Thursday, March 29, 2007

Question of the Week (3/30)

Anonymous asks:

"The cast sounds great! What about everyone else involved? Are the technicians, designers and production staff volunteers too?"

Thanks for a terrific question! Yes, our entire team is compromised of local volunteers. The show's director, Brian A. Bara, is a member of the JTMF board and has been acting, directing, designing and writing for stages in NY, NJ & PA for over 30 years. Production Stage Manager, Bruce Frangione, also on the JTMF board, started his Community Theatre career with the JTMF, helping out backstage with our productions of Jeffrey and Torch Song Trilogy. He has since gone on to work with other local companies such as Maurer Productions and Like40 Productions. Set designer Pete Labriola has been with us from the beginning, as well. He runs Perriot Productions and has been part of the local theatre scene for many years. Costumer Michelle Rittman's Rittzy Productions recently costumed another NJ production of Psycho Beach Party. She and her mother, Ruth, work with many of the companies who call Kelsey 'home.' Lighting designer Bob Terrano, Director of Entertainment Technology at MCCC, has also donated his services since Jeffrey. Sound designer, Jody Person, is director of the Theatre Arts program at MCCC and appeared as Mr. Charles in last year's benefit, What Causes Homosexuality? Finally, producer, Event Coordinator and JTMF Founder Tracy Antozzeski, has been part of the Kelsey Theatre family since the early 1980's, producing, directing and stage-managing for dozens of productions over the years.

Remember, if you have a question for the JTMF staff, leave a comment on the blog, or email us directly at

Silent Auction News

The JTMF Fundraiser's Silent Auction has always been fun and exciting, filled with a terrific assortment of items from local merchants, manufacturers and businesses. In the past, we've had Carribean crusies; restaurant gift-certificates; massages; all sorts of gift baskets and even a few items donated by celebrities.

This year's auction is no exception. In fact, it promises to be even more exciting than ever before. Among the items already donated are: a gift basket from Discovery Toys of Bordentown, NJ; a signed original print from Shoppe 202; a wine basket from Silver Decoy Winery and two season tickets to the Kelsey Theatre's Summer Series, featuring shows from Shakespeare '70 and The Yardley Players.

In addition, this year we have managed to arrange for more celebrity donations than ever. Among them: a dress worn by MISS COCO PERU in the camp classic film Girls Will Be Girls; a "Desperate Housewives" gift package, donated by the show's creator, MARC CHERRY ; a CD of "The Night Before Christmas," narrated and signed by British comedian and V for Vendetta star, STEPHEN FRY; posters from the films Hook and Mrs. Doubtfire, autographed by their star, ROBIN WILLIAMS and an original, signed pen & ink drawing from a true American Icon, beloved comedienne CAROL BURNETT. And that's just the beginning. Donations are rolling in almost daily. There's sure to be something to delight you and undoubtedly something you simply must have. And you'll be supporting a good cause, too.

But the only way to bid on these goods is to attend the Fifth Annual James Tolin Memorial Fund AIDS fundraiser, featuring Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party, Friday, June 22nd and Saturday June, 23rd, 2007. For more information or to order tickets, visit

Friday, March 23, 2007

Question of the Week (3/23)

This week's question comes to us from Eve, who asks:

"Where does my donation go?"

Well, Eve, it depends on what your donation is. Money raised from our Silent Auction is used to fund the upcoming year's event. It helps pay for the play's royalties, prop and furniture rental, costumes, scenery and other production costs. This is also true of donations made at our website via PayPal.

All of the money raised through ticket sales is dispersed to three separate organizations. $1000.00 is given to The James Tolin Memorial Scholarship at Mercer County Community College to help defray a deserving theatre student's tuition costs for one year ($500.00 per semester). The rest of the money is sent to The Open Arms Foundation of Hillsborough, NJ, which provides support and services to NJ residents living with HIV/AIDS. Open Arms then uses some of that money to fund Graffiti Productions of Trenton, NJ, which provides AIDS prevention education and self-esteem building workshops through performing arts projects, to inner-city youth at risk. More information about these three agencies is available on our website:

Remember, if you have a question for the JTMF Staff, please leave it as comment on the blog, or email us directly at: .

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Save the Date - Bordentown Beach Party

When: Saturday, April 28th, 2007. Noon 'til ?

Where: Marcello's on Farnsworth and The HOB on 2nd, Bordentown, NJ

What: The Bordentown Beach Party. Join the JTMF as we celebrate the return of Spring and our upcoming Fifth Anniversary Gala, featuring Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party. Meet with members of the cast, members of the JTMF board and members of the JTMF Volunteer Staff. Have a special Psycho Beach Party drink and enjoy the return of warm weather.

Be there or be square, Surf-Dogs!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Question of the Week (3/16)

Jordan asks:

"How can I volunteer and what can I do for the event?"

Just send us an email at:, Jordan, and let us know you want to help. We can use your assistance in setting up on Opening Night; serving food on either night; sewing costumes; "celebrity" wrangling; making phone calls; handing out flyers at our special events (like the upcoming Bordentown Beach Party, April 28th in Bordentown, NJ); helping out backstage during the show or even just ushering. We aren't picky - we'll take whatever help we can get.

If you want to help, but don't have the time to volunteer, you can always make a safe online donation via PayPal at our website: Every little bit helps, and we are most appreciative. JTMF volunteers recieve recognition in our program, free admission to the show and the good feeling that comes with doing something for others in need.

If you have a question for the JTMF Staff, please leave a comment or email us directly at

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Cast (Updated 4/10/07)

This year, we are delighted to have a nice blend of both past JTMF participants and new talent cast in our production of Charles Busch's Psycho Beach Party. They come from all over the area, bringing tons of acting experience with them. In the order of appearance they are:

Josiah DeAndrea is YoYo. Josiah previously appeared as Lance in our production of The Altruists. He is a Theatre major at MCCC.

Josh Minton of Princeton is appearing with us for the first time as Nicky. Josh has many local theatre credits.

Damian Geata returns to the JTMF to play Provoloney. Damain was Ronald in The Altruists and appeared as Judas in last year's MCCC student production of Godspell.

Mark Violi, who appeared in our 2005 production of The Odd Couple returns to play Star Cat. Mark recently appeared in a commercial for a local window manufacturer.

Nicole Patrick joins us for the first time in the role of Chicklet. Her credits include several roles in NYC.

Adam Fitting, a north Jersey theatre veteran who recently returned from a year in New Zealand, makes his JTMF debut in the role of Kanaka.

Tina Henderson joins the JTMF family as Berdine, coming to us after studying at the prestigious Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Aubrey Malloy, an MCCC Theatre student, makes her first JTMF appearance as Marvel Ann.

Doug Edelson, who appeared in our first three productions, Jeffrey; Torch Song Trilogy and The Odd Couple, returns to play with us again as Mrs. Forrest.

And last, but not least...

Cat Miller, who runs a dance studio in Levittown, PA, and has worked with many local companies, joins us as Bettina Barnes.

There you have it. Ten extraordinary local actors, donating their time and talents to the JTMF, in what promises to be the funniest play we've ever produced. Be sure to join us on June 22nd and 23rd for an evening of laughs, good food and great causes. And make sure you stay to meet the cast after the show. They'll be happy to know you were there.

See you at the show!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Question of the Week (3/9)

Each week, we will answer a reader question about the JTMF: who we are, what we do, how to contact us and how to help. If you have a question, please leave it as a comment or email it to us directly at:

This week's question comes to us from Katie, who asks:

"How can I donate an item for your Silent Auction?"

It's easy, Katie. Simply contact our Silent Auction Coordinator, Melissa Abrahams at: or Event Coordinator Tracy Antozzeski at We'll be happy to make arrangements to pick up your donation, or send you instructions on where you can deliver it.

Past donations have ranged from restaurant gift certificates, wine baskets and massages to cruises, appliances and even celebrity memorabilia. We'll be sure to thank you, your company or your organization in our program and provide you with good-will publicity in local publications. Donating to our Silent Auction is an excellent way to show the community that you care and want to make a difference in New Jersey.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Psycho Beach Party

This year's JTMF production is Charles Busch's "Psycho Beach Party." Best known for the long-running Off Broadway hit, "Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" and the Tony nominated Broadway smash, "Tale of the Allergist's Wife," Charles Busch started writing plays to provide himself with work as an actor. His other plays include "Coma or Sleeping Beauty;" "Theodora, She-Bitch of Byzantium;" "Pardon My Inquisition;" the Bette Davis spoof, "Die, Mommy, Die!" and the McCarthyism-themed "Red Menace on Sunset."

Originally titled "Gidget Goes Psycho," "Psycho Beach Party" tells the story of Florence "Chicklet" Forrest, a teenager in Malibu, circa 1962, who wants nothing more than to be a surfer chick. Her best friend, the somewhat nerdy Berdine, and she spend hours talking in "teen speak" when they are not down on the beach helping the man-hungry Marvel Ann find a boyfriend. Meanwhile, surfers YoYo and Provolone are helping the surf king, Kanaka, prepare for the annual luau even as Chicklet begs Kanaka to teach her how to surf. But things aren't quite right in Malibu. Some one is attacking innocent beach-goers, knocking them unconscious and shaving ALL the hair off their bodies. Could it be the glamorous B-movie actress, Bettina Barnes, hiding incognito to avoid a studio contract which will ensure yet another stinker? Or is it Mrs. Forrest, Chicklet's obviously disturbed mother, who tells Chicklet that men are "coarse, hairy beasts" who only want one thing from a girl. And just who is the mysterious Ann Bowman?

To find out the answers to these and more questions, you'll have to attend the 5th Annual JTMF AIDS fund-raiser production of "Psycho Beach Party," June 22nd and 23rd at the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, NJ. For more information, ticket reservations or to make a secure donation via PayPal, visit

Thanks for reading and come back for our next entry - The Cast.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Welcome to the JTMF

Hello and welcome to the James Tolin Memorial Fund Blog. Five years ago, the JTMF was created to honor the memory of James Tolin, a local NJ actor who lost to HIV in 2002. Several of James' friends got together and decided to produce a play and donate the profits to The OPen Arms Foundation, an organization that had helped James through the most difficult time of his life. The play, Paul Rudnick's "Jeffrey," was a rousing succes and we raised over $7500.00 with just two performances. Before we knew it, we were a full-fledged fund raising company, and productions of Harvey Fierstein's "Torch Song Trilogy;" Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple;" Paul Rudnick's "Mr. Charles, Currently of Palm Beach" and Nicky Silver's "The Altruists" followed each June. The shows were accompanied by catered receptions and silent auctions, all of which combined to raise nearly $30,000 over the past four years. Two additional chairties - Graffiti Productions, which promotes Arts Education among inner-city youth at risk and The James Tolin Memorial Scholarship, which provides tuition assistance for Theatre Arts majors at Mercer County Community College - have also been added as Fund beneficiaries.

This year marks our Fifth Anniversary, and we are celebrating with a production of Charles Busch's hilarious Beach Blanket Spoof, "Psycho Beach Party," June 22nd and 23rd. A specail luau-themed reception is planned, along with an opening night Red Carpet Gala and an extra-special Silent Auction featuring items and memorabilia donated by many well-known, international celebrities (you'll have to stay tuned to find just who they are, but we promise, you won't be dissapointed).

So visit often. We'll keep you up to date with everything that's going on withe JTMF and our upcoming events with an entry every few days. And you can always stop by our website,, for more information. Thanks for reading. Come back soon.