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The OnStage Update - June 2008


Perry Award Nominations To Be Held At Kelsey

Perry AwardBig News! The Perry Award nominations are going to be held at Kelsey this year. Amy Levine, producer for the 2008 Perry Awards ceremony told us, “Every year we pick a theatre that has been supportive and has the proper size venue for the event. The Kelsey Theatre has been involved with NJACT for some time and its centralized location makes it perfect for our needs.” Kitty Getlik, artistic director for Kelsey Theatre, extended the invitation to the Perry Awards group to meet for nominations at Kelsey. She is excited that they have taken her up on the offer. “Central Jersey has some great theater, and we would like to bring theater people in from other areas of the state to see our wonderful facility and everything this area has to offer.”

The New Jersey Association of Community Theater announcement of the 2008 Perry Award Nominations will be Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 from 2:00-5:00 PM at the Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College 1200 Old Trenton Road West Windsor, NJ 08550. $5.00 per person, tickets will be sold at door. For directions, please visit http://www.kelseyatmccc.org or call 609-570-3333 Remember to mark your calendars - the 2008 Perry Awards Ceremony will be Sunday, September 21st 2008.

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A Visit to The Hundred Acre Wood

Birthday Tail RehearsalThe MP OnStage production of A Winnie-the-Pooh Birthday Tail, directed by Diana Gilman Maurer, is in production at the Kelsey Theatre. Songs are being learned, blocking is being rehearsed and puppets are being built or repaired. "Doing a puppet-filled show has its own production process," says Diana.  "The cast won't get to work with the puppets untill after all the blocking is done. They are still learning their songs, their lines and taking blocking notes which makes it difficult to hold a script, pencil and a puppet at the same time." As rehearsals progress, puppetry clinics are scheduled to allow actors time to work with their puppets and develop the character. Then the two are blended together to form the final show.

puppet makingOn the production end, the puppets are being pulled out of storage and checked over.  “The puppets got a heavy workout last year,” said puppet designer John Maurer.  “They need to be checked over and repairs done to joints and seams.  There is a lot of stress placed on the mouth plate, and after last years run we found some of the handgrips used to operate the mouths were coming loose.  They are being reinforced, and our new puppets for this year will have a redesigned mouth grip.  This year’s show only requires the building of three new puppets.  Because of the requirements of the script, we have to build a baby version of the Roo puppet and a baby bunny puppet.  The biggest challenge will be making Tigger.  He will be a human arm puppet like Kanga, and will have to take a lot of abuse as one of the most energeticTigger characters in the show."

This all-new, fun-filled family show will once again be featuring a cast of local actor/puppeteers. Sharing the stage this time are Toni Campbell as Pooh, Nicole Spadafino as Piglet, Jesse Dubin as Eeyore, Rosie Karlin as Kanga, Molly Karlin as Roo, Thomas Martella as Christopher Robin, Jake Bazel as Tigger, Marty Berrien as Rabbit, David Miller as Owl, Stacy Maurer as Sunny Bunny, Hunter Maurer as Funny Bunny and Amanda Maurer as Hunny Bunny. To get the scoop on the show, visit the Birthday Tail section of the website.

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Tap Class at Kelsey a Hit

A loud clamor issues from room CM 170 each Thursday evening this summer, as the tap class goes into its fourth week of classes. 

tape class 01“People love tap dancing,” according to Jane Coult, tap instructor and resident choreographer for MP OnStage.  “Where else can you make all that noise and everyone loves it?” 

John Maurer, president and co-founder of MP OnStage, is taking tap for the first time.  Speaking about taking on the challenge, “I have always had an appreciation for dancers and the way the really good ones make it look effortless.  Having been through a few tap classes in the workshop, I am really beginning to get a sense for how you put the moves together and the muscle control involved.  I really appreciate the patience that Jane has with us "older students" who are trying to keep up with the young hoofers.”

tape class 02Another OnStage alumna, Caroline Vassallo (Singin’ in the Rain), is taking the class for the second time.  “Jane’s tap class is fun, challenging and a great workout. She is a wonderful teacher and is very patient with all levels of experience and coordination. I recommend the class to anyone who has a desire to learn, whether you are into musical theater or are just wanting to learn for fun.”

The third OnStage alum is Eric Leiggi, the Emperor in last season’s production of The Emperor’s New Clothes.

The youngest student in the class is Claire Norden, who has appeared in several Kelsey shows, including one, Cheaper by the Dozen by Yardley Players, for which she was nominated for a Perry Award.  Although Claire has had several years of tap class, she has been on tour for a year playing Baby June in Gypsy.  Back home now, she was anxious to brush up on her tap.  "I enjoy the class because it's fun, good exercise and it's getting me ready for auditioning for shows again. My favorite part is learning the new dance combinations each week." 

tap class 03According to Jane, “The class is a combination of Kelsey veterans and newcomers.  Most students in class are new to Kelsey, which is a great opportunity to add to the theatre’s talent pool.  New people are already asking about auditioning for upcoming shows.”

“You can’t be depressed while you’re dancing,” Jane pointed out.  “When you’re on a treadmill at the gym, it’s too easy to get bored.  Dancing takes a level of concentration and an output of creativity that puts you in the moment.  We work hard, and have fun doing it!”

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Brighton Beach Memoirs Auditions Scheduled

brighton beachMark you calendars - auditions have been scheduled for Friday, July 11th, Sunday, July 13, Monday, July 14 and Tuesday July 15, for MPOnStage’s production of Brighton Beach Memoirs.  Alycia Bauch-Cantor, who directed last year’s OnStage production of The Emperor’s New Clothes will be directing.

To sign up for an audition slot go to Auditions.

Brighton Beach Memoirs is part one of Neil Simon's autobiographical trilogy, a portrait of the writer as a Brooklyn teenager in 1937 living with his family in crowded, lower middle class circumstances. Eugene, the young Neil Simon, is the narrator and central character. His mind is full of fiercely fantasized dreams of baseball and dimly fantasized images of girls. The play captures a few days in the life of a struggling Jewish household that includes Eugene's hard working father, his sharp tongued mother, his older and vastly more experienced brother, his widowed aunt and her two young daughters. As Eugene's father says, "If you didn't have a problem, you wouldn't live in this house." It is a deeply appealing play that deftly mixes drama with comedy.
Mark your calendars: Brighton Beach Memoirs runs for two weeks beginning Friday, February 6. To order tickets, go online at www.kelseyatmccc.org, call 609-570-3333, or stop by the Kelsey Theatre Box Office.

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The James Tolin Memorial Fund Presents a Certifiably Insane Comedy

Butler PictureThe 6th Annual James Tolin Memorial fund event will feature the comedy What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton. Written in the 1960s with dialogue reminiscent of the Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde, What the Butler Saw is considered a comic farce and a contemporary classic.  The play offers an entertaining as well as enlightening view of sexuality, authority figures and conventional morality. 

 ”It’s the typical British farce with lots of missed entrances and mistaken identities and people changing clothes and becoming other people,” says director Brian Bara, “It’s very Python-esque.”

The castfeatures Doug Edelson (OnStage alumnus) as Dr. Prentice, Melanie Britten as Geraldine Barclay, Janet Quartarone as Mrs. Prentice, Josiah DeAndrea as Nicholas Beckett, John Maurer (OnStage Co-Founder) as Dr. Rance and Damian Gaeta as Sergeant Match.

Proceeds will benefit the Open Arms Foundation, Graffiti Productions and the James Tolin Memorial Scholarship for performing arts students at MCCC. Open Arms Foundation provides counseling and services to New Jersey residents living with HIV. Graffiti Productions provides performing arts education for children as a productive and creative alternative to gangs and other undesirable activities.

The sixth annual James Tolin Memorial Fund AIDS Benefit production of What the Butler Saw will be held at KelseyTheatre on the campus of MercerCountyCommunity College, 1200 Old Trenton Road, WestWindsor, June 20-22. Performances: 8 p.m. (preceded by 7 p.m. reception and silent auction). Tickets cost $35 Fri.-Sat. (includes donation, reception and auction). Sun.: $16, $12 seniors/students; (609) 570-3333; www.jtmf.org

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They Have the Whole World in Their Hands.

Hunter Maurer HeadshotHunter Maurer (Alumnus) and 6 of his classmates from Antheil Elementary School have just returned from Maryland where they placed 6th in the World in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Kids apply their creativity to solve problems that range from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competition on the Local, State, and World level. Thousands of teams from throughout the U.S. and from Odyssey of the mind teamabout 25 countries participate in the program. Hunter and the team competed in “The Wonderful Muses Division 1” category and had to write and perform their own 8 minute play.  The students had to do all the work themselves, creating their own set, costumes and props and had to compete in Regional and State competitions just to make it to the World Finals.  The students then had to compete against over 50 teams from all over the world,  during the 4 day event.
The families and teachers who were involved in the Odyssey program are proud of the work the students accomplished and helped out by organizing events and soliciting donations to raise money for the trip. The Antheil 4th grade Team consists of  Scott Franks, Kylie Kleiber, Hunter Maurer, Ashley McKeon, Ciana Montero, Chris Pham, Julia Sowa and the team coaches, Judy Akey & Eve Shiner. Congratulations to all of our wonderful kids!

Odyssey Photos Curtisy of Eve Shiner

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