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Category: Entertainment

‘Sleeping Beauty’at W.H.A.T.

Sleeping Beauty

The West Hudson Arts Theater Company (W.H.A.T.), 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, continues its run of family theater stage performances with Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.” Performances are Friday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 15, at 1 and 4 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m.

Young theater-goers are encouraged to wear their best Prince and Princess costumes to the performances.

All tickets are $8. Group rates are available. Tickets are available online at www.whatco.org or by calling 201- 467-8624.

Teenager Tayla Grace prepares for big time in music world

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.
Observer Correspondent 

Sometimes, when 17-yearolds sing, it’s nice — but there’s only so much of it you can take. In the case of Tayla Grace, her voice is so strong, so powerful, so professional, one can’t help but wonder just how soon it will be before she makes it big in the music industry.

One can only imagine that it won’t be too long before her songs are on the radio — or she’s singing on “American Idol.”

And it’s all because she’s been involved in the arts since she was a young girl. And it’s all come full circle with her first-ever album.

The Observer was introduced to Grace last week at a groundbreaking ceremony in Harrison.

The 17-year-old high school senior says it was the choir she was involved with from an early age until she turned 15 that allowed her to realize she’s extremely talented musically.

Read more »

Pooches on parade in Arlington Park

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

A lot of towns — including some locally — have some kind of fall or Halloween-related festival each year. But folks from Kearny’s Urban Enterprise Zone wanted to try something different — and that is exactly what will happen this Saturday, Oct. 25, at 11:30 a.m. at Arlington Park (between Forest and Elm Sts. near Midland Ave.).

That’s where the KUEZ will host its first-ever (and, it hopes, annual) Dog Parade.

The idea came about when KUEZ Director John Peneda decided he wanted something unique and autumnal to help attract people to Kearny, in line with the mission of a UEZ. He and a few others brainstormed, and with the closest dog parade being in either Bayonne or Montclair, the decision was made to give it a try in Kearny.

“We want people to come to Kearny from other towns, and that’s why the UEZ exists — to help businesses and to attract people who maybe have never been to Kearny to shop,” Peneda said. “We want as many people as possible to know there’s a lot more to Kearny than what people might know.”

So the hope is that Kearny and non-Kearny residents alike who are dog owners and lovers will make their way to Arlington Park to enter their dogs into the “parade.”

Peneda said that the event will be more like a fashion show for dogs, with owners “parading” their dogs before judges.

“What will happens is we’ll have a stage set up near the old railroad tracks,” Peneda said. “The owners will come across the stage with their dogs — and go before judges. So it will be like a runway, something you might see at a fashion show … or a beauty contest.”

There will be two categories for the contest: Dogs 40 pounds and lighter, and dogs 40 pounds and heavier. From each category, there will be two winners: One for the best dog and the other for best dog and owner.

So what that all means is the dogs should, at the very least, be in some sort of Halloween costume. While it’s not required for the humans, those who do show up in unique costumes will have a better chance at winning some sort of prize.

“So let’s say the dog is dressed up as Batman, and the owner as Robin, they’ll be eligible for a different prize,” Peneda said. “It’s a great way for the dogs and their owners to dress up together.”

On the day of the event, it won’t just be the contest, either. There will be representatives from eateries with food for humans and pets to buy, the Bergen County Animal Shelter will be on hand, the Hudson County Sheriff ’s K-9 Unit will be there — and there will be other activities for kids and the dogs.

Plus, local photographer Diane D. Tilley will be on hand to take, for a nominal fee, photos of the dogs and their owners, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Bergen County Animal Shelter.

So it should be an allaround great day for humans and canines alike. As of late last week, 20 dogs had been registered for the parade, according to Peneda.

“As long as the weather cooperates,” Peneda said. “We’ll just have to hope for the best.”

Peneda has earmarked $7,000 for the program, including fees for event coordinator Linda Kraus D’Isa, banners, rental of sound equipment and tables, prizes and advertising, but he said he expected to come in under budget.

Advance registration is required — and all owners must be able to document that their dogs are up-todate with rabies shots and that they’re properly licensed in their hometowns. To register, visit www.kearnynj.org and visit the KUEZ’s section on the website. Or, go to the KUEZ office at the Town Hall Annex, 402 Kearny Ave.

Registration is free and it is possible, depending on how many registrants there are ahead of time, that dayof- event registration will be available.

For additional information, call the KUEZ office at 201- 955-7905.

Who’s who of Kearny ‘celebs’ in ‘Tribute to Old Time Radio’

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

KEARNY – 

Most Kearny residents are quite used to seeing Mayor Alberto G. Santos cutting ribbons. We’ve all seen, at one point or another, Councilwomen Sue McCurrie and Carol Jean Doyle marching along in the big parade on St. Patrick’s Day up to their necks in shamrocks.

We’ve all read Jim Hague’s sports columns and stories right here on the pages of this newspaper. And yet, the aforementioned, and several other notables of Kearny, will be way out of their element on Oct. 24 and 25 as they star in the kickoff to the West Hudson Arts & Theatre Company’s new season in “A Tribute to Old Time Radio.”

That’s right — Kearny’s mayor and two councilwomen will be on stage with Jim Hague, his wife, Superior Court Judge Mary Costello, Vince Abbott, Dr. John Branwell, Cecilia Lindenfelser, John Peneda, Phil Thiele, Steven Thiele, Edmund Shea, Robert Strauch and Robert Zika.

They’ll be appearing in the old-time radio plays “Boston Blackie and the Fur Trade,” “The Great McGinty” and “Our Miss Brooks.”

Jerry Ficeto, a founding member and president of the W.H.A.T. board, says the idea was to bring together a group of well-known Kearny residents to put on a show that would draw people who might not otherwise go to a play. And let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to see a starstudded cast like this performing?

“We’re always thinking community,” Ficeto said. “Putting something like this on makes people want to see the people they know performing — people who are not normally on the stage. This is what we’re all about. And we figured we’d bring it all back to where performances started — on the radio — where the stars don’t need to memorize their lines.

“It’s a much easier way to act.”

That’s because just like back in the day when there were radio performances, the cast here will have all their lines right in front of them. They’ll be performing as if they were really broadcasting on the radio. Each segment is 28 to 30 minutes.

Linda Kraus D’Isa Cast practicing in reading positions.

Linda Kraus D’Isa
Cast practicing in reading positions.

 

But it hardly means the participants won’t be getting into character, Ficeto says. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“At first I thought it might take some time for them to get into their roles, but it was only a matter of minutes,” Ficeto said. “For example, the mayor (Santos) plays a police role. And it didn’t take long for a fellow cast member, Judge (Mary) Costello, to tell him he might have a job in law enforcement if he ever steps away from being mayor.

“I mean, it really took about 20 minutes before everyone was taking on their characters, doing the voices. It’s just magnificent.”

Just how much does Ficeto think the show will attract people?

“Before tickets were even on sale, the first call came from [Essex County Assignment] Costello — Mary’s sister, Patricia,” Ficeto said. “We certainly hope other family members and friends do the same.”

During the weekend of performances, W.H.A.T. will kick off its 2014-15 season fundraising drive. As a grassroots organization, fundraising is vitally essential to ensure a full season of shows and educational programs.

“So there will, indeed, be opportunities for the people who come to the shows over that weekend to get involved with our fundraising efforts,” Ficeto said. “Community theater is the people’s theater. And at W.H.A.T., we are reminded that part of its beauty is seeing friends and neighbors on stage, having fun and sharing a passion.”

The two performances will take place at the W.H.A.T. Theater, at the First Lutheran Church, 65 Oakwood Ave., Kearny, on Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are just $12 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens and may be purchased by calling 201- 467-8624 or by visiting www.whatco.org.

Netflix has made watching TV unnecessary and frustrating

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

So you’ve got to wait a while before you can watch your favorite shows. It’s worth it, frankly, if you’re a Netflix subscriber — and if you haven’t subscribed yet, you’re truly missing out.

There are numerous reasons why for me, TV is not the way to watch shows anymore. But perhaps the biggest reason is the lack of commercials. There aren’t any on Netflix streaming — and I can say, with ease, it’s been a few years since I last watched a commercial.

But it’s something well beyond the commercials that makes Netflix so appealing.

Perhaps most notably, it’s the original programming that has made the streaming service a must-have.

There are numerous shows the service now offers, but the three biggest — “Orange Is The New Black,” “House of Cards” and “The Killing” are perhaps three of the best shows out there, period. And aside from the first three seasons of “The Killing,” which did air on regular TV, none ever have to be seen with annoying breaks.

“Orange Is The New Black” is the real-life story of Piper Kerman, a Connecticut woman who spent 18 months in prison after she was charged and convicted of helping her friend smuggle illicit narcotics.

“House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey, is based on a British show of the same name, with an American twist, and follows the highs and lows of a man who went from being a member of the House of Representatives, to vice president to the president of the United States.

Netflix.com The cast of ‘The Killing.’

Netflix.com
The cast of ‘The Killing.’

 

And “The Killing,” easily the best of the of the three shows, is an extremely dark drama that follows two fictional Seattle police detectives who are responsible for some of the most brutal crimes imaginable.

Another reason why these shows are as popular as they are likely stems from the ability to binge-watch them.

Whenever a new season is ready, Netflix releases the entire season’s episodes on the same day.

And what that does, essentially, for those who choose to binge-watch, is create more of a 12- or 13-part full-length feature than it does an episodic show.

When the episodes of each of the three shows were last released, I watched each in a matter of two to three days. The shows are so good, it’s next to impossible to stop watching.

I wasn’t going to do it this way initially. But the shows are that good.

And yet there’s a problem for most viewers when shows like “Orange,” “Cards” and “The Killing” end — you find yourself feeling lost, sad almost, that it could be a year or more before more episodes are available.

That, of course, is driven by the notion that generally, there are 12 or 13 episodes a year. (The fourth and final season of “The Killing” only had four episodes).

But that’s what makes the shows so intensely good. Having about half of a normal season’s worth of episodes ensures that each successive season gets better. The shows’ popularity grows. It’s almost impossible to get sick of the shows.

The biggest drawback to the Netflix shows is that the streaming company does not release statistics on how many people watch the shows. So it becomes impossible to make solid comparisons to shows on terrestrial television. But it doesn’t seem to matter — because “Orange” and “Cards” have each been nominated for Emmy Awards.

Imagine that? Shows that have never aired on TV have gotten Emmy nominations — they’re that good.

Beyond the original programming, so many other TV shows are available for streaming. I became enamored with “Grey’s Anatomy” and “The West Wing” after watching each episode of the series on Netflix.

And there wasn’t a single commercial break.

So the bottom line is the $8.99 a month cost is well worth it for fans of TV shows who just don’t have the time for commercials. And best of all, every new subscriber gets the first month for free.

So if you’ve been unsure of whether subscribing to Netflix would be worth it, waver no more — it’s worth every penny you’ll spend if you’re ready to watch.

Enjoy!

Kevin Canessa Jr. can be reached at kevincanessa@ gmail.com. 

Learn ‘How to Get Away With Murder’ Thursday nights on ABC

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

If you’ve been a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” at any point during its now 10-season run, chances are you migrated over to “Scandal.” If you then became a fan of “Scandal,” combined with “Grey’s Anatomy,” chances are you’re going to migrate also to Shonda Rhimes’ new ABC Thursday-night drama, “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And in combination, ABC has, perhaps, TV’s biggest powerhouse of three-consecutive shows airing from 8 to 11 p.m. every Thursday night. The suits at ABC are so certain “How to” (we’ll shorten it to “How to” since the name is otherwise annoying to type over and over) will be successful, they’ve already adopted the slogan “Thank God It’s Thursday” for “Grey’s,” “Scandal” and “How to.”

And there’s no question, “How to” got off to a splendid beginning.

It’s the story of a law professor, who also has a private practice, whose philosophy on teaching the law requires law students to learn how to get their clients off — including when they are, frankly, guilty of committing murder.

Perhaps a bit unethically, in the very first episode, she charges her students to come up with a defense for a case she’s currently working on. She and two of her colleagues then chose the four law students they believe came up with the best defenses.

The caveat? All four of the best students then get hired to work for her law firm, in what appears to be a research capacity.

But there are numerous twists along the way from the get-go.

In one scene, after coming up with a possible defense scenario, one of the students hops out of his own bed, leaves his apartment and cycles over to the professor’s office. Thing is, the student walks into the office and finds the married professor (who is a woman, by the way), having sex with a man we later learn is a cop involved in her current case.

There are also numerous flash-forwards to the four law students doing their best to hide the body of a dead man.

It appears to the be the body of the professor’s husband.

But this leaves open the door to many possibilities.

Did the professor kill her own husband and then force the kids to get rid of the body to help her get away with murder?

Is it all a farce?

Is one or more of the law students involved in killing the prof ’s husband? It’s all part of the brilliance that is the writing of Rhimes. It’s evident in the new show. It’s clear in “Scandal.” And for a decade, we’ve been treated to more plane crashes, love affairs, loused-up medical procedures and more on “Grey’s Anatomy.”

So here’s the bottom line.

If you’re a fan of “Grey’s Anatomy” or “Scandal” — and let’s face it, you should be a fan of one or both of them — you’re naturally going to like the progression from “Grey’s” at 8 p.m., to “Scandal” at 9 p.m., and now to “How to” at 10 p.m. on ABC.

With Rhimes, nothing ever seems to be off limits. Nothing is too taboo. And if you really get into this troika of shows on Thursday nights, chances are, too, that nothing will be off limits with “How to Get Away With Murder.”

And perhaps when all is said and done, that’s exactly what you learn how to do.

Contact Kevin Canessa Jr. at kevincanessa@gmail.com with ideas for entertainment stories, including review of shows, bands, books, movies and the like. We’re especially looking for local talents to showcase. 

‘West Wing’ fans rejoice: ‘Madam Secretary’ will bring you your politics fix

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 

Fans of “The West Wing” can finally rejoice. After seven years without a major political drama that really takes on issues as “West Wing” did, you’ve finally got a show on TV that brings you into the White House.

And even better, the major player in this new CBS show is a woman.

The show debuted last Sunday night — just before another great drama, “The Good Wife” — and it didn’t disappoint one bit from the very first scene.

The show follows the leadership of the nation’s new Secretary of State Elizabeth Faulkner McCord, played brilliantly by Tea Leoni. We first meet the secretary after two twenty-something boys from Hartford, Conn., are taken hostage while in Syria. The hostage takers think these kids are jihadists. Truth is, they’re not — they’re just two kids, really, who wanted to help seek peace for the Syrian people.

But they’re in serious trouble right away because the government of Syria says they’re going to be executed in just a few days — the days following their capture.

As all of this happens, the current Secretary of State is involved in a plane crash, and the President of the United States, Conrad Dalton, played by Keith Carradine (you may remember him as Frank from classic episodes of “Criminal Minds”) wants McCord to be his new Secretary of State.

She and her husband, Henry McCord, played by Tim Daly, are both living comfortable lives. She’s a political-science professor and he’s a religion professor at the University of Virginia.

But it all turns upside down when the President shows up to their Virginia ranch — and gives McCord a day to decide if she’ll accept the position.

You don’t say no to the President of the United States. No one does in reality. And no one ever did to other fictitious President, like Josiah Bartlet, most notably.

And so two months later, we’re rejoined with Mrs. McCord serving at the White House while her husband finds himself with a great job as a religion professor at the Jesuit university, Georgetown.

It’s a religion professor’s dream to work with the Jesuits, isn’t it? And that’s precisely what we learn about him when he gets there.

But Mrs. McCord is immediately faced with a crisis — and that is, to get these two hostages freed from the Syrian prison. That’s no easy task, given the political climate there in reality.

And the reality of it transcends into this new show.

From the get-go, we’re treated to just how difficult it is to be a member of the President’s cabinet. And perhaps too stereotypically, we’re shown, right away, that it’s often more challenging for a woman to get the President’s ear than it is for a man to get his ear.

Her covert plan to get the two hostages freed is immediately dismissed by the President — her long-time friend from days back in the Central Intelligence Agency — in favor of a plan presented by the chief of staff, a man.

So while there are some trite themes that one might expect a woman new to the White House to experience, the bottom line is the show has taken — and will continue to take — serious modern- day, post-9/11 themes and it will run with them.

This is perhaps even more exciting than “The West Wing” was, as that show never directly addressed the change to the world after 9/11 (the show began pre-Sept. 11, 2001 in 1999, and while it did occasionally touch on terrorism, it never did so based on real-time events).

“Madam Secretary” is different. The subjects are real. We finally get a very strong woman in a very high position of authority — and she’s the focus of the show, not the President at all.

In fact, this show doesn’t work one bit if the Secretary of State is a man. But it works with her as a woman (sure there have been other shows with women in a powerful position — think “24” — but those characters have always had major flaws and weaknesses.

Elizabeth Faulkner McCord is by no means weak. She’s anything but it.

And because of that, “Madam Secretary” is one that will absolutely last. It should draw tremendous ratings following football and “60 Minutes” on CBS.

And finally, “West Wing” fans can rejoice because they’re more than likely going to get the politics fix from Hollywood so desperately missed since that show went off the air seven years ago.

Dino Costa coming to you live, online, from his Western digs

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

CHEYENNE, Wyo. —

Glenn Beck did it when he had had enough with the suits at Fox News.

Sarah Palin is even giving it a try, though we’re not so sure how much success that’ll have.

But for the first time in modern sports-radio history, which technically dates back to 1987 when WFAN launched in New York, a nationally known sports-radio host has started an online-only, subscriber- based sports-radio network he hopes will make him and his investors big bucks — and that he hopes changes the way his fans get their sports radio.

Dino Costa, who spent the last few years with Mad Dog Radio on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio and before that, was on numerous terrestrial radio stations throughout the country, launched dinocostashow.com four months ago when he didn’t renew his contract with Mad Dog Radio and the suits at Sirius/XM.

Bringing Costa’s always entertaining — and extremely controversial show — to the Internet has changed the way sports radio shows are conducted now for many reasons, but most notably, not having to deal with the restrictive rules of the Federal Communications Commission.

“There are no rules, so it’s really the Wild, Wild West of sports radio, isn’t it?” Costa told The Observer exclusively. “When there are no rules, we can truly do what we want. And that’s exactly what we do.”

But it was hardly the FCC’s rules that got Costa interested in doing online-only sports radio. Instead, he says it’s because too often, the suits at Sirius/XM refused to realize his potential — and to market his show and talents properly.

“I was thinking of this prior to my departure at Sirius/ XM, however,” Costa said. “And after that, I had an opportunity to meet with the folks at Fox Sports out in Los Angeles. But long story short, an investor who was also a fan contacted me, asked me if I really wanted to do this, and I realized this was as good a time as any to break into the digital platform.

“So I wrote to the folks at Fox, thanked them, and let them know I was going in a different direction. And on May 5, we launched dinocostashow.com.”

Costa says the digital platform has led to the “most fun” he’s had in his 18-year radio career. Each show is broadcast with crystal-clear video of Dino in his studio. It’s also simulcast audio only. If listeners miss a show, each one is archived for later viewing or listening. The show also now has its own app for iPhones and Androids.

But Costa says the new platform can be trying, at times, especially considering there are no commercials.

“It can be mentally fatiguing at times, but there’s an organic flow to the show we never had before now,” Costa said. “And every time I go into that studio, I have go so with the mindset that the entire world is listening to the show. We have fewer listeners now than when I was on Sirius/XM, obviously, but I must treat every show as if the audience was enormous. People are giving us their hard-earned money to listen.

“So it is a challenge in one way, but an absolutely fun and enjoyable way to broadcast.”

While many in radio say Internet-based stations won’t succeed in the long term, Costa says not so fast to all the naysayers.

Since many cars are now coming equipped with 4G Wi- Fi access, and many more will in the future, Costa believes the digital radio platform is not only here, it’s here for the long haul.

“Let’s not forget that there are some digital-only news platforms that are now out performing traditional newspapers,” Costa said. “If those kinds of sites can succeed, why can’t digital-only radio? It only makes sense that it’s more than possible.”

Ideally, Costa says he hopes this is the last “job” he ever has in radio. But he also says he’d be foolish to cast aside any possible future opportunities that might arise.

“If other opportunities present themselves, I’d be foolish not to consider them,” he said. “But I really believe this is the future of radio, the future of sports talk radio. And each day since we’ve launched, we’ve gained more and more subscribers. We’ve never gone backward. That’s a real sign this is going to succeed.”

Matthew Mandel of Kearny has been a huge fan of Costa’s work, dating back to his arrival at Mad Dog Radio. He says having Costa’s show online rather than on satellite or terrestrial radio has made it significantly better.

“He doesn’t answer to anyone anymore,” Mandel said. “When he was on Sirius, he never got the respect he deserved from his bosses. Now, he holds nothing back at all. He tells it like it is. If a team or an athlete ticks him off, he’s going to say so — and he could do that without the fear of potential consequences.

“That has made the Dino Costa Show so much better than it was before.”

Mike Ranford of Belleville agrees — even though he hasn’t always been a fan of Costa’s.

“He says what he means and he means what he says,” Ranford said. “There were times in the past he’s said stuff that just infuriated me. But when you think of it, that’s what sports talk radio is all about. It’s purely entertainment. And with an online platform, Dino entertains while bringing his fans the best sports radio has to offer.

“He is much better off today without Sirius/XM as far as I am concerned. I just hope the online platform takes off and people are willing to pay a minimal fee to get better sports radio than any of the two terrestrial stations in the area (WFAN and WEPN) can offer.”

Contact Dino by sending an email to talktodino@gmail.com.

Williams’ death reminds us success is no defense against depression

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By Kevin Canessa Jr. 

Observer Correspondent 

Some of the comments were disturbing and beyond ignorant.

“But he was so good in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire,’ how could he ever be depressed?”

“He had so much money, what was there for him to be depressed over?”

“He was a funny and talented actor — there’s no logical reason whatsoever that he should have been depressed.”

And there were other comments that were worse, really. But these were the most stark, because it’s 2014, and there are, honestly, people in this world who do not understand depression.

It can hit anyone. Finances have no correlation to depression. It doesn’t always take bad experiences to make people depressed. And being a famous actor with immense worldly talent makes not one bit of difference.

I say this with authority because like Robin Williams — and millions of others in this country — I’ve been there before. There is nothing worse. And it doesn’t require a trigger to be set in motion.

The first time I recall being depressed, I was 14 and a freshman in high school. I recall waking up one day and – literally – not being able to get out of bed. Nothing but good things precipitated this. I was having the time of my life at a new school at St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City. And the feeling was immense and outrageously intolerable.

On any given day, it could come and go — especially if funny things happened in a class. But without fail, by the time I was on the No. 22 bus heading from Journal Square back home to Kearny, it would resurface.

Occasionally, it would last weeks at a time. Sometimes less. Sometimes, more.

And yet here I was, in as positive an environment I could ask for — and the sadness, the dreariness, the feelings of despair, were so strong. And because this was 1989, there was nothing I could do, because no one talked about depression then, no one at school ever addressed the notion of depression and quite frankly, no one anywhere really thought it would be possible for a 14-year-old to be depressed — especially when everything else in life was otherwise fine.

This initial span lasted, on and off, until 1991, the beginning of my senior year of high school. It went away until around 1999 — and came back with vengeance.

But being older, and sick and tired of its effects, I did something about it. First, I confided in a friend about it. It was the most important conversation I’ve ever had, because for the first time ever, someone else knew what I was going through. And this person constantly kept on me about it — and still does to this day.

The next thing I did was acknowledging I had an illness by seeing a doctor for help. I went for a visit to the late Dr. Peter Taddio in Kearny, and immediately, he put me at ease. He gave me his ear. And he prescribed me a medication that, quite frankly, I believe saved my life.

First it was Zoloft, and then it was Cymbalta. Zoloft didn’t work for me. It works for others. But Cymbalta did. It changed everything.

It seems a lot of people who suffer from depression keep their illness deeply secretive. Though he wasn’t exactly secret about his illness, I wonder how much people really knew about the depth of Williams’ depression just before he took his own life. Because the truth is, if there were even just one person who knew how badly things were going, I can’t imagine something couldn’t have been done to help Williams.

Perhaps it’s the stigma. Perhaps it’s that many don’t realize it’s actually an illness, one that’s biologically based. Perhaps it’s a myriad of reasons. But way too often, in this country, people with any kind of mental illness don’t do enough to get help, whether it’s taking medication or seeking psychological help — or a combination of both.

Whatever the reason is, most vitally, people who don’t suffer from depression need to understand the severity of the problem. It could be someone in your family. It could be a spouse. Worse, it could be your child. And with that realization comes the responsibility to do something to help. Because far too often, it’s so bad for the sick person that nothing gets done at all.

The day Robin Williams took his own life, it was so brutal, so horrid, that he made the decision that being dead would be the far better option than remaining alive without someone’s help.

There were others in the house the day Williams died — his wife included — and the chances are they were unaware of just how serious the scope of his depression really was.

If one person — one — had known, perhaps he’d still be alive today.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

But it’s the most overt sign that depression can and does affect all types of lives.

It could affect a 14-year-old high school student. It could affect a 63-year-old world-famous comedian and actor. It could affect someone sitting in the same room as you as you read this.

And frankly, it’s up to all of us to admit there’s a huge problem in this country with depression. And it’s up to all of us, once and for all, to do something about it.

Before another life ends far too soon than it should have.

See ‘On the Town’ on Broadway

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By Kevin Canessa Jr.

Observer Correspondent 

LYNDHURST —

If you’re one of the many people who love Broadway shows, but hate the hassle of having to drive into Manhattan, hate the tolls, hate the traffic and hate the cost of parking, Mary’s Theatre Parties and Tours has a deal for you to go to see the new show “On the Town” without all the headaches.

Mary Catena has been running her tour company for the last 35 or so years. And on Oct. 14, for just $132, you’ll get a ticket to the show, a full-buffet dinner at the San Carlo, 620 Stuyvesant Ave., Lyndhurst, and coach bus transportation to “On the Town” at the Lyric Theatre in Manhattan.

Catena says there’s no better way to see a Broadway show than how she arranges it.

“I’ve always said this is the perfect way to see Broadway,” Catena said. “You get to see the best shows, you get great seats, a wonderful dinner and best of all, transportation to New York City. Getting picked up and dropped back off at the San Carlo is the only way to go.

Images courtesy of Google Street View/onthetownbroadway.com The Lyric Theatre, New York City

Images courtesy of Google Street View/onthetownbroadway.com
The Lyric Theatre, New York City

 

You don’t have to worry about the tolls and parking — just get on the bus and go.” Catena says she’s been using the San Carlo as a preshow dinner spot for close to 30 years now.

“They’ve always treated us so well — and the food is spectacular,” she said.

She also says she used to do up to five shows or trips a month — but now that she’s virtually retired, — it’s just too much to do on a regular basis. She says the trips have become more special because they’re not as frequent as they once were.

She says she tries to pick Broadway shows that have promise if they’re new — or that are popular and marketable. That’s because she’s responsible for buying the tickets in advance, taking out ads to sell them — and then being reimbursed from ticket sales. So “On the Town” was a no-brainer. The pre-show reviews have mostly been raving.

“Oh and it was such a wonderful movie,” Catena said. “It had Frank Sinatra in it. It had Gene Kelly in it. I really think this will be a special night for everyone.”

Patrons are responsible for their own transportation to and from the San Carlo. Dinner is at 4 p.m. and the bus for New York City leaves Lyndhurst at 5:30 p.m. sharp for a 7 p.m. curtain at the Lyric Theatre. The $132 price per person is all-inclusive, and gets you dinner (including all taxes and tips), a ticket to the show and the bus ride across the Hudson.

Not a bad deal at all, considering how expensive shows are these days.

The main poster for ‘On the Town.’

The main poster for ‘On the Town.’

“It’s just ridiculous how expensive these shows are these days — it’s basically unaffordable, isn’t it?” Catena said. “I like to make the experience fun and affordable for everyone who goes.”

While this is the last trip Catena has planned for now, she says there could be more in the future. Be sure to check The Observer for additional shows and schedules.

“On the Town” comes to Broadway this month with preview shows. The show’s website reveals there are 30 cast members and that the show boasts the largest orchestra of any show on all of Broadway.

“It’s the story of three wideeyed sailors on a whirlwind musical tour of the city that never sleeps,” the website says. “With just 24 hours of shore leave, they’re eager to experience all that New York City has to offer … including a chance to discover love with the girl of their dreams.”

Tony Award-winner John Rando is the producer and Joshua Bergasse conducts the grand orchestra. Leonard Bernstein composed the original musical score.

To reserve seats for the Oct. 14 event, call Catena at 201- 998-1030. An initial deposit of $100 is due immediately, and the balance is due by Sept. 15. To find out more about the show “On the Town,” check out the website www.onthetownbroadway.com.

Kevin Canessa Jr. can be reached at kevincanessa@gmail.com.