Â Â Kooky Characters Come to Life as Local Live Theaters Begin New Seasons
Â BY SALLY DEERING
Culture flourishes in Hudson with art, music and dance performances happening throughout its cities. We also have some terrific live theater groups putting on shows for adults and kids and the new season is now kicking off, like J CITY Theaterâ€™s production of APARTMENT 3A. Along with J CITY Theater, the Attic Ensemble in Jersey City is celebrating 43 years as a community theater and the Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken opens its season with a wink to the kids in its production of the Broadway play A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD.
Hereâ€™s a closer look at some local theater companies and their upcoming shows. Why not check out a performance or two? Youâ€™ll be supporting local theater and those artists who may work in the cultural milieu of New York City and who also nourish the cultural fabric of Hudsonâ€™sÂ community
CRAZY DOES IT ON LIVE TV
Producing Director of the J CITY Theater Clay Cockrell and his wife Sandy Cockrell, who is the companyâ€™s Artistic Director are thrilled to be back on the boards after almost a year-long hiatus brought on by Hurricane Sandy. (See our interview with Clay Cockrell following this story.)
This marks J CITY Theaterâ€™s 8th season of presenting popular and contemporary plays on the stage of the theater which is located in the basement of St. Michaelâ€™s RC Church facing Hamilton Park in Jersey City. The company recently opened its season with APARTMENT 3A, a romantic comedy about a public television employee who loses her faith in God, men and public broadcasting.Â As the heroine takes a ride on the romance rollercoaster, she eventually has an on-camera meltdown during a pledge drive which leads to pandemonium and hilarity. The play runs through Oct. 26 and features Sandy Cockrell, Stephen Hope, Randall Marquez and Clay Cockrell.Â Stage Manager is Jack Vandewark and Tech Director is Nick Probst; Jacquelyn Bird is choreographer.
J CITY Theater is a not-for-profit professional theater company based in Jersey City.Â It is a founding company of the Hudson County Theatre Alliance (www.hudsonall.org) and has produced plays locally since 2006.Â Recent productions include Archibald MacLeishâ€™s J.B., Douglas Carter Beaneâ€™s AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN, and last yearâ€™s REGRETS ONLY.Â J CITY Theaterâ€™s mission is â€˜to create quality, high energy theater that is told with sophisticated simplicity.â€™
Â â€œWe are thrilled to be starting our eighth season on a strong note with this rollercoaster production,â€ Clay Cockrell says. â€œWe are proud to be part of the renaissance of Jersey City.â€
Â Look for a new holiday tradition at J CITY Theater â€“ the return of the hit comedy TUNA CHRISTMAS.Â
Â Â WED-SAT, OCT 11 â€“ 26 AT 8PM; Tix: $20
J CITY Theater
The Underground Theater at St. Michaels Church – Hamilton Park
252 Ninth Street
or by calling 800-838-3006
AMPHIBIAN FRIENDS FOREVER
In the childrenâ€™s musical A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD by Robert and Willie Reale, two brothers who based their musical on the Frog and Toad childrenâ€™s stories by Arnold Lobel, the story focuses on the friendship between Frog and Toad and their adventures with their woodland friends over the course of a year. It was the first-ever professional childrenâ€™s show to be produced on Broadway and the production at Mile Square Theater is keeping with the companyâ€™s mission to produce contemporary plays and classics.
This leading Northern New Jersey regional theater also teaches theater to children and adults in its vision to promote the performing arts and deepen the regionâ€™sÂ culture.
The company has begun its â€œSupport the MST nextstage Capital Campaign!â€™â€ to raise $50,000 to upgrade the space and improve seating and lighting equipment. A generous challenge grant from the Mason Family Civic League means each donation will go further to ensure Mile Square Theater reaches its goal.
Sat & Sun, Oct 5-20 at 2 & 5 pm; Sun at 11 & 3 pm
Tix: $22; Children & Seniors $12
A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD
Mile Square Theater
720 Monroe St
Â YOU CANâ€™T TAKE IT WITH YOU, HAMLET
DeBaun Center for Performing Arts in Hoboken celebrates its 15th Anniversary Season with events posted online in their Theater, Music, Eichorn Recital and Special Events Series. Highlights include Stevens Dramatic Societyâ€™s production of YOU CANâ€™T TAKE IT WITH YOU by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman in November and THE HAMLET PROJECT in February
Â Thurs, Nov. 7 at 9 pm; Fri, Nov 8 at 8 pm; Sat Nov. 9 at 2 and 8 pm
YOU CANâ€™T TAKE IT WITH YOU
Presented by the Stevens Dramatic Society, YOU CANâ€™T TAKE IT WITH YOU is a Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy about the kooky Sycamore family made up of eccentrics. WhenÂ Tony Kirby falls in love with Alice Sycamore and brings his parents to dine at the Sycamore home on the wrong evening, craziness ensues and the familyâ€™s eccentricities are unveiled. Â
Â Feb. 7 and 8 at 8 pm
The Hamlet Project
According to the website, hereâ€™s what Stevenâ€™s Drama Society has to say about THE HAMLET PROJECT: â€œWho strives to hold the mirror up to natureâ€”to see, and to reveal, the truth of oneself and of others? Who pushes the mirror away? And what are the consequences of both? In this presentation of selected scenes, THE HAMLET PROJECT will delve into the questions of truth and deceit, self-knowledge and blindness, all performed by Stevens students through the words of HAMLET, one ofÂ Shakespeare’s greatest plays.â€Â Directed by Dr. Bethany Reeves
Â DeBaun Center for Performing Arts
500 Hudson St
Tickets: General Admission: $5; Stevens Students: $2
Tix also available online
WATCHING THE DETECTIVE
The Attic Ensemble in Jersey City celebrates its 43rd Season as a community theater troupe and its 17-year residence at the Barrow Manse with a production of THE DETECTIVE STORY by Sidney Kingsley featuring a cast of 22 players. Itâ€™s one of the companyâ€™s most ambitious productions to date.
Â The Attic Ensemble has been playing to Jersey City audiences for 43 years, producing a wide-range of theater experiences for adults and children. They are kicking off this new season with the 1949 drama THE DETECTIVE STORY by Pulitzer-winning playwright Sidney Kingsley and directed by Billy Mitchell, with a cast of actors from Jersey City, Northern New Jersey, New York City, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and beyond. The company is undertaking a funding campaign to produce the show and is offering a range of thank you perks to contributors at every level. For more info, go to their website (www.atticensemble.org).
Â Once the goal of $2,500 to produce THE DETECTIVE STORY is met, every additional donationÂ will benefit the companyâ€™s rent, rights & royalties, upkeep of equipment, marketing materials, and upcoming production costs. A small price to pay to keep theater alive and well on Wayne Street.
To donate, go to:
THE ATTIC ENSEMBLE
83 Wayne St