UNION – Premiere Stages at Kean University will present free interactive staged readings of the 2013-2014 Liberty Live Commission, At Liberty Hall by James Christy, Nov. 8 through 10 in the University Center Little Theatre at Kean University.
The story of an unlikely pair of American immigrants, At Liberty Hall follows two high school students who’ve just moved to New Jersey: Christian Rosario, a funny but unfocused teenager from Queens by way of the Dominican Republic; and Alexander Hamilton, 16, the subject of Christian’s 10th grade history project. This time-bending story finds common threads of humor, honor and awkwardness as told through the experiences of a someday-Founding Father and a kid looking for a way out of the projects.
Liberty Live is a unique partnership between Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum that celebrates New Jersey history with professional theatrical productions, museum tours, interactive displays, workshops for children, and talk-backs with local historians. On a biannual basis, Premiere Stages commissions a playwright currently residing in New Jersey to create a new play that specifically explores an event or events of historical significance that celebrate the state’s rich and diverse history. The program launched in 2012 to great acclaim with the family-friendly Talking to Westfield, written by EM Lewis, recipient of a New Jersey State Council for the Arts 2012 Fellowship in Playwriting.
“We are extremely pleased to be a part of New Jersey’s and Elizabeth’s 350th Anniversary celebration,” said John Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “At Liberty Hall effectively interweaves the story of young Hamilton with a modern teenager who contemporary students can relate to. Given Hamilton’s friendship with Liberty Hall founder and New Jersey’s first elected governor, William Livingston, the Museum is the perfect partner to help bring this unique and important story to life.”
This year’s commissioned writer, James Christy, is no stranger to Premiere Stages audiences. His play Egyptian Song was named Runner-Up for the 2011 Play Festival. Currently Artist-in-Residence at the Arts Council of Princeton, Christy is a past winner and six-time finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s prestigious Heideman Award for Best Short Play, most recently for Dissent (2013). Director Kel Haney has directed and developed new work at The Lark, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre and New Dramatists, among others. Her recent directing credits include The Recommendation at The Flea Theater in New York, as well as Row After Row and Little Rock at the renowned Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Producing artistic director John Wooten and resident dramaturg Clare Drobot will moderate an intimate discussion with the playwright after each reading, and free tours of Liberty Hall Museum will be available following the Saturday and Sunday presentations. Patrons are encouraged to offer their feedback as Premiere Stages will continue to develop the play with Christy over the next twelve months. At Liberty Hall will receive its premiere at Premiere Stages in the fall of 2014 as part of NJ350, the statewide celebration of New Jersey’s 350th Anniversary. The premiere also coincides with the 350th Anniversary of the founding of Elizabethtown, where Alexander Hamilton was once a resident.
At Liberty Hall runs Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9 at 3 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. Admission is free, though reservations are strongly encouraged. All readings take place in the University Center Little Theatre, located on the Kean University campus at 1000 Morris Avenue. To reserve seats, call 908-737-4092 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at www.kean.edu/premierestages.
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