Actor-singer-bandleader Anthony “Remember Jones” D’Amato directs and co-stars with some Tony-lauded talents in a golden-anniversary concert version of the 1960s classic HAIR, going up for four performances this month at Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Ocean Township.
Published in the Asbury Park Press, August 3, 2018
Comedy tonight, music all around, on Shore stages in August
Anyone who still thinks of August as the mainly muggy curtain raiser to a serious new stage season hasn’t been paying attention to what the Shore’s theatrical companies are offering up in the interlude between Back to the Beach and Back to School. In this month’s breathless roundup/ rundown of live entertainments, we’ve got a hometurf pop sensation teaming with a couple of Tony nominees for a highly anticipated concert version of a milestone musical…we’ve got the welcome return of the Garden State’s most innovative showcase of new Latinx works for the stage…we’ve got the NJ premiere of a recent Broadway item, a whole lot of fresh looks at favorite tunefests, and a pair of revues that draw their laughs from some of the funniest and/or freakiest fare on the tube.
He’s the singing sensation and bandleader who’s taken many of the region’s most famous stages by storm with an astonishing series of themed tributes to albums by everyone from Amy Winehouse and Joe Cocker to R. Kelly and Kanye West. An actor who’s won acclaim in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Rocky Horror Show, and the twin title roles of Jekyll & Hyde — and an impresario who’s guided Lakewood’s historic Strand Theatre as producing artistic director. When he comes off his current multi-state big-band tour under his pop alter ego Remember Jones, Anthony D’Amato will be donning his actor, vocalist and director hats for a new 50th anniversary concert version of the Rado-Ragni-McDermott musical Hair at Ocean Township’s Axelrod Performing Arts Center. Going up for four performances beginning Wednesday, August 15, the project will mark D’Amato’s third time at the helm of the 1968 milestone — and he’ll have some heavy help in the persons of a pair of Tony nominees: onetime American Idol finalist and two-time nominee Constantine Maroulis of Wyckoff (Rock of Ages, Spring Awakening) as Berger, and Mary Bridget Davies (A Night with Janis Joplin) as Sheila. The director takes on the role of Claude for the concert-style presentation (which we assume means that everyone keeps their clothes on), with the Remember Jones Band doing duty “as both house band and members of the tribe, along with 15 other cast members.” An extra visual dimension is lent by Marc Rubinstein’s “Pig Light Show,” the real-time projection designs that famously graced such legendary venues as NYC’s Fillmore East. The happening, which will be accompanied by a display of historical materials from The Hair Archives, happens at 8 p.m. on August 15 and 16, with additional performances at 10 p.m. on August 18 and 3 p.m. on August 19. Tickets ($37-$45) are available at axelrodartscenter.com.