Surflight Theatre will present the New Jersey premiere of an all-new and entirely original musical comedy Once Upon A Time in New Jersey (described as "The Sopranos" meets "Happy Days") from August 28 through September 15.
Winner of the covetEd Kleban Prize and Richard Rodgers Award, Once Upon a Time in New Jersey is an Italian-American fairy tale set in 1956 Hoboken. Vinnie LoBianco (George Psomas), an unassuming sandwich-maker, is in love with counter girl Angie Moscato (Melissa Rose Hirsch). But Angie's got it bad for Rocco (Mike Longo), the local hunk, whose sights are set on sexy dance teacher Celeste (Crystal Kellogg). When Rocco runs afoul of Celeste's husband Billy (Vincent D'Elia), the result is a series of hilarious misunderstandings and madcap misadventure.
The Chicago Sun-Times praises Once Upon a Time in New Jersey's "delicious songs" and "huge audience appeal". BBC Liverpool calls it "An engaging, light-hearted musical in the tradition of Little Shop of Horrors". AndThe Daily Herald describes it as a "Tuneful, good-hearted, humorous and-most importantly-original show".
Surflight Theatre's production of Once Upon a Time in New Jersey is directed by Cara Reichel with choreography by Christine O'Grady (associate choreographer, Broadway's Hair). The musical director is James Higgins. Scenic design and lighting design is by Kevin Allen. Sound design is by Alan Douches. Costume design is by Rachel Guifoyle. The production stage manager is Julie Watson and stage manager is Kevin Clutz.
Once Upon a Time in New Jersey was initially developed at The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theater Festival in Allentown, PA. Following a series of readings at The Director's Company, it played to sold-out houses at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theater in Chicago, the Village Theater in Seattle and the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. Once Upon a Time in New Jersey was one of six musicals selected from across the globe for the Global Search for New Musicals Competition in Cardiff Wales. It received rave reviews at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it was performed by the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
About the Authors and Creative Staff
Susan DiLallo (Book & Lyrics) won the covetEd Kleban Award for Once Upon a Time in New Jersey. The show also won a Richard Rodgers Award as well as The Cardiff Search for New Musicals Competition. Her libretto for another musical comedy, Iron Curtain, earned her a Jonathan Larson Award. Other credits include: the revised libretto for the classic Arthur Schwartz/ Dorothy Fields/George Abbott musical A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, commissioned by Peccadillo Theater Company (Outer Critics Circle nominee, Best Revival of a Musical 2011); book and lyrics for two musicals based on the book and PBS series "Angelina Ballerina" (commissioned by Vital Theatre Company) currently running in NYC; book and lyrics for the Mattel/Clear Channel production of Barbie Live! In Fairytopia (national tour). She's currently writing book and lyrics for a musicalization of the NY Times best-selling children's series "Fancy Nancy" for Vital, as well as book and lyrics for the Broadway-bound Sundays at Tiffany's, based on James Patterson's #1 best-seller. Member: ASCAP and The Dramatists Guild. Love to Richard, Max, Emma, Nick, Jonny...and Roy.
Cara Reichel (Director) is thrilled to be at Surflight, working on NJ in NJ, after having directed the show's 2010 NYC premiere! She is the Producing Artistic Director of Prospect Theater Company, where she collaborates with writers to create new musicals. With composer / lyricist Peter Mills: Golden Boy of the Blue Ridge, Honor, The Rockae, The Flood, and Illyria, among others. With Susan DiLallo, Peter Mills, and Stephen Weiner: Iron Curtain, which she also directed at the O'Neill Theatre Center. Cara was educated at Princeton and in the M.F.A. Program for Directing at Brooklyn College. Member: SDC, League of Professional Theatre Women.
Christine O'Grady (Choreographer) is happy to be making her Surflight debut revisiting this show! BROADWAY: Tony Award-winning Revival of HAIR and 1st National Tour (Associate Choreographer), Legally Blonde (SSDC Observer). OFF-BROADWAY: Iron Curtain (Prospect), Signs Of Life (Amas), The Glass Menagerie (Roundabout), and The Boys in the Band (Transport Group). OTHER NYC: The Secret Garden, The Human Comedy, Children Of Eden (APAC), A Man Of No Importance, The Drowsy Chaperone (Gallery Players), Once Upon A Time In New Jersey, Illyria (Prospect Theater Company). REGIONAL: Mark Taper Forum, Barrington Stage Company, Berkshire Theatre Festival. TV: "The Rosie Show" (Asst. Choreographer). Four-time NYIT Award Nominee for Outstanding Choreography - Winner 2011. MFA: ASU. Member: SDC.
Surflight Theatre, 201 Engleside Avenue, is located in historic Beach Haven, New Jersey. Performances are Tuesday, August 28 at 2pm and 8pm, Wednesday, August 29 at 2pm, Thursday, August 30 at 2pm and 8pm, Friday, August 31 at 8pm, Saturday, September 1 at 8pm, Sunday, September 2 at 2pm, Tuesday, September 4 at 2pm and 8pm, Wednesday, September 5 at 2pm, Thursday, September 6 at 2pm and 8pm, Friday, September 7 at 8pm, Saturday, September 8 at 8pm, Sunday, September 9 at 2pm, Tuesday, September 11 at 2pm and 8pm, Wednesday, September 12 at 2pm, Thursday, September 13 at 2pm and 8pm, Friday, September 14 at 8pm, Saturday, September 15 at 8pm, Tickets are $36-$54. Youth Tickets (ages 12 and under) are ½ price with the purchase of a full-price adult ticket. Student Rush tickets are available one hour before performances with Student ID. Student Rush tickets are available one hour before performances with Student ID. Tickets are available online at www.surflight.org. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Surflight box office, by phone at 609-492-9477. For groups (15 or more) call: 609-492-9477 x201.
Surflight Theatre's 2012 season continues with Steel Magnolias (September 19 - October 7), the long-running hit revue I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (touted as "Seinfeld set to music") (October 10 - 21), Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park (October 24 - November 4), and Irving Berlin's White Christmas(November 23 - December 21).
Celebrating its 63rd season of "Broadway at the Beach," Surflight Theatre, a not-for-profit professional arts organization, is one of the country's popular summer theaters. Founded by Joseph P. Hayes in 1950 in historic Beach Haven, NJ, Surflight Theatre is dedicated to providing live professional theatre with mainstage productions featuring celebrity performers, a headliner comedy and concert series under the famed "Catch A Rising Star" Comedy Club banner, children's theatre, and year-round arts-in-education programs and special events. Attracting audiences from all 21 NJ counties and 50 states, Surflight is the recipient of New Jersey Governor's Tourism Arts Award and Excellence in Tourism Award. Surflight Theatre also serves as a training ground for young theatre artists through our apprentice program, the Surflight Theatre Arts Resource School (S.T.A.R.S.) and Surflight To-Go, a touring educational theatre troupe for student audiences (K-12). Surflight Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Ocean County Freeholders and Ocean First Foundation. Additional major support is provided by generous contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Surflight Theatre is a member of New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the South Jersey Cultural Alliance. Visit www.surflight.org for more information.