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15 World Premiere Plays

originally published: 07/24/2018

15 World Premiere Plays

New Jersey may be a short ride to Broadway, but its home to great theatre as well.  In addition to wonderful revivals and productions of recent Broadway and Off-Broadway hits, the state offers audiences the first chance to see many plays each year.  The 2018-19 season lineups for many theatres have been announced and here are 15 World Premieres taking place in New Jersey that caught our eye.

Fern Hill by Michael Tucker, presented from August 9 - September 9, 2018 at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch. Three couples in their golden years, thick as thieves, are gathered at Sunny and Jer’s farmhouse to celebrate milestone birthdays that span three decades. The foundation of their long friendship is honesty and support – as well as a commitment to the enjoyment of food, wine and laughter. They’re so close that Sunny suggests that they all move in together—to live and work and assist one another as they grow older. Their companionship is put to the test, however, when a marital betrayal is discovered. The bonds of loyalty and truth are explored in this mature comedy.



The Shuck by Shawn Fisher, presented from September 19 - November 9, 2018 at Cape May Stage. Constance has spent her life on the deck of a workboat. When her troubled son is lost at sea, and her long-lost daughter suddenly decides to visit, she is forced to face the truth about her family and the secrets that broke it apart so many years ago. A world premiere by a Cape May County native.



Brick City by Nicole Pandolfo, presented from September 6-23, 2018 at Premiere Stages at Kean. Jessie, a combative high school senior with a disability, and Darnell, the star player of the basketball team, find themselves together in extended study hall during the most important marking period of their lives. As Darnell inches dangerously close to throwing away a lucrative college scholarship and Jessie a potential career as an artist, both discover that things aren’t always as simple as they may seem.



Pamela’s First Musical by Wendy Wasserstein and Christoper Durang, presented from September 8 - October 7, 2018 at Two River Theater. With a combined total of more than 20 Tony Award nominations and 6 wins, the team behind Pamela’s First Musical is bringing the theatrical event of the season to Two River Theater! It’s Pamela’s birthday and, to celebrate, her eccentric and fabulous Aunt Louise is taking her to the big city to experience her very first Broadway musical! 





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Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta, presented from October 18 - November 18, 2018 at New Jersey Repertory Company. In this tale inspired by Latino folk lore and mythology, Isadora finds the strength to stand up to her abusive husband, but there is a price she must pay for her courage.



Liberty Live: Black Tom Island by Martin Casella, presented from October 11-21, 2018 at Premiere Stages at Kean University at the 1882 Carriage House. Based on an actual incident that took place in Jersey City in 1916, Black Tom Island explores the first documented terrorist attack on American soil through the lens of a fictionalized Slovak immigrant and his wife who may or may not be involved in the attack. Liberty Live is a unique new partnership with the Liberty Hall Museum that features a production of a new play that celebrates New Jersey history, tours of the museum, interactive displays, workshops for children and talk-backs with local historians. 



Apples In Winter by Jennifer Fawcett, presented from November 9 - November 18 at Centenary Stage Company. Miriam loves to bake Apple Pies and today she has a special request to make her signature recipe. But this day is going to be different, because Miriam has decided that this will be the last apple pie she ever bakes. Apples in Winter is produced at Centenary Stage Company as a part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. 



Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical by Laiona Michelle, presented from January 29 - February 24, 2019 at George Street Playhouse.  Following her critically acclaimed performance in American Hero, Laiona Michelle returns to George Street Playhouse to play Nina Simone in a new musical.  This exuberant premiere musical reveals a life in between the black and white keys—a passionate journey from classical piano child prodigy to the High Priestess of Soul, told through the words and music of American icon Nina Simone. ​     



My Very Own British Invasion  - Directed and choreographed by Jerry Mitchell. Book by Rick Elice, presented from January 31 - March 3, 2019 at Paper Mill Playhouse. The 1960s British music scene comes to life in this fable of young love as British Rock explodes around the world loosely based on the experiences of Peter Noone, who was just 15 when he rose to international stardom as the lead singer of Herman’s Hermits—and England became the center of the rock and roll universe. Grab a pint and get a front-row seat to an electrifying moment in music history.



Roan @ The Gates by Christina Gorman, presented from January 31 - February 24, 2019 at Luna Stage. How far would you go to do the right thing? Against a backdrop of Cambridge Analytica and fake news, the play is a fictional investigation into cyber-security inspired by the shadowy figure of Edward Snowden’s girlfriend. Roan, an NSA Analyst, isn’t even allowed to tell her wife the location of her next business trip. When her personal life collides with national security, it launches launches a beautiful and high-stakes adventure that illuminates the cost of secrecy.



John Henry on by Elise Forier Edie, presented from February 8-10, 2019 at Growing Stage. Based on the traditional American folk-ballad about the “steel driving man,” John Henry blends music, history and storytelling to tell the tale of the first African American folk-hero. Young Jayjay and his best friend Grace are the children of railroad workers, and live in a camp in the Allegheny Mountains, just after the Civil War. When their fathers’ jobs are threatened by the invention of a steam drill, Jayjay’s dad challenges it, by proposing a race though the mountain, to prove a man can work better and faster than a machine. The race is on, but when John Henry’s conquest ends in sudden tragedy, Jayjay must find a way to honor his father’s legacy, while still being true to himself. Despite setbacks, and with the help of his friends and family, he finds a way to go forward, and to take is place in the burgeoning, industrial world. Laurie Award winner from the 2017 The Growing Stage’s New Play Reading Festival. Recommended Age: 7 years old and up



Psychodrama by Phoebe Farber, presented from February 14 - March 3, 2019 at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre.  Welcome to the weekly divorce group, held in the basement of the Unitarian church. The members are suddenly left stranded when Mitchell, their leader, leaves halfway through. Luckily, Barb has agreed to be the new group leader. Her unorthodox methods throw them all for a loop, but they eventually find that being off balance just might be the way to break through to a new understanding of their relationships. This seriocomedy has been developed over the past several years in the Lab at Luna and in readings at Writers Theater of NJ and Dreamcatcher.



A Better Place To Be by Stephen L. Fredericks, presented from February 15-17, 2019 at Growing Stage. An original piece commissioned by the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stage Exchange program, A Better Place To Be brings together the immigration journeys of two young women. First that of The Growing Stage Founder and Executive Director Stephen L. Fredericks great-grandmothers voyage to America in the late 1800’s and that of a young Syrian girl coming today. Weaving poetry, music and folktales from each time and place, the play celebrates our similarities and opens the door for a better appreciation for our differences.  Recommended Age: 12 years old and UP



Theo by Martin Moran, presented from February 23 - March 24, 2019 at Two River Theater. When Margret Flynn’s health begins to fail, her son Theodore returns to their Catskills home after many years away. And so, a family’s reckoning begins. Long unsettled hurts rise up and we bear witness to the enduring power of kinship—the longing to love in the face of unstoppable change. Playwright Martin Moran performed his solo plays The Tricky Part and All the Rage in repertory at Two River Theater in 2014, at which time Theo, his first play for other actors, was commissioned by the Theater. Carolyn Cantor will direct this world-premiere production.



Gary by Bruce Graham, presented from September 19 - October 13, 2019 at Eagle Theatre. First, there was Siri…then came Alexa…Now there’s Gary! Eagle Theatre creates a cybernetic fun-factory as celebrated playwright Bruce Graham invites you to takeoff on a futuristic journey to a world of endless possibility. This cheeky yet reflective parody puts convenience and comfort first as it begs the questions; What happens when communication has become obsolete? When human connection is a dream of the past? When technology takes over? Don’t think… Just ask Gary! WARNING: Highly Irreverent & Contagiously Offensive!

Plus the year includes regional or NJ premieres of String Around My Finger, Native Gardens, Silent Sky, The Assignment, Heartland, and Benny & Joon! Visit NewJerseyStage.com for theatre news!






Pegasus Theatre Company presents "Human Error"
(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- Pegasus Theatre Company presents Human Error from September 21-30 at the West Windsor Arts Center. The play by Eric Pfeffinger asks: What does it take for people on opposite sides of the political spectrum to see past their differences and even become friends? According to Human Error, it takes a blundering fertility doctor and a case of mistaken identity, which force two couples to face an absurd situation together. 
East Lynne Theater's "Arsenic and Old Lace" Is Breaking Records
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company has seen many successes since its founding in 1980, but none like "Arsenic and Old Lace."  Although first produced on Broadway in 1941 by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, Joseph Kesselring’s comedy is still the most produced play in this country today. Yes - It' just that good!
Old Library Theatre Presents "Bat Boy"
(FAIR LAWN, NJ) -- Old Library Theatre, Fair Lawn Recreation Department's resident theater company and NJACT's 2017 Community Theater of the Year, presents "Bat Boy" from September 14-16.  When a half boy/half bat creature is discovered in a cave near Hope Falls, West Virginia, the local sheriff brings himto the home of the town veterinarian. Though he’s eventually accepted as a member of the family, when he naively tries to fit in with the narrow-minded townspeople, they turn on him.
Premiere Stages To Present Brick City
(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Nicole Pandolfo’s Brick City from September 6-23 in Kean University’s Bauer Boucher Theatre Center in Union, NJ.  In the play, worlds collide in Ms. Pandolfo’s topical and compelling new play when Jessie, a combative high school senior with a disability, and Darnell, the star player of the high school basketball team, find themselves together in extended study hall during the most important marking period of their lives.  As Darnell inches dangerously close to throwing away a lucrative college scholarship and Jessie a potential career as an artist, both discover things aren't always as simple as they may seem.
Candace O’Donnell To Perform "Sarah Bernhardt-La Divine" To Benefit Cape May Stage
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- Candace O’Donnell will be performing her latest work “Sarah Bernhardt-La Divine” as a benefit for Cape May Stage on August 27th at 8:00pm. In the play, written & performed by O’Donnell, Sarah Bernhardt survived the siege of Paris, an amputation, vicious anti-Semitism, and many tempestuous love affairs to become the toast of Europe and indeed the world.


REVIEW: "Fern Hill" at NJ Rep
(LONG BRANCH, NJ) — The latest World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company is Fern Hill by Michael Tucker.  Wonderfully directed by Nadia Tass, the play features an all-star cast and a story about three couples in the latter half of their lives who come up with a rather intriguing way to avoid a retirement home.
Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen
When Bruce Springsteen was about to release his debut album, the record company wanted him to say he was from New York City, but he refused.  It’s somewhat ironic that over 40 years later, he has turned a legendary Broadway theatre into his home five nights a week with Springsteen on Broadway - a show that has performed in front of over 150,000 people and grossed more than $75 million since making its debut on October 12, 2017 after several preview performances. 
15 World Premiere Plays
New Jersey may be a short ride to Broadway, but its home to great theatre as well.  In addition to wonderful revivals and productions of recent Broadway and Off-Broadway hits, the state offers audiences the first chance to see many plays each year.  The 2018-19 season lineups for many theatres have been announced and here are 15 World Premieres taking place in New Jersey that caught our eye.
REVIEW: "Linger" at Premiere Stages at Kean
(UNION, NJ) — Craig Garcia’s new play, Linger, gives new meaning to the term “nuclear family” and offers a powerful story, terrific performances, and fine direction by John J. Wooten.  Sadly, it has also changed the way I'll remember my favorite song by The Beach Boys.  I will never hear it without thinking of this play.
Difficult Questions "Linger" at Premiere Stages
There are two key questions at the heart of Craig Garcia’s play “Linger”: How well do parents actually know their children? And what things — even terrible things — are they capable of?

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Long Branch Theatrical Couple Uncovered Creative Potential of Artists with Disabilities

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Talia Balsam Talks About Her Career And Upcoming Reading At George Street Playhouse

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American Theater Group's "Small Town Story" Premieres at SOPAC

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Event calendar
Saturday, Aug 18, 2018


MUSIC

90s By Nature Dance Party @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 10:00pm

BALLYHOO! @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 7:30pm

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists @ Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park - 9:00pm

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 5:00pm

ZEBRA @ The Wonder Bar, Asbury Park - 9:00pm

Blake Shelton @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

Legendary Beatles Recording Engineer Geoff Emerick @ The Vault at Victor Records , Berlin - 8:00pm


HAIR in Concert @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 10:00pm

AMERICAN IDOL: LIVE! 2018 @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:30pm

Billy Walton Band with Joe D'Angelo @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 8:00pm

REMEMBERING THE KING @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

Funky Feat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Fuel (20th Anniversary Tour) w/ Ropetree, New Theory @ Starland Ballroom, Sayreville - 6:00pm

Ronnie Penque’s Panama Dead @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Saturday Night Fever @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

The Lion In Winter @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 8:00pm

Fern Hill @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 3:00pm and 8:00pm

Bob Goss and his Silver Sizzles @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 8:00pm

Shakespeare in the Park' Twelfth Night & Macbeth @ Various Bergen County Parks, Teaneck - 7:00pm



COMEDY

HASAN MINHAJ: BEFORE THE STORM @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:00pm and 9:30pm

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