January 13, 2021

“ETTA AND ELLA ON THE UPPER WEST SIDE:” Round House Theatre, in association with McCarter Theatre Center, is presenting the world premiere of Adrienne Kennedy’s “Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side.” Directed by Timothy Douglas, the prerecorded video will be available online through February 28. Above: Ella (Caroline Clay) describes a contentious relationship between two sisters, both of whom are authors. (Video still courtesy of Round House Theatre)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

McCarter is partnering with the Round House Theatre (in Bethesda, Maryland) to present an online festival, The Work of Adrienne Kennedy: Inspiration and Influence.

Kennedy’s many awards include an Obie for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2018 she was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. A press release notes that her plays are “taught in colleges throughout the country, in Europe, India, and Africa.”

This series, which has been a fitting tribute to an underperformed playwright, consists of prerecorded performances produced by the Round House. All four productions have been conceived with a theatrical sensibility, while taking advantage of the visual — even cinematic — possibilities offered by video.

The festival opened with He Brought Her Heart Back in a Box, which depicted young lovers, separated by physical space as well as their racial backgrounds. Their letters to each other illuminate America’s history of racial injustice. The excruciatingly relevant second installment, Sleep Deprivation Chamber, is inspired by the treatment Kennedy’s own son (and co-author) experienced at the hands of police officers. Ohio State Murders was the third play presented. While not as overtly autobiographical, it examines the racial prejudice Kennedy experienced on a mid-20th century campus.

Elements from all three of these plays appear, to varying degrees, in the final installment: Etta and Ella on the Upper West Side, which is receiving its world premiere via this festival. The multilayered, deceptively stream-of-consciousness piece — which runs a little over a half an hour — is a monologue, though multiple characters speak.  more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra continued its virtual concert series with a broadcast performance this past weekend of Classical-era chamber works and solo piano music. Led by Music Director Rossen Milanov, Sunday afternoon’s concert provided cozy music for a winter afternoon.

18th-century French composer Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was almost as famous for his background as for his music. A contemporary of Mozart, Saint-Georges was born in the West Indies an illegitimate son of a wealthy French nobleman and his slave. Contrary to the customs of the time, Saint-Georges’ father took Joseph and his mother to Paris, where he was well educated in music and athletics. Saint-Georges simultaneously pursued careers in music and fencing, eventually serving in the court of Louis XV and becoming a music teacher of Marie Antoinette. Despite his support from the monarchy, Saint-Georges sided with the revolutionaries in the French Revolution and was later arrested as an enemy of the people. And like Mozart, despite his fame in music circles, Saint-Georges died poor and in obscurity.  

Although much of Saint-Georges’ music was lost in the French Revolution, orchestras have recently turned their attention to his symphonic works. Rooted in the compositional style of Haydn, Saint-Georges’ 1779 Symphony No. 1 in G Major captured the light and playful musical atmosphere of late 18th-century France. In a performance recorded earlier this year in the education center of Princeton’s Morven Museum and Garden, eleven members of Princeton Symphony Orchestra, led by Milanov, played the three-movement Symphony emphasizing the music’s simplicity and charm. In the first movement, subtle winds accompanied string sections busy with motivic melodic material and musical teasing. First violinists Basia Danilow, Margaret Banks and Ruotao Mao led a graceful dialog among the instruments in the second movement andante. Saint-Georges may have been a violin virtuoso, but he composed the violin parts of this Symphony with delicacy and elegance in mind.   more

STRINGS ONLINE: Virtual music lessons have become familiar to the young artists of Trenton Music Makers. A new set of viola, violin, and cello classes will now be offered.

A grant from the New Jersey Arts and Culture Relief Fund will allow Trenton children and teens to try a new musical instrument from the safety of home. Trenton Music Makers is opening four new string classes for beginners. more

PANDEMIC PLAYHOUSE ENTERTAINMENT: From left, Dino Curia, Jeffrey Marc Alkins, and Ellie Gossage star in George Bernard Shaw’s“Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction or The Fatal Gazogene.” The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey will screen the play as part of a special virtual program. (Photo by Avery Brunkus)

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) will screen several plays filmed on the company’s stage at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theater, with minimal scenic elements and full costumes. The only thing missing will be a live audience. more

DON’T STOP THE MUSIC: Westminster Conservatory offers discounted lessons for all ages through April. Musicians of every stage of ability can enroll.

Westminster Conservatory of Music is offering discounted lessons from now through April 2021, for musicians of all ages and stages of ability. Introductory packages of four lessons for the price of three are being offered.

The offer is valid for both new students and current students who wish to pursue a new instrument. All lessons will be delivered virtually for safety and convenience. more

GREENHOUSES AT FREDERICKS FLOWERS: The work of Harry Boardman will be the subject of the first event in Artsbridge’s 2021 Distinguished Artist Series. The virtual event will be held via Zoom on Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m.

Artsbridge’s 2021 Distinguished Artist Series begins with “Harry Boardman: So Much to Paint, So Little Time,” on Thursday, January 21 at 7 p.m. The event will feature a virtual visit to Boardman’s studio, gallery, and home, all housed in a former cigar factory in Souderton, PA.  more

“HEALTHCARE HEROES”: New Jersey artist Joe LaMattina’s homage to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has been donated to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH) Hamilton was recently presented with the donation of a piece of multimedia artwork, Healthcare Angels, by its creator, New Jersey-based artist Joe LaMattina. This original piece, an homage to frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, will be placed on display throughout the hospital units for all staff and patients to enjoy before it finds its permanent home in a place of honor in the hospital’s main building.  more

CELEBRATING BLACK PRINCETONIANS: A free, limited-edition coloring book featuring prominent Black residents of Princeton from history will be available for pick up, while supplies last, at the Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, on Monday, January 18.

Join the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) on Monday, January 18 to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

The ACP, in collaboration with the Historical Society of Princeton and neighborhood historian Shirley Satterfield, invites families to learn about the impact and influence of Black Princetonians by picking up a free, limited-edition coloring book featuring prominent Black residents of Princeton from history including accomplished business owners, politicians, educators, and influential women, in addition to Martin Luther King Jr.’s visits to campus in the 1960s.

Coloring books are free and available for pick up while supplies last at the Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18. The coloring books are limited to two per household. more

HANDSOME HOMES: This splendid townhouse is one of the 45 homes available at The Townhomes at Riverwalk, a 55 + active adult community in Plainsboro.

By Jean Stratton

Every detail has been carefully thought about. Every amenity is provided, and everything can be customized to personal taste.

The Townhomes at Riverwalk, a group of 45 homes located at One Riverwalk in Plainsboro, are now ready for occupancy. An active adult community for those 55 and older, this is a unique opportunity featuring a club membership program, which offers shared amenities and services with the neighboring rental community, Ovation at Riverwalk.

“Sharing the clubhouse amenities is a new concept in New Jersey,” explains Anna Shulkina, realtor at Re/Max of Princeton, who is the listing agent for the Riverwalk Townhomes, “This is really a special benefit of living here. As club members, residents can enjoy the restaurants, gym, swimming pool, library, game room, etc. The monthly maintenance fee includes access to all these club amenities.”

Owned by MVB Riverwalk Urban Renewal LLC, which is headquartered in Philadelphia, The Townhomes is a grouping of eight buildings, including four different home models. They offer owners opportunities for customized materials, a variety of cabinet and countertop colors, and floor plans. more

YOUNG LEADER: Chris Young fires a pitch in a 2005 game for the Texas Rangers. Young, a 2002 Princeton University alum who starred at basketball and baseball during his college career, was recently named as the executive vice president and general manager of the Rangers. After a 13-year playing career in the big leagues, Young had been working in the Major League Baseball front office for the last three years, most recently as senior vice president of on-field operations. (Photo provided by Texas Rangers)

By Justin Feil

One-tenth of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) general managers are Princeton University graduates after Chris Young was named the executive vice president and general manager of the Texas Rangers in early December.

The former Ivy League Rookie of the Year in baseball as well as basketball joined the ranks of Princeton alums turned general managers along with Mike Hazen (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Mike Chernoff (Cleveland Indians).

“I think it’s a tribute to one, the University, and two, Scott Bradley,” said Young, 41, a 2002 Princeton alum, referring to the longtime Tiger baseball head coach.

“What he has done over the years with his program, the influence that his players and thereby him have had on Major League Baseball is pretty significant. It really is a tribute to what a special person he is and I certainly would not be here without him.”

Young took a different path to his post than did Hazen and Chernoff, who headed into administration quickly after graduating from Princeton. The 6’10 right-hander Young spent 13 years in MLB before jumping right into the league’s front office for the last three years, most recently as senior vice president of on-field operations.  more

CALL TO ACTION: Princeton High boys’ hockey player Austin Micale looks to move the puck in a game last winter. Senior defenseman and assistant captain Micale is primed for a big final season. PHS, which is welcoming a new head coach in Dave Hansen, starts its 2021 campaign on January 18 by playing Paul VI at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While new Princeton High boys’ hockey head coach Dave Hansen has only had a week of on-ice practice with his squad after weeks of dry-land training, he believes things are already coming together.

“I am really happy with the boys right now, they work hard,” said Hansen, the longtime head coach at Madison High and successor to Joe Bensky, who guided the Tigers to an 18-4-2 record and the Mercer County Tournament title last winter.

“In the first one or two practices, I wanted to have some fun with them. I am just trying to have a good time with them and get to know them and they are trying to do the same thing with me. We are off to a good start.”

In Hansen’s view, he and his new players are quickly getting on the same page. 

“We are doing our forechecks, we are doing our d-zones, we are doing our power plays and penalty kills,” said Hansen.

“I try to do a lot of skills drills the first 20-25 minutes and then focus on systems for the last 45 minutes to an hour. We got on the ice last week and we started doing a few drills. When we started repeating them, they knew where to go right away. They know what they need to do and they are doing that at a high caliber.” more

By Bill Alden

Dave Hansen has been around the game of hockey since he was a preschooler in Morris County.

“I started playing hockey when I was 4 or 5 years old, it was a big sport in Chatham,” said Hansen.

“My cousins played and I was intrigued by it. My dad took me to a public session at a rink and I loved it. I had a chair in front of me, I would fall and he would pick me up to help me learn how to skate.”

Picking up things quickly on the ice, Hansen played club hockey for the Colonials, Rockets, and Devils programs and then went on to star for Chatham High. After graduating from Chatham, Hansen played at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Returning to New Jersey, Hansen got into coaching, starting as an assistant at Montclair High in 1995 and then becoming a head coach at Mt. Olive High and later Madison High.

In his 17-season tenure at Madison from 2004-20, Hansen led the program to unprecedented success, earning over 200 wins.

“I started the program with nine players; I had a lot of fun with it, they definitely listened to me and the systems I wanted to install,” said Hansen, 48, who runs a landscaping business when he is not on the ice. more

LOW RIDER: Princeton Day School boys’ hockey player Michael Sullo goes after the puck in a game last winter. After emerging as a star for PDS last winter, junior forward Sullo figures to be a go-to scorer for the Panthers this season. PDS opens its 2021 campaign when it plays at Don Bosco on January 24. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While there is normally a buzz in the air when the Princeton Day School boys’ hockey team hits the ice to start preseason training, Scott Bertoli saw a heightened intensity when his players arrived at McGraw Rink last week to prepare for the 2021 campaign.

“It was good to be on the ice,” said PDS head coach Bertoli, who guided the Panthers to a 7-11-1 record last winter in a season highlighted by wins over Lawrenceville, Delbarton, and Hun.

“They were excited to be out there. That was even furthered by the fact that for many of them it was the first time being on our ice or being in the new athletic center so there was a lot of excitement surrounding the start of the season.”

The PDS players are excited to be furthering the program’s proud tradition.

“I know that a lot of these kids are playing club hockey outside of here but there is definitely something different to playing for your high school, especially at a school like this,” added Bertoli. more

January 11, 2021

Beat cabin fever with these fun and rousing games and puzzles!

 more

January 6, 2021

Members of the Color Guard were in attendance on Sunday afternoon at a wreath laying ceremony at the Mercer Oak in Battlefield State Park. The event, presented by the Princeton Battlefield Society, commemorated the January 3, 1777 Battle of Princeton. (Photo by Weronkia A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

With 101,417 people in New Jersey having so far received the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s Monday, January 4 report, state health officials were looking to speed up the process in hopes of meeting their goal of 4.7 million vaccinations, 70 percent of the state’s population, in the next six months.

The Princeton Health Department continues to lead the local effort to combat the virus, with their current focus on delivering the vaccine effectively to protect as many local residents as possible.

“The vaccine distribution is front and center right now,” Princeton Press and Media Communications Director Fred Williams wrote in a January 5 email. He noted that a local Princeton web portal would be up and running by the evening of January 5 in English and Spanish for COVID-19 vaccine registration for Princeton residents in the Phase 1B category, which includes frontline essential workers and individuals over 75.

“The rollout, on a national scale, has encountered some supply chain and other logistical issues, but locally, on our smaller scale, things are progressing well,” Williams said. more

By Anne Levin

Mark Freda officially began his term as Princeton’s mayor Monday evening after being sworn in by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman at Princeton Council’s annual reorganization meeting.

Council members Leticia Fraga and David Cohen took the oath of office for their second terms, and Fraga was named new Council president for 2021. Several professional contracts, boards, and commissions were approved at the meeting.

Familiar in local politics from his years serving on the former Borough Council, Freda focused in his remarks on creating opportunities for people at all economic levels, improving listening skills, sharing information, and treating each other with respect and decency.

“There are many issues for us ahead including COVID-19 and all of its impacts on the community,” he said. “These impacts will most likely persist for years. During those years, new challenges and new issues will arise, and they will require resilience, agility, and effort from all of us to address them.”

Freda spoke of making efforts to improve speed and efficiency in digesting information and making decisions. “This past year has amplified the need for a consistent and ongoing effort to support everyone in our community to the best of our abilities, to create partnerships, and to question the way things are done as we look to improve services and how they are delivered,” he said.

He also touched on growing the tax base, creating job opportunities, providing services within a reasonable municipal budget, and working with the public school system and Mercer County on shared services. Praising those who have worked during the past year to address the challenges of the pandemic, Freda said those efforts will continue. more

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton University’s recent Net-Zero America study lays out in detail what the Biden-Harris administration must do to meet its pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. In the three weeks since its release, the study has stirred up interest among decision makers in government and industry.

President-elect Joe Biden, along with many state and business leaders, has endorsed the goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in seeking to avoid the worst effects of climate change.   

A two-year effort led by 18 different researchers, 10 from Princeton University, the study, “Net-Zero America: Potential Pathways, Infrastructure, and Impacts,” has immediate and practical implications. Project leaders have briefings scheduled this month on Capitol Hill, with the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, with U.S Senator Cory Booker’s staff, and with Gina McCarthy, former Environmental Protection Agency leader in the Obama administration and Biden’s nominee to head the new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy.

A December 29 New York Times editorial noted, “What the Princeton study envisions is great amounts of new public and private investment, bigger by far than the modest energy-related tax breaks in the year-end spending and coronavirus relief package.”

In a January 4 phone interview Eric Larson, a lead researcher of the study and senior research engineer at Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, commented on the study and its impact so far. 

“It was a great team effort to put it together,” he said. “I hope that it’s useful both for people making public policy and also private investment decisions. A lot of companies have declared that they’re going to be net zero as well. Hopefully this provides guidance for many different stakeholders.” more

A FARM IS PRESERVED: Sycamore Creek Farm in Hopewell will remain as it is thanks to efforts of D&R Greenway and new owner Pete Cifelli, who grew up on the land and is now its steward. He is shown here as a youngster, observing a foal.

By Anne Levin

A 50-acre expanse of open space, forest, and farmland in Hopewell is now preserved for posterity. D&R Greenway Land Trust has added Sycamore Creek Farm, in a valley by Jacobs Creek, to the more than 21,000 acres of land in New Jersey the non-profit has saved since 1989.

The property includes acres of farm fields, a house dating back to 1830, barns that were renovated by former owner Toni Cifelli, a forest, and a stone wall.  Cifelli and his wife, Patti, raised their family at the farm. The couple recently moved to North Carolina, and their son, Pete, has purchased the farm from them.

Preservation funding for the property was provided by public partners including the New Jersey Green Acres program grants to D&R Greenway, Friends of Hopewell Valley Open Space, Mercer County, and Hopewell Township. D&R Greenway contributed funds from a private donor, Gene Gladston.

D&R Greenway and partners purchased a conservation easement, enabling the land to stay in the Cifelli family and continue as a farm with permanent protection. more

By Anne Levin

Barrett Young

As far back as he can remember, The Rescue Mission of Trenton has been a part of Barrett Young’s life.

The new chief executive officer of the 105-year-old organization started as an emergency shelter associate in 2003, working from midnight until 8 a.m. In 2013, he became chief operating officer. But even before then — way before — Young was tagging along with his mother Mary Gay Abbott-Young, who was CEO of the Mission from 1986 until this week.

“I literally grew up here,” said Young, 39, in a telephone interview last week. “I used to come here with my mom all the time. When she’d get called suddenly to come to work, I would run and jump in the car to come with her. Sometimes I’d even hide in the car.”

The Mission’s board of directors announced Barrett Young’s promotion last week. Abbott-Young will now serve as the organization’s president. Her focus will be on public advocacy, grants, funding, and the organization’s strategic plan.

Between mother and son, there are more than six decades of experience at the Mission, which is dedicated to helping the homeless and those who have nowhere else to turn.

“As the chief executive officer, Barrett will be responsible for providing leadership for the organization, working with the board of girectors and the management team, as well as overseeing all aspects of this very complex organization that last year served 71,992 warm meals; offered shelter to 1,018 individuals who were homeless; provided counseling and vocational development to, on average, 80 individuals in the residential behavioral health treatment program; and helped 153 previously homeless individuals enter permanent supportive housing,” said Niel Siekerka, chair of the board of directors, in a press release. more

SCIENCE ON SATURDAY: Physicist Philip Moriarty brought his electric guitar for his lecture on “The Uncertainty Principle Goes to 11 or How to Explain Quantum Physics with Heavy Metal” in a Science on Saturday lecture in 2019. The popular Princeton Plasma Physics Lab lecture series kicks off its 2021 presentations online this Saturday, January 9, at 9:30 a.m. (Photo by Elle Starkman/ PPPL Office of Communications)

By Donald Gilpin

Stellarator fusion, chemistry and art, recognizing AI “snake oil,” studying the sun, searching for dark matter, and fighting COVID-19 are all on the agenda at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), as the Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday Lecture Series resumes on January 9 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the Zoom virtual meeting platform.

“We have a wonderful lineup of outstanding scientists this year that you can view from your living room,” said PPPL Communications and Public Outreach Head Andrew Zwicker.  “After a challenging year when science moved front and center, we are very pleased to be able to announce the agenda for our fully remote lecture series.”

Emphasizing the importance of bringing community members together to talk about science, Zwicker continued, “The last year, with a global health crisis, has amplified the need for strong science communication. There have been discussions about mask wearing, about alternative treatments, and so the politics of science was amplified. It’s important to bring science in a way that young people and members of the general public can understand it.”

Leading off the series this Saturday will be “The Renaissance of the Stellarator Fusion Concept,” a lecture by PPPL physicist and head of advanced projects David Gates. Stellarators, a type of fusion energy facility that may be key to the future of energy, were invented by PPPL founder Lyman Spitzer in the 1950s. The twisty-coil stellarators, less popular for fusion experiments than donut-shaped tokamaks, have been making a comeback, Gates pointed out, with scientists recently finding new approaches to stellarator design. more

By Stuart Mitchner

The blind was down and a strong light was burning in the room. The shadow of a man who was seated in a chair within was thrown in hard black outline upon the luminous screen of the window.

—from “The Adventure of the Empty House”

“What are you doing here?” Sherlock Holmes wanted to know.

Two hours into the new year, after online searches linked to combinations of the numbers 2-0-2-1, I encountered a brightly inviting onscreen image of the cover of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which I’ve been reading. When I clicked on the small red arrow flashing above the title, I was livestreamed into 221B Baker Street, where I found myself facing a facsimile of Holmes like the window-framed silhouette on the front of the book, a replica of the wax bust devised to entrap Dr. Moriarty in “The Adventure of the Empty House.”

After the charged silence that followed my rushed account of how I got there, the shadow spoke: “I see you have your own copy of the 1905 McClure Phillips edition previously owned by a Louise K. Ribsam of Trenton, New Jersey.” Indeed, the selfsame volume lay open on my desk, its front and back covers hanging for dear life from the tattered cliff-edge of the spine. “At the moment,” the elegantly mannered voice continued, “you are feeling the effects of a vile combination of Prosecco, hard cider, and Celestial Seasonings iced tea (the Bengal Spice flavor). You have just commenced work on your weekly column for a newspaper that will appear in print and online Wednesday, January 6, the date that some well-meaning if misguided obsessives have settled on as my birthday. In addition to rereading The Return and watching reruns of the BBC series that bears my name, you’ve been reading Shakespeare’s comedy of sociopathic madness, Twelfth Night, in which everyone except the clown Feste is insane without knowing it, thus the subtitle, Or What You Will.”

Right on all counts except the Bengal Spice. In the spirit of “what you will” and anything goes, I tell myself to go  with the flow and stop worrying about how this cyber sleuth could know so much about me — this is Sherlock Holmes. This is what he does.  more

Buskaid, which provides high quality string teaching to less privileged young people in Soweto, South Africa, will be presented by Princeton Symphony Orchestra in a curated, on-demand series of concerts starting January 29-31. Multiple soloists and vocalists take part  and music ranges from classical to popular. The concerts will be available on demand the final weekend of each month from January to May, and cost $5 per device link. Visit princetonsymphony.org for more details.

MOZART AND MORE: The Philadelphia Orchestra, led here by Music Director Yannick Nezet-Seguin, keeps the music going this season with online performances. (Photo by Jeff Fusco)

The Philadelphia Orchestra has concerts planned for virtual viewing in the coming months.

On January 14 at 8 p.m., Philippe Tondre is the soloist in Mozart’s Oboe Concerto, conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Also on the program are works by Saint-Georges and Haydn. more

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has announced acclaimed fine art photographer Robin Resch as its winter 2021 Anne Reeves Artist-in-Residence. During her residency, Resch will continue work locally on her series, aptly named Taking Pause, in response to the challenges of this year and the COVID-19 pandemic. The completed portraits will be on display in Princeton’s Dohm Alley from April to October 2021.

Taking Pause is a documentary, collaborative portrait project that asks people to reflect on what in their lives feels most essential. With what do we identify and connect most deeply? What truly matters to us and why?

Resch documents each participant with two distinct portraits: one of their physical self, and an accompanying portrait of their reflective self through what they choose to share. Each participant is then asked to tell the story behind their selection.

 more