New Jersey Stage

Monday, February 7, 2011

The New Jersey Theatre Alliance presents The Stages Festival Throughout March

(West Orange, NJ) -- The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, its 34 professional member theatres, and partner organizations are happy to offer the fourth annual Stages Festival throughout the month of March 2011. The Stages Festival includes the fourteenth annual Family Week at the Theatre from March 5 - 12.

"Family Week at the Theatre started 14 years ago, but since then, the program has proven to be so popular – and not just among young people, but teens on up to seniors – and there is a constant demand for more programming," says John McEwen, Executive Director of the Theatre Alliance. "We are now in our fourth year of providing a full month of performances, workshops and theatre open-houses for theatre lovers of all ages – at all the stages of their lives; which is why we now call it The Stages Festival."

This unique state-wide program provides the opportunity for young people ages 3-18 to receive free tickets to performances and special events throughout the state including classes, workshops and more – while offering free and/or deeply discounted ticket prices to parents and adult friends. Events are held at member theatres, but also in local libraries, schools, hospitals and senior centers. For the fourth year in a row, the Theatre Alliance is also sponsoring a private event for service men and women and their families on McGuire Air Force Base in Burlington County.

Since its original inception as Family Week at the Theatre in the program has served over 140,000 young people and their parents with professional theatre performances and activities.

The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and its mission is to give families the opportunity to experience the diversity of New Jersey's professional theatres by offering affordable, exciting and educational programming at member theatres and in non-traditional venues throughout the state.

Steve Runk, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts says of the Council's fourteen-year involvement with Family Week: "The Council is proud to have supported this exceptional program since it began. The Theatre Alliance and its partners develop a dynamic, diverse roster of offerings each year introducing the wonder of live theatre to people of all ages through fun, meaningful, memorable experiences."

Classes and workshops have always been a popular aspect of the program, and for the fourth year in a row, Bank of America's Beyond the Stage programs offer theatre lovers a chance to participate in a variety of workshops under the guidance of professional artists

... a great way to unleash creativity. "Continued support of The Stages Festival reflects our belief that the arts, in all its forms, should be shared with the widest possible audience," said Robert Doherty, Bank of America New Jersey president. "Beyond the Stage programs provide theatre lovers and neophytes alike with unique access and educational experiences."

Examples of workshops from north to south include: Actors Shakespeare Company (Hudson county) – offering a stage combat workshop for young people and a Shakespearian centered acting workshop for the whole family; Two River Theater Company (Monmouth) – offering acting workshop for high school and middle school students; Cape May Stage (Cape May county) – offering four different acting workshop exclusively for elementary, middle and high school students, as well as adults. Other members will be offering acting workshops, pre- and post- show discussions, backstage tours and more for all ages.

Older children will appreciate the dynamic programming provided by some of the most exciting companies in the region, while younger children will delight in the experience of seeing many familiar fairy tales and fables enacted in a live format.

Some highlights of this year's Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre include:


Familiar stories told with laughter and adventure serve as a wonderful way to introduce children to the delights of live theatre, while keeping their parents happily entertained.

Pushcart Players will be performing throughout the state – in Morris, Ocean, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Burlington among other – with several productions including: Red Riding Hood & Other Stories; Stone Soup and Other Stories; and the popular bi-lingual Cuentos del Arbol (Tree Tales).

The Growing Stage (Warren) will be offering a performance of James and the Giant Peach, an adaptation of the popular book by Roald Dahl.

Tri-State Actors Theater (Sussex) will offer Hey Ho, Pinocchio – a musical retelling of the story of the puppet who became a real boy, with a lively twist.


Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's (Morris) Shakespeare LIVE! Company will bring the best of the Bard to audiences in a fast-paced and exciting productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and Julius Caesar (both adapted for young audiences), at their Madison, NJ theatre/home, and at other locations throughout the state including Ocean, Salem and Cape May counties.

Surflight Theatre's touring company will perform the popular Schoolhouse Rock LIVE! –– with songs and laughs for kids ... that many parents may recall from the Saturday morning television of their youth in Bergen, Gloucester, Atlantic and Ocean counties.

Centenary Stage Company (Warren) presents 1000 Cranes – the story of real life Hiroshima survivor Sadako Sasaki's whose boundless optimism has inspired a worldwide movement for peace will be offered in their theatre in Warren County, as well as in .


Passage Theatre (Mercer) will present a reading of resident playwright David Lee White's new thriller: Slippery as Sin, a play for theatre goers and mystery fans alike. Then stay after the show and talk with the playwright, director and the cast.

Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre (Essex) stages 2009's Off-Broadway hit Distracted about living in an A.D.D. world at their South Orange location.

East Lynne Theater Company (Cape May) will offer several opportunities to see their popular "radio play" Sherlock Holmes' Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle at their performance space in Cape May, and in Bergen County.


Cuentos del Arbol (Tree Tales) will be performed by Pushcart Players in Cumberland County on March 19. Sharing delightful stories with universal themes, this language-enriching show inspires an appreciation for other cultures. This performance is made possible by the support of the HMS Foundation.

The highlights listed here are only a sampling of the diversity of this years' schedule of events, and reservations are necessary for most of them. For an up-to-the-minute schedule of The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre, please visit the website at

The New Jersey Theatre Alliance is committed to making all of its programs and services fully accessible to the public. Most venues participating in The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre are wheelchair accessible. Please call the venue directly for details regarding physical access (i.e. parking, wheelchair seating, rest-room access). Any attendees requiring assisted services (i.e. sign language interpretation, assistive listening) may contact the New Jersey Theatre Alliance at 973-731-6582 x15 at least two weeks prior to the scheduled event. The Alliance will work with the venue to meet accessibility needs.

The Stages Festival and Family Week at the Theatre is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Additional support comes from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Grotta Fund for Senior Care of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest of NJ, The HMS Fundation, Johnson & Johnson, The Karma Foundation, The F.M. Kirby Foundation, McCarter & English Attorneys at Law, The George Ohl, Jr. Trust Foundation, Prudential Foundation and The Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement. Beyond the Stage programming is made possible by the support of Bank of America.