“Dooby dooby doo,” “A-tisket, A-tasket,” and “Bye, Bye Blackbird.” If any of those words make sense to you, don’t miss “CAST's Great American Songbook.” And if they don’t? – come anyway, because you’ll still probably have a great time, according to production officials.
CAST (Community Arts Scholarship Theater), which is Secaucus’ homegrown entertainment troupe, will present "Great American Songbook," its fall 2013 production, on Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center, 11 Millridge Road. “‘Songbook’ will feature the great classic songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, and other favorite crooners from the past,” said co-executive producer Pat DeFerrari.
"I guarantee that there will be many in the audience humming along and tapping their feet as they are taken back by these talented performers to a time when these iconic performers made their hits the classics that are still popular today," said co-executive producer Joan Kashuba.
Familiar faces, on stage and off
In addition to the new local talent that will be introduced, DeFerrari noted that there also will be very familiar faces on stage, as well as in the wings.
"Michael Griffo is the director/artistic director; Donald Caputo is the producer, and Jordan Addison is the musical director,” DeFerrari said. “Michael and Donald are graduates of Secaucus High School, where their passion for the arts began with school productions.”
Griffo also has performed throughout the country, off-Broadway, and in the Far East, and has directed several plays in New Jersey. He transitioned to playwright in 2001. His first creation, “No More Sundays,” won the New Jersey Perry Award for Best Original Play. Griffo is also an author. He published his first novel in 2010 and followed that with a young adult vampire trilogy. “His is a familiar face associated with CAST,” Ferrari said.
Caputo performed in the early Immaculate Conception Church variety shows, as well as Secaucus High School productions, is an original CAST member, and now serves on the organization’s board of directors.
“Songbook will feature the great classic songs.” – Pat DeFerrari
“There is a lot of talent and experience coordinating – and performing in – this production that will all come together for an exciting entertainment experience,” DeFerrari said. “You will not want to miss it."
Ticket prices, and purchase options
Tickets, at $15 and $10 (for seniors and children 12 and under), are already available for the three performances that are scheduled for Friday, Nov. 8 at 8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.
According to DeFerrari and Kashuba, the performers rehearse every Saturday at the Senior Citizen Center, 101 Centre Ave., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and tickets can be purchased there during those hours.
"We invite those interested in seeing the show to stop in and get their tickets early,” Kashuba said. Tickets will also be available at the door prior to each performance. There is no reserved seating.
Free bus for residents for Nov. 9 matinee
According to Lisa Snedeker, head of the town's Social Services Department, free bus transportation is available for those planning to attend the 2 p.m. show on Saturday, Nov. 9.
"Bus transportation will be available for any resident needing transportation to the PAC for the Saturday afternoon CAST performance only,” she said. “This service is not limited to seniors; anyone can take advantage of it.”
To utilize it, call (201) 865-4422 by noon on Friday, Nov. 8, and give your name, address and phone number.
“You will be told when and where the bus will pick you up,” Snedeker said. “This service is free, and offered by the mayor and council."
For more information, log on to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little history about CAST
CAST is a non-profit community theater program sponsored by the town of Secaucus, in cooperation with Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council, which offers a scholarship each year to a student pursuing a degree in the arts.
The group was formed in the mid-1980s and performed until the late 1990s, when it disbanded due to a lack of interest. It was revived in 2011 at the request of the mayor.
“Songbook” follows “The Show Must Go On” and “Good Evening Secaucus,” the productions the group staged in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Joseph Passantino may be reached at JoePass@hudsonreporter.com.