From the Press
Prosecutor turns playwright in Spring Lake
By Tom Chesek
During his tenure as director of the Professional Responsibility Unit of the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Gregory Schweers argued several headline-worthy cases involving the major and minor transgressions of various public servants. What might not have been widely known at the time was that this particular public servant (and veteran amateur thespian) harbored a yen to prosecute a career as an actor-singer — and the fact that one of his former colleagues was then-Detective Bob Angelini (later artistic director of Asbury Park's ReVision Theatre Company) suggests an office atmosphere that was equal parts "Law and Order" and "Cop Rock."
Since retiring as Assistant Prosecutor in 2012, Schweers has pursued a professional path that's seen him make numerous appearances on true crime TV series; playing good guys, bad guys, and next of kin in episodes of "Redrum," "Dead On Arrival," "A Perfect Murder" and more. He's also become a frequent fixture at the Spring Lake Community House, where his major turns include John Adams in "1776," Nathan Detroit in "Guys and Dolls," and three consecutive seasons in the title role of "Scrooge," the annual Yuletide musical that's become a long-running, season-capping hometown family tradition from Spring Lake Theatre Company.
Beginning tonight and continuing for the next three weekends, Greg Schweers returns to the Spring Lake stage — not only as star, but as author of an all-new, world premiere production; a comedy entitled "Disorderly Conduct."
A rare original offering from the troupe best known for its community revivals of classic Broadway favorites (previous homegrown shows include the musicals "The Rose Garden Affair" and "William's Dark Lady"), "Disorderly Conduct" found its seeds of inspiration in a prosecutor's convention that Schweers attended each year in Atlantic City — although the first-time playwright insists that the frantically farcical, door-slamming scenario is otherwise not exactly ripped from his professional case files, so much as energized by his experiences performing in the madcap comedies of Ray Cooney, Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore.
"I always wanted to write a comedy," explains the Little Silver resident, adding that "I had my 'V-8 moment' when I was driving back from my last convention ... I started working on the idea even before I retired."
In the production under the direction of fellow Spring Lake stalwart Derek Hulse, the playwright appears as Prosecutor Veal, who's spending a Fourth of July in AC while "in the middle of a high-profile Mafia murder case ... the mob sees this as an opportunity to take him out."
Also in Atlantic City at that same time is the Governor of New Jersey (Ian Kearns), a "rather large and intimidating" fictional character who holds the key to the prosecutor's reappointment in his hands — but whose relationship with the Schweers character is complicated by the fact that the state's First Lady (Carol Darché) had a fling with the tender young Veal while back in law school. With the Gov's wife gone missing — and with a very angry, inebriated Chief Executive and the prosecutor's insanely jealous wife (Nicole Grassano) each convinced that the bygone dalliance is still a current affair — our intrepid protagonist has to dodge his boss, his spouse, a TV reporter (Kaitlyn Williams) and the police, all while staying a step ahead of the mob's crosshairs.
"It really is a cross between 'Law and Order' and 'The Sopranos,' " observes the author of the old-school farce, in which the cast of 13 players is completed by Steve Bartlow, Mike Caggiano, Sal Giacchi, James Marhold, Frank Mongiello, Joe Paglino, Krissy Slowinski and Howard Smith.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 14, with a 2 p.m. matinee on Feb. 7
WHERE: The Spring Lake Community House, 300 Madison Ave., Spring Lake
INFO: 732-449-4530, www.springlaketheatre.com.