(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages at Kean University has announced its 2022 season, featuring three new plays from regional dramatists. The season will kick off in July with the New Jersey Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Mud Row. The season will also feature Scab by Gino Diiorio, a finalist of the 2020/2021 Premiere Play Festival, the theatre’s annual competition for unproduced scripts written by playwrights affiliated with the greater metropolitan area, and the full production of Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family by Tylie Shider, recipient of the 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission. The dates for a developmental reading of the 2022 Premiere Play Festival runner-up will be announced later this year.
“After two years of producing plays on a project-by-project basis, we are so pleased to be back with a full season of contemporary works, all of which are new to New Jersey audiences.” stated Producing Artistic Director John J. Wooten “While our outdoor and virtual performances have been both successful and rewarding, there is nothing like sharing the magic of being inside a theatre!”
In Ms. Morisseau’s Mud Row (July 14-31, Bauer Boucher Theatre Center), two generations of sisters navigate class, race, love and family on “Mud Row,” an area in the East End of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Elsie hopes to move up in the world by marrying into “the talented tenth,” while her sister Frances joins the fight for Civil Rights. Decades later, estranged sisters Regine and Toshi are forced to reckon with their shared heritage and each other, when Regine inherits granny Elsie’s house. The play was first produced by People's Light (Abigail Adams, Executive Artistic Director; Zak Berkman, Producing Director) in Malvern, Pennsylvania on June 26, 2019. Mud Row is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc.
Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play Cycle): Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre), and Detroit ’67 (Public Theater, Classical Theatre of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre), and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the TONY nominated book writer on the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). TV/Film projects: She most recently served as Co-Producer on the Showtime series “Shameless.” She’s currently developing projects with Netflix, HBO, and A24, and wrote the film adaptation of the documentary STEP for Fox Searchlight. Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, named one of Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18 and a recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant.
Next up is Mr. Diiorio’s Scab (September 8-25, Bauer Boucher Theatre Center). Gilda, a middle-aged woman, has to train Eduardo, a young Mexican man, how to be a shop foreman when her factory plant moves to Mexico. Over the course of a week, they discover that their assumptions regarding personal expectations and cultural differences are not always correct.
Mr Diiorio’s plays have had productions at theatres all over the US including New Jersey Rep, Shadowland Theatre, Playhouse in the Square, Luna Stage, Arclight Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, Urban Stages, Seven Angels, Penguin Rep, The Garter Lane Theatre, and the Virginia Stage Company. He has won a number of awards for his writing including the Julie Harris Award (Darwin at Down) and the BBC International Playwriting Prize (Dead Ringer). His play Sam and Dede or My Dinner with Andre the Giant was given an Off Broadway production at 59E59 and was produced this past winter at the Washington Stage Guild. His plays are published through Samuel French and DPS. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.
The season concludes with Mr. Shider’s Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family (October 13-23, Liberty Hall Museum). Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family explores a family's internal divisions in response to the 1967 Plainfield, New Jersey riots. As tensions reach an all-time high between Newark residents and police, racial and civil unrest begins spilling into surrounding communities. Clif and Peach moved their family to Plainfield for the promise of a better future, but as the riots begin, the family contemplates a return to the South. The Liberty Live commission is awarded biennially, in partnership with Kean University’s Liberty Hall, and seeks to develop and produce new plays that celebrate New Jersey’s rich and diverse history.
Tylie Shider is a Minneapolis based writer and a 2022-23 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting at the Playwrights' Center (PWC). He is a recipient of the Liberty Live commission, two consecutive Jerome Fellowships (PWC), and an I Am Soul playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre (NBT). Upcoming projects include the fall 2022 NJ premiere of Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family at Premiere Stages, The Gospel Woman (NBT), Whittier (PWC), and his filmmaking debut "Sign O' the Times". Screenwriting credits include: Truant. He holds a BA in Journalism from Delaware State University and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. A proud member of the Dramatist Guild, he is currently a Professor of Playwriting at Augsburg University, and a staff writer for Minnesota Playlist.
Tickets for Premiere Stages’ 2022 season are now on sale. Prices range from $15-$35, with discounts available for opening night and season packages, groups, seniors, and students. Premiere Stages also offers a series of free interactive lobby talks and post-show discussions in conjunction with select performances. To purchase tickets or inquire about opening night or season packages, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit premierestagesatkean.com/current-shows.
To ensure the safety of all patrons and staff, Premiere Stages will continue to implement safety protocols which can be found here.
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 advance notice. Sign-interpreted and audio described performances are available by request, at least two weeks in advance. Please call 908-737-4077 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request these services.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros, ExxonMobil Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.
Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, national origins, nationalities, ancestry, religious groups, gender expression or identities, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ages, abilities and disabilities.
Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus.
Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral degree programs and more than 80 options for graduate study leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education.