Once a year, you don't have to go into New York City to get Broadway entertainment.
Keen Company, the off-Broadway theater group, returns to Chatham Borough at 7 p.m. Monday for their seventh annual cabaret benefit performance known as "Broadway in the Boro."
Board Member and Chatham resident Amy Ball said the evening is always a special one. "There are five or six performers, and there's an opportunity for them ... to choose what they sing. They usually share stories about why they like a particular song, why it's important to them or their careers. You get an inside view into these performers' profession," Ball said.
Monday's performance will include Matt Servitto, known to television audiences from his role as an FBI agent on "The Sopranos" and Chatham Community Players Board dmember Chris Furlong. Keen's founding artistic director, Carl Forsman, will return to his native Chatham from his new position as Dean of Drama at the North Carolina School of the Arts to host the event.
Jonathan Silverstein, the current artistic director, said the event offers more than just an evening's entertainment. "It's also an intimate opportunity for us to comment directly to our most important audience," he said. "Much of our audience comes from New Jersey, and since we were founded by [a Chatham native], this is a chance for us to return to our roots," he said.
Young people interested in performing either as a hobby or as a career may also use the evening, and the reception following, to learn from professional performers what it takes to make it on stage in New York, and possibly learn about Keen's program for high school performers.
"My older son took advantage of the program," Ball said. "This is a really unique area for the arts: an opportunity to audition to be in original plays produced at Keen with professional directing."
Silverstein said the program, Keen Teens, gets many performers from this annual appearance in Chatham Borough. "People who have come in the past have gotten their kids involved," he said. "It's a great chance for young people to get involved with theater."
"Broadway in the Boro" takes place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Chatham Community Playhouse. Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for students under 18. Admission to the performance includes a reception to follow with the artists. For more information, call Keen Company at 212-216-0963.