DEATHTRAP, THE ENGLISH BRIDE and More Set for Centenary Stage's 2013-14 Season
Magic, mystery, laughter, and three New York premieres are the highlights of the 2013-2014 season at The Centenary Stage Company in their fourth year at the David and Carol Lackland Center. This year will feature eight diverse theatre events in the Lackland Center in addition to the New York premieres.
One of the most popular successes in Broadway history, a theatrical triumph with gasp-inducing thrills and spontaneous laughter, Deathtrap by Ira Levin, is a chilling murder-mystery running October 4- 20 in the Sitnik TheatrE. Sidney Bruhl, a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, is struggling to overcome a dry spell which has resulted in a string of flops and a shortage of funds. Suddenly help seems to come from out of nowhere when he receives a script in the mail from a student in the seminar he has been conducting at a nearby college-a thriller Sidney recognizes as a potential Broadway hit. What happens next is the stuff of Deathtrap. Audiences will be held spellbound to the very end.
This season three plays from CSC seasons will make their debuts in New York City. The captivating drama Breakfast with Mugabe, by British playwright Fraser Grace, which was produced at CSC in the opening season of the Lackland Center, will be performed at the Pershing Square Signature Center Theatre from August 11 - October 6, as a co-production between CSC and Two Planks Productions. A dramatic look at Zimbabwe's despotic President Robert Mugabe, the play has been called "a modern-day Macbeth... depicting the struggle of wills between the African ruler who is haunted by his blood-stained fears, and Dr. Andrew Peric, a white Zimbabwean psychiatrist summoned to the presidential palace." Director David Shookhoff will once again lead the talented cast -Michael Rogers, Rosalyn Coleman, Che Ayende, and Ezra Barnes - on the NY stage.
The critically acclaimed 2013 CSC World Premiere production of The English Bride, developed through the CSC Women Playwrights Series and written by Yale Alum and New Jersey playwright Lucile Lichtblau, will also be moving to New York this fall as part of the 59E59 Theatre season, running Oct 21 - Nov 17.
Following a failed bombing attempt on an El Al flight out of London, the search for the truth becomes an elusive chase of a young Englishwoman and the Arab man she loves. This riveting tale of love and intrigue garnered such reviews as, "This superior, thought-provoking drama is beautifully acted, staged and written, in other words, a must-see-event," by Rick Busciglio of New Jersey Footlights.
Also developed in CSC's Women Playwrights Series, The Unfortunates by Aoise Stratford - a compelling glimpse into the lives of the women who walked the streets in the time of Jack the Ripper - will be part of the 2013 Fringe Festival in New York Aug 9-25, playing at Teatro LATEA inside the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center with actress Diana Cherkas reprising her tour de force performance as Mary Kelly.
CSC's third annual Black Box Festival once again provides an opportunity for audiences to explore the many genres of theatrical entertainment in an intimate and visceral way. This season's Festival has mind games, music, and laugh-out-loud comedy featuring a variety of talented performers. Held in the Edith Kutz Black Box Theatre of the Lackland Center, the festival will run November 7-24 with three different shows. Opening the festival is a musical revue entitled Bittersuite: Songs of More Experience November 7-10.
Composer Elliot Weiss and lyricist Mike Champagne (winners of the Eugene O'Neill Award for Musical Theatre) are at it again with a new song cycle, "In this newest version of Bittersuite, we have returned to explore the American Middle Class as we age. Have we changed; have we learned; who are we now," said Champagne.
Then, on November 14-17, audiences will be thrilled by a suspenseful experience with John B. Born's Miracles and Mindgames. Born has dedicated his life to the performance and advancement of the magical arts. He now travels the world as a full-time entertainer, lecturer, writer, and innovator in the magical arts. He has written two best-selling instructional books on magic and mentalism, and is featured on ten instructional DVDs filmed out of Las Vegas and Reno. Here is a chance to witness the close-up magic, miracles, and mind games of John B. Born in the intimate Kutz Theatre.
And rounding out the festival is a rollicking show, The Essence - A Yiddish Theatre Dim Sum, running November 21-24. "See what happens when you sin with a shiksa. Jam to Soviet Yiddish Rock. Hear Einstein's theory debated by imbeciles." The Essence is a fast-moving revue for people who couldn't care less about nostalgia, for people who know nothing about Yiddish and couldn't imagine attending a show with Yiddish in it. It's about the most expressive and theatrical language in the world, with scenes, sketches, songs, and oddball diversions that run the gamut from the most beautiful poetry to the most rancid melodrama. CSC audiences will enjoy the return of actor Allen Lewis Rickman to the Lackland Stage in this humorous evening.
Back by popular demand, this season's Family Holiday Spectacular is A Christmas Carol: The Musical opening the day after Thanksgiving, November 29, and running through December 15 in the grand Sitnik Theatre. The smash hit of 2011 returns to the CSC stage. "A tonic for children and adults...a transfixing journey...," raved the New York Times about the show that ran for ten years in Madison Square Garden. Charles Dickens' classic gets the full Broadway treatment by the Broadway team of Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid,), Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical) and Mike Ockrent (Crazy For You, Me and My Girl). A Christmas Carol retains its emotional power and pure joy, thanks to the marvelously-told story by Ockrent and Ahrens, and the Menken/Ahrens score filled with beautiful melodies and emotional lyrics.
February 21 through March 9, CSC will bring this hilarious comedy adapted by David Ives to the Sitnik Theatre. Dorante is charming, handsome, and a pathological liar. When he arrives in Paris, his outlandish tales amaze and convince all who hear them, but for each problem his clever lying solves, it creates two new ones. He is head over heels in love with Clarice... or is it Lucrece? - but after lying his way into a world of trouble, can Dorante lie his way back out again?
Initiated in 1992, the Women Playwrights Reading Series (WPS) continues on April 9, 16, and 23, providing a working platform for the underserved voices of women writing for the theatre. CSC's WPS has now featured and helped to develop the new work of over 50 playwrights from around the country, and produced fifteen World Premieres in as many years, from works developed in the playwright series. After rehearsal with a professional cast and director, the plays are presented script-in-hand in staged readings for audiences, who become active creative collaborators with the authors as their work develops.
Renowned actor Randall Duk Kim returns to lead the popular The Great Authors Out Loud Series once again this season. Winner of the New York Obie Award for "Sustained Excellence in Performance", Kim has performed leading roles in the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, Moliere, Ibsen and more at regional theatres throughout the country, including The New York Shakespeare Festival, the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre of San Francisco, The American Place Theater (NY), and his own American Players Theatre, which he founded with colleagues Anne Occhiogrosso and Charles Bright in 1979. Mr. Kim's TV and film work includes the BBC Special "Prisoner in Time", "Anna and the King," "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Ninja Assassin," and more. He is most well known for his performances as the Key Master in the MATRIX RELOADED and in Dreamworks KUNG FU PANDA. He has also been seen on Broadway in the 2002 Broadway revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's FLOWER DRUM SONG. Duk will direct staged readings from four of the world's greatest playwrights. The plays include: Oedipus Rex, Great Authors' Tales of Terror, Three French Farces, and The Merchant of Venice. The Great Authors Out Loud Series will be performed on September 15th Oct 27, Feb 9 and April 6. Each event is free and will be held in the Kutz Black Box Theater.
Tickets for Centenary Stage Company productions range from $17.50-$29.50, and they may be purchased online at www.centenarystageco.org, or by calling the CSC Box office at 908-979-0900. The Box Office is also opened for ticket sales from 1-5 PM in the Lackland Center at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown and at a new Main Street ticket location. Several subscriptions options are available now, with flexible date options and savings of up to 45%. Tickets are available to the public as of July 1st. For patrons interested in dining before a performance, the popular Buffet Matinee Series for groups of 25 or more will be offered for CSC's matinee performances, served onsite in the Lackland Center. Reservations are required.
Opened in August 2010 THE CAROL AND DAVID LACKLAND CENTER has helped to make Hackettstown a "cultural destination" with one of the most sophisticated performing arts venues in northwest New Jersey. The center includes a state-of-the-art-seat theatre, a black box experimental theatre, a dance studio, scene shop, costume shop, green room and dressing rooms. In addition to housing the theatre, the 68K square foot Lackland Center is home to a variety of cultural activity, including WNTI, the College's listener-supported public radio station, and CCTV, Centenary's Comcast-licensed television studio.
Named in honor of Carol Burgess Lackland, a Centenary College graduate (Class of 1954) and her husband, David A. Lackland, a Centenary College Trustee, The David and Carol Lackland Center, has been designed to enrich student life and bring new cultural opportunities to northwest New Jersey
Pictured: The English Bride" photo credit Joyce Liao (Ezra Barnes as "Dov," Amy Griffin as "Eileen," and Michael Gabriel Goodfriend as "Ali".