RED BANK: A RIDE FROM OHIO TO AUSCHWITZ

Playwright Lisa Kron performs her one-woman show 2.5 MINUTE RIDE, opening this weekend at Two River Theater. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson. Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

In the hands of its creator, it’s a thrill ride unlike any other, a midway attraction that clatters up a rollercoaster track in Ohio’s Cedar Point amusement park and hurtles down the other side on a grim pilgrimage to the concentration camps at Auschwitz.

Although it lasts a bit longer than its title suggests, 2.5 Minute Ride is an experience that’s more of a trip through time than space — a “funny, complex meditation on tragedy, grief and family,” in the words of the promo material, that unfolds exclusively through the spoken-word performance of Lisa Kron, the play’s sole cast member and the author who netted an Obie Award during its inaugural Ride in 1999.

Returning to the one-woman show for the first time in five years — and reuniting with Mark Brokaw, who directed that 1999 production at NYC’s Public Theater — Kron comes to Two River Theater for a new staging that opens this weekend and continues through the second week in May. Going up inside the mainstage Rechnitz Theater at the Bridge Avenue artspace, it’s a Ride that also re-teams the Tony nominee with Two River Theater Company artistic director John Dias, who co-produced the Broadway production of her play Well in 2010.

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ON RUMSON’S AGENDA: BOOZE BOARD

The mayor and council are expected to form an Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee to hear complaints against bars. (Click to enlarge)

On the agenda for Tuesday night’s bimonthly meeting of Rumson council: the creation of an Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee.

And the first item on the committee’s docket: hearing a complaint against a borough tavern for maintaining a disorderly establishment.

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RED BANK: LOOKING GLASSY, 7 BROAD

A plan to remove an exterior staircase and enclose the facade in glass was approved after changes requested by the zoning board.  (Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Another building on Red Bank’s Broad Street will be getting the glass-front treatment, though with less than originally proposed.

Having raised objections to earlier plans that included a fishbowl scenario of wall-to-wall glass for two bedrooms and a living room in a proposed second-floor residence, the zoning board last week approved several variances for a revised set of plans for 7 Broad Street.

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RED BANK: EX-NFL-ER BRINGS HOOPS & HOPE

Lonnie Allgood getting out the word about Hoops for Hope at the Red Bank Street Fair earlier this month. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Former NFL wide receiver Lonnie Allgood is one of the select few: a Red Bank kid who had the talent and drive to live out the big league dream.

But he didn’t get there on his own, he says. Long retired from the limelight after seven years in the league, he still considers the experiences and people he met at the Community YMCA in his hometown an integral part of his character.

“I spent a lot of time at the Y when I was growing up in west Red Bank,” Allgood told redbankgreen, “and I met a lot of great role models there who really helped me while I was younger.”

Now, he’s trying to give back to the community that made him who he is by inspiring kids to live their lives the right way. On Friday night, the YMCA and Allgood’s charity foundation, Dreams for Kids, are teaming up for their first ever Hoops for Hope event, a basketball tournament featuring Allgood’s professional gridiron star friends squaring off against local hoopsters – including members of the Red Bank PBA, students from Red Bank Charter School, and Monmouth University Women’s Basketball team – all in the name of charity.

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ROAD REOPENS, ‘TEMPORARY’ LIGHTS REMAIN

Contractors raced Monday afternoon to beat a deadline to reopen a bridge they’d rebuilt over the past nine months. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Little Silver police reported Seven Bridges Road reopened Monday evening after a nine-month closure.

But Monmouth County has no immediate plans to remove two controversial traffic lights installed to facilitate traffic flows through detours necessitated by the project, said Mayor Bob Neff.

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ARRESTS MADE IN HOLDUP, BURGLARIES

Recent activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

call-in-the-authorities• On Wednesday, April 17, 2013 the Middletown Police Department Detective Bureau arrested Michael Crupi, age 35, from Linden Avenue in Middletown, NJ, for armed robbery of the Bevaquas’s Deli on March 25, 2013. Police say Crupi entered the store, displayed a handgun and demanded cash from the clerk. He then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Detective Laurence Schachtel of the Middletown Police Department conducted a lengthy investigation and was able to develop information linking Crupi to the robbery. Detective Schachtel was then contacted by New York City Police Detectives assigned to the 123 Precinct who had seen a suspect flyer sent out by Detective Schachtel. Crupi fit the description of a suspect who committed two armed robberies in Staten Island, one of a Game Stop Store and the other of a bakery.

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LITTLE SILVER: ROAD REOPENING UNCERTAIN

The planned reopening of Seven Bridges Road in Little Silver after a nine-month shutdown for a bridge rebuilding was uncertain Monday morning. “Certain things are not cooperating” and could push the reopening back to Tuesday, said an official on the job who asked not to be identified. (Click to enlarge)

SHREWSBURY POLICE BLOTTER

call-in-the-authoritiesActivity reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of April 13 to April 18, 2013.

• Report of Theft in the area of Broad Street on 4/13/13. Articles taken by unknown subject(s). Damages totaling $640.00. Ptl. Ryan Cullinane investigating.

• Report of Theft in that area of Avenue at the Commons on 4/16/13. Article taken by unknown subject(s).  Upon further investigation Joseph J. Mangone, male age 21 of Matawan was arrested and charged with the theft. Investigated by Ptl. Mary Ellen Jennings and Detective James Ramsey.

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RUMSON: SPRING, 2013

Ample signs of spring bloomed in Rumson Sunday along Bingham Avenue, above, and at the Linden Hill estate, right, where a yellow magnolia tree was on display as part of a garden tour.

Monday’s forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the low 50s, according to the National Weather Service. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: NO COLLAR YET IN SHIRT HEIST

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of April 4 to April 18, 2013. This information is unedited.

Theft occurring on 4-4-13 at Broad St.—clothing store. Unknown person(s) stole a total of 34 shirts from a display shelf in rear showroom. Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

Theft occurring on 4-7-13 at Spring St. Cab driver reported that he dropped off unknown male at the above address. Subject stated he did not have cash to pay for cab fare and would return shortly, but never did. Ptl. Jhonatan Quispe.

Theft occurring on 4-7-13 at Monmouth St.—Bar/restaurant. Victim reported that unknown male stole two empty beer keg containers from outside the business. Ptl. Thomas Doremus.

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SMART: A SMARTPHONE WITH… A DUMB ONE

The Pop Phone merges old and new telecom features. (Photo by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Travel back in time and answer the call on the POP Phone from Lucki Clover, a women’s clothing and accessory shop on Broad Street in Red Bank.

Window Shopping the Green finds the newest cellular accessory disguised as an old-fashioned telephone handset that boasts quality-improving features.

The POP Phone is a fairly new concept that marries modern technology and with a nearly outdated one: a 1950’s-inspired retro telephone receiver. Created by product designer David Turpin for Native Union, the handset allows users to easily navigate their Smartphones while talking. Using a plug that fits any auxiliary outlet, it’s designed to function with any Smartphone, notebook, or tablet.

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FAIR HAVEN MAN TURNS FEARS INTO STORIES

Drazin with young fans at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library earlier this month. (Photo by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Justin Drazin did not originally plan to add the title “children’s author” to his résumé, but what started out as a short piece to show family and friends has evolved into a trilogy of whimsical tales. And along the way, the Fair Haven-raised environmental policy student  turned one of his childhood fears into a captivating bedtime story for kids.

Drazin, 24, recalls being terrified of the dark when he was younger.  “I had a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of going back and forth to my parents’ room,” he said, removing his brown thick-framed glasses during a recent interview.  “It’s an age-long fear. Everyone goes through it at some point.”

Written from the point of view of a little boy afraid of the dark, “Albert and the Amazing Pillow Monsters” is the first installment of the dreamland-centered series.

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OH, BABY, ANOTHER TODDLIN’ WEEKEND

A video promo for ‘The Electric Baby,’ which opens tonight at the Two River Theater. Author and motivational speaker Selwyn Collins, below, makes an appearance at the Red Bank Public Library on Saturday.

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Friday, April 19:

LINCROFT:  Presented by Make it Better for Youth and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County, “Breaking the Silence, Celebrating Our Voices” concludes the “Day of Silence,” a national student-led action in honor of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and their families and friends taking a stand against bullying, harassment, abuse and more. Performances by Kailynn Barbour, poet, blogger and 2012 recipient of the Lionel Cuffie Award for Activism and Excellence, and the New Jersey Gay Men’s Chorus begin at 7 p.m. 1475 West Front Street.

RED BANK:  “The Electric Baby” births at Two River Theatre.  The drama follows three different pairs – a middle-aged couple, ahopelessly devoted lover and the apple of her eye, and a Romanian mother and Nigerian father caring for their child – who discover the ways in which their lives are connected.  The play, by Stefanie Zadravec, runs through May 5. Tickets are $24-$42 and the show begins at 8 p.m. 21 Bridge Avenue.

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RED BANK ZONERS NIX TRAINING OFFICE

Shore House consultant Pauline Nicholls, board president Susan Sandlass and attorney Phillip San Filippo at the zoning board hearing. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Red Bank officials Thursday night rejected a request by a nonprofit to provide job training to people with mental illnesses at a facility on Maple Avenue.

The borough zoning board, taking up an appeal, unanimously agreed with borough Planning Director Donna Smith-Barr’s earlier determination that Shore House would need a variance before it could offer its services at 135 Maple, amid a stretch of onetime elegant homes that now serve as offices for lawyers, architects, doctors, and other professionals.

“I like your program,” board chairwoman Lauren Nicosia told Shore House representatives. “I just don’t like it there.”

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SEA BRIGHT: BUS SHELTER TO RETURN

A piece of the painted rug, above, is all that remains of the trompe l’oeil cozy cottage that Megan Heath Gilhool created in the bus shelter in October, 2011, below. (Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Before Hurricane Sandy, Sea Bright’s downtown bus shelter, elaborately painted to resemble a typical beach-front bungalow, was one of the little things that gave the shore community an indelible sense of character and charm.

Post-Sandy, however, all that remains of the decorated stop is a bit of faux flooring on a slab of broken concrete, with the rest of the structure washed away into oblivion.

Fortunately for Sea Bright straphangers, that’s about to change.

Sea Bright Rising, a charity group that arose in the storm’s aftermath to aid the ailing community, is planning to rebuild the Ocean Avenue shelter and restore it to visual glory with help from artist Megan Heath Gilhool.

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ARMED ROBBERY AT MIDDLETOWN RACEWAY

This just in from the Middletown police:

On April 18, 2013 at approximately 5:40 am a black male subject, approximately 6′-0″ tall with a stocky build and a thin goatee beard, wearing black jeans, a black long sleeve shirt and a yellow baseball hat entered the Raceway Gas Station located at Highway 35 and Pine Street in Middletown.

The subject displayed a silver colored revolver handgun and demanded cash from the attendant.

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PHOENIX: ‘ANYTHING’ FOR A LAUGH, AND LOVE

Clockwise from center: Jennifer Grasso, Kelsey Susino, Torie-Marie Gigante, Carly Nelson and Taylor Wallace are Reno Sweeney and the Angels, as the shipboard romp ANYTHING GOES marks the maiden voyage for a new season of Phoenix Productions musicals. (Photos courtesy Phoenix Productions)

By TOM CHESEK

The way Gary Shaffer sees it, “this is the best time of year to do a show — you work all winter, then suddenly it’s spring. People are energized and ready to come out and be entertained.”

If it’s mid-April in Red Bank, it simply must be time for a new season of musical entertainments from Phoenix Productions, the borough-based troupe that’s made a 25-year habit of putting on shows at that classiest of “community theater” venues — the Count Basie Theatre.

With pretty much the entire tri-state region endeavoring to shake off an epic winter of our collective discontent — and the irritating remnants of Sandy still being winkled from the Shore’s cracks and crevices — producer Tom Martini and company have rightly deduced that ours is a community in need of a little levity, a dose of laughter and a love song or two. The result is a 2013 season that favors a set of four feelgood Broadway classics over some of the edgier fare (Sweeney Todd, Rent, Miss Saigon) put forth by the Phoenix phalanx in recent years — a season that kicks off in style  Friday, April 19.

The vessel for this maiden voyage of 2013 is none other than Anything Goes, Cole Porter’s rousing romp of romance and rhythm on the high seas, and a crowdpleaser that director Shaffer describes as “a good, solid show with a funny book –and the cherry on top is the Cole Porter songs.”

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SEA BRIGHT: MAD HATTER PLAN DRAWS FIRE

The owner of the Mad Hatter, which is slated for demolition, is seeking permission to operate in a tent in the municipal beach lot this summer. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

A request by a popular Sea Bright sports bar to temporarily move to the borough beach while it rebuilds its storm-battered home is drawing complaints from owners of other business.

The Mad Hatter, which has been closed since Hurricane Sandy hit on October 29, approached borough officials earlier this week with a request to operate this summer out of a 400-person tent that would be erected in the municipal parking lot at Ocean Avenue and River Street.

But operators of nearby business say allowing the move would cost them valuable parking spaces as they, too, struggle back to their feet.

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ON THE GREEN: YARD SALE SEASON

Shots from the 2012 edition of the Red Bank Townwide Yard Sale, which was bustling despite periodic drizzles. (Click to enlarge)

Tis the season wherein one person’s junk becomes another’s bargain find, and the next two weekends on the Green promise riches for sellers and buyers alike in Lincroft and Red Bank.

First up, this Saturday: the Lincroft Village Green Association holds its ninth annual Lincroft Community Yard Sale at homes throughout that corner of Middletown from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A week later, on April 27, comes the Red Bank Townwide Yard Sale, a borough-spanning extravaganza of household goods recycling

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RED BANK: AN ELECTRIC RIDE AT TWO RIVER

Antoinette LaVecchia, Nick Lehane, Lizbeth Mackay, Lucy DeVito and Steven Skybell in THE ELECTRIC BABY, the ensemble drama by Stefanie Zadravec now onstage at Two River Theater. (Photos by T. Charles Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

To enter Two River Theater is to find a portal into another world; a passage to places that range from England during the Hundred Years War; to enchanted places where the animals walk and talk; to ancient Greece, elegant Paris — and Pittsburgh. We’ll always have Pittsburgh.

The city of the Three Rivers has made its influence felt of late over on Bridge Avenue. It was the setting for Two River Theater Company’s recent production of August Wilson’s Two Trains Running (and last season’s Jitney).  Pittsburgh also happens to be the locale for The Electric Baby, the new TRTC production that went up in previews on April 6. The drama by Stefanie Zadravec — an ensemble piece populated by characters young and old, black and white, living and dead, including a glowing infant with a mysterious rare disease — saw its world premiere last year at Pitt’s Quantum Theatre.

The TV/film actor turned playwright found herself spending even more time in the city when one of her twin sons was referred for treatment to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh — and Zadravec writes eloquently here on how being the parent of a seriously ill child served to illuminate the development of what was then a work-in-progress script.

Opening officially with a sold-out performance this Friday night, The Electric Baby is one of two shows running through the early part of May at Two River — and part of an exciting slate of events as the 2012-2013 season enters its heated homestretch.

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LINCROFT FIRE INJURES HOMEOWNER, 81


An 81-year-old Lincroft man was burned in a fire started when he was doing plumbing work with a torch, police said Wednesday.

The fire, at 6 Rimwood Drive, reported at about 10:45, started when homeowner Lawrence Fagel was sweating pipes in a bathroom, according to Middletown police spokesman Lieutenant Detective Steve Dollinger.

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M’TOWN: BOATER IN FATAL CRASH INDICTED

George Harrington being placed under arrest for drunken driving of a boat shortly after the 2011 crash. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

[Editor’s note: See update below]

The pilot of a boat that smashed into another on the Navesink River almost two years ago has been indicted on vehicular homicide charge, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office announced Tuesday.

George Harrington, 41, of Browns Dock Road in Middletown, is alleged in a grand jury indictment handed up Monday to have been under the influence of liquor or drugs when a Boston Whaler he was piloting plowed into a vessel near buoy 20, between Middletown and Fair Haven, on July 23, 2011.

Christopher Plante, 50, of Keansburg, was killed in the crash.

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