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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Midtown Direct Rep announces new partnership and move to The Woodland in Maplewood

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) has announced a new partnership with the Township of Maplewood. Beginning with the 2016-17 season, MDR will present its staged readings and other productions as the resident theater company of The Woodland (60 Woodland Rd. in Maplewood, NJ). MDR’s newly named staged reading series, “Theater at The Woodland”, will take place in the Parlor, and larger productions, such as the well-known annual event Listen To Your Mother, will be held in the Great Hall.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Township of Maplewood, stated MDR Managing Director Aliza Wassner. “MDR has really grown over the past few seasons, and we are looking forward to expanding our programming and education outreach with the support of the Township Administration and Office of Cultural Affairs. Our goal is to continue to provide professional and engaging theater experiences, while also being an anchor for this cultural center and contributing to our shared mission of creating a place to encourage artistic exchange and collaboration in our unique community.”

Located in the heart of Maplewood Village, The Woodland was built in 1930 and has been owned and operated by the Township of Maplewood since 2013. The building is now dedicated for cultural, educational and recreational activities. As explained by Vic DeLuca, Mayor of Maplewood, “We purchased the former Woman’s Club to promote local arts and cultural groups and are excited that Midtown Direct Rep has chosen to make The Woodland their new home.”

“Theater at The Woodland” will continue upon the success of MDR’s past 5 years of public staged readings of new plays and musicals. The readings, which include post-show discussions with the cast and creative team, allow the audience to witness and participate in the development of vital new works. Many of the shows presented as MDR readings have gone on to major productions off-Broadway, in regional theaters and beyond. The reading series focuses on scripts reflecting diverse issues in the community, writers or subjects with a local connection, and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble of professional actors.

The 2016-17 reading series will be held on Sunday evenings at 7pm on the following dates: October 23, November 20, December 11, and February 12. Additional details about this season’s chosen plays, playwrights, cast, and ticket information will be announced shortly. The season will also include Listen To Your Mother: North Jersey on May 13, 2017 in The Woodland Great Hall, as well as MDR education outreach programs for children and adults throughout the year.

Midtown Direct Rep (MDR) is a professional, ensemble-based theater company of over 100 working Broadway actors and theater professionals who call South Orange and Maplewood home. Midtown Direct Rep is dedicated to developing and presenting new plays and musicals focusing on work that reflects our diverse community. Midtown Direct Rep is also the local presenter of the hugely successful event Listen to Your Mother, which showcases local writers and performers each year around Mother’s Day. Company members include two-time Tony Award-winner Norbert Leo Butz, Tony Award-winner Michele Pawk, Tony Award-nominees Stephanie J. Block, Megan Lawrence, and Christiane Noll, plus Sebastian Arcelus, Joel de la Fuente, Bradley Dean, and many others.  The Company is led by Managing Director Aliza Wassner, Artistic Producer Steven Tabakin, Literary Manager Marni Raab, and Artistic Advisor Sandy Rustin. For more information, visit

The Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs, which is part of the Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, oversees the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts as well as The Woodland. The Office is also organizes and facilitates performances and cultural activities throughout the Township.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs.

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