(West Orange, NJ) --On Monday, November 2, 2015, New Jersey Theatre Alliance will honor three New Jersey theatres and a current board member at Curtain Call, the annual celebration of New Jersey professional theatre. The event will take place from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Atrium of the STEM building at Kean University in Union, and will feature entertainment from the honored theatres. The event is open to the public and includes buffet stations, wine and beer, a silent auction, and a raffle. Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre of Summit, Premiere Stages of Union, and Luna Stage Company of West Orange will be recognized for their milestone anniversaries, artistic excellence, and unique contributions to the field. Natalie Watson, Esq. will be given the Star Award in recognition of her six years of service as president of the Alliance’s board of trustees.
Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre of Summit, which recently finished its 20th season, is comprised of a closely knit ensemble of theatre artists in residence who work together from season to season. Dreamcatcher was founded in 1994 by Producing Artistic Director Laura Ekstrand with the mission to “build community with the audience by sharing life-affirming stories in an intimate environment.”
“We at Dreamcatcher are so thrilled to be receiving the Award of Excellence from New Jersey Theatre Alliance,” said Ekstrand. “To be recognized by our peers is especially gratifying, since they understand the challenges and victories associated with a 20-year history in the theatre. Being a part of this outstanding community of theatre people is probably the single most important reason that we’ve been able to fulfill our mission for all these years, and we are most grateful for our colleagues’ support.”
Premiere Stages, which recently finished its 10th season, is the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University. Under the leadership of Artistic Producing Director John Wooten, Premiere is dedicated to the development and production of high-quality theatre premieres, the support and cultivation of theatre artists, and the engagement of Kean students and the public in its programming, especially youth and underserved populations. Through its Play Festival, Premiere has developed many new plays that have gone on to have successful productions in New York and throughout the country.
“Premiere Stages is honored to be recognized with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance Award of Excellence,” said Wooten. “The Alliance has been an extremely valuable resource and partner each and every season since we premiered our first production in 2005. Support and guidance from the Alliance was instrumental in the launch of Premiere Stages so it is particularly rewarding to celebrate this milestone with John, the staff of the Alliance and our theatre partners from across the state.”
Luna Stage Company, which was founded in Montclair in 1992, will be honored for its fifth anniversary of serving as an anchor organization of the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange. In following its mission to produce thought-provoking theatre, support the voices of emerging American playwrights, and partner with the community, Luna has earned a reputation for artistic excellence. Its premieres have gone on to be produced in New York and other theatre regions, enabling emerging playwrights who express diverse perspectives to flourish.
“Luna Stage is honored to be recognized by New Jersey Theatre Alliance, an incredibly progressive and innovative arts advocacy organization,” said Luna’s Artistic Director, Cheryl Katz. “Our company is proud of our body of work over the past 23 years and of our direct contributions to diversifying to voice of American Theatre. Our move to become an anchor organization in the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange five years ago has invigorated our approach to our work and inspired us to expand our programming and our impact on our community.”
Natalie Watson, Esq., who will receive the Star Award, has been a member of the board of trustees of the Alliance for eight years, serving as president for six. Watson is a partner at McCarter & English LLP law firm in East Brunswick.
“During Natalie’s tenure, the organization conducted an in-depth membership assessment, developed and adopted a new three-year strategic plan, and expanded many of its community outreach initiatives,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance. “We thank Natalie for her leadership, love of theatre, and commitment to breaking down barriers to ensure that all individuals can experience the joy of live theatre.”
Curtain Call attendees will have the opportunity to bid on items in the silent auction, and can purchase a chance to win one of three raffle prizes: a Broadway experience for four with house seats to Something Rotten, dinner at Sardi’s, and limo transportation; a weekend for four in Cape May; and an Apple Watch Sport. For reservations and additional information, visit njtheatrealliance.org/events/2015-curtain-call.
Proceeds from the event will strengthen the Alliance’s role as a critical resource for the state’s arts community and advance its programs that benefit children, seniors, people with disabilities, and the theatre-going public. The community has already enthusiastically supported Curtain Call, with sponsorship from Bank of America, McCarter & English, LLP, Mills + Schnoering Architects, LLC, and W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher.
Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen, and cultivate professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Bank of America, Prudential Foundation, and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey.