Friday, February 23, 2018

Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, and PSEG Foundation Help Fund the 2018 Stages Festival

2 STAGES - Theatre Events for All Ages. Photo by Ruth Zamoyta

The state’s largest festival of theatre presents over 90 FREE and low-price

theatre performances, workshops, and events throughout New Jersey in March.

(Morristown) Three of New Jersey’s top corporations, Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, and PSEG Foundation, have once again joined forces with the New Jersey State Arts Council to support the 21st annual Stages Festival (“Stages”). Stages will offer over 90 theatre performances and programs for children and adults free of charge or at significantly discounted rates. Events will take place at theatres, art centers, libraries, schools, and other community venues from March 1st to the 31st, across the state.

“The Alliance, the professional theatres of New Jersey, and the thousands of theatregoers throughout the state are extremely grateful for the commitment that these three companies have shown to their community,” said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance.

For over ten years, Bank of America has been the leading corporate sponsor of Stages. Its belief in ensuring a greater quality of life through involvement with the arts for all people, especially those in low-income households, aligns with one of the core values of the Alliance: equal access for all to the power and joy of theatre. And because of Bank of America’s leadership, the Alliance has been able to secure additional funding for Stages from a wide range of philanthropic sources.

“The Stages Festival gives residents and visitors alike a unique theatrical experience," said Bob Doherty, New Jersey president, Bank of America. “Throughout the years, this event has showcased New Jersey as a vibrant cultural center.”

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, for the 12th consecutive year, is providing major support to The Stages Festival. The Foundation is the charitable giving arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, and supports organizations that have improved public health and the quality of life in New Jersey.

1 STAGES - Free Family Shows. Photo by Jenna Rocca

“The line-up for this year’s Stages Festival is beyond impressive and we are thrilled to once again help support a series of events that entertain, educate, and enthrall people of all ages,” said Jonathan R. Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “The performances help give kids and their families a glimpse into the lives of all kinds of people and allows us all to appreciate the world we share from a different point of view.”

PSEG Foundation has had a long-standing relationship with the Alliance and its theatre programming. PSEG Foundation, the philanthropic arm of PSEG, invests back into the communities where they do business to improve the quality of life in our surrounding communities. Additional support is provided by individuals, corporations, and foundations such as The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Fund for the New Jersey Blind, and George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust.

The following are a few of the 2018 Stages highlights. Most events require registration. For a full listing of events, program details, and registration information visit

T1 STAGES Classics for Kids - photo by Jerry Daliaheatre Galore for Kids: Dozens of performances specifically for kids and families, such as A Cinderella Tale, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Ellis Island, Stone Soup, Miss Nelson is Missing!, Peter and the Wolf, and “Victorian Magic,” will take place at various locations throughout the state. Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown is offering high-schoolers an Introduction to Stage Combat workshop on March 3rd, and a Musical Theatre Workshop on March 10th (free; reservations required). Family-friendly versions of Macbeth and A Comedy of Errors will be held at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison on March 10th. The Growing Stage: The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey in Netcong is offering $15 tickets to all performances of Boy Sees Flying Saucer. Cape May Stage in Cape May is offering several theatre summer camp samplers for different age ranges.

Performances: On March 2nd, at the Fair Lawn Community Center, Skyline Theatre Company will present a reading of 1,000 Faces: The Lon Chaney Musical, a new musical based on the life of silent film star Lon Chaney (Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1923 and The Phantom of the Opera in 1925). The Theater Project will stage free performances of Love Letters by A.R. Gurney in the community room of BCB Bank in Union on March 3rd and 4th. On March 12th, McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will present a community reading of Greensboro: A Requiem by Emily Mann, in which the audience members read selections from interviews, court transcripts, and reminiscences surrounding the killing of anti-KKK demonstrators in 1979 in Greensboro, NC. On March 19th at the Tuckerton Library, Dreamcatcher Rep will offer a free performance of At Ninety-Three, an adaptation of the work of Jan Slepian who wrote poetry until her passing at age 95.

Special Events: On March 20th at the Lewis Center for the Arts in Princeton, Bonnie Monte, Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey; Todd Schmidt, Managing Director of Paper Mill Playhouse; John Dias, Artistic Director of Two River Theater; and Ryanne Domingues, Artistic Director of Passage Theatre Company, will have a public discussion on theatre and pop culture. On March 23rd at Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum in Morristown, Premiere Stages and Writers Theatre of New Jersey will present a stage adaptation of original creative works by professional and family caregivers.

Ticket Deals: On select days in March, Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn is offering student rush tickets to the new musical The Sting, based on the famous film with Robert Redford and Paul Newman and starring Harry Connick, Jr. Centenary Stage Company of Hackettstown is offering buy-one-get-one-free tickets to select performances of the Tony-winning play Art by Yasmina Reza.

Be Part of the Making of a New Play: There will be many opportunities for theatre lovers to hear new dramatic works read on stage by professional actors, and give their feedback to the playwrights. On March 2nd at NJPAC in Newark, there will be a reading of Darrah Cloud’s play-in-progress, Turning: the story of the first U.S. women’s gymnastics team that trained in Newark for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. New plays by high-school playwrights will be read on stage by professional actors at Cranford Community Center on March 10th. On March 18th, Luna Stage Company will present a night of short plays about the Valley District in West Orange.

Writers Theatre of New Jersey will present the NJ Women Playwrights Showcase at Jersey City Theater Center March 1st through the 21st, the New Plays New Jersey series at the Bickford Theatre in Morristown March 6th through the 11th, and Mile Square PlayGround series at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken March 13th to the 27th. The Hudson Theatre Works Readings from the Edge series will take place March 12th and 13th at Good Shepherd Church in Weehawken. The Spring Reading Series at Premiere Stages at Kean University in Union runs March 15th through 18th.

The highlights listed here are only a sampling of this year’s events.  For details and a complete schedule, and to register for events, please visit In keeping with its commitment to making theatre accessible, the Alliance strives to make Stages events accessible to people with disabilities.

Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is now a leader in developing model programs that foster collaboration, cooperation, and audience development. The Stages Festival is a project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Major funding is also provided by Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, and PSEG Foundation. Additional support is provided by individuals, corporations, and foundations such as The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, F.M. Kirby Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Fund for the New Jersey Blind, and George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust.

Photos: Robert Carr, Jenna Rocca & Ruth Zamoyta

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