NJ Surflight Conjures Once Upon a Time in New Jersey, With George Psomas, Marsha Waterbury, Melissa Rose Hirsch

Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven, NJ, opens the New Jersey premiere of the musical comedy Once Upon a Time in New Jersey on Aug. 30 for a run through Sept. 15.

Winner of the Kleban Prize and Richard Rodgers Award, Once Upon a Time in New Jersey is an Italian-American fairy tale set in 1956 Hoboken. (It's billed as "Happy Days" meets "The Sopranos.") Cara Reichel directs the show about "Vinnie LoBianco (George Psomas), an unassuming sandwich-maker, [who] is in love with counter girl Angie Moscato (Melissa Rose Hirsch)," according to Surflight.

Turns out, "Angie's got it bad for Rocco (Mike Longo), the local hunk, whose sights are set on sexy dance teacher Celeste (Crystal Kellogg). When Rocco runs afoul of Celeste's husband Billy (Vincent D'Elia), the result is a series of hilarious misunderstandings and madcap misadventure."

Previews played Aug. 28-29. Once Upon a Time in New Jersey also features Matt Wolfe (Narrator/Ed), Marsha Waterbury (Millie), Alliy Drago (Loretta), Seth Bazacas (Buddy), Kristen Marie (Etta), Scott Shaefitz (Tony), Jillian Riley (Conchetta), Colton Pometta, Chris Batek, Jennifer Margulis, Jenavene Bazacas and Dana Simone.

The creative team includes choreographer Christine O'Grady (associate choreographer, Broadway's Hair), musical director James Higgins, scenic and lighting designer Kevin Allen, sound designer Alan Douches, costume designer Rachel Guifoyle, production stage manager Julie Watson and stage manager Kevin Clutz.

Once Upon a Time in New Jersey — by Susan DiLallo (book & lyrics) and Stephen Weiner (music) — was initially developed at The Muhlenberg Summer Music Theater Festival in Allentown, PA. Following a series of readings at The Director's Company, it played Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, IL, the Village Theater in Seattle and the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. It was one of six musicals selected from across the globe for the Global Search for New Musicals Competition in Cardiff Wales. For tickets and information, visit surflight.org.


Surflight Theatre’s 2012 season continues with Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias (Sept. 19-Oct. 7); the revue I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Oct. 10-21); Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park (Oct. 24-Nov. 4); and Irving Berlin's White Christmas (Nov. 23-Dec. 21).