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May 08, 2017

New Musical , HIT HER WITH THE SKATES, rolls into Rahway's Hamilton Stages this Weekend


Kristin Piacentile and Amy Toporek in Hit Her with the Skates (Russ Rowland)

New Jersey has become a launching pad for new musicals, because it is close enough to New York to get some attention but far enough that it has room to breathe and become exactly what the creative teams hope.  This weekend end the fun new musical Hit Her with the Skates (www.hhwts.com), Christine Rea & Rick Briskin, directed by Michael Schiralli, will get a developmental production at Rahway’s Hamilton Stages as it keeps its eye on a New York run in the future.

According to the press notes “Hit Her with The Skates is Grease meets Hairspray with a sprinkle of Xanadu! It’s 1994 and rock star Jacqueline Miller has a lot to celebrate. She’s headlining her first national tour and returning for a hometown concert at her beloved Windy City Skates. When complications hit her head on, Jacqueline comes face-to-face with her 12-year-old self and all the things she learned during the golden age of the roller rink in 1977. From the wisdom of the Ouija Board to the power of Smarties candy, Hit Her with The Skates explores the magic and hope of finding your one true love. “

Garden State Journal had a chance to speak with the stars of Hit Her with The Skates, Amy Toporek playing the 12-year version and Kristin Piacentile the adult version of the character of Jackie/ Jaqueline

GSJ: How would you describe Hit Her with the Skates and your role in it?

AMY TOPOREK: Hit Her with the Skates is a story about a singer/songwriter who is struggling in both her personal and professional life, but her next gig brings her back to her hometown of Chicago.  She's hit with a wave of flashbacks and memories that brings her back to a time when everything was simple and she was her truest self.  I play the younger version of Jackie.  Her family is very important to her.  She's feisty, speaks her mind, (which maybe gets her into a little bit of trouble from time to time) and enjoys nothing more than hanging out with her best friend at the local roller skating rink.   

KRISTIN PIACENTILE: For my character, Hit Her with the Skates is a coming of age story for a woman who's lost her way. She uses nostalgia as a means of escape and through that finds her center in life. She's an incredible person, but just needs to be reminded of that.

GSJ: Because you both play the same character, - years apart, did you work together to create your characters?  

KP: During the rehearsal process we definitely found our groove with the help of our wonderful director, Michael. Each take of the character lends to the other. It's really insightful to see another actor portray your supposed 'younger' self.

AT: Kristin and I have been working individually to find our characters, but found times to check in with each other especially for those moments when our characters have our one-one-one scenes.  And Michael Schiralli, our director, has been wonderful in aiding us even further in really finding certain gestures, looks and dance moves that hint our two characters really are the same person.

GSJ: What do you hope the audiences will be feeling or saying as they leave the theatre?

AT: I am hoping that the audiences enjoy the show so much that they can't help but tell their friends and family that this show is not to be missed! I'm almost positive they'll leave humming many of the songs from this show. The music is so great and extremely catchy!

KP: I hope everyone leaves with a smile on their face humming our songs!

GSJ: How long have you been with this project and how did you get involved? 

AT: I joined Hit Her with the Skates in June 2016 for the reading that was presented at Nola Studios in NYC. I'm very honored and grateful to be working on this show almost a year later.  

KP:  I'm new! I luckily got an audition for the show back in February and then got the phone call. It's been a whirlwind and I'm so grateful to have such an amazing team and cast.

GSJ: This is a new musical getting its start in NJ, how do you feel about launching this show in Rahway? 

KP: It's great. The theatre is beautiful and I'm returning to my home state to open a new musical. Now my parents will definitely see every show. There's no stopping them.

AT: It's so exciting for many reasons!  It's always an actor's dream to originate a role in a new show.  To have the opportunity to do that in a show that means so much to me AND to be able to perform it at a theater that's not only in the state where I grew up, but it's also currently 15 minutes from where I live... words really can't describe what a phenomenal moment this is.  This Jersey girl is very humbled and grateful.  

GSJ: What projects do you have coming up? 

AT: In July, I'll be performing in a concert version of Dust and Shadow at the Highline Ballroom in New York.  It's a thrilling new musical set in the times of Sherlock Holmes written by Jonathan Reid Gealt, Dustin Sullivan and Kasey Marino based on the book of the same title written by Lyndsay Faye. 

KP: I've been working on my own music as KP Wolfe and recorded a pop/rock EP in Los Angeles. It's influenced by the sounds of Janis Joplin and Pink and I'm incredibly excited to release it. @KP_Wolfe will have all the info so be sure to check it out!

Hit Her with the Skates is written by Christine Rea & Rick Briskin, directed by Michael Schiralli, with musical direction by Brandon Ethridge and choreography by Gina Ventura.

The show will run at Hamilton Stage (UCPAC, 370 Hamilton St, Rahway, NJ 07065) from May 12 – 27, 2017; Opening night Saturday, May 20 at 8pm.

Please check the website for

There is a Special Mother’s Day Performance with special gift for mom on Sunday, May 14 at 2, check website for details.

Performance schedule for performances dates and times www.hhwts.com

 

 

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