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PR #18 August 28, 2007


The Merck Company Foundation is continuing its commitment to high-quality performing arts programming at The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) in North Branch by supporting the highly successful Merck Series with a contribution of $50,000.

?Merck is proud to have a long-standing relationship with The Theatre at RVCC and support arts and culture in our community through the Merck Series for the past 16 years,? said Stacey Mehaffey, community relations associate, Merck & Co., Inc.

?We are extremely grateful to the Merck Company Foundation for its continued support of The Theatre at RVCC,? said Theatre Director Alan Liddell. ?Through Merck?s generosity, we have been able to provide the community with a terrific array of performances. The 2007-2008 season offers something for everyone?including magic, circus arts and music from the chart-topping Crystal Gayle and the legendary Four Freshmen,? Liddell continued.

The 2007-2008 Merck Series includes the following performances:

Crystal Gayle Christmas , Saturday, December 8, at 8 p.m.; $40 & $45

Crystal Gayle began her musical career in country music when she was still in school, but it wasn?t long before she was striking fame with country/pop crossover ballads. In 1977 she became the first female artist in country music history to achieve platinum album sales with We Must Believe in Magic . The album featured her signature song, ?Don?t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,? a #1 country hit that rose to #2 on the American pop charts. In 2003 All My Tomorrows, a collection of American standards, demonstrated that Gayle?s musical talents were nearly boundless. Join us for some Christmas cheer, as this industry giant sings her greatest hits as well as everyone?s Christmas favorites.

Theatre of Illusion (The Spencers), Friday, January 25, at 7 p.m.; $20

Is it possible for a person to be folded inside a 12-inch box, to walk through the whirling blades of an industrial fan, or to escape from a water-filled container? Audience members will cross over a threshold of disbelief mere moments after the Spencers take the stage. Theatre of Illusion is a magical concert for the eyes, combining theatrical elements with cutting-edge illusions. The Spencers have propelled the age-old art of magic into the 21st century.

Moscow Circus , Friday, February 29, at 7 p.m.; $30 & $35

A Moscow Circus performance begins as the audience enters the lobby and walks directly into a traditional Russian folk festival. The group?s current show, A Russian Folk Fair, is based on centuries-old Russian traditions and fables. Using folk musicians, singers, dancers, human puppets and ornate costumes and backdrops, the show combines drama, cultural history and the theatrics that can only be created by some of the greatest circus performers on earth.

The Four Freshmen , Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m.; $25 & $30

The Four Freshmen was one of the top vocal groups of the 1950s, forming the bridge between the '40s ensembles like the Mel-Tones and the later, harmony-based groups like the Beach Boys and The Manhattan Transfer. New lineups of the group have continued the legendary vocal tradition of the original band, while adding new touches. In 2000 the Four Freshmen was voted Vocal Group of the Year by Down Beat magazine?s readers. Join us for a wonderful, wide-ranging, musical evening with some of the most talented musicians on the road today.

Merck & Co., Inc. is a global research-driven pharmaceutical products and services company. Merck discovers, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of innovative products to improve human and animal health, directly and through its joint ventures.

Established in 1957 by Merck & Co., Inc., The Merck Company Foundation is funded entirely by the Company and is Merck?s chief source of funding support to qualified non-profit, charitable organizations. The Foundation?s mission is to advance biomedical science training and education and to improve health care worldwide, as well as support the arts and other programs that enhance the quality of life in communities.

For the fourth year in a row, Courier News readers voted The Theatre at RVCC as the ?Best of the Best? in 2007 in the ?Playhouse/Theater? category.

Aside from The Merck Series , the Theatre will present this season the Major Artists Series ; School-Time Performances , a series for teachers and their students; the Family Series , a series of events designed specially for families with older children; and the Sampler Series , a series of transformational events for children and their families.

A variety of subscribers? packages are available for all Theatre series. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at www.rvccArts.org . Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for a variety of performances.

RVCC, located on Route 28 and Lamington Road in North Branch, NJ, and serving Somerset and Hunterdon County residents for close to 40 years, offers more than 80 associate degrees and certificates. In addition, customized training programs and non-credit courses are available for those seeking personal and professional development.

The College is committed to offering a quality and affordable education through effective teaching, liaisons with the community?s businesses and state-of-the-art technology. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu .

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