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interACT Productions to Stage First Annual Benefit

New community theater group plans cabaret evening for Friday, May 13

interACT Productions, the new community-based theater company which mounted the play “Bad Seed” at the Dreamcatcher Repertory this past December, is presenting “interACT Sings!”, its first annual cabaret benefit. The troupe is inviting the public to join them on Friday, May 13 for an evening of musical entertainment featuring past interACT performers as well as some new faces drawn from the area’s deep talent pool.

The performances will include a wide variety of musical styles, from Broadway to folk and rock, to comedic numbers. Reflecting the company’s mission of encouraging and incorporating multigenerational casts, participants in the benefit range in age from 7 to 60. 

Attendees will be able to enjoy wine and delicacies generously donated by South Orange and Maplewood eateries. Among these are Ariyoshi, Giorgio's, Cafe Arugula, Lalibela, Cait & Abby's, Town Hall Deli, Coda, St. James’s Gate, and Woody's Pig Roast. 

There will also be a raffle and a silent auction of goods and services donated by local merchants. These include, but are not limited to, services provided by SOMA Skin & Laser, wellness coach Risa Olinsky, Fringe Salon, Anthony Garubo Salon, and Bodhi Tree Massage; tickets for local theaters (Paper Mill Playhouse, Bickford Theater) as well as Broadway (“Mamma Mia”); kitchen items from Kitchen a la Mode; jewelry from Jenuine and Lia Sophia; and gift certificates to Spa Lady, Step2Gether, and Maplewood Karate. 

At this writing, the lineup of performers includes: 

  • Nicholas Clarey (cast, interACT's production of “Bad Seed”)
  • Peyton Hassler (cast, “Bad Seed”) and her sisters Austin and Hudson Hassler
  • Richard Johnson (NYC cabaret alumnus)
  • Susan Leone and her daughter Emma Leone (both from interACT's production of “Godspell”)
  • The Almost Canadians (with Malcolm Marsden, cast, “Bad Seed”)
  • Amanda Miller-Honick (cast, “Godspell”)
  • Tori O'Connell (from the What Exit? Theater Company’s comedy revue “Funny Ladies”)
  • Nikki Rene (Broadway alumna) and her daughters Erin, Tyler, and Emma Reininga
  • Sarah Rosen and her children Dora and Nate Kianovsky (all from the “Godspell” cast)
  • Rich Stanton (cast, “Godspell”)
  • Suz Stone (cast, “Bad Seed”)
  • Elena Stremlin and her son Benjamin Svitavsky (both from the “Godspell” cast)

There will be additional appearances by Starfish's "Dr. Yes," Mark Asch, on the piano, as well as Holland Jancaitis, musical director at Morrow Memorial Church, and Monty Smith, who performs with Tori O’Connell as The Erstwhile Montys.

Suzanne Hassler, a new addition to the interACT Board of Directors, first became involved with interACT after her daughter Peyton was cast as Rhoda in “Bad Seed” last year. Hassler expressed gratitude to all the restaurants and merchants who have contributed to the benefit.

“Being part of interACT is so much more than just enjoying seeing a friend or family member on stage. It's about the community, which has really embraced and supported us,” says Hassler. “Pounding the pavements of South Orange and Maplewood on a cold and dreary day, our hearts were warmed by the generosity of restaurant and business owners willing to extend themselves to help a new arts organization. We’re so excited to watch interACT grow and to bring the arts to an even broader audience.”

“interACT Sings!” is scheduled for Friday, May 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Maplewood Club, 489 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood. Specified attire is dressy casual. The event is geared toward adults and mature teens.

Proceeds of the evening will go toward the company’s third season, to begin in the autumn of 2011. According to Hassler, the specific productions haven’t been chosen yet, but will include a musical, a cabaret, and a play.

To purchase tickets, learn more about interACT Productions, and see the full list of sponsors, visit www.interactproductions.org. Ticket prices are $45 in advance and $50 at the door, per person. Each admission ticket comes with 10 raffle tickets.  

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