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OnStage News & Notes - May 2012

MPOnStage NewsletterIn May, we're pleased to announce the opening of MPO's The Drowsy Chaperone; talk to Mark Applegate about his Broadway Bears; announce the 2012 Kelsey Theatre Awards; announce the Kelsey Theatre's Summer 2012 season; promote May and June Alumni Happenings; and present the latest episode of BackStage Pass in which we talk with the cast of The Drowsy Chaperone.

The Drowsy Chaperone
Call or Click for Tickets: 609-570-3333

Fri. Jun. 8 & 15, 2012 at 8pm
Sat. Jun. 9 & 16 at 8pm
Sun. Jun. 10 & 17 at 2pm

$18 adults, $16 seniors, $14 students & children

Winner of five Tony Awards, this rollicking musical comedy is both a tribute to, and a parody of, the American musicals of the jazz age. Don't miss the musical the New York Times called "ingenious." It is a 90 minute roller coaster ride of song, dance and laughter that remind us of everything we love (and hate) about Broadway.

Tony-Winner Drowsy Chaperone Coming To Kelsey; MPO Follows AIDA with another Costume Spectacular

ChaperoneWest Windsor, N.J. – Maurer Productions OnStage (MPO), the team that bought the smash hit Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA to Kelsey Theatre last fall, now delivers another big budget spectacular called The Drowsy Chaperone. This award-winning musical comedy will take audiences back to a time when beautiful music, colorful costumes and screwball comedy were the height of entertainment. Performances are June 8 -17 at the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. A reception with the cast and crew follows the opening night performance on June 8.

Winner of five Tony Awards (including Best Original Score) when it hit Broadway in 2006, The Drowsy Chaperone is for people who both love and hate the American musicals of the Jazz Age. The show’s narrator, a mousy, agoraphobic Broadway fanatic seeking a cure for the blues, listens to a recording of an obscure 1928 musical comedy, The Drowsy Chaperone. As he listens to this rare recording, he and the audience are transported into the musical. The characters appear in his dingy apartment and his cold-water flat is transformed into an impressive Broadway set. From then on it’s a whole new tale of a celebrity bride and the zany antics that make up her wedding day; complete with gangsters dressed as pastry chefs, a lovesick showgirl, and a self-proclaimed ChaperoneLatin lover. Audience members can join in on this roller coaster ride of song, dance and laughter, as The Drowsy Chaperone examines the effects of musicals on the fans who adore them.

Drowsy is a show that literally transports the audience to different time and place and then examines that time and place through a lens that is both sardonic and nostalgic,” said John Maurer, the show’s director and the executive producer. “The show’s narrator and the audience is taken away from his dreary life to a story that is set in 1928, so I knew costumes were going to be a big part of completing the journey and making this a memorable show.”

Last fall, Maurer executive produced and spear-headed the costume team on the company’s production of the stage spectacular AIDA. This year, he was determined to take Drowsy Chaperone to even greater heights. One of the first things he did was contact costume designer Kathy Slothower, who received a Perry Award nomination for her costume work on Pennington Players’ 2011 production of Seussical.

“Kathy is an amazing talent,” Maurer said. “If we were going to take Drowsy to the next level, we were going to need to get her onboard.“

ChaperoneThe costuming partnership that formed between director/costumer Maurer and the costume designer Slothower immediately paid dividends for the production. The two assembled a team of 5 costumers. The result will be 35 stunning hand-made costumes, including some specialty costumes. In one scene, actress Kim Suskind playing the lead role of Janet must make six costumes changes, including one instantaneous quick-change, while singing the song “Show Off.”

Following a series of sold out performances for AIDA, audiences raved about the costuming in that show. When Maurer was asked how he felt Drowsy would compare, his answer was simple: “They ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” he said.

Members of the cast include Mark Applegate of Hamilton as Man in Chair; Cindy Chait of West Windsor as the Drowsy Chaperone; Kimberly Suskind of Lawrenceville as Janet; T. Michael Fario of Philadelphia, PA, as Robert; Chris Arena of Ewing as George; Rob Gougher of Newtown, PA, as Aldolpho; Tom Bessellieu of Lawrenceville as Feldzieg; Samantha Ricchiuti of Lawrenceville as Kitty; Rosie Karlin of Plainsboro as Mrs. Tottendale; Dan Slothower of Plainsboro as Underling, Jennifer Winn of Ewing as Trix the Aviatrix; and Joe Zedeney of East Windsor and Nick Pecht of Hamilton as the gangster/bakery chefs.

ChaperoneEnsemble cast members include Jennifer DeFilippi of Pennington, Melissa Geerlof of Mercerville, Kiernan Matts of Hamilton, Sally Page of Princeton, Benji Sills of Plainsboro, Michael Bryan Smith of Ewing, and Judi Parrish of Ewing.

The show is directed by John Maurer, and produced by Diana Maurer and Dan Maurer. The musical director is Laurie Gougher, and the choreographer is Jane Coult.

Dates and times for this Tony Award-winning show are Fridays, June 8 and 15 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, June 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, June 10 and 17 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC's West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.

Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and children. Call the Kelsey Theatre box office at 609-570-3333, or click here. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater.

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The Man in Chair is the Man with the bear

On March 18th, 2012, Broadway lovers and teddy bear collectors gathered together to celebrate theater and raise money for charity and our own “Man in Chair” Mark Applegate was there. This year was the 15th and grand finale edition of The Broadway Bears, the annual auction of handmade, one-of-a-kind, theatrically costumed teddy bears. The event raised a record-setting $198,300, benefiting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Mark worked at McCarter Theatre for several seasons as a dresser and then the costume shop and it was during this time that he started making teddy bears for the Broadway Cares Charity. This year he created a Mazeppa bear based on the costume from Gypsy. At the auction Faith Dane, who played stripper Mazeppa in the original Broadway production and film version of Gypsy, left the crowd roaring as she literally tooted her own horn and flashed a bit of leg as she presented the Mazeppa bear to the adoring crowd.

"The auction started as a one-time event with 20 bears in 1997 that turned into a remarkable run of auctioning 643 bears raising more than $2 million," said Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola. Led by BC/EFA producer Scott T. Stevens, an extraordinarily talented team of Broadway designers, costume shops and wardrobe personnel designed, costumed, draped, dressed and frocked, painted, outfitted, stuffed and lipoed, shod and hatted, feathered, tattooed and armored, bedecked and bedazzled these furry masterpieces, giving of their time, energies and amazing talent over 15 years to create this unique and delightful fundraising event. The Broadway Bears truly reflects the creative vision, sheer artistry and technical skill that is the hallmark of all of Broadway.

In all Mark has made 7 Bears for the Broadway Cares charity and is sorry to see the event end. "To be able to use my skills in fabric and crafts was a satisfying way to make money for BCEFA,” said Mark. “A great cause that helps people in need."

This year Mark’s Mazeppa bear, which was signed by Faith Dane and Stephen Soundheim , raised $1800.

To learn more about the event and see photo go to

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Kelsey Theatre Announces 2012 Summer Season

West Windsor, N.J. – No summer is complete without barbecues, beaches, fireworks, and great theater. That’s why Kelsey Theatre is announcing its 2012 Summer Season featuring 5 great productions that are perfect for the whole family.

Shakespeare 70Beginning June 29 at Kelsey Theatre, celebrate spring’s certain arrival with an entertaining treat: Shakespeare 70’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. As one of Shakespeare’s most popular and accessible plays, this production portrays love in all its forms: the power of love’s attraction, romance, passion, connection, union, separation, estrangement, conflict, hatred, reconciliation and celebration. “What fools these mortals be,” says Puck, the Master of Mischief in the magical forest’s Fairy Kingdom. Come enjoy an evening of fun and laughter with us. Performances are scheduled for Fridays June 29 & July 6, 2012 at 8pm; Saturdays June 30th and July 7th at 8pm; and Sundays July 1st and 8th at 2pm. Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $12 for students and children. To order tickets call 609-570-3333, or click here to order online.

Bye Bye BirdieOpening July 13 at Kelsey Theatre is the ultimate feel good musical comedy Bye Bye Birdie presented by Yardley Players. This 1961 Tony-winning musical revolves around rock 'n' roll superstar Conrad Birdie (loosely based on Elvis Presley), who, to the dismay of his adoring fans, is about to be drafted into the army. Featuring a book by Michael Stewart, music by Charles Strouse, and lyrics by Lee Adams, comic complications ensue when, as part of one last publicity stunt cooked up by his agent, he promises to give a good-bye kiss to one lucky girl from Sweet Apple, Ohio, on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Performances are scheduled for Fridays July 13 and 20th at 8pm; Saturdays July 14 and 21st at 2pm and 8pm; and Sundays July 15th and 22nd at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $14 for students and children. To order tickets call 609-570-3333, or click here to order online.

Reock & RollPlaying a limited engagement at Kelsey Theatre beginning July 28th is a rock and roll treat that is sure to bring the house down. From Reock and Roll Revue, the people who brought you last year’s smash hit Quadrophenia and DejaVu, comes a musical tribute to the Allman Brothers Band called Eat a Peach. The Allman Brothers Band was the most influential rock group in America, redefining rock music and its boundaries. The band's mix of blues, country, jazz, and even classical influences, and their powerful, extended on-stage jamming altered the standards of concert performance. Don’t miss this tribute to one of the great bands of the 1970s.

Performances are scheduled for Saturday, July 28th at 8pm and Sunday, July 29th at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for all customers. To order tickets call 609-570-3333, or click here to order online.

Wizard of Oz SingalongLions and tigers and bears - and a Sing-Along oh my! Beginning August 3rd at Kelsey Theatre, grab your ruby slippers, click your heels three times and transport yourself to a special presentation of a Sing-a-long screening of the original MGM movie The Wizard of Oz. Presented by Theater To Go renowned for audience participation events. The master of ceremonies will lead the audience through several participation activities including games, costume contest, trivia, with prizes. Ticket price also includes an Audience Participation Kit of items to be used throughout the movie such as kazoos, bubbles, etc. Plus all the words up on the screen so you can sing along with Judy Garland, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley our MC and more.

Performances are scheduled for Fridays August 3, at 7pm, Saturday, August 4 at 7pm and Sunday, August 5th at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $12 for children and includes the participation kit. To order tickets call 609-570-3333, or click here to order online.

nunsenseOpening on August 17 is the wild and irreverent musical comedy Nunsense, presented by Shore Repertory Company. The plot lends for great laughs: Five out of 52 nuns remain alive at the Little Sisters of Hoboken, where their cook Sister Julia, Child of God, accidentally killed the rest with her vichyssoise. Upon discovering the disaster, Mother Superior decides they need to raise funds to bury the nuns. With four nuns in the freezer and no funds, the five remaining nuns decide to stage a variety show in order to raise the money to let the dead nuns rest in peace. What ensues is an audience pleasing fun filled show. Performances are scheduled for Fridays August 17 and 24 at 8pm; Saturdays August 18 and 25 at 8pm; Sundays August 19 and 26 at 2pm. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, $14 for students and children. To order tickets call 609-570-3333, or click here to order online.

2012 Kelsey Theatre Awards Ceremony
Celebrates the Best in Local Theatre

Kelsey Theater AwardsWest Windsor, N.J. – K2KEntertainment and The Kelsey Theatre are pleased to announce The 2012 Kelsey Theatre Awards, to be held on August 11, 2012 at 7:00PM; the awards show will be held inside Kelsey Theatre on campus at Mercer County Community College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ.

After a very successful 2011 show, K2KEntertainment plans an evening quite unlike any traditional award show. Awards will be presented celebrating the best performances and performers at Kelsey Theatre during the 2011-2012 season; this award ceremony will crown Best Musical, Best Choreography, Best Actor/Actress, and many more categories that will create a night full of fun and excitement! The show will be hosted by actor and comedian Kyrus Keenan Westcott, and co-hosted by the extremely talented Dominick Sannelli, a very popular Kelsey Theatre performer and multiple Kelsey Theatre Award winner.

This year, Robert A. Terrano will be presented with The 2012 Kelsey Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award.

The preliminary round of nominations will begin on June 28th. Audiences can help decide the nominees and winners by visiting and voting for their favorite shows and performers. The top choices from each category after the preliminary round of voting will be the official nominees for the awards. The official, final voting period will be from July 5th until July 8th.

The winner in each category will be announced live at the award show, which will also include live performances by the five nominees for Outstanding Production of a Musical and a number of other surprises and performances for the audience. With Kyrus and Dominick at the helm, this night is guaranteed to be a great night of laughter, honors, and memories.

Tickets are currently on sale. They can be purchased at or at, or through the box office at The Kelsey Theatre ((609) 570-3333). Tickets are $12 for general admission and $7 for all MCCC students and staff. For all the latest information regarding the entire Kelsey Award process, visit us at


The Drowsy ChaperoneMay Podcast

The cast of The Drowsy Chaperone

In this Podcast we talk with the director and the cast of The Drowsy Chaperone being produced by Maurer Productions OnStage at the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College. Our guests include Director John M. Maurer, Choreographer Jane Coult, and cast members Mark Applegate, Michael Fario, Kimberly Suskind, Rob Gougher and Cindy Chait.

Listen Now.

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Alumni Happenings for May and June

Children of Eden

Daniel Petrovich (Man of La Mancha) plays father to his Son Zach, who plays Adam in the Fleetwood Community Theatre production of Children of Eden

Synopsis: Children of Eden is a two-act musical play with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John Caird. The musical is based on the Book of Genesis. Act I tells the story of Adam and Eve, Cain, and Abel, and Act II deals with Noah and the Flood. While using the Bible as a plot source, it freely deviates in many details, and is a story of parents and children without a specific religious point-of-view.

Performance InformationDates and Times: July 19-21 @ 7:30 pm. July 21 @ 2:00 pm

Ticket Information: 
Reverved seating available by calling 610-944-3610
Tickets at the door are general admission. Adults $15 Students/Seniors $12

Website Address:

CompanyCompany at Kelsey Theatre

Jim Petro (Singin’ in the Rain and Man of La Mancha) and Cathy Liebars (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) are gracing the Kelsey stage in Pierrot’s production of Company until June 3.

Synopsis: Company features the unforgettable music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim, based on the book by George Furth. The plot focuses on the birthday boy, Bobby, and his numerous relationships as a single man with three girlfriends and five married couples that he counts as close friends. The audience is invited into Bobby's circle, as the story unfolds in short vignettes, all tied together by the theme of Bobby's birthday.

Performance InformationCompany will be at Kelsey Theatre at MCCC, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550 on Friday, May 25 and Saturday, May 26 at 8 pm, and Sunday, May 27 at 2 pm Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 at 8 pm, and Sunday June 3 at 2 pm

Ticket Information: 
Tickets: Adults $18, Seniors $16, Students $14 (plus $1 facility fee) Tickets may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online here. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater.


JeffreyJeffrey at Kelsey Theatre

Alycia Bauch (MP OnStage Board) will be performing and Judi Parrish (The Drowsy Chaperone) will be stage managing in the James Tolin Memorial Fund production of Jeffrey.

Synopsis: Paul Rudnick’s Obie Award-winning romantic comedy follows the title character, a gay actor/ waiter has just given up trying to find love in the treacherous HIV/AIDS landscape of 1990s New York when he meets the man of his dreams. (Contains some language - not suitable for children.)

Performance InformationJeffrey will be at Kelsey Theatre at MCCC, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, NJ 08550 on Friday, June 22, Saturday, June 23 at 8 pm and Sunday, June 24 at 2 pm

Ticket Information: 
$25 on Friday and Saturday evenings (fundraiser) (plus $1 facility fee) Sunday, Adults $16, Seniors $14, Students $12 (plus $1 facility fee). Tickets may be purchased by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333 or online here. Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Free parking is available next to the theater.


Kiss Me Kate

Daniel Petrovich (Man of La Mancha) plays General Howell in the Notre Dame Summer Theatre production of Kiss Me Kate

Synopsis: Kiss Me, Kate is a 1948 Tony-Award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Cole Porter. The story involves the production of a musical version of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and the conflict on and off-stage between Fred Graham, the show's director, producer, and star, and his leading lady, his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi. A secondary romance concerns Lois Lane, the actress playing Bianca, and her gambler boyfriend, Bill, who runs afoul with some gangsters

Performance Information
Dates and Times: Friday July 27th, Saturday July 28th, Friday August 3rd and Saturday August 4th all at 7:30PM. Matinee on Sunday July 29th at 2:00PM

Ticket Information: 
Tickets: You may order your tickets at any time by calling 610-252-1067
or reserving online at

Website Address:!/events/181041672023534/


The Music Man at Villagers Theatre

Elizabeth Rzasa (Man of La Mancha) and Sam Rosalsky (Man of La Mancha) will be performing in The Music Man at Villagers Theater, 415 Demott Lane, Somerset NJ.

Synopsis: THE MUSIC MAN follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band he vows to organize – this despite the fact he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

Performance Information:  June 8 through June 24, Fridays and Saturday at 8:00PM, Sundays at 2:00PM.

Ticket Information: 
$18 Adult, $16 Senior/Student; email or call 732-873-2710. Group Rates available upon request or online here.


Rent at Bristol Riverside Theatre

Meera Mohan (Man of La Mancha, Aida) is performing in Rent at the Bristol Riverside Theatre

Synopsis: Adapted from Puccini’s La Boheme, this is the smash hit that brought you La Vie Boheme, Seasons of Love, One Song Glory, Light my Candle and defined a generation coming of age in the AIDS era. (Contains strong language and adult themes.)

Performances:  Thursday, May 24 at 7:30 pm THIRSTY THURSDAY  Friday, May 25 at 8 pm  Saturday, May 26 at 2 pm  Saturday, May 26 at 8 pm  Sunday, May 27 at 3 pm  Wednesday, May 30 at 2 pm  Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 pm  Thursday, May 31 at 7:30 pm BCEFA FUNDRAISER  Friday, June 1 at 8 pm  Saturday, June 2 at 2 pm  Saturday, June 2 at 8pm  Sunday, June 3 at 3 pm  

Ticket Information: 
Adults $32 to $42, Military w/ID $25.60 to $33.60, Students under 25 w/ID $20. Order online here.


CompanyBrian Gildea on Stage and Screen

MPO Alumnus Brian Gildea (Hollywood Arms) is currently shooting season two of HBO's Boardwalk Empire, as a Bootlegger and stand-in. He is also understudying as Josh in the Two River Theater, Red Bank NJ ( production of My Wonderful Day through June 3. He recently appeared in the award winning film Cancer and Cake (, and starred in Demon Hunters:Fear The Silence, which also featured MPO Alums Nicole Spadafino (Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Hollywood Arms, A Winnie the Pooh Birthday Tail), Rob Gougher (Tom Sawyer, Hollywood Arms, The Drowsy Chaperone), Simone Sannelli (Tom Sawyer), and Jack Petzko (A Few Good Men, Hollywood Arms, Tom Sawyer).

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MPO Theater Quiz:

How much do you know about The Drowsy Chaperone?
MPO’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone opens at Kelsey Theatre on June 8. The interesting and unusual back story of the development of this show will enhance the theater goer’s appreciation of this funny musical within a comedy. Try your hand at this quiz and learn about how The Drowsy Chaperone came to be.

And we are so happy with this quiz because it goes to 11!

Try out our June edition

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