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10 Years On The Banks

By Gary Wien

An Interview With David Saint, The Artistic Director of George Street Playhouse Who Is Starting His 10th Year In New Brunswick

This is your 10th year as the Artistic Director of George Street Playhouse. Did you ever imagine you'd set your roots down in New Brunswick like that?
No, I was very anxious to come here because I wanted to get back closer to New York. I had been travelling all around the country and I started out in New York and wanted to get back near home and my friends. So, I was thrilled to arrive and over the years I discovered that it really has become a home for me - both the theater because of the staff, which is incredibly generous and close-knit, and for the Board. It really is like a family.

I've watched New Brunswick change and grow. The year I got here the whole building across the street went up with SOHO in it and the building across the street came down. Now the huge Heldrich center has gone up and there are all these new apartment buildings. It's unrecognizable from what it was ten years ago.

Everything has changed so much. It's really become a very, vibrant community. At first, when I arrived, they asked if I could bring a higher level of sophistication to the work on our stage and a higher level of artistry. I said, I can do that because of the people I know and the artists I've worked with and the contacts I've built up over the years, but the community has to support that kind of work. So, slowly but surely I have found that as New Brunswick has started to grow more of New Jersey has started to hear about the changes at George Street and hear about the changes in New Brunswick. These days you can't find a better restaurant in New Jersey. You really can't. You have to go to New York and why go to New York and spend the extra money when we have first class restaurants here? And the same can be said for why go to New York when you can find world class theater here? My goal has been to make New Jersians and New Brunswickians realize that they don't have to travel into New York to see the best.

George Street is often talked about as a family of artists. Was that part of your original plan?
Well, I started out as an actor and then I became a director. I was a freelance director and I worked in 36 states and a lot of theaters. One of the reasons I became a director was because I had worked with too many directors who brought tension and their own hang-ups and problems into the room. Whether it was an ego problem or a power trip, it shut down the creativity in the rehearsal room. So, one of the reasons I became a director was to say that the director is the person in charge in the rehearsal room of keeping the tensions at bay and keeping the atmosphere relaxed so that people trust enough to create and be safe.

So, I became a director and as I started directing in more theaters all around I realized the same thing was true on a larger scale of a whole building of a theater - a whole organization. The head of the family - the captain of the ship - is the head of the theater. Ultimately, whatever atmosphere that person exhibits everybody feeds off it and it becomes a reflection of that. So, I then realized if I want a theater that has that same kind of atmosphere then I had to be in charge and lead it.

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The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast!  The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20.  The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll.  Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel.  The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ.  The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company, with The Henry Sawyer Inn and Twin Gables Inn, present Murder Mystery Weekends on February 15-16, March 8-9, March 22-23, March 29-30, and April 5-6. Participants can test their crime-solving skills while staying in one of these lovely Bed & Breakfasts. East Lynne Theater Company's Murder Mystery Weekends were cited among one of the top five in the country by "AM NY."  

It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared. Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30. 
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST.  It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign.  On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.” But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.

Event calendar
Thursday, Jan 17, 2019


Open Mic Night! @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 7:30pm


"Apple Season" by E.M. Lewis @ New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch - 8:00pm


AMERICAN GIRL LIVE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 7:00pm

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