Flower Children Take Center Stage At Montclair State’s “Hair”

BY  |  Saturday, May 02, 2015 7:35am

hair-web.jpg.thumbnail.488xWar is bad. Drugs are good. At least, according to the 1960s.

In case you need anymore convincing, you should probably see James Rado, Gerome Ragni, and Galt MacDermot’s “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” at Montclair State University’s Memorial Auditorium, which is directed by Gary John La Rosa and presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance and the John J. Cali School of Music. The self-aware musical, often acknowledging that it is indeed a performance for an audience, premiered on Wednesday, April 29, which is the same date it opened on Broadway in 1968. Continue Reading

Catch The New Play Festival, Free, at MSU

BY  |  Saturday, Feb 21, 2015 7:51am

new playThe New Play Festival, presented by the Department of Theater and Dance at Montclair State University, is underway for the second year. It kicked things off on February 19 with a staged reading of “Grace, or The Art of Climbing”, a piece written by Lauren Feldman and directed and performed by Peter Zazzali, a faculty member at the University of Kansas.

Heather Benton, one of the curators of the New Play Festival next to Debbie Saivetz, introduced the play by saying that the festival “gives the students a chance to work with playwrights that are on the rise and making a splash. It is an ongoing discovery.”

Other plays in the festival include the following: Continue Reading

MSU Explores Love, Relationships With “Wintertime”

BY  |  Saturday, Dec 06, 2014 12:02pm


The Department of Theatre and Dance and the L. Howard Fox Theatre at Montclair State University brings audiences “Wintertime,” by Charles Mee. “Wintertime,” directed by Heather Benton, explores and praises the beauty and questions of love while also criticizes the heartbreak and stress it can put on people. Continue Reading

Before Les Miserables and Rent, There Was The Threepenny Opera

BY  |  Saturday, Nov 15, 2014 8:24am

3-penny-opera.png.thumbnail.488xThe first Department of Theatre and Dance and John J. Cali School of Music production to take place in the Alexander Kasser Theater since the 10th anniversary celebration is The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht and directed by Mark Hardy. It is based on John Gay’s ballad opera The Beggar’s Opera.

The story follows Jonathan Peachum (John Caliendo) and his wife (Shannon Molly Flynn), Bible-quoting owners of a “business” that trains beggars to, well, beg, as evidenced by the first scene when Filch (Chris Newhouse) comes crying for their assistance. They are distraught that their only daughter, Polly, played by junior Victoria Palin, one of the cast’s strongest voices and stage presences, has married the womanizing, notorious London criminal Macheath, or “Mack the Knife”, the lead character portrayed by junior Darius Jordan Lee, after only knowing him for a few days. Because of this, they enlist police commissioner Jackie “Tiger” Brown (Christopher Cherin) to arrest and hang Macheath for his many crimes, but Brown is constantly torn between his lifelong friendship with Macheath and his prestige as a police chief. Continue Reading

Clybourne Park, Still Relevant, Deftly Explores Race, Class

BY  |  Saturday, Oct 18, 2014 8:55am

Clybourne ParkMontclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance and director Susan Kerner delivers a hit with Clybourne Park, exploring race, class and the tensions that arise, now through October 19 at the L. Howard Fox Studio Theater.

Inspired by watching the 1961 film version of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun in seventh grade and also basing his piece on events Hansberry’s parents actually endured, playwright Bruce Norris wrote Clybourne Park as a response to the classic. He expands the story beforehand and afterward, with Karl Lindner from A Raisin in the Sun as a prime character. The award-winning play received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2011 and the Tony Award for Best Play in 2012. Continue Reading

Beyond Imagination with “Imagining O”

BY  |  Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 7:48am

PLEASE NOTE: this production contains nakedness and adult themes.

What happens when you mix Shakespeare with Story of O, the erotic tome of dominance and submission? You get Peak Performances latest offering, the world premiere of Richard Schechner’s “Imagining O.”

The Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University celebrates its 10th anniversary with the avante-garde work dubbed exhilirating and erotic by the New York Times. Presented by East Coast Artists, a female cast runs the world premiere of “Imagining O”, which is co-directed by Benjamin Mosse. The theater gets a workout as the audience never sits in the house once. An owl (a man wearing a dress and an owl mask) leads the audience throughout the whole theater, including backstage and outside.

Explore Your Imaginations with “Imagining O”
Continue Reading

Studio Playhouse Takes On Spring Awakening

BY  |  Sunday, Jun 08, 2014 11:40am

Pubescent German boys stomping out their sexual frustrations in unison on a stage can only mean one thing – Spring Awakening is now finally playing at Studio Playhouse.

A winner of eight Tony Awards, Spring Awakening celebrates the unforgettable journey from youth to adulthood. Directed by Claudia Budris, and based on the play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, the rock musical is the final installment of Studio Players’ season.

The boys, left to right: Georg (Joseph Tible), Otto (Calvin Rezen), Moritz (Chris Newhouse), Hanschen (Danny Sims), Melchior (Robert Peterpaul) and Ernst (Nick Bissel)

The boys, left to right: Georg (Joseph Tible), Otto (Calvin Rezen), Moritz (Chris Newhouse), Hanschen (Danny Sims), Melchior (Robert Peterpaul) and Ernst (Nick Bissel)

Set in Germany, 1891, the story centers on young radical bookworm and writer Melchior Gabor (Robert Peterpaul), who is ahead of his peers in sexual knowledge because of his reading. He constantly challenges the status quo of the conservative upbringing he and the rest of the adolescents receive from their parents and teachers in their 19th century provincial town. Melchior receives blame from authority when his friends’ developments go awry, when it’s the elders who are really at fault.
Continue Reading

Time Flies During “The Big Meal”

BY  |  Saturday, May 03, 2014 4:25pm

big-meal.png.thumbnail.488xNicole is a waitress not looking for a serious relationship, but after she meets Sam during one of her shifts, everything changes…

Directed by Susan Kerner, Montclair State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance brings Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal to the L. Howard Fox Theatre stage, which for this production is set up as a theater-in-the-round.

The extremely fast paced play stars Montclair’s Acting majors and takes place entirely in a restaurant. After Sam and Nicole meet, their relationship takes off quicker than they expect and they are soon greeted by children Robbie and Maddie seconds after they refuse to have kids.

The casting is clever. Continue Reading

Mistaken Identity, Love Triangles and More: Importance of Being Earnest At Montclair’s Studio Playhouse

BY  |  Monday, Mar 17, 2014 2:00pm

importance of being earnest

What do you get when you have a man with a dual identity, his friend with a dual identity of his own, and throw in two young women and an authoritative society? A comedic play of Shakespearean proportions.

Oscar Wilde’s most popular play The Importance of Being Earnest opened March 14 at the intimate Studio Playhouse in Upper Montclair and will be playing until March 29.

Penned by Oscar Wilde, the play follows the classic Shakespeare comedy flow of mistaken identity, apparent love triangles, consistent play on words, as evidenced by the title itself, and the possibility of a wedding or two. Continue Reading

Looking For Angels In Montclair

BY  |  Thursday, Dec 19, 2013 4:00pm  |  COMMENTS (22)

judy toma mediumStand still. Close your eyes. Clear your mind. Take deep breaths. Connect your Third Eye, heart and soul to the heavens and the angels. Ask a question. Did an unknown force push you forward? Chances are the angels are answering your question with a “Yes.”

The “Third Eye” term refers to an eye that sees beyond the physical. This activity, which utilizes your inner pendulum, is one of many techniques certified medium and psychic Judy Toma utilizes. Continue Reading

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I'm struck by how much attention is being paid to the details of a parking lot, as opposed to the attention paid to the future impact of the monstrous projects being planned.

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