“The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to coastal communities in fall 2012 was evident in the wooden debris that littered the affected communities in its wake,” writes Ms. Petrovich-Cheney in an artist statement accompanying the exhibit. “Floorboards, pieces of cabinets, and window frames were often all that remained of homes torn apart by the storm’s ferocity. It was after the storm that I began collecting the castaway wooden debris - remnants evocative of life before the storm. Inspired by the geometry of American quilts whose simplicity belies their conceptual underpinnings, I piece together this salvaged wood into something meaningful and orderly.”
Premiere’s blockbuster season continues with the winner of the 2015 Premiere Stages Play Festival, The People Before the Park
by Keith Josef Adkins (September 3 – 20; Zella Fry Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Premiere’s producing artistic director, John J. Wooten. In 1857, a hard-working man and his son live in a respectful African-American community in New York City called Seneca Village. However, when the City decides to remove the community from their homes to create the world-renowned Central Park, their solitude and safe haven are threatened. The People Before the Park
was selected from over 400 submissions as the winner of this year’s Play Festival, Premiere’s annual competition for unproduced scripts by playwrights born or residing in the greater metropolitan area.
Premiere’s 11th season also features a free staged reading of Kate Cortesi’s Great Kills
(June 19 – 21; Murphy Dunn Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Kel Haney. A high school achiever’s college application reveals a secret from her past, sending her Staten Island family into a tailspin. But is this ambitious young woman traumatized by violence, as her essay claims, or by a culture of achievement that has trained her to market herself at any cost? Great Kills
, recently named this year’s Runner-Up in the Premiere Stages Play Festival, was one of four finalists featured in Premiere’s popular Spring Reading Series in March, and returns for expanded development.
Premiere’s 2015 season concludes with a free staged reading of the 2015/2016 Liberty Live
Commission (November 13 – 15; Little Theatre, Kean University Center). Liberty Live
is a unique partnership between Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum that celebrates New Jersey history with professional theatrical productions, museum tours, interactive displays, workshops for children, and talk-backs with local historians. On a biannual basis, Premiere Stages commissions a playwright native to or currently residing in New Jersey to create a new play that specifically explores an event or events of historical significance that celebrate the state’s rich and diverse history. Past commissions have explored events in the communities of Westfield and Elizabeth and include Talking to Westfield
by E. M. Lewis and At Liberty Hall
by James Christy.
Tickets to Premiere’s 2015 Season range from $15 - $30, with deep discounts available for season packages, groups, seniors, and students; admission to Great Kills
and Liberty Live
is free. Premiere Stages also offers a series of free interactive post-show discussions, known as “talk-backs,” after select matinee performances. To purchase tickets or inquire about season packages, please call 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit www.kean.edu/premierestages
. If you’d like more information on Premiere’s season programming or talk-back schedule and speakers, please call Premiere’s administrative offices at 908-737-4092
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In addition to its Main Stage season, Premiere Stages will again collaborate with other professional theatres in the area to present dynamic theatre programming exclusively for young audiences, with performances open to the public as well as school and camp groups. For more information, please contact Heather Kelley, director of audience services, at 908-737-4077
. Premiere’s 2015 Play Factory Performance Series
- Page Turner Adventures' Steam Trunk Circus (July 15 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre), a Theatreworks USA presentation. A steamer trunk, a mysterious book, and a hat belonging to Harry Houdini are brought to life in a show that's filled with fantastic physical feats! Ideal way to introduce elements from the STEAM curriculum to students. Recommended for grades 2 - 5.
- Pushcart Players’ Alice in Wonderland (July 29 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre). Filled with Lewis Carroll's pure nonsense and madcap characters, this intriguing tale about a curious and proactive young girl has enchanted readers for many generations. Alice goes on an enchanted journey of self-discovery with challenges, choices and happy conclusions. A meaningful story for anyone who has ever been on the daring adventure of growing up! Recommended for ages 3 - 9.
- Yates Musical Theatre's Rumplestiltskin (August 5 at 10:30 a.m.; Wilkins Theatre). Rumplestiltskin is the lively tale of the funny little man who spins straw into gold to gain the first born child of the King and Queen. This delightful musical includes singing, dancing, comedy, and fun for all. Rumplestiltskin is a magical feast for eyes and ears with little lessons along the way - about bragging, about making promises that we don't expect to keep, and about what can happen when one person sets out to exploit the desperate situation of another. Recommended for ages 3 - 9.
Premiere Stages is also accepting applications from middle and high school students for Camp Premiere, its innovative summer program for young aspiring theatre artists. Session I is a performance and playwriting camp for students entering grades 5 - 8 (July 20 - 31), and Session II is an acting camp for grades 9 - 12 (July 27 – August 7). Camp Premiere is dedicated to fostering a creative and nurturing environment for young theatre artists of all experience levels, and both sessions will culminate in a public showcase performance. Tuition is $295, and limited scholarships are available; preference is given to Union County residents. For more information, please contact Christine Whalen at 908-737-4092 or 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 advanced notice. Please call 908-737-4092 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at www.kean.edu/premierestages.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The Provident Bank Foundation, The Hudson City Savings Bank Foundation, Union County HEART Grants, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The Westfield Foundation, The New Jersey Historical Commission, and through the generous support of individual patrons. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.
PHOTO: Playwright Keith Josef Adkins, Winner of the 2015 Premiere Stages Play Festival for The People Before the Park, running September 3 - 20 at Premiere Stages. Photo courtesy of Keith Josef Adkins.