Archive for July, 2009

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Don’t Stop Believin’ on the Great White Way

July 22, 2009

A guest blog by Marketing & PR Intern Jessica Quinlan

On a recent trip to New York City, I saw the new 80s musical, Rock of Ages. It proved to be an enjoyable and unique experience right from the get go. The theater was packed with a young crowd who grew up in the 70s and 80s – some still clad in their favorite leather jackets and vintage band T-shirts. Before and during the show, the wait staff scurried about the theater selling a variety of beverages to give it that real concert feel. From the moment the curtain rose to the tune of Twisted Sister’s “I Wanna Rock” to its close with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin,’” the music, vocals, and special effects were quite impressive.

The fist pumping audience gave the show an energy and atmosphere in itself. The musical’s dialogue and plot were creative in the fact that they managed to tie the lyrics of many popular unrelated 80s bands together into a story of its own. Laughter often erupted minutes before the next song, simply because the dialogue easily predicted the plot and set list to such 80s fans. (For example, when dialogue started with “I can’t fight this feeling any longer” and broke out into REO Speedwagon’s power ballad.)

Set in 1987 California the plot did have some historical basis but this was easily overshadowed by the vivacious personalities of the show’s comedic and loveable characters. Many times throughout the show the cast urged the entire audience to their feet by singing and dancing in the aisles. I found that it didn’t take much to compel this crowd to belt out their favorite songs and relive their “glory days.”

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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Toxic Audio: A Cappella with a Twist

July 16, 2009

A guest blog by Marketing & PR Intern Kelly Dolan

Last week, while on a Royal Caribbean Cruise, I had the opportunity to see many shows. I was beginning to get bored of night after night of subpar shows, when finally I saw Toxic Audio perform. I could hardly believe that they were using nothing but their own voices as the background music to some highly intricate instrumental songs. This five- person a cappella group not only sang popular songs such as Vicki Sue Robinson’s “Turn the Beat Around” and Mika’s “Grace Kelly” but they also use their own voices to supply all of the background music. When I shut my eyes for a second I felt as though there was a real trumpet, guitar, and piano being used during performance.

The singing was not the only thing that kept me entertained. The performance of each song had some type of twist to it. For example, when they sang “Paperback Writer” by the Beatles they walked around the audience and had members point to random words from a book. By the end cast member Jeremy James, known as the “Rap Master”, was able to create a rap song on the spot using all the words collected from the audience. Toxic Audio puts on a show that keeps audiences in awe throughout the entire performance. After seeing them perform, you may just be tempted to try and move your own nose at just the right angle in order to sound like a trumpet.

For more information on Toxic Audio, visit: http://www.toxicaudio.com/.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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A Brief Q&A with Michael Cavanaugh

July 14, 2009

A brief Q&A with musician Michael Cavanaugh, the original Piano Man in Broadway’s Movin’ Out on his upcoming tour and his new CD, In Color

How long have you been playing the piano? And did you always want to play the piano? I have been playing since I was 7. My parents purchased a piano for my Mom and immediately loved it and started playing. When I showed up to my first piano lesson I played “It’s still Rock & Roll to me”. Then my first lesson was something like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I wasn’t that interested. I wound up being a poor piano student.

How did it feel to be hand-picked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out?
It was unreal. It was the kind of thing I imagined when I was a kid.

Can you tell us about your new album In Color?
My new CD was one of the greatest experiences I have had making music as we teamed up with producer Rob Mathes and have some great originals as well as some interpretations of some classic songs by Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, and others. We also received a great distribution deal so it is available at iTunes, Amazon.com, as well as Best Buy and Borders. I will be out front after the show at the State Theatre signing CD’s too!

What’s has been your most memorable performance? What town/city was it in?
There have been many, if I had to pick a few, I would pick playing on stage with Billy Joel in Cleveland, Ohio (my hometown) during one of his shows. Others of note would be the first symphony performance I did with the Indianapolis Symphony because they had such belief in the project and that first night was incredible. And obviously my first night on Broadway was pretty special 🙂

What are some of the bands/artists that you are listening to right now?
The Beatles, John Mayer, Daughtry, The Eagles, The Who

Would you ever consider performing on Broadway again?
Who knows, I never say never. For now, I have many other projects that I am working on. A new symphony show (Generations of Rock-n-Roll), a new Vegas show (hoping to debut this fall), as well as a tour in the Far East. I plan on having a long career so you never know.

Michael Cavanaugh performs with a full band at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ on Thursday, July 16 at 8pm.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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The Amish Project – An Intense Hour Worth Your Time

July 8, 2009

A group of State Theatre staff members including myself, recently went into NYC to the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater for a performance of The Amish Project (presented by the State Theatre in March 2010). If I had one word to describe this show, it would be captivating. For 65 minutes, I, like my co-workers was glued to every word and every movement made by Jessica Dickey, the one-woman actress/playwright of this show.

The play, a fictional exploration of the true events of the 2006 shootings of 5 girls (and the gunman) in an Amish Schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA, is imbued with poetry, humor, and wonder. Throughout the hour, Dickey moves seamlessly back and forth among different characters (including the gunman, his widow, an Amish child, a news reporter, and a 16-year-old Hispanic girl), deftly weaving a complex and thought-provoking web of differing perspectives that explore the major themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. Each character is portrayed with a different voice and very distinct mannerisms that make it clear as to who she is playing at any given moment and all of this while in the same costume of an Amish dress, apron, and bonnet. It is truly a masterclass in acting to watch as she makes you forget that she is playing the deranged gunman while wearing this bonnet.

As intense as the play is, we didn’t leave the theater feeling sad, in fact, it opened a dialogue between us. A dialogue that has been ongoing since we saw the show almost 2 weeks ago. And apparently, we are not the only ones still talking about this show, as the run has been extended to July 12 due to critical acclaim and popular demand (New York Times review. NPR review.) Check it out now at: http://www.rattlestick.org/ or catch it at the State Theatre in March 2010.

–Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.