NAVESINK: SIGNS OF SUMMER LIFE

VitalsSamantha Ambler, Grace Modla and Ronnie Marvald are among the cast of VITAL SIGNS, the “suite of theatrical miniatures” that extends the Monmouth Players’ 2014 schedule into A/C season, beginning this weekend.

Last we looked in on Monmouth Players, the oldest continuously operating stage troupe in Monmouth County was wrapping up its season of all-Neil Simon comedies — its first at the reborn and rebranded Navesink Arts Center — and looking ahead to its next season, a slate that traditionally begins in October. But with the Players now in full charge of the landmark facility that until recently served as the Middletown Township’s Navesink Library branch, the summer-stock bug has evidently bit — and beginning today, June 7, the Arts Center stage hosts the first of two welcome new bonus additions to the schedule.

It’s Vital Signs, a “suite of theatrical miniatures” that’s made up of more than thirty brief monologues by the enigmatic (and frankly fictitious) playwright known as Jane Martin. The pseudonymous author (who is generally speculated to be a man) was nonetheless the recipient of a Pulitzer Prize nomination for Keely and Du — and here, as in the earlier Talking With…, the writer presents a “collage about contemporary woman in all her warmth and majesty, her fear and frustration, her joy and sadness.”

Players artistic director Lori Renick has assembled a cast of five talented women on the area stage scene — Samantha Ambler, Samantha Maidlaw, Ronnie Marvald, Paula Mira and Grace Modla. Performances of Vital Signs are tonight and June 14 at 8:15 pm, as well as Sunday and June 15 at 2 pm. Call (732)291-9211 to reserve tickets ($15) — and stay tuned for August, when the Players return with An Evening of Tennessee Williams One-Acts.

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