Energized Musical Ensemble Ready to Give ‘A Toast to Broadway’ at Clifton Arts Center


photo credits: Michael Gabriele

There’s no doubt about it: they’re ready to sing and bring down the house.

As they prepared for their opening-night performance at the Clifton Arts Center (CAC) on Aug. 25, members of the musical ensemble, during an afternoon rehearsal, were charged with artistic energy and feeling upbeat to be offering audiences “A Toast to Broadway.”

Vocalists Dorothy Dobkowski, Mingo Long, Kim Mesiti, Jason Tamashausky, and musical director Jalmari Vanamo all expressed their excitement to be part of the program to benefit the CAC and the Theater League of Clifton (TLC)—two leading community cultural organizations.

When it comes to captivating an audience, all five musicians said there’s no substitute for live music. “We’re very excited to be celebrating this program and happy to be part of it.” They noted that, along with performing popular Broadway show tunes, the event will display a colorful collection of musical productions posters representing shows done over the years by TLC. “We’re merging music with the visual arts.”

The set list for the musical revue will feature 20 songs, including a medley of well-known Rodgers and Hammerstein compositions as well as selections from the shows "Oliver," "Little Shop of Horrors," "Man of LaMancha," and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," -- all productions staged by TLC in recent years.

“A Toast to Broadway” will be held Aug. 25, 26, and 27 at the CAC, 900 Clifton Ave. The Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Sunday matinee will start at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance, online at https://cliftonartscenter.org/fundraisers or at the door on the day of the performance. Tickets are priced at $40 online and $45 at the door. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis (no reserved seats). Along with the music, the event will include flutes of Prosecco and light refreshments.

Local patrons will recognize the ensemble members, as the three performances at the CAC will be a musical reunion. All five performed last October in TLC’s “Great American Songbook” shows at the Clifton Elks Lodge. In addition, they were featured at the TLC production of “Showtune,” a musical revue staged under the stars in September 2020 at Clifton’s Weasel Brook Park.

Dobkowski, a 1992 graduate of Clifton High School, performs regularly at Clifton’s St. Philip the Apostle Parish and other churches in the area. She does recording and theater work and has been featured in various TLC productions in recent years. Mesiti, a Bloomfield resident, also sings liturgical music at Catholic churches and played the part of Nancy in TLC’s November 2019 production of “Oliver.”

Long, like Dobkowski, also sings at St. Philip Parish and other churches. He grew up in nearby Lyndhurst and today resides in Bristol, CT. He appears regularly in musical and theater productions throughout the country. Tamashausky, who lives in Metuchen, performs in musical theater shows throughout New Jersey and is a middle school music teacher in Woodbridge. Vanamo, one of two vice presidents on the TLC board of directors, recently retired as a music teacher in the Englewood school district. He has served as the musical director for many TLC shows and performs throughout the tri-state area.

The CAC has hosted numerous art exhibits and cultural events during the last 23 years. The TLC, founded in 2005, is dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the arts through theatrical performances. MaryAnn Baskinger and Mark Peterson are the respective presidents of the CAC and TLC. Roxanne Cammilleri is the director of the CAC, and Michael Gabriele is the producer of the event.


press release via: M. Gabriele

Dorothy Dobkowski
Jalmari Vanamo
Jason Tamashausky
Kim Mesiti
Mingo Long
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