'Jersey Voices’ Revisits 12 Hits from Earlier Years

July 28, 2014 at 2:26 PM

CHATHAM, NJ – “Jersey Voice” at The Chatham Playhouse has had a remarkable run, so far, of 30 continuous years, receiving over 2,000 scripts and producing 112 works.

This anniversary year, the company revisits some of its earlier hits. (That was not clear during promotions for the series.)  They’re still a mixed bag of drama, comedies and dance numbers.  These 12 one acts, performed on alternate nights, have something for just about everyone, depending on your own experience and how you identify with the stories or characters.

Series A has a number of highlights, including “Eleanor Descending a Staircase” by Ian August. Judi Laganga as Eleanor gives a striking performance as a woman determined to buy a print of a painting for her husband’s birthday. Brian Carroll as the clerk (in various guises) keeps thwarting her intentions. The play was directed by Jon DeAngelis.

A huge crowd-pleaser is “Ebbets Field” by Frank Briamonte. Michael King as Daniel can
sell just about anything in his energized, warm projection of a man visiting
his father (Art Delo) who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Although the play gets
a little preachy now and then (let the audience do the sobbing, not the actors),
 those who saw it were obviously moved
and mesmerized.

“In Sickness and Fine China” pits Diana (Miriam Salerno) against her finance
Michael (Ken Vespasiano.)  Their squabble
over registering for china, silver and sheets hit a ring of truth, especially Salerno’s
frustration with her boyfriend’s  late arrival
and indifference to these major decisions.  It’s written with a nice touch of humor by Margaret
Ruvoldt and directed by Steve Catron.

“Grandparents Day” by Grace Wessbecher and directed by Joan Lopresti Scanlon is a loving
tribute to an elderly Irish couple (Howard Fischer and Geraldine Baillod) who
recall meeting when young, going their separate ways and finding each other
again years later.

“The Run of the River” by William C. Kovacsik and directed by Maybelle Cowan-Lincoln
features Christopher C. Gibbs as Jim and Matt Lafargue as Tom. You soon see
that these two, sitting in a rowboat and fishing, have more to do with memory
than reality. Still, it’s effectively realized as Jim gradually comes to terms
with his son, who was in the army.

A change of pace is the dance sequence, “Love Me Deadly.”  Written by Desiree Caro and Anthony Rubolotta, this bold, haunting tale is performed by Darius Delk as Charlie and his loves,
Katey Sabo, Zetta Cool and Melissa Kaban. Each woman coveys a different
persona: First Love, Starlet, Vixen, for a tight and disturbing vignette.

“Jersey Voices" continues next weekend at The Chatham Playhouse, 23 North Passaic
Avenue, Chatham. For tickets, call (973) 635-7363 or visit chathamplayers.org.

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