2/10/2011 - HCAC: Prelude to a Kiss


Teaneck New Theatre (TNT)—in association with The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center (HCAC)—takes the stage for the first production of its 25th season with Prelude to a Kiss by Craig Lucas. Directed by Lisa Garrabrant of Little Falls, the hit romantic comedy will be presented February 18-27 at The Hackensack Cultural Arts Center, 39 Broadway, Hackensack. Show times: Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m.; Sundays at 3:00 p.m.

Prelude to a Kiss is a love story with a difference. In this popular comedy (originally starring Alec Baldwin and Mary Louise Parker), Peter and Rita are a young couple who fall in love and get married. A curious event at their wedding presents them with a startling challenge. What has happened is that an elderly man, whom nobody knows, kisses the bride. The unusual thing is not the kiss itself, but what takes place afterwards. During their honeymoon, Peter discovers a troubling transformation in Rita’s personality, which he attributes to that sudden kiss. Peter is determined to find the man who kissed his bride, and to do so in time to save his marriage.

Here’s the cast featured in this thought-provoking comedy: Single-minded Peter is Mt. Olive resident Timothy Meola, making his TNT debut. Tim recently was onstage as Benjamin in Screen to Stage: The Graduate and as Paul in Company, both with Bergen County Players. Mixed-up Rita is portrayed by Maria Pagoulatos of Clifton, also in her TNT debut. Maria has appeared in Murder at the Fandella Winery with the New Jersey Mystery Company, and elsewhere in Sex with Censor and Train to Brooklyn. The eccentric Old Man is played by New Milford’s Harry Bates, who previously trod the boards in such TNT productions as Night Watch, 12 Angry Jurors, Man of La Mancha and The Fantasticks.

Mrs. Boyle, Rita’s mom, is portrayed by Penelope Surgent of Clifton. Dr. Boyle, Rita’s dad, is played by Lake Hiawatha resident Rick Monaco. Peter’s friend Taylor is Jim Wirsz of Philadelphia. Rita’s friend Tom is played by Paramus resident Mark Gordon. Aunt Dorothy is Bergenfield’s Brenda Sherman. Uncle Fred is portrayed by Martin Cohen of Paramus. Leah, the Old Man’s daughter, is Midland Park resident Jill Haas. The minister is played by Union City resident Beatriz Esteban-Messina. The Jamaican waiter is Michael Hanson, Sr. of Hackensack. Paterson resident Andy Rodriguez serves as producer. Michelle Thomas-Hanson of Hackensack is stage manager.

Director Lisa Garrabrant was at the helm of TNT’s recent radio broadcast of My Favorite Husband. Onstage, Lisa’s roles include Maggie in The Shadow Box at Manhattan Ensemble Theatre, and Charlotte in Moon Over Buffalo and Aldonza in Man of La Mancha for TNT.

Tickets for Prelude to a Kiss are $15; $12 for students and seniors; and $10 for theatre parties of 10 or more. Opening night only: Two tickets for the price of one (on $15 tickets). For reservations and information, call TNT at (201) 692-0200. Visit TNT’s web site at www.go-tnt.org for directions to the theatre and for online credit card ticket purchases through Theatermania (212 352-3101 or 1-866 811-4111).