Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Guest review - The Producers at Paper Mill Playhouse

A big thank you to Jennifer Niederhoffer for this guest review of The Producers.

Credit: Jerry Dalia
When I saw that the Paper Mill Playhouse was going to present The Producers this fall, I have to say that I was pretty excited. While I had seen the original 1968 movie starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder and the 2005 movie version of the Broadway musical, I never saw this live on the stage. I'm happy to say this production was a delightful way to finally see this Mel Brooks classic in person.

For those who aren't familiar with it, The Producers is the tale of downtrodden producer Max Bialystock, "The King of Broadway," who teams up with Leo Bloom, a nebbish accountant with big Broadway dreams ("I Wanna Be a Producer"). They realize that putting on a terrible (and I mean TERRIBLE) show would allow them to collect money from investors and just make off with the cash as soon as the show closes... on "Opening Night," that is. They find the worst show they can find—just a little something called Springtime for Hitler—and put flamboyant director Roger De Bris in charge to create something that's sure to be a bomb. Unfortunately for Bialystock and Bloom, things don't work out quite this way ("Where Did We Go Right?"). Throw a Swedish knockout/love interest into the mix ("That Face"), and you know it's going to be a hot theatrical mess. 

I laughed out loud from beginning to end during the show when I had the chance to see it at the Paper Mill Playhouse. I imagine the actors feel like they have enormous shoes to fill, stepping into the musical's roles originated by Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, but Michael Kostroff and David Josefsberg are simply terrific as Bialystock and Bloom, respectively. Ashley Spencer (who I loved on the reality tv series Grease: You're the One that I Want) is simply irresistible as Ulla, and the cast is well-rounded by John Treacy Egan as playwright/unabashed Nazi Franz Liebkind, Kevin Pariseau as De Bris, and Mark Price as De Bris' sassy "assistant" Carmen Ghia. 

The question: Is The Producers appropriate for kids? My answer is no, unless they would understand why a show about a show called Springtime for Hitler would be funny. Not to mention the jokes about shtupping old ladies. So, while I recommend trying to see this show before it closes on October 23, I highly suggest getting a babysitter for your kids.

The Producers is at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside DriveMillburn through October 23. For more information, visit www.papermill.org.

Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm.  You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia or @themommysreview.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

What We've Been Doing Lately: The Spring Edition

What have we been doing lately? A little of that, a little of this. But you know what we haven't been doing? Enjoying the weather. This has been one coooold spring.


Going to the eye doctor. From an injury gotten while blowing up a balloon. Heard (barely audible) while the pediatric eye doctor was examining Kay, "I hate balloons. I really, really hate them." Me too, doc. Me too.



Making stupid images on SnapChat. Oh to have the time management skills of a tween.

Baking Princess Leia cookies. Obviously. Because it was May 4th.



Spring cleaning. Did I enjoy finding this random pack of cards with my beloved home state of Virginia on them? Yes, yes I did. Did I keep them, since there were only 43 of them? No, no I did not.


Downsizing. This is Sharpie the pig's house. In the recent clean-up mentioned above Sharpie the pig got to stay. His home, however, was recycled.



All of this activity took place under the ever vigilant eye of the resident policeman.
I've never felt more safe. Except for when balloons are around.

Happy Spring!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Fun for Everyone at the Liberty Science Center and an Awesome Giveaway

A huge thank you to Andrea McDonald for this guest post about her family's visit to the Liberty Science Center, and also a huge thank you to Liberty Science Center for providing admission tickets, as well as tickets to giveaway.


This past President’s Day weekend, looking for something fun to do in the subzero temperatures, my family and my sister’s family decided to go to the Liberty Science Center with our four kids ranging in age from 4 to 9.  

We were excited for the Science, Sabers and Star Wars: The Force Awakens event that was taking place just for the weekend.  However, we arrived to find that what seemed like literally thousands of others were just as excited about that, and the Star Wars event was incredibly crowded with long lines.  So we quickly decided instead to check out some of the many other exhibits currently at the Science Center.  


We first found our way to the Sid the Science Kid: The Super-Duper Exhibit which runs through May 15, 2016 and is included with general admission tickets.  This exhibit allows young learners to explore STEM activities through a variety of activities like: Catapulting Sid’s toys into his toy box using a lever, testing inertia using toys on a skateboard, experimenting with friction and testing different surfaces and designing their own “Super-Duper-Ooper Big Idea. We knew our 4 year old would have fun, as he really likes Sid the Science Kid, but weren’t sure our 7 year olds or 9 year old would be engaged by it.  We didn’t need to worry.  All the kids loved it. 

Our 4 year old son could have spent all day playing with the ball machine (for lack of the technical term), using the pulleys to bring the balls up to his 9 year old cousin waiting on the top part of the structure and then catching them when they fell and trying to determine which ball would land first if two were thrown down at the same time. My daughter really enjoyed using the microscope to look at objects focused in different ways and at varying sizes.
After we managed to drag the kids out of the Side the Science Kid Exhibit, we went to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition around the corner. Tickets are required for this exhibition - $27.75 for adults, $22.75 for children 2-12 and $24.75 for seniors.  The additional cost is well worth it for the history buffs among us.  In it, more than 130 legendary artifacts conserved from the ships debris field are showcased.  As we entered, we each received a replica boarding pass of an actual passenger aboard the Titanic.  And we moved through the life of the ship, from its construction, to life on board, to the ill-fated sinking and amazing artifact rescue efforts.  The adults really enjoyed seeing the many artifacts, while the kids especially liked seeing the re-created first and third class cabins and touching the iceberg. 


The “Memorial Gallery” where we could take our boarding passes to learn whether our passenger and traveling companions survived or died was interesting to adults and children alike.
In addition to the special exhibitions, we also visited more permanent exhibits such as Our Hudson Home, which explores our complex relationship with the distinct and special Hudson River ecosystem.  Our girls had a great time donning lab coats and conducting an experiment in ecology.

All in all, we spent a great day at the Liberty Science Center, and had so much fun at the many other exhibits that we didn’t even regret not making it to the Star Wars exhibit.  Especially after we ran into a storm trooper on our way out and managed to get our picture taken with him.

And now for the giveaway...
 WIN A FAMILY FOUR-PACK OF TICKETS TO THE LIBERTY SCIENCE CENTER!

Liberty Science Center is offering a family prize pack of four tickets to visit the museum!

Entry:


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Blizzard of 2016

There was a big snow storm this weekend in New Jersey, with record snowfall recorded at Newark Airport, as well as in Baltimore, and I think, Washington, DC, too.



An enterprising neighbor made this awesome time lapse video.



Sunday, January 24, 2016

The photo you get...

... when you ask the kids to pose so you will have a keepsake of the super gigantic snowstorm, which was probably - but not definitely because we're still waiting for the official totals from the NWS - the biggest snowfall ever in your town in the history of ever, and while you are taking the photo one of the three kids gets bored and walks off so they aren't even in the photo, and the other two are actually posing with their arms around each other and smiling right when your husband decides to use his brand-new snowblower for the very first time which you probably don't need me to tell you this last part, but he does not even one little bit know how to use.





CLICK.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

This post brought to you by dumb stuff my kids ask me to do

I used to make my kids a nice, hot breakfast every morning. Eggs, pancakes, waffles. They woke me up at 6 a.m. every single day, so what else was I going to do between then and when we left for school at 7:45?

Now, they sleep until about 7. And they eat cold cereal for breakfast. While I'm not entirely happy about this change of breakfast menu (the artificial ingredients! the sugar), I am entirely happy about sleeping an extra hour.

At breakfast today the first-grader was enamored by this extra-large flake in his bowl of frosted flakes.



I argued I wasn't even sure if this flake was particularly an outlier.

He begged me to take a photo.

So I did, because if there's one lesson parenthood has taught me it's to pick your battles.

And if there's a second lesson of parenthood, it certainly would be that what delights my child pretty much always delights me as well.

And if there's a third lesson, it would be that I won't feel guilty about the sugary cereal for breakfast when they're all grown-up.

I hope.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Magic Marbles

I've been on a bit of a cleaning and organizing kick lately. The youngest is six now, which means whole categories of baby, toddler and little kid stuff can be taken to the curb one and for all.

The amount of space this is clearing for giant Lego structures and lacrosse sticks is welcome, as older kids have as much crap as younger ones, it's just different crap.

Among the many things I found when cleaning up the kids' rooms, were these three marbles. If you're seeing this photo and asking, are those ordinary marbles? The answer is yes, yes they are.

But once upon a time, they were magic marbles. I forget the exact circumstances, but as soon as I saw them I remembered how these were the most prized possession in all the land. Now, I ask the kids, "anybody want these?"

And they answer, "Nah, We don't need any marbles."

And here I am again, providing one of my many mom services, to save and cherish the memories that even the kids have forgotten.

But don't get me wrong - I cherish the memories. The marbles are happily nestled in the giveaway box.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Kids and Cats

One of my kids favorite things to do is visit Green Meadow Farms in New Jersey. It's a petting zoo and a guide takes a group around to visit the animals one by one. It's only around for a month in the fall and a month in the spring. We are twice-a-year regulars.

At the end of the tour, there are kittens and puppies, always different breeds, and these are for sale. The kids of course really beg us to buy one, like there's a chance we might, which there is not.

But their look of pure delight with the kitties makes me wish there was a chance they might get to have one as a pet.





But my real reason for posting these is that when I was looking back at our Green Meadows pics, I saw this hilarious one.

I am not quite sure what's going on with the cat, but I am sure I love it.

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