The performing arts scene in Sussex County, New Jersey, is shining brighter with newcomer, North Star Theater Company. The non-profit theater company was conceived by Jim Berkheiser, of Vernon, with the support of friends and thespians, Bill Fell, of Sparta, and Phil Cocilovo, of Montague. For its inaugural season, the new theater company will be in residence at the Cornerstone Playhouse, located on 74 Main Street in Sussex.
The first production of North Star Theater Company will be William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and will be directed by Vicky Minardi, of Franklin. North Star Theater Company auditions will be held at the Cornerstone Playhouse on Tuesday, August 27, and Wednesday, August 28, at 7 p.m., with callbacks on Thursday, August 29, at 7 p.m. Sides will be provided and can be found at the theater’s website at NorthStarTheater.org. Prepared monologues are encouraged. All roles are open and all ages are welcome to audition.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream show dates are the weekends of October 18-20, and October 25-27, with show times on Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and at 8 p.m., and Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. For further information visit www.northstartheater.org, email NorthStarTheaterCompany@gmail.com, or visit facebook @NorthStarTheater.
The North Star Theater Company’s elected board members include Jim Berkheiser, founder; Bill Fell, president; Phil Cocilovo, vice president; Donna Fell, of Sparta, secretary; Chrissy Fulmer, of Pompton Lakes, treasurer; Dr. Deborah Prudenti Gianuzzi, of Newton; Danielle VanKampen-Minutillo, of Lake Hiawatha; and Allison Ognibene, of Sparta.
“It is a great privilege and honor to lead this newly formed community theater organization,” remarks Bill Fell. “When Jim shared his dream with Phil and myself, about starting a theater company, I never envisioned that I would lead such a wonderful team of dedicated professionals from various backgrounds and skill sets to bring a new community theater to Northern New Jersey!”
The goal of North Star Theater Company is to provide an inclusive environment and a high-quality theatrical experience to Northwest New Jersey and surrounding communities through the production of various dramas, comedies and musicals, while training and fostering the talents of all participants at any age and level of experience. North Star Theater Company provides a respectful and professional atmosphere for its audience and all participants.
“Cornerstone Playhouse was gracious enough to open its doors to North Star Theater for our inaugural season,” says Berkheiser. The new theater company’s main theatrical focus will be to produce plays, followed by musicals. “With Cornerstone Playhouse’s top-quality musicals, its adaptable space and professional board, it was a win-win opportunity for us to collaborate and further strengthen the arts in Sussex County.”
“I am excited to help shine a light on the talented performers that live and work in Northern New Jersey,” remarks Fell.
The Board of Directors of North Star Theater Company
Left to right: Chrissy Fulmer, Phil Cocilovo, Dr. Deborah Prudenti Gianuzzi, Bill Fell, Donna Fell, Jim Berkheiser, Allison Ognibene. Missing, Danielle VanKampen-Minutillo.
Photo credit: Jodi Halteman