Contact: Pat Lanciano or Chris Young (908) 979-0900
Every summer, Centenary Stage Company’s Young Performers work tirelessly to perfect their dance moves, learn all of their lines, and get their vocal harmonies just right for the annual Summer Festival of Shows. August 7 through August 16 in the Little Theater these talented young thespians will entertain with a variety of shows and musicals. The Young Performers Workshop (YPW) has been hailed as a “state treasure” by Peter Filichia of the Star Ledger and brings in youth from Morris, Warren, Hunterdon and Sussex counties [see below]. This summer, the festival will feature Big Fish, Blood Brothers, Miss Nelson is Missing, Gemini, and The One Act Playhouse. All performances will be held in the Little Theatre on the campus of Centenary College at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown.
Big Fish is the smash hit Broadway musical featuring music and lyrics by Tony nominee Andrew Lippa (The Addams Family, The Wild Party) and a new book by esteemed screenwriter John August (Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, Big Fishcenters on Edward Bloom, a traveling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some. Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra. But their son Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to find the truth behind his father’s epic tales.
Blood Brothers the third longest running musical in West End History is a haunting rags to riches tragedy of our times. A woman with numerous children to support surrenders one of her new born twins to the childless woman she cleans for. The boys grow up streets apart, never learning the truth but becoming firm friends and falling in love with the same girl. One prospers while the other falls on hard times. A narrator warns that a price has to be paid for separating twins: the lives of the blood brothers, who die on the day they find out they are related.

Miss Nelson is Missing is a musical adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher based on the popular book by Harry Allard and James Marshall. Miss Nelson can’t control her crazy classroom because she’s just too nice. But when she disappears, her replacement is the hard-as-nails, detention-loving, recess-canceling, homework-overloading substitute teacher Viola Swamp! With the Big Test approaching, the kids suddenly realize how much they miss, Miss Nelson and they’ll do anything — including hiring a private eye — to solve the mystery of her disappearance and bring her back.

Gemini by Albert Innaurato is set in the backyard of a blue collar South Philadelphia neighborhood early in the summer of 1973, the comedy-drama focuses on the 21st birthday celebration of Harvard student Francis Geminiani. In attendance are a variety dysfunctional characters providing a comedic and at times dramatic evening.

The One Act Playhouse is a series of short plays directed, performed and stage managed by YPW students and teaching staff. Performances are free and will take place onSaturday August 15th at 11am and Sunday August 16th at 11am. The one act shows include Seven Minutes in Heaven written by Eric Alter, The Proposal written by Anton Chekhov and adapted by Michael Blevins, Overtures written by Alice Gerstenberg, and the Happy Journey written by Thornton Wilder.
The YPW program has been led by Broadway, film and television veteran, Michael Blevins, for over 20 years. YPW is dedicated to the enrichment of young lives through experience in the theatre arts, and serves as a venue for cultivating young theatre performers. The program is one of only a handful in the nation that offers both formal training and production experience for young people. This year’s YPW features the talents of; Teax Armijo (Chester) Shyna Baum (Hackettstown) Elaine Belenguer (long Valley) Bianca Benincasa (Netwon) Cydney Black (Hackettstown) Kacey Blanchard (long Valley) Jerrey Caviston (Califon) Zack Clark (Hackettstown) Richard Cort (Belvidere) Gracelyn Donovan (Blairstown) Izac Donovan Cruz (Budd Lake) Christina Freeman (Chester) Sebastian Gutkin (Long Valley) Samatha Higgins (Long Valley) Shayna Kantar (Asbury) Rachel Lee (Flanders) Quynn Meyer (Hackettstown) Alyssa Murphy (Newton) Christopher Nunez (Landing) Quinn O’hara (Hackettstown) Raphael Pelczmann (Morristown) Oliva Ribnicky (Long Valley) Alani Rose (Long Valley) Jeremiah Serna (Flanders) Julia Sonko (Hackettstown) Grace Toner (Long Valley) Teddy Walsh (Hackettstown) Joshua Wesson (Lenape Valley) Andrew Wire (Branchville) David Yawger (Columbia)
Tickets to the YPW Summer Festival of Shows are $12.50 for adults and $10 for children under 12. Tickets may be purchased online at centenarystageco.org or by calling the CSC Box Office at (908) 979-0900. All performances will take place in the Little Theatre at 400 Jefferson Street in Hackettstown.
The Young Performers Workshop will be holding their Fall Session interviews on Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16. To schedule an interview, please call the box office at (908) 979-0900.
The Young Performers Workshop is part of the educational arm of the professional Centenary Stage Company, a professional Equity theatre in residence on the campus of Centenary College. Programs at CSC are made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Laurie Foundation, and CSC members and sponsors.

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