Friday, December 12, 2008

A Zany Christmas Carol In Asbury Park

Two River Times
December 12, 2008

Scene On Stage

A Zany Christmas Carol
In Asbury Park
Check your bah-humbug at the door. . .
By Philip Dorian

And now for something new and different: a musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. Say what? New and different? There’s one around every corner, isn’t there?

Well, yes, but they’re not like ReVision Theatre’s Scrooge in Rouge, running through December 28 in Asbury Park. And ‘thanks’ are definitely in order for this irreverent and outrageously funny tale of ye olde Scrooge.

What to do when all but three , Lottie Obligato (Linda Marie Larson), Vesta Virile (Katherine Pecevich), and Charlie Schmaltz (Doug Shapiro), to play all 23 roles.

And healthy they are. The three careen through the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Future; various Cratchits; numerous Fezziwigs; and assorted other Victorian Londoners. The result is a fast-paced 90 minutes with lively song-and-dance and about a hundred gags that are corny, bawdy or a combination thereof. That nearly all (nobody’s perfect) are laughworthy is a tribute to a performers and to writers Rich Graham (book and lyrics) Jeffery Roberson (additional material) and Yvette Hargis, who is credited with “other interesting bits,” which is the year’s most intriguing credit.

Ms. Pecevich plays Ebeneezer and a couple of other bit parts along the way. She’s as accurate (if offhand) a Scrooge as I’ve seen locally. Out of character, commenting in asides to the audience, she’s a droll delight. (If “walk this way” isn’t among your favorite comic bits, go watch Miracle on 34th Street again.)

Mr. Shapiro’s antic take on Marley’s Ghost is supremely funny, but darned if he doesn’t top himself with his loose-limbed Fezziwig nephew. (His manic cavorting would drive even a kind-hearted uncle away.)

You cannot acquire pinpoint-perfect timing. Like Ms. Larson, you must be born with it. Introducing the show with the wrong author’s name – an excellent joke so obvious I’m surprised I never heard it before – and slipping in and out of a dozen fully realized roles, including a pickle (see it to believe it), she doesn’t miss a beat – of music or comedy.

Musical director Justin Stoney is positioned off to the side with his piano, where he provides faultless accompaniment and an occasional impertinent out-of-the-blue remark, and choreographer Mimi Quillin keeps the flailing arms and legs under control (barely). Costumer Abby Walton deserves co-star status. It’s not just the number – 23 outfits for 23 characters – that impresses. The outlandish styles and even the colors provide a comic context on their own.

The key to staging a deceptively loose show like Scrooge in Rouge lies in balancing control with freedom. Michael Barakiva’s direction is disciplined, but not at the expense of devil-may-care. (His rest-cure is progressing nicely, I hear.)

A song lyric promises “fancy scenery and acting with panache.” Kip marsh’s sets might not be fancy, but you’ll fancy the clever devices that enhance the goings-on. (An upright bed on the back of a door? Why not?) As for panache, “flamboyant confidence of style or manner,” that’s an understatement!

Doug Shapiro, Linda Marie Larson and Katherine Pecevich as three of the 23 characters they play in Scrooge in Rouge.

“Scrooge in Rouge” runs through Dec. 28 at the refurbished VFW Hall, 701 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park. Performance are Thurs-Sat at 8 pm (no performance Dec. 25); Sun. at 7 pm; matinees Sat. Dec 27 at 3 pm and Sun. Dec. 28 at 3 pm. For information and tickets ($25 - $35): 732-455-3059 or online at www.revisiontheatre.org.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Scrooge in Rouge in Asbury Park - Star-Ledger

 
Actor Linda Marie Larson and Actor Katherine Pecevich,who's playing Ebenezer Scrooge under strange circumstances. SCROOGE IN ROUGE is a show where a troupe of British Musical Hall actors intended to put on A CHRISTMAS CAROL -- but then most of the troupe got sick from food poisoning. As a result, this WOMAN, Vesta Virile, must play Scrooge PHOTO BY NOAH K. MURRAY/THE STAR-LEDGER

Scrooge in Rouge in Asbury Park - Star-Ledger

Katherine Pecevich,who's playing Ebenezer Scrooge under strange circumstances. SCROOGE IN ROUGE is a show where a troupe of British Musical Hall actors intended to put on A CHRISTMAS CAROL but then most of the troupe got sick from food poisoning. As a result, this WOMAN, Vesta Virile, must play Scrooge . PHOTO BY NOAH K. MURRAY/THE STAR-LEDGER

Scrooge in Rouge in Asbury Park - Star-Ledger

Actors Doug Shapiro ,Charlie and Katherine Pecevich,who's playing Ebenezer Scrooge under strange circumstances. SCROOGE IN ROUGE is a show where a troupe of British Musical Hall actors intended to put on A CHRSTMAS CAROL -- but then most of the troupe got sick from food poisoning. As a result, this WOMAN, Vesta Virile, must play Scrooge . Asbury Park, NJ 12/2/08 4:15:28 AM NOAH K. MURRAY/THE STAR-LEDGER

Monday, November 24, 2008

Press Release: Scrooge in Rouge, an English Music Hall Christmas Carol


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park Announces
The East Coast Premiere of
Scrooge in Rouge
An English Music Hall Christmas Carol
3 actors play 23 roles in the fast paced, quick change musical
A Holiday Family Comedy
December 4th-28th

Asbury Park, New Jersey – ReVision Theatre kicks off  their 2008–2009 inaugural season with the holiday family musical comedy, Scrooge in Rouge, an English Music Hall Christmas Carol, is a fast paced, quick change musical version of the Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol, set in a Victorian music hall where three actors perform 23 characters.  Running December 4th – 28th, ReVision Theatre will present the East Coast Premiere of the show which was created last holiday season in New Orleans.  Directed by Michael Barakiva the cast features Linda Marie Larson (Broadway’s Jackie, Deuce, Morning’s at Seven), Katherine Pecevich (National Tour of Annie), and Doug Shapiro.  The show is choreographed by Mimi Quillin and music directed by Justin Stoney, who will also be at piano.  The creative team includes scenic design by Kip Marsh, costume design by Abby Walton, lighting design by Nick Francone, and sound design by Benjamin Furiga.

The show was created by a company of actors at the cabaret Le Chat Noir, with book and lyrics by Ricky Graham, additional material by Jeffery Roberson (aka Varla Jean Merman), other interesting bits by Yvette Hargis, and original music composed by Jefferson Turner.

A mixture of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Noises Off, Scrooge in Rouge is a Victorian-era music hall version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, in which 17 members of the Royal Music Hall 20-Member Variety Players have taken ill from the cast party the night before, leaving only Charlie Schmaltz (Shapiro), an animated character actor; Lottie Obligato (Larson), a bubbly, over-the-hill ingénue; and Vesta Virile (Pecevich), a male impersonating diva, to play and sing all the male and female parts in the show. The Gambit Weekly wrote, “Though we tend to associate this type of gender bending with our confused, postmodern world, it actually has a history on the stage that reaches back to music hall entertainment and beyond.”



Scrooge in Rouge, an English Music Hall Christmas Carol will preview on Thursday, December 4th and open on Friday, December 5th and run through Sunday, December 28.  Performance times are: Thursday at 8:00 pm, Friday & Saturday at 8:00 pm, and Sunday at 7:00 pm.  Scrooge in Rouge will be performed at the VFW Hall, 701 Lake Avenue, in Asbury Park.  ReVision Theatre will be transforming this 100 year old building into a 350 seat theatre.  Single adult tickets, priced $35 and $25, and half price tickets for children under 12 are now on sale.  Call the ReVision Theatre box office at 732-455-3059 or go on line at www.ReVisionTheatre.org for tickets and information.
                                                                                                                     
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 produces 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.  ReVision Theatre’s 2008-2009 Season includes the new hip hop musical, Kingdom (April 16-May 3), a one night only benefit performance of Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (July 11), and the blockbuster musical, The Full Monty (August 12-September 6).
Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for show calendars and more information.
Fast Facts:
Who:                ReVision Theatre
David E. Leidholdt, Thomas Morrissey, and Stephen Bishop Seely
Producing Artistic Directors
                        PO BOX 973, Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712
What:               Scrooge in Rouge, an English Music Hall Christmas Carol
                        East Coast Premiere
                        December 4th – 28th, 2008
                        Book & Lyrics by Ricky Graham
Additional Material by Jeffery Roberson
Other Interesting Bits by Yvette Hargis
Music by Jefferson Turner
Directed by Michael Barakiva
Choreographed by Mimi Quillin
Music Directed by Justin Stoney
Scenic Design by Kip Marsh
Lighting Design by Nick Francone
Sound Design by Benjamin Furiga
Costume Design by Abby Walton
Cast includes Lisa Marie Larson (Lottie), Katherine Pecevich (Vesta), &
Doug Shapiro (Charlie)
When:              December 4th – 28th
                        Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 8:00 pm
Sundays at 7:00 pm
(No show on Christmas Day)
Friday, December 26th at 8:00 pm
Saturday, December 27th at 3:00 pm & 8:00 pm
Sunday, December 28th at 3:00 pm
Where:             VFW Hall
701 Lake Avenue
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712
Entrance on Bond Street between Lake and Cookman Avenues
How:                Buy tickets online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org
                        Or call 732-455-3059. 
Adults $35.00 & $25.00
Children under 12 $17.50 & $12.50
Limited seating is available.

Friday, November 7, 2008

ReVision Theatre Announces 2008-2009 Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 
ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park Announces 
2008-2009 Premiere Season
4 MUSICALS --2 BRAND NEW AND 2 REVISIONED
A Christmas Family Musical Comedy, Scrooge in Rouge
Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl
 

Asbury Park, New Jersey – After a successful run of Hair at the Carousel House, ReVision Theatre announces their 2008-2009 Premiere Season.  
 
The 2008 – 2009 inaugural season begins with the east coast premiere of the family musical comedy, Scrooge in Rouge, an English Music Hall Christmas Carol (written by Ricky Graham, Jeffery Roberson, Yvette Hargis, and Jefferson Turner).  Set in a British Music Hall in the 1800s, three actors perform 23 characters in the musical version of the Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol.  A mixture of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Noises Off, this fast paced comedy will be performed at VFW Hall, 701 Lake Avenue, on December 4th through December 28th in Asbury Park.  The show will be directed by Michael Barakiva, choreographed by Mimi Quillin, and music directed by Justin Stoney.  The cast includes Linda Marie Larson (Broadway’s Jackie, Deuce, Morning’s at Seven), Katherin Pecevich (National Tour of Annie), and Doug Shapiro.
 
A controversial new musical, Kingdom, is scheduled for ReVision Theatre’s Spring slot.  The music is by Ian Williams and the book and lyrics are by Aaron Jaferis. This hip hop style musical is inspired by the true stories of current and former gang members of the Latin Kings.  The show chronicles the journey of two kids from the barrio in a quest to belong and the power struggle that tears the two friends apart.  The show will be performed April 16th through May 3rd at the VFW Hall, 701 Lake Avenue in Asbury Park.
 
The Second Annual ReVision Theatre Benefit Concert is set for Saturday, July 11, 2009.  This season, the one night only performance will star Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.  Steven Brinberg, the premiere Barbra Streisand impressionist, will star in the lead role of Fanny Brice.  This will be the first time in history that a man will play the female lead.  This special performance will be directed and choreographed by Connor Gallagher and music directed by John Fischer.
 
The Full Monty will be the finale to ReVision Theatre’s season with performances August 12th through September 6that the Carousel on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park.  The story of unemployed steel workers frustrated with life, women, and work decide that regardless of looks or ability they are going to be the best male strippers anyone has ever seen! In the process they find renewed self-esteem, the importance of friendship and the ability to have fun.
 
Single tickets and season subscriptions are available online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org or by phone 732-455-3059.
 
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 produces 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.  
 
Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for show calendars and more information.
 

Friday, October 31, 2008

November 4th by the writer of Kingdom



Hip hop poem about the election. Words by Aaron Jafferis. Music by KronZilla. Thanks to Angela, April, Daniene, Derrick, Dexter, Dontae, Doug, Gabe, Hillary, Jay, Jessie, Joel, Kesa, Laki, Layla, Liz, Magalis, Mike, Red.

---------------------------

Lyrics:

My father was African, my mother American.
I have brothers blue-black, and cousins with fairer skin
who pale in comparison to Sarah Palin.
Like blues, my family trees roots shoot
deep through the earth, but only in America
could my parents have given birth to me.
Conceived when cultures
collided and made love, previously divided states
(of mind) united and gave blood and life.
Husband and wife split the difference between
hope and change, between cope and pain,
and even though they split, all of it their hope and pain
still fit in their sons open brain
and over time became his/my over-arching aim:
give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,
give me liberty from war, lift, lift the underclasses,
and if this economy looks fundamentally strong,
your fundamentals are wrong
or youre looking through muddy glasses,
or your fundamental heads are stuck up your metaphorical...

Ask me who I am, and I will tell you true:
my name is not Barack, though this is his story too.
My name is hip hop. Its my history Im telling you:

My father was African, my mother American.
I have brothers blue-black, and cousins with fairer skin
who pale in comparison to Sarah Palin, who isnt
the only illustration of true-blooded Americanism.
Like blues, I am he whose family trees
roots shoot deep through the earth,
but only America could have given birth to me.
I was given the gift of speech, and I use it
to outreach and uplift the youth, and if you
wanna use me as a servant to you in order to form
a more perfect union, then do...organize

and do mobilize and open eyes to truth and show that lies
misled the poor and led to war and broken lives.
Do give the tools to cope and rise,
and as the movement grows in size
and breaks the ropes that hope defies,
and as the youth vote multiplies,
well break the race right open wide,
wide open eyes will vote
and take this nation by surprise. Surprise!

I am the native son, the bought and traded one,
the sometimes hated drum talking of change to come,
I am the underrated, the wonder-if-hell-make-it one,
the character-assassinated but still not jaded son,
even though over time I become the front-page-aided one,
the allegedly overrated, celebrity-associated one,
some people thought I blew up and went pop-
ular, grew up and then dropped the urban
working class who, from first to last, I have worked
to bring from last to first, and if you think my values
are in trouble...your (thought) bubble is burst.
I still cast my lot with the tired, the poor,
the huddled masses. Give me liberty from war,
lift, lift the underclasses, and if this economy
looks fundamentally strong, your fundamentals are wrong
or youre lookin through muddy glasses,
or your fundamental heads are stuck up your metaphorical...

As for us:
if hip hop is the entrance to what is in store
lit hot from the embers of what came before,
if Barack is the belief that God demands more
than a war in Iraq and abandoning the poor,
if America can stare itself in the face and be sure
we want to end poverty, and end endless war,
then we are the ones we have been waiting for.
You are the ones you have been waiting for.

Your name is...My name is...
Our name is...
Our name is America, our very existence, a miracle.
We survived insistent attempts to make our lives unbearable.
Dehumanize us, brutalize and downsize divide us,
still we rise through the work of the multitudes inside us.
Though generations have lived and died,
we pride ourselves on our youth
and keep our eyes on the prize of that self-evident truth
that we know is not a lie even though Americas broke:
Our birthright is equality. Our inheritance is hope.
Our name is America, and you better be ready,
cause on the 4th of November, we are going to vote.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

ReVISIONIST HISTORY IN THE MAKING

by Tom Chesek
Red Bank Orbit
Steven Brinberg brings his uncanny and un-campy Streisand characterization back to Asbury Park, when ReVision Theatre Company presents a special performance of FUNNY GIRL.

Red Bank has the Two River Theater Company and its gleaming, glass-facade showplace of a home stage. Long Branch boasts the New Jersey Repertory Company, which works some pretty potent magic in its converted downtown storefront while they preparing for an eventual move to new custom-made digs.

There’s a third professional stage company headquartered in this neck of Monmouth County, and if you haven’t quite processed the name ReVision Theatre Company, don’t sweat it. The based-in-Asbury Park troupe is still really getting itself established, having set up shop in Asbury’s historic VFW building with a busy slate of classes, workshops and readings.

And when we say it’s “based in Asbury,” we do mean that its members use the whole city as their canvas; inhabiting historic halls, rejuvenated business buildings and long-vacant boardwalk structures like a bunch of wondrous hermit crabs.

These are the guys, after all, who famously teamed with boardwalk developers Madison Marquette to convert the amazing Carousel building into a viable venue for live performance — something it had never managed to be in its long history — when they mounted their smash revival of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical last summer. And to think they almost considered moving to Paducah.

An actual season’s worth of entertainments was always on the drawing board for ReVision’s triad of Producing Artistic Directors (Thomas Morrissey, David Leidholdt and Stephen Bishop Seely; all veterans of Manhattan’s Genesius Theatre), and this past Saturday night, the partners and board president Bob Angelini convened a special season announcement party at Mattison Park Restaurant, itself a re-visioned bank building. Red Bank oRBit, as you probably figured, was on the scene, working the room and knocking back rootbeer martinis.

The cast of ReVision Theatre’s HAIR posed with the groundbreaking show’s co-creator James Rado, when he took in one of their sold-out performances last August.

Cast members of Hair were on hand, performing numbers from the 1967 show as well as from a couple of the new projects announced onstage by the producing partners. As Liedholdt, Morrissey and Seely revealed to the packed house, the ReVision company’s inaugural season begins in earnest on December 4, with the East Coast premiere of Scrooge in Rouge, a “British music hall Christmas Carol” that puts a manic spin on the well-roasted holiday chestnut.

In the comic piece conceived and adapted by book writer and lyricist Ricky Graham, a circa-1900 theatrical troupe is in the midst of preparations for their Christmas Carol show when seventeen of the twenty actors take ill — leaving three intrepid players to perform 23 Dickensian characters in what can only be described as a tour de farce. Presented at Asbury’s VFW Post 1333 on Lake Avenue and Bond Street, the show offers sixteen performances through December 28.

ReVision returns in 2009 with Kingdom, a “Hip Hop musical” study of two friends from the barrio whose need to belong — in this case, to the Nation of the Latin Kings — tears them apart. Featuring a score by Aaron Jafferis and Ian Williams, the show runs from April 16 to May 3 at the VFW building.

Last summer, the ReVision crew presented a one-shot fundraiser event at the historic Paramount Theatre; a revival of Hello Dolly! starring Carol Channing tribute artist Richard Skipper in the role made famous by Channing herself. “In the spirit of Dolly,” ReVision takes over the Paramount once again on July 11 for a benefit performance of the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical Funny Girl. Steven Brinberg, an actor-vocalist whose celebrated portrayal of Barbra Streisand has won him raves throughout the cabaret circuit (including Tim McLoone’s Supper Club) channels Babs as Fanny Brice in the show that made her a star.

Still coming together as we post this, ReVision’s summer-show production of The Full Monty comes to a location that’s yet to be determined, on the confirmed dates of August 12 through September 6. Acclaimed playwright Terrence McNally wrote the book to David Yazbek’s musicalization of the hit British film, in which a group of unemployed steelworkers find a new sense of purpose as male strippers. Doing this show in the round at the Carousel would make it the Full Monty and then some.

Info on single-ticket prices and subscription plans can be found right here. Watch Red Bank oRBit for updates; and we’ll let David Leidholdt have the last word.

“We have three specific challenges,” says the veteran director. “To find pieces that represent us, to develop shows that are able to be produced anywhere — and to get people off the beach and into the theatre!”

Friday, August 22, 2008

Newsflash: Hippies Spotted In Asbury Park "Hair" on the Boardwalk

By Philip Dorian
Two River Times
August 22nd 2008

On opening night of Hair at the Carousel on the Asbury Park boardwalk, heavy rain (precipitation) fell during the song about snow (not precipitation). Dripping through the roof in several spots, including onto the stage, the rain did not dampen the spirits of the show's anti-Vietnam War protesters or of their adoring capacity audience. The particular scene is a hippie be-in, and the downpour brought us all, audience and cast, together for a precious two hours.
That's what Hair was supposed to do, before we traded tie-dye for navy blue and activism for going-along-to-get-along. Two years ago I wrote that Hair, 40 years after emerging as the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, had become passe and that its relevance might be mainly historical. Dated Hair is, but despite some valid criticisms, ReVision's quality re-vision makes for a valid time-study. Director Andy Goldberg imbued his energetic cast with respect for the era as well as the material.
Don't go to Hair looking for a plot or even a linear story. It's New York City, 1968. Claude (Casey Gensler), drafted to serve in Vietnam, vows to burn his draft card and refuse induction. In the end he does go, with predictable consequences.
Claude's tribe includes his sex-and-drugs-obsessed friend Berger (Scoop Slone); his girlfriend Sheila (Ephie Aardema); Jeanie (Julia Arazi), who's pregnant by Claude; Hud (Kyle Taylor Parker), a tough "colored" guy; sweet, vulnerable Crissy (Marah Meese); and diverse hippies.
Claude is ambivalent about serving, while Berger is in the 'hell no, I won't go' camp. Gensler and Slone, contrasting types, match up well. Their friendship rings true.
Musically, The Tribe rediscovers "Aquarius," Good Morning Starshine" and "Let the Sunshine In" with enthusiasm and "Frank Mills" gets the proper wistful treatment from Meese. Ms. Aardema, an accomplished singer, is a potent presence throughout, and Arazi makes of pregnant Jeanie the waif you want to protect. Britt Johnson's cameo as a curious tourist is a comic highlight.
Hair ushered in the era of amplification, and there is a tendency for companies to treat their theater spaces like 15,000-seat concert venues. ReVision is no exception. The band, offstage at the rear, provides excellent backing, but a sizeable portion of the lyrics is lost in vocal volume and over-amplification, a significant flaw, considering the absence of a coherent book. While a choreographer is listed, the dancing is free-form and more Stone Pony-ish than stageworthy.
On the big-plus side: Most of act two is Claude's war-themed hallucination. Vietnam is represented of course, as are the American Revolution, the Civil War, both World Wars and '60s Civil Rights issues. The extended scene can be as fuzzy as Claude's drug-addled brain, but here it's clear as a bell and ethereal all at once. Director Goldberg uses the Carousel's many aisles and levels, and costumer Steven Epstein's creations blend accuracy with a sense of humor. The second act works better here than anywhere else I've seen it.
The fortitude that turned the recently-decrepit carousel building into a viable theater venue is praiseworthy in itself. What a pleasure to see Asbury Park's Boardwalk, virtually deserted for decades, bustling again with shops, strolling couples, laughing teenagers and, would you believe, even theatergoers.
"Hair" runs through August 31 at The Carousel, south end of the Boardwalk in Asbury Park. Performances are Thurs-Fri at 8pm; Sat at 7 and 10:30; and Sun at 7pm. For tickets ($35): 732-455-3059 or online at www.revisiontheatre.org
About Hair's fleeting nude scene: Here it's semi. A few of the 17 hippies are starkers and a few topless, but the once-shocking display is redundant now anyway - silly even. Of far more importance, the audience is not invited on stage to dance with the cast after the curtain call. C'mon, ReVision; get with the program.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Hair' grabs gold ring


Scoop Slone, Casey Gensler and Ephie Aardema are co-stars in ReVision Theatre Company's production of "Hair," being staged at the carousel house in Asbury Park.
(Dennis Carroll)

August 19, 2008

by TOM CHESEK, Asbury Park Press

What a piece of work is "Hair: the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" that caught Broadway with its pants down more than 40 years ago.

Welded to its Summer of Love origins, devoid of all but the barest-bones plot points, populated by the sketchiest of characters, the 1967 show created by James Rado and Gerome Ragni might have been little more than a vanity project for its writer-stars if it weren't for one crucial distinction — those songs.

Working with composer Galt MacDermot, the authors crafted a set of generational anthems, emotional ballads and satiric sing-alongs that stand very well on their own, even as they shoulder the entire weight of moving the show along. All this, without owing a thing to the conventions of Tin Pan Alley's Golden Age.

Along the way to revolutionizing the whole musical template as practiced in postwar America, "Hair" managed to shed a number of Broadway bugaboos — against sex and drug references, interracial romancing and liberal dropping of the f-bomb, to name but a few. Most of all, it's famous for the shedding of clothing, which the cast does during the "Be-In" sequence that forms the climax to the first act.

ReVision Theatre Company, the new professional troupe based in Asbury Park, has selected this unorthodox show as its first extended-engagement production — and they've opted to do it in an unorthodox venue, the Carousel building that adjoins the old Casino at the south end of the boardwalk.

Unless you're a recovering 1990s skate punk, you probably haven't been inside that historic roundhouse for many years; not since the hand-painted ponies of the old wooden ride stampeded out of state. Boardwalk developer Madison Marquette has done a tremendous job getting the unique structure up to speed as a live performance venue, a purpose it was never designed for.

Director Andy Goldberg (whose 1970s-retro tribute to the Aussie pop group Boney M was a smash on European stages) and the ReVision team have also worked hard in orienting this show to its unusual space, keeping the cast of 17 actors mostly above the audience on a central riser, side platforms and scaffolds.

As Claude, the conflicted "Tribe" member whose drafting into the Vietnam-era army forms the crux of the drama here, Casey Gensler shares the spotlight with Scoop Slone, who displays some solid rock-star cred as the Puckish, self-centered Tribesman Berger. If anything, however, "Hair" is an unusually democratic show in which pretty much everyone gets their turn to shine — with stand-out moments delivered by Kyle Taylor Parker ("Colored Spade"), Julia Arazi ("Air"), Mike Russo ("Don't Put It Down") and Ephie Aardema ("Easy To Be Hard").

Special kudos should go out to lighting designer George Hansel, who's met the considerable challenges of rigging and illuminating this oddball space with an effort that pays off in full during the extended "trip" and hallucination sequences of the second act.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Celebrating diversity with 'Hair'

Asbury Park troupe stages alternate production to one in Central Park

Monday, August 18, 2008
BY PETER FILICHIA

To paraphrase a famous Cole Porter lyric, is it Granada he sees, or only Asbury Park?

Both, in fact. Thomas Morrissey feels that ReVision Theatre, the new troupe he's co-founded, is in the right place and time to benefit from Asbury Park's continued renaissance.

"And because we're in such a diverse community," he says, "we decided to put on the most diverse show we could: 'Hair.'"

The famous 1968 rock musical had already been announced for a summer engagement in New York City's Central Park before Morrissey and his partners, David E. Leidholdt and Stephen Bishop Seely, chose it.

In Asbury Park, the musical is being staged in the Carousel on the Boardwalk by Andy Goldberg, who had an off-Broadway hit with "The Bomb-ity of Errors." Scoop Slone, the lead singer of the rock band Maslow, stars.

The 54-year-old Morrissey and his co-artistic directors are expecting a great many Baby Boomers.

"We'd like it if people from Deal and Spring Lake would drop by, too," he says. "They embraced 'Hair' when they were young, for this was the generation that broke the rules and helped change the perception of the Vietnam War.

"But," he says, "these kids believed they had the answers, and we now know they weren't always right. Sex and drugs don't cure things. So 'Hair' offers the good and bad of the era."

It was quite a different musical that got Morrissey interested in theater.

"'My Fair Lady,'" he says. "My parents and I came to New York from Davenport, Iowa, when I was about 5. Pretty soon into it, I whispered to my parents, 'I want to do that when I grow up."

"That," however, didn't necessarily mean performing, though Morrissey did plenty of that in community theaters and children's stages in Iowa.

"When I did summer stock," he says, "I became more aware of what it takes to put on a show. So I watched the people who did lights and sound. I went to the box office and learned the system of ticket-selling. I checked out how the press agents wrote their press releases. It wasn't just about performing for me."

In the '80s, Morrissey worked as a house manager for two Greenwich Village theaters and became a member of the illustrious Circle Repertory Company.

"It got too entrenched in doing one specific kind of play," Morrissey says, "and then it seemed to be repeating itself. And that's why they closed down."

Morrissey responded in 1995, a year before Circle folded, by starting a company called the Genesius Guild, named for the patron saint of actors. It centered on developing new work. ReVision, though, will do new and old works, hoping to mount three next year in a space that will become a 300-seat theater.

A redevelopment company named Madison Marquette has greatly helped. "They rehabilitated the Paramount Theatre in town, and they gave it to us for a recent benefit. That went so well, they gave us some money to do 'Hair,' too."

So sure is Morrissey that ReVision will succeed that he's bought a home in Asbury Park, though he's keeping his Manhattan digs as well.

Only one question left, and Morrissey knows it's coming before it's asked. "Yes, of course, we'll do the famous nude scene."

Peter Filichia may be reached at pfilichia@starledger.com or (973) 392-5995.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Woof's Super Fruity Party Punch





posted by Karl Wilder
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Fusion on the Fly Blog
http://chefprivato.blogspot.com/2008/08/woofs-super-fruity-party-punch.html



For those of you who thought that the Public Theatre's production of Hair was too clean, that it lacked grit, soul, energy, love, sweat, tears and anger; run, or take a train to Asbury Park, New Jersey and see this definitive production of the Love Rock Musical Hair. Staged by the Revision Theatre .

I was in a cast many years ago and have seen this show in several incarnations and have never been left with such a powerful punch as this version provides. If for any reason the director and choreographer of the Public version do not go to Broadway the producers need look no further than Andy Goldberg (director) and Elisabetta Spuria (choreographer) to find the talent needed to have audiences on their feet, not because they have been invited to join a Mama Mia type dance party, but because they have been touched deeply.

From the moment the lights come up and Aquarius begins as the souls of our pasts are given a summons from a Royal medium the chills begin. All around us the ghosts appear and as they grow stronger in voice they become real and it isn't a nostalgic look back, we are there. It's 1968 and we are at war, young men are needlessly dying in a war we know is wrong.

The voices are powerful and strong as the past comes to life as real and vital as anything we have experienced.

Many versions of hair make Berger the 'star'. Here we see him on his own methadrine trip, one of those selfish types who talk a good game and will someday be a Republican excusing his life with a yearly cheque to some charity.

As we become fully a part of the tribe, the tribe moves above us, around us, in front of us immersing us in their world.

When Claude sings 'Where do I go?" and the cast turns to him in the final chorus we are a part of them beseeching him to join them in being free, not to give his life for some idiotic thought of patriotism. We as the audience know no matter what the sacrifice, nothing changes.

As the show draws to a close we want them to stay, celebrate their youth just a little longer, be a part of something important, sing and dance for as long as you can. Don't become us.

It can't happen.

We know who they are, and we know who they will become. A population that has allowed the president and the congress to run roughshod over our constitution. We, who are complacent sheep going along with anything to be perpetuate the illusion that we are 'safe'. We who as the lights go on and souls of who we used to be depart sit stunned with tears in our eyes for what we have allowed ourselves and our country to be.

Theatre this evocative should run much longer than 3 weeks. The City of Asbury needs to give this amazing company an extension on the Carousal building and when it finally closes spend their resources turning the space into a Theatre, not some wasteful shopping court. If equity is an issue, guys bend your rules, you do it all the time to screw actors. Bend them again to give them a chance to be seen.

I'll make the trip to New Jersey again for this, but not to buy a pair of sunglasses.

Go to the website, read the names, remember these performers. Keep your eyes on them as they continue to work and hopefully fulfill the promises so many of us have failed.

So how do we go from here to a punch recipe? Hey, I'm a food writer, it may not always be a smooth transition but what is?

The one thing I remember about the 60's was punch, fruit juice (always eventually spiked) was served in big Christal or glass bowls. As hard as this cast works an Angel Hair pasta recipe just wouldn't cut it. They need something to rehydrate as they skinny dip til the sun comes up.

2 cups sugar
1 huge ginger root cut up
2 cups water

Warm the water on the stove and simmer the ginger root in the water for 30 minutes then stir in the sugar to make a syrup.

1 cup lemon juice
1 cup lime juice
1 cup unsweetened Cranberry juice
1 cup Cherry juice (tart if you can get it)
1 cup Pineapple juice
7 cups water

Once the syrup is made, stir in all the fruit juices and chill. Serve like a lemonade over ice and if the party calls for it spike it with some booze. Vodka, rum, or tequila blend best with fruit juices, but hippies can't be choosers so use what you've got.

Best served at final cast parties to celebrate a job well done. For this cast I would man the Barbecue at no fee, and I'm expensive.

Ephie Aardema, Julia Arazi, Casey Gensler, Kyle Taylor Parker, Marah Meese, Mike Russo, Scoop Slone, Keith Antone, Steven Charles, Joay Caldwell, Spiro Gallatsatos, Martin Gould Cummings, Deidra Grace, Iliana Inocencio, Britt Johnson, Hannah Shankman, Anita Welch

The Band
Brian Green, All Coffey, John Gronert, John Manga, Jim Mcilvain, Steve Pleasnarki, John Luckenbil
Band Conductor: Andrew Hertz
Set Design: Russell Michael Scramm
Lighting: George Hansel
Costumes: Steven Epstein
Sound: Simon Ghezzi
Assistant Director: Heather Foard
Associate Set Design: Dawn Von suskill
Production Stage Manager: Julie Meyer
Assistant Stage Manager: Ann Marie Chiatia
Music Direction: Andres Hertz
Choreography: Elisabetta Spuria
Director: Andy Goldberg

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“Hair” in Asbury’s Carousel House

NJMonthly
NJ My Way
August 11, 2008 04:47 AM ET Permanent Link

It’s two revivals in one.“Hair,” the rock musical that revolutionized Broadway 40 years ago, is opening Friday as the first event held inside Asbury Park’s newly refurbished Carousel House, the boardwalk landmark that for decades sat empty and falling apart like much of this Shore town.
The show is being produced by ReVision Theater, which was founded in Asbury Park in November by members of the Genesius Theatre Group in New York. Stephen Bishop, one of the founders of ReVision, says he left New York for the Jersey Shore because the renaissance going on in Asbury provides good opportunities for the arts.
He also thinks it’s good for his production that another “Hair” revival recently opened at the Public Theater in New York. “Several people from that “Hair” helped us,” he says. “And lots of people don’t want to drive to New York, so they can come here to see us.”The play explores the hippie counterculture of the 1960s; it scandalized the nation with scenes that included profanity, drug use and sexuality in ways never before seen on the American musical stage. Still, songs such as “Aquarius,” the title song “Hair,” “Easy To Be Hard” “Good Morning Starshine,” and “Let The Sunshine In” became hits.
Bishop hopes staging the play at the Carousel House will be a hit too. “We were looking for alternative spaces, storefronts, garages, parks,” he says. “We had worked with [Asbury’s oceanfront developer] Madison Marquette and they were working on the Carousel House. We drove over and said: This will work, it’s a fantastic venue.”
The Carousel House was built in the late 1920s as part of the Casino entertainment complex on the south end of Asbury Park’s Boardwalk. During Asbury’s glory days as a resort, the building housed amusement rides including a large carousel. As the rides were dismantled through the 1980s the building fell into disrepair.
Madison Marquette has restored the copper roof and green cupola with elaborate trim, and reinstalled ornate glasswork windows. The show will be staged as theater-in-the-round. “It’s perfect for ‘Hair,” a show about hippies who come in and take over a space,” says Bishop. The show runs until August 31. Check here for times and tickets.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Former Carousel House Now a Home for ‘Hair’ - New York Times

By GWEN OREL
Published: August 9, 2008




ASBURY PARK - THE Carousel House has been empty for years, but from Aug. 15 to 31, it will be filled with the sounds and sights of the Age of Aquarius. The recently restored building is the setting for “Hair,” the first fully staged production by the nonprofit ReVision Theater here.



ReVision’s founders, Tom Morrissey, David E. Leidholdt and Stephen Bishop Seely, came to know one another through the Genesius Theater Guild, based in Manhattan and started in 1995 by Mr. Morrissey, 52. ReVision became the new incarnation of Genesius this year. The three men, who share a house as well as the title of producing artistic director, moved to Asbury Park this spring.
They wanted to start a regional theater that could incubate work for Broadway, like the Barrington Stage Company in Massachusetts, where Mr. Leidholdt, 43, had worked as an associate producer. “We opened atlases, picking out cities,” said Mr. Seely, 35.



They sought a town that was developing, diverse and gay-friendly. Mr. Morrissey added: “All the other towns we looked at didn’t need us. We want to make an impact.”



The performance of “Hair” will be in the round; seats will be on risers and on floor cushions, with the cast performing on a platform and on three scaffolding towers. The director is Andy Goldberg, of “Bomb-itty of Errors,” the hip-hop Shakespearean play.



Built as part of the Casino entertainment complex on the Boardwalk, the Carousel House, which dates to 1929, had a carousel in place from about 1932 to 1990, according to Helen Chantal Pike, a historian and author of “Asbury Park’s Glory Days” (Rutgers University Press, 2005). Later occupants included a skateboard park and flea market.



According to Courtney Johnson, marketing director for the real estate company Madison Marquette, one of the owners of the Carousel House, it has been given a new roof and cupola, replacement glass and iron gates. Other performances and art exhibits will take place there in the future, she said.



ReVision’s plans include smaller shows during the year, a holiday show and summer musicals in a variety of places, with both new works and reimagined classics expected.



ReVision has a group, ReScript, that reads submitted plays and is run by Lou Liberatore, another Asbury Park resident. Mr. Liberatore also runs the Jersey Shore Writer’s Studio and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1988 for his featured role in Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This.”
ReVision’s three producers have other jobs: Mr. Leidholdt teaches at a summer theater camp in Manasquan and will be a producer for American Family Theater in Philadelphia in the fall. Mr. Morrissey teaches musical theater at Wagner College in Staten Island and at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. Mr. Seely tends bar in Asbury Park.



At a pool party fund-raiser for ReVision, George Hansel, the lighting designer for “Hair,” said he was happy to see the group in the city. A resident for 25 years — “I’m a townie,” he said — he runs a local performing arts company called the Black Box Theater. Noting that a lot of “carpetbagger” types have come through Asbury Park, he said, “ReVision fills a niche of quality.”
Besides, he added: “They pay everybody, which is rare.”



“Hair” runs from Aug. 15 to 31 at the Carousel House on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, 700 Ocean Avenue at Asbury Avenue. Information: (732) 455-3059 or http://www.revisiontheatre.org/.








LET THE SUN SHINE IN Cast members of “Hair,” from left: Martin Gould Cummings, Julia Arazi, Mike Russo, Marah Meese and Spiro Galiatsatos. (David Hunsinger for The New York Times)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hair Cast

Mike Russo, Brit Johnson, Martin Gould Cummings, Hannah Shankman, Scoop Slone, Ephie Aardema, Kyle Taylor Parker, Anita Welch, Joy Caldwell, Keith Antone, Spiro Galiatsatos, Iliana Inocencio, Deidre Grace, Marah Meese, Casey Gensler, and Steven Charles (not pictured Julia Arazi)

A NEW HEAD OF ‘HAIR’ AT AP’s CAROUSEL









Having a Be-In: James “JT” Thom of Madison Marquette and David Leidholdt of ReVision Theatre survey the work-in-progress that is Asbury Park’s Carousel building, where a revival of the “tribal love-rock musical” HAIR promises to jumpstart a new era for the venerable boardwalk landmark. (Photos by Diana Moore)





Asbury Park - Once there was a carousel upon this very space, with painted horses carved of wood in a wondrous steeplechase. When we were young, we’d ride each day and reach for rings of brass…





Nah, strike that opening — too maudlin. Besides, we’ve all heard enough of those sentimental recollections of Asbury Park’s storied Carousel building. The reason we’re here right now, peering through padlocked gates at the gutted expanse adjoining the grand ruin of the Casino, is all about the future. A future that says this long-quiet place will rock within just a matter of days, as the ornate roundhouse at the south end of the boards plays host to a major revival of the musical Hair.





It’s the latest bit of buzz on the boardwalk in what’s turned out to be a milestone summer for developer Madison Marquette, which doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo regarding that recession thing. It also represents a triumph for the city-based ReVision Theatre Company, the fledgling enterprise that’s marking its first extended engagement with this production. The two entities joined forces for this novel staging of the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” (book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni; music by Galt MacDermot) after working together on the troupe’s benefit production of Hello, Dolly! at the Paramount, a show that starred Carol Channing tribute artist Richard Skipper.





When Red Bank oRBit heard that the guys at ReVision were tackling the famous counter-culture touchstone of the 1960s sexual revolution — in the semi-round, in the buff, and in a long-neglected building that had last done duty as an indoor skate park and punk rock hall — we just had to investigate.





We got ourselves an exclusive look at this work in progress, when we met up with James “JT” Thom of Madison Marquette — the man with the official golf cart and those all-important keys — and ReVision Producing Artistic Director David Leidholdt, for a discussion of what it’s taken to get this faded treasure of the Shore into shape for something that, frankly, it was never really designed to do.









Let the Sun Shine In: The interior of Asbury Park’s Carousel has been gutted, cleaned up and fitted with new equipment in preparation for the musical HAIR, opening August 15.




It was Asbury’s own George Hansel, a veteran arts advocate and lighting designer who will be supervising that aspect of the production, who tipped us off to the story possibilities here. As George told it, there were peculiar challenges in staging a show within an oddly shaped structure with no lighting grid, no sound system, no seats, no backstage, no climate control, and a location across the street from the busy bass-beats of the Paradise nightclub.




“Plus, the place has been an aviary for the past ten years,” said Hansel in reference to the cooing pigeons that have made it their luxury seaside condo. “There must have been eight inches of birdshit on the floor.”




The concrete-floored roundhouse of ornate glasswork and patina’d copper accents was subject to a massive cleanup, in anticipation of hosting a Big Art Party in early June. While the permits didn’t come through in time for that event, the necessary paperwork has been put in order for Hair. A new metal roof radiates from the domed skylight; the eerie wailing siren faces continue to register their displeasure, and someone has even taken the trouble of replacing the light bulbs that adorn the cherry-on-top dome.





“This came together quicker than any sane person would have attempted,” says Leidholdt, a veteran freelance director and co-founder of ReVision with fellow AP’ers Thomas Morrissey and Stephen Bishop Seely.





“It’s organized chaos,” explains JT, looking skyward as a feathered resident casually goes about his business. “And we still haven’t solved our bird issues.”



Playing the Ponies: The actual Casino Carousel is long gone, but Madison Marquette and ReVision Theatre are wagering that one of the Shore’s most distinctive buildings will perform like a winner.




Bird issues notwithstanding, JT and his crews have been able to plan for temporary seating of up to 150 patrons. Trusses will be installed for tech equipment, and a generator will be brought in to augment the old building’s plug-in power sources. The cooling ocean breezes are expected to provide a natural a/c, and a series of black curtains will be hung over the windows — addressing the question of how to charge admission for a show that could conceivably be viewed by passersby through the glass that wraps around most of its perimeter.


Anybody who steals a glance should be getting an eyeful, too. Famous for its taboo-busting take on profanity, free love, dope, patriotism and, especially, its full-on nude frolicking, Hair really set tongues to clucking during its smash 1968 Broadway run and even longer-running London engagement. This is to say nothing of its (gasp) racially integrated cast, its groundbreaking interaction with audience members, and its vanguard status as the grandaddy of all rock musicals. In between all the controversy, its mega-hit soundtrack album yielded such sweet anthems as “Age of Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine” and “Good Morning, Starshine,” a staple on Sesame Street in its early days.


Suffice to say that the pikachu’s, paneenee’s and papayas will be on display — as could conceivably also be the skin-tags, witchy hairs and corn-chip toes — when this love-in gets going. Fortunately, director Andy Goldberg (The Bomb-itty of Errors, Nerds, and West End’s Boney M tribute showDaddy Cool) and the ReVision team have cast what Liedholdt calls a “young, dynamite, age-appropriate” collection of players — highlighted by Scoop Slone, frontman of the NYC band Maslow, as the passionate “Tribe” member Berger.

Berger King: Rock singer Scoop Slone takes the spotlight as the Tribal free-spirit in HAIR. (Photo by Lex Kolychev)


Other major cast members include Casey Gensler (Claude), Ephie Aardema (Sheila), Julia Arazi (Jeanie), Mike Russo (Woof), Marah Meese (Crissy), and Kyle Taylor Parker (Hud). The Tribe is completed by Keith Antone, Joy Caldwell, Steven Charles, Martin Gould Cummings, Spiro Galiatsatos (who starred in tick…tick…BOOM at Brookdale College last winter), Deidra Grace, Iliana Inocencio, Britt Johnson, Hannah Shankman and Anita Welch. Choreography is by Elisabetta Spuria and Andy Hertz directs the live band.

Housing, moving and otherwise wrangling 17 actors (as well as an assistant director and a handful of technicians) for the three-week duration of the show is just one of the challenges facing Liedholdt and company. Primary dressing room facilities have been established at the nearby Wesley Grove condominium complex, and a tent set up in the Carousel parking lot will serve as a “backstage” area. All in a day’s work for a “homeless” organization that maintains temporary headquarters at Asbury Park’s VFW building on Lake Avenue, where they’ve conducted workshops, classes and auditions.

Leidholdt, who as one of the show’s producers faces a challenge “to get people off the beach and into the theatre,” offers that this unorthodox midsummer night’s dream of a musical is just the sort of thing to experience “in a bathing suit or a tank top.”

“It’s a risky thing, doing a show here,” he admits, adding that “for our purposes it’s a more manageable size than the Paramount, and this could be the first of a number of ReVision events in the space.”

In the meantime? “Maybe we’ll do a bit of island-hopping around town until we find a permanent home!”

Hair opens August 15 and continues through August 31, with performances on Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 7pm and 10:30 pm, and Sundays at 7pm. Tickets ($35) can be had right here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hair is Here!

ReVision Theatre takes off - and takes it all off - in Asbury

By Steven Froias

TriCity News
August 7, 2008


ASBURY PARK - We can't think of a better way to add an exclamation point to a comeback summer on the Asbury boardwalk than an event musical staged in the newly restored Carousel building.We can only picture it in our mind's eye, however. But ReVision Theatre of Asbury Park can see it through from concept to execution. And that's exactly what's happening right now as they gear up to present their next production, a staging of HAIR in the Carousel opening Friday, August 15 and running through Sunday, August 31. It's certain to add a dash of bold creativity to the scene with it's uncompromising artistic commitment to the original intent of the show - which contains strong language and full nudity - and what's certain to be ReVision's own unique take on this timeless, but timely, piece of theatre. We're not surprised that ReVision isn't afraid to cross new cultural terrain in the triCities. We interviewed the directors back in May and were impressed with their street cred.The guiding lights of the company are Stephen Bishop Seely, David E. Leidholdt, and Thomas Morrissey. The trio first came together in New York at ReVision's precursor, Genesius Guild years ago. After many successful seasons in the Big Apple, they found themselves swimming in critical acclaim but suffocated by New York's tight space and notoriously high operating costs. So they began to search for a new home in which to base their evolving group, which they began to envision as a regional theatre company which would provide opportunities for actors, directors and the like, as well as develop new material for Broadway or Off-Broadway bound productions.They chose Asbury Park and the triCity region - simply fell in love with the possibilities this area afforded them. As we wrote back in May, it's a win-win situation; for Asbury, and the triCity region, it's an opportunity to claim ownership of an organization that could bring national cultural attention to the area.Before planning the coming week's production of HAIR in the Carousel, they set up shop in our funky, little city by establishing an office in the VFW building on Lake Avenue, held acting classes and readings, and laid the groundwork for realizing their potential by staging a few special performances."DayDreaming: Channeling Doris Day" held June 1st at Mattison Park was one. The enthusiasm generated that day helped propel them to their next event - in the most expansive sense of the word. That was a one-night only musical concert of Richard Skipper as Carol Channing in "Hello, Dolly" at the Paramount Theatre on June 14th. It was, both in our view and in the opinions we heard by many in the audience that evening, the night magic returned to that venerable stage. Now, ReVision Theatre is poised to work their spell on another historic Asbury venue. As with everything they've done and everything we hope they'll do, it's an informed and inspired choice - just like the selection of HAIR itself as their next production.Stephen Bishop Seely tells us that he and the other directors of ReVision literally hopped in a car with representatives from Madison Marquette and went on a tour of available performance spaces on and around the boardwalk. But it was a short trip; the marriage of tribal rock musical and the siren call of the somewhat gritty, raw space of the Carousel was a pitch perfect match. Stephen calls the opportunity to stage HAIR there "environmental staging."He says they settled on HAIR as their next project, after initially planning to select and stage an original work, because he and the other directors felt the excitement generated by Asbury Park, particularly the boardwalk, demanded an 'event' show.HAIR is certainly that event - for the times, generally, and for Asbury Park now specifically.Born 41 years ago in another - at the time - somewhat scrappy space, Joe Papp's Public Theater in lower Manhattan, HAIR burst onto the theatrical scene a year later on Broadway pulsing with freshness and vitality. Though the summer of love is 40 years gone, many of the same issues - war, racism, sexism and sexuality - are churning beneath the surface of our society today. "HAIR is more relevant today than in any other time during the past 30 years," Stephen says.ReVision solicited resumes for the directing chores from all over the country and settled on Andy Goldberg, an up and coming theatrical talent who has already made a mark in Berlin, Germany with Boney M., a tribute show to the Australian answer to ABBA, Daddy Cool. Andy tells triCity that he concurs with Seely. "HAIR isn't a museum piece," he says. "The present day will creep into this production, more by implication than by beating people over the head." He leapt at the chance to help re-invent the musical, which coincidently is also being revived in New York this week. It's a testament to the tenacity of the ReVision team that they were able to secure the rights for this production, a mere 60 miles away. It's that determination to push the envelope that Asbury should embrace. Just as it should the more controversial elements of HAIR, including its full frontal nudity. With the success of Asbury's boardwalk this summer comes danger - the danger of creeping conformity. We've always hoped this city would never fall into that abyss. And ReVision Theatre - as all good artistic endeavors should - is helping to prevent that from happening. It's a challenge Asbury should accept gratefully."The cast is excited to take their clothes off!" Stephen told us. Which probably isn't surprising since Andy told us that while they've been rehearsing up in New York City, they're steeping themselves in the time period of the 60s. That's when the raw energy of the young was channeled into a cultural war of their own choosing and making in an effort to effect.change.How much - and how little - has changed from 1968 to 2008 in the country, and in Asbury Park.Hats -and everything else - off to the exuberance of youth. And ReVision Theatre. HAIR will run August 15 through August 31; Thursdays & Fridays at 8:00 pm; Saturdays at 7:00 pm & 10:30 pm; and Sundays at 7:00 pm. At the Carousel on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park. All Tickets $35, General Admission. Buy tickets online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cast Announced for ReVision Theatre’s Production of HAIR

July 30, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cast Announced for ReVision Theatre’s Production of
HAIR
The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
At the CAROUSEL on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park
Andy Goldberg (The Bomb-itty of Errors) Directs
Scoop Slone (Lead singer of rock band Maslow) stars

Asbury Park, New Jersey -- Scoop Slone, the lead singer of the rock band Maslow, will perform the role of Berger in ReVision Theatre’s upcoming production of Hair, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical at the Carousel on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey. The show will run August 15th to the 31st (Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 7 pm & 10:30 pm, and Sundays at 7pm) with additional late night performances on Saturday evenings at 10:30 pm.
Directed by Andy Goldberg (The Bomb-itty of Errors, Nerds, and West End’s Daddy Cool), the performance features choreography by Elisabetta Spuria and musical direction by Andy Hertz.
The cast includes Casey Gensler (Claude), Ephie Aardema (Sheila), Julia Arazi (Jeanie), Mike Russo (Woof), Marah Meese (Crissy), and Kyle Taylor Parker (Hud). The production also features tribe members Keith Antone, Joy Caldwell, Steven Charles, Martin Gould Cummings, Spiro Galiatsatos, Deidra Grace, Iliana Inocencio, Britt Johnson, Hannah Shankman, and Anita Welch.
The design team comprises Russel Schramm (set designer), Dawn von Suskil (associate set designer), George Hansel (lighting designer), Simon Ghezzi (sound designer), and Steven Epstein (costume designer).
The newly restored historic Carousel on the Boardwalk is located at 700 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Tickets, priced $35, are available by visiting www.ReVisionTheatre.org or by calling (732) 455-3059. The show will contain nudity and strong language.
Hair, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement which include: “Aquarius,” the title song “Hair,” “Easy To Be Hard,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and “Let The Sunshine In”. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.
Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. They struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society.
After an Off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and another run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances, followed by a successful London production, which ran for 1,997 performances. Numerous productions have been staged around the world since then, and numerous recordings of the musical have been released. Several of the songs from its score became Top 40 hits, and a successful movie adaptation was released in 1979.
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 produces 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.

Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for tickets or for more information.

CONTACT: Stephen Bishop Seely
Stephen@ReVisionTheatre.org
732-455-3059
Fast Facts:

Who: ReVision Theatre
David E. Leidholdt, Thomas Morrissey, and Stephen Bishop Seely
Producing Artistic Directors
PO BOX 973, Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712

What: HAIR, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Book and Lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni
Music by Galt MacDermot.
Directed by Andy Goldberg
Choreographed by Elisabetta Spuria
Scenic Design by Russel Schramm
Associate Scenic Design by Dawn von Suskil
Lighting Design by George Hansel
Sound Design by Simon Ghezzi
Cast includes Scoop Slone (Berger), Casey Gensler (Claude), Ephie Aardema (Sheila),
Julia Arazi (Jeanie), Mike Russo (Woof), Marah Meese (Crissy), Kyle Taylor Parker (Hud).
Keith Antone, Joy Caldwell, Steven Charles, Martin Gould Cummings, Spiro Galiatsatos,
Deidra Grace, Iliana Inocencio, Britt Johnson, Hannah Shankman, and Anita Welch.

Where: The Carousel on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, New Jersey
700 Ocean Avenue at Asbury Avenue
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712

When: Opens Friday, August 15 thru Sunday, August 31
Performances Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm
Saturdays at 7 & 10:30pm
Sundays at 7pm

How: All tickets are $35.
Buy tickets online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org
Or call 732-455-3059.
Limited seating is available.

Contains Nudity & Strong Language

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PRESS RELEASE HAIR opens August 15th at the Carousel on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ

July 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tickets on Sale Now!
HAIR
The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
At the CAROUSEL on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park
Andy Goldberg (The Bomb-itty of Errors) Directs

Asbury Park, NJ – The newly restored historic Carousel House on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park comes alive again with the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, HAIR. David Leidholdt, one of the producing artistic directors reminds us “The ReVision Theatre is known for its ‘not-what you-expect’ productions and our HAIR will do the same. While at the same time it promises to retain all the vibrancy, excitement, and immediacy that made the original Broadway production a hit. This will be the first time that the Carousel Building will be utilized since its restoration and we will use its unique characteristics to the fullest. Our plans include creating a very unconventional performance space that will envelop the audience.” The cast will include professionals from both New York and the local area. “This will be an event not to be missed,” adds Mr. Leidholdt.

Tickets on sale now! Performances begin Friday, August 15 and runs through August 31 (Thursdays (8:00 pm), Fridays (8:00 pm), 2 show Saturdays (7:00 pm & 10:30 pm), and Sunday (7:00 pm)). Tickets are available online now at www.ReVisionTheatre.org or by calling 732-455-3059. All tickets are $35.00. Seating is limited.

Hair, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement which include: “Aquarius,” the title song “Hair,” “Easy To Be Hard,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and “Let The Sunshine In”. The musical's profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of the "rock musical", utilizing a racially-integrated cast and inviting the audience onstage for a "Be-in" finale.

Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. They struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society.

After an Off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp's Public Theater and another run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances, followed by a successful London production, which ran for 1,997 performances. Numerous productions have been staged around the world since then, and numerous recordings of the musical have been released. Several of the songs from its score became Top 40 hits, and a successful movie adaptation was released in 1979.

The Revision Theatre’s production will be directed by Andy Goldberg. Mr. Goldberg’s credits include the critically acclaimed The Bomb-itty of Errors (Off-Broadway), Love Sucks (NYMF), Nerds (NYMF), and Romeo and Juliet (American Stage). Russ Schramm (Scenic Designer), Dawn von Suskil (Associate Scenic Designer), and George Hansel (Lighting Designer) round out the creative team.

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 produces 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.

Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for tickets or for more information.

CONTACT: Stephen Bishop Seely
Stephen@ReVisionTheatre.org 732-455-3059

Fast Facts:

Who:
ReVision Theatre
David E. Leidholdt, Thomas Morrissey, and Stephen Bishop Seely
Producing Artistic Directors
PO BOX 973
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712

What:
HAIR, The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Book and Lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni
Music by Galt MacDermot.
Directed by Andy Goldberg
Scenic Design by Russ Schramm
Associate Scenic Design by Dawn von Suskil
Lighting Design by George Hansel

Where:
The Carousel on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ
700 Ocean Avenue at Asbury Avenue
Asbury Park, New Jersey 07712

When:
Opens Friday, August 15
Thru Sunday, August 31
Performances Thursdays & Fridays at 8 pm
Saturdays at 7 & 10:30pm
Sundays at 7 pm

How:
All tickets are $35.
Buy tickets online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org
Or call 732-455-3059.
Limited seating is available.