(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Foster Mom by Chris Cragin-Day, the winner of the 2017 Premiere Stages Play Festival, September 7-24 in Kean University’s Zella Fry Theatre. A funny, surprising, and optimistic coming-of-age tale for adults, Foster Mom tells the story of Leslie, a woman whose decision to foster a child is complicated by two factors: a skeptical mother and an unexpected romance. The play was selected from over 400 submissions to the Play Festival, an annual competition for unproduced scripts by area playwrights. Foster Mom will be directed by longtime collaborator Kel Haney, and feature actors Stori Ayers, Kate Kearney-Patch, Kurt Uy, and Ariel Woodiwiss.
Playwright Chris Cragin-Day is a founding member of Firebone Theatre and an alumna of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and the O’Neill Center’s National Music Theater Conference. Her recent productions include A Woman at 59E59 (directed by Ms. Haney), The Unusual Tale of Mary & Joseph's Baby with Don Chaffer at River & Rail, and the National Tour of Martin Luther on Trial with Max McLean, which also ran Off-Broadway and in Washington, D.C. A resident of Weehawken, Ms. Cragin-Day is an assistant professor of English and theatre at The King's College in New York.
Kel Haney previously directed My Lord, What a Night, Water by the Spoonful, and At Liberty Hall at Premiere Stages. Other recent directing credits include the world premiere of What Happens in Vegas at 59E59, the regional premiere of The Way We Get By at American Theater Group, and The Elephant in Every Room I Enter at La MaMa. Ms. Haney is an active member of Ensemble Studio Theatre, and a former Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow and Lincoln Center Directors Lab participant.
The accomplished cast includes Newark resident Stori Ayers, who most recently appeared in Chautauqua Theater Company’s acclaimed production of Detroit '67; Kate Kearney-Patch, previously seen on television’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and “Person of Interest”; Princeton alumni Kurt Uy, who recent credits include Vietgone at Manhattan Theatre Club and The Oldest Boy at Lincoln Center Theater; and Ariel Woodiwiss, whose distinguished regional credits include Williamstown Theatre Festival, Steppenwolf, and Long Wharf Theatre.
Audience members are invited to further engage with the issues raised by Ms. Cragin-Day’s heartwarming play through Premiere Stages’ 2017 Talk-Back Series, which offers free post-show discussions with community leaders and local experts after select matinee performances (September 9, 10, 17 and 23 at 3:00 pm). Featured speakers include Meghan M. Walbert, author of Phase Three of Life (Saturday, September 9); Ms. Cragin-Day (Sunday, September 10); Celines Garcia and Lynn Patmalnee of Foster and Adoptive Family Services (Sunday, September 17); and Elizabeth Williams-Riley and Gloria McDonald of the American Conference on Diversity (Saturday, September 23). Premiere will also offer a series of informal pre-show talks every Saturday evening 30 minutes prior to performance in the lobby of the theatre.
“We are proud to share Chris’s compelling and highly topical story,” stated John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “And the community partners we have engaged will provide additional perspectives on the challenges and rewards fostering affords.”
Foster Mom runs September 7-24 in the Zella Fry Theatre on the Kean University main campus in Union (Vaughn Eames Hall, 1000 Morris Avenue).Performances take place Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of 8 or more apply. To make reservations or to order a season brochure, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
Tickets are also available for Premiere Stages’ exclusive Foster Mom Opening Night Party on Friday, September 8. This event features a pre-show party with wine, hors d’oeuvres, live music, and breathtaking views of the New York City skyline in Kean’s North Avenue Academic Building event space, reserved seating for the performance, and a post-show champagne toast and dessert reception with the cast. Tickets for this exclusive event are $65.00, and may be purchased by calling 908-737-7469 or emailing email@example.com.
Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Please call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.
IMAGES: (TOP) Artwork by Chris Holden (BOTTOM) Photo of Chris Cragin-Day