Tag Archives: Barn Theatre

Retro Rumson Barn Summer Theatrics

The following piece was originally posted on July 8, 2015. It’s just the right time for a reprise. As we dive into summer season and word comes that the lights have gone out on Broadway for the rest of 2020, we thought it only fitting to remember good summer times in a premier summer theater in the Rumson-Fair Haven area. Once upon a time, there was a special little creative niche in Rumson … Take a trip back with us to  simple summers and magical, theatrical times … 

Remember The Barn Theater in Rumson?

Well, if you don’t, you missed out and are probably significantly younger than those who do and didn’t — miss out, that is.

It’s a plus if you’re that young. But, it’s definitely a factor in the minus category if you didn’t work, play or get entertained there.

It was a community theater that cast hundreds, maybe thousands, from the area, including many Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) students.

The building is still there, only a few blocks away from the high school on Avenue of Two Rivers near the intersection at Ridge Road. The reason why it was called The Barn was, well, because it was an old barn, gutted (if there is such a thing with a barn) and converted into a small arena-type stage theater, with the stage at floor level and risers around it as seats, though not all the way around.

You get the picture. Now, here’s what’s behind the place’s show folk and shows …

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A Rumson Barn Theatre Show Biz Buds Reunion

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Once upon a time, 39 summers ago, in a little red building that looked like a  barn and acted like a theater, a bunch of high school kids were brought together, united in a common mission to “go on with the show” Bye Bye Birdie.

The place was The Barn Theatre. The building is still there — near the corner of Ridge Road and Avenue of Two Rivers. The cast of Birdie was comprised of a gaggle of theater-loving teens who didn’t recoil, but, rather, relished long rehearsals on summer nights.

There were high schoolers from Rumson-Fair Haven and the surrounding area. They auditioned, got cast and got down to the businesses of putting on a show and getting to know one another very quickly — as the usual route of show biz goes.

They acted, sang, danced and rollicked their way to what turned out to be a lifetime bonding experience.

Birdie was a hit back in 1977 at The Barn. The bonding experience proved to be an unbreakable one.

The teens ended up going their separate ways to college and theater paths of their own, or not.

But, they never forgot that summer of 1977. And, a few weeks ago, two cast members reunited after 35 years (they had seen each other four years after the show). The two were Connie Cairo (then Cairo) and Alisa Roblenski. Connie played Birdie-obsessed lead teen Kim MacAfee and Roblenski was a Birdie loving teen.

The two, who this Birdie mayor’s wife, Edna, recently reconnected with on Facebook, shared their reunion with us. Take a look.

This is why these two can honestly say, “We love you, Barn Theatre, oh yes we do!” and there’s really “no business like show business!”

To quote, loosely, a song from Birdie, “One bond, one special bond … one bond to grow with …” Sniff, sniff, smile.

This Barn reunion theme is catching! Curtain up! Heads up! Stay tuned for another!

— Elaine Van Develde


Retro Rumson Barn Theatre Buds

Elaine Van Develde, Alisa Roblenski and Elaine Kraft — Barn Theatre buddies rehearsing Bye Bye Birdie in 1977. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Elaine Van Develde, Alisa Roblenski and Elaine Kraft — Barn Theatre buddies rehearsing Bye Bye Birdie in 1977.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Coincidence? Sort of. It just so happens that it is summer. It is just so happens that Bye Bye Birdie has been running on the Decades channel on TV. And it just so happens that it’s now been 39 years (WHAT??) since summer theater at The Barn Theatre in Rumson was in full swing and in rehearsals for Bye Bye Birdie.

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