An Interview with Director Anthony Marinelli
Noted Director Anthony Marinelli is returning to Center Players to present “Chapter Two,” the Neil Simon semi-autographical play which has resonated with him since adolescence. The play, which tells the story of recently widowed writer George Schneider and his reluctant return to the dating scene, deals with serious issues in Simon’s typical comedic fashion. “I believe that Chapter Two skillfully demonstrates that life is a series of chapters, and its issues of loss, renewal and letting go of the past are easily recognizable to today’s audiences,” explained Marinelli. One of the keys to a successful production of this play is ensuring that the famous Simon humor is not lost or forced, he added. This production will be presented in the original 1977 timeframe, allowing the audience to witness the relationships back in a time with fewer distractions. “While it may have been a simpler time back then, this play proves there’s nothing simple about human emotions,” explained Marinelli.
Bringing Simon’s characters to life are cast members Jeff Caplan (George Schneider), Mike Tota (Leo Schneider), Laura Casey (Jenny Malone) and Lisa Merritt (Faye Medwick), all of whom have performed with Center Players in the past. “Center Playhouse’s intimate setting is very beneficial in a play like this, as it allows the audience to experience the emotional impact of the show first-hand,” explained Marinelli.
Previously, Marinelli, a Manalapan resident, directed Woody Allen’s “Play it Again Sam” at Center Playhouse. His one-act play, Acoustic Space, won the 2014 Strawberry Festival Best Play award. The film version screened in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and a host of others in NYC. Another short film he directed, Walt Whitman Never Paid For It, based on a play by Angelo Berkowitz, won the 2014 Audience Choice Award at the Richmond International Film Festival. Other shorts include Night, Joey’s Gonna Kill Me, Lunch Time and Subway (seen on PBS’ Reel 13). In 2013 he held an industry reading for his feature film screenplay, Eventually Yours, starring Joseph Cassese and Andrea Navedo ( Jane the Virgin).
Other plays Marinelli has directed include: Raisins Not Virgins, Fool for Love, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, The Intruder, and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? His latest one-act play, Another Famous Dead Artist, performed in three NY play festivals last year including the Strawberry and New York New Works Festival (semi-finalist).
Tickets for Chapter Two are limited and can be purchased by calling 732-462-9093 or online at http://www.centerplayers.org.