(BASKING RIDGE, NJ) -- American Theater Group (ATG), a professional regional theater company in Central New Jersey, will present Stephen Sondheim's beloved A Little Night Music as its 2024 Season premiere, followed by the world premiere of a provocative new play, Canned Goods, in May. A Little Night Music will run March 7-10 at the Sieminski Theater in Basking Ridge and March 14-24 at Hamilton Stage in Rahway.
A Little Night Music, with a book by Hugh Wheeler and a score by Sondheim, was awarded six 1973 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score. Based on Ingmar Bergman's comedy of manners, Smiles of a Summer Night, it explores the tangled web of hidden (and not-so-hidden) affairs, desires and deceits and features one of Sondheim’s most cherished songs, "Send in The Clowns."
Canned Goods, by Erik Kahn, brings to life Hitler’s staging of a fake attack on Germany to justify his invasion of Poland in 1939. This tense historical drama tells the story of the human beings forced to play leading roles in a drama they want no part of, and one that launched World War II. The play will run May 9-12 at Hamilton Stage and May 16-19 at the Sieminski Theater.
This new season marks ATG’s return to Hamilton Stage, where the company first performed when founded in 2012. In addition to these productions, ATG’s season will include special events such as free play readings, a spring fundraising Gala, and a presentation entitled, A Personal History of The American Theater, by veteran theater critic Peter Filichia who has seen over 12,500 shows in 47 states and 17 foreign countries. The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 3rd at Hamilton Stage, and further details will be released shortly.
“We are delighted to present two very different, but equally compelling theatrical experiences this season,” noted Producing Artistic Jim Vagias. “A Little Night Music is full of wit, and heartbreaking moments of adoration, regret and desire – all set to a lush, glorious Sondheim score including the iconic song Send in the Clowns. Canned Goods proves especially relevant given today’s current global situation. We are thrilled to perform in two beautiful venues and are excited to return to Hamilton Stage to continue expanding our audience reach throughout Central NJ.”
"American Theater Group was one of our first residencies when the Hamilton Stage opened in 2012," said Deanna M. Hunt, UCPAC's Executive Director. "Since the building was damaged in Hurricane Ida, the city of Rahway and our staff have worked tirelessly to restore this community treasure. Now, as we reopen the doors to our beautifully refurbished space, we are so excited to welcome American Theater Group and our patrons home to the Hamilton Stage!"
Broadway veteran Hunter Foster returns to ATG to direct A Little Night Music, with musical direction by Keith Levenson. Foster, an actor, writer and director, also directed ATG’s highly successful 2023 production of Parade. He was named the 2018 “Director of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal for his productions of 42nd Street at the Bucks County Playhouse, and The Drowsy Chaperone at the Goodspeed Opera House. He directed The Other Josh Cohen Off-Broadway and has directed at regional theaters across the US. As an actor, his many Broadway credits include Little Shop of Horrors (Tony Nomination), Urinetown, The Producers, The Bridges of Madison County, Million Dollar Quartet, Les Miserables and Grease.
Keith Levenson has conducted and created arrangements for major rock groups including The Who, KISS, Meatloaf, Alice Cooper and Yes. A Broadway and National Tour Music Director and Supervisor, he conducted ATG’s enormously successful productions of Parade and The Bridges of Madison County.
The Sieminski Theater is located on the scenic campus of Fellowship Village at 8000 Fellowship Road in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. Performances will be Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 2:30pm. Tickets are available at www.sieminskitheater.org. Additional information about casting will be announced shortly.
Built by the City of Rahway Redevelopment Agency, the Hamilton Stage is located at 360 Hamilton Street in Rahway and is independently operated under the governance of Union County Performing Arts Center. The 199-seat theater was recently renovated. Tickets will soon be available through the box office by calling 732-499-8226 or online at: https://www.ucpac.org/events.
A Little Night Music is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.
American Theater Group (ATG), founded in 2012, produces new and classic works primarily by American playwrights with an emphasis on the development of new works and the rediscovery of undeservedly neglected older ones. It also provides quality arts-in-education initiatives, including its annual DramaFest for students and its PlayLab program for BIPOC and queer playwrights. ATG programming is made possible in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Made possible by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission, a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.