MIDDLETOWN: PLAY ON, AT TWO LANDMARKS

The Navesink Arts Center (the long-ago Middletown Library) and the “Old Stone Church” at All Saints are the settings for some hearth-warming community theater events in weekends to come.

Here in the season of the Great Pumpkin Spice, thoughts stray across the Oceanic Bridge, and into the Navesink-Locust precincts of Middletown Township — a place of rustic old landmarks, foliage-festooned hillside trails, and the mist-shrouded banks of Many Mind Creek.

Beginning this weekend, and for many October days and nights to come, two of the area’s most historic haunts are offering up some diversions designed to take some that encroaching seasonal chill from the bones.

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NAVESINK: A STONE CHURCH ‘SUPERSTAR’

allsaintsThe Stone Church Players wrap up their production of the Webber-Rice rock opera JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, with two more performances this weekend.

It wasn’t all so very long ago that Jesus Christ Superstar was denounced from pulpits across the Western world, branded as everything from “a witches’ brew” to “an utter blasphemy” — in fact, more than 40 years from its first appearance as a record album, the Webber-Rice rock opera still manages to ruffle the odd feather of the faithful, with its portrayal of Jesus as a quite-human figure racked by self-doubt. But the sandal-songfest has also served to spread the gospel to new generations more effectively than a hundred thousand snoozeworthy sermons — and it’s not uncommon these days to see earnest community productions going up inside houses of worship, as with the musical’s current local revival by the Stone Church Players.

When the Players reconvene at All Saints’ Memorial Church (the historic “Old Stone Church” at the crossroads of Navesink and Monmouth Avenues) this weekend, they’ll be presenting the final performances of the Michael Hazlett-directed show that opened on June 20, and continues through June 29.

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