December 29, 2021

“STEPHANIE”: The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Traces of Time,” an exhibition by Princeton-based photographer Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick, January 8 through February 5.

The Arts Council of Princeton presents “Traces of Time,” an exhibition by Princeton-based photographer Eileen Hohmuth Lemonick, January 8 through February 5, 2022.

“Traces of Time” addresses a lifetime of memories, love, sexuality, family, beauty, decay, fragility, longevity, vulnerability, sickness, health, and death. It has to do with moments and people that are gone. The project started when Hohmuth-Lemonick fractured her pelvis, was immobile, and could only get around with a walker. Friends sent bouquets, and with severely limited motion, she began to photograph them on her kitchen table, finding beauty in their decay. From that initial work, she has continued in many directions: among them portraits, flowers frozen in melting ice, images created with a scanner, combining live and dead flowers, painting on vegetation, and observing the passage of time in nature.

For many years, Hohmuth-Lemonick specialized in documentary and portrait photography, focusing on people who live in developing countries and who face challenges many in the developed world can’t easily imagine. In the fall of 2006, she traveled to Uganda to photograph one group of children orphaned by AIDS and another undergoing rehabilitation after having served as child soldiers in the revolutionary army trying to overthrow the government.  more

“CONNECTED”: An exhibit of works by Elaina R. Phillips, whose watercolor painting of the Princeton High School tower hangs at the school, will be on display at Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury January 15 through January 26.

The Cranbury Arts Council invites the public to visit the Gourgaud Gallery in Cranbury January 15 through January 26 to see “Connected,” an exhibit by Elaina R. Phillips. 

Phillips is a 2021 recipient of the Cranbury Arts Council Scholarship and is currently a student at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. Her work has been on display in three exhibitions at the Arts Council of Princeton and juried art shows in Monroe.  more

RECOVERED ARTIFACTS: Mercer Museum Executive Director Kyle McKoy, third from right, and Vice President of Collections and Interpretation Cory Amsler, center, gather with members of the FBI and local law enforcement at a recent repatriation ceremony for stolen artifacts. (Photo courtesy of Museum of the American Revolution)

The Mercer Museum in Doylestown, Pa., operated by the Bucks County Historical Society (BCHS), attended a repatriation ceremony for stolen artifacts at the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia on Friday, December 17, alongside six museums from the region.

Artifacts stolen nearly half a century ago and recovered as part of a 50-year-old cold case cracked by the FBI in 2019 were returned to the Mercer Museum, American Swedish Historical Museum, Hershey Story Museum, Landis Valley Museum, Museum of the American Revolution, and York County History Center. The items being repatriated include historic firearms from the 18th and 19th centuries, including rifles and pistols, and a Native American silver concho belt.

The recovery of the artifacts was made possible through the efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team – Philadelphia Division, the United States Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Upper Merion Township Police Department.

The Mercer Museum received a late-18th century English flintlock boarding pistol, stolen from their collection nearly 50 years ago. At the time of its disappearance, the pistol was on display in an exhibit case on the third floor of the Mercer Museum in downtown Doylestown, Pa. In the 1990s, when reviewing a comprehensive inventory of the Mercer Museum’s collection, the pistol could not be located and was officially recorded as “missing.”  more

December 22, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

“Ah, Shakespeare, Shakespeare! … The great maestro of the human heart!”

—Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Verdi is so quoted in Saturday’s New York Times under the banner headline “’Hail, Shakespeare’ Resonates Across Italy,” for an article on the opera house opening nights of Macbeth, Falstaff, Othello, and Julius Caesar in Milan, Florence, Naples, and Rome.

Above the headline is a lurid panoramic backdrop from David Livermore’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. Shown in the foreground, a scattered crowd of people in modern dress appear to be waiting for something to happen, like a chorus of citizens anticipating a cue, seemingly unaware of the fantastical urban inferno looming behind them. It’s as if the set designer is trying to visually evoke Harold Bloom’s vision of Macbeth’s “power of contamination.” In the opening chapter of his book Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Bloom refers to Shakespeare’s “pervasive presence in the most unlikely contexts: here, there, and everywhere at once. He is a system of northern lights, an aurora borealis visible where most of us will never go. Libraries and playhouses (and cinemas) cannot contain him; he has become a spirit or ‘spell of light,’ almost too vast to comprehend.”

Comic Relief

Shakespeare shows up again in Sunday’s Arts and Leisure section in the form of an immense, darkly foreboding two-page ad for The Tragedy of Macbeth, “written for the screen and directed by Joel Coen.” Looking to keep things cheerful with Christmas only three days away, I went right to the knocking at the gate in Act Two and the Porter’s moment in the spotlight, which Bloom notes as “the first and only comedy allowed in this drama.” Here Shakespeare introduces “a healing touch of nature where Macbeth has intimidated us with the preternatural, and with the Macbeths’ mutual phantasmagoria of murder and power.”  more

By Nancy Plum

The musical world may still be celebrating the 250th birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, but no composer has stood the test of time better than Johann Sebastian Bach. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has traditionally proven this almost every year in Princeton by presenting a concert of Bach’s joyous 1720 Brandenburg Concertos. The 20-member Chamber Music Society returned to McCarter Theatre Center last week to perform these complex, well-crafted yet accessible works. Thursday night’s performance in McCarter’s Matthews Theatre both dazzled the audience with the players’ technical abilities and created a festive musical mood suitable for the holiday season.  

Bach elevated the Baroque concerto form to new heights with the six works for solo instruments and orchestra compiled and dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg. Each concerto featured a different combination of instruments, and the Chamber Music Society was able to augment the variety by showcasing different musicians in each work. The ensemble grouped Bach’s concertos by orchestration, with the rich instrumental palette of Brandenburg Concerto No. 1 in F Major opening the program. Violinist Daniel Phillips effectively led the ensemble in quick tempi in the opening and closing movements, with oboist Stephen Taylor and bassoonist Marc Goldberg leading the dialogs between the winds and strings. The pair of oboes were well matched in the second movement “adagio,” with the closing dance movements showing graceful dynamic swells among the instruments and especially adroit playing from violinist Arnaud Sussman.

Consistent throughout the six three-movement pieces was a “continuo” ensemble of cello, double bass, and harpsichord. The three cellists of the Chamber Music Society rotated through the concertos, but double bass player Joseph Conyers and harpsichordist Kenneth Weiss unfailingly provided a solid foundation to all six works. Weiss had the opportunity to show the capabilities of the harpsichord in Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D Major, in which the harpsichord doubles as continuo and soloist. The Chamber Music Society began this concerto in a fast and light tempo, with the orchestral color augmented by the addition of flutist Ransom Wilson. Although the harpsichord was hard to hear at times when with the rest of the ensemble, Weiss’ fast runs and nimble playing were clear when the instrument was on its own, especially in the first movement cadenza. Wilson provided a subtle icing to the instrumental sound, maintaining a delicate dialog and precise dynamic swells with violinist Sean Lee. more

A VIENNESE NEW YEAR: Dancers from the First State Ballet Theatre are among the performers at the “Salute to Vienna — New Year’s Eve Concert,” on Friday, December 31 at 4 p.m. at the State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick.

State Theatre New Jersey presents “Salute to Vienna — New Year’s Eve Concert” on Friday, December 31, at 4 p.m.  An annual New Year’s tradition at the State Theatre for 15 years, this year’s program features conductor Gregory Vajda and The Strauss Symphony of America along with soprano Micaëla Oeste and tenor Norman Reinhardt, and dancers from First State Ballet Theatre. 

“Salute to Vienna” gives audiences a chance to take a step back in time and explore the sights and sounds of Vienna’s golden age.  Inspired by the annual Viennese “Neujahrskonzert, this celebration blends European singers and dancers with a full orchestra. The program includes the Blue Danube Waltz, overtures and operettas, and a new cast each year.

Tickets are $39-$125. The theater is at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick. For more information, or group discounts, call (732) 246-7469 or visit STNJ.org.

mayfield brooks
(Photo by Brett Douglas Davis)

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts has announced the selection of five Mary Mackall Gwinn Hodder Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year. This year’s recipients include choreographer and performance artist mayfield brooks, opera singer and director Malena Dayen, playwright Virginia Grise, author Jamil Jan Kochai, and artist and writer sidony o’neal. 

In making the announcement, Michael Cadden, interim chair of the Lewis Center, said, “Each year we find ourselves amazed by the quality of our Hodder applicants and their proposed projects. This year was no different. We are delighted to invite this year’s fellows into the University community and we’re confident that their year of “studious leisure” will, as Mrs. Hodder hoped, lead to work that will enlarge the human community’s understanding of ourselves and the world we all share.”

Jamil Jan Kochai
(Photo by Jalil Kochai)

Hodder Fellows may be writers, composers, choreographers, visual artists, performance artists, or other kinds of artists or humanists who demonstrate, as the program outlines, “much more than ordinary intellectual and literary gifts.” Artists from anywhere in the world may apply in the early fall each year for the following academic year. Past Hodder Fellows have included novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, painter Mario Moore, poet Natalie Diaz, choreographer Okwui Okpokwasili, playwright Lauren Yee, and Zimbabwean gwenyambira (mbira player), composer, and singer Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa.  more

NEW HOME: Interior rendering of a Pavilion Gallery in the new Princeton University Art Museum designed by Adjaye Associates. Construction of the new building is expected to be completed in early 2024. (Rendering courtesy of Adjaye Associates)

Construction has begun on the new Princeton University Art Museum, an entirely new building on the site of the former Museum, at the heart of the Princeton campus. Roughly doubling the square footage of the existing facility, the 144,000-square-foot facility significantly increases spaces for display, learning, and visitor amenities. The Museum, which will occupy three stories, will insert itself into campus life with key pedestrian pathways flowing into and through the building via two “art walks” — thoroughfares that function as the new building’s circulatory spine. A grid of nine pavilions breaks down the scale of the complex into more intimate modules and allows for deeply varied gallery experiences.

The building’s exterior will be characterized by rough and polished stone surfaces responding to the campus surroundings, as well as signature bronze details throughout, alternating solid elements with more transparent features that speak both to the present moment and to the historical Princeton context. The architect Sir David Adjaye, whose firm, Adjaye Associates, is best known for its design of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, was selected as the project architect in 2018. Cooper Robertson is the executive architect.  more

DARUMA PROJECT: The Arts Council of Princeton and Miya Table & Home will present the Princeton Daruma Project and Community Workshop on Tuesday, December 28. Led by local artist Minako Ota, attendees will decorate this symbol of perseverance, achievement, and good fortune in anticipation of the new year.

With the new year approaching, the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) has partnered with Miya Table & Home to present a community project as a refresh, restart, and recommitment to goals, hopes, and dreams.

The Daruma is a traditional symbol of perseverance, achievement, and good fortune — an iconic symbol found all over Japan in businesses, schools, and homes. The Daruma is most popular around the new year, made with two white circles for eyes. Once a goal is set or a wish is made, the owner colors in one eye. The other eye is colored in only after the goal is achieved or the wish comes true.

On Tuesday, December 28, the community is invited to design their own during the Princeton Daruma Workshop from 1-2 p.m. During this workshop, local artist Minako Ota will lead attendees to gather ideas and offer encouragement to customize your Daruma any way you like — paint, decoupage, Sharpie, etc. Use your imagination as Minako shows you fun variations to consider and provides the materials to make it all come together.

To celebrate this community effort, the completed Daruma will be on view in a collective display in downtown Princeton to kick off the new year. more

NATURAL BEAUTY: This photo by Michael Palmer of a white-throated sparrow in fresh snow is from the Friends of Princeton Open Space annual photo contest in a previous year. The deadline for entries for the current contest is March 31, 2022.

Friends of Princeton Open Space’s (FOPOS) annual Give Thanks for Nature Photo Contest kicked off on Friday, November 26 when community members were encouraged to #OptOutside to enjoy the beauty of nature. 

Professional and amateur photographers alike are encouraged to take their best shot of all that the Billy Johnson Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve and Woodfield Reservation has to offer. These are beautiful preserved areas of Princeton — picture perfect for photo enthusiasts of all ages.  more

December 15, 2021

By Stuart Mitchner

I was fortunate enough to meet him and chat about songwriting.”

— Paul McCartney

They changed my life.” That was my response to an email from a friend asking: “So the Beatles trump Sondheim?” She was referring to my reviews of Get Back, the book and the film, written at a time when the cultural media was dominated by tributes and remembrances in the aftermath of the composer’s death. I explained that Sondheim’s work was virtually unknown to me, while I’d been living in the music of the Beatles since the mid-1960s. But “changed my life” was too easy to say, too facile, and my friend was uneasy using “trump” (“can we still use that word?”), a verb I’ve been avoiding for the past five years.

Word choice is on my mind at the moment because I’m reading Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions (Scarecrow Press 2005), a series of his conversations with Library of Congress music specialist Mark Eden Horowitz. And now that I think of it, the theatre, which had also been “virtually unknown” to me when Sondheim was making his name there, had as much to do with changing my life as the Fab Four. It happened during Ray Bolger’s captivating song and dance sing-along show-stopper, “Once in Love With Amy,” at the St. James Theatre. The show was Where’s Charlie?, and I’d just turned 10. A few years later, I saw Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner in The King and I and had the good fortune to be in the house when Shirley MacLaine made her the-star-broke-a-leg debut at a matinee of The Pajama Game.

More to the point, after seeing the original Broadway production of West Side Story, I lived in the cast album, singing along with and without it for years. I had no idea at the time that the lyrics playing on the soundtrack of my life — “Somewhere,” “Maria,” “Tonight,” “America,” and the others — had been written by someone named Stephen Sondheim. Yet it seems that the lines I knew by heart are the ones he said he’s “embarrassed by” in a February 2020 interview on 60 Minutes. As an example, he cites the duet “Tonight.” When Tony sings, “Today the world was just an address, a place for me to live in,” Sondheim thinks it sounds like this “street kid” has been “reading too much.” He then goes on to admit “that’s not true for a lot of people who find it a very good line and enjoy it.” But “if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t write that line …. I know better now.”

Although the musicological terminology in Sondheim’s conversations with Horowitz can be hard to follow, it’s offset by the composer’s personable, down to earth way of expressing himself: “When I feel I’m getting stale,” he says, “I go into sharp keys because they’re so foreign and scary.” Asked about the small red arrows on a manuscript, he explains that it signifies “what I like … after I’ve written down as many ideas as I can, and I feel as though I’m ready to give birth, I’ll go back over it and decide what it is I really want to remember and try to preserve.” more

“WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME”: The North American tour of “What the Constitution Means to Me” has played at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre (December 7-12). Directed by Oliver Butler, the play depicts a debate between Jocelyn Shek (left) and playwright Heidi Schreck (Cassie Beck, right) about the merits — and deserved fate — of the Constitution. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The North American tour of What the Constitution Means to Me has played at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre December 7-12. Heidi Schreck’s play, which depicts a debate over the merits — and deserved fate — of the founding document, pulled the enthusiastic opening-night audience into the argument.

Schreck drew inspiration from a series of debates in which she participated as a teenager, giving speeches on what the Constitution meant to her. Money awarded at these contests helped pay Schreck’s college tuition. The play is set at one of the American Legion’s oratorical contests (in Wenatchee, Wash., where the playwright was raised).

A finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, What the Constitution Means to Me was commissioned by True Love Productions; the 2017 debut at the Wild Project in New York was followed by a West Coast premiere at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. An off-Broadway run at New York Theatre Workshop was followed by the 2019 Broadway production.

For much of the play the debate about the Constitution appears to be internal. Initially Schreck re-enacts her debate performance from the point of view of her 15-year-old self; although aware of injustice, she believes in the Constitution. (“I loved it. I was a zealot,” she recalls.) Later, as she learns more about the history of the country — and the women in her family — the adult Schreck angrily disowns her youthful idealism, rejecting long-ingrained beliefs.  more

CLASS AND CONVERSATION: Students at Princeton Ballet School’s upcoming Winter Intensive will not only take class with past and present ballet stars; they will hear them interviewed and have a chance to ask them questions.

By Anne Levin

A focused series of classes in ballet and musical theater will bring a roster of well-known artists to the studios of Princeton Ballet School next month. From January 3-6, experienced dance students ages 12-22 can study technique with such notables as Stella Abrera, Gillian Murphy, Ethan Stiefel, Aydmara Cabrera, Da’ Von Doane, and Michael Mindlin.

Each session will end with an interview and discussion period, where students are encouraged to ask questions about the high points and hurdles involved in a professional dance career. Called “Dance Anew in 2022,” the series was organized by Murphy, who balances her work as a principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre (ABT) with artistic associate at American Repertory Ballet (ARB), the company with which Princeton Ballet School is affiliated. She and her husband, ARB artistic director Stiefel, are the parents of a toddler son.

“I reached out to some friends and professional peers of mine who I knew would inspire the dancers,” Murphy said. “Stella (Abrera) was one of the first people I contacted. She’s not only my best friend, but she was a gorgeous artist with ABT. She is very versatile. I knew that in addition to teaching wonderful classes, she’d also be chatting with the students, sharing her insights about how to show up and make the most of every opportunity.”

Murphy has been a member of ABT since 1996, and became a principal dancer in 2002. Abrera joined the company the same year as Murphy, and was the company’s first Filipina principal dancer. She retired in 2020 and is now the artistic director of Kaatsbaan, the cultural park in upstate New York. more

JAZZ PIANIST: Princeton resident Larry Fuller brings his trio to the Morris Museum in Morristown next month. For tickets, visit morrismuseum.org.

The Larry Fuller Trio performs at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 16 at The Bickford Theatre, Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown. Fuller will present a variety of material, including from his recording Overjoyed, out on Capri Records. more

“LOVE”: Arts Council of Princeton artists have completed work on their second mural at the Princeton Shopping Center. The public art piece can be found on the parking lot-facing façade between Bella Boutique and Shanghai Park. (Photo by Cyndi Shattuck Photography)

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) and Princeton Shopping Center have announced that work is complete on a new mural at 301 North Harrison Street. Titled and inspired by the universal language of LOVE, the new work is located on the parking lot-facing façade of the Shopping Center between Bella Boutique and Shanghai Park. more

“DIVINE WORD”: Submissions are due by April 22 for “Voices for the March,” the 10th juried photography exhibit presented by the Friends for Abbott Marshlands. The exhibit will be on view June 5 through September 18, 2022 at the Tulpehaking Nature Center in Hamilton.

The nonprofit Friends for Abbott Marshlands has announced a call for art for “Voices for the Marsh,” its 2022 biennial, 10th juried photography exhibit. It is juried by Al Horner of New Jersey Pinelands photographic fame, and Pat Coleman, naturalist and president of the Friends.

Submissions are due by Earth Day, April 22, with the exhibition running June 5 through September 18, 2022. The venue is Tulpehaking Nature Center’s galleries at 157 Westcott Avenue, Hamilton. The show provides an opportunity for both fine art photographers and local hobbyists to capture the cultural and ecological richness of the marshlands and participate in the Friends’ efforts to build awareness and support for the protection and stewardship of the marshlands. The prospectus is available at https://abbottmarshlands.orgmore

“ICE IS NICE”: This photograph by David O. Anderson is featured in “Emergence,” on view through February 3 in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery at D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place. The exhibition features a collection of fine art photographs of nature as seen from the viewpoint of children.

D&R Greenway Land Trust invites the public to experience nature with new eyes, inspired by its newly opened art exhibition, “Emergence.”  David O. Anderson, former president of Princeton Photography Club and longtime member of the land trust’s Photographers of Preservation, is exhibiting a new collection of fine art photographs of nature seen from the viewpoint of children.

The Olivia Rainbow Gallery, named in memory of 5-year-old Olivia Kuenne, has been transformed into a wonder-filled experience, with exploratory words and images that evoke emergence, which is defined as “the process of coming into view after long absence.” Through Anderson’s lens, visitors of all ages will experience “attention with wonder” brought by children to the natural world. The land trust joins Anderson in hoping, in his own words, that time in this unique exhibit brings everyone to “emergence from adulthood to childhood.” more

“NIGHT FORMS”: Sculptures are transformed at night through a new multi-sensory outdoor experience combining video projection, light, and sound at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton. Timed tickets are required for the exhibit, which runs through February 27.

“Night Forms: dreamloop by Klip Collective” is an after-hours multi-sensory experience created between art and nature; an ambient phenomenon to delight the senses, turn strangers into playful cohorts, and provide a unique, unforgettable experience. more

December 8, 2021

The Beatles’ rooftop concert in London, 1969. (Wikipedia)

By Stuart Mitchner

Life is an energy field, a bunch of molecules. And these particular molecules formed to make these four guys, who then formed this band called the Beatles and did all that work. I have to think there was something metaphysical. Something alchemic. Something that must be thought of as magic — with a k.”

—Paul McCartney, from a 2007 interview

I’ve just “come down” from Get Back, the film — I say “come down” because I was up on the Apple rooftop four floors above Savile Row for the grand finale with the particular molecules formed to make John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

Up on the roof I could almost feel the January chill along with a mildly exhilarating touch of vertigo as I gazed out over the chimneys and steeples of London’s West End. Down in the cozy confines of the basement studio, it was all I could do to keep from reaching through the fourth wall to pick up the 55-year-old McVittie’s chocolate biscuit on Ringo’s plate, or maybe it was George’s, so dense was the molecular haze, what with all the cigarette smoke. Six-plus hours immersed in the energy field of the Beatles making music and my attention rarely wavered; it was that compelling. My wife watched the entire epic with me, and though she yawned at times, and came near dozing, she enjoyed highlights like Paul and John’s zitheresque take on “The Third Man Theme,” performed for the benefit of director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, said to be Orson Welles’s natural son. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton University Orchestra presented its winter concerts this past weekend in Richardson Auditorium on the campus of the University. Rather than look toward traditional holiday music heard at this time of year, the Orchestra continued to announce its arrival in the 2021-22 season by performing two challenging and majestic symphonic works, featuring a recent graduate who had a solid musical career while at the University. 

Led by Orchestra conductor Michael Pratt, the concerts Friday night and Sunday afternoon were about courage — in particular from guest soprano soloist Allison Spann, a member of the Princeton class of 2020. Nothing showed her fierceness as a vocal performer more than her choice of David Del Tredici’s Final Alice for the 2019 Princeton University Orchestra Concerto Competition, the winning of which earned her a spot in these concerts. The University Orchestra presented selections from this quirky yet vocally demanding work in this past weekend’s concerts, inviting the audience into what Pratt called the “wacky world of Lewis Carroll set to the equally wacky music of David Del Tredici.” Spann saw this piece, which musically sets the last two chapters of Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as a source of escape from the past year and a half, and through theatricality and command of the very difficult vocal lines, brought the audience at Richardson Auditorium along with her.

Spann came onstage in character from the outset — looking completely lost and eventually sitting cross-legged on the stage ready to tell the audience a story. Although equally narrated as sung, the selections from Del Tredici’s Final Alice performed took a great deal of voice throughout, asking the soprano soloist to sing in a very high register for extended periods of time and maneuver demanding intervals over a cacophony of orchestral accompaniment. Spann was continually stretched to the top of her vocal range, but was always in command of the difficult music and dynamic demands while simultaneously communicating well with the audience. A particularly expressive moment was an aria sung by Spann accompanied by harpist Leila Hudson.   more

THEATER AND DANCE: Angelina Hawke of Yardville, Pa., Timika Young of Ewing, and Hakim Hachicha of Lawrenceville will appear in “The 9/11 Memorial Performance Project” at the Studio Theatre at Mercer County Community College. (Photo courtesy of MCCC)

Stories from 9/11 survivors and witnesses come to life in “The 9/11 Memorial Performance Project,” to be performed by the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Academic Theatre & Dance Company on Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. This special theatrical dance performance will be presented in MCCC’s Black Box Studio Theatre, CM 122, located next to Kelsey Theatre on the college’s West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

MCCC’s Dance and Theatre Coordinator, Jody Gazenbeek-Person, created the performance with assistance from Co-Directors LouJ Stalsworth and Daniel Spalluto, along with students who conducted private interviews with individuals who were personally affected by what happened on September 11, 2001. The performance offers a perspective on the number of lives that were touched in so many different ways due to the ripple effect of the events surrounding the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and a field in Shanksville, Pa.

The event, combining dance, acting and music, will be performed on two nights. more

Santa Claus

The long-awaited midnight visit by Santa Claus, made famous in Clement Moore’s famous poem, is brought to the Kelsey Theatre stage by The Kelsey Players in a musical, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Performances are Friday, December 10 at 7 p.m., Saturday, December 11 at 1 and 4 p.m., and 4 p.m. and Sunday, December 12 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road.

The story takes place in 1822. Moore, who is a professor at Columbia University, always writes a poem and reads it to his family on Christmas Eve. However, this year he is feeling pressure because his youngest daughter, Charity, is sick, and might die. As he experiences writer’s block, a Christmas mouse named Diana appears to him, along with two dancing gumdrops. They, and the audience, help him to write “‘Twas The Night Before Christmas,” a magical poem with dancing reindeer and dancing snowflakes, with a very happy ending.

In the true spirit of giving, Kelsey Theatre is participating in the Toys for Tots drive. Unwrapped new toys may be dropped off in the theater’s lobby through December 13.

Tickets are $10 for children, students, and senior citizens and $12 for adults.Tickets may be purchased at (609) 570-3333 or ordered directly at http://ci.ovationtix.com/35232.

The Arts Council of Princeton’s Artist Chalet Winter Village kicked off on November 26 and continues through December 19. Four chalets will be filled with rotating artists and vendors selling their work during the height of holiday shopping in downtown Princeton. For a vendor schedule, visit artscouncilofprinceton.org. (Photo by Courtney Rohrig)

Works by Laura Rutherford Renner (shown here), Heather Barros, Bill Jersey, and Larry Mitnick are featured in “Sharing,” on view at Artists’ Gallery, 18 Bridge Street in Lambertville, December 9 though January 22. For more information, visit lambertvillearts.com.

Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) James Kerney Campus (JKC) Gallery now presents an exhibit, “Homecoming 2021,” which showcases the works of photography students who graduated during the pandemic. The show runs through January 29, with a virtual and in-person artist reception on Saturday, December 11 from 5 to 8 p.m. The public is invited.

“Homecoming 2021” is a FujiFilm-sponsored collaboration between Booksmart Studio (Eric Kunsman) and Float Photo Magazine (Yoav Friedlander and Dana Stirling), along with JKC Gallery Director Michael Chovan-Dalton and artist Alanna Airitam. The show celebrates the hard-fought creative triumphs of students around the globe whose final years as undergraduate and graduate students were disrupted by the pandemic.

Chovan-Dalton said, “Typically, the final year of a student’s art program is filled with hope and possibilities, and while most institutions did a good job of providing students with alternative modes of learning and interacting, the past two graduating classes have had to settle for limited access to artist visits and delayed or remote thesis exhibitions and graduation ceremonies. ‘Homecoming 2021’ is our way of helping students continue their momentum forward to a fulfilling life in the arts.” more