March 15, 2023

“PATH OF THE PANTHER”: The documentary directed by Eric Bendick is one of 22 films illuminating a range of environmental issues that will be shown at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival March 24 to 31.

By Wendy Greenberg

Outdoor lighting pollution, protecting the elusive Florida panther, and threats to the Amazon ecosystem are subjects of some of the story-driven films that will be part of the 17th annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival (PEFF). The festival, which will be held March 24 to 31, is a signature event of the Princeton Public Library.

The 22 films, including 11 feature-length documentaries and 11 short films (one is a short narrative film), will be screened in person in the library’s Community Room and virtually, with some films available in both formats. Selections being screened virtually will be available to view through April 2. One film will be screened at the Princeton Garden Theatre on March 30.

“The films get better and better,” said Susan Conlon, festival co-director with Kim Dorman, both library staff members. “The public seems more interested in documentary films. The films are stronger and better and the public has an appetite for them.”

The festival also serves to make connections to organizations. “Many times after a film, a viewer will say, ‘What can I do?’ and will try to connect with a nonprofit organization, so they are learning about the topic and making community connections,” said Dorman. more

By Stuart Mitchner

Brutus is Shakespeare’s first intellectual, and the enigmas of his nature are multiform.

—Harold Bloom

Since Bill Nighy’s Oscar-nominated performance in Living is fresh in my mind, I’m beginning with him instead of Julius Caesar, who was assassinated on this day, the Ides of March, 44 BC. Nighy’s one of those actors who is always worth watching and listening to, like James Mason, whose only Best Actor nomination was for his role in A Star Is Born (1955), two years after he played Brutus in MGM’s Julius Caesar. Close your eyes and listen and these are two of the rare actors in film you can hear, so distinctive are their voices and ways of speaking. And in Living, Nighy sings! The film would be worth seeing if only for the moment the terminally ill character he plays comes to life singing the Scottish folk song, “The Rowan Tree.”  more

By Nancy Plum

This past weekend, Princeton Symphony Orchestra presented the world premiere of a piece featuring instruments rarely heard in orchestral works. Led by guest conductor Sameer Patel, the Orchestra performed American composer and violinist William Harvey’s Seven Decisions of Gandhi with the composer as violin soloist, musical artist Dibyarka Chatterjee playing the Hindustani tabla, with the added orchestral color of the sitar, played by Snehesh Nag. Saturday night’s performance (the concert was repeated Sunday afternoon) teamed Harvey’s work with late 19th-century Russian music of Alexander Borodin and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, taking the audience at Richardson Auditorium on a musical ride of dynamic contrasts and rich orchestral writing.  more

“CLEAN SLATE”: Rider University and Passage Theatre presented “Clean Slate” March 10-12. Written by Kate Brennan and David Lee White, and directed by Artistic Director C. Ryanne Domingues, the musical will be available to stream March 21-26. Above, rehabilitation camp participant Andi (Ellie Pearlman, left) meets Cassie (Rylee Carpenter) from another time — and the two discover that they share a crucial bond. (Photo by Pete Borg. Courtesy of Rider University)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Passage Theatre has partnered with Rider University to present a world premiere musical, Clean Slate. The book is by David Lee White; the music and lyrics are by Kate Brennan. Artistic Director C. Ryanne Domingues directs the production, which was staged at Rider University two weeks before its presentation at Passage.

A feisty, embittered thief, 17-year-old Andi (portrayed by Ellie Pearlman) is sent to a rehabilitation camp, Clean Slate, when her overwhelmed foster mothers Sarah (Miriam White) and Gina (Jessy Gruver) no longer know how to discipline her.

Andi is not the character’s real name. Like all participants at Clean Slate, she is assigned a nickname on arrival, to protect her privacy. Per camp tradition, the nicknames are based on Greek mythology.  more

MAKING A LOCAL DEBUT: The Jupiter Ensemble is “All Vivaldi” at a concert presented by Princeton University Concerts March 30. (Photo by Angeline Moizard)

The members of the Jupiter Ensemble make their debut at Princeton University Concerts (PUC) with an “All Vivaldi” concert on Thursday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall.

Led by Thomas Dunford, alongside mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, the group reimagines what an early music ensemble can be by bringing together a new generation of soloists to reveal the passionate and cutting-edge side of music written centuries ago. In this upcoming program at Princeton University Concerts, they will guide listeners through an array of Antonio Vivaldi’s baroque innovations, including music that may surprise contemporary audiences with its virtuosity. more

Rhys Coiro

Hollywood actor and Princeton High School alumnus (’97) Rhys Coiro is in the cast of the off-Broadway play The Coast Starlight, written by Keith Bunin and directed by Tyne Rafaefi, at Lincoln Center through April 16.

Among Coiro’s previous credits are HBO’s Entourage, the movie Hustlers, television’s Law in Order: Special Victims Unit, and the Disney TV series She Hulk: Attorney at Law. more

JAZZ LEGENDS: Chucho Valdes, left, and Paquito D’Rivera are among the artists coming to McCarter Theatre this season. (Photo by OCP Photography)

McCarter Theatre has released the schedule for the returning 2023 Jazz in June festival, featuring six premiere events over three weekends.

The series begins with the 2023 Grammy Award Winner for Best New Artist, Samara Joy, on Friday, June 2. The full roster includes Chuco Valdes and Paquito D’Rivera on Friday, June 9; 19-year-old piano virtuoso Joey Alexander on Saturday, June 10; Blue Note tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana on Friday, June 16; and composer Maria Schneider and her 18-member ensemble on Saturday, June 17. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. more

AN ANTICIPATED DEBUT: Delayed by the pandemic, star violinist Alina Ibragimova, left, appears with pianist Cedric Tiberghien at Richardson Auditorium on April 6 at 7:30 p.m.

U.K.-based violinist Alina Ibragimova is one of the few European violin stars to not have appeared on the Princeton University Concerts (PUC) series. Her recital debut, delayed for several years by the pandemic, will finally take place on Thursday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m. at Richardson Auditorium, with pianist Cédric Tiberghien.

The duo has existed since 2005 when they were in their early 20s as BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. At Princeton, they will perform Robert Schumann’s first two violin sonatas interspersed with Felix Mendelssohn’s Violin Sonata in F Minor, Opus 4, which he wrote when he was just 14; and Anton Webern’s Four Pieces for Violin and Piano, Opus 7. more

HOPE AND MORE: Violinist Daniel Hope and the Zurich Chamber Orchestra come to State Theatre New Jersey March 21.

State Theatre New Jersey presents Daniel Hope with Zurich Chamber Orchestra on Tuesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $17.50-$70.

Music Director and violinist Hope leads the 76-year-old music institution, Zurich Chamber Orchestra (ZCO). A protégé of violinist/conductor Yehudi Menuhin, Hope is the first instrumentalist to be named music director of the ZCO. Conducting from the violin, Hope leads the orchestra in a program featuring Ralph Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending; “Waltz of Moment” from Silent Music by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov; as well as Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro and Mendelssohn’s D minor violin concerto. The program ends with Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for String Orchestra.  more

Bill Bowers

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts presents the next event in The Atelier@Large conversation series that brings guest artists to campus to discuss the challenges they face in making art in the modern world. This event at the James Stewart Film Theater on March 24 at 7:30 p.m., concludes the 2022-23 series.

Broadway actor and mime Bill Bowers, graphic novelist and The New Yorker cartoonist E.S. Glenn, and poet/playwright Claudia Rankine will join in discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, Princeton’s Howard G.B. Clark ’21 University Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Princeton Atelier. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required through University Ticketing at  more

“MINDSCAPES AND MORE”: Works by mixed media artist Spriha Gupta are on view at Small World Coffee, 14 Nassau Street, through April 4. An opening reception is on March 17 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“Mindscapes and More,” a solo exhibition by Spriha Gupta, is on view at Small World Coffee, 14 Nassau Street, through April 4. An opening reception is on Friday, March 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Gupta is a narrative mixed media artist bringing organic forms and textures into her body of work. She uses iconic symbolism to exemplify concepts close to her heart that are influenced by personal, societal, and environmental changes. Strongly influenced by her Indian cultural roots, she said she is fearless in her use of colors and weaves them into her creations. She likes to use art as a tool of communication, wanting to break man-made barriers. She feels that art can pull one out of isolation in so many ways and illuminate the interior world that resides in each one of us while engaging in a dialogue. The uniqueness of her works comes through various textures that she creates by building layer upon layer with a variety of materials, most of which are found objects.  more

“NIGHT FORMS: INFINITE WAVE”: The site-specific, multi-sensory experience on view at Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton is now in its final weeks and will close on Sunday, April 2. The exhibition activates the sculpture park with 12 sound and light installations, creating an interactive, immersive environment during evening hours. (David Michael Howarth Photography)

“Night Forms: Infinite Wave,” the site-specific, multi-sensory experience on view at Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) since November 2022, is now in its final weeks and will close on Sunday, April 2. This second installment of Grounds For Sculpture’s partnership with Philadelphia-based Klip Collective activates the sculpture park with 12 sound and light installations, creating an interactive, immersive environment during evening hours that is designed to engage visitors with GFS’s art and horticultural collections. more

“STORIES FROM TRENTON’S PAST”: The Trent House Association will host an exhibit opening and talk on Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. at the William Trent House Museum in Trenton.

The Trent House Association will open a new exhibit, “Stories from Trenton’s Past – Immigrant Workers at Roebling Factories,” on Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. focusing on immigrants who worked in Trenton’s Roebling factories during the first half of the 20th century. At the opening, sociology students from The College of New Jersey will present their research on the lives of some of these workers. The William Trent House Museum is located at 15 Market Street, across from the Hughes Justice Complex, in Trenton. Space in the Trent House Visitor Center is limited and pre-registration for this free program is required at  more

March 8, 2023

By Stuart Mitchner

Don’t assume that everyone on earth has seen every movie you have seen.

—John McPhee

Now and then A Book of Days for the Literary Year (Thames and Hudson 1984) offers an entry that demands repeating, like the one for March 8: “1931: John McPhee (Giving Good Weight) is born in Princeton, N.J.”

Which follows a remark from journalist, novelist, and biographer Gene Fowler (March 8, 1890): “Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”

Which is followed by the news that on March 8, 1935, Thomas Wolfe’s second novel Of Time and the River “was published to great acclaim” and that on March 8, 1941, the novelist Sherwood Anderson “ingested a toothpick with an hors d’oeuvre at a cocktail party” and died of “complications of peritonitus.” more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton University Orchestra has a history of paying tribute to past members, including the annual Stuart B. Mindlin performances honoring a past percussionist with the Orchestra. This past weekend’s concerts by the Orchestra honored class of 2003 ensemble cellist Daniel Ulmer, who passed away prematurely but had a significant impact on the Orchestra during his time at Princeton. Friday and Saturday night’s performances at Richardson Auditorium also presented two winners of the University Orchestra’s 2022-23 Concerto Competition.

Lest anyone think that the Orchestra members spend too much time on music, both of this year’s Concerto Competition winners already have accumulated diverse achievements rivaling people twice their age. Piano soloist and senior Richard Qiu is graduating with a degree in economics and certificates in Music Performance, Statistics and Machine Learning, and Technology and Society. Student conductor Adrian Rogers, also a senior, is earning a degree in economics and a certificate in Music Performance, but has added certificates in Architecture and Engineering, and History and the Practice of Diplomacy to his resumé. Any of these academic focuses is a career unto itself, and the confidence and drive of these two students was evident in their self-assured performances with the University Orchestra.  more

“AUTUMN REWIND”: Theatre Intime has staged “Autumn Rewind.” Written and directed by Le’Naya Wilkerson ’25, the play was presented February 24-March 5 at the Hamilton Murray Theater. Above: Saige (Lara Danisman, center) travels back in time to stop the assassination of Prince Rowan (Zach Lee, left). But this mission leads to encounters with dangerous people at court, including Rowan’s estranged cousin, Ernest (Orion Lopez-Ramirez, right). (Photo by Kate Stewart)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

In Autumn Rewind the protagonist, Saige, is given a chance to go back in time and prevent the assassination of her childhood friend and first love, Prince Rowan. This offer is Faustian, because it requires Saige to make an unthinkable moral decision.

Theatre Intime has presented (February 24-March 5) Autumn Rewind. The poignant fantasy was written and directed by Princeton University student Le’Naya Wilkerson. According to a program note, Wilkerson began writing the play in December 2021 — when she was “going through a difficult time” and “turned to writing, as I often do.”  more

Philadelphia Ballet presents a trio of works by George Balanchine at the city’s historic Academy of Music March 16-19. On the program are “Who Cares?” to music of Gershwin, “Agon” to Stravinsky, and “Ballet Imperial” to Tchaikovsky. Performances are Thursday and Friday, March 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, March 18 at 2 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, March 19 at 2 p.m. Visit for tickets.

ON TOUR: The Westminster Choir will take part in a spring tour with stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania March 12-18. (Photo by Peter G. Borg)

The Westminster Choir, composed of students at Westminster Choir College of Rider University, will embark on a spring tour in Ohio and Pennsylvania from March 12-18. The tour includes an appearance by the choir’s tenors and basses with the Pittsburgh Symphony, as well as a concert at the choir’s founding church in Dayton, Ohio.

Now in its 103rd year, the Westminster Choir was supposed to visit Dayton on its 100th anniversary, but those plans were canceled because of the pandemic. “It is only right that we sing there and perform for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the choir,” said James Jordan, the choir’s conductor. “It is wonderful to return to touring.” more

The monthly series Westminster Conservatory at Nassau will present a program of music for oboe, horn, and piano on Thursday, March 16 at 12 p.m. at Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street. Admission is free.

The performers — Melissa Bohl, oboe; Craig Levesque, horn; and Phyllis Alpert Lehrer, piano — are members of the Westminster Conservatory faculty. The program comprises Incantation and Dance for oboe and piano by William Grant Still, Trio for oboe, horn and piano, op. 188 by Carl Reinecke, and the first performance of a new work by Levesque, Variation for oboe, horn, and piano. more

CONCERT UP CLOSE: Audiences get to sit beside the musicians of the Chiaroscuro String Quartet, on stage at Richardson Auditorium, at an “Up Close” concert March 26. (Photo by Eva Vermandel)

Led by violinist Alina Ibragimova, the Chiaroscuro String Quartet performs music of the Classical and early Romantic periods on gut stringed instruments with historical bows on Sunday, March 26 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., in Richardson Auditorium.

Unlike most string quartets, they also perform standing up at his concert, which marks their Princeton University Concerts (PUC) debut. On the program are Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 “Serioso” and Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 13. more

GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY: The Doobie Brothers stop in New Brunswick in July as part of their upcoming tour. Tickets go on sale beginning March 10 at

State Theatre New Jersey has added two performances featuring four-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, The Doobie Brothers, on Saturday, July 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, July 9 at 7:30 p.m.

This extension of their 50th Anniversary Tour features Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, and John McFee, again together for the first time in over 25 years. Tickets go on sale to the public beginning Friday, March 10 at 10 a.m.  more

PRE-POOH PLAY: Before “Winnie the Pooh,” A.A. Milne wrote the play “The Dover Road.” In this scene from the production by ActorsNET, Latimer (G. Anthony Williams) and his guest, Anne (Charlotte Kirkby), discuss the realities of marriage with their morning tea.

Creative partners Maryalice Rubins-Topoleski and Charlotte Kirkby have been unearthing the forgotten plays of the past, and breathing new life into them. Their current project is the rare revival of a 1922 comedy The Dover Road by A. A. Milne, being presented by ActorsNET of Bucks County at the Heritage Center Theater, 635 North Delmorr Avenue in Morrisville, Pa., March 10-26.  more

“THE EYE OF DOUBLE O”: This work by Phillip “Dutch” Bagley is part of “Meditative Imagery,” his dual exhibit with John Stritzinger, on view March 11 through April 2 at Gallery 14 Fine Art Photography in Hopewell.

Gallery 14 Fine Art Photography in Hopewell presents “Meditative Imagery,” featuring the work of Phillip “Dutch” Bagley and John Stritzinger, March 11 through April 2. Both artists are known for their explorations of shape and form, both natural and man-made. For this exhibit they have taken a meditative approach to their images. more

“WATERSHED SWAMP, SPRING”: This acrylic on canvas painting by Léni Paquet-Morante is featured in “Within View: Paintings and Drawings,” her solo exhibition on view at David Scott Gallery for BHHS Fox & Roach, Realtors on Nassau Street through April 15. An opening reception is on Sunday, March 19, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The latest installment at David Scott Gallery for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors is “Within View: Paintings and Drawings,” a solo exhibition of works by Léni Paquet-Morante, an accomplished painter and sculptor with the Johnson Atelier Studio Program in Hamilton. An opening reception is on Sunday, March 19 from 2 to 5 p.m.

“In my previous exhibition, ‘Intersection,’ I attempted to relate the connections between the visual language of four unique abstract artists,” said Scott. “With Léni’s show, I invite the viewer to seek out the intersecting elements within a single artist’s vocabulary.” more

“THE AWAKENING”: The late J. Seward Johnson’s 70-foot-wide sculpture will be installed at D&R Greenway’s St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell Township in May as part of the year-long project “Seward Johnson | Celebrating the Everyday.” (Photo by Ken Ek)

Something really big is coming to Hopewell Valley thanks to the Hopewell Valley Arts Council and the Seward Johnson Atelier. Together, they are partnering on an ambitious year-long art project, “Seward Johnson | Celebrating the Everyday,” to honor the late J. Seward Johnson II’s life and the things that he loved. The project runs from now through January 2024, and will incorporate sculpture installations, events, and community engagement.

An internationally renowned sculptor, Johnson was one of Hopewell Valley’s most beloved and well-known artists. Seward Johnson embodied the Johnson family’s long tradition of philanthropy along with his own interest, the arts. Serving as an influential mentor to many local artists, he was the founder of Grounds For Sculpture and the Seward Johnson Atelier in Hamilton. more