Review: "The Housewives of Secaucus" at the Avenel Performing Arts Center

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  • Barrie Kealoha, Contributing Critic - New Jersey

Avenel, NJ - Meet the HOS: Housewives of Secaucus flip the script on traditional reality TV drama

Martini-fueled hair-pulling! Snarky and passive aggressive side comments! Sex scandals! Hats! What more could you possibly ask from an evening of indulging in a live version of the shows you love to hate?

Much more, it seems. And Housewives of Secaucus delivers.

Housewives of Secaucus, which ran at the newly-opened Avenel Performing Arts Center in Avenel, NJ from May 30-June 2, was a an unexpected delight. Amidst the trappings of a classic Real Housewives-style reality show was a story about women putting aside their differences and various beefs to come together to create change. The

“HOS” have taken the empty pettiness of reality TV and infused it with heart and hope (and some solid 1980s girl-power anthems) to create a show that is more than its surface appeal.

The first iteration of the Real Housewives television format—“The Real Housewives of Orange County”—launched in 2006, in response to the success of the show “The O.C.”, which followed the dramatic lives of the super-rich living in one of Southern California’s most affluent areas. Secaucus is no Newport Beach, but the women of HOS are no less dedicated to their beloved suburb. The show begins as a battle for the title of “Woman of the Year”, but evolves into a battle for the very future of Secaucus, as Brenda (a plucky Tricia Gozzi) decides to step up to a leadership role. Each of the women in turn finds a way to support and celebrate their friend and each other, whether with Anita’s (Nancy Levine) unapologetic determination, Carla’s (a sparkling Tina Jensen) unending positivity, Fessy’s (a glamorous Kim Marco Pirrella) reckoning with her truth, or Donatella’s (a scene-stealing Debra Toscano) heart of gold under a diamond-hard exterior.

Though the show is touted as a “Suburban Travesty”, it ultimately sheds its rough and predictable histrionics to reveal a touching story about subverting expectations and the power of sisterhood. 

And hats. There are some seriously powerful hats in this show.

Check out Love Productions for The Housewives of Secaucus upcoming tour dates