New musical starring Tovah Feldshuh debuts at Axelrod PAC


JERSEY SHORE BROADWAY WRITER

NEW MUSICAL DEBUTS AT AXELROD PAC

“A MONKEY AND ME” BY JONATHAN BRIELLE HOLTZMAN

FEATURES BROADWAY & TV LEGEND TOVAH FELDSHUH

The Axelrod Performing Arts Center will present A MONKEY AND ME: STORIES I NEVER TOLD MY MOTHER, a new musical by the New Jersey playwright, composer and lyricist Jonathan Brielle Holtzman, from June 24 to 30. In this show, Holtzman comes face-to-face with the TV and Broadway legend Tovah Feldshuh like his mother. It also stars award-winning actress, Veanne Coxas his “monkey”.

Feldshuh’s long list of accolades includes four Drama Desk Awards, an Obie, and five Broadway Tony nominations for lend me a tenor, Golda’s balcony, Yentl and Sarava. His television work earned him two Emmy Award nominations (Law and order and Holocaust). Cox, a Tony, Emmy and Helen Hayes nominated actress, is an Obie and Drama Desk Award winner and can be seen this season in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. His major Broadway roles include An American in Paris, La Cage aux Folles, Caroline or Change and Company.

Holtzman, known professionally as Jonathan Briellewrote the music and lyrics for Foxfire on Broadway and for Off Broadway Himself and Nora. In A MONKEY AND ME, a semi-autobiographical musical about growing up in Brielle and Deal and graduating from Asbury Park High School, Jonathan wrestles with a monkey from his Las Vegas extravaganza and his theatrical Jewish mother, all in the name of learning to love yourself to find love.

“After developing this play at the O’Neill Cabaret Festival, it’s wonderful and bittersweet to come home and collaborate with the Axelrod Theater to launch the world premiere two blocks from where my mother and father lived for so many years,” says Holtzman.

A MONKEY AND ME: STORIES I NEVER TOLD MY MOTHER will be directed by Broadway and West End veteran Kelli Barclay (associate choreographer for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and 42nd street), with music conducted by Nathan Lady, who will lead a fast-paced 8-piece band on stage with a brass section. The cast includes four other veteran performers with extensive Broadway, TV and film credits: Bruce Sabath (Company, Hello again), Jennifer Sanchez (on your feet, West Side Story, A pretty woman), Nancy Ticotin (Cursed Yankees, Broadway by Jerome Robbins, West Side Story) and Kate Marley (Prom, my lovely lady, fly at sunset).

“Providing a forum for writers to showcase new work is one of the goals of the Axelrod PAC, and Jonathan is one of the most respected composers in the Broadway realm, serving on the board of directors of the Johnny Mercer Foundation and as Founder/Writer in JMF Writers Grove Residence at Goodspeed Musicals,” says Artistic Director Andrew DePrisco. “I came across Jonathan when I discovered his wonderful show Off Broadway Himself and Nora. I was amazed to find out that he grew up here on the Jersey Shore. He’s one of the most prolific and creative theater writers I’ve ever known, and the “musical Monkey” is a true work of genius. This will have Broadway lovers sitting up and clapping!

Playing for six performances only, between June 24 and June 30, A monkey and me takes place at the Vogel Auditorium at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center, 100 Grant Ave., Deal Park. Tickets are available by calling the box office at 732-531-9106, ext. 14, or online at www.AxelrodArtsCenter.com. Visit the website for the most up-to-date information on COVID protocols at the theater. Ample free parking and group rates are available. For more information, visit https://www.axelrodartscenter.com/a-monkey-and-me.

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