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Spooky Thrillers, Thrilling Spelling, and a Mermaid

It's a great time for theater loves with venues offering everything from mystery, musicals, comedies and family shows

The stages of North Jersey always have lots to offer, but this is a particularly busy time with plenty of shows, concerts and auditions to choose from.

Shows opening soon include the thriller “Veronica’s Room” at , “The Sound of Music” at Brundage Park Playhouse, and “The 25 Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at Villagers Theatre.

Other shows, like “Boeing-Boeing” at and “Marvin’s Room” at the are continuing their run. And parents looking to do something with the kids during the winter may want to check out “Mother Hicks” at The Growing Stage or “The Little Mermaid” at Pax Amicus Castle Theatre.

There are also plenty of concerts to see, classes to take and shows to audition for. Just read the On Stage Scoop to find out all about them.

ON STAGE SCOOP:

Wynonna Tickets on Sale Jan. 27: Tickets for Wynonna’s July 20 concert at in Morristown go on sale Jan. 27 (Jan. 26 for members). Tickets cost $57 to $97. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Love, Life and Laughter: is performing Scott McPherson’s “Marvin’s Room” through Feb. 4 at the theater, located at 32 Skyline Drive in Montville. In the show, Bessie, who has been caring for her ailing father, Marvin, and for her Aunt Ruth, learns that now she too is sick and turns to her sister for help, bringing to surface long-buried resentment and overwhelming love. Tickets cost $15 and can be ordered by calling 973-334-9320. The box office is staffed every Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, go to BarnTheatre.org.

There’s Laughter in the Air at Paper Mill: is staging Marc Camoletti’s “Boeing-Boeing” through Feb. 12. The farce follows an American playboy in ’60s-era Paris who is juggling relationships with three different flight attendants around the world, but his dream setup is headed for disaster after a new, superfast jet changes the women’s schedule. For more information, go to PaperMill.org or call 973-376-4343.

Finding Their Way: The Growing Stage Children’s Theatre in Netcong is presenting Suzan L. Zeder’s “Mother Hicks” through Feb. 5. Set during the Great Depression, the play tells of three outsiders—a girl, a deaf boy and Mother Hicks, who is accused of being a witch—through poetry and sign language, according to the theater. Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 4 p.m. Thursday performances include a question-and-answer session with the actors and director. Tickets cost $18, $14 seniors/children. Recommended for ages 7 and up. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. For more information, call 973-347-4946 or go to GrowingStage.com.

Ahead of the Pack: Somerset Valley Players is staging "Leader of the Pack:  The Ellie Greenwich Musical" through Feb. 5 at the company’s playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road/Route 514 in Hillsborough. The musical features classic songs of the 1960s in a rags-to-riches story of Greenwich, who whose songs include “Chapel of Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “And Then He Kissed Me.” Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors/students. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or visit SVPTheatre.org.

It’s Time For Jazz in Hackettstown: Centenary Stage Company will wrap up its Jazz in January Series at the Centenary Stage Company on Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. with a lineup of noted musicians hand-selected by Hackettstown’s Ed Coyne. The evening’s lineup of veteran musicians will include Jerry Weldon on tenor saxophone, Robin Eubanks on Trombone, Warren Wolf on Vibraphone, Dennis Mackrel on drums, Rufus Reid on bass and Jesse Green on piano.  Advance tickets cost $22.50, $17.50 for 18 years and younger. Tickets at the door cost $27.50 for all ages. The theater is located at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, on the campus of Centenary College. For tickets and information, call 908-979-0900 or go to CentenaryStageCo.org.

Audition Alert, “Over the River and Through the Woods”: will hold auditions for Joe DiPietro’s “Over the River and Through the Woods” on Jan. 25. For more information, call 908-273-2192 or go to SummitPlayhouse.org.

Audition Alert, “Seussical:” The Growing Stage Theatre will hold auditions for its main stage production of “Seussical” on Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. at its theater, located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. 24 auditions are for young performers 18 and older, and for adults. All auditioning should have a song prepared with printed accompaniment that should be no longer than 16 measures. Those auditioning are expected to learn a dance piece led by the choreographer and some may be asked to read from the script. The production is under the direction of Stephen L. Fredericks, the Growing Stage’s executive director. The show will run March 9 through April 1. The Growing Stage is a professional member of the Association of Actor’s Equity. There will be six roles available for AEA artists, one AEA/ASM while other roles will be filled by community artists, making a cast of approximately 25. Rehearsal schedules are generally two or three evenings during the week, and a weekend afternoon.  All cast members are expected for all performances, with no exception since the company does not cast understudies. Performers of color, seniors, women and performers with disabilities are encouraged to attend. For additional information please call 973-347- 4946, email exdir@growingstage.com or click here.

What’s Going on in that Room? in Morris Township will present Ira Levin’s “Veronica’s Room,” Jan 26 through Feb. 12. The theater’s website describes the play as a thriller that explores the line between fantasy and reality. In the play, a young couple ends up at a mansion whose owners are struck by the young woman’s resemblance to their dead daughter. NOTE: The play contains adult language. Tickets cost $40. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or go to MorrisMuseum.org.

Laughter, New York Style: Manhattan Comedy Night is coming to on Jan. 27 for a performance beginning at 8 p.m. The lineup will include Todd Barry, Keith Robinson, Lenny Marcus and Marion Grodin. This show will contain mature themes and language. Tickets cost $25. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Have a Blast! Tony-winning Blast will take stage at on Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. Blast includes 35 brass, percussion and visual performers exploring music evolved from the tradition of pageantry, drum corps, bands and color guards. The group won the 2001 Tony for Best Special Theatrical Event. Tickets cost $42 to $67. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Audition Alert, “Clue:” will hold auditions for "Clue:  The Musical" on Jan. 29 and 30 at 7 p.m. at the Players’ playhouse, located at 689 Amwell Road/Route 514 in Hillsborough. Needed are four to five males and three to four females, late 20s and up. Please bring with you and be prepared to sing 16 bars of a song of your own choosing. Accompanist will be provided. There will also be light dancing. Readings will be from the script with some improv exercises. Show song samples can be found on YouTube for style only. Callbacks will be held on Feb. 1 at p.m. if needed. For more information, call 908-369-7469 or go to SVPTheatre.org.

Comic Books Brought to Life: “The Intergalactic Nemesis” is coming to on Jan. 29. The show features three actors, sound effects, a keyboardist and more than 1,250 hand-drawn high-resolution comic book images to share the story of a sci-fi adventure set in 1933. Tickets cost $27 to $67. Recommended for ages 7 and up. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Getting Jazzy at the Bickford: Jazz guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli will perform a concert as part of the Jazz Showcase at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown on Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $15 in advance. The theater is located at the , 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morris Township. For more information, call 973-971-3706 or go to the theater’s website.

Rock and Symphony: David Garrett will perform a concert titled “Rock Symphonies II” on Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. at . Garrett’s violin playing explores everything from Mozart to Metallica with a sound geared toward all generations. Tickets cost $37 to $87. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Villagers is the Place to “Bee:” Villagers Theatre in Somerset will perform the musical hit, “The 25 Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Feb. 3 through 19. The show is about six nerdy, needy contestants competing for a spelling bee championship. Performances are Fri.-Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18, $16 seniors and students. The theater is located at 475 Demott Lane. For tickets and more information, call 732-873-2710, email boxoffice@villagerstheatre.com or visit VillagersTheatre.com.

Latin Sounds: Paquito D’Rivera will take stage at on Feb. 3 at 8 p.m. The Cuban-born D’Rivera plays sax and clarinet, and won two 2011 Latin Gramy awards, for Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Tickets cost $37-$67. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

The Hills of Randolph are Alive with “The Sound of Music:” Brundage Park Playhouse will present Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music,” Feb. 4 through 19 at the theater, located at 2 Bungalow Lane in Randolph. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $20, $15 for senior and children under 12. For reservations, call 973-989-7092. For more information, go to BrundageParkPlayhouse.org.

Like a Fish Out of Water: Pax Amicus Castle Theatre will present “The Little Mermaid” on Feb. 4, 11, 18 and 25 at 11 a.m. In the play, the mermaid leaves her home in the sea to visit land where she falls in love. Tickets cost $12. The theater is located at 23 Lake Shore Road in Budd Lake. For more information, call 973-691-2100 or visit PaxAmicus.com.

Irish Sounds in Hackettstown: The Prodigals will take stage at Centenary Stage’s Lackland Center for a concert on Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. The band has been acclaimed for its blend of traditional Irish music with a funky American sound. The theater is located at 715 Grand Ave in Hackettstown, on the campus of Centenary College. Tickets cost $25 in advance, $27.50 on the day of the show. Tickets can be purchased by calling 908-979-0900 or online at CentenaryStageCo.org.

Sparkling Diamond: Super Diamond, a Neil Diamond cover band, will perform a concert at on Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. Audiences can sing along to “Sweet Caroline,” “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Song Sung Blue” and other hits. Tickets cost $32 to $52. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

Wherefore Art Thou Romeo? He’s in Morristown: Toronto’s Classical Theatre Project will perform “Romeo and Juliet” on Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. at . The production features Shakespeare’s language, while telling the classic story of young lovers in a staging designed to engage 21st-centry audiences. Tickets cost $20. The Mayo Performing Arts Center is located at 100 South St. in Morristown. For tickets and information, call 973-539-8008 or visit MayoArts.org.

A Poet With a Secret: Villagers Theatre in Somerset will perform a staged reading of Sean O’Leary’s “Walt Whitman’s Secret” on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. In the play, which is part of the theater’s New Playwrights Series, Whitman is an old man and a young friend Horace seeks the poet’s love as he spreads his fame. The theater is located at 475 Demott Lane. For more information, go to VillagersTheatre.com.

Audition Alert, “The Pied Piper:” Villagers Theatre in Somerset is holding auditions for its April production of “The Pied Piper” on Feb. 9 and 15 from 7-10 p.m. and Feb. 11 from 3-6 p.m. at the theater, located at 475 Demott Lane in Somerset. Please be prepared to perform a song for children. Sides will be provided for readings and direction. Rehearsals begin Feb. 27. Performances are April 14 through 22. The theater’s website describes the show as a fun musical adaptation of the legend. It’s intended for young audiences, and Villagers is looking for performers who can communicate the emotion of the story with words, song, and movement while entertaining both very young and old audience members alike. For more information, including a character breakdown, go to VillagersTheatre.com or email the director at Jeff@Villagerstheatre.com.

Bill Maher Tickets on Sale: Tickets for Bill Maher’s May 20 performance at New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Prudential Hall in Newark are on sale now. Maher hosted ABC’s “Politically Incorrect” from 1993 to 2002 and currently hosts “Real Time” on HBO. He is known for his controversial, politically charged humor. Tickets cost $39.50 to $95 and are available by calling 1-888-466-5722 and at NJPAC.org.

Getting in on the Act: The is seeking original, one-act plays, short musicals and/or original dance pieces, written by New Jersey authors, for the 18th annual Jersey Voices presentation. Play submissions of any genre, style and length up to 20 minutes running time will be accepted through March 15. Selected pieces will be performed in the Players’ Black Box Theater in July and August. To email submissions or to request more information, go to jerseyvoices@chathamplayers.org.

Dance Classes at Centenary College: Registration is open for dance classes at The Conservatory of Dance at Centenary College. Classes begin Jan. 17 and will be held in the Lackland Center, located at 715 Grand Ave. in Hackettstown. Classes are taught by Centenary College dance faculty and guest artists. Classes are offered in modern, jazz, ballet, and theater dance. Beginner and advanced classes are also available. Prices are $130 for one class a week, $195 for twice a week and $275 for three a week. Register before Jan. 6 and receive a 15 percent discount. For more information please contact Professor Lea Antolini-Lid at 908-852-1400, ext. 2421 or visit CentenaryStageCo.org.

Summer Camp at Playwrights Theatre: Registration is open for the Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey’s Creative Arts Academy summer camp for kids and summer theatre program for teens beginning June 25 and running all summer long in two-week sessions. Summer programs include a Full-Day Theatre Academy, which costs $525 when enrolled before Jan. 31. Also being offered are a Half-Day Summer Camp, and a Getting Ready To Audition class for high school students. For more information, call 973-514-1787 or visit ptnj.org.

Winter Theatre Classes at Brundage Park Playhouse: Brundage Park Playhouse will begin its winter theater classes on Jan. 30. Classes are being offered in acting, musical theater dance, modern dance and more. Click here for class descriptions, schedules and prices. Randolph Township is also hosting a Stars on Stage program for children with special needs, beginning Jan. 12 and continuing through March. Click here for more information.

Winter Programs for Kids at Growing Stage: Registration is open for the Growing Stage theater’s Winter Creative Arts Program. Classes are offered for kids ranging from pre-kindergarten to ninth grade. Classes include Creative, Dramatics, Performing Arts Workshop, The Actor Speaks and Musical Performance Lab. The theater is located at 7 Ledgewood Ave. in Netcong. Classes begin Jan. 28 and continue through April 21. Click here for more information.

About this column: 'On Stage: A Peek At The Performing Arts' is a weekly look at what's going on in the world of theater, music and other performing arts. It runs Tuesdays.

This post is shared across Patch sites serving Morris, Somerset and Sussex communities. Comments below may be by readers of any of those sites.

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