Boeing Boeing opens to rave reviews!!

IMG_0647-1

It’s a Hit! BOEING opens to rave reviews!!!
by Muriel J. Smith
Bayshore Courier News

There have been some very funny and highly entertaining plays at the Center Playhouse, but the production currently on stage has to rank up there as one of the very best on this or any other stage.

Boeing Boeing , written by Marc Camoletti and directed by Joseph Stefanelli, has a story line that guarantees a laugh or at the very least a hearty chuckle every minute; literally.

Stefanelli, who is proving he’s every bit as excellent a director as he is an actor and co-producers Greco and Colleen DeFelice were masterful in casting this two-act comedy; every minute of the play proves that here at Center Players, there is a team that excels, works together, and as a result is highly successful in producing a smash hit in which every one of the six actors stars in his own right.

Timing: That’s the first key to the success of Boeing Boeing Set in an apartment near Orly Airport outside Paris, the play features Bernard, perfectly portrayed by JD Wilson, a playboy trying his best to keep three different beautiful women, all airline hostesses on different airlines, at bay from each other while all think each is his only heart throb. Action hits a pitch when the airlines and weather alter schedules, and Bernard and his long time friend, Robert, again, perfection in action as portrayed by Daniel Conroy, find themselves with all three women in the apartment at the same time. The timing comes in the slamming of doors, entry and exit of each of the players, and the precision of each of these movements as the men work at a fever pitch to get the females apart.

Energy: That’s the next thing that sets Boeing Boeing a cut above the rest. Six gorgeous young people: Conroy, Wilson, flight hostesses Kelsey Mackler, portraying Gloria the American, Annabelle Magnusson as Gretchen the German, Kate Pentek as Gabriella the Italian, and finally a grouchy yet cheerful and endearing maid played by Amy Garland Goldman, cavort, race, run, lift, toss and frolic with each other across this tiny stage, never missing a beat in their action nor tipping over a glass or table in the melee. Again, timing is everything and this team has it down pat.
Teamwork: It’s easy to see that while everyone in the cast is brand new to Center Players, they’ve certainly worked together in other venues and are bringing a giant sized trunk full of talent to the Freehold arena. Even Wilson, a military veteran (and just that is enough to thank him for!) and fifth grade school teacher who just hit the world of theater in the last year, has already made a name for himself at the Count Basie in Red Bank with Phoenix Productions, to say nothing of his writing ability and starring role in PL@Y, which raised $10,000 for the Ashley Lauren Foundation.

Perfection: That’s here, too, as evidenced in each actor pulling off funny and crazy stunts which could very well be disastrous and harmful to health and happiness should any one of them go wrong.
If there’s any one ‘star’ in this all star cast, it’s Bernard the playboy. Wilson, tall, handsome, with expressive eyes and quick wit, is strong, masterful and flawless, has great delivery and artistic and comedic skill. But then again, Conroy’s delivery and expressions are mesmerizing and attention getting. As for the flight attendants, each actress portrays her character with an intriguing accent, great delivery, and passion. And Goldman’s caustic side glances, her abrupt one liners and her interaction with the entire cast are all belted out with timeliness and gusto. This is truly a cast where each one deserves special acclaim and admiration.

FEBRUARY 13th – MARCH 8th
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM
Sundays at 2:00 PM

At Center Playhouse
(35 South Street, Freehold)

Tickets are:
$25 – Adults*
$23 – Students & Seniors*
(Refreshments Included!)
* Plus $2 Processing Fee.*

TICKETS NOW ON SALE!
Seating is limited per performance so
get your tickets TODAY! Call the box office at
(732) 462-9093 or visit us online at
Center Players of Freehold

IMG_0647-0

Auditions ! Auditions!

IMG_0048-2.JPG

AUDITION NOTICE
CENTER PLAYERS
Freehold’s Award-Winning Resident Theater Company

announces OPEN AUDITIONS for

BOEING BOEING by Marc Camoletti

Directed by Joseph Stefanelli

American architect and rich playboy Bernard is living a beautiful life in Paris surrounded by his lovely fiancee; the real question is WHICH one? He has an Italian, German, and American fiancee, each a beautiful airline hostess with frequent “layovers”. He keeps “one up, one down and one pending” until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris and Bernard’s apartment at the same time. Prepare for a hilarious take off with BOEING BOEING, a night full of hijinks and tomfoolery.

WHEN:
Sunday, December 14th & Monday, December 15th
at 7:30 PM

WHERE:
At Center Playhouse
(35 South Street, Freehold NJ)

WHO:
ALL ROLES OPEN! Looking to cast the following roles …

BERNARD: male, 20s-30s. An American architect and swinging bachelor. He is a combination of Don Draper and Jack Tripper. A ladies man who thinks he has the fairer sex completely figured out.

BERTHA: female, 40+. Bernard’s long-suffering housekeeper, cut from the cloth of the comedy of manners. Seeking French accent.

ROBERT: male, 20s-30s. Bernard’s old friend. Not a worldly chap. Jerry Lewis to Bernard’s Tony Curtis.

GABRIELLA: female, 20s-30s. The Italian fiancée, with a casual sensuality. Seeking Italian accent.

GLORIA: female, 20s-30s. The American fiancée, with an upbeat disposition.

GRETCHEN: female, 20s-30s. The German fiancée blessed with an aggressive nature. Seeking strong but outlandish German accent.

~* IMPORTANT NOTE ON THE ACCENTS: Please do not let the accents startle you or inhibit your audition process please know that there will be various directors, coaches, and actors who will be working with those cast throughout the process to ensure the best final results.

WHAT;

~ Please bring your resume and headshot (if you have one).

~ Due to the shortened rehearsal period please make sure you are aware of your conflicts when auditioning.

~ Cold readings will be conducted from the script, a general knowledge of the show is recommended.

~ Performances from February 6th – March 1st, 2015 ~
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 PM
Sundays at 2:00 PM

For more information about Center Players visit us online at
WWW.CENTERPLAYERS.ORG
IMG_0048-1.JPG

It’s a Wonderful Life!

IMG_0582.JPG

IMG_0582-3.JPG

ONE WEEKEND ONLY!

Your favorite veteran actors turn Center Playhouse
into the PERFECT “Home for the Holidays!”

Inspired by the classic holiday film, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is performed as a 1940s radio broadcast in front of a live studio audience featuring onstage Foley sound effects, vintage radio equipment, period costuming & radio commercials all set to the soothing sounds of your favorite holiday standards. Five actors gather on Christmas Eve, 1946, to perform the dozens of characters to bring this heart-warming tale to life.

DECEMBER 12th,13th, & 14th
Friday and Saturday at 8:00 PM
Sunday at 2:00 PM

Tickets are only $15 for this
Limited Engagement!

Seating is EXTREMELY LIMITED so call the
box office TODAY at (732) 462-9093
or purchase tickets online at

centerplayers.org

What a Ride! Opening Night of Bus Stop!

Oh, you just have to see Bus Stop!

df483314-0346-4ce3-af1b-31b1ec286498It was so exciting seeing the opening night at Center Players, this great award winning theater in Freehold,   especially after having the privilege of seeing several of the rehearsals and going with the producer and artistic director  when they sought out all the props at antique stores and junk yards.  For me, it was magical to see how a play comes together.

But even more  exciting, was the little bit of backstage information I was able to garner. I always like to sit in one of the front rows in any live performance theater…and I have often heard how my laughter at a funny line or my too-loud giggles at a particular situation have made a difference on stage. But after seeing rehearsals and being at opening night, I could see it myself! The audience really does make a difference to the actors.

Actors who were always fantastic during rehearsals, albeit missing a line or a word or two, actually shone and projected so much more in front of the audience! You could almost feel the enthusiasm on stage when there was uproarious laughter from those in the seats of this intimate little theater.  Director Jeff Caplan had told me the audience truly becomes part of the play, but it was wondrous to see it first hand.

The cast  was magnificent..every last one of them!    Two generations of Brett Sabo’s family…her mom and her eight year old son Evan, sat behind me and were obviously very proud to be part of the opening night audience. For very good reason.

Brett played Grace Hoyland, the owner of  Grace’s Diner, where all the action took place. And she was dynamic! Brett’s timing made the difference between belting out a funny line, and pouring out laughter to a very pleased audience. Beforehand, Evan exuded confidence his mom would be terrific, primarily because “she’s been in lots of plays and she’s always good!” but even he was more enthusiastic at intermission after he saw and heard her in Bus Stop. Brett’s mom, also an actress in some Brookdale Community College presentations, was also quite proud of her daughter’s accomplishment at this little theater on South Street.

Joe Orlando, who played the role of Bo Decker, the young, macho cowboy seeking to marry pretty chanteuse Jennifer Karmazin, absolutely shone in his very funny one liners. Here again, his timing is what made the difference between funny and very funny lines.  He was great.   Jennifer herself showed that in addition to great acting, she also has a beautiful singing voice…and can make a very speedy change of clothes in a less than perfect setting!

Kudos to Jeff Caplan, who has long ago shown his excellence as both director and actor, but did it again in Bus Stop.  Jeff proved that gathering together a cast that has never acted together, most of whom have never appeared on stage in Freehold, and including one who has never ever acted before at all, PLUS taking on one of the roles himself, was not really a challenge at all.  At least, that’s the way the finished product made it seem.

A veteran of the stage and behind the scenes at Center Players, Jeff the Director  also took on the role of Carl  the actor when he couldn’t find the perfect actor during tryouts to portray Carl the busdriver. His facial expressions, timing, and on stage presence also are indicative of his vast experience.

Similarly, Tom Cox, who portrayed Virgil, Bo Decker’s confidante and mentor, and who came fresh off the New York Shakespearean stage for this role, showed outstanding experience. Take your eyes off the main action during any part of the play, and watch the ‘uninvolved’ actors.  Tom  and the others kept themselves busy bringing realty to the stage.  Hard to say how many times the pretty and pert Kate Barron, who played teenager Elma Duckworth the waitress, cleaned the counter or wiped off the table, but like Tom, she stayed busy and was realistic.  Kate is another actress with plenty of wonderful facial expression; her enthusiasm for the role spilled over by the bucketful.   Hopefully we’ll see more of her with Center Players.

Without being insulting, it’s safe to say David Clarke made a very convincing drunk!   He was funny, endearing, believeable, and just plain great in the part.

But Freehold can take special pride in their own Sheldon Fallon, the insurance man turned actor  as a brand new septuagenarian!  Sheldon was the town sheriff who took on the young Bo Decker and kept order in the diner as well as in the blizzard outside the door. Looks like Sheldon has been bitten by the acting bug and hopefully will be back on stage again in the not too distant future.

Producer Colleen DeFelice played double duty, as in being involved for the last few weks I have learned to think is second nature.  When a crew member called to say he was ill and could not be there, this very able, and very efficient producer stepped in to stage manage…along with her other volunteer jobs.  But given Colleen’s penchant for perfection, it all went off well without a hitch!

 

Bus Stop is playing through November and is a delightful evening of entertainment. The Signature Series presentations of Center Players are always close to spectacular, but Bus Stop, with its humor, drama, beauty, and  talent is the perfect way to celebrate an occasion, enjoy a night out, or just simply to welcome autumn!

Bus Stop, written by William Inge and directed by Jeff Caplan, opened at Center Playhouse, 35 South Street in Downtown Freehold, on October 10. The show runs for five weekends through November 9, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There will be no performance on Halloween, October 31. There will be an additional matinee performance on Saturday, November 1 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $23 for Seniors/Students, and include desserts and refreshments at intermission. Group rates for parties of 10 or more are available. Seating is limited, so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 or visit us online at www.CenterPlayers.org to purchase your tickets.

By Muriel Smith

******************

Muriel Smith is a guest blogger for Center Players. She grew up in Union, NJ and lived in Highlands for more than 40 years, working as a newspaper writer/editor before leaving home with her husband 15 years ago to live in an RV and visit every state in the Union before determining that Monmouth County is still the best place to live. She’s now settled comfortably in Freehold.

 

SPOTLIGHT ON … Jeff Caplan

With the opening of BUS STOP just a week away
we wanted to turn the spotlight on the Director of
this upcoming production, Center Players’ veteran
actor & director, Jeff Caplan.

Over the past several years Mr. Caplan has been seen in a number of productions including: 20th Century, Doubt, How the Other Half Loves, Mr. 80%, All My Sons, and Miracle On 34th Street: A Live Radio Play.

 

JEFF collage

 

In recent seasons, Mr. Caplan has directed our productions of Neil Simon’s Laughter On the 23rd Floor and last holiday’s A Christmas Carol.

JEFF direction collage

FROM THE DIRECTOR’S CHAIR …

What is the meaning of love? Why do we pursue it so vigorously? There are so many different types of love as well. It’s the mystery of humankind. It’s what makes us human and different from any other species in this world.

BUS STOP
probes some of these questions sometimes in a light-hearted way, sometimes darkly though too. It delves into the relationships of people and their desire to not be alone, to connect to another human being and find something out about themselves  along the way. There are times, though, where we are lost. As Cherie says, maybe there’s no such thing as love.  It’s all in the journey where we find ourselves face to face with that possibility. That love exists at all. The answer to all of this lies in the telling of the tale.    – Jeff Caplan

 

 

 

With less than three weeks to go before opening night, you’d think Center Players Director Jeff Caplan would be running around frantically,  jumping up and down excitedly, screaming hysterically when things don’t go exactly perfect, and carrying on like a maddened director. That’s what you’d think, right? Not if you know Jeff Caplan. Instead, this Jeff Caplan, of both director and actor acclaim, is as cool, calm and collected as always. It doesn’t appear that anything rattles his cage.

At a recent rehearsal, Jeff sat quietly while the rehearsal went on. It appeared he was studying the faces and expressions of cast members as they went through their parts. Occasionally, he rubbed hi  chin in thought, sipped idly at a cardboard container of coffee, or whispered a thought or two producer Colleen DeFelice. Colleen sat sipping her own cup of coffee anf following the script, ready to give a “line” when  an actor forgot or omitted one.

This week, Jeff added another chore to his already busy schedule. Director Jeff Caplan, in addition to directing BUS STOP which opens October 10th, will also be Actor Jeff Caplan, portraying Carl, the bus driver whose long distance bus is stranded at a roadside diner waiting out a blizzard.

I got the chance to seat down with Jeff for a few minutes after a late night rehearsal recently, and got a little more insight into what makes him such a terrific theatrical person.
.
As far as directing the play, Jeff never quits. After next week, the cast and crew launch into Tech Week, the time when the director goes over all the lights, sound, equipment, movements on stage, voice, lines, and all the other big and little things that go into ensuring perfection.  He’ll make changes here and there, but he adds that “there’s always a little tweaking, even after the show opens.”

That’s because, Jeff explains, “the audience becomes part of the performance.” He admits to watching the play every one of the 15 nights it’s on stage, and making changes according to the interaction with the audience. “If an actor says something in a certain way and it gets a big laugh, then we’ll change it to incorporate the new words or expression for the rest of the performances.”  Similarly, if it appears that something “doesn’t work” with the audience, then  he’ll make the modification to change or delete it.

“Every audience gives energy to the actors , “ he said,  “they become part of the show, and the actors can react to their energy.” I guess that’s why they call it live entertainment!

There’s a new sheriff in town!

There’s a New Sheriff in Town!  Sheldon Fallon Takes a Role with a Star in “Bus Stop” at Center Playhouse opening October 10th

 

5th in a series on the behind-the-scenes making of “Bus Stop” running at Center Playhouse Oct 10 – Nov 9.

 

By Muriel Smith.  Edited by Jan Thompson.

 

_DSF6627 pr1You probably know Sheldon Fallon the Insurance Man. You know – Leigh Insurance Agency, 10 East Main Street, Freehold, a business that’s been there for more than two decades. Nice guy, family man, with a wife, son, daughter, and granddaughter who are terribly proud of him. Yep, that’s the Sheldon I’m talking about. But, do you know Sheldon Fallon the Actor? Sheldon Fallon the Sheriff? Sheldon Fallon on stage at Center Playhouse? This you have to see!

It all started a few weeks ago when Bernice Garfield-Szita, Artistic Director of the Center Players, took a look at the roles in the Players’ upcoming Bus Stop, took another look at her very affable friend, Sheldon, and said, “You know, I think you’d be great as either the bus driver or sheriff in this. Why don’t you try out?”

Well, Sheldon was shocked, horrified, and yet intrigued. He loves Center Players. Hasn’t he and his wife, Roberta, gone to many of the plays they’ve staged for the last many years? Aren’t both he and Roberta on the Board of Directors primarily because they love the idea of theater right in the heart of Downtown Freehold and want to do their part to keep it alive? Sheldon reasoned, “Why not? What have I got to lose?” So he auditioned for not one, but both roles Bernice had suggested, right up there on the stage of Center Playhouse. And he felt good about it. Actually, so did director Jeff Caplan. He thought Sheldon would make a great sheriff. And that’s how stars are born!

Sheldon loves the role, but admits he would have preferred the part of Carl, the bus driver, but only because “he has fewer lines.” Sheldon also admits to being scared – of flubbing his lines, or forgetting some, or missing a cue. But then he shrugs. “That’s what rehearsals are for. That’s what will make me work harder, try harder.”

I’m sure he’s trying hard, but he makes it look easy. Sitting in on rehearsals, I see Sheldon fit right in with the rest of the cast, all of whom have been on stage previously at other theaters. “They are all so nice. They have patience with the new kid.” He’s appreciative of the huge support he’s getting from everyone else.

Sheldon admits he’s surprised at how much he likes acting and what a great time he’s having. He also likes the sheriff and feels a certain affinity to him. “He seems like a nice guy, and that’s what I try to be,” Sheldon explains. “He’s kind of laid back, easy going. But he can get tough if the situation calls for it. And he likes people.”_DSF6618pr2

For folks in Freehold who know Sheldon, it’s worth the price of admission just to see him saunter across the diner and take a slug at a bad cowboy type, all the time protecting the little lady the cowboy wants to marry. For those who don’t know him, it’s worth the price of admission to see him take on a new phase in his life. I’m asking for his autograph on opening night!

Bus Stop, written by William Inge and directed by Jeff Caplan, opens at Center Playhouse, 35 South Street in Downtown Freehold, on October 10th. The show runs for five weekends through November 9, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There will be no performance on Halloween, October 31. There will be an additional matinee performance on Saturday, November 1 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $23 for Seniors/Students, and include desserts and refreshments at intermission. Group rates for parties of 10 or more are available.  Seating is limited, so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 or visit us online at www.CenterPlayers.org to purchase your tickets

 

******************

Muriel Smith is a guest blogger for Center Players. She grew up in Union, NJ and lived in Highlands for more than 40 years, working as a newspaper writer/editor before leaving home with her husband 15 years ago to live in an RV and visit every state in the Union before determining that Monmouth County is still the best place to live. She’s now settled comfortably in Freehold.

 

 

Bus Stop rehearsals under way at Center Playhouse!

Rehearsals for Bus Stop in progress at Center Playhouse!

4th in a series on the behind-the-scenes making of “Bus Stop” running at Center Playhouse Oct 10 – Nov 9.

By Muriel Smith.  Edited by Jan Thompson

 

It is three weeks into rehearsals for Center Players’ Bus Stop, and I finally got to sit in on my first session. It was amazing! It was the most exciting ‘people watching’ I’ve ever done.

 

A lot goes into laying a solid foundation before rehearsals start. Director Jeff Caplan read the entire script at least four times before making his final decisions about who would play each of the roles. Interestingly, he admitted he sometimes makes changes during the rehearsal sessions. “I read it first just to read it,” he explained, “then the second time to do the blocking – who goes where, what goes where.” The third time was so he could plan out the props, the sound effects, all the ‘little things’ nobody particularly notices but are so necessary for a smooth and accurate presentation. The fourth reading was simply to ensure he had gotten things the way he wanted.  Guess that’s what makes a great director.

 

Also before the start of rehearsals, Jeff and producer Colleen DeFelice met to coordinate their thoughts and ideas for the final production. In the theater, both sat front row center. Well, actually, during the three hours of rehearsal I observed, Jeff paced back and forth – listening, often nodding his head, always thinking.

 

Before the cast got on stage, loose leaf books and pencils in hand, Jeff explained that the play is a cooperative effort. In addition to acting, he expected each actor to offer his own input and suggestions before he made the final decisions. However, it’s the cast who gave me the special ‘feel’ that is the difference between a group of people acting and talking on stage and a cast of well-honed, well-trained, enthusiastic actors who put their all into each role.

 

Seeing the actors take on their roles was really exciting for someone who hasn’t been on stage since playing the piano in a high school concert half a century ago. The play opens in a Kansas diner with owner Grace Hoylard (Brett Sabo) and waitress Elma Duckworth (Kate Barron) chatting about love, life, and the snowstorm, which eventually causes a bus with its driver and riders to be stranded there. Brett and Kate are delightful in their roles. After I attended the auditions, I wondered why a particular actor was accepted for a particular role rather than another. But seeing them pull together during this bare stage rehearsal convinced me that director Jeff Caplan had a knack for seeing something special in these two actresses that certainly wasn’t obvious to me at first.

 

I was mesmerized for the couple of hours I was at the rehearsal. I watched the actors (Brett Sabo and Kate Barron, as well as Joe Orlando, Tom Cox, Sheldon Fallon, and Jennifer Karmazin) go through their parts – moving, reading, emoting, flubbing, laughing, trying again, listening carefully to Jeff, Jeff conferring with producer Colleen, then all trying a particular sequence once again. They were intense, hardworking, energetic, and engaging.

 

Then, an hour or so into the rehearsal, something interesting happened. I suddenly noticed that while Jeff was directing his attention to two other actors, Brett and Kate moved closer together and began motioning and nodding. It was clear they were getting to know each other in their roles and establishing a team. Other actors practiced their blocking, (places where they were supposed to be on stage). When you see the play, note the look of shock on Kate’s face when Bo orders three raw hamburgers. You will be moved by Virgil’s fatherly advice and obvious love for his ‘adopted’ son, Bo.

 

Truth is, I can’t wait until I get to see the finished production!

 

Bus Stop, written by William Inge and directed by Jeff Caplan, opens at Center Playhouse, 35 South Street in Downtown Freehold, on October 10. The show runs for five weekends through November 9, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM. There will be no performance on Halloween, October 31. There will be an additional matinee performance on Saturday, November 1 at 2:00 PM. Tickets are $25 for Adults and $23 for Seniors/Students, and include gourmet desserts and refreshments at intermission. Group rates for parties of 10 or more are available.   Seating is limited, so call the box office at (732) 462-9093 or visit us online at www.CenterPlayers.org to purchase your tickets.

 

******************

 

Muriel Smith is a guest blogger for Center Players. She grew up in Union, NJ and lived in Highlands for more than 40 years, working as a newspaper writer/editor before leaving home with her husband 15 years ago to live in an RV and visit every state in the Union before determining that Monmouth County is still the best place to live. She’s now settled comfortably in Freehold.