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red bank thanks riverviewEmergency workers packed the front parking area for the surprise as hospital personnel responded from upper-floor windows. (Photos by Allan Bass. Click to enlarge.)


red bank thanks riverviewRed Bank-area police and volunteer firefighters delivered a massive surprise cheer to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle at Riverview Medical Center Friday evening.

The borough’s firetrucks, joined by gear from at least nine surrounding towns, twice sounded their horns in unison as staffers left and arrived for a shift change. Several hundred participants, most wearing protective masks, cheered and blew kisses from the parking lot as hospital employees in surgical masks and gowns acknowledged the love from upper floor windows.

Red Bank Fire Chief Scott Calabrese organized the unannounced event, which drew fire, police and first aiders from Fair Haven, Little Silver, Sea Bright, Shrewsbury, Rumson, Middletown, Tinton Falls, Eatontown and Oceanport.

The aim, he said, was “to say ‘thank you for your courage on the front lines of the battle.'”

(See more photos by Allan Bass and John T. Ward, below.)

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SiobhanFallonHoganSiobhan Fallon Hogan makes a Saturday morning appearance at Oceanic Library, keyed to a new children’s book collaboration with fellow Rumson resident Lori Oakes.

suzy-the-sceneLast we caught up with her in the pixelated pages of redbankgreen, the busy screen actor and Rumson resident Siobhan Fallon Hogan brought us up to date on a pair of exciting new projects — the M. Night Shyamalan-produced sci-fi TV series Wayward Pines (the third season of which begins filming in spring 2017), and her second self-penned solo stage show, a multi-character tour de farce entitled Acting Out.

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siobhan fallon hogan 101315With emergency lights on because of a power outage, parent Siobhan Fallon Hogan urged parental choice in the books read by teens. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


[UPDATE: See a statement from playwright Ariel Dorfman about this controversy appended to the bottom of this article.]

HOT-TOPIC_03It was a dimly lit and slightly damp night as about 150 members of the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School community politely debated a stormy issue Tuesday: the place of two works of fiction in the curriculum.

Taking turns at a non-working microphone in an auditorium lit by emergency lights because of a power outage, a number of parents challenged the inclusion of two books on reading lists for juniors and seniors because of their adult themes and coarse language.

Led by former Saturday Night Live cast member Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the objectors insisted they were not out to ban or censor the books, but instead to call for a policy that would allow parents to choose substitute reading material they consider “age appropriate” for their children.

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SiobhanFallonHoganMovie-TV actress (and Rumson mom) Siobhan Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Two River Theater this Saturday with her sold-out solo show, ‘Acting Out.’

Hers is a face you’ve likely encountered in and around her home on the Greater Red Bank Green, where she’s apt to be sighted at one of the schools her kids attend — as well as many of the staple sites of local community life.

A quick safari through the channel guide can match that face with a whole streaming smorgasbord of well-known movies and TV shows, from Seinfeld (she was Elaine’s roommate Tina), Men in Black (she was the alien farmer’s wife) and Forrest Gump (she played Dorothy the school bus driver), to Danish director Lars Von Trier’s arthouse oddity Dogville, and under-appreciated items like New in Town with Renee Zellweger. Not to forget a stint as a cast member on Saturday Night Live.

Expect to see a bit more of her. Beginning this May, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, a Rumson resident of 10 years, will be a regular presence on Wayward Pines, the Fox TV “event thriller” limited series (starring Matt Dillon, Terrence Howard and an ensemble supporting cast) from producer M. Night Shyamalan. Before that, though, Fallon Hogan returns to the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater — where several years back she debuted an original one-woman show entitled The Salty Sea PTA — with an all new showcase for her multi-tasking character skills.

Written by its star and entitled Acting Out!, the all-new comic solo quickly sold out its two scheduled performances on Saturday, with an encore presentation now added for Thursday, March 12. The Drama Desk at redbankgreen managed to catch up with the beyond-busy actor, mom and playwright, prior to a brief but well-deserved beach vaykay — and between a weathery year of shooting in Canada, and a run of rehearsals here on the icy banks of the Navesink.

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Crew members from the Count Basie Theatre’s Performing Arts Academy prepare the set for Wednesday night’s seventh annual Basie Awards show.

To all those who believe that there are simply Too Many Award Shows — well, we certainly won’t argue the point.

That said, when the red carpet rolls and the paparazzi bulbs pop this Wednesday evening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, it may just herald the only trophyfest that matters — possibly even a ground-floor investment in the next generation of acting, singing, dancing talent on the greater Green.

The Basie Awards extravaganza that goes up Wednesday night at the Count Basie Theatre will mark the seventh annual edition of the program that recognizes excellence in drama and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools. It’s an event that’s boasted such guest hosts and presenters as E Street busker Max Weinberg and Tony nominee Lou Liberatore, as well as SNL veterans Joe Piscopo and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. But it’s really all about the kids, of course — and when the Basie envelopes are fumbled open on the landmark stage, a collection of young performers from 19 local high schools (including five in the Red Bank area) will be among those hoping that this can be the first milestone item in a glittering trophy case.

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Done3In an effort to raise awareness about detectable cancers, two Red Bank shops are organizing an evening of champagne, sweets and beautiful, bare skin.

Another organization is auctioning off a guitar donated by pop star Jon Bon Jovi to help feed and clothe those in need.

Well, one of those got your attention, right?

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book-cover-2By TOM CHESEK

Some pig. Some spider. Some weekend.

Even the most industrious of arachnids has nothing on the folks over at the Two River Theater this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as the Bridge Avenue performing arts center continues the ongoing engagement of the just-opened Opus inside the mainstage Rechnitz auditorium.

Meanwhile, over in their black-box Marion Huber space, they’ll be hosting the acclaimed one-actor show Namaste Man as the first in a new series of Flashes of Brilliance solo pieces. Then on Sunday, between the hours of 10a and noon, the lobby reception area comes alive with area families in the keynote event to a sprawlingly spider-friendly campaign called One Book, One Community.

That book, if you haven’t guessed, is Charlotte’s Web, the classic novel for young readers by E. B. White (memorably illustrated by Garth Williams) that employed such unusual spokescritters as pigs, rats and spiders on the way to saying some valuable things about loyalty and friendship.

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roseharrystevenshoganClockwise from top left: Village People chief Felipe Rose, Blondie bombshell Debbie Harry, funk bassmaster TM Stevens and  actress Siobhan Fallon Hogan are the honorees at the Monmouth County Arts Council’s annual Celebration of Excellence on October 29.

There’s a school Halloween party in which the parents are the ones who get to dress up and have all the fun. A gala affair in which the solid-citizen guests of honor are, to put it mildly, NOT the usual old rich guys with their checkbooks. And a hot-ticket sporting event that not only takes place indoors — it barely loses sight of the office water cooler.

Done1Just because something’s Done Good by the community doesn’t mean it has to be done by the stodgy playbook of gowns, tuxes, and hundred-dollar plates of cordon bleu balanced on bony laps. Here in the season of merry mischief, we’re pleased to bring you a roundup of do-gooder public events with an ever so slightly playful bent — a list that begins this Friday, and continues on into the next few eek-ends.

FRIDAY: Oktoberfest at Ye Olde Allen House. The old Allen place, that historic (circa 1710) house on the corner of Broad Street and Sycamore Avenue in Shrewsbury, becomes a Publick House for one night only, in a benefit for  The Monmouth County Historical Association that offers an evening of “beer tasting and tavern fare” in the spirit of the season. Reserve tickets ($50) at (732)462-1466.

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Hollywood’s Siobhan Fallon Hogan, TV’s Real Housewife Caroline Manzo and Broadway’s Michael Mulheren appear at local fundraisers in the coming days.

There’s a gala for the neediest of our neighbors that’s studded with familiar faces from movie screens and Broadway stages. A sneak-preview of a film from a major studio, raising funds for the arts right in our backyard. There’s even a benefit dog walk, graced by a reality TV star who’d be able to tell us a thing or three about catfights.

donegoodlogoYou don’t need to boast of any showbiz connections to have Done Good for your community — sometimes all you need to do is come on out, take in some lovely early-autumn weather or enjoy some of the best of local cuisine. Cheer on a committed competitor from the crowd, or pound some pavement for a charitable cause. Donate a used book, buy a used book — or bring back those library books, no questions asked.

In this edition of Done Good, redbankgreen pulls together more than a dozen ways that you can be part of something big in the days and nights to come. It’s an opportunity that begins this weekend and continues on through the first half of October — with benefits that will be felt locally (class trips, school sports, food banks, animal rescues, holiday traditions, clean streets) as well as globally (clean oceans).

The Done Good rundown continues, right around the corner.

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Jersey 101.5 radio personality Big Joe Henry (pictured here at a past Miss Teen NJ pageant) has confirmed that he’s stepped down as host of the fifth annual Basie Awards for high school stage performers, an event scheduled for Wednesday night at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre.

To the organizers, sponsors and featured guests of the yearly event, it’s “all about the kids” — a chance for talented young performing artists from Monmouth County high schools to be treated like red-carpet royalty for an evening.

But with the fifth annual Count Basie Theatre Awards scheduled for Wednesday night, a simmering controversy has boiled over from the politicial arena, resulting in the eleventh-hour withdrawal of the event’s master of ceremonies, and threatening to cast a plus-size shadow over the proceedings.

On Monday, the Count Basie Theatre announced that the 2010 edition of the program commonly known as “The Basies” will proceed as planned, but without the formidable figure of Big Joe Henry, the Garden State radio personality who was scheduled to serve as guest host.

Described on the venue’s website as a mutual agreement made “so the event can remain focused on the students,” the parting of ways was the culmination of an increasingly public argument that pitted supporters of the New Jersey Education Association against both Basie management and Big Joe’s employer, Trenton-based WKXW-FM (Jersey 101.5). It’s also a fracas that’s continued to snowball from e-mail campaigns and Facebook forums to the region’s major print and broadcast media.

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As promised, today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has a full interview with Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the familiar film/ TV actress (and Rumson mom) who’s soon to start filming a new project with Jennifer Aniston, at locations that are set to include Monmouth Park Racetrack.


Before that, however, Siobhan has a little treat in store for hometurf audiences: a first look at The Salty Sea PTA, a one-woman/ ten-characters show that the writer and star will be presenting for just two performances only at Two River Theater this weekend. We talk to the busy parent and performer about the real-life origins of the show — and settle once and for all the burning question of which town Salty Sea is standing in for!

That’s hardly the only piece of original theater drawn from Jersey Shore lore, however. Down at  Brookdale Community College‘s satellite facility in Long Branch, BCC faculty member Darrell Lawrence Willis is getting ready to present the second annual Juneteenth Urban Arts Festival, a six-day celebration of African American words and music that features the contributions of, among many others, Frank Talk‘s Gilda Rogers and the cheerfully ubiquitous Lorraine Stone. Only oRBit brings you the full rundown on the schedule of events — along with a sneak peek at Ivory for Ebony, a new domestic drama (by Kevin Eugene Franklin of Long Branch) set against the Asbury Park riots of 1968.

From city streets on fire to a private-school bake sale, Red Bank oRBit saves you a seat, right on the aisle!



Stop the presses, already! Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit has a bona fide scoop regarding Bounty Hunter, the film project that pairs Jennifer Aniston with Gerard ‘300’ Butler. It comes courtesy of Rumson’s own Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who’s just secured a supporting role in the forthcoming feature — and you’ll read it nowhere else but here today!

anistonbutler Speaking of Hogan, she’s got her hands full these days, playing 10 different characters in her new self-penned play The Salty Sea PTA. Watch this space for the whole story on the show, going up next weekend at the Two River Theater — and enter oRBit for a bit of important news that, you guessed it, you’ll read here first.

And then there’s Joyce Carol Oates, the Pulitzer Prize winning author who’s coming to the area for a personal appearance next Tuesday. Just announced by the folks at Book It! Events is yet another bit of hyper-timely news — and, wouldn’t you know, the oRBit desk is once again first on the scene.

We get it now — this is the way the whole internet thing is supposed to work. Put down yesterday’s newspaper and take it to the source that reports, connects and engages — Red Bank oRBit.


SiobhanYvonneNumaCount Basie Theatre board member (and Basie Awards host) Siobhan Fallon-Hogan, Education Director Yvonne Lamb Scudiery, and CEO Numa Saisselin at April's announcement of this year's nominees. 

By Tom Chesek 

A Romeo, a Juliet and a thoroughly modern Millie were among the characters who had an exceptionally good night on Wednesday as the fourth annual Count Basie Awards honored the best in Monmouth County's high school stage productions.  

Four Red Bank Regional students took home major awards.

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit rolls out the red carpet for a preview of
this week’s Count Basie Theatre Awards, the annual event that honors the best of Monmouth
County’s high school performing arts productions.


We’ll give you the local
color, including the names of the nominees from greater Red Bank area schools
— plus we’ve got an exclusive interview with Siobhan Fallon Hogan, the
TV-movie actress (and Count Basie board member) who should be instantly
recognizable as the bus driver in Forrest Gump, Elaine’s annoying roommate
in Seinfeld, and dozens of other high-profile roles.

But that’s not all: order in the next ten minutes and we’ll throw in,
absolutely free, a look at 2009’s Bobfest, the yearly Bob Dylan
birthday tribute concert organized by and starring favorite Shore saloon
singer Pat Guadagno and his Tired Horses. It’s going on tonight at Two River Theater, and a few tickets are still up for grabs as we post this, so you
know what to do.

Old friends, tomorrow’s talents — they’re all right here, in the pixelated
pages of Red Bank oRBit.

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