The question of what to do for entertainment only gets more fraught over time. When we’re younger, it’s pretty easy—there was a time when any random object could be a fascinating toy that would occupy us for hours. As kids we burn through everything in sight—books, video games, TV and movies—in order to keep ourselves entertained.
Eventually, though, it gets harder and harder to convince yourself that leaving the house is worth the effort—especially in the age of Netflix, when you can summon just about any entertainment experience to your couch with the swipe of a finger. If that’s you and you need a good reason to put on pants and head out for the evening, let us take this opportunity to remind you of the little gem right in our midst: Mile Square Theatre.
Let Them Entertain You
Whatever you think of when you hear the term “regional theater” (sometimes incorrectly referred to as “community theater”), you’re probably wrong. While local theater groups may not have the dazzle and marketing of their Broadway and Off-Broadway counterparts across the river, organizations like our very own Mile Square Theatre is back this season surprising audiences with innovative, unexpected productions put on by veterans of stage and screen.
Need a few good reasons to head out? Here’s three: The new theater space, the burgeoning NoVi nightlife, and the surprising, rule-breaking shows that MST is putting on.
Mile Square Theatre operated as a “floating” company for years, performing wherever they could secure some space. In 2008 they settled into the Monroe Center. They’ve been planning a permanent space for more than a decade, and finally moved into the brand-new 130-seat theater space (located at 1400 Clinton Street) in 2016. It’s a wonderful spot for theater: The lobby doubles as a gallery, and you can enjoy a glass of wine and some good conversation with your fellow theater-goers as you admire the art and wait for the curtain to go up. The theater itself is comfortable and well-equipped—designed by professionals with decades of theater experience.
While the “north of the Viaduct” (sometimes called NoVi) area of town isn’t as packed with bars and restaurants as downtown (or even midtown), there are more choices than ever, and more coming. Between the Pilsner Haus, San Guiseppe’s, Carpe Diem, the Malibu Diner, and The Shepherd and the Knucklehead, you have a wide range of choices for a glass of wine, a beer, and a good dinner within walking distance of the theater. And the Porter Collins restaurant on Willow will be open in February 2017, adding one more upscale option for your evening. But, of course, everything in Hoboken is within walking distance—your choices for dinner and drinks before or after the show are limitless.
You don’t need to be a Theater Nerd to see that MST is doing more than staging plays—it’s trying to do interesting, fascinating things. Joseph Gallo, MST’s Playwright-in-Residence, debuted his one-man play Long Gone Daddy at MST last year to rave reviews. MST staged another one-man show with John Keller in Dracula—which was a thrilling tour-de-force that saw Keller in constant whirlwind motion, acting out multiple parts and changing moods and energy on a dime.
For the holidays last year they staged a “radio reading” of the all-time classic It’s a Wonderful Life, an unusual staging that audiences loved. And now they’re offering up a production of Clark Gesner’s You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. One look at the cast photos for this one tells you that this is going to be more than a play for kids, it’s going to be fun for everyone. After all, who doesn’t love the Peanuts gang?
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown runs until February 26th, with showings at 7pm on Fridays, 2 and 6pm on Saturdays, and 11am and 3pm on Sundays. Head on over to www.milesquaretheatre.org or call 201-683-7014 for tickets.