Open call auditions for The Pennington Players’ October show, In the Heights, will take place at Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) on Saturday, July 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, August 7 from 2 to 6 p.m. All roles are open and will remain so until the end of auditions. This is a non-equity and non-paying production. more
In pursuing its theme of “the Other,” Princeton Summer Theater (PST), last weekend opened its third production of the season, a funny, philosophical, verbally dazzling production of Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, Tom Stoppard’s 1966 masterpiece spin-off from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. more
Oscar October (his stage name) introduced Spacetime Riffs, a local improvisational theater group of about ten performers, to the assembled audience at a recent performance.
“It’s not stand-up comedy,” he said. “It’s not set piece comedy. It’s unique. It’s improv.” And just to make sure the spectators were fully prepared, “I’m pretty sure we’ll offend everybody before the evening is over.” more
The city of Trenton and The Trenton Downtown Association (TDA) host The Levitt AMP Music Series on Capital Green, July 23 through September 24. Trenton was selected to receive a grant of $25,000 to hold 10 free, family-friendly concerts each beginning at 7:30 p.m. Trenton based NJM Insurance Group is also a presenting sponsor. more
Princeton Summer Theater’s (PST) 2016 season opener, Assassins, is chilling in its timeliness.
Just five days after a gunman assassinated 49 people in Orlando, the opening-night audience watched as nine characters — all wannabe assassins of U.S. Presidents — paraded across the Hamilton Murray stage, brandishing an array of firearms. more
State Theatre of NJ in New Brunswick will host a free screening of Disney’s “Frozen” on Tuesday, July 12 at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. The event is part of a Free Summer Movie Series at the State Theatre. Upcoming films include “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Babe,” and “Monsters University.” For more information, visit www.statetheatrenj.org.
“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: “We thought this was an opportunity for Pennington School graduates to continue to work in the theater. They might not have been able to do this after graduation, and found they missed it. It’s also an opportunity to work together with alumni who were not classmates. We have graduates from the Class of 2016 and one from 2011.” Henry Sheeran (left) and Tim Secrest, Pennington School Class of 2014, have started a new theater company, which will have its first production June 23.
CLARIFICATION: The Pennington School production of “Charlie and Bruno” will be performed on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, June 25 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The curtain is going up on a brand new production at The Pennington School. Charlie and Bruno, a one act play, written, produced, directed, and acted by former Pennington School students, will be performed at the school June 23rd and 24th. more
Photography by Erica Cardenas
The Historical Society of Princeton’s Concert Under the Stars took place on Saturday, June 4 at Updike Farmstead in Princeton. Guests enjoyed wine and dined outdoors while exploring the property’s six acre estate. This year’s fundraiser featured a 90-minute live performance by The Samples, an indie rock band formed in 1985. The event proved to be one of the most memorable nights of the summer.
A PRESTIGIOUS PRIZE: Max Azaro and his mother, Kathy Azaro, attended the opening of American Ballet Theatre at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. As part of the festivities, Max was presented with the coveted Northern Trust Scholarship. (Photo Courtesy of ABT Jackie Kennedy Onassis School)
Max Azaro was already studying gymnastics when he first took his place at the ballet barre at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio in Forrestal Village. For the energetic 10-year-old, there was something about this different way of movement that grabbed his attention. He has never looked back.
Princeton Day School (PDS) Director in Residence Stan Cahill announced that Austin Phares ’16, star of the fall production of Our Town, was named Outstanding Actor in a Drama at the 2016 New Jersey Theatre Awards held at Montclair State University on May 16, 2016. The cast of Our Town was also named Outstanding Acting Ensemble. Productions from 57 schools across New Jersey were eligible. more
Many dance schools place students in classes based solely on age. At Princeton Ballet School, age is only one factor in determining a student’s placement. Entering students with prior dance training for 1st through 5th grades, and grades 6 and up are welcome to audition. Open enrollment for all other students is underway, as well.
MOTHER-DAUGHTER MATTERS: Ruth (Caroline Aaron, left) and her daughter Miranda (Stephanie Janssen) are completely bonded, and in conflict on almost every possible issue, in Sharyn Rothstein’s world premiere family “dramedy,” All the Days, at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre through May 29. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)
Dysfunctional families have always provided material for great literature and theater. From the ancient Greeks—Odysseus and the battling family of Olympian gods, the Trojan War, the families of Agamemnon and Oedipus—though the great tragedies may have played out in the global, public sphere, the issues always had their roots in family conflict. more
The Second Annual Nassau Film Festival returns to Princeton’s Garden Theatre (160 Nassau Street) on Sunday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This event is free of charge and open to the public.
Lew Goldstein, who co-founded the festival with Dan Bauer, got the idea to start the festival after noticing a gap in the Princeton film scene. “I felt there was a void for individuals who focused on short documentaries and short films. These are all remarkable films that deserve to be seen,” he says. more
INTERVIEWS WITH CLOWNS: Senior Nathalie Ellis-Einhorn in rehearsal for “I.M. LOST!” the one-person, interactive play she wrote and will perform on May 5 and 6 at 8 p.m. and May 7 at 2 and 8 p.m. at the Marie Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. “I.M. LOST!” is an interactive solo show based on interviews with different types of people who clown: birthday clowns, hospital clowns, actor clowns, clown teachers, even an astrophysics professor who enjoys going to clown classes. (Photo by Nadia Diamond) more
Photo Credit: Willy Somma
On Sunday, May 15 at 4 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) presents its Passion and Affection concert performed in honor of Arnold H. Snider, III and featuring Sarah Kirkland Snider’s Hiraeth, a multi-media work co-commissioned by the PSO with the North Carolina Symphony. more
McCarter Theatre Center is pleased to announce its full schedule of 2016-17 dance, music, and signature presented series. An eclectic mix of the world’s greatest musicians, dance companies, and performing artists are on tap, including several returning favorites and McCarter debuts. more
The Lewis Center for the Arts’ Programs in Dance and Theater present there.remaining… a dance-theater fusion of text, movement, music, and projections, created and directed by senior Ogemdi Ude and featuring original music by Lewis Center Resident Musical Director and Composer Vince di Mura. Performances will take place on April 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m. in the Marie and Edward Matthews ’53 Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. The production is free and open to the public, however, advance tickets are recommended and are available through arts.princeton.edu. more
MURDER LURKS: Mollie (Jessica Bedford) finds herself in the midst of a deadly intrigue, in an isolated old manor house, cut off from the rest of the world, surrounded by an odd assortment of complete strangers, one of whom is a murderer, in McCarter Theatre’s production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap,” the longest running play in the history of English theater. (Photo by T. Charles Erickson)
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap opened in London in 1952, and 64 years later, after more than 25,000 performances, it is still playing, by far the longest running show in theater history. Though McCarter’s current rendition of the classic murder mystery will run only two more weeks, until March 27, the high-energy, captivating Matthews Theatre production displays vividly the lasting appeal of this show. Whether you’re a whodunit aficionado or not, this show with its eight finely drawn, deftly presented characters and its rich visual appeal is highly entertaining from start to finish. more
The first African-American expedition to climb Denali, North America’s highest peak, is the subject of An American Ascent. The film is being screened Saturday, April 2, as part of the Princeton Environmental Film Festival at Princeton Public Library. Now in its tenth year, the festival features a line-up of more than 25 acclaimed films with filmmakers and other speakers presented over the course of 7 days. For a complete list of festival films, and updates on speakers, see princetonlibrary.org.
When Mary Pat Robertson and her husband Michael came from New York City to Princeton in 1980, she thought she’d be retiring from her dance career. But the town, where the Robertsons moved so that he could pursue his doctorate at Princeton University, turned out to have a lot more dance to offer than she expected.
It wasn’t long before Ms. Robertson began teaching at Princeton Ballet School. Six years later, she was named the school’s director. In June, she will step down after 35 years teaching and administrating hundreds of students, some of whom have gone on to professional careers.
“I’ll miss the kids,” she said during a telephone interview last week. “But it’s time. I’ll probably do a little private coaching, and I look forward to getting back to choreography. I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking and I hope to expand that. I’m even contemplating writing a book for parents about what to look for in a ballet school.”
While ballet has played a major role in Ms. Robertson’s long career, contemporary dance has also been a focus. Before becoming the ballet school’s director, she co-founded the company Teamwork Dance and did a lot of freelance dancing and choreography. In New York, she studied the techniques of José Limón, Merce Cunningham, and Martha Graham. more
When Dawn Breaks, an original play created and directed by Princeton University sophomore Nico Krell, is based on 1,001 Nights, but this is an “immersive” theater experience, so you will surely get less, and more, than you expect, as the actors lead you out of your seat, onto the stage, under the stage, into dressing rooms, workroom, hallways, greenroom, lobby, and every corner of the Hamilton Murray Theater.
You will encounter, at least in part, the familiar story of Scheherazade and the brutal King Shahryar, who, in anger at his first wife’s infidelity is determined to marry a new bride each day and execute her at dawn. But after three years, Scheherazade offers herself to the king and tells him a bedtime story so captivating that he decides to postpone the execution so that he can hear the end the next day, and the stories continue for 1,001 nights.
There’s little evidence here of the stories Scheherazade tells — “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp,” “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” “The Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor” — that make up the original 1,001 Nights (sometimes called The Arabian Nights), but the story of Scheherazade (Anna Zabel); King Shahryar (Tom Dowling); her sister Dunyazade (Anastasia Repouliou); her father Jafar, who is the king’s vizier (Daniel Krane); the king’s brother Shah Zaman (Jake Hamel); Delilah, the ghost of the king’s former wife (Julia Mosby); and Azraq, a genie (Glenna Yu), is richly developed during the 70-minute production. more
A new documentary on race; written, directed, and produced by Dr. Sheena C. Howard, assistant professor of communication studies at Rider University; will have its premiere screening on February 25 at The Landmark Theatre, Ritz, and the Bourse, in Philadelphia.
Remixing Colorblind examines how the current educational system shapes national understanding of race, and by extension, race relations. These areas of racial misunderstanding are explored through in-depth conversations with faculty, administrators, teachers, guidance counselors, and young people from a variety of Historic Black Colleges/Universities, predominantly white institutions, and inner city high schools.
Remixing Colorblind is Howard’s first film. She is also scheduled to appear on NPR and WBUR Boston’s Here and Now on February 21.
To learn more, visit www.rider.edu.
EXPLORING ISLAMIST EXTREMISM: (left to right) Playwright Emily Mann, scholars Dr. Stuart Gottlieb, and Dr. Hooshang Amirahmadi and moderator Paula Alekson discuss with the audience the issues raised at Sunday’s performance of Ms. Mann’s new play “Hoodwinked.” (Photo Courtesy of McCarter Theatre Center)
“It’s about the 21st century’s responses to Islamist extremism,” Emily Mann explained in describing her documentary drama Hoodwinked, performed as a reading in the McCarter Theatre Center Lab last weekend, “but it’s also very much about asking questions and sharing information.” The drama was a springboard for a lively discussion. more