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Centenary Stage Company's Young Performers Worskshop Returns


Celebrating over 20 years of acclaimed musical theatre training for young thespians, the Centenary Stage Company's Young Performers Workshop returns to the Little TheaterAugust 5 through August 14 with the annual Summer Festival of Shows. These talented young thespians between the ages of 8 and 18 will present a variety of musical theater favorites including; Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?, Merrily We Roll Along, Miss Nelson has a Field Day, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs and the One-Act Festival.

With music & lyrics by James Quinn and Alaric Jans, a book by John R. Powers and based on the novel by John R. Powers, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up?,captures the funniest aspects of youthful growing pains and the trying moments of adolescence. Focusing on eight children during their Catholic elementary and high school education in the 1950s, this delightful musical tickles the funny bone of anyone who ever went to school, public or private. Performances are Friday, August 5 at 8pm; Sunday, August 7 at 7pm;Saturday, August 13 at 8pm & Sunday, August 14 at 4pm.

Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Merrily We Roll Along expertly blends the excitement and energy of a backstage musical with a poignant and emotional contemporary story about the importance of staying true to one's ideals. Merrily We Roll Along begins in the present and moves backwards, tracing the lives of wealthy, jaded composer Franklin Shepard and his two estranged friends through each milestone of their personal and professional lives (good and bad). The show ends with a touch of rueful irony, as the three best friends at the start of their careers face a bright future: young, talented and enthusiastic about the worlds waiting to be conquered. Performances are Saturday, August 6 at 8pm;Sunday, August 7 at 1pm; Friday, August 12 at 8pm; Saturday, August 13 at 2pm and Sunday, August 14 at 7pm.

Adapted by Joan Cushing from the famous children's novel by Harry Allard and JameS Marshall Miss Nelson has a Field Day is the snappy sequel to Joan Cushing's beloved musical "Miss Nelson is Missing!". The Smedley Tornadoes have not only never won a football game, they have never scored a single point! Coach Armstrong goes bonkers and Miss Nelson decides to help out. She enlists Coach Viola Swamp to whip the team into shape and save the day. Performances are Saturday, August 6 at 2pm; Sunday, August 7 at 4pm;Saturday, August 13 at 5pm and Sunday, August 14 at 1pm. YPW will be presenting a special "camp" performance of Miss Nelson has a Field Day on Thursday, August 11 at 10:30am. Please call the box office directly for details on 'camp' performance.

Written by William Inge, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs is a drama set in a small Oklahoma town in the early 1920s. The story follows the Flood family and is told through a series of short stories - the fight between a husband and wife, the fear of an overly shy young girl on going to a dance, the problems of an introverted little boy who feels that the whole world is against him, the corroding marriage of Cora's rowdy sister, and the tragedy of a military school cadet who suffers from the stigma of being a Jew in an alien community. There is dark at the top of everyone's stairs, but it can be dissipated by understanding, tolerance, and compassion. Performances are Tuesday, August 9 at 7pm; Wednesday, August 10 at 7pm and Thursday, August 11 at 7pm.

Finally, the Young Performers Workshop will be presenting their annual One- Act Festival on Saturday, August 13 at 11am and Sunday, August 14 at 11am. The One - Act Festival features a selection of short plays selected to be performed in rep. One - acts are directed by YPW staff and/or students and feature an entire YPW student cast.

This year's Summer Festival of Shows features young talent from across New Jersey. This year's cast includes; Brianna Ascione (Randolph, NJ), Shayna Baum, James Bilinsky, Tess Clark, Zack Clark, Kira Hirkenham, Morgan Kowalewski, Eilidh McCumber, Quinn O'Hara, Brandon Vita (Hackettstown, NJ), Raphael Pelczmann (Morristown, NJ), Jerry Caviston, CameRon Rich (Califon, NJ), Bridget Fajvan (Newton, NJ), Sebastian Gutkin, Kayla Hartmann, Samantha Higgins, Alani Rose (Long Valley, NJ), Shayna Kantor (Asbury, NJ), Rachel Lee (Flanders, NJ), Charlotte Kazimov, Tia Wasson (Stanhope, NJ), Richard Cort (Belividere, NJ), Matthew Sigler (Hampton, NJ) and Olivia Bailey (Washington, NJ).

The YPW program has been led by Broadway, film and television veteran, Michael Blevins, for over 20 years. YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people.

Tickets for the Young Performers Workshop Summer Festival of Shows are $12.50 for adults and $10.00 for children under 12. Tickets are available on - line or by phone at (908) 979 - 0900. The Centenary Stage Company box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 - 5pm and two hours prior to every performance.

The Young Performers Workshop is part of the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College. The 2016-17 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Regional Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), The Holiday Inn in Budd Lake, and Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.

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