Strong Summer 'Wind' Blows Through Area Stages
"Inherit the Wind" opens this week in Basking Ridge, Playwrights put on "Once Upon a Mattress."
New shows opening this week include Trilogy Repertory Co.'s free outdoor staging of "Inherit the Wind" at Pleasant Valley Park in Basking Ridge. The play is a dramatization of the famed Scopes Trial, in which a teacher was accused for violating state law for teaching evolution in a public school.
And the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey is readying its annual summer production, which this year is the musical "Once Upon a Mattress," based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Princess and the Pea."
Theatergoers can also see presentation of one-act plays by the Chester Theatre Group and Chatham Community Players.
Meanwhile, time's running out to see the Shakespeare Theatre's outdoor presentation of "The Comedy of Errors" and the indoor staging of "The Liar."
And that's just a taste of what's happening at this busy time of the year. There are more plays, musicals, along with lots of shows for kids and concerts, to check out as you seek some summer entertainment.
So read the On Stage Scoop and start reserving your seats!
THE ON STAGE SCOOP
Ease on Down the Road to "The Wiz:" The Growing Stage, The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, is presenting "The Wiz," through July 29 at the Historic Palace Theatre on Route 183 in Netcong. The musical is an urbanized retelling of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," adapted from the 1975 Broadway hit for young audiences. The story follows the adventures of Dorothy, who is transported to the Land of Oz, which resembles a fantasy version of New York City. Befriended by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, she travels through the land to seek an audience with the mysterious "Wiz," who is believed to have the power to send Dorothy home. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, 4 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $12. For more information, call 973-347-4946 or go to GrowingStage.com.
Laugh it Up with "The Comedy of Errors:" The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is performing "The Comedy of Errors" as its annual outdoor stage at the Greek Theatre on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road in Morris Township, through July 29. The family-friendly production features two sets of identical twins, mistaken identities and a chase sequence to rival all chase sequences. Audiences are invited to bring their own chairs or blankets, and a picnic. For tickets and information, go to ShakespeareNJ.org.
Here's the Truth About "The Liar:" The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is presenting David Ives' contemporary adaptation of Pierre Corneille's "The Liar" through July 29. The show promises hijinks surrounding young lovers in Paris in the 1600s. For more information, go to ShakespeareNJ.org.
Go 'Sea' The Little Mermaid: Somerset Valley Players is presenting "The Little Mermaid," through Aug. 5. The family show tells Hans Christian Andersen's tale of a mermaid's adventures on the ground. Performances are 8 p.m. on Fridays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets cost $10. The theater is located at 689 Amwell Road in Hillsborough. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or go to SVPTheatre.org.
Protecting her Hood: Pushcart Players will present "Red Riding Hood… and other stories" July 25 at 11 a.m. in the Wilkins Theatre at Kean University. The show will feature such tales as "The Princess and the Pea," "The Emperor's New Clothes," and, of course, "Little Red Riding Hood." Tickets cost $15. The Kean University campus is located at 1000 Morris Ave. in Union. For more information, call 908-737-7469 or go to Kean.edu/PremiereStages.
Guitar Man: Tommy Emmanuel will perform at the The Mayo Performing Arts Center on July 26 at 8 p.m. Emmanuel is known for his "finger style" of playing, in which he uses all of his fingers. Tickets cost $27-$52. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
You Say You're a Princess? Prove It: The Madison Recreation Department and Playwrights Theatre will present "Once Upon A Mattress" July 26-28. The musical retelling of the classic fairy tale, "The Princess and the Pea" is about a kingdom where no one is allowed to marry until a prince finds a suitable bride — suitable to his mother, that is. Enter Princess Winifred, who just might be the one, if she can pass a test involving a pea and a whole lot of mattresses. The production is for ages 12 and older. It will be directed by Danielle Constance with musical direction by Jane Keitel. The cast includes youth and adult performers. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on July 26-27 and 2 p.m. on July 28 at Madison High School, 170 Ridgedale Ave. in Madison. Tickets cost $10, $5 students/children. For more information, call 973-514-1787, ext. 31. Senior Citizens will be admitted for free and should call the senior center at 973-593-3095 to secure their tickets.
Singing Fairy Tales: The Summit Playhouse will continue its Kaleidoscope Theatre for Youth season with "Into the Woods Junior" July 26-28. The adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's musical offers music, laughter and a few twists on classic fairy tales. Ticket cost $15. For more information, go to SummitPlayhouse.org.
Double Down with Chester Theatre Group: Chester Theatre Group will present "An Evening of One-Acts" on July 27-28 at the Black River Playhouse in Chester. The two plays are "Exchange," written Bennett Fisher, about passengers in New York waiting for a Subway, and "Scooter Thomas Makes it to the Top of the World," by Peter Parnell, about a man who finds out that his childhood best friend has died. Performances begin at 8 p.m. at the Black River Playhouse, 50 Grove St. in Chester. Tickets cost $10. For more information, call 908-879-7304 or go to ChesterTheatreGroup.org.
Get in on the One-Acts: Chatham Community Players will present their 18th annual Jersey Voices One Act Festival beginning July 27 and continuing through Aug. 4. This year's festival will include six original short plays written by New Jersey playwrights.
The plays include "6 in the Kid" by Ralph Greco Jr. of Clifton, in which a young writer interviews for a job as an assistant to a famous playwright. In "The Buffer" by Mike Allegra of Scotch Plains, Sarah convinces Bill that they should go out with her best friend, and her best friend's annoying husband. Basking Ridge resident Jane Walsh wrote "Ping," a one-woman play about a mother's love for her grown child.
Also being performed are "The Portrait Gallery" by Gary Shaffer of Toms River; "Children of September" by Eric Alter of West Orange; and "The Incident Report" by E.M. Lewis of Princeton.
Performances begin at 8 p.m. on July 27-28 and Aug. 3-14. Performances will be at the Chatham Playhouse, 23 N. Passaic Ave. in Chatham. Tickets cost $15, $10 18 and under. For more information, call 973-635-7363 or go to ChathamPlayers.org.
Children's Shows at the Bickford: The Bickford Theatre will continue its Summer Theatre children's series with "Pinocchio" on July 26 and "Snakes, Scales & Turtle Tales" on July 27. Tickets cost $12. For more information, go to MorrisMuseum.org.
Drama in the Park: Trilogy Repertory Company will continue its summer season of Bernards Township’s “Plays in the Park” with the drama, "Inherit the Wind," July 27 to Aug. 4 at Pleasant Valley Park in Basking Ridge. The play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee is a fictionalized dramatization of the trial of John Scopes for teaching the theory of evolution in a Tennessee high school science class. The play debuted on Broadway in 1955, and had revivals in 1996 and 2007. It was adapted into a movie starring Spencer Tracy in 1960 and a made-for-TV movie starring Jack Lemmon in 1999. Trilogy's production is being produced by Nancy Becker and directed by Hugh Wallace. Pleasant Valley Park is located on Valley Road (next to the Veterans Hospital at Lyons) in Basking Ridge. Performances begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are accepted. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. For more information, call 908-204-3003.
Have a Mad Time with Alice: Disney's "Alice in Wonderland Jr." will be performed at the Brook Arts Center on July 27, beginning at 6 p.m. The show brings audiences on Alice's madcap adventures in Wonderland as she discovers characters like White Rabbit, Dodo Bird and the Queen of Hearts. Tickets cost $15, $10 children. For more information, go to BrookArts.org.
Music at the Newton Theatre: The Newton Theatre will present concerts by Spyro Gyra on July 27 and 7 Walkers on July 28. Spyro Gyra released its first album 35 years ago, and has sold millions of records and has won Grammys. Tickets cost $39-$52. 7 Walkers is led by former Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann. Tickets cost $34-$44. Both shows start at 8 p.m. For more information, go to TheNewtonTheatre.com.
"Spring Awakening" in the Summer: Villagers Theatre will present the Tony-winning musical "Spring Awakening" July 27 through Aug. 12 as part of its TeensVill series. This production contains mature themes and is designed to encourage conversations between parents and children. This production will not feature nudity. Tickets cost $16. Performances are Fri.-Sat. 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. For more information, go to VillagersTheatre.com. Silly Old Bear: Tri-State Actors Theater will perform a musical adaptation of A.A. Milne's "Winnie the Pooh," Aug. 1-11 at the Performing Arts Center at Sussex Community College in Newton. The show features Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Rabbit ad more. Tickets cost $12, $9 for children 11 and under. For tickets and information, call 973-383-0510 or go to TriStateActorsTheater.org. Live and in 3D: Mark Nizer will perform at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Aug. 1 at 10:30 a.m. The show promises juggling, comedy, music, lasers and 3-D effects (glasses will be provided). For ages 5 and up. Tickets cost $12. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
Rock Into the Night with 38 Special: Classic rockers 38 Special will perform at the Mayo Performing Arts Center on Aug, 2, 8 p.m. Fans can expect hits such as "Hold On Loosely," "Rockin' Into the Night," "Caught Up in You," "Fantasy Girl" and more. Tickets cost $39-$69. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
Life Lessons on Stage: The Summit Playhouse will present "The People Garden," as part of its Kaleidoscope Theatre for Youth season, Aug. 3-5. This 60-minute family-friendly musical features songs, laughs and heartwarming moments that deal with subjects such as honestly bullying, sharing, loss and friendship. For ages 5 and up. Performances are scheduled for: Aug. 3 at 7 p.m., Aug. 4 at 1 and 7 p.m. and Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $15. For more information, go to SummitPlayhouse.org.
All You Really Need is "Damn Yankees:" The hit musical "Damn Yankees" will get a run at the Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Aug. 3-19. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Aug, 3-4, 11 and 18. Matinees performances begin at 2 p.m. on Aug. 12 and 19. Tickets cost $20. Opening night tickets cost two for $30. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. Call 973-691-2100 for information or to make a reservation.
"Golden" Sounds: Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Lou Christie will star in "The Golden Boys," at concert at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, on Aug. 3, 8 p.m. The trio will be performing hits such as "Venus," "De De Dinah," "Turn Me Loose," "Tiger," "Lightning Strikes,' "Two Face Have I" and more. Note that this show was originally intended to feature Bobby Rydell, who had to back out because of illness and was replaced by Christie. Tickets cost $67-$97. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
Hey, Nice Coat: The Brook Arts Center will present "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dremcoat," Aug. 3-4 at 8 p.m. The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tells the Biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors. Tickets cost $15, $10 seniors/students. The Brook Arts Center is located at 10 Hamilton St. in Bound Brook. For more information, call 732-469-7700 or go to BrookArts.org.
Make a Playdate for the Doodlebops and Caillou: The Mayo Performing Arts Center will host a Musical Playdate with concerts by the Doodlebops and Caillou, Aug. 6 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Doodlebops fans will hear DeeDee, Rooney and Moe singing, joking and dancing. Then Caillou, Rosie and Gilbert the cat will go on an adventure featuring sing-alongs. Tickets cost $20-$35. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
Art Garfunkel, Glen Campbell and Paul Anka Tickets on Sale: Tickets for concerts by Art Garfunkel, Glen Campbell and Paul Anka at the Mayo Performing Arts Center are now on sale. Garfunkel will perform on Oct. 5, Campbell will bring his Goodbye Tour to Morristown on Oct. 19 and Anka will perform "Christmas My Way" on Dec. 6. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.
Barn Theatre Announces New Season: The Barn Theatre in Montville has announced its schedule of shows for the 2012-13 season. First up is Michael Frayn's "Noises Off," Sept. 7-29. The musical "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change!" will run Nov. 9-Dec. 1. "Fuddy Meers" by David Lindsay Abaire is scheduled to run Jan. 11-Feb. 2. "God of Carnage" will be on the Barn stage March 15-April and "A Chorus Line" will close out the season, starting May 17. Tickets for musicals cost $20, $15 for plays. Subscription options are available. For more information, go to BarnTheatre.org.