Beth's Book Review

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal NJ is Not to be Missed

Usually this column reviews both non-fiction and fiction books. Today I would like to digress and inform you about a true New Jersey gem, the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, located at 100 Grant Avenue, Deal Park, NJ. Nestled in a suburban area, just a couple of miles from the Atlantic Ocean, this stunning venue is housed in a JCC building. Its easy to access location, just off Route 35, ample parking, and modern theater makes it a perfect place to hold outstanding concerts and Broadway quality theatrical performances.

` I found out about the Axelrod Performing Arts Center through a newspaper advertisement announcing a production of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda's precursor to the astonishingly successful Hamilton. Having missed In the Heights (it played at the Richard Rogers Theater from 2008-2011), I was tickled to learn that orchestra seats at the Axelrod were a whopping $38 per person, with senior and student discounts available.

Of the production, Director-Choreographer Luis Salgado wrote in the Playbill, “In the Heights is a story that must be told at this moment when many are being forced to question their belonging in our society within the United States. Exploring this idea grounded the work and the importance of the “why” to every actor's commitment to the truth of not only their characters but themselves. I could not be prouder of this cast and every person who has contributed to telling this story.” Salgado credits his friend, Lin-Manuel Miranda for “his incredible example as it serves as a key of possibility to us all,” and to choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler who created the dances in the Broadway production. Salgado was the Latin dance choreographer for the Broadway production and also performed the role of Jose in the original cast of the show.

Sign Up for E-News

In the Heights won the Tony Award for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreograpy and Best Orchestrations. The Broadway cast scored a Grammy for Best Album as well.

Everything about the production at the Axelrod was Broadway quality. The talented cast was assembled from around the globe. Jonathan Mousset, who starred as Usnavi, the narrator of the tale, sounded eerily like Lin-Manuel Miranda, as he sang about longing for the Dominican Republic, where he had immigrated from as a young child. Maite Uzal, a native of Spain, played Abuela Claudia, the matriarch of the piece. Her rich voice was positively haunting. The willowy and gorgeous Laura Lebron played Vanessa, love interest of Usnavi.

The Latina dancing in the show is so hot that the stage sizzles, and the performers managed the free style rap with ease and grace. Despite the intensity and rapidity with which the raps are delivered, no lines are lost and the rich and meaningful themes are conveyed with passion. Everything about this production reflects the commitment of the musicians, actors, dancers, and crew to delivering a thrilling theatrical experience. In fact, the Axelrod had to add extra performances due to the sell-out crowds clamoring to see the production.

Upcoming events at the Axelrod include a Pop concert series with a Bob Dylan Tribute, Jay Siegel's Tokens and the Shirelles' Shirley Alston Reeves, and The Hit Men---Leendary Performerw with Frankie Valli, Carole King, and Cat Stevens.

A Broadway and Jazz Concert Series include a concert commemorating Ella Gitzgerald's 100th Birthday, Over the Rainbow with Art Topilow and Ann Hampton Calloway celebrating the music of Harold Arlin, and Carmen Cusack and Jeff Blumenkrantz.

Tony Award winner, Kelli O'Hara, will be performing a special gala concert on Saturday, October 28. Tickets for this performance begin at $75 and go up to $180. The top seats include a pre-show reception and post-show artist meet and greet.

The next show to grace the stage at the Deal location is La Cage Aux Folles, followed by the world premier of Time and Change, a new play by written Mark Medoff, who won the Tony for Children of a Lesser God. This would be a unique opportunity to witness the launch of a new play by this distinguished playwright.

The Axelrod offers a Youth Performing Arts Program, whose next production will be Disney's The Little Mermaid, coming in May. The Rising Stars Youth Performing Arts production is directed by Lisa Goldfarb and choreographed by Wendy Roman with musical direction by Randy Hurst.

Finally, coming in November is the Jersey Shore premiere of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a musical based on the Victor Hugo novel with songs from the Disney film. I was fortunate enough to see this haunting show when it appeared at the renowned Paper Mill Playhouse two years ago. I have already ordered nine tickets to take my entire family to see the November 19th production at the Axelrod. The Hunchback has not made it to Broadway yet, but when it does, and it will, the price per ticket will be quadrupled. If you are a musical theater devotee, do not miss the opportunity to enjoy this production.

To see the entire upcoming events list and to order tickets, visit www.axelrodartscenter.com or call 732-532-9106. You will not be sorry that you did.

 

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Support the Downtown on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25

Another shopping season is upon us here in Plainfield and shops downtown are open for business. Plainfield has a unique mix of mom-and-pop stores that offer trendy name brand clothes and shoes that compete with mall traffic and Cyber Monday deals, perfect for anyone looking for a bargain. The importance of spending locally has never been more critical as retailers and restaurants struggle to ...

A Stroll Through Echo Lake Park

This past Sunday, I joined the Freewalkers for its Stroll & Roll walking event.  Freewalkers Yohana Maria and Risa Olinsky organized the festivities, now in its second year. 

The walk, designed to be family-friendly, and for people of all ages and abilities, began in Echo Lake Park, another gem in the Union County Park system.  The four-mile round trip trek also cut ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, December 17, 10:45 AM

North Plainfield

Sunday Morning Worship

Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_9d8e453cf3136a3d0129_rec_2017_hw_helper

Mon, December 18, 4:00 PM

Hannah Atkins Community Center, Plainfield

Homework Helper

Education

PILLER’S FINE FOODS RECALLS READY-TO-EAT SALAMI AND SPECK PRODUCTS DUE TO POSSIBLE SALMONELLA ADULTERATION

December 16, 2017

WASHINGTON, Dec. 16, 2017 – Piller’s Fine Foods, a Waterloo, Canada establishment, is recalling approximately 1,076 pounds of ready-to-eat salami and speck products that may be adulterated with Salmonella, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. 

The ready-to-eat speck prosciutto and salami items were produced ...

Addams Tavern in Westfield Temporarily Closes for Renovations Required by Landlord

December 13, 2017

Dear Friends and Family of Addams Tavern,

We, unfortunately, announce that Addams Tavern must temporarily close for business on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, so that we can begin construction of additional improvements at the restaurant required by our landlord.  We are unsure how long this work will take, but we look forward to the completion and re-opening of the Addams Tavern soon.

We ...

Corrections Officer Dies in Apparent Suicide in Garret Mountain Reservation

December 14, 2017

WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes has announced that Timothy Carpenter, 49, of West Milford, is believed to be the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound resulting in his death.

Carpenter was found on Dec. 12, at approximately 6 p.m. inside his private motor vehicle in a wooded area of Garret Mountain Reservation in Woodland ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Westfield's Jackie Lieberman

This week's feature will focus on TAPintoWestfield franchisee, Jackie Lieberman. Find out what makes TAPintoWestfield.net different than the competition, what she did before coming onto TAPinto.net and how an inexperienced sales person became one of TAPinto's most successful franchisee's. 

 

When did you join TAPinto.net?:

I started as a freelance reporter in 2011 ...

'It's a Wonderful Life'from film to stage to radio

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ shows surprising appeal as radio/stage production

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ – The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has selected a nostalgic and heartwarming version of the classic Frank Capra movie from the 1140’s to entertain holiday audiences. “It’s a Wonderful Life” has somehow become a classic Christmas ...

Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan

Victoria and Albert: A Royal Love Affair by Daisy Goodwin and Sara Sheridan (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

Several months ago I reviewed the magnificent compendium Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin Manuel Miranda. This charming edition is a must for anyone who is planning to see the Hamilton in order to become familiarized with the libretto and prepare him/herself for an extra-ordinary ...