April 9, 2015

The Sourland Conservancy will sponsor “Sourlands, a Threatened Treasure,” the semi-annual bus tour of the Eastern Sourland Mountain Region, on Saturday, May 2, from 1-4 p.m.

The tour will investigate the history of this unspoiled landscape of forested ridges and farmland, covering its history as a refuge for heroes, patriots, artists, and even ghosts. The home of Charles Lindbergh will be included, inside and out. Participants will learn about the Sourland environment and heritage, and how to protect it for future generations.

For information or to sign up, visit www.sourland.org or call Marcia Maguire at (609) 466-0701 by April 16.


Two people have filed to run as Republicans in the election for Princeton Council next November. Kelly DiTosto and Lynn Irving officially entered their names to challenge Democrats Heather Howard and Lance Liverman, current Council members who will be up for re-election. Democrats currently hold all of the Council seats.

Both women replied to a series of questions this week. In an email, Ms. DiTosto described herself as a longtime Princeton resident whose three children have attended Princeton public schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Villanova University and currently works in the accounting field.

“I have a sincere interest in looking out for the best interests of all of Princeton’s residents and taxpayers,” she wrote, “and a belief that office holders should serve the best interests of all members of our community regardless of party affiliation.”

Ms. Irving, a native of Guangzhou, China, was a pre-school teacher and administrator before becoming a licensed real estate agent. Two of her three children are Princeton High School graduates, and one is a PHS freshman. She has been a Princeton resident for more than 25 years.

Like others who have run as Republicans, Ms. DiTosto feels the political system in Princeton leans too heavily to one side. “Our town deserves true diversity,” she wrote. “We have had one political party making all of our decisions for far too long. I believe my accounting and financial background will enable me to play an instrumental role in bringing about a more fiscally responsible Council.”

Ms. Irving said she experienced a one-party system while growing up in China. “It was not to my liking,” she said. “So I’m not that much party-affiliated. We all want the same things.”

Issues on Ms. DiTosto’s list of priorities include the pay increase Council recently voted for its members. “This action was not only a retreat from earlier pledges, but an unprecedented conflict of interest as well,” she wrote. “This is an insult to all taxpayers regardless of party affiliation and a prime example of the consequences of one-party control of Council.”

Ms. Irving feels that property taxes are an important issue. “Being in the real estate industry, I see that the rise of taxes is good in one way, not good in another,” she said. “So many residents, when their kids are grown, leave town because of the high taxes. It’s hard for us to see our friends moving away simply because of that.”

Ms. DiTosto feels the financial relationship between the town and Princeton University needs re-examination. “Many ordinary citizens believe the University is not contributing its ‘fair share,’” she wrote. “Voters need to be assured that the University’s ‘payment in lieu of taxes’ is equitable.”

She added, “The current Council appears to be concerned about rising property taxes only as a talking point at election time. Fiscal responsibility means living within a carefully crafted budget much like Princeton residents must do in their own households.”

Referring to a controversial proposal to purchase a property in the Witherspoon/Jackson neighborhood for possible expansion of a park, Ms. DiTosto wrote, “Spending $600,000 for a mini-park so soon after spending millions at Community Park only a few blocks away seems unwarranted in these times.”

The six members of Council serve three-year terms. The terms of Mr. Liverman and Ms. Howard are the only ones up for re-election. Ms. Howard served on Borough Council and Mr. Liverman on Township Committee prior to consolidation in 2013. Both were re-elected to the new governing body.

Mark Salzman, the author of Iron & Silk, will read from his work at Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart on Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m. A book signing will follow the reading, which is free and open to the public.

Mr. Salzman has written on a variety of subjects, from a novel about a Carmelite nun’s ecstatic visions and crisis of faith (Lying Awake) to a memoir about growing up a misfit in a Connecticut suburb (Lost in Place). As a boy, he dreamed about becoming a Kung Fu master, but his academic achievements, along with his
proficiency on the cello, facilitated his acceptance to Yale at 16. He soon changed his major to Chinese Language and Philosophy, which took him to mainland China where he taught English for two years and studied martial arts.

“We are very excited to welcome Mark Salzman to campus,” said Dr. Patty L. Fagin, Head of School at Stuart.” She continued, “His theme of how people struggle to reach an ideal or a goal is one that I feel will resonate with students, parents, and community members.”

Mr. Salzman’s first memoir, Iron and Silk, inspired by his years in China, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction and received the Christopher Award. His book True Notebooks is a look at his experiences as a writing teacher at Los Angeles Central Juvenile Hall, a lockup for violent teenage offenders. He is also the author of the memoir Lost in Place: Growing Up Absurd in Suburbia, and the novels The Laughing Sutra, The Soloist, and Lying Awake. Common to each of his works is a theme of how people struggle to reach an ideal but often fall short, and the quiet change that takes place in facing the discouragement and the possibility of never achieving their goal. His newest work is the non-fiction title The Man in the Empty Boat

Mr. Salzman never gave up music, and his cello playing appears on the soundtrack to several films, including the Academy Award-winning documentary Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien. He has also played with Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax at Lincoln Center. His unusual combination of talents – as both a well-known author and a concert-proficient cellist – led to a feature profile about him in The New Yorker magazine. He was also recently presented with the Algonquin West Hollywood Literary Award.

As part of the Visiting Author Program, students, faculty, and staff have been reading and studying Mr. Salzman’s work and Stuart’s Senior Scholars have worked with Lower and Middle School girls in preparation for his visit. In addition to the public reading on April 9, Mr. Salzman will spend the day on campus on Friday, April 10. Besides meeting with students of all ages at Stuart to share his expertise on the craft of writing, he will spend time with K-4 Lower School girls, share lunch with the Stuart Senior Scholars, and give a private reading to Middle and Upper School students.

April 8, 2015

Hamilton Jewelers

At a special event Tuesday, April 7 to promote an upcoming fundraiser for Corner House taking place April 17 at Pretty Brook Country Club, Hamilton Jewelers gave a sneak preview of the $1 million suite of jewelry that guests at the gala will be allowed to try on. From left: Geniva Martin, Corner House representative; Donna Bouchard,  Vice President, Hamilton Jewelers; Leslie Ward, Corner House representative; and Gary J. De Blasio, Executive Director, Corner House. (Photo by Robin Broomer)

matt rasmussen

Poet Matt Rasmussen, the author of “Black Aperture,” which won the 2013 Walt Whitman Award, the 2014 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry, and was a National Book Award Finalist, has been selected as the latest recipient of the Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes National Poetry Prize awarded by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University. The Holmes National Poetry Prize was established in memory of Princeton 1951 alumnus Theodore H. Holmes and is presented each year to a poet of special merit as selected by the faculty of the Creative Writing Program.

Art Rev 2

This carefully posed male painted bunting as portrayed by the photographer Kate Breakey is one of some 30 large-scale images of birds, flowers, and insects on view at the James A. Michener Art Museum’s exhibition, “Kate Breakey: Small Deaths” which will run through July 12. Ms. Breakey has received international recognition for her large-scale, manipulated photographs, which she meticulously colors by hand adding many layers of oil paints and pencils. The artist will discuss her work on Tuesday, April 14, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Edgar N. Putman Event Pavilion. Admission is $10 member/$20 non-member/$5 student with valid ID, includes museum admission. Advance registration required. The museum at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, Pennsylania is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call (215) 340-9800, or visit: MichenerArtMuseum.org. (Courtesy of the Wittliff Collections, Texas State University)


Town Topics staff take time out from unpacking boxes and setting up their desks in the new space that the newspaper is renting in Kingston. Pictured from left, back row: Monica Sankey, Cybill Tascarella, Jennifer Covill, Matt DiFalco, Steve Marks, Jeff Tryon, Linda Arntzenius, Julie Gonzalez-Lavin, Stuart Mitchner, Bill Alden, Anne Levin, Samantha Eng; front row: Kendra Russell, Sarah Gilbert, Gina Hookey, Lynn Adams Smith, Melissa Bilyeu, Robin Broomer, Taylor Smith. Not pictured: J. Robert Hillier; contributing editors Jean Stratton, Kam Williams, Donald Gilpin, Nancy Plum; and photographers Charles Plohn, Emily Reeves, and Frank Wojciechowski. (Photo by Charles Plohn)

April 2, 2015

A woman who had overdosed on heroin was administered nasal Narcan Thursday morning by Princeton Police. Patrol Sergeant Geoff Maurer and Patrolman Lucas Schwab revived the 22-year-old woman, who was on a public bench in the 100 block of Nassau Street, according to information from the police department.

The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad and paramedics responded to the scene and transported the woman to the University Medical Center at Plainsboro.

Police now carry Narcan in every patrol vehicle. This is the first time the Princeton officers have used Narcan. Kits were made available to the department by the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office. New Jersey law forbids the prosecution of people seeking help for themselves or another individual because of an overdose.

Princeton University’s class of 2019 is shaping up to include some 1,310 students. The University announced this week that it has offered admission to 1,908, or 6.99 percent of the 27,290 applicants. That compares to last year’s admission rate of 7.28, making this year’s process the most selective to date.

Letters have been mailed to students in the regular-decision applicant pool, and applicants are now able to see their decisions through the secure online access. Of the 1,908 selected, 767 applied through single-choice early action and were offered admission in December, according to the University.

Approximately 60 percent of all undergraduates receive financial aid, and the average grant is more than $40,000 a year. Typically, students from families with incomes below $60,000 pay no tuition, room or board. Those from families with incomes below $140,000 pay no tuition. Because no student is required to take out loans, the aid program makes it possible for students to graduate without debts.

Students offered admission to the class of 2019 come from 49 states with the largest representation from New Jersey, California, New York, Massachusetts and Texas; and 66 countries. Forty-eight percent are women and 52 percent are men; 49 percent have self-identified as people of color, including biracial and multiracial students.

Admitted candidates have until May 1 to accept Princeton’s offer of admission.

Page 1 Photo

It’s true, no April Fool’s fantasy, Witherspoon Media Group, which includes Town Topics Newspaper, Princeton Magazine, and Urban Agenda New York City is moving April 1 to a new home base in the historic Union Line building at 4438 Route 27 in Kingston, NJ.

“DIMENSIONS OF EXPERIENCE”: Poet Mark Doty finds that Tracy K. Smith’s memoir, ”Ordinary Light,” takes us “so far into the dimensions of experience that the reader feels a remarkable intimacy with this narrator, who brings all life has to offer a tenderness and intelligence rarely so closely intertwined.” Ms. Smith will be reading from her new book at Labyrinth Books, Wednesday, April 1, at 6 p.m.

“DIMENSIONS OF EXPERIENCE”: Poet Mark Doty finds that Tracy K. Smith’s memoir, ”Ordinary Light,” takes us “so far into the dimensions of experience that the reader feels a remarkable intimacy with this narrator, who brings all life has to offer a tenderness and intelligence rarely so closely intertwined.” Ms. Smith will be reading from her new book at Labyrinth Books, Wednesday, April 1, at 6 p.m.

The Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Tracy K. Smith, who has been praised in the New York Times Book Review for her “extraordinary range and ambition,” will be at Labyrinth Books reading from her new book, Ordinary Light: A Memoir today, Wednesday, April 1, at 6 p.m.

According to a starred review in Booklist, Ordinary Light is “A gracefully nuanced, strikingly candid memoir about family, faith, race, and literature … meticulously structured, philosophically inquisitive. Smith grew up in Northern California, snuggled close to her elegant and devout mother; challenged by her engineer father; and enthralled by books. As one of few African Americans in their community, she navigated a ‘sea of white faces,’ in stark contrast to the world she discovered when staying with relatives in Alabama. Smith holds our intellectual and emotional attention tightly as she charts her evolving thoughts on the divides between races, generations, economic classes, and religion and science and celebrates her lifesaving discovery of poetry as ‘soul language.’ Smith’s intricate and artistic memoir illuminates the rich and affecting complexity of ‘ordinary’ American lives.”

Novelist Jamaica Kincaid writes, “With an abundance of love and wisdom, and in a poet’s confessional prose, Tracy K. Smith has recalled her life and the lives of the people who made her into the person she now knows to be her own true self …. This memoir is big and significant because it reminds us that the everyday is where we experience our common struggles, and that the everyday is at once common and ordinary, while also being singular and unique.”

Tracy K. Smith is the author of the acclaimed poetry collections The Body’s Questions; Duende; and Life on Mars. She has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and currently teaches at Princeton University.

FROM BALLET TO BROADWAY: Adam Rogers, a member of the cast of “An American in Paris,” taught a dance sequence from the show to students at Princeton Dance and Theatre School on Sunday.(Photo by Risa Kaplowitz)

FROM BALLET TO BROADWAY: Adam Rogers, a member of the cast of “An American in Paris,” taught a dance sequence from the show to students at Princeton Dance and Theatre School on Sunday. (Photo by Risa Kaplowitz)

As one of two “swings” in the new Broadway show An American in Paris, currently in previews at the Palace Theatre, Adam Rogers is on stage as part of the male ensemble four times a week. But that doesn’t mean he has it any easier than the cast members who perform eight shows a week. In fact, his job is harder.

At any given moment, the 28-year-old dancer and singer can be given just a few minutes’ notice that he will be replacing one of the regular cast members who may have succumbed, mid-show, to a turned ankle, or maybe a bout of food poisoning. And Mr. Rogers, who must be in the theater at every performance, has to be ready to jump in, literally — to any one of four ensemble roles.

“You have to be really smart to be a swing,” he told a group of nine aspiring dancers at Princeton Dance and Theatre (PDT) school on Sunday. “I have 300 pages of charts that tell me where people stand, where they come in. And since the ensemble moves the scenery and the panels, I have to know all of that, too.”

Mr. Rogers, who performed in PDT’s The Secret Garden a few years ago, traveled from New York to the school in Forrestal Village on his day off to teach a master class containing a section from one of the many dance sequences in the show. The students ranged from a 10-year-old boy who is an international ballroom dance champion for his age group to an adult Pilates instructor. They learned quickly.

“You guys are picking it up faster than we did!” Mr. Rogers enthused. “It took a lot of us two weeks to learn this and get it right.” Flapping his arms and contracting his torso for one step that was repeated several times as part of the choreography, he told the students, “We call this Martha Chicken because it reminds us of Martha Graham and, yes, a chicken.”

The steps were relatively simple but very quick and precise. By the middle of the class, Mr. Rogers was sweating and so were his students. By the end, several of the students were performing the segment with ease. “Now if you go and see the show, you’ll recognize the choreography,” said Risa Kaplowitz, the school’s director and co-founder. “What a great experience.”

Though it doesn’t open officially until April 12, An American in Paris is currently one of the hottest tickets on Broadway. Set to an all-Gershwin score, the show is based lightly on the 1952 movie starring Gene Kelly. Christopher Wheeldon, a former ballet dancer, is the choreographer and director. The lead couple is played by two ballet dancers, Robert Fairchild of the New York City Ballet, and Leanne Cope of England’s Royal Ballet — the two companies with which Wheeldon performed — and the ensemble is made up of dancers who are either members of ballet troupes or have a strong background in the technique.

But they have to sing, too. Mr. Rogers told the PDT students he started learning to sing opera at age 11. Ballet lessons followed a few years later. He performed with the Kansas City Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, and Pennsylvania Ballet II before switching his focus to Broadway, landing roles in Cinderella and Chaplin before winning a contract with An American in Paris

Prior to Broadway, the show played two months at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, to rave reviews. “It was exhausting, but it was wonderful,” said Mr. Rogers. “I lost 10 pounds from all the work. But I’m not complaining. Each of us had a studio apartment five minutes from the Louvre. My dressing room had a balcony that overlooked the Seine. It was like a dream — but a really tiring one.”

Mr. Wheeldon is an accomplished ballet choreographer making his debut as a Broadway choreographer/director. “He’s so nice, and so patient. And he’s very clear about what he wants,” Mr. Rogers said. “The fact that he’s the choreographer and the director is really working well, because the show has amazing visuals that are so tied in to the dancing. You need someone who can see and understand both worlds.”

On matinee days, when there are two performances, cast members usually run out to buy food after the afternoon show, bring it back to their dressing rooms, and go to sleep before the evening performance. “It’s a very, very difficult show because there is just so much dancing in so many styles — tap, jazz, and ballet — and acting and singing,” Mr. Rogers told the PDT students. “It’s a marathon, and you have to learn to keep up your stamina. But it’s very rewarding.”


On March 21, National Junior Tennis and Learning of Trenton held its 22nd annual gala at the Hyatt-Regency Princeton, honoring Don and Eileen Conway as Outstanding Individuals, and Johnson & Johnson as Outstanding Corporation. Pictured from left are NJTL of Trenton Executive Director Rob Howland, NJTLT participants Kallah Masudi and Cameron Pressley, Gala Honorees, Don & Eileen Conway, NJTLT participants Alfred Kandakai & Grace Aaronson, and USTA President Katrina Adams.

Like many college campuses throughout the country, Princeton University has a growing commitment to global health. Students, several of whom earn certificates from the University’s Program in Global Health and Health Policy, are increasingly concerned with helping those in poor countries cope with problems of nutrition, maternal health, water sanitation, and communicable diseases, among other situations.

Princeton is among 55 colleges and universities that are part of GlobeMed, a national organization dedicated to empowering college students to pursue what is known as global health equity. On Monday, April 6 from 1-5 p.m., GlobeMed at Princeton will host a thrift shop at the Frist Campus Center to help support their work for the St. Jerome COVE Center hospital in Kapeeka, Uganda. Last year, the students raised $800. Their goal this year is $3,000.

But raising funds isn’t the only objective. “This is our second year, so we’re pretty young,” said Jihoon Kim, a sophomore who is a member of the Princeton chapter. “And one of our baby steps is getting to know our community a bit better. We really believe that awareness is half the battle. We want to engage the local community. So we’re partnering not only with local organizations, but with local businesses as well.”

Mr. Kim said that the Nearly New Shop in town is donating clothing to the event. There have also been donations, to be sold at marked-down prices, from undergraduate students and their families. Profits will go toward providing clean water for St. Jerome.

The Princeton chapter of GlobeMed has 50 members, many of whom have visited Kapeeka, the Uganda community with which they are partnering. As part of GlobeMed, each university-based chapter is paired with an organization that is already involved in improving the health of its community. Students receive training that helps them become advocates for global health.

The young participants learn on-site during summers, and plan projects for the following year. Princeton’s project in Uganda involves a health clinic that was established there in 2008. With the money they raise, the students plan to install sinks and water catchment systems at the clinic. This will help with hand sanitation, considered essential for the prevention of communicable diseases that affect the region.

All of the students are undergraduates. “We come from different backgrounds,” said Mr. Kim, who is majoring in molecular biology. “Some are involved in the Program in Global Health and Health Policy that we have here. In my case, I’m waiting to get in next year.”

The water sanitation project costs $10,000, $3,000 of which the Princeton chapter has pledged to contribute. “But even if we don’t raise that much money, it’s really important to get ourselves out into the community,” Mr. Kim said. “We’re hoping a lot of people will turn out for this event to learn about what we do.”

For more information, visit globemed.org/impact/princeton/

Thomas Schumacher

Thomas Schumacher

Producer and president of the Disney Theatrical Group Thomas Schumacher will hold a conversation with Grammy and Emmy Award-winning musical director, conductor, and composer Paul Bogaev on Tuesday, April 7. The event is part of Professor of Theater Stacy Wolf’s spring course, “Isn’t It Romantic? The Broadway Musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim.” The conversation will begin at 1:30 p.m. in Room 219 at 185 Nassau Street and is free and open to the public.

Since 1988, Schumacher has worked with The Walt Disney Company on various film, television, and theater projects. Currently, he serves as president of the Disney Theatrical Group where he oversees the development, creation, and execution of all live Disney entertainment. His Broadway, West End, touring, and international production credits include Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, High School Musical, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, and The Little Mermaid. Recently, Disney co-produced and developed three acclaimed new shows: Peter and the Starcatcher with New York Theatre Workshop, Aladdin with The 5th Avenue Theatre, and Newsies with Paper Mill Playhouse. Both Newsies and Peter and the Starcatcher are currently playing on Broadway and won seven Tony Awards between them.

Paul Bogaev, who is a returning guest to Wolf’s course, is a multi award-winning artist whose film credits include the Oscar-winning Chicago, for which he won a Grammy Award; Nine; Dreamgirls; Across the Universe; and the Disney films Mulan, The Lion King, and The Emperor’s New Groove. Among his many Broadway credits are Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, for which he won his first Grammy; Tarzan; Bombay Dreams, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award; Sunset Boulevard; Chess; Cats; Starlight Express; Les Miserables; and most recently, Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark.

Wolf’s course examines the Broadway musical’s unique conventions of aesthetics and form, and its status as popular entertainment that shapes and is shaped by its historical and cultural context. Special guests are visiting the class throughout the semester. Upcoming events include a master class and conversation with Judith Clurman; Emmy and Grammy-nominated conductor, educator, and choral specialist, which is also free and open to the public.

Wolf is a professor of theater and director of the Princeton Arts Fellows in the Lewis Center where she teaches courses in American musical theatre history, dramaturgy, and dramatic literature, histories of U.S. performance, performance theory, and performance studies.

To learn more, visit http://arts.princeton.edu.


martini music

The musical group Pink Martini will headline McCarter Theatre’s 2015 Gala Benefit on May 9. The band’s sound fits in perfectly with this year’s theme of “shaken and stirred.” Pink Martini has been praised for their international sound and glamorous live performances. The Gala will also include a silent auction and post-concert festivities (with a special surprise for attendees). The 2015 Gala co-chairs are Timothy M. Andrews of Princeton, Cheryl Goldman of Titusville, and Liza Morehouse of Hopewell. Tickets can be reserved by visiting www.mccarter.org.


After listening to a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra last fall, students at John Witherspoon Middle School created paintings and poetry in response to the music. Art teacher Claudia Luongo mentored the young artists, who attended the March 16 opening of the Arts Council exhibition, “Beethoven’s Form and Function,” in which their works were featured. Shown here with Ms. Luongo are, from left: Emily Bigioni; Ada Miller, Maya Pophristic, and Molly Trueman. The exhibition continues at the Arts Council of Princeton through April 9.

Battlefield Cleanup 1

Members of the local community heard the call from the Princeton Battlefield Society to help clear the grounds of the historic Thomas Clarke house Saturday, March 28. Part of the effort was to remove the invasive bamboo that has found a strong foothold in recent years. The Thomas Clarke house, which witnessed the Battle of Princeton on January 3,1777, is being spruced up in phases. The first phase called for stabilizing the structural framing and was completed last fall. Work continues on Phase II this Spring. (Photo by John Lien)

March 31, 2015

The Dryden Ensemble presents “A German Princess at Versailles,” a concert combining music with eyewitness accounts of life at the French court on Saturday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, located at 6587 Upper York Road in Solebury, Pa., and on Sunday, April 19 at 3 p.m. at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at www.drydenensemble.org.

The concert features performers Roberta Maxwell and Paul Hecht in dramatic readings from the letters of Elisabeth Charlotte, sister-in-law to Louis XIV, and the memoirs of Saint-Simon, a soldier, diplomat, and diarist at the French court. Elisabeth Charlotte, a princess of the Palatinate, married the widowed brother of Louis XIV in 1672 at the age of 19. For the remainder of her life, she was not allowed to leave the French court, nor to visit friends and family in Germany, so instead she carried on a lively correspondence with them, sometimes writing as many as 40 letters per week.

An ensemble of oboe, violin, viola da gamba, and harpsichord will perform chamber music by Lully, Louis Couperin, Marais, and François Couperin, including works for the viola da gamba by Marin Marais featuring Lisa Terry.

Known to Princeton audiences for the role of Edna in Edward Albee’s A Delicate Balance at McCarter Theatre, Roberta Maxwell has performed with Ethan Hawke in Chekhov’s Ivanhov at Classic Stage in New York, on Broadway in Equus, Othello, Henry V, and The Merchant of Venice, and Off-Broadway in Stevie, Ashes (Obie Award), Mary Stuart, and A Whistle in the Dark (Obie Award).

Paul Hecht has performed extensively on stage, in movies, and for television. He made his debut on Broadway as the Player in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (Tony nomination 1968). Other Broadway appearances include: Night & Day with Maggie Smith, Invention of Love (Tom Stoppard), 1776 (original company), The Rothschilds, Shaw’s Caesar & Cleopatra, and Pirandello’s Henry IV (both with Rex Harrison). TV audience members may recognize him from his appearances over the years as Charles in Kate & Allie and as several unsavory characters on Law and Order.

The Dryden Ensemble includes Jane McKinley, oboe; Vita Wallace, violin; Lisa Terry, bass viola; and Webb Wiggins, harpsichord, all performing on period instruments.

Because 2015 is the 300th anniversary of the death of Louis XIV, the Graphic Arts Collection at Princeton University has mounted an exhibit entitled “Versailles on Paper” in the Main Gallery of Firestone Library, which will be on view until July 19, 2015. For more information visit: http://rbsc.princeton.edu/versailles. Included in the exhibit are an engraving of Elisabeth Charlotte’s husband, known in court as “Monsieur.” There is also a marriage contract from 1710 with her signature, as well as many engravings of the palace, gardens of Versailles, and the Sun King himself.

March 27, 2015

John Nash

John Nash, the Princeton University mathematician, has been awarded the 2015 Abel Prize by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Mr. Nash, 86, was recognized on March 25 for his seminal work on partial differential equations, which are used to describe the basic laws of scientific phenomena. Established in 2003, the award is one of the most prestigious in the field of mathematics and includes an $800,000 prize.

Mr. Nash will share the prize with longtime colleague Louis Nirenberg, a professor emeritus at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences. Mr. Nash is the second consecutive Princeton researcher to receive the honor; Yakov Sinai, a Princeton University professor of mathematics, was awarded the 2014 Abel Prize for his influential 50-year career in mathematics. Several past winners have been University alumni.

Mr. Nash’s life and work in game theory were dramatized in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, starring Russell Crowe. He is a 1994 Nobel Prize laureate in economics. It is Mr. Nash’s work in geometry and partial differential equations that “the mathematical community regards as his most important and deepest work,” according to the academy. The prize citation recognized Mr. Nash and Mr. Nirenberg for “striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations and its applications to geometric analysis.”

Mr. Nash joined the Princeton mathematics department as a senior research mathematician in 1995. His honors include the American Mathematical Society’s 1999 Leroy P. Steele Prize for Seminal Contribution to Research and the 1978 John von Neumann Theory Prize. He holds membership in the National Academy of Sciences and in 2012 was an inaugural fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

Mr. Nash received his doctorate in mathematics from Princeton in 1950 and his graduate and bachelor’s degrees from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1948. He and Mr. Nirenberg were announced as the 2015 Abel Prize recipients in Oslo on March 25 by the president of the Norwegian Academy of Science. They will accept the prize from His Majesty King Harald V of Norway during a May 19 ceremony in Oslo.

Co-authors of the recently published book Unmaking the Bomb, Zia Mian and Frank von Hippel, will discuss and answer questions about their work at a Coalition for Peace Action (CFPA) gathering on Sunday, March 29, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road. The program, which is free and open to the public, with no RSVP required, will include an opportunity to renew membership or join CFPA. Mr. Mian directs the Project on Peace and Security in South Asia at Princeton University’s Program on Science and Global Security. Mr. von Hippel is a former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology. He won a 1993 MacArthur fellowship in recognition of his outstanding contributions to his fields of research. The CFPA Annual Membership Renewal and New Member Welcome Gathering in the Unitarian Universalist church just up the hill from light at intersection with Route 206 will begin with a light meal from 2 to 3 p.m.,which is free to CFPA members who have renewed for 2015, or to new or renewing members who bring their membership contribution to the door. Those planning to attend the light meal are asked to RSVP by emailing cfpa@peacecoalition.org or calling the CFPA office at (609) 924-5022. For more information, visit: www.peacecoalition.org.

March 25, 2015
David Gray has been named permanent executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

David Gray has been named permanent executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Ballet was not on David Gray’s radar when he was growing up in Princeton and attending Princeton High School (class of 1977). It was not something he thought about when he began a publishing career in New York after graduating from Johns Hopkins University.

But while not a dancer himself, Mr. Gray knows his way around a pirouette or entrechat-six. What started when he was assigned to edit a few dance books back at that first job, followed by a position in the press office of the New York City Ballet, has come full circle with his recent appointment as executive director of the Pennsylvania Ballet.

Mr. Gray, whose resume also includes the financial industry and writing books, got a call from the Pennsylvania Ballet last July while he was filling in for Princeton Symphony Orchestra executive director Melanie Clarke, who was on leave. The ballet company’s artistic director and executive director had stepped down. Would Mr. Gray take over as interim executive director while a search for the two positions was taken on?

“I did both jobs, at the PSO and the ballet, for a few weeks before I worked it out so that I could do the ballet full-time,” Mr. Gray said, over coffee at Small World a few weeks ago. “By August, they had named Angel Corella as artistic director. I had known him for years, so that made it easy. And the ballet world is a world I know pretty well.”

Mr. Gray was in his 20s when he was offered the press office job at the New York City Ballet, via his connections from the publishing world. In 1990, he married one of the company’s most acclaimed principal dancers, Kyra Nichols. The couple moved to Princeton when their son Joe, now 18 and a PHS senior, was a toddler. Their younger son, Cameron, is 14.

“When I was growing up, I thought Princeton was the most boring place in the world and I couldn’t wait to leave. But my parents were here and we needed the free babysitting,” Mr. Gray joked. “We stayed, bought a house, and we’ve been here all these years, so I guess you could say I’ve changed my mind.”

Mr. Gray became a financial planner after leaving the New York City Ballet. Following the move to New Jersey, he was executive director of New Jersey’s American Repertory Ballet and interim executive director of the New Brunswick Cultural Center before opening his own financial planning office in Princeton. Another interim position was heading the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. He has taught at Brookdale Community College and was a guest lecturer at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and the University of Pennsylvania. “I kept getting sucked into the non-profit world,” he said.

Arriving at Pennsylvania Ballet’s offices in Philadelphia last summer, Mr. Gray found an enterprise in need of some attention. “Like many non-profit organizations at the end of a recession, there were some real financial challenges,” he said. “But it’s definitely getting better.”

Recent performances of Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake were mostly sold out, and response to the appointment of Mr. Corella, a former star of American Ballet Theatre, have been positive both among audiences and the dancers in the company. Soon after taking over from former artistic director Roy Kaiser, Mr. Corella made some administrative and artistic changes, hiring some dancers from Cuba and from a company he headed briefly in his native Spain.

“Angel is very hands-on,” said Mr. Gray. “He spends a lot of time with the dancers. He’s instituted a twice-a week men’s class and a women’s class, which allows the dancers to work on different aspects of technique that are specific to men and women. And he’s broadening the repertoire.”

Ms. Nichols, who retired from New York City Ballet in 2007 and has been teaching privately in Princeton, is now teaching the dancers of Pennsylvania Ballet II, its apprentice ensemble, once a week. She may also be setting some works by choreographer George Balanchine for the full company.

The affable Mr. Gray can be found in the lobby of the theater at each performance of the company, greeting donors and audience members. He wears a name tag and insists that other staff members do the same. “Angel is creating a lot of excitement, and we need to be accessible to the public and help build on that excitement,” he said. “Part of the plan is to increase family support, and we’re doing just that.”

PRINCETON HOMECOMING: It was a homecoming of sorts when Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan M. Mann of the United States Navy traveled to Princeton to visit children in Susan Frenchu’s kindergarten class at Johnson Park Elementary School. The kindergartners had written to Mr. Mann as part of a Veterans Day class project last November and were delighted when he came to see them on March 16. Mr. Mann, who is stationed in Africa, brought the students a hand-carved cheetah in tribute to their class name, “The Golden Cheetahs.” They learned that “their veteran” grew up in Princeton where he went to Littlebrook School.

PRINCETON HOMECOMING: It was a homecoming of sorts when Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan M. Mann of the United States Navy traveled to Princeton to visit children in Susan Frenchu’s kindergarten class at Johnson Park Elementary School. The kindergartners had written to Mr. Mann as part of a Veterans Day class project last November and were delighted when he came to see them on March 16. Mr. Mann, who is stationed in Africa, brought the students a hand-carved cheetah in tribute to their class name, “The Golden Cheetahs.” They learned that “their veteran” grew up in Princeton where he went to Littlebrook School.

When kindergartners in Susan Frenchu’s class at Johnson Park Elementary School wrote to a member of the military last November, all they knew about “their veteran” was his name: Ryan M. Mann.

“They knew only the officer’s name, not his rank, his location or where he was from — or even if he was actively enlisted,” said Ann T. Kovalick, who volunteers as a class parent at the school, where her son is in Ms. Frenchu’s class.

So the children, who had chosen to name their class “The Golden Cheetahs” after the famed African cat that is the fastest on the planet, had no way of knowing that their letter would travel all the way to Africa to reach Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan M. Mann of the United States Navy or that their project would one day bring Mr. Mann all the way to their Princeton classroom.

Mr. Mann made special arrangements to visit “The Golden Cheetahs” on his next trip home to the United States. He thanked each of his young correspondents in person on March 16. Not only that, he presented the entire class, with a hand carved “Golden Cheetah” from Africa.

In their letter, “The Golden Cheetahs” shared their favorite things with Mr. Mann. They each drew him a small picture. They also asked him questions, including what his favorite color is, what his favorite shape is, and what his favorite food is. They hoped to get a letter back and they were not disappointed.

In his reply, Mr. Mann revealed that his favorite color is red, his favorite shape is a triangle, and that he thinks spaghetti with meatballs is delicious.

Although Mr. Mann now makes his home in Maryland, he grew up in Princeton where he went to Littlebrook Elementary School at a time when Robert Ginsberg, now principal of Johnson Park, was the principal there. The former Littlebrook student ran into Mr. Ginsberg in the hallway and while he may have felt the urge to salute, he settled instead for a warm handshake with his former principal whom he recognized immediately.

Johnson Park School prides itself on fostering a warm and friendly environment and the contact between these young students and Mr. Mann was prompted by the initiative of a school aide who is also a former Navy officer. Rick Kelly reached out to teachers asking if they could supply the names of any veterans they knew of. He hoped to facilitate letters from students as a way of marking Veterans Day, the official November 11 holiday honoring people who have served or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. As a result, teacher Bonnie Walker, who lives next door to Mr. Mann’s mother, made the connection. Mr. Kelly was therefore the guiding hand bringing “The Golden Cheetahs” into contact with their veteran in Africa.

One more thing that the kindergartners might like to know about Mr. Mann is that he was so touched by their letter that he keeps it on display in his office for all to see.

runner stowe

Olympic hopeful Rebeka Stowe has joined the faculty of The Wilberforce School as a coach and faculty aid from now until the Olympic Trials in June 2016. Ms. Stowe graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012, where she was a decorated track and cross-country runner. She was elected captain of the Kansas Jayhawks’ track and cross-country team for two years, and she holds the school records for Distance Medley Relay, Indoor 3000m, and 3000m Steeplechase. She also served as a coach for the Jayhawks after graduation, and was a finalist in the 2012 Olympic Trials for Steeplechase. Rebeka moved to New Jersey to train with the New Jersey New York Track & Field Club in order to pursue her dream of representing the United States in the Olympics.

volunteer connect

VolunteerConnect, which partners with area corporations and business to support Central New Jersey non-profit groups, held a Meet and Greet Nonprofit Fair recently following its BoardConnect program, which trains professionals to serve effectively on the boards of area non-profit organizations. Jessica Nitti, executive director of Camp Fire, New Jersey; Celeste Murphy, Camp Fire New Jersey Board Member and BoardConnect participant; and Gary Tier, president, Grey Elephant Consulting, and BoardConnect participant were among those on hand to get acquainted with area non-profit organizations in need of skilled and effective board members.