See CHS Students in ‘Almost, Maine;’ Help Them Get to the Edinburgh Fringe!

by The Village Green
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The following is from Janet Bustrin of CHS’s Parnassian Society.

The Parnassian Society, Columbia High School’s award-winning drama club, will open Almost, Maine by John Cariani this Friday, November 13 at 8 p.m. in the school’s Black Box Theater at 17 Parker Avenue, Maplewood, New Jersey.

The schedule of performances is as follows: November 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8 p.m., November 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12. There is a BENEFIT performance for our Edinburgh Fringe Festival fundraising effort on Sunday, November 22nd at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25. Additionally, friends of Parnassian should save December 4th, 2015 for a fundraising event: “An Evening with Hank Zona” at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club. For information, reservation and tickets, call Janet Bustrin at 973-713-6866.

The Parnassian Society, a Columbia High School theater company founded in 1895, proudly announces it has been chosen by the American High School Theater Festival ( to perform on the world stage at the Edinburgh, Scotland Fringe Festival in August 2016.  The largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival features thousands of performers, from big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers. Festival offerings include theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events. As a matter of fact, Columbia High School alumnus Jacob Platt’s production of Tar Baby won the “Fringe First” award in August 2015. An impressive accomplishment.

The invitation to attend the festival is a tremendous honor for our students.  AHSTF chose Columbia’s Parnassian Society after reviewing the company’s body of recent work, awards earned, history of community involvement, and recommendations. (You can see our website at:

At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Columbia students will stage four performances of Almost Maine, a comedy by playwright John Cariani. In this lighthearted comedy, the residents of Almost, Maine find themselves falling in and out of love on one cold winter night while the Northern Lights shimmer in the sky. In addition to performing at the Fringe, students will engage in workshops, tour London and parts of Scotland and attend a wide range of plays and performances. The cost of attending the two-week event is $6,500/student/participant (including air fare).

As you know, Columbia is diverse in many ways, including economically. Some 500 of its 1,900+ students are eligible for free/reduced lunch, the federal measure of economic need.  Although parents have committed to share the financial burden of this trip, in order to ensure that all eligible students can attend the Fringe Festival, parents and students are raising funds. We hope to bring down the cost of the trip for all, and to further assist students with greater need. We ask for your support in making this happen.

We look now to the community for assistance.  To enable all interested Parnassian members to attend, the company has announced a major fundraising effort with the goal of raising $90,000 by April 2016. To support this goal, we have two events coming up in mid-November and early December. Our fall production of Almost Maine opens on November 13th for 6 performances (see below). And, we are holding a Hank Zona wine event/silent auction on December 4th at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club (see below).

You can donate easily by visiting the group’s “Go Fund Me” page, located here To further support us, you can attend our performances of Almost, Maine, participate in our Hank Zona wine evening or, you can send checks payable to Columbia High School, c/o Janet Bustrin, Columbia High School, 17 Parker Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040. If you have questions, you can contact her at or call her at 973-713-6866.

Almost, Maine performance dates: November 13, 14, 20, 21 at 8 p.m., November 15 at 2 p.m., $12

And a BENEFIT PERFORMANCE on November 22nd at 2 pm: $25 per ticket.


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