Archive for August, 2009

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Review of 2009 NYC Fringe Festival Events

August 27, 2009

New York City’s Annual Fringe Festival is a chance for artists to come together to showcase what they have been working on to friends, family, industry and theater fans. I attended two shows at the Connelly Theater on the East Side at this year’s festival to see if there was anything out there that our school groups might enjoy seeing in future seasons and I was pleasantly surprised. The first show, Sinking Ship Production’s Powerhouse, is the story of composer Raymond Scott and his passion in discovering new ways to create music. Actually, the entire play leads up to his invention of “The Electronium” (a machine that produced sounds and melodies randomly so you could always listen to something new). The show, which naturally incorporated a lot of Scott’s own music along with other sounds of the time, was well done and well acted with some very amusing puppets acting out the cartoons that Scott had composed for (even though sometimes I wasn’t really sure what the puppets were doing). It was touching and I laughed, but I don’t think school groups would be too interested in seeing this show with slightly more adult themes.

Later that day I got to see a great musical version of the Edgar Allan Poe classic, The Fall of the House of Usher from the Woodberry Forest School. When I decided to go see it, I thought, as I’m sure many high schoolers think, that Poe is going to be dark and depressing and kind of boring. I was pleasantly surprised. The music covered several different genres and added a definite tone to the show that helped the audience get into the mindset of the original poet who wrote over 200 years ago. I was impressed with the acting and how passionate they were in their roles and how exciting it was compared to other Poe works, such as “The Raven”. I thought this version is one that high schoolers could very much enjoy if they don’t think so much that they are “learning.”

All in all, I think it was a pretty successful first outing at the Fringe Festival. I enjoyed both shows and got to see what people in the industry were doing. The Festival only runs until August 30th, but I’m already looking forward to next year.

–Jenn Cunha, Education

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave 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, Myspace, and YouTube.

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Yes, it’s true. We are Star Wars fans!

August 20, 2009
You may or may not know this, but we are presenting the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy in February 2010. Yes, that’s right folks, a ONE-MAN STAR WARS show. How you say? Well, it’s a simple concept actually (and crazy to watch), one guy performs the entire trilogy, all the characters and all of the voices in…less than 2 hours. Curious? Check out Charlie Ross’ (the actor who performs) website. Or watch the video below of a commercial Charlie did for Cinemax.

To quote the New York Times, “You had better start investing in a light sabre.”

Anyway, to spread the word on this show, we have partnered up with the Somerset Patriots who are hosting Star Wars night on August 24. They promise to have over 10 costumed characters including Darth Vader. These special appearances will be provided by the New Jersey Chapter of the 501st Legion, the premier costuming organization of Star Wars characters (who knew there was such a thing? Who knew NJ has it’s own chapter?!). See you at the ball game!

For more info on the One-Man Star Wars Trilogy performances, click here.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave 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, Myspace, and YouTube.

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MC Bakeshop, Highland Park’s Newest Bakery

August 14, 2009

Waffle DogLooking for a sweet fix this summer? Maybe a little something to woo your friends at your next BBQ? MC Bakeshop in Highland Park (the new guys in town) offer up some homemade baked goods with a twist (including this waffle dog pictured).

Cheesecake cupcakes and cakes, from Southern style red velvet to chocolate to tiramisu, are their signature items, but don’t worry there are plenty of those standbys, brownies, cookies, and dessert bars to be had.

For the more exotic, go for Opera, a French dessert made with almond sponge cake and coffee liqueur sandwiched with French butter cream and chocolate layers.

For more information on MC Bakeshop or too drool over the photos of the yummy goods, visit http://www.mc-bakeshop.com/. MC Bakeshop is located at 314 Raritan Ave, Highland Park, NJ.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave 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, Myspace, and YouTube.

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Summer Food Drive Success!

August 7, 2009

On Tuesday, August 4th, the State Theatre in collaboration with Elijah’s Promise held a community food drive to benefit the Elijah’s Promise Food Pantry in New Brunswick, NJ.

And we are happy to report that it was a success!

The food drive—held during the concert, Harry Chapin: A Celebration in Song—was in honor of Harry Chapin and his dedication to the fight against world hunger. (Chapin founded World Hunger Year in 1975.) Many patrons attending the celebration, brought in multiple bags of non-perishable food items (including Costco sized items!). It was a very nice evening and we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of food that we received. Thanks for making a difference and providing a nutritious meal to those in need in the New Brunswick community.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave 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, Myspace, and YouTube.

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What a Blast — 3rd Annual Jersey Summer Beatles Bash Proves to Be the Best Yet

August 4, 2009

For three years, the State Theatre has partnered with local celebrity musician Glen Burtnik (former member of Styx) on a Beatles tribute concert called the “Jersey Summer Beatles Bash.” Every year, Glen picks a Beatles album, and some friends (a very talented group of musicians) to perform a note-for-note rendition of that album. This year’s album was Abbey Road.

(Above, people browse through the Beatles Rock Art that was displayed during the pre-show Happy Hour.)

From start to finish, this year’s performance was amazing. I mean you could just feel the energy of the crowd in the hall, it was electric. (And it’s still funny to me that lighters have been replaced by cell phones.) One of these highly charged moments was during I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” The song, which is hypnotic without a live performance, was mesmerizing to listen to and to watch, especially as Glen and several other guitarists including Bob Burger (who has performed alongside Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, and Jon Bon Jovi), John Merjave (from the band Liverpool), Marc Muller (has played guitar for Shania Twain, Kelly Clarkson, and Elton John, among many others), and Marty O’Kane (lead guitarist/multi-instrumentalist for award-winning songwriter April Smith) poured themselves into the repetitive guitar riffs of the song (which is in fact 8 minutes long).

The last song of the night was the ever-popular “Hey Jude,” where quite a few folks (including some State Theatre staff members, see pic at right) jumped onstage to join Glen & Friends for the song’s repeating “Na-Nas”. So, it really was a great night and we can’t wait for next year’s.

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.