By Gretchen C. Van Benthuysen
NJ theaters to produce a variety of shows for the season
Seeing good theater doesn’t mean having to go to New York City.
Two River area residents have plenty of options for tried-and-true standards as well as opportunities to see new work this summer in New Jersey and along the Shore.
Two seasons ago Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn sent “Newsies” to Broadway and it was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning two.
This season “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” went from McCarter Theatre in Princeton to Broadway and earned seven top Tony nominations, including Best Play. The 67th Annual Tony Awards airs June 9 on CBS from Radio City Music Hall.
And, all roads leading to The Great White Way run in both directions.
On June 1, Michael Cumpsty, who has had featured roles in 15 Broadway productions, is at the Two River Theater Company in Noel Coward’s 1939 comedy “Present Laughter.” The Tony nominee (“End of the Rainbow”) may not be a household name, but he’s a highly respected stage actor whose performances are not to be missed. This is his second show at the Red Bank theater.
To add more glitz to the period piece about a debonair matinee idol who is the star of his own life, it’s directed by David Lee, the winner of nine Emmy Awards and a co-creator of “Frasier” and a writer/producer for “Cheers.”
Broadway legend Tommy Tune, billed as the world’s tallest tap dancer, is starring in his one-man show “Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales” on May 26 in a fundraiser for the Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven. He has performed, choreographed, directed or produced 15 Broadway shows.
In 2010 Broadway producer Roy Miller took over the Surflight, which has had a troubled financial history, and used his contacts to bring Judd Hirsch, Cindy Williams, JoAnne Worley, Justin Guarini, Peter Marshall and Dawn Wells to the Beach Haven stage. Maybe he will do the same for some of the four musicals on the schedule this summer.
The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison and Brookdale Community College in Lincroft both are staging comedies by Shakespeare outdoors this summer. Both “Love’s Labor’s Lost” and “As You Like It” are family-friendly. According to the Holmdel Theatre Company’s website, it is staging Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer’s Night Dream” set in a Goodfellow’s/Soprano’s environment. Bada bing!
Paper Mill Playhouse is including a performance on June 26 designed for autistic children during the May 29-June 30 run of the American premiere of a new production of Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” featuring a revamped script, additional songs, and fresh interpretation. The theater environment will be changed for this one performance to accommodate the children’s special needs. For more information, visitwww.papermill. org/about- us/outreach/autism-programs.html.
And a special shout-out to the Spring Lake Community Theatre group which is celebrating it’s 35th season in that shore community with two shows this summer.
Check with the theaters for any changes in the scheduled shows that follow:
NEW JERSEY REPERTORY COMPANY
179 Broadway, Long Branch
Box office: 732-229-3166;
“Happy,” by Robert Caisley, May 30-June 30, a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
“Saving Kitty,” by Marisa Smith, July 25-Aug. 25, a New Jersey premiere
PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE
22 Brookside Drive, Millburn
Box office: 973-376-4343;
“The Little Mermaid,” May 27-June 30, performances Wednesdays through Sundays
SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY
Box office: 973-408-5600;
Tickets: Main stage, $35-$70, outdoor amphitheater, $30, $15 for students (at the door)
At the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, Drew University campus
36 Madison Ave., Madison
“The Playboy of the Western World,” by J.M. Synge, May 29-June 23
“Fallen Angels,” by Noel Coward, July 3-28
“Tovarich,” by Jacques Deval, adapted by Robert E. Sherwood, Aug. 7-25 at the outdoor amphitheater
at the College of St. Elizabeth,
2 Convent Rd., Morristown.
“As You Like It,” by William Shakespeare, June 19-July 28
SURFLIGHT THEATRE COMPANY
201 Engleside Ave., Beach Haven
Box office: (609) 492-9477; www.surflight.org
Tickets: $45, except $75 for “Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales,” May 26, Tommy Tune accompanied by pianist Michael Biagi, benefit performance for the theater.
“The Boy Friend,” music, lyrics and book by Sandy Wilson, May 24-June 16
“George M!” book by Michael Stewart, John and Francine Pascal, music and lyrics by George M. Cohan, June 19-July 7
“South Pacific,” music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan, July 10-28
“Les Miserables,” book by Alain Boublil, and Claude-Michel Schonberg, music by Schonberg and lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, July 31-Aug. 24
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” book, music and lyrics by Clark Gesner, Aug. 28-Sept. 8
TWO RIVER THEATER COMPANY
21 Bridge Ave., Red Bank
Box office: 732-345-1400; www.trtc.org
Tickets: $37, $42 and $57, and $24 for people age 30 and younger
“Present Laughter” by Noel Coward, June 1-23
“Bolero Red Bank,” by Keigwin + Company, June 20-21, dance with a theatrical sensibility
BROOKDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Outdoor on the lawn behind the Performing Arts Center
765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft
Box Office: 732-224-2411; www.brookdalecc.edu/pages/124.asp
“Love’s Labor’s Lost,” by William Shakespeare, July 12-14, 18-21
SHADOW LAWN STAGE
Lauren K. Woods Theater, 400 Cedar Ave., West Long Branch
Box office: 732-263-6889; www.monmouth.edu/arts
“The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” conceived by Rebecca Feldman with songs by William Finn, book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss; June 27-30, plus a 2 p.m. matinee June 28; July 3, 5-7, 17-21
35 South St., Freehold
Box Office: 732-462-9093;
Tickets: $25, $23 age 60 and older and students
Performances: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
“The Diary of Anne Frank,” by Francis Goodrich and Albert Hackett, adapted by Wendy Kesselman, July 12-Aug. 4
“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” book, music and lyrics by Clark M. Gesner, Aug. 17-18, 24-25.
FIRST AVENUE PLAYHOUSE
123 First Ave., Atlantic Highlands
Box Office: 732-291-7552;
Tickets: $22, $18 for seniors Thursdays and Sundays and includes dessert. Dinner theater packages range from $33 to $74
Tickets: $22, $18 for seniors Thursdays and Sundays and includes dessert.
Dinner theater packages range from $33 to $74
“The Curious Savage,” by John Patrick, May 31-June 22
“Leading Ladies,” by Ken Ludwig, June 28-27
“Barefoot in the Park,” by Neil Simon, Aug. 2-31
HOLMDEL THEATRE COMPANY
36 Crawford’s Corner Rd., Holmdel
Box office: 732-946-0427;
Tickets: $22 adults,$12 students, $16 age 65 and older,
“A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” by William Shakespeare, July 19-Aug. 3
Count Basie Theatre, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank
Box office: 732-842-9000 or 732-747-0014;
Tickets $22, $26, $32
“The Music Man,” with book, music and lyrics by Meredith Wilson, July 12-14, 19-21
PAPER MOON PUPPET THEATRE
171 First Ave., Atlantic Highlands
Box office: 732-775-0290;
Tickets $9, performances 1 p.m. Saturdays
“Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the Three Little Lambs,” through June 15
“The Jungle Book,” June 22-Sept. 7
SPRING LAKE COMMUNITY HOUSE THEATRE
300 Madison Ave., Spring Lake
Box Office: 732-449-4530; springlaketheatre.com
Tickets: $28, $26 for students and people age 65 and older, $20 for children age 12 and younger
“A Chorus Line,” music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Klieban, book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, July 11-13, 18-21, 25-27,
“Peter Pan,” Aug. 8-10, 15-18, 22-25
First Presbyterian Church, Route 34 and Franklin St., Matawan
Box Office: 732-583-7874;
Tickets: $18, $15 for students and seniors, includes refreshments
“The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast,” Aug. 3 and 10, performed by actors age 4-15
“Anything Goes,” music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, Aug. 2-4, 9-11