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Red Bank Theater Watch: A Phoenix Anniversary, Jitney Finale

Check out what's happening at the Count Basie and Two River Theater this week.

Phoenix Productions is celebrating its 25thanniversary in style with a gala evening of music and memories at the Count Basie Theatre this Saturday. Dubbed “25 Years of Phoenix,” according to a press release from the group, the evening will include a VIP cocktail party, a silent auction with theatrical memorabilia, and musical entertainment featuring past Phoenix performers and performances. The evening will end with a reception where the audience can meet the cast.

Over the past 25 years, Phoenix Productions has positioned itself as one of the top theatrical performance troupes in New Jersey with wildly-popular productions of both classic and contemporary Broadway shows. Recently, Phoenix has successfully tackled musicals like Hairspray, Annie, and Sweeney Todd, among others.

The performance portion of Saturday’s gala – Saturday of course being Feb. 25 – will feature a cast of more than 40 of Phoenix’s top performers over the years. The crew will reprise musical numbers from more than 30 past shows, including classics like Oklahoma, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita. The performance will also include numbers from Tony award-winning modern Broadway musicals like Hairspray, The Producers and Legally Blonde, according to a release.

The silent auction includes show tickets to Broadway, Papermill Playhouse, Count Basie, and Two River Theater as well as autographed posters, scripts and other memorabilia.

The night before, on Friday, the Count Basie welcomes Italian crooner Patrizio Buanne. The Naples native has sold more than a million albums worldwide with his collection of standards. First came the Pope, then England’s Royal Family, and now Buanne will perform for Red Bank. Fancy stuff.

This weekend is your last chance to see August Wilson’s Jitney at the Two River Theater. Due to critical praise and high public demand, the show has been extended for a final weekend. With four shows spread over three days, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch Jitney if you’ve missed out during its regular run the past few weeks.

Jitney is part of Wilson’s two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning 10-play series called the Pittsburgh Cycle. The show focuses on unlicensed cab drivers hustling to make a living. A “slice of life” play, Jitney tells the story of ordinary men looking to make their way.

Check out countbasietheatre.org and trtc.org for relevant pricing, seating and how to purchase tickets.

At Count Basie:

Patrizio Buanne – Friday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m.

25 Years of Phoenix – Saturday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m.

At Two River Theater

Jitney – Thursday through Saturday, times vary.

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