older man from Urugay, we see a Jewish middle-aged man, we see a middle-aged man from India, we see a man from Trinidad,” she said. “The five Shylock’s, the first one is a businessman, the second one is a father, the third one is the mother – a single parent, the fourth one is the widower and the fifth one is the killer, that’s how I’ve divided them up so that you can see all these different aspects of the character.”

The five different Shylock’s in the play can be identified with a gold sash that will be around the actor’s core.

“It is really a joy to see it not interpreted by one person,” Coonrod said. “We need to shake things up and we’re entering into this play in a way that is surprising and will have the most pay off, I think.”

The play will run two hours with no intermission and is free to all Montclair State undergraduates and $20 for all others.
Click here for more information on The Merchant of Venice at Montclair State University’s Peak Performances.

Montclair Woman’s Body Image Journey Chronicled in “Shed the Shame”

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 14, 2017 3:00pm

Montclair’s Junie Moon Schreiber hit a low point about 15 years ago. She was afraid to the leave the house or put on a bathing suit because she felt such self-hatred and self-shame toward her body.

That’s why Schreiber even shocked herself when she agreed to let renowned painter Andy Golub paint her naked body and then turned the experience into a film called “Shed the Shame” for everyone to see.

“(The film) is my journey as a woman, in this culture, hearing the lies about what beauty is and isn’t and getting injured by those messages and how I’ve done a lot of healing of myself and transformation,” Schreiber said. “In this film I share the journey and I get naked and body painted… to get that message out there that healing is possible, we don’t have to hold onto our shame, those messages are lies and women are beautiful in all shapes and sizes.”

Schreiber released her nine-minute mini-documentary on YouTube last year and recently debuted it at the Newark Independent Film Festival on Friday, Sept. 8. Continue Reading

Forget Tiny Houses – Colectivo Workshop Has A Tiny, But Mighty Montclair Mobile Office

BY  |  Friday, Sep 08, 2017 10:15am

Lately, the streets of Montclair have been visited by a big open box truck equipped with desk space, a projector, television, lights, internet access and windows that’s parked in different spots around Montclair throughout the day.

That’s the Colectivo Workshop, designed and owned by local resident Alex Nunez, to be a collective workshop space for any artists to come by and use free of charge.

Nunez uses the truck as his personal office and welcomes anyone to use the space for their freelance projects in a collective setting where the different artists can collaborate amongst each other, trade ideas and network. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Sad. Let's hope that this is not its "Last Tango." One of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in town. Valentino, Garbo, Keaton must have played there.

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