The premier publication for high-quality, hyperlocal news and announcements in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Holmdel Theatre Company Back in the Spotlight, Winning Awards

By Joanne Colella

Just as any great performance deserves an encore, articles about outstanding performance venues deserve encores, also – especially when that venue is ambitiously staging new shows and earning newsworthy accolades.

Such is the case with Holmdel Theatre Company, which was recently named the winner of an astounding eight 2019 BroadwayWorld New Jersey Awards amid a record number of nominations and votes for various categories. Presented in partnership with TodayTix, the awards are given in recognition of outstanding achievements by local theaters, producers and performers in states throughout the country. Nominees included touring shows, community theater companies, professional theaters and others for performances staged between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019.

Holmdel Theatre Company took home trophies for:

  • Best Community Theater Company
  • Best Community Theater Production – “Next to Normal”
  • Best Actor in a Musical – Jake Oliver in “Next to Normal”
  • Best Actress in a Musical – Gaelen Gilliland in “Next to Normal”
  • Best Cabaret Performance – Alice Ripley in “Broadway at the Barn: Ripley Prescription”
  • Best Director of a Musical – Kathy Connolly for “Next to Normal”
  • Best Director of a Play – Jake Oliver for “You Can’t Take It With You”
  • Best Ensemble Performance in a Play – “You Can’t Take It With You”

The board of directors of Holmdel Theatre Company said, “We are so beyond grateful to have received so many awards in the BroadwayWorld Regional Awards! There’s no way we could have been named Best Community Theater Company or brought these incredible shows to life without our amazing staff, cast and crew for each production.”

Tony Award-nominated performer Jennifer Damiano (in red) and musical director Benjamin Rauhala (in suit) celebrate with HTC board members in the dressing room after another successful installment of Holmdel Theatre Company’s “Broadway at the Barn” series on Jan. 4.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director Kathy Connolly, Executive Director Colleen Cook, Managing Director Laurie Devino and a team of enthusiastic board members, HTC has turned up the wattage of their spotlights in a big way. And both audiences and critics alike are clearly noticing.

In recent months alone, Holmdel Theatre Company has boasted a continuous series of sold-out productions that included the delightfully uplifting “Little Women the Musical;” a mesmerizing one-man performance by Michael Kroll of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic, “A Christmas Carol;” an enchanting and often humorous one-night holiday appearance by Betsey Wolfe, star of “Waitress” on Broadway; a beautiful one-night cabaret performance, preceded that same day by a small-group training master class, with Tony-nominated Broadway vocalist Jennifer Damiano; and a thought-provoking production of Off Broadway’s “The Pink Unicorn” with Tony Award winner Alice Ripley.

There is still much more to come in 2020, so don’t pass up the chance to see the theatrical magic that’s going on here and check out the upcoming schedule of events.

In celebration of Black History Month and in partnership with the New Jersey Creative Arts Collaborative, Holmdel Theatre Company will present a staged reading on Saturday, Feb. 29 at 7 pm of Academy Award nominee Lonne Elder III’s “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men,” directed by Gwen Ricks-Spencer. This classic play, which opened the door for a new generation of African American playwrights, tells the story of a Harlem family that dreams of a better life, but pursues it in tragic ways. Tickets are just $10 per person.

From Friday, March 27 through Saturday, April 11, Holmdel Theatre Company will present “The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail” by Robert E. Lee and Jerome Lawrence and directed by Tom Frascatore. Based on the early life of main character Henry David Thoreau, the play follows the events leading up to the night Thoreau spent in a Concord, Massachusetts jail after refusing to pay a poll tax that he thought would pay for a war he opposed. It is a story of trying times, civil disobedience, unwanted war, and man vs. nature. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors age 65 and over, and $20 for students.

And on Friday, April 17, HTC’s Broadway at the Barn series continues with a highly anticipated springtime appearance by Amy Spanger, star of Broadway’s “Rock of Ages” and “ELF.” Tickets are $75 per person.

The nonprofit, semi-professional Holmdel Theatre Company is dedicated to presenting fresh interpretations of classic plays as well as rarely presented modern dramas and comedies, and to providing opportunities for students and non-professionals to work with professional artists in a collaborative, artistic and educational exchange. All performances are held at the Duncan Smith Theater, 36 Crawfords Corner Rd. in Holmdel. The picturesque, 125-year-old white barn, located in front of Holmdel High School, has been transformed into a modern, fully air-conditioned facility with 99 comfortably cushioned seats, with newly installed upgraded risers, to offer a perfectly intimate theater experience.

For more information, visit or follow Holmdel Theatre Company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Scroll to Top