Arts & Entertainment

Dreamcatchers’ ‘The Neighborhood’ Debuts in Summit

Scott McGowan, Jessica O'Hara-Baker, Jason Szamreta, Dave Maulbeck in “The Neighborhood” at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit. Credits: Steve McIntyre
Dave Maulbeck & Laura Ekstrand in “The Neighborhood” at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit. Credits: Steve McIntyre
Scott McGowan and Noreen Farley in “The Neighborhood” at Dreamcatcher Rep. Credits: Steve McIntyre
Playwright Laura Ekstrand in “The Neighborhood” at Dreamcatcher. Credits: Steve McIntyre
Laura Ekstrand, Jason Szamreta, Dave Maulbeck, Scott McGowan (Standing), Jessica O'Hara-Baker (Floor) in “The Neighborhood” at Dreamcatcher Rep in Summit. Credits: Steve McIntyre
SUMMIT, NJ – An engaging new musical by Laura Ekstrand, book and lyrics and Joseph Zawila, music, arrived in Summit this past weekend at its new home at the Oakes Center on Morris Avenue.
With music directed by Jack Bender on the piano, this talented cast puts together a warm, funny, heart-rending collection of songs and stories that seems to have something for everyone, whatever their personal neighborhood memories.
According to performer Dave Maulbeck, many of the vignettes are drawn from the actors’ own experiences, whether it was commuting to New York, being up all night with a baby or joining the PTA.
Ekstrand does a delightful rendition of all the PTA committees she’s been asked to join, in alphabetical order.  There’s everything from Art Appreciation to Gifted and Talented to Icecream Interpreters to Welcoming Yearbook.

Noreen Farley, who plays the ‘older’ resident surrounded by young families (with dogs) is both aloof and frustrated by her wish to be left alone. But even she has a soft spot when one young father needs a helping hand. Farley is priceless with her double takes and starchy delivery.
Harry Patrick Christian has multiple roles, with an opening nostalgic trip to "My Old Neighborhood." He’s hilarious as a drunk at a cocktail party, forced on unsuspecting neighbors who will be "treated" to slides about a vacation in Tuscany.
Jessica O’Hara-Baker sings about “The Perfect House,” her dream of a new home. It all takes a familiar turn when the neighbor’s barking dog wakes her early on Sunday mornings.
Jason Szamreta appears as an out of work actor on a train, trying to learn his lines, but interrupted by Maulbeck, who plays an annoying commuter who just won’t let him alone.
In another scene, Ekstrand and Maulbeck have a terrific exchange as parents who meet in the park with their strollers in “The Playground.”  Maulbeck’s character is all attentive and loving, while the mom in the park already has delusions of grandeur for her daughter. The whole thing is priceless, as she spells out words, speaks in French and generally gets carried away with a "can you top this" persona.
Harriett Trangucci weaves in and out of an assortment of scenes, especially as the bickering wife with marital problems that she’s more than willing to share with her neighbor.
Scott McGowan also plays a variety of roles, from a whacky husband, to a gay neighbor to a caring friend. His resonant voice carries a number of songs, especially the finale, when all the actors (or neighbors) are on stage.
Act II has some of the most creative scenes, including The PTA and Christmas Time. In this one, a neighbor, with a tasteful wreath on his door, complains about all the other neighbors’ overdone lawn decorations, from inflatable Santas to reindeer to The Little Drummer Boy. There’s a delightful twist to this number.
Wesley Krantz has created a simple set design of rooftops and frameworks of homes, which the actors can easily enter and exit.
There’s a lot more to cull from this exciting new musical that gives a loving look at "The Neighborhood" without resorting to clichés. The first act is a little long and could probably be trimmed with some of the vignettes. 
The production continues until Oct. 14, so don’t waste any time in getting there.  For tickets call 1-800-838-3006 or visit
Coming up next is an improv, “Multiple Personality Disorder’ on Oct. 27. In January is “The Language Archive” and in April, “Shakespeare in Vegas.”  These are all new, innovative productions, performed by pros who work together seamlessly. As Zawila said in program notes “everything you touch seems to turn to gold.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, May 27, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Thu, May 31, 11:30 AM

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit

Fortnightly Club Scholarship Luncheon

Food & Drink Giving Back


Thu, May 31, 1:30 PM

Coppola Ristorante, New Providence

Lunch and Learn: Dental Implants and the ...

Health & Wellness

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Video: Point View's Petrides Looks at Trade Truce Sector Beneficiaries, Opportunities

May 24, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, on CNBC's Nightly Business Report (interview starts at 5:05 mark) discussing stocks to buy based on easing trade tensions with China.

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, ...

Video: Point View's Dietze Reviews Investment Strategies as Trade Tensions with China Calm

Point View Wealth Management's Founder, President and Chief Investment Strategist, David Dietze, live on FOX Business on investment strategies in the wake of the thawing of Chinese trade tensions.

For more than 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

A Royal Pain

I went to a big wedding over the weekend.  It was in England.

I like to think I was invited, but according to the Royal Guards and the Thames Valley Police I was not.  But more about that later.

You see, not too long ago I received an evite addressed to me from H&  Curiously, it was in my spam folder with a warning message. For an evite it was pretty ...