COUNT BASIE THEATRE, GRUNIN CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCE AREA TEENS TAPPED FOR PERFORMANCES OF BRUNDIBÀR AND FRIEDL

Performances set for the weekend of August 19th in Red Bank and Toms River; cast culled from Basie Performing Arts Academy camp with famed Los Angeles Opera director Eli Villanueva and musical director Jason Tramm.

(RED BANK, NJ | JULY 12, 2017) The Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy has revealed the names of cast members studying under Los Angeles Opera director Eli Villanueva for a pair of performances in collaboration with the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College.

The students, part of a two-week intensive headed by Villanueva, will perform Brundibár and Friedl, a pair of dramatic presentations set in Germany’s Theredienstadt concentration camp during World War II. Villanueva will be joined by musical director Jason Tramm, an assistant professor and director of choral activities at Seton Hall University.

Tickets for the Count Basie Theatre performance at 8PM on Saturday, Aug. 19 and the Grunin Center performance at 2PM on Sunday, Aug. 20 are on sale now by clicking through or visiting the venue box offices. All tickets are priced at $20.

Brundibár and Friedl tell important stories of a part our history that we cannot forget or allow to happen again,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “The stories demonstrate how even under the direst of circumstances, the arts can be transformative.”

“I believe that our performances, made up of some of the most talented young vocalists in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties, will convey the important messages of the need to overcome injustice and forge a path of tolerance and mutual understanding.”

The following young vocalists have been named to the Brundibár and Friedl casts:

Brundibár: Lauryn Boyle (Wall, chorus); Lev Brewer (Tinton Falls, chorus); Catherine Creed (Highlands, chorus); Cakie Dym (Rumson, chorus); Frances Forte (Rumson, ‘Little Joe’); Amir Kamal (East Brunswick, chorus); Jack Kelly (Toms River, chorus); Olivia Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Isabella Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Lydia Lu (Red Bank, chorus); Olivia Marino (Toms River, chorus); Regina Messenger (Toms River, chorus); Isabella Moitoso (Holmdel, chorus); Alejandra Morales (Bayville, ‘Milkman’); Amanda Philipson (Little Silver, ‘Bird’); Andreas Psillos (Toms River, ‘Policeman’) Camille Pugliese (Red Bank, ‘Ice Cream Vendor’); Abigail Pukin (Holmdel, ‘Annette’); Sofia Ranucci (Interlaken, ‘Baker’); Francesca Ranucci (Interlaken, chorus); Nevaeh Sickles (Ocean, chorus); Mia Spallina (Manahawkin, chorus); Grace Sweeney (West Long Branch, chorus); Claire Taylor (Ocean, ‘Dog’); Ria Kiafoulis (Middletown, chorus); Alexandra Pennington (Middletown, chorus); Skylar Yannello (Holmdel, ‘Cat’); Nick DiBlasi (Holmdel, chorus); Trinitee Smith (Red Bank, chorus); Eli Fisch (Elberon, chorus); Alicia Henderson (Manalapan, chorus); Amaya Love (Lakewood, chorus); Nevaeh Love (Lakewood; chorus)

Friedl: Lauryn Boyle (Wall, chorus); Lev Brewer (Tinton Falls, ‘Jerry Rind’); Catherine Creed (Highlands, ‘Tella’); Frances Forte (Rumson, chorus); Amir Kamal (East Brunswick, ‘Josef Novak’); Jack Kelly (Toms River, ‘Ivo Keo Kaytz’); Olivia Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Isabella Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Lydia Lu (Red Bank, ‘Ruth’); Olivia Marino (Toms River, ‘Ela’) Isabella Moitoso (Holmdel, chorus); Amanda Philipson (Little Silver, ‘Anita’); Andreas Psillos (Toms River, ‘Peter Ginz’); Camille Pugliese (Red Bank, chorus) Abigail Pukin (Holmdel, ‘Helga’); Sofia Ranucci (Interlaken, ‘Eva’); Nevaeh Sickles (Ocean, ‘Maria’); Mia Spallina (Manahawkin, ‘Flaska’); Claire Taylor (Ocean, ‘Friedl’); Ria Kiafoulis (Middletown, ‘Lilly’); Alexandra Pennington (Middletown, chorus); Skylar Yannello (Holmdel, chorus); Nick DiBlasi (Holmdel, chorus); Trinitee Smith (Red Bank, chorus); Eli Fisch (Elberon, chorus); Alicia Henderson (Manalapan, chorus); Amaya Love (Lakewood; chorus).

Brundibár, by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása, tells the story of a brother and sister who join forces with a sparrow, a cat and a dog to outwit an evil organ grinder named Brundibár. Brundibár was performed by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia, and has since been staged around the world to symbolize the plight of people joining forces to fight intolerable situations. “It was performed at the camp 55 times, providing distraction and perhaps a small respite from the misery,” according to the New York Times. “But it was also exploited by the Nazis for propaganda purposes in their attempts to present Theresienstadt as a comfortable environment.”

Friedl tells the story of Theresienstadt prisoner Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a teacher from Prague who, like all prisoners, were permitted to carry just 50 kilos of personal belongings. While most prisoners understandably chose to pack valuables and personal belongings, Dicker-Brandeis used her allowance to carry art supplies. “Upon arrival in Theresienstadt, children were forcefully separated from their parents and family and sent to live alone in overcrowded children’s houses,” according to the World Holocaust Remembrance Center (www.yadvashem.org), “The starvation, illness and brutality of Theresienstadt, along with lack of stability and structure, put an enormous strain on the coping mechanisms of these children. They desperately needed direction and purpose, and Friedl was there to give them that.”

The Basie’s inaugural opera camp season is sponsored by OceanFirst, and Brundibár is presented by arrangement with Bote & Block Berlin and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

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Welcome to the NEW GruninCenter.org

Welcome!

At the Grunin Center, we strive to provide a first-class experience for our patrons, and therefore we are introducing the new GruninCenter.org!

Take some time to look around; we hope you find our new site engaging, informative, and easy to navigate. Here is just a sampling of the new features we think you’ll love:

  • An easy to navigate show listing section that allows you to search for events, sort by related events, and view in a format that you enjoy.
  • Clearly explained and easy to find policies, procedures, and information about the Grunin Center, and,
  • More information on the arts opportunities we provide outside of Main Stage productions.

In addition to the new website, we also have some exciting new offerings at the Grunin Center:

  • New Subscription Packages! No matter what your taste in performances is, we have a subscription to fit your needs. Learn more by visiting the Subscriptions and Group Sales page.
  • Expanded Community Engagement! Jaclyn Wood has joined our team as the Community Engagement Coordinator, and her goal is to expand our reach in the area. If your group or organization wants to see a show, or discuss a potential engagement opportunity, give her a call!
  • A first-class 2017 – 2018 season! We proudly announced our new season in June. Subscriptions go on sale on Monday, July 3rd at 9:00am, and tickets go on sale Monday, July 17th at 9:00am.

We look forward to welcoming you to an upcoming event, and to an entertaining 2017 – 2018 season.

~The Grunin Center Team

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