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deborah dutcher phil kuntz 100515-v2 (2)Deborah Dutcher and Phil Kuntz, above, and the proposed album art, which offers homage to both Elvis Presley and the Clash, below.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)


deborah doctor punk 100515It was no accident that Deborah Dutcher ended up touring Europe for 13 years with lead roles in such shows as “Les Misérables” and “Phantom of the Opera.” Singing show tunes professionally was pretty much all she ever thought of doing.

“My mom tells that from the moment I could speak, I wanted to be a singer,” Dutcher told redbankgreen last week. “And I had major follow-through. I never deviated.”

That laser focus, supplemented by a heavy diet of Barry Manilow and the Carpenters, also ensured that Dutcher ended up knowing diddly about punk rock. So when her friend and fellow Rumson resident Phil Kuntz suggested she record an album of punk classics as a way of restarting her career after a decade off, Dutcher was in unfamiliar territory.

The Buzzcocks? The Sex Pistols? Who were they?

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ZachHolliDebZach Alexander (Red Bank), Hollie Baines (Little Silver) and Deborah Dutcher (Rumson) are among the local vocalizers paying tribute to the Chairman of the Board during the 7th annual Sinatra Birthday Bash, this Friday at Count Basie’s place.


It’s got a collection of some of the greatest songbook and seasonal standards ever put to sheet music, driven by the “freight train” of Red Bank’s very own orchestral jazz band. It boasts the participation of nearly a dozen pop, jazz, and cabaret vocalists from all around the region — from weekend warriors to polished pros.

It’s a salute to “Ol’ Blue Eyes” that offers up a first local look at the winner of the 2013 Sinatra Idol competition — and it’s even packing a secret weapon: a first-person, real-world, one-degree-of-separation connection to the legendary Rat Pack itself.

For the 2013 edition of the Sinatra Birthday Bash, conductor-arranger-ringmaster Joe Muccioli promises “our biggest, most ambitious show ever” — an affair that teams the 18-piece Red Bank Jazz Orchestra with a cast of 11 guest bandstand singers, and the assembled skills of the Red Bank Regional High School Concert Choir, under the direction of Kristopher Zook.

In the seventh annual tribute to Jersey’s own Francis Albert Sinatra — born 98 years ago, on December 12 — the man called “Mooche” will be serving up the expected cavalcade of Sinatra signatures, drawn from the iconic singer’s awe-inspiring 60-year career. The December 6 concert, set for 8 pm at the Count Basie Theatre, also sports a new angle — “a little holiday cheer thrown into the mix,” a fitting theme for the second most famous birthday celebration in December.

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staceysargeant2Stacey Sargeant stars in the season opener INTIMATE APPAREL at Two River Theater, one of a pair of high-profile productions going up on Red Bank stages in these final days of summer.


One’s a 60-year-old crowdpleasing classic, back for its umpteenth revival as a dependable draw for several generations of musical theater buffs. The other’s a relatively little known, off-Broadway play that’s been hailed for its “lyric and powerful expressive writing.”

One boasts a cast ranging from folks who sing and dance for a living to some local youngsters making their biggest entrance outside the aisles of their school auditorium. The other is scripted by a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, with several critically acclaimed pros performing under the sure hand of a nationally renowned director.

When The King and I and Intimate Apparel open at the Count Basie Theatre and Two River Theater, in coming days, such distinctions will be entirely arbitrary for local theatergoers. With Summer 2010 gasping its last, the “Red Bank Theater District” centered around the borough’s two top-notch performance venues offers up a choice of ways in which to build a night on the town — and we’ve got a rundown for you, coming up right after this brief scenery change.

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