RED BANK: BASIE UNVEILS NEW ARTS SPACE


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Guests mingled in the new Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy Monday. Below, Yvonne Lamb Scudiery and Mayor Pasquale Menna spoke at the unveiling. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

cbpac 092115 1Old-timers will recall its days as a WaWa, but its future is as a laboratory for the arts.

So say officials at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy about the onetime convenience store that is now the academy’s home.

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RED BANK: BASIE NETS $1M FOR STUDENT ARTS

basie-marquee-3-090213-500x375donegoodlogoRed Bank’s Count Basie Theatre is $1 million richer this month, thanks to a Brielle-based charity. The Charles Lafitte Foundation, founded by Vonage board chairman Jeffrey Citron and his wife, Suzanne, matched funds raised at the foundation’s annual single-beneficiary golf outing, held June 29 in Union County, to raise a record sum for the theater.

Adam Philipson, the Basie’s president and CEO, said the money will be used to create an endowment that will make the arts available to students of all backgrounds “for generations to come.” (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

 

RED BANK: RICE & BEANS, ITALIAN & TURKEY

thanksgiving barber 3Art’s Barbershop. Chair: Jim Murphy, Barber: Rick Memmola. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)morsels medium

To get a sense of how folks around the greater Red Bank Green will be celebrating Thanksgiving, PieHole checked in with a few area barbers and hair stylists. In this, the fifth and final in the series, we pop in on three barbers.

Art’s Barbershop, Monmouth Street.

Jim Murphy, Monmouth Beach: Go over my mother in law’s, and she just cooks like a madwoman. Three different kinds of meats for about 15 to 20 people. She’ll make a ham, turkey and lamb. And she’ll make meatballs, too.

Barber, Rick Memmola: Going to a friend’s house in Long Branch, and we’ll probably have pasta or a lasagna. I’m not a big fan of turkey. I just plan on eating a lot.

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‘A LOVE LETTER TO TEACHERS’ AT TRTC

nilajacarolroseggNilaja Sun stars as teacher, students, parents and faculty in NO CHILD…, the Obie winning one woman show going up at Two River Theater in Red Bank. (Photo by CAROL ROSEGG/ Berkeley Repertory Theater)

By TOM CHESEK

Regular followers of Two River Theater Company might find themselves a bit taken aback when they check out the new show inside the mainstage Rechnitz auditorium — where the 2011-2012 season recently opened with a Much Ado About Nothing that boasted a large cast of Broadway vets, a Tony-nominated director and a script by one Will Shakespeare.

When the play known as No Child… goes up in previews beginning Tuesday, theatergoers will look upon a spare set design populated by a single performer — a player who also happens to be the playwright.

Those who feel they’re not getting their money’s worth should know that No Child… is a critically acclaimed, Obie-winning hit that’s been seen by over a million ticketholders, with over 600 performances Off Broadway as well as major productions on both coasts and both sides of the Atlantic pond.

They should also know that No Child… is not a monologue but a full-fledged comedy-drama featuring some sixteen speaking parts — young and old, students and faculty, male and female, funny and not so — all of whom just happen to be played by native New Yorker Nilaja Sun. In fact, Ms. Sun, who won that 2007 Obie for her work here, originally scripted this play for a quartet of actors, and has been carrying the workload of four people ever since the play’s earliest performances.

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BARAKA HOLDS COURT IN RED BANK

barak3Poet and author Amiri Baraka  just before he spoke to a captive crowd at Frank Talk. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

He slipped slowly out of the back seat of a shiny black Mercedes-Benz with a slight hunch, shuffled into the storefront at 163 Shrewsbury Avenue, immediately took a seat and started thumbing through a book. It was not the entrance one might expect from a man who’s made his life creating, capturing and transferring an often radical and controversial energy.

But it only took a couple minutes and the reading of a poem on the death of Miles Davis from his book, Digging: The Afro American Soul of American Classical Music, for the Amiri Baraka that the crowd knew to break out of that fragile-looking shell and deliver. By the intense looks on the faces of the two dozen or so who waited the 90 minutes for him to arrive at Frank Talk to speak on Sunday, in celebration of the second day of Kwanzaa, the 75-year-old author, activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey could do nothing less even if he tried.

The crowd hung on his words as he reminisced about his halcyon days spent with jazz legends like Thelonius Monk and Nina Simone, or when he offered critical political analysis, some of it lighthearted.

“Somebody told me that the only reason Obama won is because his mother’s white,” Baraka said. “And I said, ‘All the presidents’ mother’s were white.”

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FAIR HAVEN REC HEAD THRIVES, FULL-TIME

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Charlie Hoffman just finished his first year as Fair Haven’s first full-time recreation director. Borough officials think the investment has paid off in spades. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As mayor of Fair Haven, Michael Halfacre catches a lot of flak for decisions he and the Borough Council make. That was no different last year when the council decided to hire a full-time recreation director; Halfacre says there was a lot of collective grumbling going on.

But once Charlie Hoffman, a fresh-faced 29-year-old, stepped into that full-time role and got to work, the naysayers suddenly got quiet, Halfacre said.

“I’ve not heard a single complaint from anybody,” he said. “His on the job performance has been tremendous.”

Hoffman has been on the job for a little more than a year now, and all one needs to do is take a look at the borough’s existing and new recreation programs to see the impact Hoffman’s had in his inaugural year, his backers say.

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