Welcome to the New CenterStage Theatre at the JCC
When audiences arrive at the Hart Theater this season, the changes will be obvious and dramatic. A renovated lobby and entrance area, new concessions and box office facilities, expanded lobby seating, and the beautiful new Lipson Patron Lounge will transform your theatre experience.
The behind-the-scenes changes at CenterStage Theatre have been more subtle, but no less dramatic. After several record-breaking seasons, our reputation for high quality theatre and new play development is spreading throughout our community and beyond. By focusing on new works, recent Broadway hits, and timely themes, we are attracting a larger and more diverse audience. The combination attracts top local and national talent for an ever-expanding variety of professional theatre. All this has been made possible by the support of our CenterStage audiences, donors, volunteers and the JCC staff and leadership team.
Our 40th Anniversary Season is a perfect reflection of the current state of CenterStage. It includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Flick, the Tony Award-winning musical Titanic, the tour of the wildly successful Off-Broadway comedy My Son the Waiter, a new incarnation of our Hit Makers music series and an epic world premiere work: Church & State.
We are also thrilled to reprise last season’s smash hit Coney Island Christmas for a special engagement, present the premiere performances of the four-part harmony group UpScale, welcome the return of The Big Wigs and Solo Circus’ Michael Dubois and Viktoria Grimmy, along with another full season of TYKEs (Theatre Young Kids Enjoy).
The CenterStage 40th Anniversary Season kicks off on opening night of Church & State with a Champagne Launch Party with the playwright and wraps up on June 11, 2017 with Celebratory Brunch at La Luna at High Falls. Please consider a subscription and thank you for continuing to spread the word about the amazing theatre at your JCC.
Producing Artistic Director
Click here to see Ralph Meranto's digital press release.
40th Anniversary Season
Church & State
October 22-November 6, 2016
A World Premiere Play by Jason Odell Williams
“Gripping entertainment…Simply superb!” — Los Angels Times
“Powerful, often humorous, and highly contemporary” — Huffington Post
"A hilariously on-target script by a promising new dramatist” —-Arts in L.A.
A shockingly funny and brutally honest new play about the way religion, guns, and social media influence our elections. When Republican U.S. Senator Charlie Whitmore (Peter Doyle) makes an off-the-cuff comment to a blogger (Matthew Combs) that calls into question his belief in God, the senator’s devoutly Christian wife (Beth Winslow) and liberal Jewish Campaign Manager (Esther O’Leary Winter) battle to control the damage. Will the fall-out destroy the Senator’s career or change the world? An uplifting and heartbreaking look at what can happen when politicians say what they actually believe.
Emmy-nominated Jason Odell Williams (Handle with Care), developed Church & State with CenterStage Artistic Director Ralph Meranto for this Rolling World Premiere. This summer’s production at Los Angeles’ Skylight Theatre received rave reviews and was extended multiple times, and producers are ramping up for a NYC run Off-Broadway in 2017.
Directed by Ralph Meranto.
A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
Sponsored by Cornell Weinstein Family Foundation
Presented in Memory of Hon. Wilmer J. Patlow
Opening Weekend Events with the Playwright
Saturday, October 22, 6:30-8pm
40th Season Champagne Launch $40 includes a Pre-show Reception, Lipson Lounge Unveiling and On-Stage Toast with the cast and playwright. Limited to the first 40 people.
Sunday, October 23
Post-show Talk-Back with the playwright, director and cast
My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy
Starring Brad Zimmerman
December 1-11, 2016
“Delicious! Distinctly original…Powerfully poignant…Great Comedy!” ---The New York Times
“I’ve had three great opening acts in my lifetime: Billy Crystal, Garry Handling and Brad Zimmerman.” —Joan Rivers
“Must see..Hysterical…I laughed, I cried, I forgot where I parked my car” - Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond)
Comedian/Actor Brad Zimmerman spent 29 years “temporarily” waiting tables in New York, while chasing a career in acting and comedy. Instead of giving up, he transformed his often frustrating and ultimately inspirational pursuit into a hysterical show that played to packed houses in NYC for 15 months. Zimmerman’s self-deprecating humor and wicked charm, as he talks about his relationship with his parents, a misbegotten love life, persnickety diners and the sweet rewards that come from never giving up on your dreams, combine for 90 minutes of pure laughter.
Promotional Partner: WXXI
Sponsored by Debby Goldman
The Hit Makers - Love & War
February 4-19, 2017
The music that defined a generation and launched the 1960s Counter-Culture Movement is celebrated with the songs of Bob Dylan, The Mamas and the Papas, Crosby-Stills-Nash and Young, Jefferson Airplane, The Lovin’ Spoonful, John Lennon and many more. An all-new show from the creators of The Hit Factory.
Directed by Ralph Meranto
Music Direction by Casey Filiaci
Choreography by Mandy Hassett
Sponsored by Maxwell Boev Medical Group
by Annie Baker
March 4-19, 2017
Winner! 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama
Winner! 2013 OBIE Award, Playwriting
Winner! 2013 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
Three underpaid employees of a run-down movie theater tear tickets, clean up popcorn and attend to one of the few remaining 35 millimeter film projectors in usage. Their tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks play out in the empty aisles and become more gripping than the lackluster, second-run movies on the screen. With keen insight and a finely tuned comic eye, The Flick is a hilarious and heart-rending plea for authenticity in a fast-changing world. A must-see for movie lovers.
Directed by David Runzo.
Promotional Partner: WXXI & The Little Theater
Sponsored by the Elaine P. and Richard U. Wilson Foundation
Titanic, the Musical
Music and Lyrics by Maury Yeston, Story and Book by Peter Stone
May 6-21, 2017
Winner! 5 Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score
From the emboldened owner and builder who believed their ship was “unsinkable” to the emigrants in steerage searching for a better life in America, both the epic and everyday stories of the passengers on the legendary RMS Titanic are captured in this gorgeous and beloved musical.
Directed by Ralph Meranto and Esther Winter
Musical Direction by Casey Filiaci
Sponsored by Dawn and JacquesZ”L Lipson
A New Tradition …
Coney Island Christmas
by Donald Margulies
December 15-18, 2016
"Absolutely charming…Laugh-out-loud funny…An ensemble cast that truly shines" - Leah Stacy, Rochester City Newspaper
Last season’s hit returns for one week only. Coney Island Christmas weaves together nostalgia, music and hilariously exuberant holiday pageants in a show for all ages and all faiths. Based on “The Loudest Voice” by Grace Paley, a young Jewish girl in 1930s Brooklyn is cast to play the role of Jesus in her school Christmas pageant as her immigrant parents reconcile their own traditions with their new role as Americans.
Directed by Jeff Siuda.
New Year’s Eve Weekend
December 29 and 31, 2016
BIG WIGS just got bigger. Ring in the new year with Aggy Dune and RuPaul's Drag Race stars Mrs.Kasha Davis and Darienne Lake. An evening of comedy and dead-on musical impersonations of your favorite divas including Barbra, Liza, Judy, Tina, Cher, Celine and more.
December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017
Our four-part harmony group of Matt Wegman, Marc Cataldi, Jason Mincer and Ashley Jake Wegman were so popular in The Hit Factory 2, that we gave them their own show! Featuring incredible vocals and delightful staging, UpStage brings to life popular and musical theatre tunes from Frankie Valli to Lady Gaga.
Back by Popular Demand
The Great DuBois
June 3-4, 2017
Michael DuBois’ Solo Circus and The Amazing Viktoria Grimmy have amazed JCC audiences with magic, juggling and circus/sideshow stunts. Their new show features new tricks and routines and wrapped up in a cozy blanket of comedy. DuBois got his start performing as a JCC camper before appearances on Jay Leno and David Letterman catapulted him to international recognition. Grimmy is a fifth-generation circus performer and aerialist who created and performed circus acts for the Tony® Award-winning Broadway production of Pippin and has performed with the Big Apple and Ringling Brothers Circuses.
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5 Show Subscription - $115 (JCC Members $105)
4 Show Subscription - $98 (JCC Members $90)
3 Show Subscription - $75 (JCC Members $69)
Special Events are not included in the subscription series and do not count toward your show count.
All subscribers save on all CenterStage Special Events.
Click below or call the JCC at (585) 461-2000 to order your tickets.
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quality theatre that entertains, educates and inspires.