(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Forty-one years ago, two Rutgers University Theatre Arts students envisioned, embraced and captured the opportunity to create a space where the black experience would be shared through stories produced on stage for all to enjoy; and that was and is the story of Crossroads Theatre Company, a staple of the arts and cultural community in New Brunswick, NJ and across the region, state and nation.
Crossroads Theatre Company, a Tony Award® winning regional theatre after forty-one years is experiencing a resurgence and a rebirth in its new home at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC). From its inception to today, Crossroads has stayed true to its founding mission to create and produce artistic theatre at the highest standards of artistic excellence.
As a long-time patron and supporter of Crossroads and now President of its Board of Trustees, Anthony Carter knows first-hand that Crossroads Theatre Company “is a place rooted and grounded in the celebration of a history, culture and the spirit and voices of the African Diaspora. We bring the community into the sphere of the Black experience; the joys, pains, trials and tribulations of a people.”
Lee Kenneth Richardson, Crossroads Co-Founder with Ricardo Khan, explained that “we sought to establish a theatre arts company to tell the stories of black folk that engaged, taught and made our audience want to embrace the heart and soul of a people who have great stories to tell.” Richardson added that when Crossroads was established the City of New Brunswick was embarking on its journey toward revitalization. “At that time we were in an old sewing factory on Memorial parkway, but when you walked up to that long flight of stairs you walked into a theatre that transported you to the world of the play.”
Crossroads is a special theater that is unapologetic about its honest portrayals of people of color from around the world; it educates audiences and those in front and behind the stage, by creating bridges of understanding between people of all cultural backgrounds and provides a nurturing working environment for writers and artistic collaborators. That creative spirit and laboratory environment will continue with the revival of Crossroads Associate Artists Program, renamed the “Legacy Artists Initiative. Like its former endeavor, the Legacy Artists Initiative will be comprised of a select group of nationally-renowned artists who will be given the opportunity to develop new work, while also mentoring the next generation of promising talent. Those named to bring their talents to the Legacy Artists Initiative include Abena P.A. Busia, Guy Davis, Leah Gardiner, Denise Nicholas and Richard Wesley.
"I am pleased and proud of Crossroads’ continuing commitment to excellence and building bridges between people, which is more important than ever these days,” said Khan. “Crossroads’ strong and solid legacy and body of work will help to ensure the viability of black theatre and regional theatre, generally. Learning from the struggles of our past and knowing well that Crossroads’ future relies on its continued courage and willingness to dream the big dreams it will continue to endure through the power and importance of a unique and focused vision," Khan added.
“We enthusiastically look ahead for the future of our beloved Crossroads Theatre Company and are delighted to be a part of the cultural, social and business imperatives of the City of New Brunswick,” said Carter.
Crossroads is thriving in its new home NBPAC, kicking-off the opening of the venue with a very well-received and acclaimed production of Paul Robeson. Crossroads upcoming production is A Christmas Carol, running December 5 – 15, that promises to deliver a rousing musical with a multicultural cast and a flair that only Crossroads can.