Jersey City’s Fall Theater Season Begins This Weekend

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Fall theater season will soon be in full swing, as one Jersey City theater group will launch a new season this Friday, with others soon to follow.

The Actors Shakespeare Company at NJCU (ASC) gets things rolling with The Kid from Paris: Jean Brassard Sings Montaud, the first of four mainstage productions the group is putting together for its 2010-2011 season, themed “Love’s Transgressions.”

“This season we explore the many faces of love, and all of the human foibles that strive to defeat it,” producing artistic director Colette Rice says. “Shakespeare challenges our ideas about love — both its potential and its limitations.”

This year also marks the 10th anniversary of ASC (it has been at NJCU for six years), all of which have come under Rice’s direction. She says that despite the bad budget news for both arts organizations and New Jersey’s higher-education institutions, ASC is well-positioned.

“NJCU’s commitment to ASC remains strong and determined, and the efforts made over the past year have strengthened our position,” Rice says. “In short, ASC’s future has never been brighter.”

In addition to the four main stage productions (Romeo and Juliet, Logomaniacs and The Tempest are the other three), ASC is once again producing a number of ASC Lab projects. This series allows ASC’s artists to explore new material, and allows the public to check out some free theater when the lab puts on its final presentation.

While ASC is starting its 10th season, J CITY Theater isn’t quite ready for its last season to end — Friday it hosts a free evening of storytelling and music, Jersey Shorts, which marks the culmination of its 5th season. The one-night only event (full disclosure: we’re the media sponsor) is modeled after National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts at Symphony Space and its the fourth time the Downtown troupe has put the evening together.

“As a theater company, we have always been captivated by ‘the story’ and the many ways it can be told,” J CITY artistic director Sandy Cockrell says. “Jersey Shorts allows us to celebrate the short story and showcase fellow Jersey City artists.”

Short story readers scheduled to perform include Roxanne Clark, Barbara Eden, Rodney Reyes, Paul Silverman, Nancy Sambul, Phil Rivo and Mia Scanga; while musical performers scheduled to appear include Chrissy Roberts, Glen Coleman, Steve Gelsi and Jeff Humphrey.

J CITY will formally launch its next season in late October with State of the Union, a Pulitzer-winning script from 1946 that explores the dangers of a presidential campaign, followed by the annual holiday tradition of A Tuna Christmas and later, in the spring, by Don’t Dress for Dinner.

Meanwhile, the Attic Ensemble will kick off its 2010-2011 season later this month with the Sam Shepard dark comedy True West, the first of four mainstage productions the group will produce in its 40th — yes, 40th — season. True West will be followed by Les Liaisons Dangereuses in November, The Piano Lesson in late February and Dancing at Lughnasa in late April/early May.

The company will host several special one-off events and fundraisers throughout the season as well, including an anniversary gala slated for June. It also brings back for the second year its Attic Junior Series, which gives children 4 and up a hands-on theatrical experience via four shows — The Athlete, Princess, Pirate, Fairy, Welder, Deep-sea Diver Club in late September/early October, Secret Tales of Silent Trees in November, Who is Philip DeBlanks? in February and Wonders, Inc. in late April/early May. Each Junior Series show is about 45 minutes long, and includes a 25-minute hands-on educational talk-back afterward.

Click on the following links for more information about ASC, J CITY Theater or the Attic Ensemble, and to purchase tickets.

Jon Whiten

co-founder of the Jersey City Independent; he now works for a public-policy nonprofit in Trenton.