March 20, 2024

OLD AND NEW: Emily Cordies-Maso is among the dancers to appear in “Of Swans and Variants” at McCarter Theatre on April 4. (Photo by Harald Schrader)

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) will be on stage at McCarter Theatre on Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. with “Of Swans and Variants,” a program of classical and contemporary works.

The evening’s double bill features an excerpt from the classic Swan Lake, as well as VARIANTS, choreographed by Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel.

ARB recently performed to sold-out audiences with the premiere of “Classic Beauty” featuring Swan Lake Act II at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. The iconic second act of the full-length ballet, to music by Tchaikovsky, tells the tale of Odette, the swan princess, as she reveals her true form to Prince Siegfried.  more

“LUNA MOTH”: This photo by Sydney Vine was an entry in Friends of Princeton Open Space’s 2023 photo contest. Entries for this year’s contest, Perspectives on Preservation, must be submitted by September 8.

Friends of Princeton Open Space (FOPOS), a nonprofit devoted to land preservation and stewardship in Princeton, has announced its 2024 photo contest, Perspectives on Preservation, sponsored by REI Co-op Princeton.

Now in its ninth year, the annual contest originally coincided with REI’s Opt Outside campaign, which encourages people to skip the mall on the day after Thanksgiving and spend the day outdoors instead. Now accepting photos taken in any season, the Perspectives on Preservation photo contest continues to be sponsored by REI Co-op Princeton and encourages photographers to explore the Mountain Lakes Open Space Area all year round.  more

MULTI-SENSORY EXPERIENCE: “Night Forms,” the third and final installment of Grounds For Sculpture’s partnership with Klip Collective, closes on April 7.

“Night Forms,” a site-specific multi-sensory experience on view at Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) in Hamilton since November 2023, will close soon on April 7. This third and final installment of GFS’ partnership with Klip Collective has more than a dozen installations from the second season’s “Infinite Wave” along with a reprise of Froghead Rainbow, one of the most popular works from Klip’s inaugural project at GFS, “dreamloop.” The exhibition is designed to engage with Grounds For Sculpture’s art and horticulture collections and invites visitors to explore the grounds after dark.  more

“ABOVE THE ROOFTOPS”: This oil on canvas painting by Francisco Silva is part of “This Looks Familiar,” his solo exhibit on view at the David Scott Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway on Nassau Street through May 19. An artist reception is on March 23 from 2 to 5 p.m.

David Scott Gallery now presents “This Looks Familiar,” Francisco Silva’s first solo exhibition of paintings, on view through May 19 in the offices of Berkshire Hathaway, 253 Nassau Street. An artist reception is on Saturday, March 23 from 2 to 5 p.m.

After many years working as a graphic designer and web developer, 2019 marked Silva’s return to painting, primarily en plein air. He began with landscapes inspired by his backpacking trips on the Appalachian Trail. Since then, his work has grown to include still lifes, urban and rural scenes, architecture and structures, and themes portraying the struggles of the everyday person. Silva’s influences include Edward Hopper and the social realist painters of the 1920s and 1930s. The rich textiles of his Peruvian roots inform his use of vibrant color, and his brushwork is a seamless combination of loose, painterly strokes and controlled detail.  more

VISUAL STORYTELLER: James Baldwin introduces his new book, “Evidence of Things Not Seen,” at the home of Lerone Bennett in Chicago 1983. “Michelle V. Agins: Storyteller” is on view through December 8 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers – New Brunswick. (Photo by Michelle V. Agins)

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michelle V. Agins, whose images tell stories about life in America, was the second Black woman ever hired as a staff photographer at the New York Times. She built her career at a time when photo editors gave very few assignments to women — much less to women of color.

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers — New Brunswick now presents “Michelle V. Agins: Storyteller.” On view through December 8, the exhibit features 66 photographs taken during her 35 years at the Times. Her groundbreaking assignments offer important documentation of race relations, celebrity culture, sports, spirituality, and economic disparity in America. Agins visits the museum for an artist talk and reception on April 21. Visit go.rutgers.edu/artisttalk0421 for details. more

SUCCESS STORY: “We are looking forward to getting back to our original concept and vision of Ottoburger. We will offer accessible value-based real food, with friendly service in an informal, down-to-earth atmosphere.” Maria and Otto Zizak are shown in the new location of Ottoburger, their popular restaurant, which will also have some surprises in its spacious location.

By Jean Stratton

There is a new look at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell. Ottoburger, the popular restaurant that closed in 2022, is back! It just reopened this month in expanded quarters at the site formerly occupied by the Brick Farm Market.

“There were so many disappointed customers when the original Ottoburger closed, and we kept getting inquiries about it,” says owner Otto Zizak. “People started coming even before we had opened! Now they’re coming all the time. We are so glad to be back!” more

FOR THE RECORD: Princeton University women’s basketball player Ellie Mitchell, left, hauls in a rebound in recent action. Last Friday, senior forward Mitchell had 12 rebounds to help top-seeded Princeton defeat fourth-seeded Penn 59-54 in the semis of the Ivy Madness postseason tournament. In so doing, Mitchell moved to 1,100 rebounds in her career, the most in Princeton history, male or female. A day later, the Tigers defeated second-seeded and host Columbia 75-58 in the final. Princeton, now 25-4 overall, will be playing in the NCAA tournament where it is seeded ninth in the Albany 2 Region and will face No. 8 West Virginia (24-7 overall, 12-6 Big 12) in Iowa City on March 23. The winner will take on the victor of No 1 Iowa and No. 16s Holy Cross/UT Martin who play a First Four game in the second round. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With the Princeton University women’s basketball team clinging to a 57-54 lead against Penn in the Ivy Madness postseason tournament last Friday, Ellie Mitchell put her body on the line to help the Tigers.

Princeton senior forward Mitchell hustled to the baseline and took a charge from Jordan Obi, sprawling to the floor as the Tigers regained possession. Madison St. Rose went on to make two free throws for Princeton to close the deal in a 59-54 win. more

BEARING DOWN: Princeton University men’s basketball player Dalen Davis dribbles upcourt in recent action. Last Saturday, freshman guard Davis scored a team-high 21 points in a losing cause as top-seeded Princeton fell 90-81 to fourth-seeded Brown in the semifinals of the Ivy Madness postseason tournament at Columbia. The Tigers, who dropped to 24-4 with the loss to the Bears, will be competing in the National Invitation Tournament where they will host UNLV in a first round contest on March 20. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Justin Feil

Mitch Henderson has fond memories of the last time that he played UNLV.

The Princeton University men’s basketball head coach is hoping his Tigers can make good memories against the Runnin’ Rebels when they host them in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) this Wednesday night, March 20, at Jadwin Gym. more

TUCKING IN: Princeton University men’s lacrosse player Tucker Wade races upfield in recent action. Last Sunday, freshman midfielder Wade scored a career-high four goals but it wasn’t enough as No. 13 Princeton got edged 15-14 by No. 15 Cornell on a last second goal in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers, now 4-3 overall and 0-1 Ivy, play at Harvard (6-1 overall, 0-1 Ivy) on March 23. (Photo by Steven Wojtowicz)

By Bill Alden

Tucker Wade broke into the starting lineup for the Princeton University men’s lacrosse team in the sixth game this season and is making the most of the opportunity.

After tallying two assists in five games off the bench to start his career, freshman midfielder Wade scored two goals in a 14-8 win over Rutgers on March 10 in his first college start.

“It is always exciting to play more and be a part of this program,” said Wade, a 6’0, 195-pound native of Bethesda, Md. “I wouldn’t want to do it with any other team.” more

MAKING A STATEMENT: Stuart Country Day School basketball player Taylor States dribbles past a foe in a game this winter. Sophomore forward States averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds this season in helping Stuart go 6-7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

While the Stuart Country Day School basketball team got off to a shaky start this winter, the Tartans ended the season with a bang.

Stuart lost two of its first three games and had a 3-7 record in early February, but ended the campaign with three straight lopsided wins.

Tartan head coach Tony Bowman acknowledged that his squad was out of synch in the early going this winter. more

JORDAN RULES: Princeton Day School boys’ basketball player Jordan Owens heads to the rim in a game this winter. Sophomore guard Owens scored 212 points this season to help the Panthers go 7-16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It turned out to be a season of growth for the Princeton Day School boys’ basketball team as its lineup featured young players in key roles.

In reflecting on the campaign which saw three freshmen, a sophomore, and two juniors see the bulk of playing time, PDS head coach Eugene Burroughs liked the way youth was served this winter.
“I think my kids did a great job of progressing throughout the year,” said Burroughs, whose team posted a 7-16 record and made the Prep B state semis. “When you look at our scores and watch how we played earlier in the year, it was more focused on playing hard and competing. Then we shifted into the next phase, defending and rebounding at a good level. We improved in that area and then we shifted to focusing on offense.  more

WILL TO WIN: Notre Dame High wrestler and Princeton resident Will Renda celebrates with coach EJ Nemeth at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Region 6 tourney after clinching a spot at 215 pounds in the Boys Wrestling State Championships in Atlantic City. Junior Renda went on to go 2-2 in his debut at states, falling in the third place consolations. (Photo provided by Will Renda)

By Bill Alden

Will Renda enjoyed competing for the Princeton Amateur Wrestling Society (PAWS) as a grade schooler, but he eventually got away from the mat.

The versatile Renda focused on football, lacrosse, and basketball in middle school before entering Notre Dame High in 2021.

But as he worked out after his freshman football season at Notre Dame, Princeton resident Renda started thinking about returning to the mat. more

March 13, 2024

Albert Einstein reenactor Bill Agress, rear, gathered with young participants in the Einstein Look-Alike Contest on Saturday at Princeton Public Library. Presented by the Princeton Tour Company, the event was one of many scheduled in honor of Einstein’s birthday, March 14 (3.14) — the numeric equivalent of pi. (Photo by Sarah Teo)

By Donald Gilpin

National politics has been constantly in the news in this 2024 election year, and closer to home the political heat is rising, with the June 4 New Jersey primary on the horizon and the March 25 candidates’ filing deadline less than two weeks away.

The main attention-grabbing political item locally and throughout New Jersey has been the battle between Congressman Andy Kim and Tammy Murphy, wife of N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy, for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate seat likely to be vacated by Sen. Robert Menendez, who is currently under federal indictment on corruption charges and has not filed for reelection. more

By Anne Levin

Penn Medicine Princeton Health is planning a new cancer center at its Plainsboro campus. The proposed 195,000-square-foot facility includes more than 40 exam rooms, over 30 infusion chairs, and two radiation oncology linear accelerators.

The estimated cost of the project, which includes a six-level parking garage and a 31,000-square-foot imaging center for outpatients, is $401 million, according to a Penn Medicine spokesperson. The proposal is currently in the early stages of the approval process in Plainsboro Township. more

CROSSROADS OF A VILLAGE: The house at 342 Nassau Street originally had its kitchen wing on the east side, but it was moved to the west side of the building in a widening of North Harrison Street. This and other historical facts are the focus of a new publication on the history of Jugtown. (Photo by Clifford Zink)

By Anne Levin

Clifford Zink is a longtime resident of Princeton’s Jugtown section. During one of his regular walks down Nassau Street, he began to wonder about two small remnants of its past — a flat, brownstone slab in front of No. 343, and an upright, granite post topped with a hook at No. 361. A historian and author, Zink put his researching skills to work.

The slab, he found, was a block for horse and carriage mounting. And the column of granite was a hitching post for horses. These discoveries were the beginning of Zink’s new booklet Jugtown/Queenston, Princeton’s 18th Century Crossroads Village. The 48-page publication about Princeton’s third-oldest neighborhood is illustrated with then-and-now photographs of houses; pictures of jugs made in the area’s potteries, which closed in the mid-1800s; and historical maps. Zink, who is leading a walking tour of the area this Saturday, March 16 (sponsored by the Historical Society of Princeton and sold out), shot all of the photos himself. more

SCIENCE BOWL CHAMPS: The Princeton Charter School team will be going to the National Science Bowl for the sixth time next month, after winning the regional competition. Standing in front of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory model stellarator are, from left, Angelica Feng, Asa Fleischer-Graham, Aaron Wang, Rohan Srivastava, Joshua Huang, and Coach Laura Celik. (Photo by Michael Livingston/PPPL Department of Communications)

By Donald Gilpin

Princeton Charter School (PCS), for the sixth time in seven years, has won the regional competition for the National Science Bowl  and will compete in the National Science Bowl National Finals in Washington, D.C., from April 25 to 29.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete in a fast-paced question-and-answer contest where they solve technical problems and answer questions from a range of disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth and space sciences, physics, and math. more

By Anne Levin

Come July, riders on NJ Transit trains may be paying $18.40 to travel one way between Princeton Junction and New York’s Penn Station, up from the current $16. Public comment ended last week for fare increases proposed by NJ Transit earlier this year to close a budget shortfall of $106.6 million.

Since the onset of the pandemic, ridership has returned to approximately 80 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels, with many peak period trips at or exceeding pre-pandemic levels, according to a January 24 press release from NJ Transit. But the system is entering the fifth consecutive year of ridership that will be below pre-COVID-19 levels, meaning a loss of nearly $2 billion in revenue. Federal COVID-19 relief funding ends at the end of June 2025. Rising fuel costs, operational costs, wage increases, and health care costs have also contributed to the shortfall. more

“TWO CITIES, ONE GARDEN”: Mercer County Community College’s urban gardens display at the Philadelphia Flower Show won a gold medal for the second straight year and the fourth time since 2017. (Photo courtesy of Mercer County Community College)

By Donald Gilpin

Mercer County Community College (MCCC) horticulturalists have brought home a gold medal from the Philadelphia Flower Show for the second year in a row.

Their “Two Cities, One Garden” display of urban gardens at the Pennsylvania Convention Center March 2-10 was inspired by “the vibrant community gardens” of Trenton and Philadelphia, according to project overseer Amy Ricco, professor and coordinator of MCCC’s Horticulture, Plant Science, and Sustainability program. more

By Stuart Mitchner

I was looking forward to a walk on the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study, my destination the pond in the final scene of  Christopher Nolan’s multiple-Oscar-winning film. With the weather report predicting rain, I wanted to be there when the first drops were falling, as in the three-hour-long film’s beginning and end. I was hoping for a quietly eloquent spring rain, just enough to create the desired ripple effect, but before I could get there, it began pouring and I had to make do with a photo on the Institute’s website. Taken during the April 2022 filming, it shows Tom Conti’s Einstein in conversation with Cillian Murphy’s Oppenheimer while the burly, grey-maned, grey-bearded Dutch cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema hunkers down on a four-wheeled rig squinting at them through the Panavision lens.

“It was constantly close-ups, close-ups, close-ups, talking, talking, talking,” Van Hoytema says in a February 2024 screendaily.com interview. Referring to the sequence by the pond: “Towards the end of the scene, we creep in on Oppenheimer, and get the feeling that we crawl right through Cillian’s eyes into his head, and start understanding the world, how he sees it now. More importantly, we shoot a close-up of him that is more powerful than most of the other close-ups in the film, even though we have been on top of his face for the whole movie. So, the challenge was, ‘How the hell do we make that interesting?’”

The answer was delivered on Sunday night when the producers of Oppenheimer won the Academy Award for Best Picture, with Oscars going to Best Lead Actor Murphy, Best Supporting Actor Robert Downey Jr., and Best Director Nolan, as well as to Ludwig Göransson for his score, to Jennifer Lame for editing, and to Van Hoytema himself for cinematography. more

By Nancy Plum

Princeton Symphony Orchestra combined innovative performance with contemporary music this past weekend with a pair of collaborative performances with Time for Three, a groundbreaking ensemble crossing boundaries of classical, Americana, and singer-songwriter genres with virtuosic playing. Led by Princeton Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov, the two ensembles alone and together presented an evening of late 19th-century and early 20th-century ballet, as well as a newly-composed work written for Time for Three. The combined performance of these instrumentalists brought the audience to its feet with the dazzling playing of Time for Three double bassist Ranaan Meyer and violinists Nick Kendall and Charles Yang.  more

“DREAMGIRLS”: Performances are underway for “Dreamgirls.” Directed by Lili-Anne Brown, the musical runs through March 24 at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Above, from left, sporting glittery costumes, the Dreams — Effie (Trejah Bostic), Deena (Ta-Tynisa Wilson), and Lorrell (Keirsten Hodgens) — perform with a backup ensemble that wears the same outfits worn by the Dreams earlier in the show, before they achieve stardom. (Photo by Diane Sobolewski)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

The Motown-inspired musical Dreamgirls has succeeded both as a Broadway show (1981) directed by Michael Bennett, and as a film (2006). But as the dazzling, energetic production that is playing at McCarter demonstrates, this piece is at its best when it can be seen — and heard — on a live stage.

This revival is a collaboration between Goodspeed Musicals, which presented the show in East Haddam, Conn., in late 2023, and McCarter Theatre. Insightfully directed by five-time Jeff Award winner Lili-Anne Brown (assisted by Vaughn Ryan Midder), the production spotlights both the glamour of the music business and the pain caused by machinations that take place behind the scenes. more

SOUTHERN ROCK AND BLUES: Blackberry Smoke is joined by special guests in New Brunswick on March 23.

Blackberry Smoke: Be Right Here Tour is on stage at the State Theatre New Jersey, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, on Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m. Joining Blackberry Smoke for this concert are special guests Duane Betts & Palmetto Motel.

Blackberry Smoke, the Georgia-based band — vocalist/lead guitarist Charlie Starr, keyboardist Brandon Still, guitarist/vocalist Paul Jackson, bassist/vocalist Richard Turner and drummer Brit Turner — draw inspiration from Southern rock, blues-leaning classic rock and rootsy vintage country.  more

BELOVED BUT ANNOYING: In ActorsNET’s production of “Over the River and Through the Woods,” Nick’s grandparents will do anything to get him to stay in New Jersey, including overseeing the date that they’ve set him up for.

ActorsNET continues its 27th season with Over the River and Through the Woods by Joe DiPietro, a comedy set in New Jersey where an Italian immigrant family experiences deep familial love and the inevitable little heartbreaks that occur as time passes and children grow. The show runs through March 24 at the Heritage Center Theatre, 635 North Delmorr Avenue, Morrisville, Pa.

“The play addresses the challenges of balancing cultural traditions, family bonds, and the pursuit of personal dreams,” said Director David Deratzian. “With humor, warmth, and poignant moments, it beautifully captures the essence of familial love, cultural heritage, and the enduring strength of intergenerational connections.” more

“BLUE MEMORY”: This work by Richard Lennox is part of the “Members Art Show and Sale,” on view March 16-17 and March 23-24 from 12-4 p.m. at Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

Members of the Phillips’ Mill Community Association invite the public to the “Members Art Show and Sale” on March 16-17 and March 23-24, from 12-4 p.m., at the historic Phillips’ Mill in New Hope, Pa.

This non-juried show is a salute to the visual arts creativity of Mill members and the founding members of Phillips’ Mill Community Association nearly a century ago. The exhibition will showcase a range of fine arts and crafts throughout both levels of the Mill, upstairs and down. The Mill’s membership is rich with artists well-known in the community who will be exhibiting work never before shown at the Mill, including paintings, works on paper, sculpture, ceramics, photography, textiles, and more. All works will be for sale and a portion of every sale will benefit the upkeep of the 18th-century former grist mill.  more