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Curtain Call 2015

originally published: 12/22/2015

Curtain Call 2015

On November 2nd, the New Jersey Theatre Alliance (NJTA) held its annual Curtain Call event at Kean University.  The event celebrates the wonderful professional theater in the Garden State and honors theatres and individuals for their work.  This year, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, Luna Stage, and Premiere Stages were honored along with Natalie S. Watson, Esq. who served as the Alliance’s President for the past six years.

Watson received the Alliance’s Star Award, which is presented to organizations or individuals who have made an impact on the Theatre Alliance and its member theatres. She thanked her partners and colleagues at McCarter & English for the firm’s belief that to be a leader in the law you must also be a leader in the community, including the theater and arts community.

“The Alliance does amazing work for our community, particularly for our member theaters and, by extension for our state,” said Watson.  “Whether through bridge loans to help theaters as they await funding to come, whether the Cultural Access Network project which I am so profoundly proud of or even our annual combined auctions.  There is a range of things that the Alliance does that makes theater in New Jersey work more efficiently and provides greater access to all of our fellow citizens.  So I am so honored to be part of a team that cares so much for the member theaters, for the artists in our community and the patrons that attend theater here.”

The first of three Awards of Excellence went to Premiere Stages, the professional theatre company in residence at Kean University.  The company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary under the leadership of Artistic Director John Wooten.  They were honored for providing a wide range of training programs for artists and students, while developing more than 40 new theatre works — many which have gone on to be produced in New York and regional theaters around the country.

“Premiere Stages finds unique ways to introduce the art of playwriting into a variety of settings and has formed a wide range of innovative partnerships with schools, community based organizations, and healthcare organizations,” said Todd Schmidt, Chairman of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and Managing Director for Paper Mill Playhouse.



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Wooten accepted the award and recalled how a little over a decade ago, neither the building in which Curtain Call was being held nor the company Premiere Stages existed.  He asked John McEwan of the Theatre Alliance to speak at Kean University on the benefits of having an Equity theater.

“For those of you who don’t know much about Premiere Stages, everything we do is dedicated to new play development,” said Wooten. “We do an All Play Festival, and commission a new play about New Jersey every other year.  We develop student playwrights here at Kean University; we have the John Bauer and Nancy Boucher award that applauds and awards aspiring and growing Kean University playwrights or alumni.  One of the things I love most about our New Play Development program is our Play Factory.  We work with schools, with after school organizations, with community groups, senior centers, to work with students of all ages to learn about playwriting then bring in a company actors to perform their work.”

Luna Stage was the second recipient of the Award of Excellence.  The company was described as being a transformative power of West Orange since HANDS Inc. (Housing and Neighborhood Development Services) invited them to be the anchor of the Valley Arts District five years ago.  Larry Capo, the President of the Theatre Alliance, praised Luna for their productions of new works and ability to give new life to classic plays along with their innovation educational programs.

Cheryl Katz, the Artistic Director at Luna Stage, accepted the award, thanking Jane Mandel, who founded the company, for having the foresight to look towards the Valley Arts District for its home.

“Even more so than being honored, tonight I feel fortunate, so very fortunate to be one of the blessed few who gets to spend a lifetime making art,” said Katz. “In the deepest, darkest days of deficits and contract negotiations and casting crises, I try to always remember that we get to spend our days and nights making plays, making magic, and maybe, just maybe, a drop at a time, changing the world a little bit for the better.”

The final recipient of the Award of Excellence was Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre.   John McEwen praised Laura Ekstrand and Dreamcatcher for two decades of challenging and entertaining audiences with works that celebrate the human spirit.

“I have had the pleasure watching the growth of Dreamcatcher since its early days and I have been so impressed by their growth, quality of their work, the talent of its ensemble, and the dedication and support of its board,” said McEwen, Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Laura Ekstrand, Dreamcatcher’s Artistic Director accepted the award and thanked the Theatre Alliance for their support over the years.  “I guarantee without them, we would not be around 20 years later,” said Ekstrand.  “It is only because of them that we are still here.  It is that spirit of collaboration and partnership that we enjoy here in New Jersey because of the Theatre Alliance that kept us and many of you going when things get hard.  I think what we share, even though we do a lot of different things here in the state, is just a love of the process of creation.  We love it so much we don’t want to do it project by project, we want to do it our whole lives.  That is what we are doing.  It is the love of the creation and the love of the relationship we have and the collaboration over time that we develop that keeps us going when things get tough.”

The night was full of performances from a collaborative piece presented by Premiere Stages featuring artists from Matheny Medical & Educational Center’s Arts Access Program to a musical number from Luna Stage’s production of Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story to improv comedy provided by Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre.  Judging from the performances it’s clear that theatre in the Garden State is very much alive and well.  Visit njtheatrealliance.org and see for yourself.

 

Photo by Jerry Dalia






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"
​​​​​​​The political climate in the United States—with its right and left, red and blue, conservative and liberal—prompts this question: Is reconciliation possible?
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.






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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