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Tons of New Shows Hitting NJ Stages

From comedies to musicals and shows for kids, the area's theaters will be bursting with entertainment over the next few weeks

Get out your calendars, because the stages of Northern Jersey are going to be packed with entertainment over the next few weeks.

No fewer than eight new shows are opening over the next two weeks, including "Over the River and Through the Woods" at Summit Playhouse, "Diary of A Worm, A Spider, And A Fly" at Growing Stage children's theater, Cabaret by Chatham Community Players, and  "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" by Chester Theatre Group.

You can see an American classic with a political statement ("The Crucible" at Brundage Park Playhouse), a touching comedy ("Southern Comforts" by Women's Theatre Co.) or a Sondheim show ("Company" at Dover Little Theatre).

Those join shows that are already running, like "I Do!, I Do!" at the Bickford and "Clue" at Somerset Valley Players.

And there's a lot more to choose from in terms of concerts, comedy shows and audition opportunities. The On Stage Scoop runs every Tuesday.

ON STAGE SCOOP:

Playwrights Theatre Announces Young Playwright Contest Winners: has announced the winners of the 29th Annual New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest. Winners were selected from 261 plays submitted by young writers throughout the state. Four high school plays, three junior high school plays and three elementary school plays were chosen by a panel of theater professionals.

The High School Division (grades 10 through 12) winners are: "Monster" by Samuel Gelman, 12th grade, The Pingry School; "The Mystery Madame of 110 and Broadway" by Emma Hathaway, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies; "Must-Read" by Isabelle Ingato, 11th grade, Toms River High School East; and "Disneyland" by Alina Sodano, 11th grade, Bergen County Academies.

The winners in the Junior High School Division (grades 7-9) winners are: "It Always Would" by Emma Q. Baxter, 7th grade, Randolph Middle School; "Fame in the Family" by Madeleine Granovetter, 9th grade, Glen Ridge High School; and "Only Strangers" by Nicole Zanchelli, 9th grade, Mount Saint Mary Academy.

The contest festival will be held on May 22 and May 22 at the University Center's Little Theatre at Kean University. The readings will feature professional actors and directors. Reservations can be made by calling 973-514-1787, ext. 21 or by emailing njypf@ptnj.org. Admission to the readings is free, but reservations are required, as seating is limited.

Dramatic Events: Centenary Stage Company is presenting the world premiere of "The Unfortunates" through April 29. The play tells the tale of working girls who enter a pub on a foggy London night to escape the streets stalked by Jack the Ripper. The play, written by Aoise Stratford, is the centerpiece of the Centenary Stage Company Women Playwright Festival 20th Anniversary celebration, which is offering activities throughout the month. The theater is located at the Lackland Center, 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown. For more information, call 908-979-0900 or go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Love and Marriage: is concluding its 17th season with the musical "I Do!, I Do!" with performances continuing through May 6. The show features a book and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt. The show is famously set around a couple's four-poster bed and examines the 50-year marriage of Michael and Agnes Snow. It premiered on Broadway in 1966 and received seven Tony nominations. Tickets cost $40, $36 seniors, $20 students 18 and under with a valid college I.D. The Bickford is located at the , 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or visit MorrisMuseum.org.

They've Got a "Clue:" Miss Scarlet, Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum come to life as presents "Clue: The Musical" through May 6 at its playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road in Hillsborough. The show, based on the board game, involves household secrets and mystery after Mr. Boddy is murdered. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors/students. For more information, call 908-369-7460 or go to SVPTheatre.org.

Audition Alert, "T.V. Comedy Classics Live on Stage:" Pax Amicus Castle Theatre will hold auditions for "T.V. Comedy Classics Live on Stage" on April 25 at 7 p.m. The theater is seeking zany performers to appear in sketches from "The Carol Burnett Show" and scenes from "All in the Family." The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. Performances are in June. For more information, call 973-691-2100.

Audition Alert, Trilogy Repertory Company: Trilogy Repertory Company and Bernards Township Park and Recreation Dept. of Basking Ridge will hold auditions for their Plays in the Park 2012 season on April 25 and May 6, 7 to 9 p.m. and on April 29, 3 to 5 p.m. The season will consist of the musical, "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" and the drama "Inherit the Wind." Those auditioning for "Forum" should prepare 16 measures of a song from a Broadway show and be ready to read from the script. Dance auditions will also be held. Performances are July 12 through 21 at off Valley Road in Basking Ridge.

Performances for "Inherit the Wind" are scheduled for July 27 through Aug. 4, also at Pleasant Valley Park. Male and female roles for all experience levels are available. Be prepared to read from the script. Trilogy Repertory Company also needs prep and run crews for these productions. Call Jaye Barre at 908-217-2714 for information about auditions, or working backstage.

Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey Seeking Volunteers: is seeking volunteers to assist with ushering, concessions, and its gift shop for the theater's 50th-anniversary season, which begins May 30. The theater will hold a volunteer open house on April 26 beginning at 6 p.m. Participants can learn about volunteer opportunities, meet with the professional management staff, meet veteran volunteers and learn about the 2012 season from Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte. In return for their work, volunteers receive ticket vouchers good for admission throughout the season. For more information, call 973-408-3694 or email jmccrostie@ShakespeareNJ.org.

Honoring a Travelin' Man: will host "Ricky Nelson Remembered" on April 26, beginning at 8 p.m. The concert will feature Nelson's twin sons Matthew and Gunnar (of the band Nelson) sharing their father's hits, including "Hello Mary Lou," "Travelin' Man" and "Garden Party." Tickets cost $37 to $57. 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.

Modern Jazz: Saxophonist Joshua Redman and pianist Brad Mehldau will perform a concert at on April 27 at 8 p.m. The two first performed in Redman's quartet in the 1990s and are reuniting for an intimate evening of jazz. Tickets cost $47 to $67. 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.

Laughter and Song:  will present Joe DiPietro's "Over the River and Through the Woods" April 27 through May 12. The musical is about Nick, a single, Italian-American man from Jersey. With his parents retired to Florida, it's up to Nick to visit his grandparents every Sunday. But when he gets a job that could change his life, including a move to Seattle, Nick's grandparents come up with a scheme to keep him on the East Coast. Tickets cost $20, or $15 for students. The theater is located at 10 New England Ave. in Summit. For tickets or more information, call 908-273-2192 or go to SummitPlayhouse.org.

A Person's A Person, No Matter How Small: Kelsey's Performing Arts Center will perform "Seussical Jr." at the Brook Art Center, April 27 and 28. The musical is based on several Dr. Seuss characters, particularly Horton, the elephant who hears a Who. Performances begin at 7 p.m. on April 27, 1 p.m. on April 28. Tickets cost $20 at the door, or $18 in advance. The Brook Art Center is located at 10 Hamilton St. in Bound Brook. For more information, go to K-PAC.net or BrookArts.org.

Sorry, Didn't Mean to Bug You: The Growing Stage Children's Theater is staging "Diary of A Worm, A Spider, And A Fly" with a run starting April 27 and continuing through May 20. The musical was written by Joan Cushing based on the books by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Biss. The world premiere show is for all ages and gives audiences a look at the world from a bug's perspective. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. There will be one Friday performance on April 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $18, or $14 for seniors and children. For more information, go to GrowingStage.com.

Two Sides of Bacon: The Bacon Brothers are performing a concert at the Newton Theatre on April 28 at 8 p.m. The latest album by Kevin (the famous actor) and Michael is "Philadelphia Road—The Best of the Bacon Brothers," and is an anthology of songs from the first four studio albums, including "Unhappy Birthday" and "When You Decide You've Stayed Too Long." Tickets cost $39 to $49. The theater is located at 234 Spring St. For more information, call 973-383-3700 or go to TheNewtonTheatre.com.

Get Out of My Garden! "Peter Rabbit" will be performed at The Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake, April 28, with performances beginning at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The show is part of the theater's "Generation Next Productions" series and is written and directed by Richard Boyer. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. For more information, call 973-691-2100 or go to PaxAmicus.com.

The Beats Go On: The Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake will present "Serious Fun" on April 28 at 8 p.m. The theater bills the performance as an evening of creative mayhem and improvised madness. The show features Peter Biedermann on guitars and electronics and John Hammel offering poetry, vocals and harmonica. The show features strong language, controversial subject matter—dark and funny—performed in a beatnik coffeehouse style. Tickets cost $15. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. For reservations, call 973-691-2100.

Supporting Teens: "Inappropriate: The Musical" will take stage at the Brook Art Center on April 28 at 7 p.m. The teen musical is designed to help young people know they are not alone. Tickets cost $20. The Brook Art Center is located at 10 Hamilton St. in Bound Brook. For more information, go to K-PAC.net or BrooksArts.org.

Classical Sounds Old and New: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra will present a concert featuring Gil Shaham on violin at the on April 29. The program will feature Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music; Berg's Violin Concerto, “To the Memory of an Angel;” the world premiere of Richard Danielpour's "Kaddish" and Prokofieve's third symphony. Tickets cost $20 to $85. For more information, go to NJSymphony.org.

Down in Pooh Corner: will host a performance of  A.A. Milne's "House at Pooh Corner," May 3 at 4 p.m. Kids can follow the adventures of Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Robbit, Christopher Robin and Pooh in a musical that's faithful to the book. 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.

What Good is Sitting Alone in Your Room When You Can Go See "Cabaret:" conclude their 90th season with "Cabaret," running May 4 through 13. The classic musical is set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power and Sally Bowles, a performer at the Kit Kat Klub, starts a relationship with Cliff Bradshaw, a young American writer. The cast includes Katherine LeFevre as Sally and John Sechrist as the Emcee. Tickets cost $25, or $23 for seniors and youths (note: the show is recommended for mature audiences). Click here for tickets. Phone reservations will be accepted starting April 24 at 973-635-7363. The Chatham Playhouse is located at 23 N. Passaic Ave. in Chatham.

What a Beauty: will stage "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," May 4 through 20 at the Black River Playhouse. The darkly comic story is set in the mountains of Connemara in Ireland, where Maureen Folan is in her 40s and has her first, and maybe last, chance at love. But her potential relationship is threatened by her manipulative mother. The show is directed by Stephen Catron and features Garaldine Baillod, Victoria Steele, Matt Meier, and Dale Monroe. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors/students. The playhouse is located at 54 Grove St. For more information, call 908-879-7304 or go to ChesterTheatreGroup.org.

Southern Hospitality: Women's Theatre Co. will present Kathleen Clark's "Southern Comforts," May 4 through 20 at the Parsippany Playhouse. The play is about a widower and a widow who try to form a relationship later in life. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, 3 p.m. on Sundays. The playhouse is located at 1130 Knoll Road. Tickets cost $20, $18 seniors. For more information, go to WomensTheater.org.

Conjuring Up Some Drama: Brundage Park Playhouse will present Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," May 4 through 20. Set during the Salem Witch Trials, the play was written in 1952 in response to the red scare and McCarthyism. Performances begin at 8 p.m. on May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19, and at 2 p.m. on May 6 and 20. For more information, call 973-989-7092 or go to BrundageParkPlayhouse.org.

Comedy, New York Style: will present a Manhattan Comedy Night, beginning at 8 p.m. on May 4. Comics on the bill include Bernadette Pauley, Andy Pitz, Tommy Drake, Sandy Marks, and Melvin George. Tickets cost $25. 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.

We've Got "Company:" Dover Little Theatre will perform Stephen Sondheim's "Company," May 5-20. The concept show follows a bachelor named Robert as he makes his way through a series of encounters with women. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $22. For more information, go to DoverLittleTheatre.org.

Chester Theatre Group Comedy Workshop: Kate Lyn Reiter's Humor in the Midst comedy workshop is returning to , beginning May 5. The eight-week workshop is taught by Reiter, an MFA Yale School of Drama graduate with 12 years of experience as a comedienne in New York City. Sessions are held on Saturdays, 9 to 11 a.m. The workshop is held at the Black River Playhouse, located at the corner of Grove and Maple streets in Chester. For more information, go to ChesterTheatreGroup.org.

Where For Art Thou Romeo? He's in Budd Lake: The Castle Shakespeare Repertory Company will present "Romeo and Juliet" on May 5 at 8 p.m. at Pax Amicus Castle Theatre in Budd Lake. Tickets cost $15. For reservations, call the box office at 973-691-2100. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road.

Jazz Concert in Morristown: New Jersey Jazz Society Presents will present Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks in a concert at , May 6 at 3 p.m. Giordano's band is known for authentically performing music from the '20 and '30s, and their music has been featured in films directed by Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese. Tickets cost $20. 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.

Audition Alert, Summit Kaleidoscope Productions: is accepting auditions signups for its summer Kaleidoscope productions for young performers. Auditions will be held May 20 and May 21, with callbacks scheduled for May 22 through 24. The season will consist of three shows: Disney's "Winnie the Pooh," "Into the Woods Junior" and "The People Garden." There will be a $30 participation fee for each show if cast. Click here for more information, including show descriptions and performance dates.

Summer Camp at Centenary Stage Company: The Centenary Stage Company is offering young artists the TYRO Acting Program and the Young Performers Workshop Summer Intensive Program during the months of July and August. The TYRO Theatre Programs provide an introduction to theater skills and performance in a two-week session from 9:30 a.m. to noon for kids ages 6 to 8 and from 1 to 3:30 p.m. for children ages 9 to 11. The program runs July 9 through July 20. The cost of tuition is $200 per student. The TYRO Program is led by Maria Broadeur, the CSC education director. Brodeur is a professional actress and arts educator with experience in children’s theater who holds a BA in theater and education from Rutgers University. The YPW Summer Intensive offers training in acting, voice, and dance with specialized electives taught by theatre professionals. The program includes three full-length musical productions and The One Act play festival performed for the general public. Acceptance into the program is based on an interview with program director Michael Blevins scheduled for June 9 and June 10 at 11 a.m. For more information, call 908-979-0900 or visit CentenaryStageCo.org

Summer Camp at Brundage Park Playhouse: Registration is open for summer theater camps at Brundage Park Playhouse in Randolph. The camps offer three different groups: “Budding Stars” for kids 5 to 7, “Summer Stages” for kids ages 8 to 14, “Budding Stars” for kids 5 to 7, and an “Advanced Performers Workshop” for students in grades 7 through 11. For more information, go to BrundageParkPlayhouse.org.

Summer Camp at Playwrights Theatre: Registration is open for the ’s Creative Arts Academy summer camp for kids and summer theatre program for teens beginning June 25 and running all summer long in two-week sessions. Summer programs include a Full-Day Theatre Academy. Also being offered are a Half-Day Summer Camp, and a Getting Ready To Audition class for high school students. For more information, call 973-514-1787 or visit ptnj.org.

This post is shared across Patch sites serving Morris, Somerset and Sussex communities. Comments below may be by readers of any of those sites.

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