Roxy’s Best Of…Far Hills, New Jersey

The Best of Far Hills, NJ, from kid stuff (including summer camp) to restaurants to shopping


Will London and Maddie “Go Pro” at Annie’s Playhouse this Fall?

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Dreams are important… when we’re kids, and when we grow up. When I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a disc jockey and own radio stations. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I was working at the local radio station in my home town. Today, as an investment banker who once put together a small-market radio group for a private equity fund, I’ve never regretted pursuing my childhood radio dreams.

My youngest daughter, Maddie, aspires to be a singing veterinarian. Because our twin babysitters are going off to college in a couple of weeks, eight-year-old Maddie is already talking about what she’s going to study when it’s her turn to go away to college (making her mom and dad officially empty nesters in ten years). Maddie would like to find a college where she can major in veterinary science (is there such a thing as pre-vet?) and minor in singing.

In the mean time, we’re trying to decide whether to make the commitment to a Master’s class at Annie’s Playhouse in Far Hills, NJ, in the Fall. For the past four years, London and Maddie have spent their summers at Annie’s Playhouse Summer Stars, but this year, for the first time, both of my girls have expressed an interest in “going pro” in the Fall, focusing on a career in musical theatre through the amazingly serious classes in acting, singing and dancing at Annie’s Playhouse. It’s clearly impressive to see what Annie’s Playhouse has accomplished for its most serious students… a couple of 10-year-olds from the Summer Stars camp already have their own agents and could turn out to be the next Jonas Brothers.

Several of the course descriptions are compelling:

  • Musical Theatre Workshop: Specialized performance class combining music, acting, and dance. Students work with scripted material, receive vocial training, and develop musical theatre dance skills.
    • Ages 6-8:  Monday 4:00-6:00pm
    • Ages 8-10:  Saturday 11:30-1:30pm
  • Musical Theatre Masters I and II: Designed for the advanced student. Focuses on sharpening singing, acting, and dancing skills.  Students recieve higher level training with exposure to Broadway guest artists.
    • Ages 9-12:  Wednesday 4:00-6:30pm
    • Ages 12+:  Wednesday 6:00-8:30pm
  • Acting & Improv: This class will explore theatre games, improvisation, acting exercises and much more. Taught by a Broadway professional, limited time only.
    • Ages 11+  Thursday 6:00-8:00pm
  • Hip Hop Dance:  this fun-filled class opens the stage door to street dance.  For everyone interested in energy-driven dancing.
    • All Levels:  Tuesday 3:30-4:30pm
    • All Levels:  Thursday 3:45-4:45pm
  • Show Choir:  This class is specifically geared for the art of Show Choir.  Combine your love for choral singing and dance!  Showcase your talent, sharpen your musical skills, fine tune your unison and two-part harmony singing, get out your dancing shoes and have a blast!

This year’s Summer Stars camp theme was Glee, and London and Maddie absolutely loved it… we’ve almost caught up on the entire first season of episodes, and then I know the girls will be fanatics about watching the new ones starting in September.  In the big summer show, London and Maddie participated in six different numbers:  Jump! (with the whole company), True Colors, Proud Mary, solos in You Keep Me Hangin’ On, Another One Bites the Dust, and a big finish with Don’t Stop Believing (with the whole company).

We also enjoyed the other girls’ impressive solo performances of Defying Gravity, Taking Chances, I’ll Stand By You, Smile, Beautiful, and Don’t Rain on My Parade… all of which got London and Maddie thinking about getting serious about music as a career.

But talk about over-programmed. There is such a wealth of opportunities for children to choose from here in the Roxiticus Valley, including the local Hexagon Players performances. As much as London and Maddie LOVED softball in the Spring, we’ve rejected the Mendham Little League Fall softball program, and decided to wait until next year to join a 4-H dog club. London is a very talented dancer and already takes three hours of ballet on Monday and Tuesdays, as well as an hour of modern dance for both girls at Garden State Ballet in Randolph, NJ, but we’ve put off the third day of dance and participation in the Nutcracker until she’s old enough to be en pointe next year. London also wants to continue with intermediate gymnastics at Randolph Gymnastics.

So we’ll take the next few weeks of relaxation at our beach house in Bay Head, NJ, sleeping as late as we want with no commitments, to decide whether the girls want to get serious about a career in musical theatre at Annie’s Playhouse, or stick to the lazy fun of song and dance of summer camp.  We’ve also loaded up on summer movies:  A Chorus Line, Fame (the original with Irene Cara), Flashdance, Save the Last Dance… am I missing any classics?

Oh… and if you’ve got a talented actor, singer or dancer in the house, give Annie a call at (908) 658-3002.  She has classes for all ages and levels of ability, including a new “recreational track” for the after school activity student who wants to give musical theatre a try without a serious time commitment. Be sure to tell Annie that Roxy sent you… I am not sure she believes in the value of online promotion!

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