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Premiere Stages to Present World Premiere of Liberty Live Commission "Black Tom Island"

originally published: 09/20/2018

Premiere Stages to Present World Premiere of Liberty Live Commission "Black Tom Island"

(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Martin Casella’s Black Tom Island from October 11-21 at Liberty Hall Museum (1003 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.). Originally commissioned over a two-year cycle through Premiere’s Liberty Live Commission, Black Tom Island will feature actors Damian Buzzerio, Mason Hensley, Jenna Krasowski and Bart Shatto. Producing artistic director John J. Wooten directs.

Based on an actual incident that took place in Jersey City in 1916, Black Tom Islandexplores 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. The play is the recipient of the 2017-2018 Liberty Live Commission, a unique partnership between Premiere Stages and Liberty Hall Museum that supports the development of new plays that explore the rich and complex history of New Jersey. Over the course of two years, Garden State playwrights are given dramaturgical and artistic support, along with a $1,000 commission, to create an original play to be staged at Liberty Hall’s historic 1882 Carriage House. Past commissions have included plays by Deborah Brevoort, James Christy, and E. M. Lewis, showcasing New Jersey history from the American Revolution to the eve of World War II.

Premiere Stages to Present World Premiere of Liberty Live Commission "Black Tom Island"Playwright Martin Casella is an actor and writer perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Marty Casey in the 1982 classic, Poltergeist. He served as director Steven Spielberg’s assistant on Raiders of the Lost Ark, and his writing for film and television includes projects for HBO, CBS, ABC, Disney, Universal, and Warner Brothers. Mr. Casella’s plays include The ReportBeautiful Dreamer, and the GLAAD-nominated The Irish Curse, published by Samuel French. He recently completed the teleplay for the film The Land of Sometimes, starring Ewan McGregor and Helena Bonham Carter.

As the founder and producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, John J. Wooten has developed and directed numerous new plays, including The Beautiful DarkThe Good Counselor and Follow Me to Nellie’s, all of which were honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. Earlier this season, Mr. Wooten directed the critically acclaimed premiere of Craig Garcia’s Linger, winner of the 2018 Premiere Play Festival.

“While the attack on Black Tom Island happened 100 years ago, the play’s subject matter is surprisingly topical,” stated Mr. Wooten. “And what makes Marty’s study of an immigrant couple’s acclimation to America all the more fascinating is that it is based on a true story, and is effectively dramatized against the backdrop of a lost New Jersey island.”



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The accomplished cast includes Damian Buzzerio, previously seen at Premiere in By the Water, Sharyn Rothstein’s moving play about a family impacted by Hurricane Sandy; Mason Hensley, whose distinguished regional credits include the Sunset Theatre, North Carolina Symphony and Lincoln Center Education; Jenna Krasowski, whose recent projects include ms estrada at the Flea Theater and Across the Park with the Araca Group; and Bart Shatto, recently seen on Broadway in the Tony-nominated War Paint opposite two-time Tony winner Patti LuPone.

Audience members are invited to further engage with the issues raised by Mr. Casella’s thought-provoking play through a free pre-show discussion with Bill Schroh, Jr., Liberty Hall’s Director of Museum Operations, on October 13 at 5 p.m., and a post-show discussion with Mr. Casella following the performance on October 14 at 3 p.m. Guests attending the matinees of Black Tom Island the weekend of October 20–21 can also enjoy a free tour of the museum’s first floor in conjunction with Four Centuries in a Weekend, Union County’s annual historic homes tour sponsored by the Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs.

Black Tom Island runs Thursday, October 11-Sunday, October 21 at various times. Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni and staff, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of 8 or more apply. To purchase, 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 Black Tom Island Opening Night Party on Friday, October 12. This celebratory event will begin with a V.I.P. reception at 6 p.m., featuring wine, handcrafted hors d'oeuvres, and live music by The Buck and a Quarter Quartet, to be followed by a guided candlelight tour of Liberty Hall Museum at 7 p.m. Following the performance at 8 p.m., the evening will conclude with a champagne toast and dessert reception with the cast and creative team. All proceeds from the evening will benefit future programming supporting emerging artists and plays. Tickets are $100, and may be purchased by calling 908-737-7469 or emailing ticket@kean.edu.

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.

Liberty Live is made possible in part by a HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, 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, Les Malamut Art Gallery, Actors’ Equity Association Foundation, 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. 

Photo: Jersey City resident Martin Casella October 11-21 at Liberty Hall Museum. Photo by Ian Alfano.





Centenary Stage Presents "Apples In Winter" - a National New Play Rolling World Premiere
(HACKETTSTOWN, NJ) -- Centenary Stage Company’s 2018 – 19 theatrical season continues with the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Jennifer Fawcett’s award winning Apples in Winter. Limited performances will run November 8 through November 18 at the Centenary Stage Company Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ.
Trojan Women: JCTC Reinvents Classic Tragedy for Today’s Times
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) presents Trojan Women, a multimedia and multilingual adaptation of the classic Greek tragedy reimagined for today’s turbulent times. Trojan Women  opens Friday November 2nd for an 11-show run that closes on Sunday November 18 at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City. Tickets are $25 ($15/ Student and Senior Discount – must show valid ID).
Douglas Taurel To Perform "An American Soldier's Journey Home" On Veteran's Day
(HOBOKEN, NJ) -- On November 11, 2018 (Veterans Day), Douglas Taurel, actor and creator of the acclaimed solo show The American Soldier, will perform his new play An American Soldier’s Journey Home at the Hoboken Museum in Hoboken, NJ at 4:00pm. The play was commissioned by the Library of Congress Veteran History Project. It was invited to performed at the Library of Congress both on Veterans Day and Memorial Day of 2017. The play will commemorate 100 years when the Great War ended and the last shot was fired.
Fair Moon Stages Presents "Wishes & Dreams: A Celebration of the Music that Animates our Lives"
(RAHWAY, NJ) -- Fair Moon Stages presents “Wishes & Dreams: A Celebration of the Music that Animates our Lives” on Sunday, November 4th at 3:00pm, at The Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, NJ. A 30-piece orchestra and 20 vocalists performing delightfully familiar songs from animated movies highlight the concert. The event is a benefit for the company, whose mission is to present accessible and professional theater at affordable prices. Their well-received inaugural season included Disney’s High School Musical, Legally Blonde and the NJ premier of Mamma Mia.  
Menopause The Musical Comes To State Theatre
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) --  GFour Productions, winner of 44 Tony Awards and 54 Drama Desk Awards,  brings the international hit show Menopause The Musical® to State Theatre in New Brunswick for two performances on Saturday, November 10 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm. This a groundbreaking celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.” 


Plant Yourself at Exit 82 Theatre Company’s Little Shop of Horrors!
Little Shop of Horrors is a smash Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi musical that has devoured the hearts of theatergoers for over 30 years. Now, Toms River, NJ’s Exit 82 Theatre Company has developed a unique rendition of the show created by Howard Ashman and Alan Menkin, which is currently running at their new Exit 82 Studio Theatre located on Main Street in downtown Toms River.
Playwright Walter Anderson Talks About "The Trial Of Donna Caine"
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Assisted Living: The Musical LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
The crowd is making it’s way inside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts on this beautiful Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 afternoon for the first of two sold-out performances of Assisted Living: The Musical!
Bram Stoker's Dracula
Long before we had Twilight and True Blood, one vampire ruled them all - Dracula.  Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel brought Count Dracula from Transylvania to Victorian London.  In this blood thirsty tale of terror, the city seems helpless against his power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing, can stop the carnage.  But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.  
House On Haunted Hill
House On Haunted Hill is a classic B-movie by William Castle that came out in 1959.  It starred Vincent Price as a millionaire who offers $10,000 to five people who agree to spend the night locked in a house he’s rented on Haunted Hill.

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Bram Stoker's Dracula

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Long before we had Twilight and True Blood, one vampire ruled them all - Dracula.  Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel brought Count Dracula from Transylvania to Victorian London.  In this blood thirsty tale of terror, the city seems helpless against his power, and only one man, Dr. Van Helsing, can stop the carnage.  But to do this, he must uncover the vampire’s lair and pierce his heart with a wooden stake.  


An interview with Shawn Fisher

An interview with Shawn Fisher

Cape May Stage presents the World Premiere of The Shuck by Shawn Fisher from September 19 through November 9th. Fisher grew up in Vineland, NJ and remains very connected to South Jersey despite being the Head of the MFA Program in Theatre at Utah State University.  He started the National Playwrights Symposium along with Roy Steinberg at Cape May Stage in 2013 and returns each year to be part of it. In addition to being a playwright, he’s also a set designer who has created sets for many theatres throughout New Jersey.


Deconstructing The Myths Of Bruce Springsteen

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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

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Event calendar
Sunday, Oct 21, 2018


MUSIC

DiTrani Bros: Folk, Swing, Jazz, Ragtime!! @ Roxy and Dukes Roadhouse, Dunellen - 7:00pm

Jazz Guitarist Abe Ovadia @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Gypsy Jazz Brunch with Pyrenesia and Max Hansen Buffet @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

Dryden Ensemble: Bach Cantata Fest @ Miller Chapel (Princeton), Princeton - 3:00pm

Suzzanne Douglas @ South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC), South Orange - 7:30pm


THEATRE

The Ghost Princess @ Pax Amicus Castle Theatre, Budd Lake - 2:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

CDC Theatre presents A Few Good Men @ CDC Theatre, Cranford - 2:00pm

Wait Until Dark @ Somerset Valley Playhouse, Hillsborough - 8:00pm

World Premier of, HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL, A Horror of a Play @ Forum Theatre (Metuchen), Metuchen - 3:00pm

The Color Purple @ Paper Mill Playhouse, Millburn - 1:30pm and 7:00pm

Almost, Maine @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Black Tom Island @ The 1882 Carriage House, Liberty Hall Museum, Union - 3:00pm

*Uncle Vanya, Scenes from a Jersey Life in Four Acts @ Hudson Theatre Works, Weehawken - 7:00pm

Black Coffee by Agatha Christie @ Westfield Community Players, Westfield - 2:00pm







DANCE

DRACULA - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 4:00pm


FILM

A conversation with John Cusack Following a screening of Say Anything @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 7:00pm


KIDS

Summit Farmers Market Pumpkin Painting @ Summit Farmers Market, Summit - 10:00am


POETRY

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 9:00am


MISC

HAUNTED ILLUSIONS LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 3:00pm

THE MAGIC OF BILL BLAGG LIVE! @ State Theatre New Jersey, New Brunswick - 2:00pm

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