Arts & Entertainment

Somerville High School Students Prepare to Take Flight in “Mary Poppins”

Credits: Glenn Wasserman
Credits: Glenn Wasserman
Credits: Glenn Wasserman
Credits: Glenn Wasserman

SOMERVILLE, NJ - So, what is it like to fly?

Three Somerville High School students found out this week as the Drama Club put the finishing touches on its production of “Mary Poppins,” which will take place on March 3, 4, and 5 at 7 p.m. with a special matinee on March 5 at 1 p.m.

Directed by English teacher Laura Manziano — who is making a big splash in her directorial debut with co-director Justin Cimino, an SHS graduate and professional actor —“Mary Poppins” takes high school musicals to a new level with a fashion industry professional directing costumes and the technical expertise of Flying by Foy, the company that has provided flying technology for Broadway shows such as “Peter Pan,” “The Lion King” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

Sign Up for E-News

More than 100 students are participating in the show as actors, set designers, tech crew and musicians.

“One of the things that I love about Ms. Manziano as a director is how she brings an element of fun to the show, which reminds us of why we are in the production in the first place — to have fun,” says Hayden Verbanas, a freshman who plays “Robertson Ay.” “She took a huge group of kids and brought us all together for a great community show.”

Janet Jacobson, who has worked for decades in New York’s fashion world, started mining thrift shops since last summer and designing costumes with an array of color that add a special vibrancy to the stage. She worked closely with set designer Teresa Michalski and set constructor Jeff Carlson to ensure that the costumes complement what is on stage.

The students say the Edwardian costumes make them feel as though they were transported back to 1910 and help them bring their characters to life.

“The costumes are much bigger and heavier than what we wear today,” says Emily Schworn, a freshman who plays “Fanny.” “They are more conservative than today’s clothes and they help me get into character because they help me know how to react and keep my posture.”

Choreographer Nicole Frangione-Zivkovic has been working for weeks to perfect complex dance scenes with upwards of 40 actors on stage at one time – a feat considering the somewhat stiff costumes that “Mary Poppins” dictates. “I watched the students move as I was designing the costumes,” says Jacobson. “They had to have the ‘look,’ but still be comfortable enough to dance in.”

And then there’s the flying, which the students got to try out this past week.

“It is a lot of fun and I felt very safe,” says Lindsey Kazar, a junior who plays “Miss Andrew” and one of three who will be soaring above the stage. Sophomore Liam Devlin, who gets to fly alongside Maura Elwood as “Mary Poppins” in his role as “Bert,” says it’s a great experience. “It will really wow the crowd, and I’m sure the audience will have as much fun as I am having,” he says.

As a professional actor with off-Broadway credits, co-director Cimino worked with the students to perfect their craft. “Justin is a great director,” says Devlin. “He really took us to levels far past anywhere we could have gone last year.”

Beyond the flying and dancing, “Mary Poppins” is all about the music. (Get ready for “atrocious” earworms like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”)

This week, the students in the pit orchestra, led by Matt Krempasky, came together with the actors and tech crew to hone the details. “It’s an exciting time — to see it all come together with the music,” says Karen Gorzynski, who has served as muscial director at the high school for 30 years.

"Mrs. Gorzynski worked with us tirelessly to perfect the songs sung by our characters,” says freshman Robyn Wasserman who plays “Michael.”

The Drama Club offers a special event this year: An opportunity for children 10 and under to meet “Mary” and “Bert” and enjoy a sweet treat at noon March 5. The event is free with Saturday matinee ticket purchase.

Tickets are available at the door or online at

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

July 10, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

Do You Recognize These Dogs?

PLAINFIELD, NJ - Two dogs were found in Plainfield near the fire station on Central Avenue on Saturday. 

The dogs are currently with a family in South Plainfield.  If you recognize the dogs, please email TAPinto Plainfield at

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Festival Continues July 18 at Echo Lake Park Featuring 5 Against 1

July 15, 2018

The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series continues on Wednesday July 18, with the band 5 Against 1 taking the stage at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

The free series is presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It is held at Echo Lake Park during July and moves to Oak Ridge Park in Clark during August.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at Echo Lake Park ...

New Outlook Pioneers hosts 18th Music in the Park at Milt Campbell Field

Plainfield, NJ - On Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 5PM Sponsored by: The City of Plainfield (including the Cultural & Heritage and Human Relations Commissions), Mayor Adrian Mapp and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; along with CO-SPONSORS: New Outlook Pioneers, Mr. Plainfield (Robert Graham),TD+Partners -A Community Impact Development Firm, and Re/Max Select, Sandra L.

Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment


Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

It's the Third of July, Chris Fritz and the Impulsives Lead Tuesday's Night Entertainment Opportunities on Long Beach Island and in Stafford

July 3, 2018

LONG BEACH ISLAND –Tuesday entertainment headlines with a free concert from 7-9 p.m. at Bayview Park in Long Beach Township.  Chris Fritz and the Impulsives are performing  Visitors are reminded to bring a beach chair, a cooler to enjoy the concert and beautiful sunset at the bay. 

Here is the list of Tuesday',s additional entertainment options in Stafford ...

Get Ready Warren: Fireworks, Food and Family Fun At Mt. Carmel Feast

July 13, 2018

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. – It’s time again for the annual Mt. Carmel Feast, a four-day festival full of food, music, games, rides, fireworks, and other family fun, located at Mt. Carmel Field in Berkeley Heights.

The fairgrounds will be open from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, July 13 through Monday, July 16. Those four nights will include concerts, games, and ...

Somerset Regional Animal Shelter Offering July Adoption Promotion for Cats/Kittens

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Regional Animal Shelter, in Bridgewater, is urgently looking for homes for its cats and kittens.

According to a release from the shelter, the population surges throughout the summer during kitten breeding season, and so the shelter is launching a special promotion to help increase cat and kitten adoptions. During the month of July, all cats and kittens that over ...

A Guide to July 4: Fourth of July Fun Facts, a Video and Where to Find Independence Day Celebrations, Fireworks Displays

WARREN, NJ -  Independence Day 2018. “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Thomas Jefferson penned words based on what he learned as a student of the enlightenment.  John Locke’s writings were ...

Bedminster Woman Dies From Injuries After Being Struck by Car in Mall Parking Lot

July 12, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Bedminster woman has died from her injuries after being struck by a car in the parking lot of the Bridgewater Commons Mall Monday.

Marion Kelley, 62, was struck by a vehicle while walking in lot four near the Macy's merchandise pick up area at around 3:20 p.m. Monday.

The 2017 Mazda was driven by Chinmayi Parikh, 33, of Piscataway.

The crash is still being ...

County Kicks Off Summer Concert Series with Bob Miranda and the Happenings

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset County Park Commission kicked off its Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park Sunday with a performance by Bob Miranda and the Happenings.

A very large crowd turned out for the performance by the band made famous in part by the song "See You in September."

The next concert will be held July 15 at 7 p.m. at Duke Island Park, with Billy ...

Somerset County Flags at Half-Staff to Honor Grace Gurisic, First Woman Freeholder

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Somerset County will fly its flags at half-staff July 12 in memory of Grace A. Gurisic, who served as the county’s first woman freeholder more than half a century ago.

Gurisic passed away June 9; she was 84. Funeral services will be held 8:30 a.m. Thursday, July 12, from the Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home in Wayne. A funeral mass will follow at St.

Somerset County Cops Take a Break for Coffee and Conversation with Residents

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The baristas at Starbucks got some help Tuesday right after the lunch crowd crush, with more than a dozen Hillsborough police officers in uniform helping to serve coffee, frappuccinos, shakes,  cappuccinos and pastries – mixed in with some earnest conversations.

Led by Police Chief Darren Powell, who spoke with customers and PBA President Chris Giraldi, who worked ...

3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ set to Celebrate Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

July 14, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

Exchange Place and WTC PATH Stations to Close For Weekend Track Maintenance

JERSEY CITY, NJ - At least they waited until after the Fourth of July fireworks were over before starting.  

PATH stations at Exchange Place and the World Trade Center (WTC) will close at 11:59 p.m. this Friday, July 6, and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday, July 9, to allow crews to transition to a new signal system being installed as part of the ...

Make the Call, Save a Life

July 10, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - There is much focus on preventative opioid abuse education. Rightfully so. However, the goal in addressing the opioid epidemic is saving lives. Even if that means just saving one life. While people are becoming increasingly aware of resources relating to rehabilitative services, support groups for friends and family of addicts, and training parents for signs of opioid and ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...