Though New Jersey is nicknamed the Garden State, many people only know the stretch of road from Newark Airport to the Lincoln Tunnel. Bill Mesce, Jr. set his story, A Jersey Cantata, which is ending its run at the Sande Shurin Theatre Nov. 18, in that 10-mile radius. The Grunt Productions presentation began Nov. 2.
In Newark's North Ward, a bunch of friends from "the old neighborhood" come back to pay their respects to one of their own whose death came suddenly. On their visit, the friends also revisit their friendship and relationships that have since changed.
Ken Dashow, a local New York City radio show host, directs the production, with a cast that includes Nat Habib, Frank Lombardi, Joseph Pascillo, Joseph Prussack, Jonathan Sang and Dashow himself.
Cantata began as a one-act that was titled A Good Kid. After winning several one-act play competitions, Mesce, Jr.'s play spun off into other one-acts that have been combined to form this new piece.
Tickets can be purchased to the Sande Shurin Theatre, 311 West 43rd St (between 8th and 9th Ave.), by calling (212) 358-3455. — by Ernio Hernandez