Our 10th Anniversary Gala & Show

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Coming up at the Clifton Arts Center December 5th & 6th, celebrating the 10th Anniversary performance of “Waiting for Christmas” – Sponsored by Clifton Savings Bank

We have once again partnered with the Clifton Arts Center to provide cultural entertainment to the city of Clifton – in a 3rd annual joint fundraising event. “Waiting for Christmas” is written and directed by Kirk Woodward with Barbara Novak as Musical Director. This gala event, sponsored by Clifton Savings Bank, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of our first show in Clifton with five lively stories and bright holiday songs! Guests will also enjoy wine, beer and hot & cold hors d’oeuvres.

This is a once-a-year joint venture from two organizations dedicated to the Arts – show your support and join the fun!

Felipe Rodriguez, Greg Gwyn, Producer John Traier, Stage Manager Mark Peterson, Musical Director Barbara Novak, Director Kirk Woodward, Craig Ernest Woodward and Becky Shuster.

Felipe Rodriguez, Greg Gwyn, Producer John Traier, Stage Manager Mark Peterson, Musical Director Barbara Novak, Director Kirk Woodward, Craig Ernest Woodward and Becky Shuster.

John Traier is Producer with Mark Peterson as Stage Manager. The cast includes Felipe Rodriguez and Greg Gwyn of Clifton, Becky Shuster of Basking Ridge and Craig Ernest Woodward of Little Falls.

Two performances of Waiting for Christmas are available. Saturday December 5th 7:00pm for the Gala Reception & Show and Sunday December 6th 3:30pm for the Show Only at the Clifton Arts Center on Well Road in the Clifton City Hall complex at 900 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ. The Sunday performance is timed to end prior to the Clifton Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at City Hall at 6pm.

Tickets to the Gala Anniversary Reception & Show on Dec. 5th are $55.00 per person (adults only) and include wine/beer and Hors d’Oeuvres catered by Nightingale Catering and Valley Liquors. Show-only tickets on Dec. 6th are $10.00 / adults with children under 12 welcome for free! Seating is limited, so please purchase your tickets by Nov. 30th.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Dazzles on Opening Night

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NOVEMBER 13, 2015 By Michael Gabriele, Clifton Journal

Little Shop of Horrors, Opening Night at the Aprea Theater in Clifton, NJ.

Little Shop of Horrors, Opening Night at the Aprea Theater in Clifton, NJ.

CLIFTON — So you’ve heard about unsung heroes? Well, “Little Shop of Horrors,” the fiendishly freaky rock and roll musical presented by the Theater League of Clifton, which opened Nov. 6 at the Aprea Theater, was packed with a heroic cast of dazzling singers, and they all sang magnificently.Director Bill Kaufman, musical director Jalmari Vanamo, and choreographer Judi Layne Niebuhr must be applauded for putting together a top-flight ensemble of vocalists and dancers. The show flowed smoothly, shaking, rattling and rolling every step of the way. The players, quite obviously, were having a blast on stage.The Theater League of Clifton’s cast of “Little Shop of Horrors” on opening night at the Aprea Theater. The show continues on Nov. 13, Nov. 14 and a matinee on Nov. 15.
There were impressive solo numbers on display, but even more impressive was how the cast functioned as a synchronized team, complementing each other in song, dance and humorous situations. When a cast like this makes it look easy, that’s a clear indication of the long hours and hard work that went into the show prior to opening night — a credit shared by the leadership of Kaufman, Vanamo and Niebuhr.

The fun started right from the prologue, which was performed by Victoria Webb, Nadiya Braham and Amaya White. This trio was on target in every number as they appeared throughout the show and set the bar high, in terms of singing quality. The rest of the cast rose to the occasion and followed suit. White, a freshman at Old Bridge High School, the winner of the 2015 Perry Award for Outstanding Youth Actress in the Main Street Theater Company’s production of “The Wiz,” was especially delightful. The cast names of the trio — Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette — are an homage to the “wall of sound” girl groups from the 1960s.

Eden Casalino in the role of the slinky, sultry Audrey demonstrated her impressive range as a singer. Casalino belted out tunes with a beautiful, soaring voice that, no doubt, rattled windows in the Delawanna section of town last Friday night, but then she had the artistic skill to flip a switch and change the mood to an intimate, sweet ballad. The “moment” in the performance came in Act 1 when Casalino sang “Somewhere That’s Green.” She was absolutely sensational.

George Adamo as Seymour

George Adamo as Seymour

George Adamo may have looked nerdy and awkward as Seymour Krelborn, but there was no hiding the fact that he too was a superior vocalist. Adamo breathed life into the character of the tormented, love-sick Seymour, right down to his crooked bow tie and goofy baseball cap. Adamo’s exuberant singing, acting and quirky comedic charm powered the production. All of his talents were on display in Seymour’s “father and son” number with Mr. Mushnik (Frank Favata) — a wacky duet that tickled the audience. Patrons may have noticed that, in this scene, Favata cleverly drew inspiration from his successful role as Tevye in the Theater League’s 2014 production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Who was the most macabre, diabolical performer of the night? That’s easy: Michael Smith-Gallo as the sinister Orin. Smith-Gallo, clad in a black leather jacket, relished every minute of his role as the demented dentist, with an evil laugh — just as haunting as The Shadow — that gave everyone the creeps.

Audrey II, designed by artist Julie Chrobak

Audrey II, designed by artist Julie Chrobak

And then there was “the elephant in the room,” otherwise known as Audrey II, the monstrous, bloodthirsty plant in Mushnik’s little florist shop of horrors. This wonderful contraption, a most terrifying work of art, was the handiwork of puppet designer and builder Julie Chrobak and Kurt Irizarry. There were actually four versions of Audrey II, as the plant became larger and more menacing. Chrobak was in the audience last Friday night, keeping a low profile, but watching every detail of Audrey II’s mechanics and features like a nervous stage mom.

Interviewed prior to opening night of the show, Chrobak used her creative talents to design and fabricate the iterations of Audrey II, following cues from the script and using visual references from past productions of the show. The final version of the plant was a grand puppet manufactured with an aluminum skeleton, which was welded by Irizarry. As a puppet designer, she confessed to being an “old school” engineer, with no fancy 3D computer models. Instead, she used good old-fashioned pencil and paper, scissors and adhesive, and made many trips to Home Depot to procure plant pots, fabric, foam, tubing and wire.

A graduate of Montclair State University, with a master’s degree in Art Education, Chrobak worked as a scenic artist on Broadway for 20 years. She’s now an art teacher at Clifton High School.  Irizarry not only served as the welder, he also was the Audrey II puppeteer. His partner in crime was Craig Ernest Woodward, who was the solid, off-stage singing voice of the monster plant. Other ensemble members of the cast included Kenneth Fowler, Gregory Gwyn, Erin Pach and Rebecca Shuster.

IMG_3014As for the show’s impressive technical elements, Kurt and Maryann Irizarry get rave reviews for set design, construction and decoration, along with build assistants Joe Cisneros, Ayana Ayscue and Michael Purdy. Maryann Irizarry also served as the show’s producer and was in charge of costumes. Two thumbs up go to Tom Vigilante for his artistic lighting design, especially the illumination of the background city skyline. Tara Freifeld was the stage manager, assisted by Devin Sogluizzo. Kyle Parkin was the sound designer and technical director, assisted by Ryan Sogluizzo. Bravo to the show’s rockin’ pit band quartet of Paul Liberti, Steve Bell, Eric Borghi and Vanamo.

Little Shop of Horrors Features Award-winning NJ Actress

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Opening Nov. 6th – Tickets on Sale Now!

This Cult Class achieved success on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in the movies – and we know you’ll love it too!

2015 perry awardThe cast includes Amaya White, Winner of the 2015 Perry Award for Outstanding Youth Actress in a Musical for her performance in The Wiz with the Main Street Theater Company, as well as many other talented TLC alumni and new faces: George Adamo of Cedar Grove, Nadiya Braham of Hackensack,  Eden Casalino of Jersey City,  Frank Favata of North Arlington,  Kenneth Fowler, Gregory Gwyn and Kurt Irizarry of Clifton,  Erin Pach of Bloomfield, Rebecca Shuster of Basking Ridge, Michael Smith-Gallo of Montclair,  Victoria Webb of Union, Amaya White of Old Bridge and Craig Ernest Woodward of Little Falls.Little Shop is directed by Bill Kaufman a veteran community theater director of over 100 productions in the Tri-State area.  Bill, and Choreographer Judi Niebuhr, join the TLC team from “Fiddler On The Roof” including Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo, Producer Maryann Irizarry, Lighting Designer Tom Vigilante, Set Designer Kurt Irizarry, Technical Lead Kyle Parkin and Stage Manager Tara Freifeld. Presented through special arrangement with Musical Theater International (MTI). Book & Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Music by Alan Menken.

This show will also feature a fully functioning, one-of-a-kind Audrey II character, designed by local artist Julie Chrobak, built and operated by Kurt Irizarry – don’t miss it!

Little Shop of Horrors – Opening in Clifton Nov. 6th

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The Cast of Little Shop

Little Shop of Horrors is coming to Clifton Nov. 6th!  Don’t miss this fun show – get your tickets today!

The Cast of Little Shop of Horrors
The Cast of Little Shop of Horrors

Standing Left to Right:  Craig Ernest Woodward, Michael Smith-Gallo, Erin Pach, Eden Casalino, George Adamo, Kurt Irizarry

Seated Left to Right:  Kenneth Fowler, Rebecca Shuster, Nadiya Braham, Victoria Webb, Amaya White

Not Pictured: Frank Favata, Gregory Gwyn

Fall Show – Little Shop of Horrors – Tickets On Sale!

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We are excited to bring Little Shop of Horrors to the Aprea Theater this November!

Little Shop of Horrors is a cult classic that has achieved success on Broadway, Off-Broadway and in the Movies.  The story centers on Seymour, an orphan and nerd, who is taken in by Mr. Mushnik, the owner of a rundown florist in the seedy part of town. Seymour spends his time doing menial tasks and dreaming of the shop assistant, Audrey. One day Seymour discovers a strange plant. He buys it, names it Audrey II and discovers the plant’s rather unique appetite.

Bill Kaufman

Bill Kaufman

This show’s production will be directed by Bill Kaufman, a newcomer to TLC but a veteran community theater director.  Bill has directed over 100 productions throughout the Tri-State area.  With great enthusiasm, he now returns to the Aprea Theater, one of his earliest performance venues. Bill, and Choreographer Judi Niebuhr, join the rest of the team that brought Clifton the rave review production of Fiddler On The Roof in 2014 including Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo,Producer Maryann Irizarry, Lighting Designer Tom Vigilante, Set Designer Kurt Irizarry, Technical Lead Kyle Parkin, Stage Manager Tara Freifeld, and Assistant Stage Manager Devin Sogluizzo.  Little Shop is presented through special arrangement with Musical Theater International (MTI).  Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman, Music by Alan Menken.

This show will feature a fully functioning, one-of-a-kind construction of the Audrey II character, designed and created by local artist Julie Chrobak, built and operated by Kurt Irizarry – you won’t want to miss it!

Show dates are Nov 6, 7, 8 and 13, 14, 15. Times are Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm.

You can save $5 by ordering your tickets in advance!  Non-member advanced tickets are $20/adults and $15/students & seniors, $25 adults /$20 students & seniors at the door.  Tickets and seat selection can be made here or by calling our Box Office at (973) 928-7668.  Mail checks to: Theater League of Clifton, PO Box 4072 Clifton, NJ 07012, include the show date & time.

Group Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, please call (973) 928-7668 for details.

South Pacific Comes to life on Clifton’s Aprea stage

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"South Pacific" opened to great reviews at the Aprea Theater last weekend. The Theater League of Clifton production directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, will wrap up on May 17.

“South Pacific” opened to great reviews at the Aprea Theater last weekend. The Theater League of Clifton production directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, will wrap up on May 17.

CLIFTON — “South Pacific” opened Friday, May 8 at the Aprea Theater to positive reviews from the large audiences. Saturday night’s show featured an opening weekend and member appreciation reception with standing room only in the Aprea Theater lobby for snacks and wine before the show.

Featuring crowd favorites including “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” and “Some Enchanted Evening” many in the audience were heard humming along to these classic songs.

"South Pacific" opened to great reviews at the Aprea Theater last weekend. The Theater League of Clifton production directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, will wrap up on May 17.

 

 

Alex Biro, of Clifton, said the “singing was excellent, Don Flynn and the children were perfect and overall it was a very good show.”

Kelana Curry, of Paterson, said she found the show “very entertaining,” and Lynn Oliver, of Bloomfield, agreed saying: “Don Flynn was wonderful as Emile, it was a terrific production!”

Mayor James Anzaldi, Councilmen Joe Kolodziej, William Gibson, Joe Cupoli and former Mayor Gloria Kolodziej all attended the Saturday reception to congratulate TLC on its 10th anniversary in Clifton.

The Theater League of Clifton, begun in 2005, and continues its mission to bring the theater arts to the greater Clifton community and host larger productions and audiences at the upgraded Aprea Theater. As part of its work there, many upgrades have been made to lighting, sound and stage effects by the Theater League technical crew to improve the performance as well as the venue.

The “South Pacific” crew includes director Kathleen Kellaigh, musical director Jalmari Vanamo, choreographer Malinda DiPasquale, producer Maryann Irizarry, lighting designer Tom Vigilante, set and sound designer Kurt Irizarry, technical lead Kyle Parkin, stage manager Tara Freifeld, and assistant stage manager Devin Sogluizzo.

“We are so thrilled to be going strong 10 years later in Clifton. We are thankful to our members and sponsors who help make these great shows possible,” said Mark Peterson, president of the Theater League.

The cast features a diverse group of actors with many new faces from Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties including: Katie Shuster, Rebecca Shuster, Alexandra Poage, Erin Pach, Juan Beltran, Sabrina Curry, Marquise Figueroa, Kenneth Fowler, Gregory Gwyn, Susan Liberti, Bill Powers, Michael Purdy, Felipe Rodriguez and Michael Sconzo, of Clifton; Wyatt Remegio, Arabelle Luke, Zach Abraham, Craig Ernest Woodward, Nicole Aleles, Judi Niebuhr, Paul Carrazzone, Ayana Ayscue, Mariah Ayscue, Mia Balsamo, Sydney Chan, Frank Favata, Alyssa Flaherty, Don Flynn of Nutley, Noa Avital, Kate Liptak, Joe Pacella, Leslie Silverman, and Danielle Petrucelli.

“South Pacific” is the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic based on James A. Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific.” The show centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the idyllic South Pacific during World War II, and intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking.

Remaining show dates are May 15, 16, 17; Friday, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Non-member advanced tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, (each ticket is an additional $5 at the door).

A discount of just $12 per ticket is offered to groups of 10 or more confirmed in advance only (not available at the door). Call the box office for details at 973-928-7668.

Clifton Journal, May 15, 2015

South Pacific cast announced!

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Rehearsals for our spring show, South Pacific, are well underway and excitement is building to bring this Broadway classic to Clifton – tickets are on sale!

Opening on May 8th at the Aprea Theater, the cast of South Pacific features a diverse group of actors with many new faces from Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties including:  Katie Shuster and Rebecca Shuster of Basking Ridge;  Alexandra Poage of Berkeley Heights; Erin Pach of Bloomfield;  Juan Beltran, Sabrina Curry, Marquise Figueroa, Kenneth Fowler, Gregory Gwyn, Susan Liberti, Bill Powers, Michael Purdy, Felipe Rodriguez and Michael Sconzo of Clifton; Wyatt Remegio of Dumont; Arabelle Luke of Englewood; Zach Abraham of Highland Park; Craig Ernest Woodward of Little Falls; Nicole Aleles and Judi Niebuhr of Lyndhurst; Paul Carrazzone of Mahwah; Ayana Ayscue, Mariah Ayscue and Mia Balsamo of Montclair; Sydney Chan of New Providence; Frank Favata of North Arlington; Alyssa Flaherty and Don Flynn of Nutley; Noa Avital of Teaneck; Kate Liptak of Verona; Joe Pacella of Wayne; Leslie Silverman of West Milford and Danielle Petrucelli of West Orange.

TLC SP Cast with names

South Pacific is the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic based on James A. Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.  The show centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the idyllic South Pacific during World War II, and intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking.   Presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals: www.rnh.com.  Music composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan.

The South Pacific crew includes Director Kathleen Kellaigh, Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo,Producer Maryann Irizarry, Lighting Designer Tom Vigilante, Set Design & Sound Kurt Irizarry, Technical Lead Kyle Parkin, Stage Manager Tara Freifeld, Assistant Stage Manager Devin Sogluizzo and introduces a new Choreographer to the group, Malinda DiPasquale.

Show dates are May 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, 17th. Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm. A Complimentary Opening Weekend & Member Appreciation Reception will be held Sat. May 9th at 7pm in the lobby before the show – all are welcome!

TLC cake

 

 

 

 

 

Non-member advanced tickets are $20/adults and $15/students & seniors, $25 /$20 at the door.  Tickets and seat selection can be made online here or by calling us at (973) 928-7668.  Mail checks to: Theater League of Clifton, PO Box 4072 Clifton, NJ 07012, include the show date & time.  Group Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at just $12 a ticket! Call (973) 928-7668 for details.

And don’t forget, members of the Theater League of Clifton get FREE show tickets!  To become a member call us at (973) 928-7668.

South Pacific opens May 8th

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South Pacific opens May 8th, with shows the 9, 10 and 15, 16, 17th.

We are celebrating our 10th Anniversary as Clifton’s community theater!  And we’re   excited to bring the Broadway classic, “South Pacific” to the Aprea Theater this May.

This show’s production will again be led by the team that brought Clifton the rave review production of “Fiddler On The Roof” last spring.  Featuring a 13 piece orchestra, Fiddler saw near sell-out crowds every night of the 400 seat Aprea Theater, with audiences traveling from southern New Jersey to see the show.

The South Pacific crew includes Fiddler Director Kathleen Kellaigh, Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo, Producer Maryann Irizarry, Lighting Designer Tom Vigilante, Set Design/Construction & Sound Kurt Irizarry, Technical Lead Kyle Parkin, Stage Manager Tara Freifeld, Assistant Stage Manager Devin Sogluizzo and introduces a new Choreographer to the group, Malinda DiPasquale.  Presented through special arrangement with R & H Theatricals: www.rnh.com.  Music composed by Richard Rodgers, with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan.

South Pacific is the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic based on James A. Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.  The show centers on a group of American sailors and Navy nurses stationed in the idyllic South Pacific during World War II, and intertwines the themes of romance, duty, and prejudice to create a story that is all at once hilarious, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking.  This program is funded, in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Show dates are May 8, 9, 10 and 15, 16, 17th. Times are Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm.  A Complimentary Opening Weekend & Member Appreciation Reception will be held Sat. May 9th at 7pm in the lobby before the show – all are welcome!

 

Non-member advanced tickets are $20/adults and $15/students & seniors, $25 adults /$20 students & seniors at the door.  Reserve your seats now online here or call our Box Office at (973) 928-7668.  Checks can be mailed to: Theater League of Clifton, PO Box 4072 Clifton, NJ 07012.  Group Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more, please call (973) 928-7668 for details. And don’t forget, our Members get FREE show tickets!  For more info click here.

 

The South Pacific Crew

TLC South Pacific Crew

Front left to right – Asst Stage Mgr Devin Sogluizzo, Director Kathleen Kaleigh, Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo, Choreographer Malinda DiPasquale

Back Left to Right – Lighting Designer Tom Vigilante, Stage Manager Tara Freifeld, Producer/Costumer Maryann Irizarry, Set Design/Construction & Sound Kurt Irizarry, Technical Lead Kyle Parkin

 

Review: Dinner Theater Fundraiser “Once Upon A Mystery”

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Clifton Journal, March 6th

It was an absolutely delicious evening at Mario’s Restaurant on Feb. 27. Three courses of flavorful enjoyment in a well-executed presentation, impeccably seasoned to satisfy the soul and senses.

And the food was pretty good, too.

The Theater League of Clifton presented its seventh annual dinner theater on Feb. 27. "Once Upon a Mystery" brought to life fairytale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood. Above left, Craig Woodward performing; above right diners during the event; and below, performers take the stage at Mario's Restaurant.

 

 

Mario’s was the venue for the TLC’s seventh annual dinner theater fund-raiser, “Once Upon a Mystery,” written and directed by Kirk Woodward. The production was staged in the restaurant’s private dining hall and the appreciative, capacity crowd was treated to a light-hearted, captivating show and a sumptuous meal.

The most impressive aspect of the performance was the collective energy and teamwork of the cast — a tribute to the focused players as well as Woodward’s direction and script. Actors were ebullient from start to finish. It was quite clear they were having fun, and that convivial spirit was contagious and generously shared with the audience.

The Theater League of Clifton presented its seventh annual dinner theater on Feb. 27. "Once Upon a Mystery" brought to life fairytale characters such as Little Red Riding Hood. Above left, Craig Woodward performing; above right diners during the event; and below, performers take the stage at Mario's Restaurant.

 

 

Dialogue was clever, crisp and flowed smoothly. The ensemble’s timing and delivery was well-synchronized as they skillfully played off one another, sustaining the narrative’s momentum and capturing laughs all along the way. The cast also must be given credit for flexibility, creativity and cohesiveness as they negotiated the unstructured environment of the dinner theater. Despite the distractions of food, beverages and background noise of clinking glasses, dishes, knives, forks and spoons, actors delivered their lines with clarity and, in turn, captured the fancy of the audience.

The setting for this mystery was a “character” costume conference. Cast members took turns demonstrating their goofy, nerdy personalities, portraying fairy tale characters such as the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel and other fable favorites. The script made use of familiar passages from those fairy tale classics, mixing them with sarcastic humor, Jersey attitude and hip street talk.

Danielle Petrucelli, in the role of Little Red Riding Hood, was the leader of the quirky pack of characters and a most impressive performer. Petrucelli was sure-footed and in command every step of the way. Her skillful, comedic charm and expressive peepers put wind in the sails of the production. Petrucelli is a resident of West Orange and a middle-school English teacher in the Franklin Township school system.

Little Red Riding Hood was more than a match for the dashing Craig Woodward who played Nero, a bearded big bad wolf in mobster’s clothing. Woodward sparkled in his role and was one slick scoundrel, giving the show its comedic edge. He and Petrucelli stepped out of the pages of the fairy tale and into a competitive relationship as they challenged each other with digs and barbs throughout the night. Rumor has it that Woodward is related to the director.

All cast members get an artistic “A” for their performances, with extra-special kudos going to Katie Shuster as Cinderella, Ruth Hayden as Grandma and Mike Purdy and Tara Moran as the bubbly, bouncy team of Hansel and Gretel. Carla Silvestri played Sleeping Beauty; Millie Ortiz, Goldilocks; Mike Sconzo, Marquise Figueroa and Felipe Rodriguez, the wise guy Three Little Pigs; Kenny Fowler, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk); and Joseph Romano, who started out as a mild-mannered bartender only to emerge as the long-awaited crowned prince.

Praise also goes to the wait staff at Mario’s — the dedicated women that were highly effective serving food, clearing tables and courteously assisting patrons during the show. They gave an efficient performance. Bravo to all their hard work.

Two years ago Clifton theater patrons enjoyed another original production written and directed by Craig Woodward — “Aladdin Visits the 20th Century” — which was staged at the Clifton Arts Center in October 2013. Woodward, who resides in Little Falls, is the author of more than 20 plays.

According to notes in the show’s program, Woodward said “Once Upon a Mystery” was written after he, Craig Woodward, and Danielle Petrucelli appeared at Mario’s two years ago in Theater League of Clifton’s performance of “Murder Me Always.” Following that experience, Craig Woodward explained he decided to write a play specifically for dinner theater. “I kept hearing Danielle’s voice as the lead character. Fortunately we were able to get her for the role, so what you’re seeing tonight is the play I originally envisioned.”

Mark Peterson produced the dinner-theater play, Tara Freifeld was the stage manager, Maryann Irizarry created the costumes and Kurt Irizarry served as the sound technician.

The Theater League of Clifton will present the Rogers and Hammerstein classic “South Pacific” as its annual spring musical. The show, directed by Kathleen Kellaigh and produced by Maryann Irizarry, will be held at the Theresa Aprea Theater, 199 Scoles Ave. on May 8, 9, 10, 15, 16 and 17. Visit the organization’s website www.theaterleagueofclifton.com for more information.

As spelled out on its website, TLC is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the arts through theatrical performances. “Our goal is to provide an outlet for creative community involvement, and to provide quality entertainment for all ages. It is also our goal to nurture the development of theater arts in Clifton’s youth by creating a scholarship for Clifton High School seniors who will be continuing their education in this area.”

Read online here

February FUNdraisers!

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Our 7th Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

During a performance of “Once Upon a Mystery” the character Red attempts to solve the mystery: who poisoned Snow White with an apple?

At Mario’s Restaurant in Clifton – Tickets on Sale Now!

Once Upon A Mystery

 

Online Thirty-One Fundraiser

We’re hosting a second February FUNdraiser – an online sale with Thirty-One going on NOW through March 13th! Check out these adorable products, many of which are on sale. 20% of sales benefit TLC!  Visit our exclusive online event link here. 

TLC Thirty One Fundraiser flyer

Fall Show – Moon Over Buffalo

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Tickets on Sale now!

moon over buffalo 8

 

Coming up this November is our production of “Moon Over Buffalo” by the award winning Ken Ludwig.  Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

“Moon Over Buffalo,” in the madcap comedy tradition of “Lend me a Tenor,” centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950’s. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young ingénue, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their show, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong, abetted by a visit from their daughter’s clueless fiancé, hilarious uncertainty about which play they’re actually performing, and the exasperated deaf old stage-manager mother who hates every bone in George’s body!

The cast hails from cities all over New Jersey and includes Marquise Figeroa, Jeannie Kempa , Susan McDonald , Michael Purdy and Felipe Rodriguez of Clifton;  Thomas Kane of Wood Ridge; Danielle Petrucelli of West Orange; Jack Pignatello of Bloomfield; Rebecca Shuster of Basking Ridge and Craig Woodward of Little Falls – with both new faces and TLC alumni featured!

Directed by Kathleen Kellaigh; Producer is Maryann Irizarry; with Stage Manager Tara Freifeld.

This program is funded, in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Show Dates are November 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, and 23 at the Aprea Theater in The Learning Center at 199 Scoles Avenue in Clifton.  Friday & Saturday 8pm and Sunday 2pm.  Non-member tickets are $20/adults and $15/students & seniors.

For questions about becoming a Member of the Theater League of Clifton to get FREE show tickets and other benefits call us at (973) 928-7668.

MOB Cast photo final

Sanding Left to Right

Marquise Figeroa, Jack Pignatello, Felipe Rodriguez, Mike Purdy

Seated Left to Right

Jeannie Kempa, Susan McDonald, Tom Kane, Danielle Petrucelli, Rebecca Shuster, Craig Woodward

New! Donate to TLC with Amazon Smile

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Now you can support us while you shop on Amazon, using Amazon Smile!

  • Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Support TLC by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com and selecting The Theater League of Clifton as your charitable organization.

Audition Notice – Fall Show

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We are holding auditions for our Fall production of Moon Over Buffalo by Ken Ludwig.  Produced with special arrangement through Samuel French Inc.

Directed by Kathleen Kellaigh.  Produced by Maryann Irizarry.  Stage Manager Tara Freifeld.

In the madcap comedy style of Ken Ludwig, the hilarious Moon Over Buffalo centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950’s. At the moment, they’re performing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in repertoire in a theater in Buffalo, New York with 5 actors. On the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s affair with a young actress, they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte, everything that could go wrong does go wrong. Including a visit from their daughter and her clueless fiancé.   Hilarious uncertainty about which play they’re actually performing, caused by Charlotte’s deaf old stage-manager mother, Ethel. Richard, their lawyer, trying to woo Charlotte. All while Paul, one of the actors, secretly in love with Rosalind, tries to hold everything together.

The ages listed for each character are the character age.  You need to act that age not necessarily be that age.

George Hay              50s-60s,  a former leading man who can’t let it go.

Charlotte Hay           50s-60s,  a former leading lady who can’t let it go.

Ethel                         70s-80s,  hard of hearing. Charlotte’s mother.

Rosalind                   20s-early 30s, Charlotte & George’s daughter.

Howard                     20’s-mid 30s,  Rosalind’s fiancé.  A weatherman.

Eileen                       20s-early 30s, George’s not-so-sweet young mistress.

Paul                          20’s-mid 30s,  an actor in the company. Holds company together.

Richard                     50s-60s, lawyer in love with Charlotte.

Soldiers                    20-60, for opening of Cyrano

Auditions will be from sides supplied at the audition.   ALL ROLES ARE OPEN

Auditions will be held on Monday 6/23, Wednesday 6/25 & Thursday 6/26; 7-10pm at ATC Studios, 68 Union Ave, Clifton NJ.

Show dates are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays:  November 14,15,16,21,22,and 23. All shows are in the Theresa Aprea Theater at The Learning Center at 199 Scoles Ave in Clifton NJ.

 

Fiddler On The Roof – Reviewed in Clifton Journal

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‘Fiddler’ finds balance on Clifton stage

May 16, 2014
By Michael Gabriele
CORRESPONDENT, Clifton Journal

It was a grand, joyous night of dancing, singing and “tradition” as the Theater League of Clifton staged the renowned Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof.” An audience of nearly 250 patrons enjoyed the opening-night performance May 9 at the Theresa Aprea Theater.

On many levels, a show like “Fiddler” is an ambitious project, for a community theater or a Broadway troupe, with a challenging musical score, dramatic roles and athletic choreography. There is also an added degree of difficulty in that many of the songs have become Broadway standards — lyrics that are word-for-word familiar and near and dear to hearts of theater-goers — all of which carries an expectation of excellence. It is a daunting task and a difficult target to hit.

Director Kathleen Kellaigh and the Theater League actors must be commended for meeting these challenges head on. No corners were cut; no hurdles were dodged, and no short cuts were taken. The reward for their artistic courage was a most satisfying, successful performance. They hit the target and breathed life into the spirit of a beloved Broadway classic.

One example of this courage came in Act 1 during the wedding of Tzeitel (Rebecca Shuster) and Motel (Craig Ernest Woodward), when the stage cleared and four men of the humble village Anatevka danced with bottles balanced atop their hats. This “bottle dance” was a flawless, well-executed delight.

Another moment, earlier in Act 1, was the Sabbath Prayer scene. The stage lights dimmed as Tevye (Frank Favata), Golde (Alexa Fernandez) and their family gathered around the table to light candles. The scene unfolded as a visual, almost-eerie work of art. Ghost-like actors, perched in a two-tier set construction behind a scrim, illuminated their presence with candles as the family sang in prayer. The final touch to this on-stage composition was the deep, atmospheric, blue background lighting. Set designers and lighting technicians Kurt Irizarry, Ken Kida, Matt Locker and Kyle Parkin deserve a bow for creating this ethereal moment.

Tender emotion was the moment captured in Act 2 as Hodel, played by Sabrina Curry, sang sadly and sweetly, “Far From the Home I Love,” to her father, Tevye, as she waited for a train that would take her on an uncertain journey to Siberia. Curry’s eyes welled and glistened as she delivered the stellar solo of the performance. In addition to Curry, two other noteworthy vocal moments were achieved by Woodward (“Miracles of Miracles” in Act 1) and Perchik (Kenneth Fowler—”Now I Have Everything” in Act 2).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Act 1 scene, “To Life,” was a boisterous moment that kicked the entire production into high gear. Tevye and his pal Lazar Wolf (Dante Liberti) were brimming with rowdy, drunken energy and the two actors looked like they were enjoying every minute of their high-octane exchange. Other cast members joined in as the carousing evolved into a dazzling, intricate dance number with many moving parts.

Taken as a whole, these moments combined to weave a sustained momentum that built throughout the show and was fully realized by the entire cast in the final, mournful farewell to “Anatevka.” At the end of the night, these were authentic characters that connected with the audience. They gave dignified testimony to the simple joys and stark hardships of the resilient, faithful people they portrayed during the eve of the Russian revolution.

The soulful performance of Favata, the hub of the production, kept the show’s momentum on track. He demonstrated the endurance and chops needed for this principal role and was masterful in capturing the existential angst of Tevye — a character burdened by the weight of tradition, bound by his faith, and painfully aware of a rapidly changing world closing in on him. Favata also displayed his dramatic range, generating laughter with wry charm, woebegone facial expressions, well-placed sighs, and subtle comic timing.

Cast members included Steve Adubato as the Rabbi; Melody Atkinson as Shaina; Mia Balsamo as Bielke; Hilda Santiago Berrios as Friedel; Sindy DeLaCruz as Grandma Tzeitel and Basha; Marquis Figeroa as Fyedka; John Fraissinet as Avram; Gregory Gwyn as the Fiddler and Olaf; Jonathan Hernandez as Mendel; Ellie Kallay as Chava; Katie Kallay as Itzik; Lillie Kortrey as Anya; Gary Koesyan as Constable; Milagros Ortiz as Ruchel; Joe Pacella as Ilya; Erin Pach as Rifke; Felipe Rodriguez as Sasha; Ernest Romeo as Mordcha, the Inn Keeper; Marsha Schreier as Yente and Fruma Sarah; Katie Shuster as Mirala; Frank Skokan as Nachum; Maren Sugarman as Shaindel; Andrew Till as Yussel; and Rachel Zegler as Shprintze.

Musical director Jalmari Vanamo led the pit band while Joel Robertson served as the choreographer. The band was composed of Alyssa DiNapoli, Gerry Cappuccio, Robert Slonim, Mary Louise Irvine, Andrea Herr, Victor Keremedjiev, Gary Hollander, Gary Guzio, Joe Yachnik, Anthony Fenicchia, Larry Silverman, James Robbins and Matt McLaughlin. The Theater League made special note of Robertson’s theatrical credentials as he worked directly with legendary Broadway choreographer Jerome Robbins in the 1980-82 national revival tour of “Fiddler.” As a performer, he was an original cast member of the shows “Cats,” “Les Miserable,” and “Jekyll and Hyde.”

Stephanie Peterson and Maryann Irizarry are the producers of the show. The diverse costumes by Irizarry were another spot-on artistic element for the production. Tara Freifeld served as stage manager, supported by assistant stage manager Devin Sogluizzo and house manager Katherine Waumans. The stage crew included Shawn Artim, Claudia Jackson, Michael Purdy and Tom Vigilante.

Founded nine years ago, the Theater League of Clifton, a non-profit cultural organization, is now in its third season performing at the Theresa Aprea Theater, located at 199 Scoles Ave. (formerly the YM-YWHA Community Center of Clifton and Passaic). Mark Peterson is the president of the group.

Performances of Fiddler on the Roof continue tonight (May 16), Saturday, May 17 and Sunday, May 18. The May 16 and 17 shows open at 8 p.m., while May 18 is a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee. For tickets, call the Theater League at  973-928-7668

 

Spring Show – Fiddler On the Roof – Tickets on Sale!

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We are excited to announce our spring musical production of the Broadway classic, “Fiddler On The Roof.”  Directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, Musical Director is Jalmari Vanamo, Producers are Maryann Irizarry and Stephanie Peterson; Stage Manager is Tara Freifeld.  Choreographer is Broadway veteran Joel Robertson, who was featured in a Broadway revival of Fiddler.  Music by Jerry Bock, Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, Book by Joseph Stein, presented through special arrangement with Music Theater International (MTI).

“Fiddler On The Roof” is set in Russia in 1905 and centers on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences impact their lives. The original Broadway production was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical.

The cast features a diverse cross section of actors from Essex, Bergen, Morris, Passaic and Somerset Counties including: Rebecca Shuster of Basking Ridge, Frank Skokan of Bedminster, Steve Adubato of Belleville, Ellie Kallay, Katie Kallay, Erin Pach and Maren Sugarman of Bloomfield, Andrew Till of Butler, Hilda Berrios, Sabrina Curry, Sindy De La Cruz, Alexa Fernandez, Marquise Figeroa, Kenneth Fowler, Greg Gwyn, Kurt Irizarry, Gary Koseyan, Dante Liberti, and Rachel Zegler of Clifton, Melody Atkinson of Emerson, Lillie Kortrey of Glen Ridge, Ernest Romeo of Kinnelon, Craig Woodward of Little Falls, Mia Balsamo and Milagros Ortiz of Montclair, Katie Shuster of Morris Plains, Frank Favata or North Arlington, John Fraissinet of Nutley, Jonathan Hernandez of Passaic, Marsha Schreier of Verona, and Joe Pacella of Wayne.

Show dates are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: May 9, 10, 11 and 16, 17, 18th with an additional show Thursday May 15th Times are Thursday, Fridays, Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm, at the Aprea Theater in the TLC Learning Center at 199 Scoles Ave.

A Complimentary Opening Weekend & Member Appreciation Reception will be held Sat. May 10th at 7pm in the lobby before the show.

Non-member tickets are $20/adults and $15/students & seniors.  Tickets and seat selection can be made online here or by calling our Box Office at (973) 928-7668.  Checks can be mailed to: Theater League of Clifton, PO Box 4072 Clifton, NJ 07012, please include the show date & time.

Group Discounts are available for groups of 20 or more, please call (973) 928-7668 for details.

This program is funded, in part through a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Audition Notice – Spring Show

Auditions for our Spring show, the musical “Cabaret” are coming up in February!

Directed by Kathleen Kellaigh, Musical Director is Jalmari Vanamo, Choreographer is Judi Niebuhr, Producer is Maryann Irizarry, and Stage Manager is Tara Freifeld.

Cabaret is set in Berlin, 1929 to 1930, a time of transition. As Germany moves from the decadence of the 1920s into the rise of the Nazi party, Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer, stumbles into the Kit Kat Klub and meets the cabaret singer Sally Bowles. The story unfolds featuring the gender-bending Emcee, the Kit Kat Klub performers, a couple challenged by the Nazi view of the Jews, a prostitute and her lovers, Nazi sympathizers, and clandestine operators. Please note, the 1998 version of this play calls for portrayals of same-sex relationships.

Seeking 20-35 Cast Members: Mature Teens and Adults:

Principal Singing Roles
Master of Ceremonies – The host at the Kit Kat Klub (dancing required)
Clifford Bradshaw – An American Novelist
Fraulein Schneider – Landlady who rents rooms in her flat
Herr Schultz – One of Frl. Schneider’s roomers and proprietor of the Fruit Shop
Fraulein Kost – Another roomer. She earns a living offering favors to sailors
Sally Bowles – A British cabaret singer at the Kit Kat Klub (dancing required)

Non Singing Roles
Ernst Ludwig – A friendly likeable Germans
Max – Non-speaking role. Sally’s jealous Klub acquaintance.

Ensemble Roles
(ensemble players will likely play more than one character):
5 Kit Kat Klub Girls (singing and dancing)
5 Kit Kat Klub Waiters (singing and dancing)
Two Ladies
Bobby
Victor
Maitre D’
Customs Officer
Asst. Customs Officer
3 German Sailors
2 Nazi Guards
Taxi Man
Gorilla
Kissing Couple
Telephone Girl

Auditions will be held Wed. Feb 3rd 7-10 pm, Sat. Feb 6th 1-4 pm, and Sun. Feb 7th 2-6pm and Mon. Feb 8  for reserved auditions and call backs by invitation, at ATC Studios, 68 Union Ave, in Clifton, NJ. Auditions will be from sides provided at the auditions. Please bring a prepared song with accompaniment (CD, IPOD, MP3 or sheet music). Songs from the show are OK.

Show dates are Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays: May 13,14,15 and May 20,21,22, 2016 at the Theresa Aprea Theater in The Learning Center, 199 Scoles Ave, Clifton NJ.

For questions call 973-928-7668.

Audition Notice – Annual Murder Mystery Dinner Theater

Auditions for our annual murder-mystery dinner theater are coming up soon!  “The Multiple Mystery Murder”, written and directed by Kirk Woodward, features a cast of seven characters. Adults of any age are eligible to audition and all roles can be played by either females or males.

COUSIN M – rich, older, nutty as a fruitcake

YOUNG COUPLE (2) – as the words suggest.

LAWYER – a professional, ethically dubious

BLACK SHEEP – adventurer type, lives a freestyle life

ARISTOCRAT – looks down on everybody

DETECTIVE – or detective wannabe – time will tell…

In Multiple Mystery Murder, the family gathers as Cousin M prepares to finalize a will. M’s suggestions don’t make the family happy at all. Might they try something… murderous?Directed by Kirk Woodward, Produced by Mark Peterson, Stage Manager is Tara Freifeld.

Auditions will be held December 15th and 16th at 7:30 to 9:00pm at the Clifton Arts Center on Well Road in the Clifton City Hall complex at 900 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ.  Audition pieces from the script will be provided.   Click here for directions to the Clifton Arts Center, and here for a map of the City Hall complex.

Show dates are February 26, 27, 28 and March 4, 5, 6, 2016; Friday & Saturday at 8PM and Sunday at 4PM, at Mario’s Restaurant. 710 Van Houten Avenue in Clifton, NJ. Questions? call (973) 928-7668.

Audition Notice for our Annual Christmas Event

We are holding auditions for our 3rd Annual Christmas event!  “Waiting for Christmas,” directed by Kirk Woodward, in celebration of our 10th Anniversary in Clifton.  In partnership with the Clifton Arts Center, this joint fundraising event will mark the ten year anniversary of the first play we produced as the Theater League of Clifton.

“Waiting for Christmas” is a celebration of the holidays featuring five lively stories and bright holiday songs!  All adult and young adults are eligible to participate.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, October 25th 7-9pm and Wednesday, October 28th 7-9pm at the Clifton Arts Center.  Call back time to be determined.  Bring copies of Christmas music you would like to use for the audition in the key you will be singing if possible.  Performance dates are Saturday December 5th (7:00 pm) and Sunday December 6th  (3:30 PM) at the Clifton Arts Center on Well Road in the Clifton Municipal complex, 900 Clifton Avenue in Clifton, NJ.  For questions, call (973) 928-7668.