In its season opener at Richardson Auditorium this past weekend, Princeton Pro Musica returned to its roots in the great choral masses of music history. Pro Musica Artistic Director Ryan James Brandau centered Sunday afternoon’s concert on one of the more dramatic masses of Franz Joseph Haydn, combined with smaller choral works similarly grounded with Classical melodies and clear-cut structures. Dr. Brandau combined the 100-voice Pro Musica with a Classically-sized orchestra and the established Polydora Ensemble, whose members doubled as soloists for the Haydn mass. more
Growing up in Princeton, Brian Sanders was captivated by two things: ballet and gymnastics. The 1984 graduate of Princeton High School divided his time between Princeton Ballet School and Alt’s Gym.
Initially, ballet won out. Mr. Sanders spent several years studying at Princeton Ballet with the late Alexei Yudenich, who was a principal dancer with The Pennsylvania Ballet. So there is something gratifying about the fact that a piece by Mr. Sanders, now a choreographer with his own company, is being performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet next weekend. Chicken Bone Brain shares a program with works by George Balanchine and British choreographer David Dawson at Philadelphia’s Merriam Theatre November 10-13. more
“ONCE”: Seniors Sam Gravitte and Maddie Meyers in rehearsal for the Lewis Center for the Arts’s production of the musical “Once.” The show runs November 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. Tickets are available at (609) 258-2787 and online at arts.princeton.edu/once. (Photo Credit: Graham Phillips)
The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University presents the Tony Award-winning musical Once, directed by senior Graham Phillips and featuring seniors Sam Gravitte and Maddie Meyers, on November 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m. in the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center. more
HOSPITALITY TO HOSTILITY: (L to R) Amir (Maboud Ebrahimzadeh), Emily (Caroline Kaplan), Isaac (Kevin Isola), and Jory (Austene Van) enjoy a cordial dinner before resentments surface and the mood turns dark in McCarter Theatre’s production of Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Disgraced,” at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre through October 30. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)
If Ayad Akhtar’s characters had followed my grandmother’s warning, “We never discuss politics or religion at social occasions,” his 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Disgraced would never have been written.
Now playing in a riveting production at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre, the 90-minute uninterrupted, four-scene exploration of identity, Islam, and what it means to be Muslim in contemporary America, as seen through the interwoven lives of five New York City characters, was the most often produced play in the United States in the 2015-16 season. more
The Princeton University Orchestra opened its 2016-17 season this past weekend with a performance of music both rooted in the theater and revolutionary in its innovation. Princeton University Orchestra conductor Michael Pratt described Saturday night’s concert at Richardson Auditorium (the performance was repeated Sunday afternoon) as two 20th-century works “sandwiched” around a composer Mr. Pratt defined as the cornerstone of 19th-century orchestral invention, but the three works performed could be viewed as programmatic — telling stories of theater and life in general. With a very full stage of players to open the season, Mr. Pratt also shared the conducting podium in the second half of the program with Ruth Ochs, no stranger to heavy-duty symphonic works herself. more
With the appointment of Xian Zhang as music director, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) is entering a new era of musical accomplishment. Ms. Zhang will make her Princeton debut later this month, and this past Friday night, the NJSO invited an old friend back to the podium. Former Associate Conductor Gemma New led the orchestra in a concert paying tribute to her homeland and including an audience favorite from the piano concerto repertory. more
CELEBRATING MUSICAL COMMUNITY: Hinds Plaza hosted the second annual edition of the Unruly Sounds Festival Sunday. Excelsis Percussion, seen here, was among the groups performing. (Photo by Emily Reeves)
Despite a chilly drizzle Sunday afternoon, the audience sat in rapt attention as the genre-defying group Bonjour played in Princeton’s Hinds Plaza. A pair of double bassists flanked Florent Ghys’s “low string” band as it wound its way through a selection of pieces corresponding to days of the week. Their instruments’ bowed tones were sweet and thick as honey, tempered by the clarity of an electric guitar and a cello, and propelled by the drive of their set’s intermittent drum parts. At times, the musicians broke into wordless song. more
Photo Credit: NARENDRA DANGIYA
Acclaimed dancer/choreographer Aparna Ramaswamy brings her solo work They Rose at Dawn to the Berlind Theatre on October 23 at 3 p.m. In this solo work, women are depicted as carriers of ritual. Navigating inner and outer worlds, they invoke a sense of reverence, of unfolding mystery, of imagination. more
FORBIDDEN PASSION: Father Monroe (Raul Mendez) visits Marcela (Hannia Guillen) and her struggling Cuban-American family, but his pastoral kindness turns into much more, in McCarter Theatre’s production of Nilo Cruz’s world premiere of “Bathing in Moonlight” at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through October 9. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)
Father Monroe (Raul Mendez) welcomes the audience into his church in the opening moments of Bathing in Moonlight, Nilo Cruz’s new play, currently at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. The smiling priest in his 40s, attractive, warm, addressing his “parishioners” individually as friends, makes his way down the aisle to the stage, where Edward Pierce’s striking set and lighting — with a red cross in the middle of a large stained glass window and latticed wooden screen backdrop — emphasizes the church setting. more
RECITAL AND MASTER CLASS AT WESTMINSTER: Pianist Alejandro Cremaschi will present a recital of works by Ginastera and others on Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. He will lead a master class on Saturday, September 24 at 2 p.m. Admission to both events is free.
Learn more at www.rider.edu/arts.
Westminster Choir College of Rider University welcomes visiting pianist Alejandro Cremaschi, who will present a recital on Friday, September 23 at 8 p.m. and a master class on Saturday, September 24 at 2 p.m. A reception will follow the recital. Admission to both events is free. more
There is always an air of freshness at the start of a new musical season — the night air is crisp with the coming of autumn and audiences are eager with anticipation of what the new season will bring. Princeton Symphony Orchestra began its 2016-17 season a bit early this year with a concert last Thursday night which was definitely a breath of fresh air — and an approach to Antonio Vivaldi which Princeton audiences likely have not heard before. more
Photography by Erica Cardenas
Beyond Words, the annual fall gala hosted by the Friends of the Princeton Public Library took place on Saturday, September 17. This year’s special guests were Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz who spoke at Nassau Presbyterian Church. After the talk, guests gathered at Hinds Plaza for a book signing and cocktails followed by a silent auction and dinner. more
SWINGING SOUNDS: “It’s an exciting milestone year for JazzFeast,” says Palmer Square Marketing Director Anita Fresolone, who oversees the planning of this very popular open air jazz festival. Prominent jazz musicians will be on hand, as will an array of various cuisines from Princeton area eateries.
The 25h annual JazzFeast will be held on the Green and the west side of Palmer Square from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, rain or shine. more
Acclaimed Irish actress Lisa Dwan will give a talk entitled “Performing Beckett” on Friday, September 16 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. Part of the 2016-17 Fund for Irish Studies series at Princeton University, the event is free and open to the public. more
McCarter Theatre Center will renew its annual tradition in December of 2016 with a reimagined version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As part of this new theatrical endeavor, McCarter is looking for a new group of young actors ages 5 to 13 to form this year’s Young Ensemble.
Sign-Ups for A Christmas Carol Young Ensemble Auditions will be held at McCarter Theatre Center on Wednesday, September 14 from 3 to 6 p.m. more
MUSIC AND MIRTH AT KELSEY THEATRE: Virginia Repertory Theatre presents “The Princess and the Pea” at Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre on Saturday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, students, and children. To purchase, call the Box Office at (609) 570-3333 or visit www.kelseytheatre.net.
Love will always find a way. It’s never been more true than in “The Princess and The Pea,” to be presented by Virginia Repertory Theatre at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre on Saturday, October 1 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road. more
As New Jersey kids head back to school, join Room to Read: Central New Jersey Chapter this Sunday, September 11 at 3 p.m. at Princeton High School, 151 Moore Street, Princeton for A World of Music Benefit Concert. Performances by celebrated musical artists Neeraj Prem, Cloud Nine, Nadam – Serenity in Sound, Jenna Rose Venturi, and more. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for teachers/students, and $5 for children ages 14 and younger. For group rates, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.roomtoread.org/centralnj. To purchase tickets in advance, visit www.eventbrite.com/e/a-world-of-music-tickets-26877560507.
Suspend disbelief this September and be entertained by hundreds of performers at the 17th Annual Village Renaissance Faire at the Middletown Grange Fairgrounds, 576 Penns Park Road in Wrightstown, Pa on September 17 and 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors of all ages will enjoy performances of jousting, falconry, fire breathing, human chess, archery, puppetry, juggling, dancing, petting zoo, and more. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students. Parking is free.
PRINCETON FRENCH THEATER FESTIVAL: Antoine Mathieu and Marie Desgranges in “Ceux qui restent (The Ones Who Remain),” which will be presented on September 30 and October 1 as part of the Princeton French Theater Festival. Most performances will be in French, some with English supertitles, and are free and open to the public. Performances will be held at venues across Princeton University. (Photo Credit: Raynaud de Lage)
Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of French and Italian, and L’Avant-Scène will present the fifth annual Seuls en Scène, French Theater Festival, which will take place from September 22 through October 6 at venues across the University’s campus. Most performances will be in French, some with English supertitles, and are free and open to the public. more
Lawrence Township resident and 2015 Princeton University alumna Katie Welsh (Lawrence High School Salutatorian, 2011) will perform at Trinity Church’s One Table Café on Friday, September 16 at 6:30 p.m. Welsh specializes in musical theater and recently made her debut in the New York cabaret scene. One Table Café provides three-course meals and entertainment on a “pay as you can” basis. Dress is casual and reservations are required by calling (609) 216-7770. Proceeds benefit the Trinity Church Hunger Fund.
The Peter and Will Anderson Quintet will be amongst the talented performers at this year’s JazzFeast celebration in downtown Princeton on Sunday, September 18 from noon to 6 p.m. The “feast” side of the event features flavors from around the world and the chance to enjoy paella, Korean tacos, crepes, and much more. Musical performances are free to attend and food vendors will charge accordingly. This is a rain or shine event. Learn more at www.palmersquare.com.
The New Jersey-based classical music ensemble Trio Cordialis will open the 27th season of the Greater Princeton Steinway Society on Sunday, September 11. The concert will take place at 3 p.m. in the Recital Hall at Jacobs Music, 2540 Brunswick Pike (U.S. Route 1), Lawrenceville. A social hour with refreshments and conversation with the musicians will follow their performance. more
Dubbed “The Voice of Broadway,” actress and singer Betty Buckley will perform at NJPAC in Newark on Saturday, September 17 at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Buckley won the 1983 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a musical for her role as Grizabella in “Cats.” She also starred as Martha Washington in “1776” and Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard,” for which she received an Olivier Award nomination. Buckley will perform new material and favorites from her solo album “Ghostlight.” To purchase tickets, call (888) GO-NJPAC or visit www.njpac.org.
The Princeton Senior Resource Center will host a performance by The Capitol Steps on Friday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Princeton University’s Richardson Auditorium. The fundraiser will also feature a VIP reception with cast members following the performance. General seating reserved tickets can be purchased through the University ticket office at https://tickets.princeton.edu. more