Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Homegrown Cabaret for the Holidays

PRESS RELEASE
CONTACT: alecia@ReVisionTheatre.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 www.revisiontheatre.org  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.

FAST FACTS
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 www.ReVisionTheatre.org

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
alecia@ReVisionTheatre.org

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. www.broadwaycares.org
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 www.broadwaycares.org and bring a copy of your receipt as your ticket.

For more information visit www.adam-kern.com/thongconcert.html
A Thong for Hope

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

Fri August 28th 2009 at 11 PM 


TICKETS:
$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 revisiontheatre.org.

"Monty" a flying circus at Asbury Carousel

August 19, 2009
By TOM CHESEK
CORRESPONDENT

 
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 www.ReVisionTheatre.org.

Additional Facts

The Full Monty is Superlative!

By Carlo Durand
The Coaster

August 18, 2009

In 2001 when the musical “The Producers” won its 715th Tony Award (slight exaggeration) many wondered if the hype surrounding the sold- out comedic romp had gotten a bit out of hand. Granted, the show was a joy with irreverent humor and catchy tunes and all, but a growing number of dissenters (myself included) began grumbling that there was a Broadway show tragically unawarded and overlooked due to the Juggernaut of Mel Brooks’ campy blitzkrieg. “The Full Monty” (based upon the award-winning, 1997 British film of the same title) managed to run two years and earned the reputation of being a great show that should have run longer. If you missed out on the Broadway run or simply miss the show, then you are in luck because Asbury Park’s ReVision Theatre’s production of “The Full Monty” is sensational.
F or the uninitiated, the story (the movie is set in Northern England, the stage adapters ,Music and lyrics by  David Yazbek, book by Terrence McNally, have set the action in Buffalo, NY) concerns a group of six unemployed factory workers who decide to form a Chippendales-esque group and strip for badly needed cash, all for different reasons. Heading the cast as Jerry, a man sorely in arrears for child support and in danger of losing visitation with his son, is the talented Scott Guthrie. Mr. Guthrie establishes his presence from the opening moments with a strong, clear voice. He is the ringleader who dreams up this harebrained idea and convinces others to drop trou with him. It takes an actor of great charisma and conviction to make Jerry believable and likeable; Guthrie succeeds on both fronts. His portly best friend , Dave, is played by the lovable Adam Kern. Dave is much more than the traditional “chubby best friend” role. He is a person in crisis with his life. Unemployment, the assuming of house-husband duties, and the loss of faith  in himself and in his marriage (his wife played by the adorable Stephanie Sine) have made Dave miserable, yet Mr. Kern’s performance shows a fully developed character who the audience grows to love more and more throughout the course of the evening.
These two buddies soon enlist the res t of their crew:  Andy R. Jobe plays Malcom, a suicidal security guard with mother issues. Jobe has an amazing singing voice and a wonderfully cartoonish physicality (somewhat reminiscent of Shaggy from “Scooby Doo”). His performance is hysterically funny and remarkably touching. Mark Gerrard plays Harold, the group’s reluctant dance instructor. Harold is in a pickle due to his cash-strapped status and over-spending spouse (Vicki, portrayed with gusto and glamour by the fantastic Katherine Pecevich). Gerrard succeeds well as a man fighting to keep up the illusion of stability while slowly crumbling under the weight of the pressure. His duet (“You Rule My World”) with Mr. Kern , as they sing of their respective loves in their lives was a highlight. Mark F. Weekes portrays Noah (aka “Horse”) and brings a charged vitality to the role of an older man seeking re-discovering his youthful inner boogie and Jonathan Gregg plays Ethan, a hapless oaf who has a habit of knocking himself senseless. Gregg is a wonderful performer with a beautiful voice and expert comic timing.  These six fellows have the unenviable task of not only needing to sing, act and dance but to be in varying states of undress during part of it. The group does not disappoint , particularly at the end of act one when we see them all begin to gel as a performing group thanks mainly to Connor Gallaghers’s exciting choreography . Ho wever the finale is nothing less than electric as the guys truly go for broke and do go “the full monty” which is British slang for “all the way”, meaning buck naked.  The audience was hooting and applauding every member of this delightful cast. The show was directed with finesse by David E. Leidholdt who kept the action flowing seamlessly and guided every performer onstage to memorable moments (particularly local favorite Bob Angelini in his professional debut whose brief “strip audition” was a comic highpoint of the evening). The superlative musical direction was by Andrew Hertz.  The entire evening was a complete and total joy, yet there was one factor that truly helped in firmly establishing this production as a deluxe success. The factor is a force of nature named Jane Strauss. A Broadway veteran with highly respectable credits, Ms Strauss quite simply stole the show as Jeanette, the group’s musical director.  Line by line, glance by glance, gesture by gesture, Strauss delivered comedic homeruns and had the boys onstage and the audience in the palm of her hand.
Since 2008, Revision has established itself as Asbury Park’s resident professional theatre company and in a short time has become well known=2 0for its professionalism and dedication to quality work. Currently the company utilizes the performance space at the Asbury Park VFW Hall (where their celebrated spring production of the hip-hop musical “Kingdom” was staged to raves) and the Carousel House on the Asbury Boardwalk (where “Monty” is now playing). There is a resonating sense of rebirth here. What was once a vacant shell ready for demolition is now heralding a new era for a city. Peter Allen wrote “Everything Old is New Again”. Asbury is coming alive again and no city can truly thrive without the presence of art.  One can only hope that the Carousel House or another empty theatrical venue can soon become this group’s permanent home. They deserve one and the city needs one. In the meantime, see “The Full Monty” and enjoy a bit of Broadway caliber theater right here on the shore.
“The Full Monty”  runs Wed-Sat at 8PM, Sundays at 7PM through September 6th at The Carousel House on the Boardwalk, 700 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712. Call 732-455-3059 for tickets and information or visit  www.ReVisionTheatre.org

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"Full Monty' moves from Buffalo to boardwalk

ReVision takes strip musical from Buffalo to boardwalk

By TOM CHESEK, APP CORRESPONDENT

August 15, 2009
  
For the better part of a week, the old place was positively humming with industry. Carpenters, electricians and painters jostled for room to do their thing, while a once-neglected site creaked back to new and purposeful life under the midsummer sun.

So where was this? Certainly not in the Buffalo neighborhoods of "The Full Monty," the musical adapted and Americanized (by Tony winning playwright Terrence McNally) from the Oscar-nominated British comedy film of the same name. In the script's rustbelt world of silenced steel mills and emasculated husbands, a group of unemployed blue-collar joes, depressed over their lack of prospects and the loss of their status as the family breadwinners, regain their self-worth and cement their bonds of friendship when they go into business as a take-it-all-off male stripper act.

All that activity has actually been going on inside the historic Carousel building, just off the south end of the Asbury Park boardwalk. For the second time in as many summers, the ornate roundhouse structure with the spectacular whorls, arches and screaming siren faces has been refitted — re-visioned, if you will — as a performance space for live theater, with the opening weekend of a new and possibly unique revival of "Monty" that's being presented by the city's resident professional stage troupe, ReVision Theatre Company.

As they did with last year's successful production of "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," the ReVision crew has been working with boardwalk developers Madison Marquette to install a state-of-the-art lighting grid, sound system, and an array of seating risers. New in 2009 are waterproofing (and pigeonproofing) improvements to the domed ceiling, and a T-shaped "mini proscenium with thrust" that replaces the in-the-round design employed by "Hair."

All the same, the act of taking in a performance at this truly unique landmark remains an engagingly "frontier" theatrical experience — and, as ReVision's David Leidholdt tells it, the 2000 musical is a "deceptively complicated, conceptual show" that adapts itself well to different staging ideas ("not a lot of costume changes," for one thing).

"As the show's director, I get to brainstorm all sorts of ways to address the challenges and problems," says Leidholdt, one of the three Producing Artistic Directors at ReVision (Thomas Morrissey and Stephen Bishop Seely are the others). "As a producer, I get to tell the director no, we can't afford that!"

Lacking a big budget for special effects, Leidholdt worked with musical director Andy Hertz and choreographer Connor Gallagher to "heighten the musical numbers as much as we can; bump that aspect up a bit."
Although at first glance the selection of "Monty" as the company's summer musical shares with its predecessor a willingness to "Let It Go" in the clothing-optional sense, the ReVision producers would appear to have lucked into (if luck is really the proper word here) the fortuitous downward spiral of the national economy; a backstory that 
puts a hypercurrent edge on the plight of the characters.

"The show is timely and fresh that way," observes Leidholdt, whose own working-class family roots in hard-hit Michigan have lent a personal angle to his approach. "It really deals with these issues of unemployment and depression."

Starring here as the sextet of local guys who vow to beat the Chippendales at their own game are Scott Gutherie (Jerry), Adam Kern (Dave), Mark Weekes (Horse), Andy R. Jobe (Malcolm), Jonathan Gregg (Ethan) and Mark Gerard (Harold). Also in the cast are Broadway vet Jane Strauss as the boys' accompanist, plus returning ReVisionists Katherine Pecovich, Deidra Grace, Judah Gavra and Spiro Galiatsatos — with the company's board president Bob Angelini being persuaded to resume his own acting career in a supporting role. Two young actors from Rumson, Andrew Newsome and Jake Cameron (who appeared in the Two River production of "Macbeth") platoon in the role of Jerry's son Nathan.

Opening tonight and continuing through Sept. 6, "The Full Monty" presents performances at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets ($35 and $50) can be reserved by calling 732-455-3059 or visiting www.ReVisionTheatre.org.

Additional Facts THE FULL MONTY By Terrence McNally and David Yazbek Carousel building, 700 Ocean Ave., Asbury Park 8 p.m. today; 7 p.m. Sunday; then Wednesdays through Sundays through September $35-$50 732-455-3059 or www.ReVisionTheatre.org

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Jane Strauss takes a shot at 'The Full Monty'

by Peter Filichia, Star-Leger
August 13, 2009 15:42PM

Jane Strauss rehearses for her role as Jeanette in the ReVision Theatre of Asbury Park production of "The Full Monty."

Jane Strauss knows she has a tough act to follow.

Last month, audiences were treated to no less than Elaine Stritch as Jeanette, the tough-as-ivory piano player, in the Paper Mill Playhouse's production of "The Full Monty."

That production is dead and gone, but the new staging of the 2000 Broadway hit musical finds Strauss in the role of the pianist who accompanies some well-meaning amateur strippers. She opens for a three-week run on Friday at the ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park.

"I'm sure Ms. Stritch was very good, but I can't worry about her," Strauss says. "Besides, I'm much too fascinated with the character herself. Jeanette doesn't let anyone walk over her. She's seen it all, done it all and conked out in Buffalo. But she doesn't have regrets -- and I admire anyone who doesn't."

Strauss grew up in Abington, Pa., before coming to New York in the 1970s. "I thought I'd be famous in two years," she says dryly. Looking back, she realizes how naïve she was. "I was a snob about commercial theater. In school, I was fascinated with experimental theater and heavy European theory. I even wound up playing Brutus in 'Julius Caesar.' But how can you make a living doing that?"

So she started auditioning for musical theater. "I said to myself, 'I'm going to be on Broadway -- even though I'm average-looking, and I'm not a charming person. Please God! Just give me one Broadway show!"

She got it, playing "a Londoner" in the 1984 revival of "Oliver!" Recalling that, Strauss lets out a heavy sigh. "These days I tell young actresses, don't say, 'Please God, give me just one Broadway credit!' -- because God might grant that specific wish and never give you a second Broadway show."

Since her break 25 years ago, Strauss has been touring. "That means I've played at least six different maids in six different shows," she says. Other roles have included Carlotta in a non-Webber version of "Phantom of the Opera" and understudying Miss Hannigan in "Annie."

She is still angry with the actress who was playing that role. "My parents were going to be in a town when we were there, so I asked her if she'd let me do the role one night so they could see me," Strauss recalls. "Can you believe she said no? Was she afraid some big producer would be in the audience, and she'd lose her big chance? We were only in Lima, Ohio."

At least she and the actress didn't come to blows. When Strauss did a Neil Simon play with Shelley Berman, she claims, "He kicked me because I touched his props. I cried on that one."

In "The Full Monty," Strauss's character admits to having been married eight times. It's a stretch for Strauss.
"I'm an old maid," says the 59-year-old, without a dot of self-pity. "We have a long line of old maids in my family -- though I do have an aunt who got married for the first time at 74."

She stops and thinks. "There was one man I wanted to marry, and I even proposed to him," she says. "This was Larry David, back when he wasn't anyone yet, when we hung around clubs together. You know, I still wouldn't mind marrying him. But it'd be fine if I just spent the next few years drinking carrot juice, having massages and maybe even adopting a foster child. So in that way, I'm very much unlike Jeanette."


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 revisiontheatre.org

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Broadway's Brightest Join Cast of Funny Girl Benefit

ReVision Announces Broadway Cast for Benefit Performance of
Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in
Funny Girl
at the Paramount Theatre on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park

Asbury Park, New Jersey – ReVision Theatre announces star studded cast for benefit performance of Funny Girl starring Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand with very special guest Lainie Kazan. The one night only event will be at the Paramount Theatre on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park on Saturday, July 11th, at 8 pm. The show will be directed and choreographed by Connor Gallagher and music directed by John Fischer. Tickets are available online now at www.ReVisionTheatre.org or by calling 732-455-3059. Premium Seats are still available and tickets are priced at $100, $50, and $25.

For the first time in history, Fanny Brice will be played by a male, a complete “revision” of Funny Girl. Steven Brinberg is the premier Barbra Streisand Impressionist, having performed his show, Simply Barbra, both on stage & screen. Steven accurately portrays Streisand physically and vocally. Joining Mr. Brinberg on stage will be Grant Norman (Phantom of the Opera, Beauty and the Beast) as Nicky Arnstein, Loni Ackerman (Evita, Cats) as Mrs. Brice, Nicola Blackman (West End’s Mutiny!, Destry Rides Again) as Mrs. Strakosh, Ivy Austin as Mrs. Meeker, Laura Jordan (Cry-Baby) as Mrs. O’Malley, Claybourne Elder (Road Show) as Eddie Ryan, Harvey Evans (Sunset Boulevard, Oklahoma) as Florenz Ziegfeld, Gene Castle (Original Broadway Productions of Gypsy and George M) as Mr. Keeney, and Bill Coyne as the Ziegfeld Tenor. ReVision’s Funny Girl will also feature a Broadway ensemble of dancers and singers. The creative team includes Dawn von Suskil (Scenic Design), Brian Tovar (Lighting Design), and David Withrow (Costume Design)

Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Nominee Lainie Kazan will open the show with a few of her stories based on her experience with the original Broadway production of Funny Girl. Kazan at the time served as understudy to Barbra Streisand, finally getting to go on eighteen months into the run when the star became ill with a serious throat problem. On the Paramount Theatre stage, Ms. Kazan will perform “His is the Only Music that Makes Me Dance”.

With music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Bob Merrill, Funny Girl has some of the most popular songs in the history of musical theatre including “I’m the Greatest Star”, “People”, “You are Woman, I am Man”, and “Don’t Rain on my Parade”. Funny Girl follows the career of Fanny Brice, one of the funniest women of early American musical theatre. Fanny Brice made her first appearance in Vaudeville in 1910 and became “The Greatest Star” when she was discovered by Florenz Ziegfield and performed as a headliner in the Ziegfeld Follies for the next 25 years. Funny Girl is the story of Fanny Brice’s rise to fame and her overcoming a variety of obstacles including her heart wrenching relationship with her husband, Nicky Arnstein.

The Broadway musical Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand, opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in March of 1964, and ran until July of 1967. Barbra Streisand went on to star, making her debut, in the 1968 film of Funny Girl opposite Omar Sharif. She was nominated and won an "Oscar" her first time out. The song "People", sung by Barbra Streisand, became a standard around the world. The score to Funny Girl and the song "People" both won Grammy Awards in 1965.

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. ReVision Theatre’s 2008-2009 Season will end with the blockbuster musical, The Full Monty (August 12-September 6) at the Carousel Theatre on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park.

Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for show calendars and more information.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ReVisual: The Collaborative Work of ReVision Theatre


June 8, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW ART EXHIBIT OPENS WITH A FRESH TWIST
ReVisual: The Collaborative Work of ReVision Theatre
Opens June 19th at Market in the Middle
ASBURY PARK- ReVision Theatre is the subject of a new art exhibit, “ReVisual: The Collaborative Work of ReVision Theatre”, featuring the works of designers, photographers, scenic painters, and public artists who have contributed to the overall design of ReVision Theatre’s theatrical productions. The exhibit is an inside look of the process that takes place before the opening of a show.  The art show will run June 19 through July 19 at local restaurant, Market in the Middle, 516 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey. Artists whose work will be on display include Kip Marsh, Sarita Fellows, Russell Schramm, Kathy Polenberg, Jason Sisino, and Chris Hartsgrove and feature designs and work from Hair, Scrooge in Rouge, Hello, Dolly!, and Kingdom.
The public is invited to the opening on June 19 at 7 pm which will also be a fundraiser for ReVision Theatre.  All donations will go to ReVision Theatre and its programs.  The opening is also in conjunction with Collide-A-Scope, a monthly arts event, sponsored by ArtsCAP, the Arts Coalition of Asbury Park.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for the community to come and see the “process art” work that happens before the actors take center stage,” says Dawn von Suskil, Artistic Coordinator of “ReVisual” and ReVision Theatre. “The work gives voice to each artist’s unique style. The theatre is a collaborative art form, and this exhibit will really show how all visions come together.”
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 beyond.  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.  ReVision Theatre’s 2008-2009 Season includes a one night only benefit performance of Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl on Saturday, July 11, at the Paramount Theatre with special guest star, Lainie Kazan and the blockbuster musical, The Full Monty running August 12 to September 6 at the Carousel Theater on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park.
Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for more information.
CONTACT: Dawn von Suskil
Artistic Coordinator for Revision Theatre
732-822-8371
or
Tray Pressner
Market in the Middle
732-776-8886

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

'Kingdom' is a first-rate effort

ReVision marks its "Kingdom" in Asbury

By TOM CHESEK
Asbury Park Press
April 24, 2009

You may not completely catch what's being said onstage in "Kingdom," the hip-hop-flavored, bilingual musical drama now in its East Coast premiere engagement in Asbury Park. You might not be on the same page as its non-moralizing, largely sympathetic view of urban gang life. And you're probably not going to exit the auditorium humming the score.

But if you're interested in seeing a piece of modern musical theater that compels the attention, not through gimmicky stagecraft but through purely people-powered energy, then you've knocked on the right door.

When they set up shop in Asbury Park last year, the founders of the professional ReVision Theatre Company quickly distinguished themselves with their passion for musicals, their stated mission to bring some fresh and challenging fare to the local stage and their remarkable ability to transform the most oddball of spaces into a functional site for live performance.

"Kingdom" carries irrefutable evidence of the first two points, and the troupe's host venue — the generously scaled bingo hall inside the city's historic VFW building — shows that this young, essentially "homeless" company continues to earn its name daily. This is the same place where ReVision presented a silly holiday show last December. But this time, the room is configured so that the action takes place basketball-court style, with the actors inhabiting a long central area, a four-piece band on the raised stage and the audience set up on either side of the performance.

In the story by book author and lyricist Aaron Jafferis, a pair of Latino kids in an unspecified city — naive Juan (Christian Amaraut) and the ever-so-slightly more streetwise Andres (Miguel Jarquin-Moreland) — are on the lookout for more out of life, having quit their Dunkin Donuts jobs (and shared quarters when Juan's mom skips out on him). A dust-up at a neighborhood dance introduces them to tart-tongued Marisa (Desiree Rodriguez), sister of Cano (Dell Howlett), the charismatic head of the local chapter of the Latin Kings.

Hot music

Taking Juan and Andres into the fold — and dedicating himself to maintaining a fragile peace in his Portingale Park neighborhood — Cano finds it necessary to intervene when his hotheaded young charges get in a confrontation with drug dealers Hector and Danny (Keith Antone, Jose Candelaria). It's all done to a rocked-up score by Ian Williams.Jafferis makes some points about the ways in which wars begin and spiral out of control, using the litter-strewn park in the 'hood as his flashpoint. It's all done as realistically as possible for a show in which characters break out into song or scripted freestyle (the actors under the direction of Carlos Armesto and supervision of choreographer Tiffany Rachelle Stewart prove adept at both).

The two young leads remain strong and credible throughout, inhabiting the invisible cityscape of the show like they've lived there all their lives. There is such a thing as theater magic, after all, and in the end this first-rate company works to break down all barriers — cultural, generational, logistical — in bringing this highly charged show to life.

Additional Facts

KINGDOM

VFW Theatre, 701 Lake Ave., Asbury Park — 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. Sundays through May 3 — $25-$35

(732) 455-3059

www.ReVisionTheatre.org

'Kingdom' brings realistic gang life on stage

By Peter Filichia
April 24, 2009
The Star-Ledger


The current Broadway revival of "West Side Story" has garnered some criticism because its rival gang members don't seem tough, raw or real enough.

That won't be a charge leveled against the cast members of "Kingdom," the gritty and rather successful urban musical now at ReVision Theatre in Asbury Park. Director Carlos Armesto has found young performers, both male and female, who look as if they just came off New Jersey's most dangerous streets.

Thank the Lord, though, that they aren't out there, but onstage -- because they have channeled their energies in a far more rewarding and effective fashion. Every one of the 10 cast members has much more talent and training than the lost souls whose story they're telling in Aaron Jafferis' hard-hitting book and lyrics. Every one of them does an excellent job in singing Ian Williams' rock, hip-hop, and salsa music, as well as dancing Tiffany Rachelle Stewart's flashy choreography.

Juan, sensitively played by Christian Amaraut, wants to be a doctor, but he's going to have a hard time reaching that goal. At the moment, Juan has no place to live, because his mother has demanded he leave so her new boyfriend can move in. Has there ever been another musical as frank about the poor parenting that causes kids to go wrong?

Then Juan, because he was late for his donut shop shift, is fired. His good friend and co-worker Andres quits in a rash moment of solidarity. A theatergoer couldn't ask for a better Andres than Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, a hot-headed scene-stealer.

Where else is there for these boys to turn, but drugs? They hope that dealer Hector, played with convincing menace by Keith Antone, will give them some freebies (though they should know better). When Hector flashes his money, the lads steal it, and, in the show's least convincing moment, Hector doesn't chase them, but just watches them run.

Now that the two young men are flush, they look for romance. At a dance, both are smitten by Marisa. Says Andres, "I don't deserve to dance with you" -- to which Marisa snaps back, "You don't." Desiree Rodriguez has the perfect attitude of a lass that believes it her right and privilege to be haughty simply because she's attractive.

Marisa's brother Cano, enacted with steel-eyed cool by Dell Howlett, sneers at Andres, "You're so insecure you're not even sure you're there." The boys find that Cano is the self-appointed king of the neighborhood. Even in ad hoc street government, there's a hierarchy -- and good deal of bureaucracy to boot.

But here's where Jafferis' script takes a startling and welcome turn. Cano isn't just another street punk, but is someone in the Guardian Angels' mold. He wants to improve the neighborhood, and enlists Juan and Andreas to help. But such distressed streets aren't easy to clean up, and the rest of the show underlines the great obstacles in everyone's way.

Jafferis never neglects to show that these kids have a native intelligence that could bring them to greatness if they only got a break here or there. Whenever characters step to the bad side, they're not happy they're doing it. They simply can't see other options. A second act highlight has Rodriguez deliver a soliloquy message that all kids at society's crossroads should hear.

Williams' music delivers, especially in an anthem to Latino power. That fits the musical's conclusion that as much as people want money, they want and need respect just as much. En route, "Kingdom" becomes a show that itself deserves a good deal of respect.

Kingdom
Where: ReVision Theatre, 701 Lake Ave., Asbury Park
When: Through May 3. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 7 p.m.
How much: $15-$35. Call (732) 455-3059 or visit revisiontheatre.org

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Danny Glover, Faith Evans, & Tony Plano Support KINGDOM

"Kingdom is raw and powerful. Kingdom is real.  Kingdom speaks to today’s youth in their language. It is important.”

“I am proud to support Revision Theatre’s production of Kingdom by being an Honorary Member of the Community Outreach Committee.
 
-          Danny Glover, actor
 "Through dance, Kingdom makes young people feel stronger.  Through Music, Kingdom opens the mind. Kingdom shows choice and decision and will allow people to learn about themselves.  The minds of youth are impressionable.”

“It transcends race. It transcends politics. It transcends…”
-          Faith Evans, Grammy award winning R&B artist

“¡Una gran exposición!  Through spoken word, hip hop and salsa, Kingdom reveals the struggles of poverty and choices that haunt today’s youth.”

“Kingdom will impact your audience! To work. To live. To die. To help. To hurt. Individualism vs groups. Money equals power. Power equals peace. The minds of youth are impressionable.”

-          Tony Plana, actor, star of TV’s “Ugly Betty”

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Kingdom and the Power

By Tom Chesek
April 13, 2009
RedBankOrbit.com




It’s Theater Week here in Red Bank oRBit! Actually, it just sort of worked out that way, as the coming days see the openings of no less than five new productions in the area — some professional and some proudly community; some serious and some silly; some popular revivals and some premieres — and all of them worth checking out for their own reasons.

When we first met up with the ReVision Theatre Company last year in oRBit, the newly established professional stage company in Asbury Park was in the process of transforming the seaside albatross Carousel building into a viable venue for live performance (for last summer’s successful run of Hair), while setting up offices, workshop and rehearsal space inside the city’s venerable VFW Post 1333 on 701 Lake Avenue at Bond Street.

When we looked in on them back in December, ReVision’s triad of Producing Artistic Directors (Thomas Morrissey, David Leidholdt and Stephen Bishop Seely) had turned the VFW’s amply scaled Bingo hall into a working playhouse for Scrooge in Rouge, a colorfully daffy parody of a vintage English music-hall barnstormer.

ReVision returns for anther go-round at the Carousel this August with The Full Monty, and in July they’ll spotlight Steven Brinberg’s uncanny Streisand portrayal in a benefit performance of Funny Girl, the show that catapulted Babs to stardom. But one production here in ReVision’s first full season sticks out against the otherwise light and lively slate of offerings — and that’s Kingdom.

Described as a “Latin 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, the show by Aaron Jafferis and Ian Williams previews this Thursday at 8pm, opens this Friday, April 17 and runs through May 3 at the VFW Theatre.

This is an East Coast premiere of a work that’s only recently been fully staged in San Diego — and the cast is headed up by two veterans of the California production, Christian Amaraut and Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, whose respective roles as Juan and Andres saw their origins in true stories of current and former Latin Kings. Carlos Armesto directs an all-Latino cast that further features Dell Howlett (Cano), Desiree Rodriguez (Marisa), Keith Antone (Hector), Jose Candleria (Danny), Erikamarie Rumore (Queen 1), Judah Gavra (King 2), and Chelsea Zeno (Queen 2). Andre Da Silva replaced David Del Rio as King 1 when Del Rio was cast in a Nickelodeon TV series. 

It’s a bold move for the ReVisionaries, with both an unknown quantity of a show and a subject matter that most communities would rather sweep under the sidewalk if they could. ReVision, however, took the opposite tack; hosting a Kingdom Kick-Off Party on March 6 that introduced and explained the show to the public, as well as a Kingdom Exploration Symposium on March 19, in which the show’s cast and crew joined a panel of gang experts in discussing the presence of gangs in Monmouth County, and the ways in which parents, teachers and community leaders can take action to prevent gang violence. Audiences are also being invited to take part in after-show forums that follow each performance.

After the jump, Red Bank oRBit speaks with director Armesto on the hows and whys of this much-anticipated show.


The cast of Kingdom includes (Back Row, L-R) Dell Howlett, David Del Rio (replaced by Andre Da Silva), Miguel Jarquin-Moreland, Desiree Rodriguez, Keith Antone, and Jose Candleria; (Front Row, L-R) Erikamarie Rumore, Christian Amaraut, and Chelsea Zeno. Absent on picture day: Judah Gavra. (Photo by Dennis Carroll)

RED BANK ORBIT: It seems that ReVision is working this show hard and they have a lot invested with it, but most of us know next to nothing about KINGDOM. What’s your take on it?
CARLOS ARMESTO: It’s a daring play, a play for people who don’t usually come to the theater — and it’s got a hip hop bounce to it, which we’re taking a little further. Mostly the score is either rapped or sung — in Spanish and in English.

The poster and advertising image makes it clear that this isn’t HELLO DOLLY we’re dealing with here.

It’s an intense image, appropriate to what we’re doing, since the subject matter is so intense. I wouldn’t call it a children’s play — the parental advisory is there for a reason.

But at the same time it is a musical; people break into song and dance, so how much of a challenge is it to put forth these dramatic themes in a genre that’s always been better suited to light comedy?
There is a harshness, a naturalistic energy in the show — but it’s also very stylized. A fight is not a fight; there’s no blood, and the movement is very choreographed. The set is pretty bare — mostly just a floor and door frames. The lighting, which is by Sean Lindsay Manuel, and how the actors move, are how we convey the ideas in the show.

What are you doing differently from the San Diego production?
It’s much more choreographed; we have a choreographer, Tiffany Rachelle Stewart, whereas in the past only one of the numbers had any choreography. There’s a formal element of movement to it now. And our two lead actors, Christian and Miguel, were both in the San Diego production. Not as Juan and Andres, but in supporting roles.

The show turns out to have a much larger cast than I expected it would.
It is a big cast, and we double up, triple up on some of the parts. But the gangs are about belonging to a crowd, having safety in numbers, and we have to get creative in creating crowds. There are times when the audience kind of plays the part of the crowd!

So how would you describe the dynamic between those two lead characters?
They’re two young guys in the barrio — and the city is not named; there’s a sense that this could happen anywhere. Juan’s mother has walked out on him, and Andres, who lives in the projects, basically says I’ll take care of you. They embark upon a journey to have a real brotherhood, and they meet up with the Latin Kings and get involved in this thing, which in real life is very organized.

They’re trying to be peaceful; trying to survive, dealing drugs for income. They’re surrounded with a lot of guns, a lot of levels of protection.

What kind of response did you guys get with the community outreach events that you scheduled?
Very encouraging. The kickoff event was attended by people from all sides of the tracks. The writer of the show said that success for us is community engagement; using that in creating solutions — and I think we have the beginnings of a dialogue going on. If the audience listens, if the community hears about this, then it can happen.

Sounds like the show strikes a hopeful note.
It is tragic in many ways; it’s about survival, and some Shakespearean sort of father-son themes. But there’s solace, and there is hope.

Tickets for Kingdom are $25 and $35 (with a special $15 rate for students and teachers) and can be reserved right here or by calling (732)455-3059. Further information is available on a special open captioning performance, as well as a Ticket Fund Campaign for teens who are unable to afford admission.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Latin Hip Hop Rock Musical KINGDOM Comes To ReVision Theater 4/16-5/3

by BroadwayWorld.Com News Desk
April 9, 2009

ReVision Theatre will present the East Coast Premiere of the new Latin Hip Hop rock musical Kingdom, to play the VFW Theatre, 701 Lake Avenue, in Asbury Park, New Jersey, April 16-May 3. Carlos Armesto will direct, with music direction by Michael Thomas Murray and choreography by Tiffany Rachelle Stewart.

Inspired by the true stories of current and former Latin Kings, the show explores the tragic impact of gangs and gang violence on a small urban community. A musical that speaks directly to today's youth through rap and hip hop music, the show 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 musical features book and lyrics by Aaron Jafferis, with music by Ian Williams.

The all-Latino cast will include Dell Howlett (Cano), Desiree Rodriguez (Marisa), Miguel Jarquin-Moreland (Andres), Christian Amaraut (Juan), Keith Antone (Hector), Jose Candleria (Danny), Andre Da Silva (King 1), Erikamarie Rumore (Queen 1), Judah Gavra (King 2), and Chelsea Zeno (Queen 2).

The creative team will include Sean Lindsey Manuel (scenic and lighting design), Kristyn R. Smith (sound design), and Sarita P. Fellows (costume design).

ReVision Theatre is adding an interactive After-Show Forum to each performance that will add context to the themes presented in the show. Each Forum will generate a dialogue between a moderator, audience members, and actors in the show. This will include a general survey of audience members, an exploration with cast members in character, and a reflection of final thoughts and collective commentary.

Kingdom was developed and will be first produced by the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California, just prior to the ReVision Theatre's East Coast Premiere production. Kingdom was the winner of the 2008 Richard Rodgers Award for stage readings, administered by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Festival of New Musicals in 2007, the 2006 New York Musical Theatre Festival, developed by Eric Louie, The Public Theater, Queens Theatre in the Park, Weston Playhouse, John Jay College, Bregamos Community Theater, and at NYU's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program.

Tickets are available online at www.ReVisionTheatre.org or by calling the box office at 732-455-3059. Ticket prices are $25 and $35. Special $15 tickets are available for Students and Teachers at each performance. ReVision Theatre has started a Ticket Fund Campaign where ticket buyers have the opportunity to sponsor additional tickets for teenagers who cannot afford admission.

A special Open Captioning performance for the hearing impaired will be available on Thursday, April 23rd at 8 pm.

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. ReVision Theatre's 2008-2009 Season includes a one night only benefit performance of Steven Brinberg as Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl (July 11) at The Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park, and the blockbuster musical, The Full Monty (August 12-September 6) at the Carousel House on the Boardwalk in Asbury Park.

Visit www.RevisionTheatre.org or call 732-455-3059 for show calendars and more information.

Three Kings

by Steven Froias TriCityNews
April 9, 2009

Here's another entry in my gay leaders series. Actually, this time around it's a trio of guys. Hey - threesomes are best!

You've already been introduced to Thomas Morrissey, Stephen Bishop Seely, and David E. Leidholdt, elsewhere in these pages in the past year. But in this column, I'd like to put their achievements and endeavors into a broader context. Because these three have swiftly assumed a leadership role in the artistic community, and they are poised to reach a new plateau next weekend when their ReVision Theatre company stages the East Coast premier of 'Kingdom" beginning next weekend.

Thomas, Stephen, and David launched ReVision Theatre here in Asbury Park over a year ago with the goal of integrating the company completely into the local community. They brought with them years of experience in theatre across the country, and more specifically from the East Village in New York City where they plied their trade for about a decade.

In choosing Asbury as their new home base, they knew what they were looking for - a community from which they could draw as well as bestow artistic inspiration. Towards that end they have mounted productions in some of the city's iconic structures, such as the Paramount Theatre and the Carousel building.

They'll be doing it again next weekend with "Kingdom" in another piece of history, the VFW building at 701 Lake Avenue. Indeed, by seizing the initiative and furthering the transformation of that building into a performing arts center, they have guaranteed themselves a place in the pantheon of movers and shakers in this town, along with the many others groups (not to mention Cmmdr. Lou Pirsisi) who have facilitated this exciting development.

In a short amount of time, Thomas Morrissey, Stephen Bishop Seely, and David E. Leidholdt have raised the cultural bar through their work with ReVision and their participation in the vibrant arts scene that Asbury Park is home too. Next weekend, though, they go for broke with a potentially history making production that could fulfill their destiny as a major professional, regional theatre company. And not coincidently, the fact that "Kingdom" is being produced here also raises the status of Asbury Park as cultural destination like no other.

Here's the back story: ReVision Theatre, as a professional, Equity-associated company, is part of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre. Once a year, they hold a Festival of New Musicals, works just at the stage of development where they warrant full productions,  just short of off-Broadway or Broadway. "Thoroughly Modern Millie,"  "The Drowsy Chaperone," and "Light in the Piazza"came to light via this route.

This year, "Kingdom" was one of those shows. But as is often the case with groundbreaking work, most theatre companies were too afraid to touch it. They were afraid that it would be impossible to market because of its theme.

"Kingdom" is a hip-hop musical. The subject matter is gang life. Other theatre companies were concerned that the term 'hip-hop' were alienate their traditional patrons, and that they also wouldn't be able to attract the younger crowd who could relate to its themes. You know - probably the same thing that was said about "West Side Story" some 50 years ago.

Only two theatre companies had the balls to snag "Kingdom" and take on the challenge of assuring loyal customers that yes, they were indeed going to see a musical, but also that yes, the boys in the hood could also find something to like up on the stage.

Those two companies were the world renowned Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, where "Kingdom" had its West Coast premier, and.

ReVision Theatre Company in Asbury Park, New Jersey where "Kingdom" will have its East Coast premier next weekend, beginning Thursday, April 16.

That's what makes these guys leaders. They move the ball forward. They inspire themselves as well as the broader community to reach higher. And they don't take the easy way out.

And as exemplified by "Kingdom," though they are of the gay community they are part of the broader community, leaders who build bridges between the many parts of a city or region and thereby strengthen the whole. As is the case with all such folks - gay or straight - they make up the unique fabric of the triCities and are indispensible to its success as a region.

So, be sure to get your tickets for "Kingdom" ASAP. As Thomas said to me, this important theatrical event is something that could have you saying years from now.

"I can't believe it happened in Asbury Park."

Believe it.

"Kingdom" will run from Thursday, April 16 through Sunday, May 3. You can purchase tickets online at ReVisionTheatre.org, Call 732-455-3059 or them in person at: Flying Saucers Retro Kitchenware, 658 Cookman Avenue (Shoppes at the Arcade - Lower Level); and Thurs, Fri, Sun & Mon 11 am to 5pm & Sat 11 am to 9 pm at The VFW Hall in Asbury Park - Theatre Box Office, 701 Lake Avenue (Entrance on Bond Street between Cookman and Lake Avenues. Monday thru Sunday 1pm to 6pm;open to 8pm on show days.

Cast Set for Latin Hip Hop Rock Musical Kingdom in Asbury Park

By: Dan Bacalzo · Apr 8, 2009  · New Jersey


The cast of <i>Kingdom</i><br>
(© D Carroll)
The cast of Kingdom
(© Dennis Carroll)
ReVision Theatre will present the new Latin Hip Hop rock musical Kingdom, to play the VFW Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey, April 16-May 3. Carlos Armesto will direct, with music direction by Michael Thomas Murray and choreography by Tiffany Rachelle Stewart.

Inspired by the true stories of current and former Latin Kings, the show explores the tragic impact of gangs and gang violence on a small urban community. The musical features book and lyrics by Aaron Jafferis, with music by Ian Williams.
The all-Latino cast will include Dell Howlett (Cano), Desiree Rodriguez (Marisa), Miguel Jarquin-Moreland (Andres), Christian Amaraut (Juan), Keith Antone (Hector), Jose Candleria (Danny), Andre Da Silva (King 1), Erikamarie Rumore (Queen 1), Judah Gavra (King 2), and Chelsea Zeno (Queen 2).

The creative team will include Sean Lindsey Manuel (scenic and lighting design), Kristyn R. Smith (sound design), and Sarita P. Fellows (costume design).

Following each performance, there will be an "After Show Forum" where actors stay in character and take questions from the audience.

For more information, visit www.revisiontheatre.org.