NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY at NJPAC June 3rd

NAI-NI CHEN DANCE COMPANY:
World Premiere of First Touch
to be performed at NJPAC
on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 7:30pm
The critically-acclaimed Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will perform at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center(NJPAC) on Friday, June 3, 2016 at 7:30pm. The dances of choreographer Nai-Ni Chen fuse the dynamic freedom of American modern dance with the elegant splendor of Asian art. Enjoy a full evening of her work which The New York Times calls “endlessly proliferating forces of cosmic energy.” An extraordinary cast of dancers and musicians takes you on a fantastic journey that blossoms with color, energy, and motion. NJPAC audiences have experienced the Chinese Lunar New Year spectacles that Nai-Ni Chen produces each year and have witnessed the power and grace of her work alongside traditional dances. This summer performance is a presentation not to be missed!
NJPAC is located at 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ 07102. Tickets are $20-$50 and can be purchased at http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/nai-ni-chen-dance-company-1
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About The Nai-Ni Chen Program at NJPAC
From her own cultural journey as a Chinese immigrant in America, Nai-Ni Chen created Calligrafitti with noted composer Huang Ruo – a new piece which links the graceful, elegant lines of Chinese calligraphic art with the grit and rebellious freedom of American graffiti. According to Ink Painting Today “Calligraphy is sheer life experienced through energy in motion that is registered as traces on silk or paper, with time and rhythm in shifting space its main ingredients.”. By this definition, calligraphy reflects Nai-Ni Chen’s own background in Chinese dance, Peking Opera, and Chinese martial art. On the other hand, graffiti was born out of thirst for expression in the urban environment. For Nai-Ni, it reflects her immigration to America: her search for a sense of freedom as an 18-year-old performer first visiting New York City. Calligrafitti – will be performed with live music by the New Asia Chamber Music Society.

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A Bronx Tale at PaperMill Playhouse

My son and I recently saw the show “A Bronx Tale” at PaperMill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ.  For those of you who don’t know anything about the story, it’s based on the real life of Chazz Palminteri, who then wrote a play about it as well as preformed a one man show.  There is, of course, also a movie with the esteemed Robert De Niro, which did very well. Now preformed with a full cast, music, dancing- the works- A Bronx Tale is a fun musical theater production that you should see before it closes it’s doors.

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“Based on the real life story by Chazz Palminteri‚ A Bronx Tale: The Musical is set against the backdrop of racial strife and organized crime in the 1960s. It is the story of an Italian-American teenager finding his path in life as he must choose between the father who raised him and a mob-boss father figure who fascinates him.”

My son and I enjoyed the show.  I had explained the premise to him beforehand, and since he understands what the civil rights movement was, and how things “used to be in the olden days” as he puts it, he was prepared.  I don’t know that all children of all ages would be able to see the show- there is cursing and some violence (gunshots, people are beaten up, there is a car explosion off stage, etc), but it’s not vulgar- you would need to be the judge of what your child is mature enough to handle.  It is in no way a show I found to be explicit or over the top- but your child would need at least a basic understanding of the times, and you would need to be OK with them hearing bad language now and again.  (It’s not “Jersey Boys” bad language- just now and again.)  You are exposing your child to both history and theater, which is a good thing- just make sure they are mature enough for it at the time.
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NewYork.com for Broadway tickets @NewYorkcom

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New York is a very big, confusing place to visitors especially if you don’t do your homework before going.  This is true of a seasoned semi-local or visiting tourist.  A great place to start is NewYork.com, for all levels of New York visitor.  On one site there are attractions, restaurant suggestions, tours, and even Broadway plays, Musicals, and Ballets. They are all listed out for easy browsing.  The user also has the ability to purchase tickets from NewYork.com as well.  The purchasing experience is easy and quick.  The tickets arrive on time for your show (right to your inbox) giving you one less thing to worry about for your trip.  Each show has lots of information on it, there are synopsis of the stories, video previews, and articles about the show.  These shows vary from long playing favorites like Les Miserables and Lion King to new shows like Aladdin and School of Rock.  Prices are very clear and present for each show as well.
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The Pajama Game at Merkin Concert Hall

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Kaufman Music Center Presents

BROADWAY PLAYHOUSE

*  2016 Season  *

Kids love musicals! The family-friendly Broadway Playhouse performances introduce young theater fans age 4-11 to Broadway classics through mini musicals, medleys, games and sing-alongs. This season, children will discover the great 1950s songwriting duo Richard Adler & Jerry Ross (Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game); the groundbreaking Dorothy Fields (Sweet Charity), Broadway’s first woman lyricist; and rock legend Elton John (The Lion King). Some kids will be invited on stage to roar with Simba from The Lion King or play baseball with the devil from Damn Yankees! Hosted by Sean Hartley, Broadway Playhouse features music director Jihwan Kim and stars Jason Robinson, Martin Landry, Kathryn Markey and Gabrielle Stravelli.

2016 Performances:

Sun, Jan 10, 2016, 11 am

Broadway Playhouse: Richard Adler & Jerry Ross

One of the great songwriting duos of the 1950s, Richard Adler and Jerry Ross hit the Broadway big time with three wildly successful shows in three years: Damn Yankees, The Pajama Game and John Murray Anderson’s Almanac. Their partnership was cut short when Adler died tragically in 1955 at the age of 29, but their shows have lived on in film adaptations as well as numerous revivals. Come visit the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory, where Love is on strike, and find out if “Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets”!
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A Christmas Story: The Musical at Paper Mill Playhouse

Disclosure- I received tickets to the below in order to review.  All opinions are my own and honest.  For more information,  please see ” I Disclose”.

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As most of you know, we love the Paper Mill Playhouse.  It has Broadway quality shows without having to travel into NYC- and the parking is a whole lot easier and less expensive, too.  My son and I have seen about a dozen shows there over the years, and never once have we been disappointed.   The acting, singing, and dancing are top notch- in fact, you can see many people who have been on Broadway, movies, and TV at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and many stars got their start there, too. It’s a wonderful place with fantastic shows, and we really enjoy it.

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The most recent show we saw, and is playing right now, is “A Christmas Story: The Musical”. This is one of my husband’s favorite holiday movies, and he actually came to see the show with us, which is somewhat miraculous.  He WANTED to see the show.  I know. The show was fun, just like the movie, but had lots of festive and some silly song and dance numbers, one being “Ralphie to the Rescue”, in which our hero Ralphie imagines all the ways he will save the day when he gets his cherished Red Ryder air rifle- and of course he really needs it!

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This show was great for the whole family, kids included.  My son enjoyed it, and it made him want to go home and watch the movie again.  Check out this cute video, I’m sure it will make you want to run out and get tickets right away (if you don’t want to already, that is!)

And this one as well, it’s really sweet.

More About The Show

Ralphie wants only one thing for Christmas: an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-shot Range Model Air Rifle. A Christmas Story: The Musical is the hilarious account of Ralphie’s desperate quest to ensure that this most perfect of gifts ends up under his tree this Christmas. Straight from Broadway‚ this musical captures holiday wonder with such deliciously wicked wit that it is sure to delight children and grown-ups alike. Bring the whole family‚ again and again. The holiday movie that the whole world loves comes to musical life.
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Finding Neverland on Broadway @NeverlandBway

After spending most of our life hearing about the magic of Neverland, have you ever wondered what inspired Peter Pan and Neverland? That is what the play Finding Neverland brings to light. Based on the Academy Award®-winning film, that has the same name, the show tells the story of a play-wright, J.M. Barrie and he was inspired to write the stories of Neverland.

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Barrie has been lacking on his creativity and inspiration when he meets the beautiful widow Sylvia and her 4 sons, Jack, George, Michael and Peter.  (Incidentally, currently playing Barrie is Matthew Morrison, of Glee and about a million other things.  Not only were we delighted to see Matthew Morrison live, but also got to see So You Think You Can Dance season 10 winner Amy Yakima, who is as of now playing Peter Pan as well as dancing in the show.)

After hearing the young boys tell stories of magical escapades in the world of Neverland, Barrie write a play that most of the high-society theatergoers in London have ever seen. Despite taking a giant risk, Barrie wrote the play and discovered, just like in his play, When you believe, you can fly.

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Finding Neverland, directed by Tony® winner Diane Paulus, also known for Pippin, Hair, features an original score by composer Gary Barlow and Grammy® winner Eliot Kennedy, with a book by celebrated playwright James Graham and choreography by three-time Emmy® winner Mia Michaels.
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Radio City New York Spring Spectacular

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This past weekend, we took my son to see the Radio Cit Music Hall show, the New York Spring Spectacular. He loved the Christmas Spectacular, so we hoped he would love this one just as much.  The show is set in NYC, and is about a tour guide who has been bought out by a company that wants to go virtual. The performers visit all the highlights of NYC’s tourism hotspots, complete with random visits from the Easter Bunny (hey, it’s Spring after all).   You can also see some other fun characters- we saw Minions, Paddington Bear, Dora the Explorer, and Power Rangers who made appearances.

There is familiar music throughout the show, as well as some new.  There is also quite a bit of audience interaction, including one singled out and made to sing on camera (and broadcast on the large screen on stage).  Everyone is handed 3D glasses for some fun experiences, and you are loaned “magic” bracelets that glow and sparkle at certain points during the show. (Give them back at the end.)  The dance numbers are fun and new- our favorite was “Singing in the Rain”, where the Rockettes all danced in raingear with umbrellas, and two male members got fairly well soaked while tapping away.
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Grease at the Paper Mill Playhouse

 

Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Jerry Dalia; Shane Donovan (Kenickie) and the boys of Grease.

Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Jerry Dalia; Shane
Donovan (Kenickie) and the boys of Grease.

My son and I just saw the latest show at NJ’s Paper Mill Playhouse- Grease!  This was my son’s first time seeing the show (one of America’s favorites) live on stage, and I could not be happier to have him see it at one of the best theaters in the area.  We absolutely love Paper Mill- they always have amazing, high quality shows and actors, directors, dancers (many who have been on Broadway), where musical theater is celebrated and NJ can see the bright lights and stars of Broadway without leaving our own backyard.  (Not to mention parking is only $8 vs what you would pay in NYC- at least $35.)  In this performance of Grease, you can see TV and Broadway’s Telly Leung as “Teen Angel”- a treat that thrilled the audience.

Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Matthew Murphy; From left to right: Shane Donovan (Kenickie), Morgan Weed (Betty Rizzo),  Taylor Louderman (Sandy Dumbrowski) and Bobby Conte Thornton (Danny Zuko).

Grease at Paper Mill Playhouse; Photo by Matthew Murphy;
From left to right: Shane Donovan (Kenickie), Morgan Weed (Betty Rizzo),
Taylor Louderman (Sandy Dumbrowski) and Bobby Conte Thornton (Danny Zuko).

This is a great show for families, with it’s classic and familiar high-energy music and fun, relatable plot of high school ups and downs, dating, broken hearts, mean girls, and proms.  My son has of course see the movie (starring the sensational Olivia Newton John and John Travolta) but there is nothing like seeing the show live on stage to experience the musical as it was meant to be. It had the whole audience, young and mature alike, mouthing words and dancing in their seats, ending with a standing ovation.
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