November 20, 2019

“SORTA RICAN”: Passage Theatre has continued its Solo Flights series with “Sorta Rican.” Written and performed by Miss Angelina (above) and directed by Laura Grey, the musical monologue depicts the performer’s search for her cultural identity. (Photo by Rachel Kenaston)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre has continued its Solo Flights series with Sorta Rican, which was presented November 15-17. Written and performed by actor and recording artist Miss Angelina, this autobiographical monologue is a musical odyssey that humorously follows the singer’s quest to connect with her identity as a Latina.

Miss Angelina is a rapper who has released two albums, and has costarred in a music web series that has been featured on the television series American Latino. She has been touring with Sorta Rican since 2015, presenting it at venues such as the Hard Rock Café (San Juan), Broadway Comedy Club (NYC), and Improv Olympic Theater (LA).

The show itself is a tour. The journey starts with the monologist’s upbringing as part of an immigrant family in Little Silver, New Jersey. From there we follow her to New York City (where she lives in Washington Heights), Miami, and San Juan. These all are places that Miss Angelina visits in the course of a search for her cultural heritage. Along the way she encounters disparate preconceptions about what it means to be a Puerto Rican and/or a Latina. more

October 30, 2019

“CATCH ME IF YOU CAN”: Performances are underway for The Pennington Players’ production of “Catch Me If You Can.” Directed by Laurie Gougher, the musical runs through November 3 at the Kelsey Theatre. A bright red sweater is one of many costumes — and personas — worn by Frank Abagnale Jr. (Scott Silagy, center), as he tells the story of his many exploits, with the help of the ensemble. (Photo by Jon Cintron)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

As a con artist, Frank Abagnale Jr. gave the authorities plenty of metaphoric song and dance, so it is fitting that he gets to do so, literally, as a character onstage.

Catch Me If You Can is being presented by The Pennington Players at the Kelsey Theatre. This brash, energetic musical is based on the true story that became a hit Steven Spielberg film in 2002.

Abagnale originally detailed his exploits in his 1980 autobiography, which he authored with Stan Redding. The 2011 musical version has a flippant but amiable libretto by Terrence McNally. The music is by Marc Shaiman, and the lyrics are by Shaiman and Scott Wittman.

The score by Shaiman and Wittman is characterized by much of the jocularity and musical flavor present in their songs for Hairspray, which also is set in the 1960s. more

October 23, 2019

“MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN”: Performances are underway for “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” Directed by playwright David Catlin, Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production runs through November 3 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Mary Shelley (Cordelia Dewdney, left) gazes reflectively at Frankenstein’s Creature (Keith D. Gallagher). (Photo by Liz Lauren)

By Donald H. Sanborn III.

McCarter Theatre is presenting Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, in time for Halloween. Lookingglass Theatre Company brings its brooding spectacle to Princeton following its premiere in Chicago earlier this year. David Catlin, whose Lookingglass Alice was presented by McCarter in 2007, is the playwright and director.

The title of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein hints at one of the elements that make this version unique: the author becomes a character. Brief glimpses into Shelley’s stormy life are juxtaposed against scenes from her famous novel.

As with McCarter’s production of Gloria: A Life, seats have been placed on the stage, so that the show is presented in the round. Daniel Ostling’s set is covered by an off-white sheet, which is suspended by a brick cubicle. During the opening scene we see the actors through this sheet, which somewhat separates them from us despite the intimacy inherent in the seating arrangement. more

October 16, 2019

“DAUPHIN ISLAND”: Performances are underway for “Dauphin Island.” Directed by Amina Robinson, the play runs through October 27 at Passage Theatre. Selwyn (SJ Hannah, left) and Kendra (Shadana Patterson) unexpectedly share an intimate moment, but they both face personal challenges that may present obstacles to their ability to build a life together. (Photo by Jeff Stuart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre is opening its season with an outstanding production of Dauphin Island. Jeffry Chastang’s bittersweet romantic comedy depicts an unlikely relationship between Kendra Evans, a cancer survivor who lives in seclusion in the piney woods of Wilcox County, Alabama; and Selwyn Tate, an injured stranger who stops at her house, on the way to start a new job.

Dauphin Island received a New Play Award grant from the Edgerton Foundation. Its world premiere was at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in 2017.

“This season’s shows all grapple with the question of where we come from,” promises Artistic Director C. Ryanne Domingues. “Our pasts, our families, and the places we grew up all have a huge impact on who we are and how we shape our futures.” She adds, “Dauphin Island is a refreshing play about what happens when we show a little bit of kindness towards each other.”

On the surface “kindness” initially seems an odd word with which to characterize the relationship between the characters. The edgy, gun-wielding Kendra’s first act consists of shackling Selwyn to the railing of her porch, “so you don’t kill me,” she says. Only then does she bandage his injured hand — with cobwebs. more

September 25, 2019

“GLORIA: A LIFE”: Performances are underway for “Gloria: A Life.” Originally directed by Diane Paulus and restaged for McCarter by playwright Emily Mann, the play runs through October 6 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Gloria Steinem (Mary McDonnell, above) speaks at the 2017 Women’s March. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter Theatre is presenting Gloria: A Life. Originally directed for off-Broadway by Diane Paulus, this groundbreaking drama has been restaged for McCarter by playwright Emily Mann. This production opens Mann’s 30th and final season as the company’s artistic director and resident playwright.

Gloria: A Life was conceived by actor Kathy Najimy. Najimy envisioned a show in which feminist activist and journalist Gloria Steinem would portray herself. Producer Daryl Roth presented the concept to André Bishop, the producing artistic director of Lincoln Center Theater, and Mann was commissioned to write the script. Ultimately Christine Lahti portrayed Steinem in the off-Broadway production, which opened at the Daryl Roth Theatre in 2018.

In McCarter’s current production Mary McDonnell portrays Steinem, who shares her life story with the audience in the first act. The shorter second act offers members of the audience an opportunity to react to the play, and share their own experiences. “The first act is Gloria’s life, and the history of the movement — and how those reflect on each other; the second part is about the audience,” Mann explains in a promotional video. more

August 14, 2019

“TOPDOG/UNDERDOG”: Performances are underway for Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Topdog/Underdog.” Directed by Lori Elizabeth Parquet, the play runs through August 18 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. Brothers Lincoln (Nathaniel J. Ryan, left) and Booth (Travis Raeburn, right) stare each other down during a game of three-card monte. (Photo by Kirsten Traudt)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Summer Theater is concluding its 2019 season with a gripping production of Topdog/Underdog. This edgy, character-driven drama, which depicts the relationship between two African American brothers, is an apt fit for a season whose mission has been to “explore love in all its forms.”

Topdog/Underdog played on Broadway in 2002. It earned playwright Suzan-Lori Parks the Pulitzer Prize, as well as the Outer Critics Circle Award.

Lincoln is a former three-card monte hustler who now earns money at a carnival arcade by impersonating the famous president for whom he is named. This entails wearing whiteface and pretending to be shot.

Booth — the younger brother — has not given up three-card monte, and aspires to emulate his brother’s former success at the game. In his apartment he ceaselessly practices dealing cards, and luring potential victims with smooth chatter, although we will discover that in the past there was a crucial moment in which his skill drastically fell short of his ambition. He persists in attempting to persuade Lincoln to abandon his current occupation and join him. more

July 31, 2019

“A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM”: Performances are underway for Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Directed by Maeli Goren, the play runs through August 4 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. Nick Bottom (Chamari White-Mink, center) entertains the company with a play within the play. (Photo by Kirsten Traudt)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Summer Theater is presenting a bold, somewhat abstract reinterpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. William Shakespeare’s comedy (c. 1595), in which fairies disrupt the romantic lives of ancient Athenians, is an apt choice for a season whose mission is to “explore love in all its forms.”

Director Maeli Goren has added an environmental focus, going so far as to begin the play with a speech that does not appear in the script until the second act. Titania, Queen of Fairies, offers this warning: “The spring, the summer, the childing autumn, angry winter change their wonted liveries, and the mazèd world, by their increase, now knows not which is which. And this same progeny of evils comes from our debate, from our dissension.” more

July 10, 2019

“DEATHTRAP”: Performances are underway for Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Deathtrap.” Directed by Annika Bennett, the play runs through July 21 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. Sidney Bruhl, a playwright (C. Luke Soucy, left) implies to his wife, Myra (Kathryn Anne Marie) that he may kill a younger rival, in order to steal his script — leaving Myra to try to determine whether or not Sidney is joking. (Photo by Kirsten Traudt)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Princeton Summer Theater (PST) states that the mission of its 2019 season is to “explore love in all its forms.” The company’s previous production, Falsettos, was an obvious fit for this theme. That musical’s near-adolescent protagonist sings about his ambivalence toward love, but grows to feel compassion for his father’s terminally ill lover, despite the extent to which the latter disrupts the boy’s family.

In this context Deathtrap (1978), currently presented by PST, is a somewhat curious choice. This cerebral, darkly comic thriller by Ira Levin (1929-2007) — the author of novels such as A Kiss Before Dying, Rosemary’s Baby, and The Stepford Wives — chiefly is characterized by urbane banter, professional jealousy, and violence. There are brief displays of physical affection between characters, but to the extent that the theme of love is explored, it is subtle and confined to individual moments, rather than overarching. more

June 26, 2019

“FALSETTOS”: Performances are underway for Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Falsettos.” Directed by PST Artistic Director Daniel Krane, the musical runs through June 30 at Princeton University’s Hamilton Murray Theater. Jason (Hannah Chomiczewski, second from left) comes of age, with the unlikely help of the adults in his life: his mother Trina (Bridget McNiff, left); his father’s lover, Whizzer (Dylan Blau Edelstein, second from right); and his father Marvin (Michael Rosas, right). (Photo by Kirsten Traudt)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

My father says that love is the most beautiful thing in the world,” sings 10-year-old Jason, in a recurring motif in the musical Falsettos. “I think chess is the most beautiful thing, not love.”

Princeton Summer Theater opens its 2019 season — which, a press release promises, “will explore love in all its forms,” — with Falsettos. This provocative tragicomedy, which centers on a Jewish boy’s coming of age in a broken home, has a sung-through score by William Finn. Finn’s agitated music is mostly uptempo, though there are reflective ballads that prevent the show from becoming relentless. Finn’s lyrics are conversational, intricately rhymed, and often wry. Finn, who happens to be Jewish, is not unlike Mel Brooks in being unafraid to play with stereotypes. more

June 12, 2019

“SHE LOVES ME”: Performances are underway for “She Loves Me.” Directed by David Kellett, the Princeton Festival’s production of the musical runs through June 30 in the Matthews Acting Studio at Princeton University. Coworkers Georg (Tommy MacDonell, left) and Amalia (Amy Weintraub) have a contentious relationship, but they unknowingly have exchanged love letters. (Photo by Jessi Oliano)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The 15th anniversary Princeton Festival includes the Broadway musical She Loves Me. Directed by David Kellett, this presentation of the charming romantic comedy boasts exquisite musical performances, as well as elegant choreography and production design.

 more

May 15, 2019

“SKYLIGHT:” Performances are underway for “Skylight.” Directed by Emily Mann, the play runs through June 2 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Kyra, a schoolteacher (Mahira Kakkar, left) attempts to rekindle her relationship with restaurant entrepreneur Tom (Greg Wood), but differences in lifestyle and ideology have caused them to grow apart. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter Theatre is concluding its season with Skylight. In this literate play by David Hare, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis unexpectedly is visited by her former lover, restaurant entrepreneur Tom Sergeant, and by Tom’s teenage son Edward. Tom and Kyra attempt to reignite their relationship, but find that differences in their ideologies and lifestyle choices may make them incompatible. This engaging production is directed by Emily Mann, McCarter’s artistic director.

Skylight premiered in the West End in 1995, and opened on Broadway the following year. A 2014 West End revival transferred to Broadway, winning the 2015 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.

At the end of a winter day, Kyra, who is in her early 30s, arrives home at her flat in London, and empties a shopping bag containing ingredients for a spaghetti dinner. She is surprised to see the 18-year-old Edward, an intense young man who is taking a year off between high school and college, standing in her doorway. Although the encounter is awkward, it is clear that Kyra and Edward know each other well. She invites him in and turns on a rather ineffective electric heater. more

May 8, 2019

“MORIR SONYANDO”: Performances are underway for “Morir Sonyando.” Directed by C. Ryanne Domingues, the play runs through May 19 at Passage Theatre. Felix (Daniel Colón, left) and Genesis (Maria Peyramaure, center) try to come to terms with the abuse inflicted, and endured, by their mother, Paloma (Johanna Tolentino, right). (Photo by Jeff Stewart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre is presenting the New Jersey premiere of Morir Sonyando. This poignant family drama, which is set in North Philadelphia, had its world premiere in 2014 at Philadelphia’s Power Street Theatre Company, where author Erlina Ortiz is resident playwright and artistic director.

The title refers to a crucial moment in the story. It can be translated as “die dreaming,” and is the name of a drink that is popular in the Dominican Republic. According to the program, the misspelling of “soñando” is derived from the way Ortiz spelled the word when she was younger.

Morir Sonyando concerns the stormy relationship of a Dominican woman, Genesis — and her younger brother, Felix — with their mother, Paloma, who is a victim of domestic violence. Paloma has murdered her husband in a desperate attempt to protect her children, but inflicts on them the treatment she has endured. more

April 24, 2019

RICHARD III: Performances are underway for “Richard III.” Presented by Theatre Intime and directed by Naomi Park ‘21, the play runs through April 27 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Richard III (Paige Allen, left) persuades Lady Anne (Miranda Allegar, right) to marry him, despite the fact that he has murdered her first husband: Edward of Westminster, Prince of Wales. (Photo by Naomi Park ’21)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Theatre Intime, whose cast and production team consist of Princeton University students, is presenting Shakespeare’s Richard III. Director Naomi Park has opted out of drawing overt parallels to political events outside of those that occur in the play; this sleek production evokes the 15th century without being constrained by it.

The play is a fictionalized depiction of the bloody rise to the throne, and downfall, of King Richard III of England (1452-1485), the former Duke of Gloucester. It is believed to have been written in the early 1590s; the New Cambridge edition of 1999 conjectures that the play was written in 1593, with the premiere possibly having taken place in 1594. It was published in the first Quarto in 1597, and was included in the First Folio (Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories & Tragedies) in 1623.

“I am determined to prove a villain and hate the idle pleasures of these days,” Richard confides to the audience at the beginning of the show. To gain the crown, Richard schemes to pit his brother, King Edward IV, against his other brother, the Duke of Clarence, by having the latter arrested on a trumped-up charge of treason, and murdered while imprisoned in the Tower of London. This places Richard in a position to serve as regent until Edward’s son (and namesake) is old enough to be crowned. more

April 10, 2019

“FICTION”: Performances are underway for Pegasus Theatre Company’s production of “Fiction.” Directed by Peter Bisgaier, the play runs through April 14 at the West Windsor Arts Center. Linda (Jennifer Nasta Zefutie, foreground) is forced to re-examine her marriage to Michael (David C. Neal, rear left), when she reads his journal entries about his encounter with the mysterious Abby (Sarah Stryker, rear right) at a writers’ retreat.  (Photo by Darren Sussman)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

When author Linda Waterman is diagnosed with a malignant tumor and given three weeks to live, she secures a promise from her husband Michael, who also is a writer, that he will read her diaries after she dies. She also asks him to let her read his journals. This request makes him edgy, but he agrees — after tearing a page out of one of his notebooks. What follows is the unveiling of multiple layers of secrets in a seemingly close, if contentious, marriage — secrets that may or may not be true.

Written by Steven Dietz, Fiction premiered in 2002 at McCarter Theatre Center. The play returns to the Princeton area through the Pegasus Theatre Company. more

March 20, 2019

“THE GODS OF COMEDY”: Performances are underway for “The Gods of Comedy.” Directed by Amanda Dehnert, the play runs through March 31 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Classics professor Daphne Rain (Shay Vawn, right) is visited by Dionysus (Brad Oscar, left) and Thalia (Jessie Cannizzaro). (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter Theatre is presenting the world premiere of The Gods of Comedy. In this delightful farce by Ken Ludwig, a classics professor makes a mistake that threatens her career, as well as her romantic interest in a colleague. She is visited by Dionysus, the God of Wine and Revelry; and Thalia, the Muse of Comedy and Idyllic Poetry. They are magical, have a passing familiarity with American pop culture, and come when they are needed. They also are impulsive and disaster-prone.

The young, independent, and ambitious professor Daphne Rain, who is planning to direct a production of Medea as part of her tenure folio, is visiting the island of Naxos. She is closely observed by Aristide, an eager merchant, who serves as a narrator at the beginning of the play. more

March 6, 2019

“COWBOY VERSUS SAMURAI”: Performances are underway for “Cowboy Versus Samurai.” Presented by Theatre Intime and the East West Theater Company at Princeton University, and directed by Jacy Duan ‘21, the play runs through March 9 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Veronica (Megan Pan ’22, left) and Travis (Richard Peng ’20) have much in common. However, Veronica’s romantic preferences exacerbate Travis’ insecurities about his identity, presenting obstacles to the development of their relationship. (Photo by Naomi Park ’21)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Things in nature always hide. Lizards change the color of their skins. Moths live or die based on the color of their wings,” muses Del, a high school P.E. teacher who is Caucasian. “They do these things because when you stand out in the world you invite danger. You … will be eaten alive by something that was waiting for you to show yourself. And that’s how I felt, standing like a shadow on your outskirts, invisible.”

This poetic monologue turns out to be one of many letters written, on Del’s behalf, to Veronica Lee, an intelligent and charming Asian American woman who has recently moved to the small town of Breakneck, Wyoming, to teach biology. The author of the letters is Travis Park, an English teacher who is Del’s friend and colleague, and the only Korean American man in Breakneck. Travis loves Veronica, but she prefers to date white men.

Theatre Intime and the East West Theater Company of Princeton University are presenting a talented production of Cowboy Versus Samurai. Michael Golamco, a playwright of Filipino and Chinese American descent, crafts this witty but moving romantic comedy as a contemporary re-imagining of Cyrano de Bergerac. more

February 20, 2019

“BICYCLE FACE”: Passage Theatre has continued its Solo Flights series with “Bicycle Face.” The show is written and performed by Hannah Van Sciver (above), and directed by David O’Connor. (Photo by Kate Raines)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre continued its annual Solo Flights series with Bicycle Face, which was presented February 15-17. Written and performed by Hannah Van Sciver, and set in Philadelphia, this provocative monologue is a work of performance art. Multimedia is blended with live performance — dramatic and musical — to examine cultural attitudes in the late 19th century, the present, and a hypothetical future.

Created in 2015, the show premiered in June of that year in the Philadelphia SoLow Festival. Subsequent performances have included the Razor’s Edge Solo Performance Festival in New Orleans and the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row in New York City. more

January 23, 2019

“THE NICETIES”: Performances are underway for “The Niceties.” Directed by Kimberly Senior, the play runs through February 10 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. Zoe, a college student (Jordan Boatman, left) and Janine, a history professor (Lisa Banes) have a contentious discussion — and face its aftermath. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Choices have consequences,” a professor admonishes a student in The Niceties. In this multifaceted drama by Eleanor Burgess, a critique of a paper becomes a debate about race and American history. In the course of their conversation the characters choose words, and actions, that disrupt their lives.

On the surface, The Niceties is about racial injustice and its connection to American history. On a deeper fundamental level, the play examines the extent to which communication is difficult, particularly when conflict is magnified by social media. Generational tensions — including parent-child relationships — and gender issues are explored, as well as the conflict between idealism and pragmatism.  more

December 12, 2018


“A CHRISTMAS CAROL”: Performances are underway for “A Christmas Carol.” Directed by Adam Immerwahr, the play runs through December 29 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Bob Cratchit (Jon Norman Schneider, second from left) and Mrs. Cratchit (Sharin Martin, back right) celebrate with their children, played by members of the young ensemble (from left): Alexander Perez, Ethan Chang, Romy Johnson, and Alicianna Rodriguez. (Photo by Mark Garvin)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

A Christmas Carol has returned to McCarter Theatre. To fully experience this annual production, audiences should arrive well before curtain time. Dressed in costumes that evoke Dickensian London, adult members of the community ensemble circulate the lobby. They are eager to discuss a model of the set, or to serenade anyone who will join them in a spirited rendition of “Jingle Bells.” more

December 5, 2018

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In The Luck of the Irish, an African American woman discovers that a transaction, necessitated by racial injustice, may prevent her from owning the house she has inherited from her grandparents. Written by Kirsten Greenidge, this play derives its central conflict from the determination of parents to provide a space — and a future — in which their children belong. more

November 14, 2018

“IPHIGENIA AND OTHER DAUGHTERS”: Performances are underway for “Iphigenia and Other Daughters.” Presented by Theatre Intime and directed by Princeton University sophomore Rosie Vasen, the play runs through November 17 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Chrysothemis (Katharine Matthias ‘21, left); Electra (E Harper Nora Jeremijenko-Conley ‘20, center); and Clytemnestra (Abby Spare ‘20) confront each other about their family’s murderous past. Photo by Nora Aguiar.

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Theatre Intime, whose cast and production team consist of Princeton University students, is presenting Ellen McLaughlin’s Iphigenia and Other Daughters. The play is a contemporary retelling of three Greek tragedies — Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris and Sophocles’ Electra — with an emphasis on the female characters’ points of view, though Iphigenia’s brother, Orestes, is integral to the story.  more

October 3, 2018

“SALT PEPPER KETCHUP”: Performances are underway for “Salt Pepper Ketchup.” Directed by Jerrell L. Henderson, the play runs through October 14 at Passage Theatre. Paul (Justin Pietropaolo, left), a representative of a food co-op, shows restaurant owners John Wu (Fenton Li) and his wife Linda (Chuja Seo) an article about their new partnership — but the results are different from what has been promised. (Photo by Jeff Stewart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre is opening its season with the first professional production of Salt Pepper Ketchup. Playwright Josh Wilder was born and raised in Philadelphia, where the play is set; this is reflected by the script’s urgent realism. Director Jerrell L. Henderson, who directed the equally thought-provoking Caged for Passage’s previous season, has elicited uniformly strong performances from the gifted cast. more

September 19, 2018

“THE AGE OF INNOCENCE”: Performances are underway for “The Age of Innocence.” Directed by Doug Hughes, the play runs through October 7 at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. An Old Gentleman (Boyd Gaines, far left) looks on as Newland Archer (Andrew Veenstra, left) and Countess Ellen Olenska (Sierra Boggess) face the conflict between their love, and their responsibility to their families — and to society in 1870s New York. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson.) 

By Donald H. Sanborn III

An exquisite new stage adaptation of The Age of Innocence opened September 15 at McCarter. In adapting Edith Wharton’s 1920 novel, which in 1921 made her the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, playwright Douglas McGrath honors its literary intent. However, he skillfully edits it to heighten its power as a piece of theater.

As pianist Yan Li plays the pensive opening notes of the incidental score by Mark Bennett, an Older Gentleman of the 1920s enters. He describes New York in the 1870s — the Gilded “Age” that gives the novel its ironic title — as a place where elite society brings rigid social conventions.

At the Academy of Music — which is the preeminent place to see an opera, as the Metropolitan on 39th Street is still under construction — an older woman, Mrs. Manson Mingott, is seated in a box with other female members of her family, including the Countess Ellen Olenska.  more

September 12, 2018

CUBAN ROOTS: Aydmara Cabrera, shown here in “Swan Lake,” hopes to bring her experience at National Ballet of Cuba into the curriculum of Princeton Ballet School.

Former National Ballet of Cuba principal dancer Aydmara Cabrera has been named school director of Princeton Ballet School (PBS), the official school of American Repertory Ballet (ARB).

According to Julie Diana Hench, executive director of American Repertory Ballet and Princeton Ballet School, “Ms. Cabrera is already a beloved teacher and ballet master at PBS, and will be an incredible member of the leadership team. She has impressive professional experience and an inspiring vision for the School that will provide students even greater opportunities. Ms. Cabrera’s passion for the art form is infectious and we are thrilled to have her lead Princeton Ballet School into an exciting new era.” more

“NEWSIES”: Performances are underway for PinnWorth Productions’ presentation of “Newsies.” Directed by LouJ Stalsworth, the musical runs through September 16 at the Kelsey Theatre. Katherine Plumber, a mysterious reporter (Bridget Hughes, left) interviews Jack Kelly (Rob Ryan), who leads the delivery boys on strike after Joseph Pulitzer increases the cost of the newspapers to them. (Photo by Robert A. Terrano)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

On July 23, 1899, the New York Herald printed the following headline: “Newsboys’ Strike Promises Success.” That promise is fulfilled by PinnWorth Productions’ presentation of the Broadway musical Newsies, which is playing at the Kelsey Theatre. Directed by LouJ Stalsworth, this polished, energetic production demonstrates why the unsuccessful 1992 film succeeds on stage.

Having rejuvenated the genre of animated musicals with blockbusters such as The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, Disney attempted to do the same for live-action musical films. However, Newsies was commercially unsuccessful in its theatrical release. more