Search Results for: Jessica Stone

RED BANK: TWO RIVER INTROS NEW SEASON

Michael Cumpsty, Brandon Dirden and Ruben Santiago-Hudson (pictured at an August 2016 event promoting the Two River Theater production of MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM) are among the returning artists who are scheduled to contribute to the upcoming 2017-18 season at the Bridge Avenue arts center.

It’s a season highlighted by a bevy of returning talents, both on the stage and behind the scenes. A season that boasts an enhanced slate of offerings for young theatergoers; more outreach to the area’s growing Spanish-speaking audience, some never-before-seen works, and several fresh perspectives on familiar stories — including two by a certain Wilde man of English letters, as well as one even Wilder.

When Two River Theater Company raised the curtain on its upcoming 2017-2018 schedule of productions on Sunday night, it did so via a genuine “rite of spring” tradition at the Bridge Avenue artspace, as TRTC’s celebrated artistic director John Dias and a panel of guests heralded the company’s 24th season with a “debt of gratitude” to founders Robert and Joan Rechnitz (“the two most glorious people I know”), a tip of the hat to the faithful supporters (“we know you care about this as much as we do”), and a brief channeling of Sally Field (“you actually like us!”).

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RED BANK: FUNNY THINGS KEEP HAPPENING

A Funny Thing...Forum TRTC 11-15 175 A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim choreography by Denis Jones directed by Jessica Stone Two River Theatre Company 11/13/15 Scenic Design | Alexander Dodge Costume Design | Clint Ramos Lighting Design | Jeff Croiter and Jake DeGroot Hair and Makeup: David Bova Sound Design | Drew Levy © T Charles Erickson Photography tcepix@comcast.netDavid Josefsburg, Michael Urie, Christopher Fitzgerald and Kevin Isola keep the toga party going for one more weekend, as “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum’ wraps its run at Two River Theater. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

Red Bank’s Two River Theater offers one more long weekend of happy-humbug harbor to all of us who may feel caught between a Dickens and a Nutcracker this time of year.

Directed by Jessica Stone — and boasting an all-male cast of Tony nominees, TV personalities, Two River returnees and toga-clad Broadway babies — the TRT’s naughty and bawdy production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum reclaims the Stephen Sondheim musical comedy (based on the farcical works of ancient Roman playwright Plautus) from the community church basements and school auditoriums it’s long been consigned to. And it uses the novelty of its “stag” staging to mine maximum gold from its broad burlesque belly-laughs.

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A ‘FUNNY THING’ ON THE WAY TO RED BANK

Director Jessica Stone joins actors Michael Urie and Christopher Fitzgerald in a promotional video for ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,’ the musical comedy opening at the Two River Theater this weekend. 

By TOM CHESEK

It was an early feather in the cap for modern master Stephen Sondheim, representing his first project as both composer and lyricist. Its book, based as it is upon some nearly 1,800-year old works by the Roman dramatist Plautus, was co-authored by TV writer Larry Gelbart on the way to his 1970s series success M*A*S*H. And, as befits a show whose breakout number is called “Comedy Tonight” (“something appealing, something appalling, something for everyone…”), it is one raucously irreverent musical toga party.

First seen by Broadway audiences in 1962, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum proved custom-fit to the larger-than-a-rhinoceros talents of the late great Zero Mostel — with the comic heavyweight starring as Pseudolus, a savvy slave in ancient Rome whose schemes to win his freedom (by helping his master win the fair maiden next door) take a classically farcical turn. The role also proved to be an express ticket to a Tony nomination for whoever filled that toga — from Mostel and old-school wiseguy Phil Silvers to (in its most recent revival) Nathan Lane, and even a well-received turn by Whoopi Goldberg that demonstrated the triumph of the Funny over etched-in-stone casting conventions.

With that in mind, when Red Bank’s  Two River Theater turned to director Jessica Stone (last season’s Absurd Person Singular) for some fresh ideas on this 55-year-old favorite — going up in previews this Saturday on the Bridge Avenue stage — the determination was made that “when in Rome,” do as the Romans did: by casting each and every part with a male performer.

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RED BANK: TWO RIVER INTROS NEW SEASON

DirdenStoneRechnitzReturning Broadway veterans Brandon J. Dirden and Jessica Stone — plus rookie playwright Robert Rechnitz, pictured with wife and fellow Two River Theater Company founder Joan — are among the creative forces powering a just-announced 2015-2016 season of shows on Two River stages.

It’s a highly anticipated rite of spring in Red Bank — one that John Dias jokingly referred to as “this totally kooky annual event” — but when the artistic director of Two River Theater Company played host for the 2015-2016 Season Announcement on Monday night, he was entirely serious in first thanking the “loyal, passionate” audience members who “want to be the first to hear what we’re doing each year.”

Kicking off in mid-September, and comprising eight productions on two stages of TRTC’s branded Bridge Avenue arts center, it’s a schedule that boasts fresh takes on familiar classics, and first looks at a couple of world premiere works. There’s some engagingly quirky casting; the return of several fondly regarded members of the extended Two River family — and a debut original work by a forever-young upstart who holds a special resonance with the Red Bank audience.

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RED BANK: NEW SPIN ON THE ‘ABSURD’

Absurd_Person_Singular_press_1Mary Birdsong, Brooks Ashmanskas and Melissa Van Der Schyff are in the kitchen with Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s comedy ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR, now on stage at Two River Theater. (Photo by T.C. Erickson)

By TOM CHESEK

“You’re no longer a man I care about enough to throw myself out a window for,” says long-suffering wife Eva (Liz Wisan) to Geoffrey (Scott Drummond), her philandering, condescending and probably incompetent architect husband — and the fact that the line gets a laugh tells you all you need to know about the level of sympathy elicited by these “two bitter lemons” and their faux friends in Absurd Person Singular, the ensemble comedy now on stage at Two River Theater.

Written and set in early 1970s Britain, the play by the prolific Sir Alan Ayckbourn opened this past weekend, and continues its limited-engagement Red Bank run with a mix of matinee and evening performances Wednesday through Sunday.

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RED BANK: PERSONS ACTING ABSURDLY

Absurd Person (horiz)Broadway veterans Michael Cumpsty, Brooks Ashmanskas and Melissa Van Der Schyff help bring Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s “wildly British” comedy of ill manners ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR to the stage of Two River Theater, beginning in previews this weekend.

The dried-out, needle-shedding Christmas trees of the greater Red Bank (ever)Green may be headed out to the curb as we post this, but for the next several weeks the holiday gatherings are in full force on the stage of Two River Theater — not just “this Christmas,” but “last Christmas” and even “next Christmas,” during the three acts of the ensemble comedy Absurd Person Singular.

If that whirlwind tour through Yuletides both yesteryear and Yet to Come sounds straight out of the Scroogely scrivenings of Charles Dickens, rest assured that the 1972 Singular springs from the electric typewriter of a more modern British observer of class and social mores: the prolific playwright, screenwriter and director Sir Alan Ayckbourn. The Tony- and Olivier Award winning theatrical titan (whose recent play My Wonderful Day was produced on the Two River stage a couple of seasons back) may not have made as big a splash on this side of the pond as in his native UK — but in the words of Brooks Ashmanskas, this “wildly British,” darkly comic 1970s take on all-consuming ambition, strained relationships and the effect of New Money on the Old Order “seems very 1980s from an American point of view…it should be very clear to all of us who’ve lived through the last 30 years.”

A Tony nominee for his work in Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me, Ashmanskas is one of several Broadway veterans sinking their teeth into the play’s sextet of naive, neurotic, alcoholic, ass-kissing, suicidal, snarky, snobbish and altogether comical characters — as Absurd Person Singular begins a round of previews this Saturday, in advance of a limited engagement that runs through February 1.

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TRTC NAMES SEASON OF PREMIERES, CLASSICS

RubenDavidLeeJessStoneTony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, FRASIER creator David Lee, and Jessica Stone are among the star-quality directors working with Two River Theater Company in the just-announced 2014-2015 season.

“Didn’t we just do this?” joked Two River Theater Company founder Robert Rechnitz, as he stepped up to the podium in the sleek auditorium named for his wife Joan and himself. The TRTC founder joined artistic director John Dias, managing director Michael Hurst and special guests on Monday evening, for an event that’s become a much-anticipated ritual in Red Bank — the unveiling of the upcoming season at Two River’s branded Bridge Avenue arts center.

Spanning centuries-old classics and modern milestones from both sides of the Atlantic — and fulfilling its stated mission of “leading, not following public taste,” with an unprecedented three world premieres — the 2014-2015 slate of mainstage productions stands as one of the company’s most ambitious yet; a schedule that had Rechnitz praising the acclaimed regional theater as “a school, slyly disguised as a place of entertainment…we want to fill the place, but on our terms, and yours.”

Take it just around the corner, for the details on the season that kicks off on September 13.

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M’TOWN: CHASE YIELDS 330 BAGS OF HEROIN

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

call-in-the-authorities• On May 9, 2013 the Middletown Police Detective Bureau and Quality of Life Unit executed a search warrant at a residence located on Melrose Place in Middletown, NJ. The search warrant was the result of a month long investigation conducted by Detective Kevin Gardiner and Officers Anthony Bumbico and Richard Fulham of the Quality of Life Unit regarding the sale of Heroin from the residence.

Police arrested Jacquelyn Mozda, age 22, from Melrose Place in Middletown, NJ, for Possession of Heroin, Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute, Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute within 500 Feet of a Public Park, Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute with 1000 Feet of a School Zone, Possession of Hypodermic Syringes and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was held on $100,000.00 bail set by Judge David Bauman of the Monmouth County Superior Court.

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WHO’S ACCUSED OF WHAT IN MIDDLETOWN

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

call-in-the-authorities• Melissa Sieh, age 25, Lakeside Avenue in Locust, NJ, arrested on September 12, 2012 by Patrolman Jason Caruso on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Ocean Municipal Court. He was released after posting $189.00 bail.

• Devanna Dressler, age 31, from Wilson Avenue in Port Monmouth, NJ, arrested on September 12, 2012 by Patrolman Charles Higgins on Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Keansburg Municipal Court. She was held on $345.00 bail.

• Allen Smith, age 26, from Church Street in Belford, NJ, arrested on September 13, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Colfer and Patrolman James Beirne on the Quality of Life Unit on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Sea Bright Municipal Court and a Failure to Appear warrant issued by the Monmouth County Superior Court. He was held pending a court date.

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MIDDLETOWN MAN BUSTED FOR HEROIN

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

call-in-the-authorities• Arthur Bossert, age 30, from Woodsend Avenue in Middletown, NJ, arrested on May 14, 2012 by Corporal James Keenan on Contempt of Court warrants issued by the Middletown and Old Bridge Municipal Courts. He was released after posting $1701.00 bail.

• Milo Kane, age 29, from Beacon Boulevard in Keansburg, NJ, arrested May 14, 2012 by Patrolman Adam Vendetti on a Contempt of Court warrant issued Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $250.00 bail.

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SHREWSBURY: YMCA HOSTS ESSAY CONTEST

Local high school students are invited to participate in the annual YMCA Dr. King essay contest.

The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County is pleased to announce that the annual essay contest held in conjunction with the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial breakfast in January has been expanded to all students in Monmouth County.

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RED BANK: CRIMES AND ARRESTS

The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of February 1 to February 28, 2018. This information is unedited. For additional information, please scroll to the bottom of this post.

CRIMES

Theft: On 02/01/18 in the area of W Front St it was reported that two slabs of granite were stolen from the backyard of a residence. The granite is described as one rectangular slab and the other an L-shaped slab. Ptl. Garrett Falco.

Criminal Mischief: On 02/03/18 in the area of Catherine St it was reported a parked vehicle had numerous scratches made to the hood of the vehicle. Ptl. Frank Metta.

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RED BANK: CRIMES AND ARRESTS

The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of August 13 to August 29, 2016. This information is unedited.

AUTHORITIES_RB-2016-v3CRIMES

Theft: The victim reported the Theft of sunglasses from a business located on Broad St. The theft occurred on 8-5-16. The glasses were valued at approximately $170.00. They were described as Ray Ban Erica Metal model with polarized lenses. Ptl. Jorge Torres

Theft: The victim reported the theft of his bicycle from the area of Shrewsbury Ave. The theft occurred on 8-22-16. The accused subject forcibly removed the cable lock securing the bicycle to a rack that was located behind a business. Ptl. David Smith

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RED BANK: COMINGS AND GOINGS DOWNTOWN

freshica's 081016Freshica’s, above, and Soul Strong have opened in the West Side Lofts. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn small

This edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn has news about:

• two new businesses in the West Side Lofts;

• a retailer taking over a building in the heart of downtown;

• and a sizable player in Red Bank’s vaunted antiques district putting its home up for sale.  Read More »

RUMSON HOSTS “ACADEMY” FOR PARENTS

Supt Borman RumsonRumson Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Bormann (at right) discusses a group activity during the October 26th session of the Rumson School District’s “Parent Academy.”

Press release from Rumson School District

The Rumson School District recently sponsored a Parent Academy session, for the purpose of outlining Social and Emotional Learning initiatives taking place in Forrestdale and Deane-Porter Schools.  Over 90 parents of borough schoolchildren attended the event, held on the evening of October 26 and hosted by Superintendent Dr. John E. Bormann, Deane-Porter School Counselor Jessica Piernik, and Forrestdale School Counselor Jenn Crow.

“School is one of the few places where children are faced with social situations and conflicts that can be handled by working together with caring adults,” said Bormann. “This makes us an excellent proving ground.”

“We are supplying our students with a much-needed venue to make missteps in the presence of well-informed staff members who will correct them and guide them in the right direction.”

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MIDDLETOWN: CRIMES & ARRESTS

Recent crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.
AUTHORITIES_MTOWN3

Samadd Jenkins, age 20, from Stuyvesant Avenue in Irvington, NJ, arrested on September 7, 2015 by Patrolman Scott Davis on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Newark Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

Eric Buck, age 33, from Kimberly Court in Middletown, NJ, arrested on September 7, 2015 by Patrolman Jesse Toma for Simple Assault. He was held on $5,000.00 bail set by Judge Richard Thompson.

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MIDDLETOWN: CRIMES & ARRESTS

Recent crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.
AUTHORITIES_MTOWN3

Talia Lopez, age 24, from Easton Avenue in Somerset, NJ, arrested on August 25, 2015 by Patrolman Patrick Leonard for Driving While Intoxicated. She was released pending a court date.

Paige Padla, age 19, from Statesir Place in Middletown, NJ, arrested on August 25, 2015 by Patrolman Raymond Sofield for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana. She was released pending a court date.

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MIDDLETOWN: POLICE BLOTTER

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

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2Damon Dowd, age 38, from South Everest Avenue in Brick, NJ, arrested on February 24, 2015 by Patrolman Jason Caruso on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $1,057.00 bail.

Caitlyn Hewitt, age 26, from Kanes Lane in Middletown, NJ, arrested on February 24, 2015 by Detective Daniel Sullivan on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. She was released on her own recognizance.

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MIDDLETOWN: CRIMES & ARRESTS

Recent crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN2-2014Alexander Giuriceo, age 19, from Greenfield Way in Belford, NJ, arrested on August 27, 2014 by Patrolman Christian Clark for Disorderly Conduct. He was released pending a court date.

Gary Stone, age 43, from Church Street in Belford, NJ, arrested on August 27, 2014 by Patrolman John Soltysik for Violation of a Court Order. He was held pending a court date.

Valerie Hedlund, age 28, from Sherman Avenue in Belford, NJ, arrested on August 27, 2014 by Patrolman Jason Caruso for Possession of a Hypodermic Syringe, Possession of Heroin, Possession of and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She was held on $25,000.00 bail set by Judge Richard Thompson.

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MIDDLETOWN POLICE BLOTTER

Recent crime and arrest reports, unedited, as provided by the Middletown Township Police Department.

AUTHORITIES_MTOWN1-2014Michele Gaulette, age 35, from Pine Street in Middletown, NJ, arrested on January 7, 2014 by Patrolman Adam Colfer for Use of a Stolen Credit Card. She was released pending a court date.

Ana Rossi-Canarte, age 32, from Central Avenue in Aberdeen, NJ, arrested on January 7, 2014 by Patrolman Thomas Hughes for False Reports to a Law Enforcement Officer. She was held on $2,500.00 bail with a 10% option set by Judge Richard Thompson.

Matthew Melleby, age 19, from Dogwood Terrace in Middletown, NJ, arrested on January 8, 2014 by Patrolman Daniel Benbrook for Possession of under 50 Grams of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Being under the Influence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance. He was released pending a court date.

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OPERA AND DANCE TO LIGHT UP RBR STAGE

Rehearsing for this week’s Spring Dance Concerts at Red Bank Regional, VPA dance majors include (front row, left to right) Phoenicia Butler, Jessica Adderly, Dillion Jackson, plus (back row, left to right) Kendall Van Winkle, Bella Caputi and  Samantha Lore.  (Click to enlarge)

When the Visual and Performing Arts program at Red Bank Regional High School puts on a show, it’s like the Big Game.

Beginning Thursday night and carrying over into the middle of the coming week, the students of the VPA –majors in dance, music and visual arts from all over the Shore area — will take center stage in a series of showcase events, starting with a pair of Spring Dance Concert performances and continuing with the first fully staged opera production in the school’s history.

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FORECAST: ARTY IN APRIL

rbrartWorks by Shrewsbury artists Chelsea Moore (THE BIKE RIDE. left), Hong Yang (WORDS OF WISDOM, right) and other Red Bank Regional students are on display at the Guild of Creative Art beginning Friday.

So we’ve just about made it out the lamb-y end of March, and as the greater Red Bank Green awaits that new grass on the field, we step gingerly over the remnants from the last of the St. Pat’s Pub Crawls on a cultural constitutional that can only be called the April Art Walk.

Starting with… Friday, April the no-fooling First, which marks the first phase of an annual tradition at the Shrewsbury-based Guild of Creative Art — a two-part exhibit that spotlights the work of the most talented young artists from two of our local high schools in a professional-quality gallery setting. Beginning with a reception from 6 to 8p, and continuing through April 13 at the art collective’s Broad Street headquarters, the Guild showcases seniors from the Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Art Academy’s Commercial Art Program, under the supervision of RBR Commercial Art teacher Claudia O’Connor. Featured are drawings, paintings and pastels by Kelly Conley, Kelly McWatters, Chelsea Moore, Andrea Squassi and Hong Yang (all of Shrewsbury), as well as  Jessica Cresanti-Daknis (Oceanport) and Anthony Lee (Neptune City). Then on April 15, it’s an opening reception for an exhibit of artworks by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, a display that continues at the Guild through April 27.

There’s much more where that came from, of course, and it’s on view with just a step past the virtual velvet rope.

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CAUTION: BLIND BABY AREA

KkKristie Koehler-Vuocolo is one of five members of the Chicago-based Neo-Futurists who will make themselves at home around Red Bank as they bring their show, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, to Two River Theater this month.

By TOM CHESEK

Maybe you’ve seen the ads for Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, the new summer-season production that kicks off a four-week run at Two River Theater this Thursday; and maybe you’ve wondered just what this show is, you know, about?

Rbo_3b

Well, it’s about an hour. Pretty much exactly sixty minutes solid from the top of the clock. And within that hour, so it’s been promised, a paying customer can expect to see some thirty separate plays, some lasting for a matter of seconds, together comprising a body of work that runs the gamut of the theatrical experience — you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you know the drill. Beyond that, you’ll have to ask a Neo-Futurist.

To anticipate your next question, a Neo-Futurist is a member of a performance troupe that was formed some 20 years ago by Greg Allen in Chicago — home to Second City, Steppenwolf, David Mamet and other titanic touchstones of the stage arts. It’s a company that’s counted among its alumni the creator of Urinetown, Greg Kotis, as well as the technically-not-a-member Stephen Colbert. And, for a generation now, it’s been the proud purveyor of Too Much Light, an institution that’s been as much a part of modern Chicago life as night-game home losses by the Cubs.

Unlike other ridiculously long-running stage offerings like The Fantasticks and The Mousetrap, the “signature” work of the Neo-Futurists is an ever-morphing entity that bears little resemblance to itself from night to night, let alone compared to its younger self. But it’s not an “improv” show — it’s entirely scripted and rehearsed. And it’s not necessarily a comedy, as you’ll discover soon enough. It’s also not a tuneful revue, although the company includes such musically minded types as Screeching Weasel founder John Pierson. And, if you’ve read about Too Much Light… playing an ongoing engagement in Manhattan, well, it ain’t that, either — that’s an independent production created and performed by the satellite troupe the New York Neo-Futurists, whereas the version that Red Bank audiences will take in is an authentic reconnaissance pod off the old Mothership.

Fortunately, the oRBit desk at redbankgreen was able to track down an actual Neo — five-year veteran Kristie Koehler-Vuocolo — as she and her fellow Futurists Jessica Anne, Jonathan Mastro, John Pierson and Jay Torrence prepare to set down roots on the crimson banks of the Navesink for a stand that continues Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 27. Here’s how that played out.

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ANOTHER LAUREL FOR THE DYNAMIC DUO

Equipment_kidsBailey Taft, left, and Melissa Dominach with just a fraction of the gear they’ve collected for Red Bank athletic programs. (Photo courtesy of Margie Dominach)

Each year, one student from every public middle and high school in Monmouth County is spotlighted at a ceremony organized by the Monmouth County School Boards Association.

The award honors academic as well as personal growth and/or unique contributions students have made to their schools or communities.

Normally, districts are limited to nominating one student per school, says Fair Haven Superintendent Kathi Cronin. But this year, Fair Haven gets to send two middle-schoolers to Thursday night’s event.

They are Melissa Dominach and Bailey Taft, who started and run a sports-equipment charity that’s gone through the roof with donations.

Cronin says she could have stuck to the rule and picked either of the girls (a Solomon’s choice) or another child, but given what the 12-year-old pals Bailey and Melissa have pulled off with via Equipment for Kids, “that would just be dumb.” So she asked for an won an exception to the rule.

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