Sunday, January 10, 2010


ReVision Theatre Company inaugurates a new series of staged readings of new plays and musicals, beginning Monday, January 11 at The Showroom.

When last we looked in on ReVision Theatre Company, Asbury Park’s resident professional stage troupe and its triad of Producing Artistic Directors (Thomas Morrissey, David Leidholdt and Stephen Bishop Seely) had returned to the roundhouse stage of the historic Carousel house with a production of The Full Monty — a fun followup to their summer 2008 success with Hair at that same engagingly unorthodox venue.

Fraught with the kind of “frontier theater” eccentricities that the partners had almost become accustomed to (including an opening night power outage that lasted as long as the second act), that go-round at the Carousel capped a rollercoaster year in which the ReVisionaries produced a holiday revue that unfortunately failed to set the till bells jingling (Scrooge in Rouge); a new hip-hop infused musical that proved a winning gambit (Kingdom) and an ambitious fundraiser of Funny Girl (complete with special guest Lainie Kazan) with a leading lady — Streisand specialist Steven Brinberg — who was still “on book” at curtain time.
Live and learn, as they say — and as the company prepares to announce a 2010 season that’s understandably skewed toward the warmer weather months, even while scouting out possible locations for a long-awaited homestage space (another announcement to be made later), there have been some changes made at the company’s downtown Asbury offices, with board veteran Alicia Brooks now joining Leidholdt and Morrissey as the third partner.

Helping ReVision to ReBoot in the new year is an offering that’s potentially very exciting; one designed to keep the company’s name on the public radar throughout the bitter-cold blasts of a long Jersey Shore off-season. Beginning this coming Monday, January 11, and continuing one Monday each month through May is a new series of live workshopped readings of new plays, presented free of charge under the title Readings from Asbury Park.

In a satisfying symbiosis of vaudeville and venue that puts a Tillie-esque grin on our face, the series will be hosted at The ShowroomMike Sodano and Nancy Sabino’s Cookman Avenue screening space that’s been rewriting the ground rules of what a neighborhood nickelodeon can do, ever since it popped its first batch of popcorn in the spring of last year. The comfortably scaled little stage, flexible seating plan and technical aspects of the storefront auditorium make it a perfect winter home for the troupe, which in true “hermit crab” fashion has inhabited spaces ranging from the cavernous Paramount to the Bingo hall of the city’s historic VFW Post.

Monday’s inaugural event will be a 6:30pm performance of the Jeff Hughes play In the Jersey City Moonlight, in which a 29 year old guy named Bob Burns (TV veteran Andy Powers) yearns to “escape life behind the bar and join the local fire department.” Elaine Bromka (the Emmy winning actress who starred recently in Tea for Three at Two River Theater), Jen Peterman, Gary Martins and Phil Callen also appear, under the direction of Daniella Topol.

Next up on February 15 is The Interpreter by Joe Vitale, an exploration (directed by ReVision board president Bob Angelini) of the fictional relationship between Hitler’s right-hand man Hermann Goering and the young Jewish-American private who serves as his interpreter during the Nuremberg trials. Then on March 8 comes a sneak peek at a much talked-about show — The Cuban and the Redhead, a musical (by Robert Bartley and Danny Whitman) based on TV power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.
Just added as an additional show on March 15 is Julie Marino’s Wildfire Season, in which the California wildfires provide a blazing backdrop to a domestic drama of a disillusioned, grieving political activist who drifts away from family and friends as she becomes involved with a contractor on her home. The April 19 show (pitched as a cocktail of Sex in the City and The Women) is the John McMahon-Jay Jeffries musical Friends Like These, with Kelly Briggs directing a story about a group of glamorous, successful NYC friends who help their celeb-newswoman friend achieve even more glamour and success. The series concludes on May 17 with a show to be announced later.

Red Bank oRBit went off-script to quiz David Leidholdt about this promising new series, as well as all of the other potential excitements in the works at ReVision. Read on.

The Showroom on Cookman Avenue, the nimble nickelodeon that’s become something of a multi-platform storefront center for the performing arts.

RED BANK ORBIT: Looking forward to the new Readings series, David. Personally I enjoy those kinds of things, and it’s a good way for you guys to keep your hand in during the colder months.

DAVID LEIDHOLDT: We did do one reading previously with Lou Liberatore over at the VFW; Lou’s been busy doing workshops in New York, so he’s had to step away from being our Literary Manager for a while. But doing readings of new plays goes back to our development days, before we came to Asbury Park — this is what we’ve always done, mostly; try to help writers nurture and grow their plays. And we’ll be doing it in a great, local neighborhood setting.

I can’t argue with that — the room’s just perfect for what you’re doing. You just needed to wait until it came into being.

The Showroom is just great; it’s exactly the right size for our purposes, with a little sound and lighting system. And Nancy and Mike have been very supportive.

One of the things that’s most interesting about attending a play reading, is when you get a chance to catch that same play in a full staging years later and you see how much it’s been brought back to the workshop and revised; sometimes radically so. Will you be doing the talkback sessions after the performance, with the actors and the author?

We’re not sure if we’re going to be doing a formal Q&A with these events — we’ll leave it up to the writers, to see how they want to play it. In the past, we’d solicit comments by passing out forms for the audience to fill out. But whether or not they’re asking questions of the playwright, a lot of people just like to be there on the ground floor, the early stages of a play’s journey. It’s a way for the audience to take a little bit of ownership of the show.

We’re counting on getting a more diverse crowd here also — in New York, it’s all artists who come to these things. Here, hopefully, we’ll get a mix of artist types and regular theatergoers as well. But the variety, the diversity of our audiences has been one of the most satisfying things about the whole experience. With Kingdom, for instance, we just didn’t know what to expect — the older theatergoers might not understand or like it, and the younger people who didn’t normally come to live theater might continue to stay away. But as it turned out, all sorts of people saw it and loved it.

I understand that ReVision had a bit of a revision in its management situation.

Stephen went back to acting, which is what he had been doing several years ago; he decided to pick up his career, which he had to sort of put on hold as we worked to get this thing off the ground. I think the three of us all made a commitment to give up our personal goals in favor of the group goals — I know it’s an entirely different experience, when you’re a person with an artistic background who then has to be concerned with all sorts of administrative matters.

So, Alicia Brooks, who’s been a member of our board, has stepped in to become the third partner; more or less assuming Steven’s place, since we’ve been used to having the three producing partners. As far as the breakdown of responsibilities, everybody pretty much continues to do a little of everything — I think that as we grow, we’ll be able to decide and define our roles.

That’s kind of part and parcel of the frontier spirit that infuses your work — kind of a reflection of Asbury Park itself; reinventing itself by trial and error…

It’s all kind of fun; kind of rough around the edges. You know we’ve had our challenges and our adventures, doing professional theater in a new place; and in the middle of a major recession that hit just as we were getting underway. But we’ve always believed in what we’re doing, we’ve had a lot of support from the people of the city, and we plan on being there for the long run.

Do you have anything you can tell us about the upcoming season of shows?

We’ll be doing two summer shows this year, both in the Carousel — and a fall show at a location to be named later. Hopefully inside our very own home space, which is something else we’re working on right now. But we should have a formal announcement of the season very soon.

Well, you know who to call first. For the time being, you’ve got a good little thing lined up; you’ll be part of what’s happening on the “arts block” of Cookman — kind of a neighborhood, Sesame Street kind of vibe.

Well, it’s probably a little more Avenue Q than Sesame Street!

For more info and updates on ReVision Theatre Company, call (732)455-3059 or take it right here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homegrown Cabaret for the Holidays



Homegrown Cabaret for the Holidays
New Jersey Talent returns to their roots for one night only

Asbury Park, NJ (December 9, 2009) HOMEGROWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS, December 20 at 6 pm at McCloones Supper Club (on the boardwalk in Asbury Park) A Benefit for ReVision Theatre. Tix are just $20.

"Homegrown for the Holidays" is a special holiday cabaret performance featuring professional talent that all grew up in around the Jersey Shore, many with Broadway, off Broadway and regional theatre credits.  For one night, they are coming together to perform and support ReVision Theatre, a professional regional theatre company enriching our very own artistic community. Great music, great fun, great cause!

You may know ReVision Theatre from past productions of Hello, Dolly!, Hair, Scrooge In Rouge, Kingdom, And The Full Monty.  ReVision is now in the process of trying to find a permanent theatre space so that we can expand our programming and become a year-round destination for the local and surrounding communities.  Please support ReVision Theatre and the arts at events like this one, as we look forward to a continued future of live theatre, workshops, readings, and special events in Asbury Park.

HOMEGROWN FOR THE HOLIDAYS is directed by Bill Coyne (PLASTIC! with Jerry Dixon), Musical Direction by Mike Murray (Kingdom) with performances by: Amy Polumbo (Miss New Jersey 2008), Brett Colby (Madam Butterfly, Virginia Opera), Laura Apruzzese, Ryan Lammer (Irving Berlin’s I Love A Piano), Kaitlyn Williams, Chris Fitz, Marissa Caro ("Ring of Fire- The Music of Johnny Cash”), Freddi Mack, Angela Sytko, Kevin Feehery, Jessica Stephens, Andy Arena (Awesome 80s Prom!), Greg Trimmer, Rich Krakowski.

Tickets are $20.  To order tickets or for more information call 732-455-3059 or order on-line at  You may also purchase tickets at the door. Seating is limited.  For guaranteed best seating order in advance.

ReVision Theatre is a professional regional theatre company dedicated to producing invigorating theatre with a fresh new perspective reaching the diverse community of Asbury Park and beyond. ReVision Theatre produces reinventions of previously produced classics, overlooked or forgotten work in a new way, and new work with a fresh voice. ReVision Theatre produces readings, workshops, cabarets, concerts, and mainstage productions. ReVision Theatre is a not for profit 501(c)(3) organization.

What: “Homegrown for the Holidays”
A benefit for ReVision Theatre
One night only holiday cabaret of professional New York talent originally from New Jersey

When: Sunday evening at 6:00pm (dinner seating at 5:00 pm)

Where: Tim McLoone’s Supper Club
1200 Ocean Avenue, on the boardwalk in Asbury Park above The Salt Water Café

Cost: $20 per person, food & drink available, no minimum
To order tickets/for more info: By phone at 732-455-3059 On-line at

You may also purchase tickets at the door. Seating is limited.  For guaranteed best seating order in advance.

Press contact: Alecia Brooks
732-455-3059 office

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thong for Hope

ReVision Theatre Company's production of The Full Monty will produce A THONG FOR HOPE a benefit concert for Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS on Friday August 29th, 2009 at 11 PM at the Carousel House on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ. 100% of proceeds will benefit BC/EFA in their mission to fight the AIDS epidemic.

A THONG FOR HOPE will include an eclectic mix of musical theatre, contemporary rock and some fun distractions, including a talkback with Jeanette (Broadway's Jane Strauss), where you can ask your favorite character questions you're dying to know answers to! Also included will be one cast member singing in a thong, but we're not saying who....

ReVision Theatre is a non-profit 501(c)3 professional regional theatre company dedicated to producing invigorating theatre with a fresh new perspective reaching the diverse community of Asbury Park and Monmouth County. ReVision Theatre's Producing Artistic Directors, Thomas Morrissey, David E. Leidholdt, and Stephen Bishop Seely, produce reinventions of previously produced classics, overlooked or forgotten work in a new way, and new work with a fresh voice. The company serves as a home for local artists and writers. ReVision Theatre also believes in the importance of theatre education and teaches children and adult theatre classes. ReVision Theatre produces readings, workshops, cabarets, concerts, and mainstage productions. Equity Fights AIDS was founded in October, 1987 by the Council of Actors' Equity Association. Money raised through the efforts of Equity theatre companies across the country was specifically earmarked for The Actors' Fund's AIDS Initiative.

Broadway Cares was founded in February, 1988 by members of The Producers' Group. Money raised was earmarked to be awarded to AIDS service organizations across the country, including Equity Fights AIDS. In May, 1992, Equity Fights AIDS and Broadway Cares merged to become Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Unlike most other nonprofit, grant making organizations, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS must raise every single dollar of our philanthropic budget, every year, in order to fulfill our mission. In turn, BC/EFA works hard to ensure that the money we raise is spent carefully and wisely, on programs where these hard-earned funds can have the maximum possible impact.
Single ticket prices are $30.

ReVision Subscribers, students and anyone with a ticket stub from an already played performance of ReVision Theatre's production of The Full Monty pay $25.

Cash or check only at the door, receipts can be made available for tax purposes.

If you would like to donate via credit card, donate online at and bring a copy of your receipt as your ticket.

For more information visit
A Thong for Hope

The Carousel House on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

Fri August 28th 2009 at 11 PM 

$30 general admission.
$25 for ReVision subscribers, students and ticket stub holders for any already played performance of ReVision Theatre's production of The Full Monty.

"The Full Monty" - Asbury Park - A Full Night of Fun

August 24, 6:24 PM
Newark Theater Examiner
Karen Nowosad

f you are looking for an evening of fun complete with good singing and dancing, then go down to Asbury Park to see The Full Monty. The ReVision Theatre assembled a marvelous cast and has mounted a first rate production of the show.

The scenery and staging are sparse inside the Carousel House, which is in use for the run of the show as a theatre. But the bare bones look on stage works well with the concept of the show. Times are tough for a group of laid off mill workers in Buffalo, New York. They’re struggling to find work and pay their bills. But they are also struggling to reclaim their manhood as they are denied their right to be the breadwinners of their families. Unfortunately, this is all too common a theme today. But fortunately, the story is told with compassionate humor so the audience does not journey down a path of too much reality.

The group of unemployed men who decide to do a one time only dance routine in the local male strip joint is led by Jerry Lukowski played by Scott Guthrie.  Jerry is going through a divorce from wife Pam played by Erin Evers. Guthrie is very believable as the guy who has a heart of love for his son and  interest still in his wife. The son has a load of common sense, which helps in the plot.  Andrew Newsome played the role of the son; he was an absolute delight to watch.

Guthrie is a stand out in the group of men.  He took the role and made the audience root for him. All the men in the cast were fine actors, but another stand out was “Horse” played by Mark Weekes. His audition is funny stuff but musically he is a true “song and dance man.”

The women were continual sparks of enthusiasm and at times, they stole the show from the men. Stephanie Sine showed lots of fire in her performance as Georgie Butatinsky. Her voice was strong, clear, and energetic; just as we suspect Georgie has to be to keep the home fires burning. Katherine Pecevich’s rendition of Vicki Nichols singing “Life with Harold” brought the house down. And what can be said of Jeanette’s antics and lyrical moments? They are showstoppers. The crowd loved her.

Audiences will not be disappointed – the full monty does take place right in front of your eyes. But of course it is done with the kind of discretion and staging that makes you go “oh yes!” and you want to come back and see it all again.

For more Info:  Visit the ReVision Theatre's website.  This show is running Wednesdays through Sundays until September 6.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Naughty and nice: 'The Full Monty' strips down to raunchy great fun

By Peter Filichia, Star-Ledger
August 18, 2009 11:19AM

The show at the Carousel in Asbury Park sure isn't "Carousel."

"The Full Monty," the musical that played the Paper Mill Playhouse in June, is getting yet another production, courtesy of the ReVision Theatre Company. While the set here is not just ugly as sin -- rather, it's as hideous as all 12 mortal sins plus 100,000 venial ones -- the cast is great fun in this raunchy show.

How raunchy? There's more than a dollop of profanity in Terrence McNally's (otherwise solid, amusing and tender) book and David Yazbek's lyrics. With a plot involving six out-of-work men stripping in order to raise much-needed cash, there's also more skin on display than in the average musical.

Yazbek provided the quirky music, too, which is an excellent amalgam of pop rock and genuine show music. Though this is mostly an up-tempo, brassy score (nicely played by a 13-piece band), Yazbek makes room for three beautiful ballads, too.

Scott Guthrie excels as Jerry, the flat-broke father who's as far behind on his child support payment as the Mets are in the standings. His young son Nathan is played by Andrew Newsome, an endearing but not sticky-sweet child actor. Such kids neither grow on trees nor on many stages, so Newsome is to be cherished. So is director David E. Leidholdt for not letting the lad overdo it.

All the would-be strippers score, but Andy R. Jobe is the most impressive. He's Malcolm, who must make a journey from namby-pamby mama's boy to a self-actualized man in love. Jobe does just that. Among the wives, Katherine Pecevich's Vicki has plenty of sizzle as a coddled spouse who turns out to have more character than her husband Harold (the impressive Mark Gerrard) would have expected. So does Erin Evers as Pam, Jerry's ex. McNally was careful not to make her any kind of a shrew, and Evers expertly shows the character still has a great deal of love left in her.
And then there's Jeanette, the veteran of eight marriages whom the men have hired as their pianist. Jane Strauss looks like the Wrath of God with her colorful but eye-offending outfit, and her hair piled atop her head so that it resembles an out-of-control tumor. McNally gave her some sharp lines, but on opening night, Strauss not only got a laugh with all of them, but also acquired applause from most of them.
Too bad, though, that Leidholdt occasionally positions an actor so that the audience can't hear an important piece of information, either because someone's blocking him, or because he's in a too-far-removed place on stage.
Granted, the set used on Broadway and Paper Mill was never attractive enough to pass for the Embassy Ballroom in "My Fair Lady." But at least it was specific enough to let an audience know that it was in such places as a men's room and two posh suburban homes. One can't get the point of the scene of the jokes without knowing the location. What's more, the moment when Malcolm attempts suicidal asphyxiation by carbon monoxide in a car isn't clear because there's only a suggestion of a car.

When one considers those liabilities, "The Full Monty" doesn't seem to be the right show for ReVision. However, with all the talent that the company has on hand -- and how right each actor is for his role -- one can understand why the plucky company just had to do this musical.

The Full Monty
Where: ReVision Theatre, Carousel House, 700 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park
When: Through Sept. 6. Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
How much: $25-$50. Call (732) 455-3059 or visit

"Monty" a flying circus at Asbury Carousel

August 19, 2009

Theater folk do love to tell stories of their experiences on the live frontlines of show business — so stop us if you've heard the one about the much-ballyhooed musical revival presented inside an old boardwalk carousel roundhouse.

It seems that just prior to the opening night performance, a beach security vehicle with a stuck throttle rammed into the building, reportedly causing a delayed reaction that resulted in the power going out during a big showstopper number just minutes before intermission — a number completed with the help of flashlights, and followed by an unplanned 45-minute break in which the audience enjoyed lemonade and cool ocean breezes (while frantic crews entertained alternatives like science-project batteries made from lemonade-stand lemons).
Ouch. Too soon? Well, the people of Asbury Park's professional ReVision Theater Company needn't apologize, since they managed against some pretty long odds to wrest a successful opening of "The Full Monty" from the jaws of what looked to be certain disaster — as nifty a recovery as anything we've seen, and accomplished largely through the beyond-Monty efforts of a game cast (with all due credit to a patient and supportive audience).
Although it hasn't quite trickled down to the middle-school or church-basement circuits just yet, the Americanized stage adaptation (by Terrence McNally and composer David Yazbek) of the hit British film has been seen on enough community stages to dampen whatever residual shock value remains from a musical about amateur male strippers. It also helps tremendously that the authors have humanized their characters — a set of unemployed factory workers, divorced dads, and lost souls living in a beaten-down Buffalo — in a way that puts the show's gimmicky central conceit into perfect perspective. While the script doesn't run nearly as deep as other McNally efforts, these guys are a pack of underdogs that you can root for from the start.

Between scoring some pertinent points on the psychological effects of joblessness and despair, "Monty" is essentially a fun party — and director David Leidholdt has played up some of the party-atmosphere flourishes in a way that compensates for the generally low-budget look and rough aspects of the unorthodox (but still engagingly funky) venue at the south end of the boardwalk.

While Scott Guthrie and Adam Kern do a fine job anchoring the cast as broke brainstormer Jerry and his "fat bastard" buddy Dave, the show doesn't really spark to life until the "Hot Metal" dance troupe begins to come together toward the end of the first act (unfortunately, right about the time the lights went out on Aug. 14). The audition-scene intros of painfully bad dancer Ethan (Jonathan Gregg) and, especially, the "Big Black Man" known as Horse (Mark Weekes) are comic highlights that are very nearly eclipsed by the presence of Broadway veteran Jane Strauss, as the dance troupe's chain-smoking, wizened old crow of an accompanist (love those hopelessly dated references to Arthur Godfrey and Buddy Greco).

Apart from that surefire crowdpleaser of a role, the capable female performers in the cast (including such returning ReVisioners as Katherine Pecevich and Deidra Grace) necessarily cede the spotlight to the starring sextet of stripping pals rounded out by humiliated former boss Harold (Mark Gerrard) and suicidal lonely guy Malcolm (Andy R. Jobe). Still, one could make the case that the women literally saved the show on that weird opening night, by whooping up the energy level from the audience in the climactic (and briefly full-frontal) "Let It Go" production number.

Struggling to make ends meet in a harsh economic climate; striving valiantly to mount a slick show in what can be called a "quirky" space, the ReVision producers have every right to identify with their underdog protagonists here. While it's ultimately not going to be the sort of legacy-making choice that last spring's "Kingdom" was, their "Monty" is a fun summer show in a dress-down setting (air conditioned exclusively by nature), best enjoyed in that spirit — or with whatever spirits you can take in beforehand.

Continuing through Sept. 6, "The Full Monty" presents performances at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. Sundays. Tickets, $35-$50, can be reserved by calling 732-455-3059 or visiting

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