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PR # 183 March 19, 2009

FORMER STUDENT, TEACHER REUNITE IN RVCC THEATRE PRODUCTION

Raritan Valley Community College?s (RVCC) Visual and Performing Arts Department will present a student theatre production of Lanford Wilson?s The Hot L Baltimore , April 9-11 and 15-18, at 8 p.m. Directed by RVCC Theatre adjunct faculty member Danielle Barry, the production will be staged in the Welpe Theatre at the College?s North Branch Campus. It will feature Dennis Russo, an RVCC Theatre professor and Theatre program coordinator.

Wilson?s work centers around The Hotel Baltimore?a once elegant and restful haven for rail travelers that mirrors the railroads? decline. On one Memorial Day in the early 1970s, the hotel staff, residents and visitors face the Hotel?s demolition, their eviction and their uncertain futures, but are determined to survive and thrive.

The Hot L Baltimore opened in February 1973 and set an off-Broadway record with 1,166 performances. The play won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, an Obie Award, an Outer Critics Award and the John Gassner Playwriting Award, marking the first major success for Wilson and his Circle Repertory Company. Wilson?s 17 plays include Balm in Gilead , The Mound Builders , Serenading Louie and Talley?s Folly , for which Wilson won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critic?s Circle Award.

The RVCC production marks a reunion of sorts for Barry and Russo, a graduate of North Hunterdon High School. The pair first worked together in 1994 when Russo, then an RVCC student, was cast in Barry?s first production at the College, Lovers and Other Strangers . Now as colleagues they focus their energies on the students enrolled in the College?s Theatre program.

Barry, a resident of Somerville, graduated from McDaniel College in Maryland and began performing professionally in regional tours of How to Succeed in Business , Boeing, Boeing and Last of the Red Hot Lovers . After moving to New York, she signed with the commercial division of The William Morris Agency and studied under the legendary Uta Hagen at New York City?s HB Studio. In 1992 she began teaching acting classes at RVCC and started directing department productions two years later. Barry also has been active in community theatre, directing Perry Award-nominated productions at the Somerset Valley Playhouse and a touring production of The Complete Old Testament in Twenty Minutes .

Russo, a resident of Little Falls, graduated from RVCC in 1995 and earned an MFA from The New School for Drama in 2001. He became a lifetime member of the Actors Studio in 2002 and now splits his energies between writing and performing. Russo received a Mid-Atlantic Fellowship in 2005 for his first play, Saving the Theatre , which was developed at the Actors Studio. In 2006 he won the NJ playwrights competition sponsored by William Paterson University, where his play was fully produced. His most recent work, Cooperstown Duet , was presented at RVCC under the direction of famed television actress Louise Lasser and was a semifinalist at the 2008 O?Neill Conference. Russo has been teaching full-time at RVCC since 2004.

The Hot L Baltimore contains mature content and language and is intended for mature audiences only. The action of the play requires smoking on stage.

Tickets cost $7 for students and seniors, $12 for general admission. For information and tickets, call 908-725-3420.

The cast includes:

Sandy Behre - Bernardsville
Shane Chandler - Flemington
Brian Conlon - Hillsborough
Ryan Correll - Hillsborough
Lori D'Elia - Branchburg
Jeff Johnson - Flemington
Melissa Karnilaw - Warren
Kathy McClain - Flemington
Carina Metz - Hillsborough
Eddie Reynolds - Middlesex
Matt Rooney - Somerville
Laura Wilson - Asbury
Laura Zahorbenski - Somerset

The production staff includes Mark Bloom, technical director, Bloomfield; Robert Batch, stage manager, High Bridge; and Heather Mussel, assistant stage manager, Bernardsville.

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for 40 years, offers more than 90 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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