Sussex County’s own PATRICIA DURANTE plays
Bookstore, February 19 in Newton, NJ.

Sussex…Tri-State Actors Theater is presenting theater in a new way in 2011, as they go out into all areas of Sussex County and the tri-state region, to reach both new and old audiences. Now in its 24thseason, the company will travel all over the area presenting new play readings and readings of established plays, special events and other theatrical activities including acting classes for children, teens and adults.

An Open Book Bookstore and Internet Cafe, 169 Spring Street, in Newton, NJ, will be Tri-State’s first stop for a new play reading on Saturday, February 19 at 8 PM. THE RED BALLOON, a new script by playwright Matthew Gutschick that is a unique blend of realism and magical story-telling, will be performed for the first time in a staged concert reading by professional actors Patricia Durante, Jack Harris, Robert Hefley, and Michele LaRue.

THE RED BALLOON is concerned with the intertwined lives of four individuals who are in search of something important — a search that takes them into their own hearts and minds, and into strange, wonderful and frightening places and conditions. As Lilly and Nick’s marriage collapses, Lilly’s elderly mother, Mara runs away, searching for her husband, Sid …who is long dead. Sid may or may not be all the fascinating and mysterious characters she encounters in her bizarre search. In a journey involving lightning, garbage bags, red balloons, and dogs, Mara’s quest takes her beyond Earth into the realm of an unusual afterlife. Lilly and Nick join forces to find her and in their search discover a way back for themselves and a way home for Mara.

Mara will be read by the actress, Michele LaRue, a seasoned pro who has presented many one-woman shows, and acted for among others, Centenary Stage, East Lynne Theatre and Bucks County Playhouse.  Robert Hefley (Sid) was featured in Tri-State’s acclaimed production of ROMEO AND JULIET and has performed in theatre, film and television all over the country.  Patricia Durante (Lilly) lives in Sussex County and is a professional actor who has performed all over the country in theater, film, television, and also has a stand-alone career as a singer in cabarets and clubs.  Jack Harris (Nick), last seen at Tri-State as the Ghost of Christmas Present in 2010′s A CHRISTMAS CAROL, was a resident actor for Shadowlands Theatre the professional Equity theatre in Ellenville, NY, for several seasons, and is a director and producer as well.

Tri-State Actors Theater is a non-profit Equity Professional Theater Company. Additional information about Tri-State Actors Theater and its programs and services are available on the web at or by calling 973 875-2950. Funding for Tri-State Actors Theater has been made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous support of The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.