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Loni Ackerman Leads Broadway Hopeful MY MOTHER, MY SISTER & ME Tonight in NJ

Tonight, April 7, 2016, MY MOTHER, MY SISTER & ME, Sherri Heller's world-class comedy about an indestructible working-class Jewish family in the Bronx, valiantly surviving the Sixties Cultural Revolution, will have its World Premiere at the Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum (6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown, NJ).

Starring Loni Ackerman, the Broadway-bound comedy is Part I of Miss Heller's highly anticipated Generational Trilogy that follows the Abrams Family as they emotionally and geographically move further away from the very roots that will ultimately anchor them in the turbulent waters on which they choose to sail.

Currently in pre-production, the trilogy's Part II (Her Four Granddaughters) and Part III (Shiva), are as heart-breaking, life-affirming and euphorically joyous as Part I.

The Bickford Theatre's Artistic Director, Eric Hafen, has been tapped to helm the entire trilogy.

MY MOTHER, MY SISTER & ME opens in a two-bedroom-fourth-floor-walk-up just East of the Grand Concourse and fifteen blocks from the Mecca of all hope -- Yankee Stadium. We are in the home of the Abrams Family, a front-of-the-building apartment with a clear view of 163rd Street and the cultural chaos that is engulfing New York and the rest of world.

It is Monday morning, July 21, 1969, six hours after Neil Armstrong has walked on the moon, fourteen days before Woodstock opens in Bethel, three weeks before Mick Jagger is shot on the set of Ned Kelly and Jim Morrison is arrested and dragged off of a plane in Phoenix, Arizona, while 250,000 people demonstrate in the Nation's Capital against the Vietnam War and Russia defiantly performs its first public nuclear test in Eastern Kazakh.

The Abrams Family is preparing for what looks to be a normal day. Grandma Sylvia is cooking, Holly is dreaming of her first kiss with the gorgeous Marco Lopez, Robin is plotting her escape to Woodstock Nation, Arlene, their Mom, is rehearsing how she is going to announce her huge promotion at a Corporation that now needs her in New Jersey while unbeknownst to the lot, Danny, Arlene's estranged husband, is contemplating a capital crime so egregious he could take down part of the Bronx with the rest of them.

Halfway through Act II all looks lost. Even the ever-resourceful Sylvia is at a loss as to her family's future -- never mind their survival. But this is the Bronx, and if you have ever even driven through New York, you know that miracles happen here every day. Just ask Holly Abrams. She saves the day, rescues her family and, as the curtain falls, heads downstairs to 163rd street where her beloved Marco is waiting for her.

1969. It was the Summer of Love. Just ask Marco Lopez.

Loni Ackerman's magnetism and dynamic vocal prowess as a Broadway musical theater star, has made her a longtime favorite of Broadway theatergoers. She captivated New York audiences in such coveted roles as Eva in Evita and Grizabella in Cats. Other Broadway credits include leading roles in The Magic Show, So Long, 174th Street, No, No, Nanette, and George M! She was in the original cast of Starting Here, Starting Now and appeared Off-Broadway in Diamonds, The Petrified Prince (both under the direction of Hal Prince), Brownstone and Dames At Sea. She is married to Tony Award-winning Sound Designer Steve Kennedy and has two sons, Jack and George.

Sherri Heller's full-length plays, one-acts, comic revues, special material and sketch showcases have been produced Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway and in top regional, cabaret and theater festivals nationwide. They include: Mothers & Daughters, Last Thursday, Cruise Control, Home of the Brave, Grand Central ... or, A Day in the Life of a Terminal, Double Vision and At My Wit's End. She was a contributing playwright for Style Without Substance, Olympia Dukakis' Resident Comedy Troupe at The Whole Theatre and for 12 Miles West's Theatre Café Series; a finalist for The Lucille Ball Festival of Short Comic Plays and Creative Consultant/Writing Supervisor for the well-received Off-Broadway shows, Mad Moms, New Faces of 1993 and Native Tongues.

A former CBS-TV executive, Heller has an accomplished work history in Broadcast Research, Audience Evaluation and in TV production. She served as Director of Dramatic Programming for The Prime Life Cable Network where she created and Co-Executive Produced with Gladys Nederlander, The Prime Life Playhouse, a weekly TV series that featured classic and contemporary plays and ground-breaking musicals. Comedy writing credits include: Jerry Stiller, Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, Jay Leno, The Humor Files Magazine and the creation of three (3) sitcoms: Spa, Revolutionary Times and Comic Flair.

As a contributing journalist, Heller's cover stories, lead assignments and original features appear in The Star Ledger, Inside New Jersey Magazine, Matters Magazine, The New Jersey Jewish News, Suburban Essex Magazine, Morris Magazine, Vicinity Publications, The Syracuse University Alumni Magazine and North Jersey Woman Magazine.

Additional plays in development include: Single Units, Her Four Granddaughters, Shiva, A Critical Time, By A Brother's Hand, Season's Greetings, Just a Widow Crazy and Nobody Needs A Cell Phone.

Sherri Heller holds a dual degree from Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and The College of Arts and Sciences. She is a playwright member of The Dramatists Guild in New York City.

Eric Hafen (director) has served as Producing Artistic Director for the Bickford Theatre since 2001. He has been active in the theatre for over 34 years having acted in and directed both musicals and non-musicals throughout New England, New York and New Jersey, including works Off-Broadway, and regionally. He also provided artistic direction for the Six Flags Corporation, the Park Performing Arts Center in Union City, NJ, Theatre at the Mount and Little Theatre Stage Company both in MA. While at the Park Performing Arts Center, Mr. Hafen directed 4 seasons of The Passion Play, including the casting of an African-American in the role of Jesus, which brought national and international recognition for his non-traditional casting. Mr. Hafen was awarded the Outstanding Professional in the Arts of 2005 by the Arts Council of the Morris area and serves on the board of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. NJ Premieres: Sophie Tucker-Last of the Red Hot Mamas, The Last Romance, You're Gonna Love Tomorrow.

The mission of the Morris Museum is to celebrate art, science, history, and the performing arts by providing engaging exhibitions and programs, all of which are designed to excite the mind and promote cultural interests. The Museum strives to educate, entertain, and inspire diverse audiences of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds.

THE PLAYING SCHEDULE:

Thursday, April 7 @ 7:30pm
Friday, April 8 @ 8:00pm
Saturday, April 9 @ 8:00pm
Sunday, April 10 @ 2:00pm

Thursday, April 14 @ 7:30pm
Friday, April 15 @ 8:00pm
Saturday, April 16 @ 8:00pm
Sunday, April 17 @ 2:00pm

Thursday, April 21 @ 2:00pm
Friday, April 22 @ 8:00pm
Saturday, April 23 @ 8:00pm
Sunday, April 24 @ 2:00pm

TICKETS:
$45 General Public
$40 Seniors/Museum Members/Theatre Guild Members
$33 Groups (10 or more) $20 Students
(18 and under or with a valid college ID)

RESERVATIONS at 973-971-3706.


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