This place deserves attention, and it's not getting enough. So I'm about to change it. It's a Jewel in our own backyard called the NJ Repertory Company in Long Branch.

New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch is an award-winning, nonprofit professional theater company, which develops new works for the American Stage. And this is no sloppy community theatre for bored housewives. An amazing selection of World premieres and broadway tryouts happen here and it's just around the corner!

Ken Jaworowski of The New York Times wrote an article about the theatre, "The NJ Repertory Company in Long Branch is a godsend to audiences and, especially, playwrights — a skillful, professional ensemble dedicated solely to performing new works. It is nearly impossible to overpraise the importance importance of its mission at a time when play-it-safe productions are the norm."

And that's just it: It's important. Especially in times like these where arts programs generally get the shaft or get pushed aside to fund less creative endeavors. So how do you not know about it?

And now for the even better news: This is a moment that a lot of people in Monmouth County have waited for (And New Jerseyans who don't know about it are about to be pleasantly surprised.) Their highly anticipated West End Arts Center is open at 132 West End Avenue in Long Branch.

The 1920s structure was the old west end school and is slated for a huge expansion into a major cultural arts center. It's up and running with a newly announced array of classes for adults in acting, playwriting, visual arts, jewelry making, and tapestry weaving.

NJ Rep has assembled an exciting roster of instructors for the 6 to 8 week sessions that start April 4th, with classes geared to beginners as well as more advanced students. This is a another great improvement to the cultural landscape in NJ and (full disclosure here-this is my town!) an amazing shot in the arm to the West End Area of Long Branch.

We don't have enough places to explore our creativity here in New Jersey and this one is going to be huge.

Call 732-229-3166 for further information or visit (Early registration is encouraged for all classes are designed with limited enrollment.)

Classes: Improvisation, Actors Gymnasium, Acting Basics, Playwriting for Beginners, Advanced Playwriting, The Pleasure of Drawing: Learning to See and Draw as an Artist, Water Media & Collage, Metal Clay Jewelry Workshop, and Tapestry Weaving.

I'm looking forward to hearing more about what's going on at the "New" NJ Rep and will keep you posted!

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