HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary Stage Company, the not-for-profit theatre company prepares a full schedule of professional theatrical performances for their 38th season.
Productions from the Professional Theatre Series, Fringe Festival, NEXTstage Repertory, Women Playwright’s Series, plus plenty of Concert events will make up the company’s 2023 – 2024 season.
Curtain Up! Gala Concert
Centenary Stage Company will open their season with the return of their “Curtain Up!” Gala event featuring The Company Men on Saturday, September 23rd at 8:00 PM. A modern-day rat pack, The Company Men deliver a theatrical concert experience in which the group “mashes” today’s Top 40 hits with reimagined classics of the last eight decades, blending artists from Sam Cooke to Sam Smith and The Temptations to The Weeknd and many more. The Company Men features a roster of performers who have appeared on televisions THE VOICE and AMERICAN IDOL as well as in numerous Broadway and National Touring productions. Tickets are $35 for all orchestra seating and $30 for the balcony.
Young Audience Series
CSC’s Young Audience Series company will present an in-house performance of children’s theatre running September 28 – October 1, 2023. Centenary Stage Company’s YAS touring troupe will present: A Year With Frog and Toad. Waking from hibernation in the Spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in the differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make believe, A Year with Frog and Toad tells the story of a friendship that endures throughout the seasons. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and children 12 and under.
The Fringe Festival features three events in CSC’s Kutz Blackbox theatre this season, beginning with MOTHER and Me starring Melinda Buckley from October 19 – 22, 2023. MOTHER (And Me) is the story of Hungarian ‘Mama Rose’ who’s slowly waltzing into dementia, as her Broadway baby, Melinda shimmies into middle age. A one woman show about stepping up and into your own light. Melinda Buckley (Writer / Performer) has appeared on Broadway and in the National tours of several shows, including Crazy For You, A Chorus Line and Bob Fosse’s revival of Sweet Charity.
Next up in the Fringe Festival is ALONE: Stories By Edgar Allan Poe starring Daniel Hall Kuhn running from October 26 – 29. This mutli-disciplinary immersive show brings six stories and poems by Poe, including The Raven, Tell Tale Heart and Annabel Lee to life as Daniel Hall Kuhn brings his show ALONE: Stories By Edgar Allan Poe to the Kutz theatre.
The last event in the 2023 Fringe Festival is STING*Chronicity featuring Rosemary Loar from November2 – 5, 2023. STING*Chronicity offers a combination of monologues with a variety of musical arrangements of the music of contemporary songwriter, Sting. The show is “set” in Madison Square Garden on the occasion of the final reunion concert of the iconic band, ‘The Police’, which was headed by Sting.
Ticket prices for all the Fringe festival events range from $22.50-$27.50 for Adults. Discounts may be available for, Students, and Children under 12 for select performances.
Professional Theatre Series
Centenary Stage Company’s professional theatre series will kick off in November with CSC’s Holiday Spectacular: Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The performances of the family friendly musical will run from November 24 – December 10, 2023. In a kingdom beneath the sea, the young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a love story for all ages. Disney’s The Little Mermaid features music by eight-time Academy Award winner, Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a book by Doug Wright. Ticket prices range from $27.50-$30 for adults. Discounts may be available for Students, and Children under 12 for select performances.
The Receptionist by Adam Bock will hit the Sitnik Stage from February 16th – March 3rd. At the start of a typical day in the Northeast Office, Beverly deals effortlessly with ringing phones and her colleague’s romantic troubles. But the appearance of a charming rep from the Central Office disrupts the friendly routine. The Receptionist is a play about ringing phones, office politics and mysteries happening when you least expect them. Ticket prices range from $25-$29.50 for adults with discounts available for Students, and Children under 12 for select performances.
A world premiere rounds out the mainstage Professional Theatre Series. Backwards, Forwards, Back by Jacqueline Goldfinger runs April 4th –14th in the Kutz Blackbox Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. When a soldier returns from war carrying the ghosts of their tour, they’re faced with a sobering decision: address their alarming PTSD with Virtual Reality therapy, or risk losing access to their family forever. Can this new technology recalibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers? This one-person show explores the power of healing and finding strength in vulnerability. Developed with support from the Sloan Foundation and Operation Warrior Resolution. Backwards, Forwards, Back was originally a part of the annual Women’s Playwrights Series in the spring of 2023. Adult ticket prices range from $25 – $29.50 with discounts available for Veterans, Students, and Children under 12 for select performances. The preview performance will also feature $10 tickets for Hackettstown Residents and the matinee on April 13 will be free to all veteran and active military.
Women’s Playwrights Series
Centenary Stage Company’s Women’s Playwrights Series was initiated in 1992 and has helped develop the new work of over 60 playwrights from around the country, and produced fifteen World Premieres in as many years from works developed in the playwright series. The Centenary Stage Company 2023/24 season will have yet another group of readings featuring new works by female playwrights. The series will take place on Wednesdays in April: the 10th, 17th and 24th. The chosen plays will be announced later in the season. A $5 donation is suggested, but not required to attend a reading, but required to make a reservation in advance.
NEXTstage Repertory, the all-student performance division of Centenary University’s Theatre Department kicks off their portion of the CSC season with Six Rounds of Vengeance by Qui Ngyuen. In post-apocalyptic “Lost Vegas,” a young gunslinger named Jess December enlists the help of a mysterious samurai cowboy to help avenge the murder of her sister. However, the gang they’ll be going against has powers that go way beyond just gunpowder and steel. To get revenge, they may have to become just as bloodthirsty as the monsters they’re facing. Tickets are $17.50 for all seats.
Then, the NEXTstage Rep will perform William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet from February 8th – 12th. Two young people fall in love but are doomed. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud, and the tragic ending seems almost inevitable. Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers comes alive on the Centenary Stage. Ticket prices are $17.50 for all seats.
Another, yet to be determined, NEXTstage Rep show will close out the student season running from April 18th-28th. Most likely a musical, it will be announced later in CSC’s season.
Winter Thaw Music Fest and Concert Series
CSC will kick off 2024 with their Winter Thaw Music Festival. The first concert will take place on January 13, 2024, featuring Jumaane Smith with his show titled “Louis, Louis, Louis”. 5-time Grammy Award winning acclaimed trumpeter and vocalist Jumaane Smith celebrates the origins of jump blues and jazz in “Louis! Louis! Louis!” Hear Jumaane’s renditions of classics from Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima, and Louis Jordan, along with music he composed especially for this show! See why he has sold over 60 million records! Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.
Next will be Reverie Road on January 20, 2024. Grounded in their collective Irish roots, Reverie Road features fiddler, Winifred Horan and accordionist John Williams (founding Solas members) alongside former Gaelic Storm fiddler Katie Grennan and Jazz and Raga pianist Utsav Lal, they weave the roots of Irish musical traditions with new departures and curated pieces including distilled airs, continental waltzes, and upbeat reels and jigs. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.
Next up on January 27th is Rosaway. Vocal, flute, drums, & machines – that’s ROSAWAY: a Pop-Jazz band hailing from Paris. Distinctly French, somewhat theme-tune-style, and a whole lot of groovy, this four-piece group is a blend of past and present. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.
Closing the Winter Thaw Music Festival is Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba on February 3rd. Hailing from a long line of Senegalese musicians and storytellers known as griots, Diali Cissokho made the transatlantic move almost ten years ago. Shortly afterward, he formed the band Kaira Ba with the aid of several like-minded Piedmont musicians. Together, they blend the traditions and rhythms of West African music with timbres of the American South. In essence, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba makes dance music that bridges the continental divide. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.
The first of CSC’s regular concert series will be the Tartan Terrors. Tartan Terrors are their own Celtic Invasion, mixing music with traditional folklore, dance, and humor. With an arsenal featuring classic bagpipes and fiddle, drum tones, and signature guitar styles, The Tartan Terrors will hit the Sitnik stage just in time for St. Patrick’s Day on March 14th, 2024. Tickets are $30 for all seats.
Next in CSC’s concert series will be the Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. and Ils Sont Partis Band. Carrying on his father’s legacy and band, Buckwheat Zydeco Jr. finds himself the front man to the “Ils Sont Parti Band”. This Grammy and Emmy Award Winning band has performed over 2,500 shows and a host of television appearances (David Letterman,CBS Morning News, & Good Morning America to name a few). The Creole cousin of jazz, Zydeco music is family-festive music. Tickets are $30 for all seats.
Closing out CSC’s Concert Series is Gypsy, a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Gypsy performs the greatest hits from Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac, including: Stand Back, Rhiannon, Gold Dust Woman, Don’t Stop, Stop Dragging My Heart Around, Silver Springs and many more! Diane Lutz gives her performance as Stevie Nicks with vocals and visuals that strive to capture Nicks’ stage presence. Tickets are $35 for all seats.
Centenary Stage Company is also excited to announce the return of several professional dance events throughout their season. November 11th will feature a performance of “Once upon a Time” performed the New Jersey Ballet. The performance will take place in the Sitnik Theatre at 8:00 PM. More dance events will be announced as the season begins in September.
For more information, specific performance dates or ticket price details please visit centenarystageco.org or call the box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary University at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and two hours prior to every performance.
Early access to tickets and seat selection for the entire CSC season will open to all returning and new Season Subscribers and Flex Pass holders on June 19th. Season subscriptions and flex passes can be purchased online at CentenaryStageCo.org, by calling the box office at 908-979-0900, or by stopping by the box office in person. Box office hours are Monday – Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and it is located at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown. Individual ticket sales go live on July 1st, 2023.