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Articles By Susan Wallner

Passage Theatre's “Babel” Explores Parenting in a "Perfect" World

Jacqueline Goldfinger’s 90-minute play "Babel" glories in rapid-fire dialogue, comic visuals, and relatable characters—but its underlying issues are deadly serious.

PODCAST: From Soweto to Princeton -- the Buskaid String Ensemble

The Buskaid Soweto String Ensemble was planning an in-person visit to the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) when the pandemic hit. Their visit is temporarily on hold, but Buskaid - A Musical Miracle: Brilliant Baroque to Cool Kwela! is a series of five on-demand concerts providing a wonderful introduction to this inspiring musical group.

Border Photographer Ada Trillo in Noyes Museum Exhibition

Ada Trillo is a bilingual documentary photographer who grew up–literally–crossing the border. Born in El Paso, her family moved to Juárez when she was young, but she attended school in Texas. It meant an hours-long commute over the border every day. Trillo went on to become a painter, but Donald Trump’s hateful comments about Mexicans when he was first running for president caused her to make a radical shift. She had to show the people she knew.

Playwright Adrienne Kennedy featured in a Virtual Festival at McCarter Theatre

Adrienne Kennedy is an 89-year-old playwright who is fierce, prolific, and considered one of American theatre’s most innovative voices. In 1964, Kennedy won the first of her three Obies for her very first play, Funnyhouse of a Negro. Her most recent play, Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side, will have its public premiere December 12, 2020 as the final presentation in The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration & Influence, a festival presented by Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center in partnership with Washington, D.C.’s Round House Theatre.

"Rent Control" Opens Fringe Festival at Centenary Stage

“In the year 2000, I moved to New York to be an actor.” So begins “Rent Control,” Evan Zes’ one-man comedy about how an Upper East Side two-bedroom he lucked into the day he arrived in the city changed his life. Only $918 a month, Zes describes finding one of the last rent-controlled apartments in New York as akin to “discovering plutonium.” He then takes the audience on a fast-paced trip through what happened next – a tale replete with shady landlords, comic roommates, and an ill-advised AirBnB scheme that almost derailed his acting career.

Given Circumstance: New Plays at Mile Square Theatre

According to Chris O’Connor, founder and artistic director of Mile Square Theatre, in acting, “given circumstance” means the conditions affecting a scene. For instance, is a play taking place during a deadly pandemic? A given circumstance for theatre right now is that it usually takes place on Zoom.

Meet New Jersey’s Arts Leaders: Alysia Souder, Executive Director, The Institute of Music for Children

Alysia Souder is like that best camp counselor you ever had. She’s also a savvy organizer, fundraiser, and deeply committed to the transformational power of the arts.

"The Show Must Go On!" at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ

“The show must go on!” is part of Bonnie Monte’s DNA. As the artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey for 30 years this season, shutting down was hard for her to do. But Monte found a way out, working with a group of eight actors originally employed as part of the theatre’s “Shakespeare Live!” company. The actors formed a new troupe (the Shrewd Mechanicals, in a nod to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”), and will present two evenings of classic comedies: “Verily, Madly Thine,” and a double bill featuring Molière’s farce “The Love Doctor” and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Aria Da Capo.”

Two River Is Rising

A new series of play readings at Two River Theater in Red Bank is generating the kind of pre-show excitement that’s been in short supply since the pandemic began. There are big stars involved (Bebe Neuwirth, Phillipa Soo, Sam Waterston) and even a world premiere (“The Hombres” by Tony Meneses). The readings will take place live on Zoom, and require tickets. The series of five plays benefits both Two River Theater and five other non-profits, including The Actors Fund and The New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice. Plus, the plays themselves are timely.

Meet New Jersey's Arts Leaders: Steve Steiner, Producing Artistic Director, Surflight Theatre

Surflight Theatre in Beach Haven may be one of the first theatres in America to reopen, tentatively as soon as early July. Known as “Broadway by the Beach,” this professional equity theatre depends on its summer season, when Long Beach Island – four to six blocks wide and 18 miles long - swells from 10,000 or so residents to 150,000 people. “It’s survival,” says Steve Steiner, the producing artistic director of Surflight. “If we do this, the theatre will lose about $100,000. But if we don’t do this, the theatre will lose a half-a-million dollars, and we can’t survive that.”

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