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MIDDLETOWN: SINATRA TIMES THREE

SinatraNathan DeDeo is among the singers making like Ol’ Blue Eyes all weekend long when SINATRA “OUR WAY” commandeers the MAC stage for three benefit shows, produced by Middletown’s own David J.V. Meenan (below).

1_David_MeenanMiddletown’s own David J.V. Meenan has hoofed his way into the Guinness Book of World Records as a champion long-distance tap dancer; performed on Broadway in A Chorus Line; and presented many an all-singing/ all-dancing extravaganza at Monmouth University.

Here in Red Bank, he managed his own playhouse (the Royale Theater on Monmouth Street) in the 1990s, and premiered his own original musical (Transatlantic) at the Count Basie.

 

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RED BANK AREA SCHOOLS DOMINATE BASIES

BasiesStudent performers from over a dozen area schools are the stars of the show at Wednesday’s tenth annual Basie Awards.

Broadway has its well-established Tonys; Off Broadway its Obies — and every other branch of show business its various Grammys, Emmys, and Academys. And when the 10th annual Basie Awards roll out the red carpet in front of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Wednesday night they’ll be doing what they’ve done so well: honoring tomorrow’s talents in the performing arts, both on stage and behind the scenes.

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SCHOOL’S OUT FOR SANCHEZ AT TWO RIVER

lifeinmiddlebOne class act: Adam Canterbury (Red Bank Middle School), Spencer Mullen (Thompson Middle School) and Sophia Jackman (Ranney School) are among the local students featured in the original musical LIFE IN THE MIDDLE, going up this weekend at Two River Theater. (Rehearsal photos by Janine Kamouh)

By TOM CHESEK

With the official arrival of summer and the much-anticipated winding down of the school year, thousands of area middle schoolers are fully willing and ready to slam shut the yearbook on the 2009-2010 session.

For a select group of local students, however, the middle school experience — complete with shifting alliances, weirdly morphing bodies and classroom politics — is ready to go another round. Beginning with an invitation-only dress rehearsal on Thursday and continuing with four performances through Sunday, a cast of 22 young actors and musicians will be taking the Two River Theater stage in Life in the Middle, an original rock musical that “looks at what it’s really like to be right in the middle,” courtesy of dialogue taken directly from middle schoolers.

With every one of the performers boasting his or her own home-grown fan club, it’s no wonder that the entire (expanded) schedule of shows sold out in a flash. But if director and co-author KJ Sanchez has her druthers, everyone in America will get a chance to catch this oral history-based project in the months and years to come.

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