Arts & Entertainment

Press Releases

Unique Troupe of Actors Thrilled Hundreds with Production of "Annie, Jr."

Nearly 1,000 showgoers were thrilled with a very special production of "Annie, Jr." staged by the CAU Community Players, a troupe of actors both with and without developmental disabilities. The musical was performed at the Rahway High School Center for Performing Arts June 29-July 1.

Formed in 2012, the CAU Community Players empowers members with disabilities to perform alongside people from the wider community and to be seen for their talents rather than their disabilities.

The troupe is sponsored by Community Access Unlimited, a statewide nonprofit providing support programs and services to individuals with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to empower them to live independently in the community. CAU provides supports in areas including housing, life-skills training, vocational skills, Money management, health maintenance, education, advocacy and recreation.

Sign Up for E-News

"Annie, Jr." was the CAU Community Players' seventh annual production. Each year the troupe selects a play that represents CAU's message of inclusion, acceptance and self-advocacy. With an emphasis on each individual’s value regardless of ability, the plays allow for a large cast so no one is denied an opportunity to participate.

"Annie, Jr," is based on the Little orphan Annie comic strip and adapted from the Tony Award-winning musical. With equal measures of pluck and positivity, Little Orphan Annie charms everyone's hearts despite a next-to-nothing start in 1930s New York City.

Marguerite Modero, the troupe's director, said she sees Annie's positivity and  resolution in the CAU members and the entire cast.

"This was our best production ever," she said after the production. "We have gone so far and come to such a high level of performance. Our members understand stage left, stage right. They critique their performance. We are raising their level of cognitive recognition of complex things. They feel they are ready for Broadway right now, and that's great."

Meela Sashi, 10, of Elizabeth, NJ played Annie in the 100-member cast, about two thirds of which were members of CAU while the remaining cast hailed from communities both within and beyond Union County.

Andrew Barry, a CAU member, played a Hooverville resident and carpenter. He said he enjoyed being part of a cast with others from outside the agency.

"It's a lot of fun," he said. "We sometimes go out together or have a party in the cafeteria. They're really nice to me. This is my first time performing with people who are not (from) CAU."

Kim Rosato, another CAU member who played a Hooverville resident, was a little nervous before the first show but quickly overcame her anxiety. She said she really enjoys performing.

"I become myself," she said. "It makes me feel good and gives me confidence in myself."

Ryan Durkan is a non-CAU member of the troupe who has performed in every CAU Community Players production. He played multiple roles in "Annie, Jr."

"I like the moments that not many people see," he said. "At the end of each performance we close the curtains and the audience doesn't see the smiles and emotion of the performers. It's a very emotional few seconds, very heartwarming, because we all did this work together and finished it together."

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Rahway

Hartz Mountain Presents to Planning Board

July 19, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ – After months of waiting, Hartz Mountain continued its application for 750 Walnut at Wednesday’s Planning Board meeting.

James Rhatican, Vice President of Land Use and Development at Hartz Mountain, along two witnesses, real estate broker Matt McDonough and architect Bruce Englebaugh, spoke on Hartz Mountain’s behalf.

Rhatican referred to McDonough as an ...

Mayors Push for Law Permitting Driver's License for Immigrants

July 20, 2018

PERTH AMBOY, NJ - Five mayors from northern and central New Jersey today called for passage of a state law permitting immigrants to get driver's licenses even if they are undocumented, saying it boosts public safety as well as the economy.

"This is important for every resident for a better life and a better life for the state of New Jersey," said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda ...

“Family Fun & Flix” in Warinanco Park Tuesday, July 24 Featuring “Peter Rabbit"

July 21, 2018

Family Fun & Flix, a free summer entertainment and film series presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Union County Department of Parks and Recreation, continues on Tuesday, July 24 with the presentation of “Peter Rabbit” at Warinanco Park, on the border of Elizabeth and Roselle. 

As part of the evening’s events, UC Get Fit, a health initiative ...

Shakespeare in the Park Returns to Union County Sunday, July 22

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the return of Shakespeare in the Park this weekend. The performance will be presented on Sunday, July 22 at 12:30 p.m. at Cedar Brook Park in Plainfield.

The Shrew Mechanicals Troupe from The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will present an hour long performance of “Shakespeare Gumbo,” a stirring collection of ...

Tired of cronyism? Yeah, us too

July 21, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Crowdfunding Options for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Source: Many small start-up businesses and tech ventures in search of capital turn to popular online platforms for crowd fundraising of financial resources to get their concept off the ground and launched into market. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, to name a few, offer solutions in generating cash to fund new ideas. How do you get people to contribute to your cause?  Sam Burlum ...