Mean Girls star teaches Seashore Campers how to star on Broadway

Long Branch — Aspiring young actors have a real treat in store if they are enrolled at Seashore Theatre Camp this summer.

Creative Commons 2.0 license photo by Theme Park Tourist ( Kerry Butler, star of Mean Girls on Broadway, at a February 2017 performance in the Epcot Center.

To kick off the first week of their program, Tony nominated Kerry Butler, one of the leads of Mean Girls, will conduct master acting classes to teach them techniques that have made her one of the most sought after stars on the Great White Way.

Her workshops will take place June 28 and July 19 from 10-11:30 a.m. in Seashore’s Theater “On Broadway” — 410 Broadway in Long Branch, that is.

“I love working with kids because their enthusiasm is infectious,” an effervescent Butler said. “I was nine when I started acting and still take lessons to this day because you can always learn more.”

Mean Girls is her 11th Broadway show. After doing commercials, television and graduating from Ithaca College where she majored in musical theater, she toured with the musical Oklahoma! in Europe as Ado Annie and debuted on Broadway as Miss Jones in the musical Blood Brothers.

Butler went on to originate the role of Belle for the Toronto production of Beauty and the Beast, where she was nominated for a DORA Award, and then transferred to Broadway. She also played Eponine in Les Miserable and Penny Pingletown in Hairspray, where she was singled out of the star studded cast for her “sparkling performance,” earning nominations for the Drama Desk and Outer Circle Awards, and winning the Clarence Derwent Award.

As Audrey in the Little Shop of Horrors, Butler received an Outer Critics Circle nomination. And her role in Xanadu, which required singing, dancing, alternating between three accents and roller skating almost the entire show, was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Peformance by a Leading Actress in a Musical and the Drama League Award for Distinguished Performance.

In addition, Butler briefly played Sherrie in Rock of Ages, and reprised the role of Brenda Strong in Catch Me If You Can, where she was nominated for another Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Acress in a Musical.

She shared a stage with James Earl Jones, Candice Bergman and Angela Lansbury as Mabel Cantwell in Gore Vidal’s political drama The Best Man, and was Marianne in the musical comedy Disaster! before being cast in Mean Girls as Ms. Norbury (played by Tina Fey in the film), Mrs. Heron and Mrs. George, where she has been recognized by reviewers for her standout performance in three very different roles.

Of all of these shows, roles and being nominated for one award after the next, what was her favorite?

“Hairspray. I liked playing Penny,” Butler said.

Seashore Theatre Camp is ecstatic about her upcoming visit. While her list of accomplishments are endless, this renowned Broadway star appears remarkably unaffected by her success, is easy to talk to, down to earth and nice.

“We are thrilled to have someone as talented as Kerry come to our theatre and share techniques with our campers,” founding Theatre Camp Director Renee Harrison Pincus said. “As part of the class children will learn acting, singing and dance skills that will take their August 10-12 performance of Mary Poppins to a much higher level. In addition, they will have a chance to ask questions and get tips about auditioning for roles on Broadway.”

And there is more. Butler has arranged to have campers participate in a Meet and Greet with the cast after they see Mean Girls August 15.

“While we have had the privilege of taking workshops with Tony nominated stars like Chad Kimball last year in Come From Away and Memphis right after it won the 2010 Tony, this is the first time a Broadway star is teaching a class in our theatre on our stage,” Harrison Pincus said. “There are no words that describe the excitement the 34 children in our program feel about meeting her,” she said.

According to Harrison Pincus, this is the 12th season for Seashore Day Camp’s Theater Camp “On Broadway.”

“There is no other theatre camp that offers this scope of opportunities,” she said. “Along with spending seven weeks rehearsing daily for large scale shows that bring the house down year after year, children see Broadway matinees including this year’s Frozen and Once On This Island and participate in workshops at New York City rehearsal studios with stars in the shows they see. To give them a complete summer experience, they take swim lessons, cool off in the pool pavilion in afternoon free swim and participate in special events every Friday.

Seashore Theatre Camp is part of Seashore Day Camp, which is currently celebrating its 92nd summer. More than 45,000 children for nearly a century say their best summers have been spent at Seashore. To find out why, call 732-222-6464 or visit

Drivers reminded to ‘Move Over’ this summer

With summer traffic in full swing, Assembly Members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey are reminding drivers that they must move over if they spot an emergency vehicle on the side of the road.

On Tuesday, June 19, the Assembly Members hosted a press conference on the Asbury Park Boardwalk to discuss the importance of the “Move Over Law.” The Assembly Members were joined by Wayne Blanchard, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Union; Donna Setaro, a champion of the Move Over Law whose son, State Trooper Marc Castellano was fatally struck while responding to a call on the side of the road; Asbury Park Mayor John Moor; and Pat Colligan, President of the NJSPBA.

“We want people to get to their destinations safely. We want the same for our roadside emergency workers,” said Houghtaling. “If you’re on the slow lane and spot an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, switch lanes. If you can’t switch lanes, slow down. It’s really that simple.”

“We all know how busy our highways are during the summer months. With traffic comes accidents, car troubles and road maintenance. We are asking drivers to be mindful of their surroundings for their safety, and the safety of others,” said Downey. “The ‘Move Over Law’ is very straightforward. Move over if you can; slow down if you can’t.”

The “Move Over Law” requires motorists to move over, when possible, when they spot service vehicles including police cars, firetrucks and tow trucks with flashing lights.

“Changing lanes and slowing down may seem like a small thing, but moving over for a police officer, a maintenance worker or an emergency responder can save lives. It’s so simple. Slow down, move over and be mindful. If you are driving to the shore this summer, please, mind the ‘Move Over Law.’ The consequences for violating it could be life and death,” said Donna Setaro, the mother of late-New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano.

“The ‘Move Over Law’ is a simple yet vital traffic law that we expect all drivers to adhere to. If you see an emergency responder, a police officer, a maintenance worker or any other professional responding to an incident on the side of the road, safely change lanes. If you are unable to do so in a safe manner, please slow down as you pass. We want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer. Please do your part in ensuring our police officers and emergency responders do as well,” said Wayne Blanchard, President of the New Jersey State Troopers Union.

Assembly Members Houghtaling and Downey are currently sponsoring a bill to strengthen the “Move Over Law” by imposing motor vehicle penalty points for violations of the law. They also sponsored a law to increase observance of the “Move Over Law” via public awareness programs and electronic message road signs.

Under New Jersey’s “Move Over Law,” drivers are required to reduce the speed of their vehicles and change lanes when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance, emergency service or sanitation vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking or alternating emergency lights. Violators are subject to a fine of between $100 and $500.

The bill (A-3890) would require two motor vehicle penalty points to be assessed when a driver violates the “Move Over Law.” The accumulation of motor vehicle penalty points may result in additional penalties, including the imposition of surcharges and a license suspension.

“Adding points to the ‘Move Over Law’ only stands to strengthen this important traffic law and deter drivers from ignoring it,” said Pat Colligan. “Our police officers, our emergency responders and our maintenance workers have enough to worry about while responding to calls. They should not have to worry about drivers as well. By strengthening this law, we can literally save lives.”

Assembly Members Houghtaling and Downey said they were inspired by Donna Setaro and her tireless campaign to raise awareness about New Jersey’s “Move Over Law.” Setaro’s son, New Jersey State Trooper Marc Castellano, was struck and killed while standing on the shoulder of Route 195 in 2010. Setaro has since brought her “Move Over AwaReness Campaign,” or MARC, to thousands of people all over the state, and last month reached her personal goal of spreading her message to 100,000 people.

“People may not realize the importance of the ‘Move Over Law’ until tragedy strikes. Trooper Castellano paid for this mistake with his life,” said Houghtaling. “There is good reason why this law is on the books. Adding points to a person’s driver’s record will help serve as a further deterrent.”

“The ‘Move Over Law’ is very straightforward and yet people continue to break it, putting themselves and others in danger,” said Downey. “No one wants points on their driving records. Toughening the penalty will send a clear message to motorists about the importance of the law and serve as a better deterrent against distracted driving, which is the main cause of crashes in the state.”




June 30 Daylily Day at Deep Cut Gardens

Middletown — Saturday, June 30 is Daylily Day at Deep Cut Gardens. From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. area residents are invited to visit Deep Cut Gardens, Red Hill Road, and enjoy an assortment of daylilies. Expert daylily growers will be on hand to discuss this hardy flower and give horticultural advice. The event is presented by the Monmouth County Park System and the Garden State Daylily Growers.

Deep Cut Gardens is the Monmouth County Park System’s site dedicated to the home gardener. The 54 acres of gardens and greenhouses are planned as a living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed through the seasons.

For more information on Deep Cut Gardens or the Monmouth County Park System, visit or call the Park System at 732-842-4000.


Theater Review: Dramatic marathon of suspense and sorrow fills Mercy

By Madeline Schulman

Long Branch

The late comedian Richard Jeni had a comment about the band America’s song, “A Horse with No Name.” “You’re in a desert. You got nothin’ else to do. NAME THE FREAKIN’ HORSE.”

In the dark comedy Mercy, by Adam Szymkowitz, Orville Marks (Jacob A. Ware) has an infant daughter with no name, because his heart is a desert. His pregnant wife was killed by a drunken driver (the child survived) and Orville cannot function well enough to pick out a name.

Jacob A. Ware and Nandita Shenoy in Mercy (SuzAnne Barabas photo)

His father, Walter (a touchingly tender performance by Dan Grimaldi, better known for playing tough guys), helps Orville with child care, taking the baby to Prospect Park (where she helps Walter attract women), and referring to her as Puddin’ until Orville can come up with a permanent solution. Meanwhile, at work, his direct supervisor, Brenda (Nandita Shenoy) relentlessly hits on him, under the guise of offering a comforting shoulder to cry on.

So Orville walks through his days in a fog of misery, worrying that the baby’s lack of crying is a sign of something wrong, and fending off Brenda’s advances. Suddenly, he catches sight of Ian Sanders (Chris Daftsios), the driver of the fatal vehicle, out on bail.

Now Orville has a purpose. He will stalk Ian and exact vengeance on him for destroying Orville’s family and happiness.

But life is filled with shades of gray. Ian is not a complete monster, but a sad screw-up who has destroyed his life with alcohol, drugs, and bad choices and is remorseful for what he has done. When Orville stages a meeting with him at a group for recovering alcoholics, Ian is grateful for a person he regards as a new friend.

Suspense builds as to whether Orville will use his new gun, or whether mercy, as in the play’s title, will prevail (and suspense also builds to a lesser extent as to whether he will ever name the baby!).

The performances are excellent. Chris Daftsios is moving as poor Ian, and Jacob A. Ware runs a dramatic marathon, on stage nearly every one of the play’s ninety minutes, punctuating Orville’s quiet desperation with eruptions of fury or overwhelming sorrow. Jessica Parks’s ingenious set creates many different locales on one small stage. And the story is leavened with plenty of humor.

However, I was chagrined that the only female character in Mercy is a manipulative, unscrupulous woman. Nadita Shenoy’s beauty, talent, comedic timing and natural charm cannot hide that Brenda is a predator, using her power over Orville to try to lure him into sex (whether she succeeds is another source of suspense). I don’t second guess professional playwrights, but I would have been more comfortable with an equal co-worker or a neighbor or anybody who wouldn’t give Orville cause to join #MeToo.


Summer Concert Series in Long Branch

Tuesdays On Broadway

Broadway Stage near McDonald’s behind Brookdale
Shows begin at 7 p.m.

July 10: Xol Azul Band

July 17 : Swing Sabroso

July 24: Sonido Costeño

July 31: Tito Puente, Jr.

Aug. 7: Zydeco-a-Go-Go

Aug. 14: David Cedeno and His Orchestra

Aug. 21: Marea Green Band

Aug. 28: Stone Flower

Thursdays By The Sea

Festival Plaza in Pier Village
Thursdays at 7 p.m.

June 14: Tim McLoone & The Shirleys

June 21: Motor City Revue

June 28: Bob Burger Band

July 12: 9 South

July 19: The Nerds

July 26: So Watt

Aug. 2: After The Reign

Aug. 9: Jerry Garcia Celebration w/ Marc Muller & Friends

Aug. 16: Danny V’s 52nd Street Band

Aug. 23: The Doughboys

Aug. 30: Brian Kirk & The Jirks (w/ fireworks)

Bands By The Beach

West End Park: Brighton & Ocean Avenues, near the Windmill
Sundays Starting June 11 at 7 p.m.

June 10: Chuck Lambert

June 17: Shadetree Mechanics

June 20: Long Branch High School Soundwaves Jazz Band (Wednesday special performance)

June 24: VyntEdge

July 1: Incinerators

July 8: Predator Dub Assassins

July 15: Tequila Rose

July 22: Philadelphia Funk Authority

July 29: Eddie Testa Band

Aug. 5: Eryn & The Whiskey Devils

Aug. 12: Remember Jones

Aug. 26: The VooDUDES

West End Cruise Night And Classic Car Show

August 18, 6-10 p.m. Brighton Avenue
The Hit Men (a group of musicians who played with some of the greatest performers in music history) will be performing

Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival

Aug. 25 1-9 p.m. Long Branch Great Lawn and Promenade

Cruise to the Jersey Shore Car Show

Sept. 9, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Oceanfront Promenade & Great Lawn

West End Funkfest

Sept. 15, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. at West End Park

Online dispute turns into large student brawl at Pier Village

Long Branch — A dispute on social media apparently escalated to a large fight police had to break up at Pier Village this weekend.

Long Branch Police responded to a reported large fight involving over 100 high school-age children in Pier Village at 9:50 p.m. on Sunday evening.

When the first responding officer arrived, he noted over 150 kids still huddled in a large group in the center area of Pier Village.

“It seems that two Long Branch High School girls have been having an ongoing dispute and as a result of social media they decided to fight down at the oceanfront and the large group turned out to watch,” said Police Chief Jason Roebuck.

Roebuck stated that when the officers arrived, the fight was over. When police attempted to disperse the crowd things began to get unruly.

“A sergeant asked one young man to leave and that individual started cursing and becoming belligerent. When the sergeant attempted to arrest the juvenile he resisted and assaulted the officer,” Roebuck said.

Police report nine juveniles were taken to police headquarters and five were arrested and charged with either resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, spitting on police and other related offenses.

The Monmouth County Sherriff’s Office also assisted the Long Branch Police Officers during the melee. Roebuck stated that the police officers then started to usher/escort the juveniles off the oceanfront.

One other scuffle occurred with another juvenile getting arrested on Chelesa Ave.

During the early part of the police response, officers had to deploy pepper spray to break up the mob. No one suffered and reported injuries as a result of the spray.

Several officers suffered cuts and scrapes and one had a finger broken.

Mall owners make economic case for adding apartments

By Coleen Burnett

Eatontown — Testimony continued in the Monmouth Mall – Eatontown Planning Board hearings on June 18.

On the surface, it looked like more of the same as in previous meetings. But an end to the discussion, which has run for months, may soon be in sight.

The focus for this session was a presentation by Jeffrey Otteau, president of the Otteau Valuation Group of Matawan. The company specializes in analysis of real estate. Speaking on behalf of the developers, he gave a blunt opinion of what’s needed to save the Mall.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Otteau said. “The mall itself needs to be redesigned.”

Otteau cited several factors, including a rise in online shopping, consumers looking at bargains at smaller stores (thus turning away from the so-called “Big-Box” stores that typically anchor a mall), and the fact that Eatontown has had a decrease in its population (especially in the all-important 20 to 35 year old demographic) over the last several years.

“There is too much retail space to be supported over the long term,” he told the Planning Board.

All is not lost for the borough, however. Otteau also said Eatontown’s strengths include its proximities to Route 18, the Garden State Parkway, and the beaches along the Atlantic Ocean.

As he sees it, the Mall would feature one- and two-bedroom apartments that could potentially rent for over $3,000 a month if the Planning Board moves ahead with the project. Otteau also mentioned having such amenities as a yoga room, a workout area, and an outdoor pool as a draw for potential residents.

“By having the apartments rich in amenities, you give a boost to the mall,” he said.

And while some 88 units would be set aside for affordable housing, none of this sat well with any locals at the hearing, especially those who live nearby. They complained about traffic and a lowering of property values — the same points that many of the same people have brought up all along.

Eatontown resident Shirley Jacobs told Otteau that it was too bad that apparently the Freehold Mall had not heard of the decline in mall traffic. She remarked that they seemed to be doing very well.

“If malls are dying, Mr. Kushner has made a big mistake in buying this,” she said angrily. “What I hear is that this town has handed over the keys to Mr. Kushner.”

The mall is co-owned by Kushner Cos., currently run by Charles Kushner.

Ted Lewis of Wyckoff Road said the math didn’t add up. He told Otteau that you could rent a small Cape Cod house on a corner lot for $1,800 a month versus a one bedroom apartment at the mall for the minimum of $2,700 a month.

Otteau replied that the demographics point to the fact that potential renters are not interested in a 1950’s Cape Cod. That seemed to annoy Lewis.

“You realize this is Eatontown and not Brooklyn, right?” he said as he walked away from the microphone.

At the end of his presentation, Otteau again cautioned the board that the borough’s survival may very well hinge on this project. “When people with income leave, you lose on every possible score.” he said.

More testimony is scheduled for July 2 at 7:30 p.m. It is possible the applicants will conclude their case that evening.

PIANJ elects Long Branch man to board of directors

Atlantic City —The Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey elected five independent insurance agents from around the state to its board of directors, at the association’s annual business meeting at Harrah’s in Atlantic City.

Newly elected to serve on the board for a three-year term expiring in 2021 was Aaron Levine, CIC, of Long Branch.

Levine is owner of L G Insurance Agency in Long Branch.

Active in PIANJ, Levine is immediate past president of NJYIP. He also is the YIP liaison for PIANJ’s Bait & Switch and Legislative/Business Issues Committees. Levine also is the NJYIP liaison to the PIANJ Political Action Committee.

The following individuals were re-elected to serve for a three-year term, expiring in 2021:

Roger C. Butler, CIC, of Cinnamonson. Butler is vice president of The Barclay Group in Riverton. Active in PIANJ, Butler will serve as the Business Issues chairperson of the Legislative/Business Issues Committee for 2018-19.

Michael DeStasio Jr., of Iselin. DeStasio is senior vice president of Assured Partners of N.J. in Cranford. An active member of the association, DeStasio will serve as treasurer of PIANJ in 2017-18 and served as secretary in 2016-17. He also is a member of the Legislative/Business Issues and Executive/Budget & Finance committees. DeStasio also is a member of the PIANJ Political Action Committee, serving as its treasurer. He also is a member of PIANJ’s Carrier Advisory Council.

Beth Frederickson, CPIA, of N. Caldwell, N.J. Frederickson is the agency principal of Voluntary Risk Managers, dba bethellenfrederickson,llc of Fairfield, N.J. As an active member of PIANJ, Frederickson is Conference/Education chairperson of the Membership Services/Programs Committee.

Andrew C. Harris Jr., CIC, AAI, of Jackson Township. Harris is president of Liberty Insurance Associates Inc., in Millstone Township. Active in the association, Harris is Legislative/Regulatory chairperson of the Legislative Business Issues Committee and is a member of the NJ Agents Justice Task Force. He also is co-chair of the Special Olympics Golf Committee and is a director for the New Jersey Young Insurance Professionals, an organization dedicated to the professional and personal growth of newcomers to the insurance industry. It is an affiliate of PIANJ.

Steven C. Radespiel, CIC, of Hillsdale. Radespiel is president of The Insurance Center of North Jersey Inc. Radespiel is an active member of PIANJ, serving as vice president of the association for 2017-19. He also is vice president of the Legislative/Business Issues Committee and is a member of the Bait & Switch, Executive/Budget & Finance and PIANJ Political Action Committees. He also is a member of the Carrier Advisory Council and is an ex-officio member of the association’s Northeast Advisory Council.

PIANJ is a trade association representing professional, independent insurance agencies, brokerages and their employees throughout the state.


Where ARE All the Employees? Boost Your Competitive Edge with a Webinar on Recruitment Marketing

Because unemployment rates are at an all-time low, finding talent to fill open positions is becoming more and more challenging.

Michael Ciavolino, founder and CEO of Shore Creative Group,

Learn the insider’s scoop on recruitment marketing Thursday, June 21 at 1:00 p.m. during the free Webinar Boost Your Competitive Edge with Recruitment Marketing. Sign up at

Dr. Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist ™ and author of How to Hire the Best series, will be interviewing Mike Ciavolino, founder and CEO of Shore Creative Group, Long Branch, an award-winning marketing agency.

Having spent more than 30 years in the marketing industry, Ciavolino has a proven record of developing successful recruitment advertising campaigns, connecting employers with the right candidates, and making the hiring process easier for HR/Talent Acquisition. He is a VP of JSAHR (Jersey Shore Assn of Human Resources; and a board member of the Garden State Council of SHRNM and the NJ Association of Healthcare Recruiters.

Ciavolino and Dr. Starling will discuss What is Recruitment Marketing? Should YOU be doing Recruitment Marketing? And strategies that businesses can immediately implement to attract top-performing team members.

About Shore Creative Group and Mike Ciavolino: Shore Creative Group ( and Mike Ciavolino, its Founder, provide a full spectrum of strategic digital, social, print and branding campaigns for attracting and retaining top talent. Shore Creative Group is at 176 Broadway, Suite B, Long Branch, N.J.

About Dr. Sabrina Starling: Sabrina Starling, The Business Psychologist™ and author of the How to Hire the Best series is the founder of Tap the Potential, which specializes in transforming small businesses into highly profitable, Great Places to Work!

Dr. Sabrina’s How to Hire the Best series grew from her desire to solve the toughest hiring challenges interfering with her clients’ growth and profitability. What sprang from her experience working with entrepreneurs in rural areas catapulted her into becoming the world’s leading expert in attracting top talent in small businesses — no matter what hiring challenges those businesses are facing — and earned Tap the Potential’s reputation as the go-to resource for entrepreneurs committed to creating thriving coaching cultures, while tapping team members’ strengths. With her background in psychology, and years of driving profit in small business, Dr. Starling knows what it takes to find, keep and get exceptional performance out of your biggest investment—your team members.

Two found dead in city

By Neil Schulman

Long Branch — Two people were found dead at an Ocean Boulevard residence.


A recent photo of Jerry Scarano in front of his home on Ocean Blvd., Long Branch.

The Long Branch Police Department reported that on Tuesday night, officers responded to a call for service to check the wellbeing of a person at the residence.


Rita Morano, a long-time friend of Scorano, who she sees almost every day, had not heard from him so she got someone to drive past his Ocean Boulevard home early in the morning. Although it was dark outside, all the lights were on, which prompted her to call the Long Branch Police Department to conduct a welfare check.

That’s when police discovered two deceased people.

Police said that the two were known to each other, and there is no danger to the community.

Because the investigation involves dead bodies, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating along with the Detective Bureau from the Long Branch Police Department.

While not officially confirmed, multiple sources have told The Link News that one of the individuals is Gerald “Jerry” Scarano, the owner of the residence where police were called.

Scarano, a Realtor, is known around the city. He could often be seen Long Branch Council meetings, discussing ways he thought the city could be made safer, improve its appearance, or advocating that the meetings be televised. He was involved in Asbury Park politics as well.

The Link has also been told that the other deceased person was also residing at the property.

Investigators say they believe the situation is an isolated incident.

“Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni and Long Branch Police Department Chief Jason Roebuck wanted to ensure residents and others in the area that this is an isolated incident and there is no reason to be alarmed and there is no further threat to the public,” said a statement from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

As of press time, officials had not released any more information.