New Jersey Stage

Sunday, October 10, 2010

New York City Opera Wardrobe Master and Costume Designer for The Theater Project’s "Crowns" to Lead Lecture Prior to Thursday, October 14 Performance in Cranford

(Cranford, NJ) -- Veteran theatrical costume designer Bettina Bierly of Harding Township, New Jersey, will lead a behind-the-scenes lecture on costume design prior to The Theater Project's Thursday, October 14 performance of ‘Crowns'. Admission is free and is open to all attendees of that evening's performance. In addition, ticketholders for any performance that weekend may attend the lecture.

The lecture will begin at 6:30pm in the Roy Smith Theater at the Cranford campus of Union County College, 1033 Springfield Avenue. Ms. Bierly will share insight into the costume design process from start to finish and recount experiences from her many theatrical design endeavors, including her work on the colorful costumes of The Theater Project's current production of ‘Crowns' now running in Cranford. She is currently the Wardrobe Master for the New York City Opera in residence at Lincoln Center and the owner of Bettina Bierly Inc. design studio. Ms. Bierly previously served as New York City Opera's Costume Director and has also recently designed costumes for New Jersey stage productions at George Street Playhouse, Playwrights Theatre of NJ, Bickford Theatre, Luna Stage and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

The Theater Project is Union County College's Professional Theater Company and its production of its first ever musical, "Crowns," continues with performances Thursdays through Sundays until October 17, 2010.

Performance times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sunday matinees at 3pm. Tickets range from $10-30 and can be reserved by contacting Brown Paper Tickets either online at or by telephone at 800-838-3006. Information is also available at

"Crowns" is a moving and celebratory musical play in which hats become a springboard for an exploration of black history and identity as seen through the eyes of a young black woman who travels down South to stay with her aunt after her brother is killed in Brooklyn. Gospel music, rap and dance underscore her story as she explores her cultural identity and the significance of her roots in a very energetic, colorful and theatrical depiction of African-American life.

Originally produced in New York City with McCarter Theatre in association with Second Stage Theatre in 2002, "Crowns" is based on the book by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marbury and adapted by Regina Taylor. Hailed as ‘an artful amalgamation of oral history, fashion show, and musical theatre' by, the musical play is based on the book: Crowns. Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats.

Special accessibility performances will be held throughout the run of "Crowns." All remaining Sunday matinee performances will be sign interpreted for deaf audience members from our community. As is done for all shows presented by The Theater Project, the cast will be available after each performance to take up individual Q&A with interested audience members as our way of furthering the uniqueness of live theater versus other entertainment options.

Begun in 1994, The Theater Project is known as Union County College's Professional Theater Company and is celebrating another season of producing new works and contemporary classics. An award-winning Associate Member of the New Jersey Theater Alliance, The Theater Project is recognized for its color-blind casting policy and provocative "actor's view of theater" seating where the audience literally sits on stage with the actors "where the action is." The Theater Project has recently received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council for the Arts, and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. More information is available at