November 25, 2020

By Nancy Plum

Since March, orchestras nationwide have been developing online concert series often presenting well-known works recorded either live or from archives. New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO), in its first online video concert broadcast of NJSO Virtual 20-21, marked this unusual year by performing a piece commissioned specifically to capture an unprecedented time period which certainly became more tumultuous during the course of the piece’s composition. 

NJSO commissioned Haitian-American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain to write a work which, in the words of the composer, was created “during a series of overlapping crises in our lives: a pandemic, a global fight for social justice, the effects and awareness of climate change, an array of economic collapses, and the tyranny of an electoral process under siege by a president and his party.”

NJSO Music Director Xian Zhang combined Roumain’s music with that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, American composer Michael Abels, and symphonic titan Gustav Mahler to create a virtual experience blending musical nobility and joy, in a concert recorded at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in October and launched online last Thursday night.  more

YULETIDE ZOOM: Popular pianist Jim Brickman performs as part of a virtual tour presented by State Theatre NJ on Saturday, December 12.

State Theatre New Jersey presents Jim Brickman on Saturday, December 12 at 7 p.m. in the “Comfort and Joy at Home LIVE!” virtual tour. The event will include an interactive Zoom Room, meet and greets, and Christmas gifts delivered to your door. Brickman mixes holiday carols with his own hit songs such as, “The Gift,” “Sending You A Little Christmas,” “Angel Eyes,” and “If You Believe.”   

Brickman has earned 22 No. 1 albums and 33 Top 20 radio singles in Billboard Magazine. He has been nominated for two Grammy awards, has won gospel music’s Dove Award, two SESAC Songwriter of the Year Awards, and the Canadian Country Music Award. A music scholarship is named after him at his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Music. more

GETTING RENOVATIONS UNDERWAY: Plans to update the State Theatre NJ in New Brunswick, as shown in this rendering, will improve safety, efficiency, accessibility, and more.

State Theatre New Jersey will hold a virtual groundbreaking event to celebrate the start of major renovations as part of the Next Stage Campaign on Wednesday, December 2 at 12 p.m. The event will be hosted on the State Theatre’s Facebook page at

Speakers will include State Theatre’s President and CEO Sarah K. Chaplin and Board Chair Scott Fergang; Next Stage Campaign Co-Chairs Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners Director Ron Rios and New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill; and Next Stage Campaign Honorary Chair and musician, Michael Feinstein.     more

As it nears its 100th birthday, State Theatre New Jersey is issuing an open call for members of the public to “Share Your Story.” Audiences such as this one at “Get the Led Out” have been attending performances at the New Brunswick theater since 1921. Those with anecdotes to relay can upload a written story, photo, and/or video to Patrons can also share memories on social media by using #STNJ100. Each month, leading up to the 100th anniversary in December 2021, State Theatre will select stories from the submissions to feature on its website and on social media channels. For more information, visit

FESTIVAL OF TREES: The Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton kicks off its 11th annual festival, with an outdoor holiday market, on Friday, November 27. The display of trees will be on view through December 20.

Christmas trees designed and decorated by community members, local businesses, and organizations will be displayed on the grounds of the Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton at the 11th annual Festival of Trees.  more

“SNOWY DRIVEWAY”: Cindy Wang’s photo was the third place winner of last year’s Friends of Princeton Open Space Give Thanks to Nature Photo Contest.

On Friday, November 27, Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), a nonprofit devoted to preservation and stewardship of land in Princeton, invites the community to take walks and hikes enjoying fresh air and the beauty of nature in the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve and other areas preserved by Friends of Princeton Open Space.

Due to the current limitations for public gatherings, FOPOS is unable to host their annual OptOutside event at the Mountain Lakes House on Friday. Instead, they are encouraging the community to continue the tradition by opting to spend time outdoors. For trail maps and a family-friendly art activity, visit  more

“BACKYARD FARM”: This spire by Colleen Miller is one of 63 colorful sculptures from the “ArtSpires” community art project now being auctioned off to benefit the artists and the Hopewell Valley Arts Council. The auction closes on December 19 at 4 p.m. with a live online event at

As part of the Hopewell Valley Arts Council’s community art project and exhibition, “ArtSpires,” 63 colorful sculptures have popped up in 19 clusters this fall throughout Hopewell Valley. These unique pieces have been created by local artists and community members. Now, the spires will be auctioned off to the public to benefit the artists and the HV Arts Council from now to December 19, 2020.

To take part in the auction, and for full details and photos of these works, the public is invited to visit more

November 18, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

Here’s something about your old friend Ronnie,” says my wife as she hands me the Arts section of Thursday’s New York Times. In the photograph above Adam Nagourney’s article on the new Showtime docu-series The Reagans (“Parsing the Seeds Reagan Sowed”), my “old friend” is looking almost as villainous as he does playing a crime boss who arranges murders and abuses his mistress in Don Siegel’s The Killers.

How did the Gipper and I get to be friendly? And if we’re such pals, why did I vote for Carter in 1980 and work the phones for Mondale in ‘84? More to the point, why did I spend the last half of the 1980s following the highs and lows of his film career and his presidency? The simple answer: we had a fictional relationship. I was working on a novel about the owner of a rundown New Jersey “movie palace” who was writing a series of letters to a newly elected president.

My fictional alter ego was Lucas St. Clair, an ex-minor league ballplayer who’d inherited a movie house and planned to run all 53 of Reagan’s films beginning with an election week showing of Knute Rockne All-American. Thanks to Ted Turner’s purchase of the Warner archive, scores of old Reagan movies had been turning up on TNT and TCM. I taped them all, the good, the bad, and the merely mediocre, including comedies like She’s Working Her Way Through College where Ronnie performs a dynamite drunken professor scene and Bedtime for Bonzo in which he plays straight man to a monkey. I took a special interest in problematic roles like the epileptic biochemist in Night Unto Night, the well-meaning alcoholic playboy in Dark Victory, and the double amputee in King’s Row who wakes up to the reality crying, “Where’s the rest of me?”  That cry of horror from a small town ladies’ man would become the signature line of his movie life (along with “Win one for the Gipper”), as well as the title of his 1965 autobiography. That a future president would tag his life story with such an out-of-left-field title intrigued me, especially given that the author was running for governor of California the year the book was published. Reagan’s fixation on that surreal moment of existential mutilation is among the quirks of character that make him so devious a subject (“as strange a fellow as any of us had ever met,” according to his son Ron’s memoir, My Father at 100). Think of it: this is the role and the film he considered a career highlight, even to the point of showing King’s Row at the White House, to friends, staff members, and visiting heads of state. more

“HE BROUGHT HER HEART BACK IN A BOX”: Round House Theatre, in association with McCarter Theatre Center, is presenting a prerecorded video of Adrienne Kennedy’s “He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box.” Directed by Nicole A. Watson, the video will be available online through February 28, 2021. Above, Kay (Maya Jackson, left) and Chris (Michael Sweeney Hammond) exchange letters that reveal disturbing family histories. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (which is in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence. The four-part series debuted Saturday, with Kennedy’s one-act play He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box.

In a press release, McCarter’s Artistic Director Sarah Rasmussen praises Kennedy as “an African American woman … who broke convention in the face of traditional barriers that prevented a much-deserved spotlight.” Round House Theatre’s Artistic Director Ryan Rilette adds that Kennedy’s plays are “beautiful, poetic conversations on race and power that are just as necessary now as they were fifty years ago.”

Kennedy has won multiple Obie Awards, including one for Lifetime Achievement (2008). She has been commissioned by companies such as the Public Theater and the Mark Taper Forum. In 2018 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. McCarter’s press release notes that her plays are “taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa.”

He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box depicts a young couple separated by disparate racial backgrounds, as well as distinct physical locations. Dual train rides become journeys in which each discovers the other’s troublesome past.  more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra presented the sixth and final concert in its fall “indoor/outdoor” classical season this past Sunday afternoon by digitally launching a virtual performance led by the ensemble’s Assistant Conductor Nell Flanders. Flanders, recently named to this position with the Symphony, led members of the Symphony’s string sections in a performance also featuring noted violinist Elina Vähälä. With the orchestral portions filmed at Princeton’s Morven Education Center and Vähälä’s Bach solo recorded at the Church of St. Olaf in the southern Finnish town of Sysmä, Flanders and the 11 string players of the Symphony presented a concert which was a tribute to both the Baroque era and early 20th-century America.  

Born in America’s Deep South at the turn of the 20th century, composer Florence Price emerged from the violent racial atmosphere of the time to become a musical pioneer whose music has only recently begun to receive much-deserved attention. Much of Price’s repertory was lost after her death, but was rediscovered in an attic of an abandoned house in rural Illinois. Price composed her 1929 String Quartet only as a two-movement work, and it is thought that this piece was not heard between Price’s death in 1953 and a performance in 2015. In Sunday afternoon’s concert, Princeton Symphony presented the second movement andante moderato, rooted in the vocal spiritual tradition.

The string players of Princeton Symphony began Price’s String Quartet movement with a lush melody they could really sink their musical teeth into, as Flanders conducted with broad strokes without a baton to emphasize the richness of the melodic material. This was the kind of music in which the players could load up on vibrato, however the ensemble resisted this temptation and played with a lean yet rich sound, especially in a viola sectional solo from Stephanie Griffin and Emily Muller. Flanders milked the movement’s rubatos well, and although this work was composed in a turbulent time period, the broad melodic passages were full of hope and opportunity.  

Violinist Elina Vähälä was born in the United States, raised in Finland, and has appeared with orchestras worldwide while maintaining a strong commitment to music education in Finland. The Viuluakatemia Ry violin academy, which she founded in 2009 in Finland, serves as a master class-based educational initiative for talented young Finnish violinists. Vähälä was supposed to have appeared with Princeton Symphony this season in a performance of Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto, but instead presented a pre-recorded performance from a small church in the lake region of Finland. For this performance, Vähälä chose one of Johann Sebastian Bach’s most well-known works for unaccompanied violin, but one which included some of the most intricate music the composer wrote. Bach’s Partita for Violin #2 in D minor, BWV 1004 was structured in a five-movement dance format common in Bach’s time. The concluding chaconne is a four-bar melodic ground bass repeated 64 times over which the upper strings spin a continuous series of variations in a close to 15-minute movement.   more

BAH, HUMBUG: Jefferson Mays plays Ebeneezer Scrooge in a filmed version of “A Christmas Carol,” benefiting George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick and other regional theaters affected by the pandemic. (Photo by Chris Whitaker)

George Street Playhouse and producer Hunter Arnold have announced that a special filmed version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, starring Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays, will be released worldwide on Saturday, November 28. This streaming video event will benefit George Street Playhouse as well as other community, amateur, and regional theaters across the country which have been devastated by the pandemic.

Directed by two-time Tony Award nominee Michael Arden, adapted by Mays, Susan Lyons, and Arden, and conceived by Arden and Tony Award nominee Dane Laffrey, the filmed version is based on the 2018 production which made its world premiere at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse.

“George Street Playhouse is thrilled to join producer Hunter Arnold on this nationwide event,” said George Street Playhouse Artistic Director David Saint. “These are extraordinary times and the opportunity to present a virtual version of this acclaimed performance is exactly what we need this holiday season.”

“As not-for-profit theaters continue to produce and present high-quality virtual content, we are honored to participate in this nationwide opportunity to stream one of the holiday’s favorite titles, A Christmas Carol,” said Kelly Ryman, managing director of George Street Playhouse. “Theaters throughout the nation are offering this virtual production which promises to bring cheer to all who see it.” more

On November 22, Princeton University’s carillonneur Lisa Lonie, shown here with the instrument in Grover Cleveland Tower at the Graduate College, will perform musical tributes to Sean Connery, Alex Trebek, and a crowd favorite – “Imagine” by John Lennon. The concerts start at 1 p.m., are free, and are performed rain or shine through the holidays. The grounds surrounding the Cleveland Tower afford many opportunities to socially distance. Visit for more information. (Photo courtesy of Lisa Lonie)

CHOREOGRAPHY DURING COVID: Senior Ysabel Ayala interacts with Henry Moore’s sculpture “Oval with Points” on the Princeton campus while rehearsing a solo work she created that will be among the pieces presented in “Princeton Dance Festival Reimagined.” (Photo by Jonathan Sweeney)

The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Dance at Princeton University presents Princeton Dance Festival Reimagined, a virtual edition of its major annual concert exploring dance in the COVID era through new works, November 23 at 8:30 p.m. and December 3-5 at 8 p.m. Professional choreographers Peter Chu, Francesca Harper, Rebecca Lazier, Dean Moss, Silas Riener, and Olivier Tarpaga have worked with Princeton dance students to explore the intersections of dance and multimedia performance, digital animation, filmmaking, site-based work, and music.

Each evening is a completely different and unique experience followed by a question and answer session with the choreographers. The Dance Festival is free and open to the public with registration required for each performance. Pre-recorded content will be closed captioned and live performances and conversations will be open captioned.

Along with the entire global dance community, the Program in Dance is exploring the challenges of dance in a socially distanced world. Work over the past semester culminates in the Dance Festival to consider how dance artists can create new methods of dance and choreography for the online environment that reimagine frontiers of physical practice and the choreographic space. Participating students are currently taking their Princeton courses online from throughout the U.S. and abroad. more

HomeFront’s ArtJam for the Holidays, a reimagined art event in response to the current times, runs through December 12.

ArtJam for the Holidays features the work of more than 50 local and regional artists, ArtSpace, and SewingSpace artists. One-of-a-kind art is offered for sale — online and in-person at the HomeFront Family Campus in the Blue Garage in Ewing by appointment only.

Paintings, pottery, glasswork, and hand-sewn items comprise a diversity of visual art and fine crafts as well as home and holiday décor. Proceeds will help support the artists and ArtSpace programs.

For more information, visit By appointment gallery hours are Thursdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m.

The annual holiday tradition at Morven Museum & Garden, 55 Stockton Street, showcases a juried collection of trees and mantles displayed throughout the museum’s galleries, upstairs and down. Safe, socially distanced, and masked visits inside the museum follow CDC guidelines. On view Wednesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through January 10. Timed ticketing through, limited walkups available.

BLACK LIVES MATTER: This collaborative four-panel mural can be found on the side of the Artworks main gallery building at 19 Everett Alley in downtown Trenton.

Artworks, Trenton’s visual arts center, has unveiled a collaborative four-panel mural in solidarity with the goals of justice and racial equity advanced by the Black Lives Matter movement across the country.

Each panel is executed in a black and white palette by a different artist, based on their interpretation of images taken by Trenton photographer Habiyb Shu’Aib during the summer Black Lives Matter protests in Trenton. The artists are Quentin “Kwenci” Jones, Jonathan “Lank” Conner, and Roy Haynes, all of Trenton, and Andre Trenier of Bronx, New York. The panels were framed into a cohesive whole, with lettering, by Trenton artist Wills Kinsley.  more

“SUN SPOT”: Tiffany Fang of Princeton won Best in Show for this graphite-on-paper work at the 2020 Mercer County Artists Exhibit, hosted by The Gallery at Mercer County Community College. The show was held virtually this year.

Tiffany Fang of Princeton took home Best in Show at the 2020 Mercer County Artists Exhibit, hosted by The Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) on Thursday, October 29, for her graphite-on-paper piece, Sun Spot. The show was held virtually using online conferencing.

Another notable winner was MCCC alumna and 2019 Best in Show awardee Megan Serfass of Princeton Junction for her oil on canvas piece, Glitch.

The exhibition, an outgrowth of a partnership between the college and the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission dating back to the mid-1990s, accepted 27 pieces from 21 artists. The show was organized by Gallery Director Alice K. Thompson, juried by Colleen McCubbin Stepanic, a mixed media artist, and sponsored by Blick Art Materials.

According to Thompson, it was initially feared that the exhibit would be one of the many events canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We decided to forge ahead and celebrate the arts at a time when we arguably need it most,” Thompson said. more

November 11, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

No book or essay dealing with the precarious situation of modern man would be complete without some allusion to Dostoevsky’s explosive figure.

—Joseph Frank (1918-2013)

In March the cheering was for health care workers saving lives on the front lines of the pandemic. Saturday it was crowds of happy people all over post-election America cheering postal workers for delivering the votes that rescued the nation. By Sunday I was beginning to think that a birthday column celebrating Dostoevsky (1821-1881) and his novella Notes from Underground (1864) made an awkward fit with the national mood of joyous deliverance.

However, in view of the president’s refusal to concede, and the vengeful damage he could inflict on the nation between now and January 20, I’ve decided to go ahead and share some thoughts from Dostoevsky’s Underground Man that seem pertinent to the current “precarious situation.”

I came to Notes after searching Franz Kafka’s Diaries for references to the writer he considered “a blood relative.” In the December 20, 1914 entry, after citing his closest friend Max Brod’s claim that Dostoevsky “allows too many mentally ill persons” into his work, Kafka writes: “Completely wrong. They aren’t ill. Their illness is merely a way to characterize them, and moreover a very delicate and fruitful one. One need only stubbornly keep repeating of a person that he is simple-minded and idiotic, and he will, if he has the Dostoevskian core inside him, be spurred on, as it were, to do his very best. His characterizations have in this respect about the same significance as insults among friends.”  more

HISTORY CAPTURED ON VIDEO: Vintage photographs and informative interviews help tell the story of the first African American museum in central New Jersey.

The Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum (SSAAM) and the Sourland Conservancy have announced the release of two videos that were funded by grants from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH).

Although the videos are very different, each tells the story of the Museum project and of African American history in the region in a unique way, with interviews and historic photographs.

“This is not only a story of this area, it’s the American story,” said John Buck, SSAAM board president. “These are the same stories that you hear from all over the United States,” said his wife, Elaine, co-author of the book If These Stones Could Talk — African American Presence in the Hopewell Valley, Sourland Mountain, and Surrounding Regions of New Jersey. more

MEXICAN TRADITION: “Sugar Skull! A Virtual Día de Muertos Adventure” tells traditional stories, for children and families, inspired by the Day of the Dead. 

State Theatre New Jersey is presenting Sugar Skull! A Virtual Día de Muertos Adventure through Sunday, November 15. A minimum donation of $15 gives patrons access to this virtual show.

The theatrical performance for children and families elaborates on traditional Mexican stories, music, and celebrations pertaining to the Day of the Dead. The performance begins by introducing 12-year-old Vita Flores, who is confused on why parties are being thrown for the dead. Then, a candy skeleton, Sugar Skull, comes to life and takes Vita on a musical journey to understand where Día de Muertos comes from and its true meaning. more

“HOME GROWN”: Artist Elizabeth Robbins will present “Painting Still Life With Oils” in a free Artsbridge Distinguished Artists Series Zoom presentation on November 19 at 7 p.m. To attend, visit

Frost may have taken out the flowers, but they’ll be in full bloom via Zoom on November 19  at 7 p.m. when Elizabeth Robbins presents at Artsbridge’s Distinguished Artists Series. The National Oil Painters of America 2020 Still Life Award of Excellence winner will demonstrate her painting technique and show some of her award-winning masterpieces in “Painting Still Life With Oils.” more

DAY OF THE DEAD EXHIBITION: The Arts Council of Princeton now presents an El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) art installation in its Taplin Gallery, featuring works created by participants from its community workshops.

El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) comes alive through color and celebration with an exhibition at the Arts Council of Princeton through November 14.

El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is observed in Mexico and throughout the world this time of year, where family and friends gather to remember and honor those who have died. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars using sugar skulls, marigolds, and
favorite foods of those who have passed.

“ORIENTAL POPPIES”: This work by Karen Caldwell of Sunflower Glass Studio is featured in the 26th Annual Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour, presented via Zoom this year as a “Tour From Home.” Visit

The 26th Annual Covered Bridge Artisans Studio Tour has a new a look this year.  Join the Delaware River Valley studio tour online with their “Tour From Home.” Favorite artists will be on hand to share new work with visitors through a Zoom platform in real time. The live event will take place as usual on Thanksgiving Weekend, November 27, 28, and 29, plus December 5, 12, and 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Registration at allows free entrance to the event anytime during the tour. You can view brief behind the scenes videos, images of artist’s work, and go directly to each artist’s website. You can also visit each artist in real time to say hello, see their new work up close, and purchase directly from them or their online shops. more

November 4, 2020

By Stuart Mitchner

I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.

The Republican platform promises to do better. I don’t think they have done so bad. Everybody’s broke but them.

Be a Republican and sooner or later you will be a postmaster.

I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report facts.

Rather than yield to an inclination to fill the entire column with quotes by and about Will Rogers, who was born on November 4, 1879, I’m putting four of his timeliest, most politically resonant quips up front. You could say Will was born to the occasion, prime time Americana: World Series, Halloween, Election Day. In recent history, November 4 marked the election of three two-term presidents, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Bill Clinton, another two-term POTUS, was elected on November 3.

In the foreword to his biography of Rogers (Univ. of Oklahoma Press paperback 2000), Ben Yagoda writes, “America surprised itself when Will Rogers died, surprised itself by the size and force of its grief.” On August 16, 1935, the Associated Press sent out the news that Rogers and aviator Wiley Post had died in an airplane crash near Point Barrow, Alaska, “the northerrnmost point in U.S. Territory.” Democratic Majority Leader Joe Robinson made the announcement on the floor of the Senate: “Will Rogers, probably the most widely known private citizen and certainly the best beloved, met his death some hours ago in a lonely, far-away place.”

The poignance of “a lonely, far-away place” sounds the personal depth of Will’s relationship with the nation: he’s a loved one, a member of the family. At the same time, Yagoda compares “the magnitude of the reaction” to what might be expected after “the passing of a beloved president.” 

The tone sharpens as Yagoda quotes legendary journalist/essayist H.L. Mencken talking about Rogers in the press room at the 1928 Republican convention: “He alters foreign policies. He makes and unmakes candidates. He destroys public figures. Millions of Americans read his words daily, and those unable to read listen to him over the radio.” Summing up, Mencken says, “I consider him the most dangerous writer alive today.”

Still another side of Rogers is shown in Bing Crosby: Swinging On a Star (Little Brown 2018), when Gary Giddins paraphrases a Metronome article that envisions Crosby stepping “far beyond the limited sphere of a singer of popular songs” to become “as Will Rogers before him, a part of American life, an astonishingly successful symbol of the good man.” The suggested lineage includes Mark Twain, George M. Cohan, and others “who didn’t need a Gallup Poll to tell them what the people wanted because none of them ever forgot that he was one of the people.”

Then of course there’s the best-known statement Will ever made, prescribing his own epitaph (“or whatever you call those signs on gravestones”): “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn’t like. I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.”

And when he flies to the Arctic edge of civilization, he finds a fate more in line with the blunt “philosophy of life” Yagoda says Rogers once expressed to historian Will Durant: “What all of us know put together don’t mean anything. Nothing don’t mean anything. We are just here for a spell and pass on. . . . Live your life so that whatever you lose, you are ahead.” more

STAGE MANAGERS HONORED: Alison Cote, left, and Cheryl Mintz are being recognized for their many years of work at McCarter Theatre Center. (Photo by Matt Pilsner)

Princeton residents Cheryl Mintz and Alison Cote will be honored with the Award of Excellence at New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s virtual Curtain Call on November 16 at 7 p.m. This honor celebrates their tenure with McCarter Theatre Center, where for the past 29 seasons Mintz was the resident production stage manager, and for the past 24 seasons Cote was a production stage manager.

Their combined body of work spans over 400 productions and developmental workshops with McCarter Theatre and theaters across the country, including Broadway, off-Broadway, Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, and the Kennedy Center. They also take great pride in the scores of emerging stage managers and theater makers they have mentored in their time with McCarter.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting suspension of production activity at theaters around the country, including McCarter, Mintz and Cote have demonstrated their resilience and creativity in response to a rapidly growing need in their communities. Leveraging their theatrical management skills, they have combined forces with Princeton residents Seth Mellman of SMP Video and IT Manager Peregrin Jones to produce virtual events using a combination of live camera work, pre-recorded segments, visual montages, and live participants joining by Zoom. Organizations who have benefited from their services include The Jewish Center Princeton, The Suppers Program, Theater J (Washington, D.C.), the Stage Managers Association Del Hughes Awards (New York), 12.14 Foundation/NewArts (Newtown, Conn.) and McCarter. Independently, Mintz and Cote are production stage managing virtual theater projects for Broadway and off-Broadway companies. more