Come to the Cabaret – Opening May 13th

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The Theater League of Clifton (TLC) is thrilled to be bringing the musical Cabaret to life this May at the Aprea Theater (199 Scoles Ave, Clifton, NJ). Show dates are May 13, 14, 15 and May 20, 21, 22. Performance times are Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 2pm. Click here to reserve your ticket online or call the TLC Box Office at (973) 928-7668.

Cabaret Flier with receptionCabaret is set in the early 1930s in Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power. It deals with the nightlife happenings at the seedy Kit Kat Klub and revolves around the English cabaret performer, Sally Bowles, and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw. With a book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, Cabaret is a musical based on the John Van Druten play, I Am a Camera, and The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood.

This show will certainly be a showstopper with a brilliant production team and cast. Cabaret production team includes: Director Kathleen Kellaigh, Musical Director Jalmari Vanamo, Choreographer Judi Layne Niebuhr, Stage Manager Tara Freifeld, & Producer Maryann Irizarry. Cabaret’s large cast consists of TLC veterans as well as a talented group of new comers. The cast includes: Kenneth Fowler, Gregory Gwyn, James Gwyn, Jeannie Kempa, Robert Mascuch, Jessica Peirce, Bill Powers, Michael Purdy, Sarah Robertson, & Michael Sconzo of Clifton; Joseph Fritz of Bergenfield; Christine Blake, Jack Pignatello, & Maren Sugarman of Bloomfield; Daniel Reid of Emerson; Chris Robertson of Fairlawn; Jennifer Verdonck of Hasbrouck Heights; Jacob Michael of Hawthorne; Sabrina Curry of Kearney; Vanessa Sierra of Linden; Mariah Ayscue & Gary Koseyan of Montclair; Aseal Nassar of North Bergen; Maria Salvati of Nutley; Sofia Flores-Hohn of Paterson; Kelsey Snedeker of Seacaucus; Peggy Valenti of Succasunna; Maria Alessi & James Russo of Wayne; and Seira Nakanishi of Brooklyn, NY.

Save $5 by ordering tickets in advance! Non-member advanced tickets rates: $20/adults and $15/students & seniors; At the door rates: $25 adults /$20 students & seniors. Tickets and seat selection can be made online at www.theaterleagueofclifton.com or by calling the TLC 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 rates available, call (973) 928-7668 for details.

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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.

Our 10th Anniversary Gala & Show

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

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

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!

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.