The Theater League of Clifton (TLC) sponsored “Get Your Folk On…A Reunion Concert,” which was held at Woodrow Wilson Middle School in Clifton on Sept. 28. An audience of about 100 fans turned out for an enjoyable evening of acoustic tunes and old favorites. A sentimental moment during the program came when Dante Liberti (second from right), a member of the executive board of TLC and one of the organizers of the event, presented flowers to Marlene Marlene Zschack. Marlene’s husband, the late Bob Zschack, a former Clifton High School teacher, served as the master of ceremonies for the Woodrow Wilson folk concerts during the 1960s and 1970s. Pictured at the event are (left to right) Matt Zschak (Marlene’s son); Marlene Zschack; Dante Liberti and Frank Rainey. Rainey, a music teacher in the Clifton school system for many years, is acknowledged as the “father” of the Woodrow Wilson folk music ensembles, and directed the Sept. 28 concert. He and Liberti also performed during the 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!
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.
NOVEMBER 13, 2015 By Michael Gabriele, Clifton Journal
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 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.
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.
As 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.
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!
The 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!
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!
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
Click here to purchase tickets online.
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.
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.
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.
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
Purchase your tickets online in advance to Save $5 each!
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.
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!
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.