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SOMA Backstage Reading Series at SOPAC to Showcase New Musicals and Plays by SOMA-Based Creatives

originally published: 03/20/2023

SOMA Backstage Reading Series at SOPAC to Showcase New Musicals and Plays by SOMA-Based Creatives

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Situated in what The New York Times calls the town "where Broadway comes home to sleep," the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) announces the inaugural weekend of the SOMA backStage Reading Series, a partnership with local theater company SOMA Stage. On Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4, SOMA Stage will present readings of new plays and musicals written by or starring South Orange and Maplewood's theater professionals in the Loft at SOPAC.

All readings in this series are free and open to the public, with a suggested donation of $15. Further information can be found at www.sopacnow.org/events/  

The SOMA backStage Reading Series emerged from SOPAC’s Creative Community Brain Trust, a collaboration of five local arts leaders bringing innovative programming to the center.  

“In our quest to become the beating civic and cultural heart for South Orange, Maplewood and northern New Jersey, all of us at SOPAC are thrilled to partner with SOMA Stage on this new works development and reading series,” SOPAC Executive Director Stephen Beaudoin said. “Led by the brilliant Dana Spialter and our friends at SOMA Stage, this series is an important new addition to our regional community and cultural scene.” 

This spring’s SOMA backStage Reading Series will include readings of the new musical “REVIVAL” by Broadway veterans Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, and up-and-coming playwright Lia Romeo’s new work “STILL”.  Audience members can join the creative process at talkbacks following the matinee readings and share their thoughts on the new works. 



 
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“There is something really special about SOMA,” said SOMA Stage Artistic Director Dana Spialter. “With the theater professionals who live in our community as well as the proximity to New York City…it is the perfect incubator for new theatrical shows. My hope is that over time, the SOMA backStage Reading Series will become one of the next major players for the development of new works.”   

All readings will take place in The Loft at SOPAC, an intimate space that connects audiences with creatives and performers.  Just 25 minutes from midtown Manhattan SOPAC is a great place for audiences to experience the joy and excitement of SOMA backStage Reading Series’ new stories and visions.  


ABOUT THE THEATER WORKS 

Casting announcements coming soon. 


REVIVAL by Chris Miller (music & book) and Nathan Tysen (book & lyrics) 

Saturday, June 3 at 7:30pm
Sunday, June 4 at 3:00pm (followed by a talkback) 

In a small prairie schoolhouse at the turn of the last century, the leader of a religious sect persuades Elin Hermannson, wildest troublemaker and greatest fiddler on the Nebraska frontier, to renounce sin and destroy her violin. Two years later, visiting Manhattan socialite Margaret Elliott encounters the now taciturn Elin and vows to save her from her ascetic existence and reawaken her passion for music. Margaret’s undertaking proves more dangerous than she thought, as both her and Elin’s lives are forever changed. Based on a short story by Pulitzer Prize winning author Willa Cather.?(Directed by Lisa Peterson, with musical direction by Vadim Feichtner.)




 
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STILL by Lia Romeo 
Saturday, June 3 at 3:00pm (followed by a talkback) 
Sunday, June 4 at 7:30pm

Thirty years ago, Helen and Mark broke up. Now he’s running for Congress, and she has a secret that could derail his bid. A play about lost love, reproductive rights, political differences, and the ways people change… or don’t.?(Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt.) 


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