Benedictine Academy Will Present “Our Town”

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ELIZABETH–Benedictine Academy (BA) in Elizabeth will present its spring theatre production, “Our Town”, on Friday, April 15 and Saturday, April 16, at the school, located at 840 North Broad Street in Elizabeth. Performance times are at 7 p.m. both evenings. The public is invited.

The current production by Benedictine Academy’s Theatre Department is a performance of a classic with themes that are “ever-relevant, despite the play’s setting of 1901,” according to Liz McConahay Wanfried, the veteran Broadway actress who is producing and directing the performance. The popular, Pulitzer prize-winning play, written by Thornton Wilder, is a character story about the citizens of an average town in the early twentieth century.

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Set in a 1930s theater, Wilder uses the actions of the “Stage Manager” to create the town of “Grover’s Corners” for the audience.  There, scenes from its history between the years of 1901 and 1913 play out, as shown through the everyday lives of the town’s residents. “The idea of living your life with presence, and paying attention to the moments (however simple or mundane) that we have with each other, is very resonant with today’s fast-paced family dynamics,” Wanfried commented, when asked why she chose to produce this play.

Wanfried is director of Benedictine Academy’s Theatre Arts program, and has produced several plays for the school. She also teaches drama at the Academy. In addition, she is currently head of the Musical Theatre Department at NJPAC (New Jersey Performing Arts Center) in Newark, where she teaches classes for teens and also directs productions for adults and teens year round. She also directs and choreographs professional productions in New York, Los Angeles, and across the country.

The actress has a wealth of experience to share with Benedictine Academy, having appeared on Broadway in several major productions, including Cabaret, the Full Monty, and Titanic. She has worked for years in arts education, with NJPAC and with the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts (NJWA), located in Westfield. She also directed at the Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown.

Tickets for the Benedictine Academy production of “Our Town” are $6 for adults, and $4 for students, children and senior citizens. For more information or to purchase tickets for the performance, call 1-908-352-0670, ext. 105.

Rehearsals are underway for Benedictine Academy’s (Elizabeth) production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, “Our Town”. Pictured studying dialogue during a recent rehearsal are Benedictine Academy students (l-r): Ramira Mayse of Linden, Cheila Cardoso of Hillside, and Ariana Taveras of Newark.

Liz McConahay Wanfried (foreground, left), the veteran Broadway actress who is producing and directing the performance of “Our Town” at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth, directs students during a recent rehearsal. Learning from a true professional are (l-r): Beatrice Thompson-Quartey of Newark, Ramira Mayse of Linden, Cheila Cardoso of Hillside, and Ariana Taveras and Jada Yarbough, both of Newark.


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