NJ Rep Keeping Live Theatre Alive!

Welcome to the 5th release in our series, Keeping Live Theatre Alive!, conceived by Dan Lauria and featuring original works created by actors who champion theater. NJ Rep and our four partner theaters Berkshire Playwrights Lab, Durango Playfest, Laguna Playhouse, and Seven Angels Theatre are the recipients of this treasure-trove of heartfelt stories.

Over the next several months we will continue to bring you these stories performed by the authors, who are prominent actors of stage, film and television. What they all have in common is their passion and love for live theater.

André De Shields

is an actor, singer, dancer, director, and choreographer. His Broadway credits include Warp!, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Play On!, The Full Monty, Impressionism, and the title role in The Wiz. De Shields originated the role of Hermes on Broadway in Hadestown, winning the 2019 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Musical and the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for his performance. He has also appeared on television, and won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for his performance in the 1982 NBC broadcast of Ain’t Misbehavin’.

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Shuler Hensley

Hensley’s stage career began in the early 1990s with roles such as Pitkin in On the Town, Joe in The Most Happy Fella, and Gloriosus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, In 1998, he was cast as Jud Fry for London’s National Theatre Production of Oklahoma! then continued to play the role when the show transferred to the West End (1999), and then to Broadway (2002–2003), where he won a Tony, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. Hensley also starred on Broadway in Young Frankenstein as the Monster and was nominated for the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical and the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical. In 2011 he portrayed American Yiddish theatre great Boris Thomashefsky in The Thomashefskys: Music and Memories of a Life in the Yiddish Theater that later aired on the PBS series Great Performances.

 

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John Larroquette
is best known for his starring roles in the NBC military drama series Baa Baa Black Sheep (1976–1978), the NBC sitcom Night Court (1984–1992) (for which he received four consecutive Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series), the NBC sitcom The John Larroquette Show (1993–1996), the ABC legal comedy-drama series Boston Legal (2007–2008), and the TNT fantasy adventure series The Librarians (2014–2018). He made his film debut by providing the opening narration of the horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974), following which he appeared in films such as Stripes (1981), Meatballs Part II (1984), Richie Rich (1994), and the Hallmark Channel mystery television film series McBride (2005–2008).

Carolyn McCormack
In film, Carolyn’s breakthrough role was in Enemy Mine with Dennis Quaid. Other credits include Woody Allen’s Whatever Works, You Know My Name with Sam Elliott, and A Simple Twist of Fate with Steve Martin. On TV she played district attorney Rita Fiore in Spenser: For Hire and appeared as the holodeck simulation Minuet in “11001001″, a first-season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and later as Minuet Riker in a fantasy-alternate universe during the fourth-season episode “Future Imperfect”. A role she would become known for is that of Dr. Elizabeth Olivet on NBC’s Law & Order. She has also been a guest star on Madam Secretary, Elementary, Blue Bloods, Judging Amy, The Practice, Body of Proof, Cold Case, Homicide: Life on the Street, and LA Law. Stage credits include Off-Broadway and regional productions: Eve-olution, Dinner with Friends, Oedipus, Ancestral Voices, The Donahue Sisters, Family Furniture,Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike, What I Did Last Summer, and Will Eno’s The Open House (Lucille Lortel nomination, Drama Desk Award).

Barbara Niven

is an actor, writer and producer, best known for her performances in Hallmark Hall of Fame and Lifetime movies (including Stranger in My Bed, The Perfect Neighbor, Double Cross, Murder in My House, The Rival, A Valentine Carol, Black Widow,  Heat Wave, My Mother’s Secret, Home Invasion, The Wife He Met Online, Fame’s Promise, Wedding Daze, and Back to You and Me). TV credits include Pensacola: Wings of Gold, Cedar Cove, and Chesapeake Shores with Treat Williams and Diane Ladd. She is also known for her roles on the soap operas The Bold and the Beautiful and One Life to Live as well as guest roles in ER, Cold Case, Las Vegas, NCIS, Charmed, Eli Stone, and Parks and Recreation.  On HBO she played Marilyn Monroe in the The Rat Pack and has appeared in films such as Under Lock and Key, Forest Warrior, Foxfire, Breast Men, Chasing Ghosts, Redline, Summer’s Blood, and A Perfect Ending. She is also a motivational speaker, media trainer, and animal rights activist and spokesperson, as a National Ambassador for American Humane.

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Tony Todd
is an actor, film producer, and voice actor, best known for portraying Sergeant Warren in Platoon (1986), Kurn in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1990–1991) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996), Ben in Night of the Living Dead (1990), the titular character in the Candyman horror franchise (1992–2021), William Bludworth in the Final Destination franchise (2000–2011), Dan in The Man from Earth (2007), and as the voice of The Fallen in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009).