UNION – Premiere Stages announces its eighth year at Kean University. The professional theatre in residence has an expanded season of compelling premieres by emerging and established playwrights, visits from high profile artists, theatre for young audiences, educational summer camps and collaborations with like-minded organizations.
To launch the 2012 season, Premiere Stages develops Michael Dowling’s Tamarack House (June 22 – 24) in a week-long workshop directed by Anders Cato. In this richly topical new play, a compelling group of discarded misfits, caught in the whirlpool of a fleeting American dream, struggle to hold on to the stately boarding house that defines them. Admission is free, and the event offers patrons a unique opportunity to participate in the development of a new play. Talk-backs with the playwright and audience follow each reading.
The winner of the 2012 Premiere Stages’ Play Festival (a regional competition for new scripts) is Kathryn Grant’s Handicapped People in Their Formal Attire (July 12 — 29). This provocative new play takes place in 1968 at a black tie fundraiser for people with disabilities The honoree is Agnes Sheenan, who is quadriplegic, escorted by her sister, Theresa, who is able bodied. The siblings make the most of the celebration until unforeseen events force them to confront the true meaning of sacrifice.
“The title is politically incorrect,” said John Wooten, Premiere Stages’ producing artistic director. “But this play uplifts people who don’t yield to labels or limitations.”
In 2010, Premiere Stages produced the premiere of Grant’s The Good Counselor. The production was subsequently awarded the runner up for the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Best New Play Award and was published by Samuel French, Inc.
Farragut North by Beau Willimon (September 6 – 23) inspired the blockbuster film, The Ides of March. Directed by Michael Barakiva, this New Jersey Premiere is a behind-the-scenes foray into the world of politics. It offers a captivating look into the lives of the movers and shakers of the modern political spin game.
Premiere partners with the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy to offer post-show discussions with political operatives and historians. The League of Women Voters will also register new voters. “This makes for an exciting and topical 2012 Collaborative Premiere,” said Wooten. “Before you enter the voting booth this fall, see this show!”
Premiere Stages Play Factory offers two presentations of musicals for young audiences: Pushcart Players presents “Stone Soup…and other stories” on Wednesday, July 18 at 11:00 am, and “Little Red Riding Hood” on Wednesday, July 25 at 11:00 am. Pushcart is a leading theatre for young audience troupe, celebrating their 38th year of educational entertainment for families.
Camp Premiere is a creative summer program, offered in two sessions: Session 1: “Let’s Put on a Show” is a performance and playwriting camp for ages 11-14 (July 16 through July 27); Session 2: “Taking the Stage” is an acting camp for ages 14-18 (July 23 – August 3). Camp Premiere is dedicated to fostering a creative and nurturing environment for young theatre artists at all experience levels. Both sessions culminate in a public showcase performance. The camp costs $295. Scholarships are available, with preference given to Union County residents. Registration forms are available on the Premiere Stages Website, www.kean.edu/premierestages.
Premiere Stages expands the 2012 programming with two exciting initiatives. The first is a staged reading of iDream by Suzanne Trauth and Eileen Trauth, directed by John Wooten. The script will be presented at the Kean University Little Theatre (October 11-13) and follows the journey of three high school girls exploring the male dominated field of information technology. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the presentation features talkbacks with the playwrights.
The second initiative is “Liberty Live,” which commissions new works by New Jersey playwrights. Funded by the Westfield Foundation and the New Jersey Historical Commission, Liberty Live presents the world premiere of a short play by EM Lewis (November 1 – 4) in the Carriage House at the Liberty Hall Museum. The play spotlights Westfield’s historical significance to the State. The event features guided tours of Liberty Hall Museum’s grounds and a Q & A with a local historian.
All performances take place on the Kean University campus, located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union. Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the fully accessible performance spaces. Free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities are available. Call for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. Large print programs are available at all times. Publications in alternate forms are available with advanced notice.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Westfield Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The National Science Foundation and through the generous support of individual patrons. For further information, call Premiere Stages at 1-908-737-4092 or visit the website at www.kean.edu/premierestages.
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