UNION — Premiere Stages has announced new dates for the production of “Talking to Westfield,” part of Liberty Live, a new producing partnership with the Liberty Hall Museum, located on the campus of Kean University. Liberty Live dramatizes and celebrates the history that helped make New Jersey what it is today. Rescheduled performances will now be held Dec. 7-9 in the Little Theatre, located in the University Center on Kean University’s main campus.
“We are glad to be able to reschedule the inaugural production of Liberty Live following the effects of Hurricane Sandy,” said Premiere Stages Producing Artistic Director John Wooten. “We hope that by bringing New Jersey history front and center we can help inspire local communities to rebuild by celebrating the incredible resilience and perseverance that made New Jersey what it is today.” The Liberty Hall Museum will be collecting Toys for Tots at all performances.
Liberty Live will feature the premiere of the family-friendly Talking to Westfield. In this engaging new play, Trevor and his father visit the Westfield Museum. After setting out on his own into the Museum’s living history exhibit, Trevor finds himself thrust into the past where, along with Westfield’s most famous historical figures, he makes history. Literally!
“Talking to Westfield” is written by award-winning playwright EM Lewis. Her play, “Song of Extinction,” won the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and her drama “Heads” was awarded the 2008 Primus prize. A 2010 Hodder Fellowship in playwriting at Princeton University brought her to the Garden State. The production is directed by Premiere Stages Producing Artistic Director, John Wooten, and features a cast of Warren Jackson*, Sam Kitchin*, Briana Packen, and Nick Piacente. (* appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association).
All performances will include a combination of pre- and post- show activities designed to engage audiences and ensure that the event is fun for the whole family. Working closely with Liberty Hall Museum and the Westfield Historical Society, Premiere Stages will design an interactive mobile museum in the Pre-Function Lobby of the Little Theatre. The space will feature displays on Westfield History and famous residents, and loaned exhibits from the Reeve House in Westfield. Patrons of all ages will have the opportunity to write their own memories of New Jersey for display in the lobby throughout the weekend. Children will also have the opportunity to draw pictures of New Jersey that will also be displayed. Following the production, some of the contributions will be added to the Liberty Live History Archive.
For the Dec. 7 afternoon performance, Premiere Stages will partner with Westfield’s Miller-Cory House to offer a Native American Medicine Pouches workshop prior to the performance in the University Center Greek Lounge, adjacent to the theatre. There will also be a workshop exploring New Jersey history through ensemble storytelling and improvisation.
For the Dec. 8, 2 p.m. performance, Premiere Stages will partner with Liberty Hall Museum, and the first 30 patrons to purchase tickets will also be afforded free access to Liberty Hall Museum’s noon to 1:30 p.m. Gingerbread House Workshop with purchase of a ticket to “Talking to Westfield.” At the workshop, children will get into the holiday spirit when they decorate their own Gingerbread House at this popular annual Liberty Hall event. A tour of Liberty Hall decorated for the holidays will follow the workshop. There will also be displays in the Pre-Function Lobby and additional workshops exploring history through ensemble storytelling and improvisation.
For the Dec. 9, 3 p.m. performance, Premiere Stages will partner with Westfield’s Miller-Cory House to offer a free Native American Medicine Pouches workshop, following the performance. There will also be displays in the Pre-Function Lobby and a free workshop exploring New Jersey history through ensemble storytelling and improvisation.
Through a donation from Westfield’s Cold Stone Creamery, children will have the opportunity to sample “Black Cows” – an old-fashioned root beer drink that would have been served in a soda fountain shop in Westfield at the turn of last century – offered at all performances!
Liberty Live runs the afternoon of Friday, Dec. 7 (time to be announced); Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec.9 at 3 p.m. Admission for all tickets is $15. Groups of 10 or more can purchase discounted $10 tickets. To make reservations, call Premiere Stages at 1-908-737-4092 or visit www.kean.edu/premierestages. All performances take place in the Little Theatre located in the Kean University Center.
In addition, Premiere Stages will present a sit-down reading of Talking to Westfield at the Westfield Memorial Library on Thursday, Nov. 29th at 7 p.m. The reading will serve as a preview of the production in December and information on Premiere Stages, Liberty Hall Museum, and the Westfield Historical Society will be available at the reading. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street, Westfield and the event is free and open to the public.
Premiere Stages will also hold a special VIP Celebration of Liberty Live on Friday, Dec. 7 beginning at 6 p.m. All tickets are $100 and proceeds from the event will support Premiere Stages’ artistic and educational endeavors, with a special focus on school residency programs for students living in underserved districts. A portion of the proceeds will also go to support the Westfield Historical Society.
The evening includes admission to the Dec. 7 pre-show reception at 6 p.m. at the Liberty Hall Wagon Shed featuring music, wine and carefully selected hors d’ oeuvres ; a candlelight tour of the Museum grounds at 7 p.m.; a complimentary ticket to the performance of Talking to Westfield at 8 p.m. in the University Center Little Theatre; and a champagne toast and dessert reception following the show in the Pre-Function Lobby of the Little Theatre. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 1-908-737-4092.
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