Tag Archives: The Barn Theater

Retro ‘Oliver!’ Show Time at The Barn Theater

The Barn cast of Oliver! circa 1972
Photo/Jeff Blumenkrantz

“Consider yourself at home. Consider yourself one of the family. We’ve taken to you so strong …”

The line in the song from Oliver! captures the tenor of the actors’ bond in community theater. And it couldn’t be better encapsulated than in a photo of the cast of Oliver at the iconic Barn Theater in Rumson in 1972.

With the March 10 passing of Mark Hughes Jr., the snapshot is a reminder of the beginning of something big that lasted a lifetime … a family legacy of theater and togetherness. Playing together, staying together via the stage.

This show was a special one for the Hughes family. It was their first at The Barn. Mark Jr. played Mr. Brownlow. Nan was the Artful Dodger. The rest were somewhere on or off stage. It was a Hughes family affair. Can you spot the rest of the clan? And the connection lasted a lifetime and built a legacy.

“How he loved the Barn,” Nan said. He went on to play Mr. Darling (in Peter Pan) to Mimi’s Mrs. Darling (and Paul and Patrick as John and Michael Darling), Mark as a pirate and Nan as slightly soiled the island boy).

This “led to his using a Mr. Darling quote in our house occasionally ‘A little less noise, please! A little less noise.’

“It was also very funny to see this well dressed man (bow ties were his ‘casual look’) dress in a t-shirt and suspenders, waving a cigar in the role of the stage manager in Gypsy.”

Some in this Barn snapshot of the past by Jeff Blumenkrantz are gone. Anyone remember Billy Fansler, who also worked extensively as an actor and director with Monmouth Players? The rest are mostly still in touch, a living testament to the title song/credo in Annie Get Your Gun: “There’s No Business Like Show Business!”

So, let’s go on with the show of forging and keeping longtime bonds, on or off stage! Curtain up! Encore!

Mark F. Hughes Jr.: Legacy of a Rumson Dad

“He was a great man, and a humble man … His hearty laughter at a good story or joke, his warm-hearted and frequent expressions of love and support for all of us, his kindness to people from all walks of life, and his keen intellect and insight will be missed, while memories of him live on.”

Nan Hughes Poole, Mark Hughes Jr.’s daughter

Memories. Moments. They’re what live on after we’re gone — what takes on a life of its own, indelibly etched in the minds of future generations. Legacy. There are so very many of those moments, those memories that many could call to mind as they put on their best bowtie and tip their hat to all that comprise the legacy left by longtime Rumsonite Mark F. Hughes Jr..

The husband, dad, grandfather, lawyer and rarest of gems among gentleman died on March 10, just four days shy of his 90th birthday. He and his wife, Marie H. “Mimi” Hughes, a longtime Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) English teacher, lived in Rumson for more than 55 years. They raised their four children there, in their home right across the street from the high school. They welcomed many into the Hughes home, like family, with open hearts and a voracious interest in the passions of all they met and cared to know better.

Anyone who has crossed the Hughes home threshold or been on stage with one or many has a story to tell. One of patriarch Mark, always the gentile Mr. Hughes to me, stands out in my mind. It tells his legacy tale in a mind’s snapshot. It’s a little lost-and-found snippet of a dad and grandfather steeped in a moment that had become tradition — a generational one to be carried on for lifetimes.

In my mind’s eye, a locked frame-freeze cache, it remains …

“Somehow, we’ve lost Dad,” said a content, grinning Paul Hughes, Mark’s son and my longtime friend, at closing day of an RFH show. Decades before, it was we who were at the RFH auditorium, mingling, crying over the ending, collecting accolades and bouquets. “He got caught up chatting with people and he’s still at the high school somewhere. Somehow, he got left behind. Gotta go find him.”

Continue reading Mark F. Hughes Jr.: Legacy of a Rumson Dad

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 …

Continue reading Retro Rumson Barn Summer Theatrics

Retro Rumson Summer: The Barn Theater

Clip of press photo for The Barn Theater's production of "The Fantasticks" in the summer of 1977
Clip of press photo for The Barn Theater’s production of “The Fantasticks” in the summer of 1977

"Bye Bye Birdie" at The Barn Theater in Rumson circa summer of 1977 Photo/Elaine Van Develde
“Bye Bye Birdie” at The Barn Theater in Rumson circa summer of 1977
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

The following piece was originally posted on July 8, 2015. As we dive into summer season, we thought it only fitting to remember good summer times outside of the usual beach romp for those who grew up and raised their families in the Rumson-Fair Haven area — summer theater. Once upon a time, there was a special little place 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 …

Continue reading Retro Rumson Summer: The Barn Theater

Retro RFH Family Showfolk Affair

By Elaine Van Develde

When it comes to show biz, sometimes in the RFH area, sometimes it’s a family affair. Sometimes it just is.

Sometimes people just catch the bug at an early age. Sometimes it happens in high school or even a little later. Then it spreads rampantly — through the family.

Continue reading Retro RFH Family Showfolk Affair

Break a Leg: Retro Rumson Barn Summer Theater Part II

It’s been the subject of the Retro Pic(s) of the Day before and it is again — summer theater at The Barn in Rumson.

It was a place for local talent to gather, hone theatrical skills, have a lot of summer fun and entertain the masses in Monmouth County to boot.

One of the shows produced in the summer of 1977, which thrust lots of arts-thirsty area teens into myriad rehearsals and onto a  stage, was Bye Bye Birdie.

As told in our last piece on The Barn, many RFH students were in the cast of the show. And one area resident who played Albert Peterson — the English teacher, no less — broke his leg during rehearsals.

Continue reading Break a Leg: Retro Rumson Barn Summer Theater Part II

Going Retro with Rumson’s Barn Theater

A production of Bye Bye Birdie at The Barn Theater, Rumson, circa 1977.  Photo/Sally Van Develde
A production of Bye Bye Birdie at The Barn Theater, Rumson, circa 1977.
Photo/Sally Van Develde

Our Retro Pic of the Day brings us back to shows at The Barn Theater, formerly on Avenue of Two Rivers in Rumson,  in the late 1970s.

Pictured are a bunch of area high school students, from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional and other area high schools, performing a scene in Bye Bye Birdie.

It’s a bit blurry, due to the lack of focus, and perhaps unsteady hand, on the instamatic camera with the rotating flash cube, but it was one of many moments at the popular theater.

Do you know anyone in this picture? Check it out.