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The Stars Are Shining — On Stage

Famous and non-famous names are keeping busy on stage.

The stars are coming out in North Jersey—not just in the sky, but on stage, too.

Comedian Tracy Jordan, who stars on NBC’s “30 Rock,” is bringing his comedy act to the Mayo Center. Maurice Hines, Broadway performer and brother of Gregory Hines, is joining the DIVA Jazz Orchestra for a performance at Centenary Stage Company.

New shows opening this week include “Boeing-Boeing” at Paper Mill Playhouse, with a cast featuring Broadway performers, and “Over the River and Through the Woods,” written by Jersey native and Tony winner Joe DiPietro.

Community theater actors are stars in their own right and are offering musicals (“Leader of the Pack” at Somerset Valley players), dramas (“Marvin’s Room” at the Barn Theatre), and family shows (“Mother Hicks” at the Growing Stage Theatre).

That’s just the beginning of what the performing arts has to offer. Read this week’s On Stage Scoop to find out everything that’s happening at a theater near you. The Scoop runs every Tuesday.

ON STAGE SCOOP:

Making Vows: Triangle Circle Players will present “Avow” at the Villagers Theatre in Somerset, through Jan. 22. The play’s story involves Brian and Tom, a gay couple, their liberal priest Father Raymond, and Brian’s Sister Irene, who is pregnant with a baby Brian and Tom plan to adopt. Tickets cost $12, or $10 for seniors and students. For reservations, go to VillagersTheatre.com, email boxoffice@villagerstheatre.com or call 732-873-2710. The theater is located at 475 DeMott Lane in Somerset.

Love, Life and Laughter: will present Scott McPherson’s “Marvin’s Room” through Jan. 29 at the theater, located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville. In the show, Bessie, who has been caring for her ailing father, Marvin, and for her Aunt Ruth, learns that now she too is sick and turns to her sister for help, bringing to surface long-buried resentment and overwhelming love. Tickets cost $15 and can be ordered by calling 973-334-9320. The box office is staffed every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, go to BarnTheatre.org.

Audition Alert, “The Ladies Man:” The Centenary Stage Company will hold auditions for Charles Morey’s “The Ladies Man” on Jan. 17, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Lackland Center, at 715 Grand Ave. in Hackettstown. CSC operates under a SPT contract, with both Equity and Non-Equity performers. See here for a breakdown of available parts. All parts need to be good at farce. Actors may read from the script or perform a comic monologue. The production will be directed by Carl Wallnau, CSC Artistic Director. While appointments are being scheduled, attempts will be made to see all auditionees who attend. For more information, call 908-979-0900, ext. 8.

There’s Laughter in the Air at Paper Mill: will present Marc Camoletti’s “Boeing-Boeing” from Jan. 18 through Feb. 12. The farce follows an American playboy in ’60s-era Paris who is juggling relationships with three different flight attendants around the world, but his dream setup is headed for disaster after a new, superfast jet changes the women’s schedule. For more information, go to PaperMill.org or call 973-376-4343.

Finding Their Way: The Growing Stage Children’s Theatre in Netcong will present Suzan L. Zeder’s “Mother Hicks” Jan. 19 through Feb. 5. Set during the Great Depression, the play tells of three outsiders—a girl, a deaf boy and Mother Hicks, who is accused of being a witch—through poetry and sign language, according to the theater. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Thursday performances include a question-and-answer session with the actors and director. Tickets cost $18, $14 seniors/children. Recommended for ages 7 and up. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. For more information, call 973-347-4946 or go to GrowingStage.com.

Ahead of the Pack: Somerset Valley Players will present  "Leader of the Pack:  The Ellie Greenwich Musical" for a run beginning Jan. 20 and continuing through Feb. 5 at the company’s playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road/Route 514 in Hillsborough. The musical features classic songs of the 1960s in a rags-to-riches story of Greenwich, who whose songs include “Chapel of Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “And Then He Kissed Me.” Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors/students. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or visit SVPTheatre.org.

Guess Who’s Coming to Morristown: Burton Cummings is, that’s who. The lead singer for The Guess Who will play a concert at on Jan. 20, beginning at 8 p.m. Fans can expect to hear such classics as “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “Laughing,” and “No Time.” Tickets cost $37 to $57. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

From 30 Rock to 100 South St.: Tracy Morgan will perform his for-adults-only comedy act at on Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. Morgan, who stars on the sitcom “30 Rock” and is a former cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” is well known for his politically incorrect comedy. Dominique is the opening act. Tickets cost $49 to $79. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

It’s Time For Jazz in Hackettstown: Centenary Stage Company will present the DIVA Jazz Orchestra, featuring Maurice Hines, on Jan. 21 with a concert beginning at 4 p.m. at the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Center. Hines will join the 15-piece Diva Jazz Orchestra for the second event of Centenary’s Jazz in January series. Hines’ career began when he was 5 as a member of Hines, Hines and Dad, with his brother Gregory and his father Maurice Sr. His Broadway credits include “Bring Back Birdie” and “Sophisticated Ladies.” Advance tickets cost $22.50, $17.50 for 18 years and younger. Tickets at the door cost $27.50 for all ages. The series will also feature the DIVA Jazz Orchestra on Jan. 21 and an All Star Jazz Jam on Jan. 28. The theater is located at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, on the campus of Centenary College. For tickets and information, call 908-979-0900 or go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Improv Comedy in Dover: The Out of Order improv group will perform at Dover Little Theatre on Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. The theater is located at 69 Elliott St. in Dover. Admission costs $10. For reservations, call 973-328-9202.

Audition Alert, “Over the River and Through the Woods”: The Summit Playhouse will hold auditions for Joe DiPietro’s “Over the River and Through the Woods” on Jan. 22, 23 and 25. For more information, call 908-273-2192 or go to SummitPlayhouse.org.

Centenary Stage Company Young Performers Workshop Spring Session: Centenary Stage Company will hold additional interviews for its Young Performers Workshop Spring Session on Jan. 22 at 10:30 a.m. in the Centenary Little Theatre Lobby, 400 Jefferson St. in Hackettstown. Led by theater, TV and film veteran Michael Blevins, the spring session will run on Saturdays from February 11 to June 10, culminating in a two-week Festival of Shows from June 1-10. The cost is $350. To make an appointment, call 908-979-0900. For more information, go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Audition Alert, “Seussical:” The Growing Stage Theatre will hold auditions for its main stage production of “Seussical” on Jan. 23 and 24 at 7 p.m. at its theater, located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. Auditions on Jan. 23 are for young performers ages 10 to 17 years old. Jan. 24 auditions are for young performers 18 and older, and for adults. All auditioning should have a song prepared with printed accompaniment that should be no longer than 16 measures. Those auditioning are expected to learn a dance piece led by the choreographer and some may be asked to read from the script. The production is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, the Growing Stage’s executive director. The show will March 9 through April 1. The Growing Stage is a professional member of the Association of Actor’s Equity. There will be six roles available for AEA artists, a one AEA/ASM while other roles will be filled by community artists, making a cast of approximately 25. Rehearsal schedules are generally two or three evenings during the week, and a weekend afternoon.  All cast members are expected for all performances, with no exception since the company does not cast understudies. Performers of color, seniors, women and performers with disabilities are encouraged to attend. For additional information please call 973-347- 4946, email exdir@growingstage.com or click here.

What’s Going on in that Room? in Morris Township will present Ira Levin’s “Veronica’s Room,” Jan 26 through Feb. 12. The theater’s website describes the play as a thriller that explores the line between fantasy and reality. In the play, a young couple ends up at a mansion whose owners are struck by the young woman’s resemblance to their dead daughter. NOTE: The play contains adult language. Tickets cost $40. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or go to MorrisMuseum.org.

Laughter, New York Style: Manhattan Comedy Night is coming to on Jan. 27 for a performance beginning at 8 p.m. The lineup will include Todd Barry, Keith Robinson, Lenny Marcus and Marion Grodin. This show will contain mature themes and language. Tickets cost $25. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Have a Blast! Tony-winning Blast will take stage at on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. Blast includes 35 brass, percussion and visual performers exploring music evolved from the tradition of pageantry, drum corps, bands and color guards. The group won the 2001 Tony for Best Special Theatrical Event. Tickets cost $42 to $67. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Audition Alert, “Clue:” Somerset Valley Players will hold auditions for "Clue:  The Musical" on Jan. 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. at the Players’ playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road/Route 514 in Hillsborough. Needed are four to five males and three to four females, late 20s and up. Please bring with you and be prepared to sing 16 bars of a song of your own choosing.  Accompanist will be provided. There will also be light dancing.  Readings will be from the script with some improv exercises. Show song samples can be found on YouTube for style only. Callbacks will be held on Feb. 1 at p.m. if needed. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or go to SVPTheatre.org.

Comic Books Brought to Life: “The Intergalactic Nemesis” is coming to on Jan. 29. The show features three actors, sound effects, a keyboardist and more than 1,250 hand-drawn high-resolution comic book images to share the story of an sci-fi adventure set in 1933. Tickets cost $27 to $67. Recommended for ages 7 and up. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Getting Jazzy at the Bickford: Jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli will perform a concert as part of the Jazz Showcase at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown on Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $15 in advance. The theater is located at the , 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or go to the theater’s website.

Bill Maher Tickets on Sale: Tickets for Bill Maher’s May 20 performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Prudential Hall in Newark are on sale now. Maher hosted ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” from 1993 to 2002 and currently hosts “Real Time” on HBO. He is known for his controversial, politically charged humor. Tickets cost $39.50 to $95 and are available by calling 1-888-466-5722 and at NJPAC.org.

Getting in on the Act: The is seeking original, one-act plays, short musicals and/or original dance pieces, written by New Jersey authors, for the 18th annual Jersey Voices presentation. Play submissions of any genre, style and length up to 20 minutes running time will be accepted through March 15. Selected pieces will be performed in the Players’ Black Box Theater in July and August. To email submissions or to request more information, go to jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org.

Dance Classes at Centenary College: Registration is open for dance classes at The Conservatory of Dance at Centenary College. Classes begin Jan. 17 and will be held in the Lackland Center, located at 715 Grand Ave. in Hackettstown. Classes are taught by Centenary College dance faculty and guest artists. Classes are offered in modern, jazz, ballet, and theater dance. Beginner and advanced classes are also available. Prices are $130 for one class a week, $195 for twice a week and $275 for three a week. Register before Jan. 6 and receive a 15 percent discount. For more information please contact Professor Lea Antolini-Lid at 908-852-1400, ext. 2421 or visit CentenaryStageCo.org.

Summer Camp at Playwrights Theatre: Registration is open for the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey’s Creative Arts Academy summer camp for kids and summer theatre program for teens beginning June 25 and running all summer long in two-week sessions. Summer programs include a Full-Day Theatre Academy, which costs $525 when enrolled before Jan. 31. Also being offered are a Half-Day Summer Camp, and a Getting Ready To Audition class for high school students. For more information, call 973-514-1787 or visit ptnj.org.

Winter Theatre Classes at Brundage Park Playhouse: Brundage Park Playhouse will begin its winter theater classes on Jan. 30. Classes are being offered in acting, musical theater dance, modern dance and more. Click here for class descriptions, schedules and prices. Randolph Township is also hosting a Stars on Stage program for children with special needs, beginning Jan. 12 and continuing through March. Click here for more information.

Winter Programs for Kids at Growing Stage: Registration is open for the Growing Stage theater’s Winter Creative Arts Program. Classes are offered for kids ranging from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade. Classes include Creative, Dramatics, Performing Arts Workshop, The Actor Speaks and Musical Performance Lab. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. Classes begin Jan. 28 and continue through April 21. Click here for more information.

Giving Plays a Chance: Premiere Stages is seeking submissions to the Eighth Annual Premiere Stages Play Festival. The competition for unproduced scripts offers developmental opportunities to four playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). The winner of the festival will be awarded $2,000 and a full Equity production in Premiere’s 2012 season. The runner-up will receive $750 and an Equity workshop in June. Two other writers will receive staged readings in March and a cash prize of $500. Entries are evaluated by a panel of theater professionals in consultation with the artistic director and resident dramaturge. Agents may submit full scripts; playwrights may submit a synopsis and script sample directly. Postmark deadline is Jan. 15, 2012. No entry fee. Complete submission guidelines available at Kean.edu/PremiereStages.

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