March 30, 2022

BLAST OFF: Princeton University softball player Adrienne “A.J.” Chang belts the ball in recent action. Junior star Chang has been an offensive catalyst for the Tigers this spring, hitting a team-high .397 and two homers and 10 RBIs. Princeton, now 11-10 overall and 5-1 Ivy League, will look to stay atop the league standings as it hosts a three-game series against Dartmouth on April 2-3 with a doubleheader slated for Saturday and a single game on Sunday. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton University softball team lost eight of its first nine games this spring as played its first steady string of games since 2019, its players weren’t discouraged.

“I think the team has been really bought into understanding the growth that is going to happen throughout the season and not taking any of the results early on too seriously,” said Princeton head coach Lisa Van Ackeren. “They understand the context of where we are. We basically have three classes of freshmen in terms of collegiate at-bats.”

The Tigers displayed that growth by posting wins in 10 of their next 12 games, including sweeping Brown in a three-game series to start Ivy League play and then going 2-1 at Harvard last weekend in their second league series.

“There are a couple of people who are really catching on,” said Van Ackeren. “I think the next few weeks are going to be exciting to see what we can do.” more

HISTORY MAKERS: Members of the Princeton University wrestling program, from left, head coach Chris Ayres, associate head coach Sean Gray, junior Patrick Glory, junior Quincy Monday, assistant coach Nate Jackson, associate head coach Joe Dubuque, and athletic trainer Michael Tremblay pose together at the 2022 NCAA Championships earlier this month in Detroit, Mich. Glory and Monday made history as they gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds while Monday took second place at 157 pounds. (Photo by Lisa Elfstrum, provided courtesy of Princeton Athletics)

By Justin Feil

Patrick Glory and Quincy Monday may have come up short of their ultimate goal, but the two took another step forward for the Princeton University wrestling program.

Both juniors, Glory and Monday gave the Tigers two national finalists in the same NCAA Championships for the first time ever. Glory finished second at 125 pounds and Monday took second place at 157 pounds. Princeton last had one NCAA finalist in 2002 when Greg Parker reached the championship match and finished second at 174 pounds.

“It’s one more new thing that we haven’t done before,” said Princeton head coach Chris Ayres. “And so then it’s familiar, and that gives other people permission to do the same thing, and I think they go into it more confident. You have five Penn State guys (in finals) and they all win, and I don’t think that’s by mistake. I think they thought, this is what I’m supposed to do – win this NCAA title. I think we touched new ground for our program in terms of what’s expected.”

Princeton would have loved to have seen their finalists take it one step further to win a title in the competition held in Detroit, Mich. The euphoria of Glory and Monday reaching the championship matches with semifinal wins on March 18 made it all the more difficult when they fell in the finals a day later.

“We’ve been through a lot since I got here, so to have these moments there’s a lot of emotion,” said Ayres. “We thought we could do it, but there’s also this piece of me that can’t believe you’re doing it because of where you came from. There’s a lot of emotion and I still haven’t unpacked it. I go through all these moments – I’m really happy, and then I’m kind of devastated because it’s a hard thing to get that finals opportunity, and we didn’t get a champ. It goes all around.” more

ON THE BALL: Princeton High baseball player Jaxon Petrone takes a pickoff throw at first base in action last spring. Senior star Petrone will be filling a lot of roles this spring for the Tigers as a pitcher, hitter, and infielder. PHS opens the 2022 campaign by hosting Steinert on April 1. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

With his Princeton High baseball team featuring a group of 14 seniors, Dom Capuano is going to face a major challenge in figuring out to deploy the resources at his disposal.

“This is definitely the deepest team I have had to date, it is just seeing who emerges,” said PHS head coach Capuano, who guided PHS to an 11-9 record in 2021 and its first victory in the state tournament in years.

“The theme of the year is to compete. We have to compete with ourselves to push each other in a positive way to get the best team overall out there.”

To that end, Capuano is driving his players to compete on a daily basis.

“Every day, we start practice with a different competition,” said Capuano, whose team opens the 2022 campaign by hosting Steinert on April 1.

“Part of our practice is competing in everything we do. It is getting them to understand that competing with each other is OK. It is OK to compete with each other as long as you understand that competition is for the end goal of the team being successful.”

After the success the squad experienced last spring, Capuano is looking for his players to take things to the next level.

“It is a mission, it is understanding of how to continue to elevate themselves and the program,” said Capuano. “It is a destination that they strive to get to. We just have to keep preparing to get there.” more

GOAL-ORIENTED: Princeton High girls’ lacrosse player Kate Becker gets ready to unload the ball in a 2021 game. Senior star Becker, who scored a team-high 77 goals last year, will be counted on to be the go-to finisher again this year for the Tigers. PHS opens the season by hosting Hightstown on March 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Katie Federico is confident that the Princeton High girls’ lacrosse program won’t miss a beat this spring as she guides the team in the absence of head coach Meg Dunleavy who is out on maternity leave.

“We are such good friends, it is going to be very similar; we have been talking a lot,” said Federico, who has been an assistant coach with the squad for the last six years and helped PHS go 9-6 in 2021 and advance to the South Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals.

“She is going to take the program over next year, it is 100 percent clear. I am just filling in for this season.”

The team’s strong group of seniors will make Federico’s job easier this spring.

“It was a very easy transition because of them knowing me so well and we have seven seniors,” said Federico of the program’s Class of 2022, which includes Kate Becker, Jane Biggs, Sarah Glenn, Cartee O’Brien, Gigi Peloso, Grace Rebak, and Sarah White.

“Five of the seven have been on varsity since freshman year. I refer to them like the core four from the Yankees. They have played together since they were in elementary school. They are such a great group.”

Becker, who tallied a team-high 77 goals in 2021, provides leadership to go along with her production.

“Kate is pretty much the anchor of the team; she has always been a leader but I feel she has stepped up even more this year,” said Federico. “She is helping the underclassmen see things on both defense and offense. She is the one that gets it going and she is such a great teacher of the younger players.”

Sophomore standout Riley Devlin, who had 16 goals and three assists last spring in her debut season, will be depended on to get things going on offense along with Becker. more

STICKING WITH IT: Princeton High boys’ lacrosse player John O’Donnell looks for an opening in a game last season. Senior standout O’Donnell figures to be a key offensive performer this spring for the Tigers. PHS gets its 2022 campaign underway this week by playing at Lawrence High on March 31 and then hosting North Hunterdon on April 2. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Making impressive strides last spring, the Princeton High boys’ lacrosse team went 9-5, getting into the state tournament for the first time since 2017 and posting a first round win over Morris Knolls before falling to Scotch Plains-Fanwood in the sectional quarterfinals.

While PHS head coach Chip Casto was proud of what the squad accomplished last year, nobody around the program is resting on their laurels.

“The year started with a lot of energy and excitement,” said Casto, whose team gets its 2022 campaign underway this week by playing at Lawrence High on March 31 and then hosting North Hunterdon on April 2.

“No one has mentioned last year except Will Doran, who basically said, ‘that was last year, we need to start all over again and work to get back to the level of play we were at last year.’”

Williams College-bound Doran, who led the Tigers with 91 points on 51 goals and 40 assists last spring, brings high-level play to the PHS attack.

“Will looks great — he is an even better leader,” said Casto. “He has aspirations to make an impact at Williams next year and so has continued his work ethic and focus.” more

SURE SHOT: Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse player Ali Surace heads to goal in a game last season. Senior tri-captain and Columbia University-bound Surace is coming off a superb 2021 season that saw her tally 25 goals and 17 assists. The Panthers get their 2022 campaign underway by playing at Clearview on April 2 and then hosting Stuart Country Day on April 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

This spring marks the swan song for Jill Thomas after a quarter century at the helm of the Princeton Day School girls’ lacrosse program and she is confident her squad will hit some high notes in her finale.

PDS head coach Thomas, who was inducted into the New Jersey Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2018 and previously announced that she is retiring after 34 years at the school, is going to savor this spring.

“I think it is bittersweet, this is a great group of people,” said Thomas, citing her coaching staff of Tracy Young and Cait Flynn along with strength and conditioning coach Darius Young. “This group of seniors is pretty special. Since 2019, we haven’t had a full season so I think it is going to be great. It is really about them, not me.”

The Panthers got off to a good start with a preseason jaunt to Florida earlier this month as it prepares to open its 2022 campaign by playing at Clearview on April 2 and then hosting Stuart Country Day on April 4. more

ON THE MOVE: Stuart Country Day School lacrosse player Lily Harlan brings the ball up the field in game last season. Junior Harlan will help spearhead the Stuart defense this spring. The Tartans start their 2022 season by hosting South Brunswick on March 31. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Coming off a 1-12 season in 2021 which saw it lose several close games, the Stuart Country Day School lacrosse team is determined to get over the hump this spring.

“As the saying goes, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory on a couple of occasions last year,” said Stuart head coach Mark Maser, whose team starts its 2022 season by hosting South Brunswick on March 31.

“The mood is very positive, we have a good turnout of numbers this year. We have at least 20 with about a dozen returning players.”

The key returning player for Stuart is junior star and co-captain Emily Ix, who had team-high 42 points on 37 goals and five assists last season.

“Emily is looking good, she is going to be playing midfield,” said Maser. “She brings an inspiration and an optimism. She has got good skills, she is a solid player.”

The Tartans boast two other solid players in the midfield with freshman Alison Lee and senior co-captain Kaitlyn Magnani.

“Allison has been playing the game for a while, she plays club,” said Maser. “She is a smaller kid as a freshmen but she can do everything — right hand, left hand, pass, and catch. She is really, really good. Kaitlyn missed most of the season last year with injury. She is a two-way player. Between Kaitlyn, Emily, and Anna Landis, they are doing a very good job of taking it upon themselves to tutor the new kids a little bit before and after practice. It is a collaborative experience.” more

March 23, 2022

The Bryn Mawr-Wellesley Book Sale held its 90th annual sale last Wednesday through Saturday at its new location at Stuart Country Day School. Proceeds from the event, the most successful in its history, will support college scholarships for area students. Book lovers share their finds in this week’s Town Talk on page 6. (Photo by Weronika A. Plohn)

By Donald Gilpin

Whether or not there should be a retail cannabis dispensary in Princeton is the question coming before Princeton Council, and at a public Zoom meeting on Tuesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. Council is expecting to hear a wide range of information and opinions on that subject.

A Zoom link will be provided at princetonnj.gov for those who would like to participate, and Council will also read comments emailed to princetoncomments@gmail.com.

The meeting will be a “listening session” to hear from as wide-ranging a group of people in the community as possible. No specific action will be taken by Council at that time — the issue will be revisited at a future date to determine Princeton’s next steps in zoning or not zoning for retail cannabis sales.

Among the preliminary presentations planned before the public commentary segment of the meeting will be two speakers providing information about their experiences with cannabis dispensaries in their towns, reports from members of the municipal staff, and arguments and information from concerned parents.

Princeton Municipal Administrator Bernie Hvozdovic Jr. is expected to present brief reports from different departments — health, Corner House, legal counsel, police, zoning, etc. — commenting on the possible impacts of retail sales of cannabis in Princeton.    

New Jersey, including the town of Princeton with 78 percent in favor, voted in a November 2020 referendum to legalize the sale of recreational cannabis in the state. The decision whether to allow dispensaries in individual towns was left to the governing bodies of those towns.  more

By Donald Gilpin

On Monday, March 21, the Princeton Health Department reported declining COVID-19 case numbers, 16 new cases in the previous seven days, 43 new cases in Princeton in the previous 14 days. The first weeks in January this year, Princeton recorded its highest totals of the pandemic with 287 new cases in a single week and 568 cases in a 14-day period.

Of rising concern to health officials and others, however, is a new strain of COVID-19.  An Omicron variant known as BA.2 has caused recent surges in several European countries and is now spreading across the United States.

It has been called the “stealth variant” because it can be difficult to detect. Princeton Deputy Administrator for Health and Community Services Jeff Grosser explained, “It has genetic mutations that could make it harder to distinguish from the Delta variant.” The World Health Organization has classified BA.2 as a variant of concern, he added.  Expert opinions vary as to what its impact might be in this country.

The BA.2 variant accounted for more than half of the cases reported in New Jersey as of March 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Although it appears to be highly contagious, one and a half times more transmissible than the original Omicron strain, according to Grosser, it also appears to be less deadly than previous variants, especially to vaccinated individuals and those already infected by Omicron.  more

By Anne Levin

While more than three million Ukrainians have fled their war-ravaged country, few have made their way to the United States. The federal government has yet to say how many refugees from Ukraine it is willing to accept.

According to the website travel.state.gov, Ukrainians can be released into the United States only if they can provide the name, address, and telephone number of a sponsor who has agreed to take responsibility for them.

That was the situation with one family, which has been brought from Ukraine with help from Princeton’s Department of Human Services. Currently being housed with a family in Pennsylvania, they were able to come because their son is already here, studying on full scholarship at a local private school.

“Right now, it’s just this one Ukrainian family, from Kyiv, that we’ve encountered,” said Princeton Human Services Director Rhodalynn Jones. “They were fleeing the war. They traveled to Lviv, and then to Poland. From there, they flew to the U.S. Their son, the only English-speaking member of the family, reached out to Human Services hoping we’d be able to identify housing opportunities, because the household he is in is too crowded.”

Princeton’s Human Services Department has helped refugees in the past, most recently supporting families from Afghanistan. “We’re assisting folks when it comes to food pantries, donations of clothes, toiletries, kitchen stuff, and welfare if they’re eligible,” said Jones. more

A NEW TAKE ON SHAKESPEARE: Gillian Murphy, left, and Ryoko Tanaka star in American Repertory Ballet’s production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” choreographed by Ethan Stiefel. (Photo by Harald Schrader)

By Anne Levin

For his final performance as a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet in the late 1990s, Ethan Stiefel danced the role of Oberon in George Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A few years later, as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre, he took on the role again — this time in the version by British choreographer Frederick Ashton.

The artistic director of American Repertory Ballet (ARB) since last July, Stiefel is about to debut his own telling of the classic Shakespeare play. Accompanied live by the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO), ARB, which is based in Princeton and New Brunswick, presents A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center April 1-3.

For Stiefel, the experience of creating the ballet was as much about the music as the steps. After digging into some research, he chose to supplement the original score, written in 1826 by Felix Mendelssohn, with compositions by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who arranged Mendelssohn’s music for the 1935 film of the Shakespeare play, directed by Max Reinhardt.

“There is only one recording of the Korngold that exists,” he said. “The instrumentation and the orchestration are so interesting. The beauty is that it really weaves into the Mendelssohn. It gives it a contemporary sheen and another level of magic. He takes some of the themes, and he may change the meter or add some saxophone.” more

SPRING CLEANUP: Getting parks, waterways, shared roadways, and public lands ready for the warmer months involves armies of volunteers. At a recent cleanup in Princeton sponsored by The Watershed Institute, these helpers carried away bags of trash.

By Anne Levin

It can be shocking, in early spring, to see how much trash and debris has accumulated in parks, streams, and natural settings. Clearing it all out requires a community effort.

That’s where volunteers come in. Administrators of several parks and waterways throughout the local area are hoping that, as in previous years, plenty of people will turn out in coming weeks to help get these areas into shape.

“Stream cleanups are community action made visible,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of The Watershed Institute in Pennington. “Cleanups contribute to cleaner streams, improved habitat for fish and wildlife, better appearance for our streams and other local waterways, and can help address local flooding issues. Trash and litter harm water and wildlife. We are so grateful for our volunteers who have been part of the solution for 16 years.”

The Watershed Institute sponsors stream cleanups on Saturday, April 9 and 23; and Sunday, April 24, at 10 different municipalities including Hilltop Park, 782 Bunn Drive; Montgomery Veterans’ Park, Memorial Park in Highstown, Etra Lake Park in East Windsor, Village Park in Cranbury, Colonial Lake Park and Lawrence Nature Center in Lawrence, and the municipal buildings in Millstone and Plainsboro. The organization also holds virtual cleanups. Visit thewatershed.org to register. more

SOLVING FOR TOMORROW: The Princeton High School (PHS) research team has advanced to the national finals of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition and will be competing next month in New York City for the $100,000 grand prize. Under the guidance of PHS science teacher Mark Eastburn, the researchers have used black soldier flies to combat greenhouse gas emissions by transforming food waste into a variety of usable products. (Photo courtesy of Mark Eastburn)

By Donald Gilpin

There’s a lot going on in Mark Eastburn’s science classroom at Princeton High School (PHS). There’s a glass terrarium filled with buzzing black soldier flies. A side room is home to the catfish that are the basis of the fish-raising project that will be using the catfish frass (waste) to branch off into an aquaponics program. On top of a couple of shelves, there’s an oil press used to transform black soldier flies into a variety of useful products, including the soaps which are drying on a plastic rack in the back of the room. 

“We are going to have to expand,” said Eastburn, who directs the PHS Research Program. And as one of 10 national finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, the PHS research team will be acquiring some resources to fuel that expansion. So far they have won $50,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies for their project in using the black soldier fly to transform food waste into usable products and combat greenhouse gases, and on April 24 they’ll be traveling to New York City to pitch their project to a panel of judges in hopes of being chosen as one of three national winners to take home the grand prize of $100,000.

Formed as a collaboration between PHS English-Language Learners (ELL) and research program students, and supported by teachers and administrators from the science and ESL departments, the team continues to develop this multi-faceted project.

“I am incredibly proud of everything our team has accomplished thus far,” said PHS senior Matthew Livingston. “When I started work on this project last year, there were only four others working with me, and now we’ve expanded to more than 30 people working on all different aspects, like raising the flies, using the fly oil, and I even worked on securing rotting fruits and vegetables for the flies at one point by going to the Philadelphia organic produce market to smash organic waste into fly food.” more

By Stuart Mitchner

Once upon a time I was a regular gambler in the Bryn Mawr Book Sale casino. That was before Wellesley had a stake in the annual event at which book dealers come to play and pay, but not to deal.

In those days early birds would start lining up at the crack of dawn, primed for a shot at the most desirable items as soon as the doors opened. It’s all about getting there first when you know a volume marked $10 might be worth $100 to $500 or beyond. Or so it seemed until various digital devices took most of the guesswork out of the game. By that time I’d moved on, covering the sales as a member of the press, which allowed me a view of the virgin stock before it was ravaged by invading hordes of collectors and book hawks.

Imagining the Castle

Every now and then I miss the adrenaline rush of those charged early morning waits outside the entrance, caught up in the mystique of the book quest, a wayfarer at the gate of a vast imaginary encampment divided into covered markets of literature, art, history, science, mystery, fantasy, and volumes rare, old, and unusual.

At this moment in my reading life, the image of the wayfarer at the gate is derived from the opening chapter of Franz Kafka’s The Castle, where K., the Land Surveyor, first sees the Castle hill “veiled in mist and darkness.” A clearer view shows “a rambling pile consisting of innumerable small buildings closely packed together and of one or two stories; if K. had not known that it was a castle he might have taken it for a little town.” As K. moves closer, “thinking of nothing else at all,” he’s “disappointed in the Castle,” which is, “after all, only a wretched-looking town, a huddle of village houses.”

Recalling images of his far-off home town, K. has an uneasy fascination with the Castle tower, which is “pierced by small windows that glittered in the sun — with a somewhat maniacal glitter — and topped by what looked like an attic, with battlements that were irregular, broken, fumbling, as if designed by the trembling or careless hand of a child, clearly outlined against the blue. It was as if a melancholy-mad tenant who ought to have been kept locked in the topmost chamber of his house had burst through the roof and lifted himself up to the gaze of the world.”

I penciled three exclamation points in the margin next to that passage in my copy of the novel. Rereading it, I think what impressed me was how “maniacal glitter” mocks the mystique of the quest, the wildness of the writing jumping out at you after a relatively restrained approach.  more

By Nancy Plum

It is difficult enough to present a professional opera production in the best of times, but over the past two years, it must have seemed almost impossible. Opera companies nationwide struggled to succeed in a medium considered a coronavirus “superspreader,” and regional companies in particular have been putting their artistic toes in the water very slowly these days. Boheme Opera NJ, which has been presenting opera in the area for the past 33 years, took a big leap back into the performance arena this past weekend with a production of Giuseppe Verdi’s classic Rigoletto at the Patriots Theater at Trenton’s War Memorial. Led by conductor Joseph Pucciatti, Boheme Opera NJ’s fully-staged and supertitled production brought together a talented cast of singers and instrumentalists, accompanied by innovative digital sets and well-paced music.

As popular as Rigoletto is today, the plot of Verdi’s 1851 opera was considered surprisingly shocking in its time. Based on a Victor Hugo play and with a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, Rigoletto had a storyline perceived as making fun of royalty. Verdi moved the story’s location to Italy and reduced the protagonist in rank to duke, thus appeasing the Naples censors to which he was required to submit the libretto.

Celebrating more than 30 years of opera production, Boheme Opera NJ was riding a wave of artistic growth in 2020, when this production was originally scheduled, and the company bravely moved the performance site to Patriots Theater. A two-year hiatus on live opera performance upended the company’s upward momentum, yet this past weekend’s performances provided an opportunity for “spring reawakenings.” Friday night’s production (repeated Sunday afternoon) featured six singers making Boheme Opera debuts and nine singers performing their assigned roles for the first time.

Rigoletto fit well into a 19th-century formula in which the tenor is the romantic lead and the soprano his leading lady, with a villainous bass lurking in the background. A baritone hunchback in Rigoletto changed the formula slightly, with Verdi adding his trademark unforgettable melodies into the musical mix. Verdi operas also often have their own signature features, such as a show-stopping coloratura soprano aria and poignant father-daughter conflict. Boheme Opera’s production featured solid singing throughout, but much of the evening belonged to Robert Balonek singing the title role. As Rigoletto, Balonek was able to scurry through crowd scenes with elastic physicality as well as express parental tenderness toward his daughter Gilda. He was alternately sprightly, animated, and conniving, with a solid voice carrying well into the house. Balonek showed particularly sensitive dynamics in an Act I soliloquy, while both scheming with the professional assassin Sparafucile and offering protective advice to Gilda.  more

“ON BECKETT”: McCarter Theatre Center presented “On Beckett” on March 18. Created, directed and performed by Bill Irwin, the show played at McCarter’s Matthews Theatre. Above: Irwin considers, among other questions, whether the “Waiting for Godot” playwright’s work is “natural clown territory.” (Photo by Craig Schwartz)

By Donald H. Sanborn III

Award-winning actor, writer, director, and clown Bill Irwin presented On Beckett at McCarter on March 18. The entertaining monologue excerpts passages from the author and playwright’s writings, interspersed with comedy routines and affable, thoughtful commentary. Early in the evening Irwin poses an overarching rhetorical question: “Is Samuel Beckett’s writing natural clown territory?”

On Beckett is the result, and culmination, of Irwin’s extensive experience performing Beckett’s works. He has acted in multiple productions of Waiting for Godot, including the 2009 Broadway production; and he performed in American Conservatory Theater’s 2012 production of Endgame.

“Mine is an actor’s relationship to Beckett’s language; but it’s also a clown’s relationship,” Irwin explains to this writer in an interview for (the March 16 edition of) Town Topics. “I’m hoping to welcome you in, and in doing so, re-welcome myself back in, because I am forever rediscovering this writing — the wit in it.”

On Beckett premiered at Irish Repertory Theatre in 2018, following development at ACT. The McCarter presentation is produced by Octopus Theatricals, in partnership with the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Irwin’s other original stage works include The Regard of Flight, The Happiness Lecture, and Old Hats. He won a Tony Award for Best Actor for his performances in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Fool Moon (the latter is created by Irwin and David Shiner). Television credits include Elmo’s World; film credits include Rachel Getting Married and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. more

LIL BUCK AND FRIENDS: The dance artists brings “Memphis Jooking: The Show” to the State Theatre New Jersey March 27.

State Theatre New Jersey presents “Memphis Jookin’: The Show” featuring Lil Buck on Sunday, March 27, at 7 p.m. There will be a Q&A with Lil Buck and the dancers after the show.

Dance artist Lil Buck stars in the world premiere tour of the show, an ode to his hometown of Memphis, and the birthplace of the singular dance style known as Memphis Jookin’. This original production chronicles how the artform emerged from a local street dance to an international phenomenon.

Lil Buck is joined by eight Memphis Jookin’ dancers and a DJ, performing to a soundtrack that evokes the energy of the streets and the clubs where Memphis Jookin’ was born.  more

INTREPID HEROINES: Members of the cast of the Lewis Center for the Arts’ production of the musical “The Hello Girls.” (Photo by Jon Sweeney)

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Theatre presents the musical The Hello Girls at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place, Friday and Saturday, March 25 and 26 at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 27 at 2 p.m.

From New York to Paris, from ragtime to jazz, The Hello Girls chronicles the story of America’s first women soldiers. These heroines served as bilingual telephone operators on the front lines, helping turn the tide of World War I. They then returned home to fight a decades-long battle for equality and recognition, paving the way for future generations.  more

JOURNEY DOWN THE PASSAIC: A scene from the documentary “American River,” directed by Scott Morris. The film is featured in the 16th annual Princeton Environmental Film Festival, presented by the Princeton Public Library April 1 to April 10.

The Princeton Environmental Film Festival, a signature Princeton Public Library event, returns this year with some screenings presented in person, and all available in a virtual format. Opening April 1 and running through April 10, the 16th annual festival features 16 films (10 feature-length documentary films, five shorts, and one short narrative film).

The festival is under the direction of Susan Conlon and Kim Dorman, who curate and present films with local, regional and international relevance. All screenings are free. This year the festival will be primarily virtual with some in-person events. The lineup and schedule of films, and viewing instructions using the Eventive platform, along with a screening schedule for films being shown at the library, can be found at princetonlibrary.org/peff.  more

EDISON FILM FESTIVAL: A still from “On the Sidewalk, at Night,” a narrative short film by Alexander Deland Jr., Princeton University Class of 2021. (Courtesy of Alexander Deland Jr.)

The Thomas Edison Film Festival (TEFF) presents selected short films from the festival’s 2022 touring collection, featuring animation, documentary, experimental, and narrative, in collaboration with Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts, at the James Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau Street, on Thursday, March 24 at 7 p.m.

The selection will include three award-winning films by recent Princeton alumnus Alexander Deland Jr. ’21 and current Princeton visual arts students Lola Constantino ’23 and Dylan Fox ’22, along with films by David De La Fuente of New York City; Andy B. Clarke of Ireland; Hannah Saidiner of San Fernando, Calif.; Elijah Mosley of Philadelphia; Alisa Karo of Belgium, and Osbert Parker of London.

Admission is free and open to the public. Tickets are required; visit tickets.princeton.edu. more

NEW SEASON: Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan returns to the Princeton Symphony Orchestra in February to perform Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat Major.

The Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and Music Director Rossen Milanov have announced a 2022-2023 Season with guest artists and varied programming, including lesser known works and a range of genres.

Latin and Spanish, English, American, Italian, and Eastern European sounds will be heard among works by Joaquín Turina, Ruperto Chapí, Edward Elgar, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, George Gershwin, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Alexander Borodin, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. Audiences will also hear symphonies by Beethoven and Tchaikovsky as well as newer works by Jessie Montgomery and Carlos Simon. The U.S. premiere of Marcos Fernandez’ America and the world premiere of William Harvey’s Seven Decisions of Gandhi, with Harvey as solo violinist, are also on the schedule. more

STEADY ON: Shawn Colvin returns to McCarter Theatre with a new version of her contemporary folk album.

Three-time Grammy winner Shawn Colvin brings songs from her newly recorded, solo/acoustic version of her famous album, Steady On, to McCarter Theatre on Friday, March 25 at 8 p.m.

Colvin is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the 1989 debut album, Steady On, which firmly established her in the singer/songwriter genre. She was awarded the Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album that year, and quickly amassed a dedicated fan base. more

COME TO THE CABARET: Sarah Donner’s “Cabernet Cabaret” will return to the Arts Council’s Solley Theater for a 10th Anniversary Extravaganza on Friday, April 8. Tickets include the live performance, small bites from Ficus Bon Vivant, and a glass of wine.

The 10th annual “Cabernet Cabaret” featuring Sarah Donner & Friends is live again, taking place Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Arts Council of Princeton’s Solley Theater, 105 Witherspoon Street. The event includes a performance, small bites, and a glass of wine for all ticket-holders.

Donner and friends will perform numbers from past events, including selections from Merrily We Roll Along, Little Shop of Horrors, Once On This Island, and Something Rotten.  more

“GLASS BOTTLES & TOOLS”: The Arts Council of Princeton will present “Still Lives from a Mostly Stilled Life”, an exhibition of oil paintings by Princeton-based painter Joe Kossow, April 2 through April 30. An opening reception is on Saturday, April 2 from 2-5 p.m.

The Arts Council of Princeton will present “Still Lives from a Mostly Stilled Life,” an exhibition of oil paintings by Princeton-based painter Joe Kossow, April 2 through April 30. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 2 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Kossow received a Master in Fine Arts degree from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1982. In 1984, he co-founded the Washington Studio School with a group of figurative painters. He taught at the Washington Studio School and local Washington area colleges for eight years. He was awarded the Elizabeth Greenshields prize in 1983. His work has been shown in the D.C. area, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and in Paris and Nancy, France.

“I love everyday objects, and things that show their age,” said Kossow. “So I often paint old bottles and tools, flowers, and fruit. My painting affirms the importance of looking, of perceiving, of drawing, of composing and finding a visual balance between drama and stability. Being in love with oil paint as a material, I tend to obsess over all the technical matters that make oil paintings interesting: edges; suggestions of planes, forms, and spaces; tones; impasto; and the emotion inherent in chiaroscuro and color. But mainly I paint because I have to. I tried not painting for a long while; it left a hole that nothing else really filled.”  more