(UNION, NJ) -- Premiere Stages will present the winner of its 2013 Play Festival, The Beautiful Dark by Erik Gernand, September 5th through 22nd in the Zella Fry Theatre at Kean University. Selected from 400 submissions, this affecting new play tackles a subject ripped straight from the headlines. A woman's life is turned upside down when she suspects that her teenage son may be planning an attack on a school. Is her son capable of the unthinkable? And if she's wrong, will she ruin any chance he has at a normal life? A powerful and thought-provoking new play, The Beautiful Dark is a topical, non-political examination of a topic that haunts the American psyche.
"Gun violence is a politically charged issue that has
divided America," stated John Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of
Premiere Stages, who is directing the production. "But Erik's important
new play is apolitical and points no fingers. Rather, it is an incisive,
moving story of a modern mother's ultimate dilemma."
Beautiful Dark will feature Dana Benningfield as Nancy, and Kean student
Daniel Pellicano as her son, Jacob. Benningfield's performance as Pidge
in New Jersey Repertory Company's production of Cabin Fever earned her a
"Best Featured Actress" nomination from The Star-Ledger; Daniel
Pellicano recently appeared in the National Geographic television
series, Inside the American Mob. Premiere's cast also includes Steven
Rishard (Tom), who appeared in the Public Theater/Shakespeare in the
Park production of The Bacchae; Mitch Greenberg (Mr. Marsh), a veteran
of multiple Broadway productions, including Laughter on the 23rd Floor;
Cara Ganski (Sydney), who appeared last season in the Premiere Stages
production of Farragut North; and Logan Riley Bruner (Charlie), who
appeared in Keen Company's acclaimed revival of Lanford Wilson's Lemon
Playwright Erik Gernand was the winner of T. Schreiber
Studio's 2012 New Works Project, and a finalist for the Woodward/Newman
Drama Award. His award-winning short films have screened at more than
100 film festivals worldwide, and been broadcast on IFC, PBS, and the
Logo Channel. Director John Wooten has developed and produced numerous
new plays at Premiere and elsewhere, including Follow Me to Nellie's,
The Good Counselor, and Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods, all of which have
been honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. He founded
the Premiere Stages Play Festival, an annual competition for playwrights
born or residing in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, which
has received over 2000 submissions since 2005.
will partner with the New Jersey State Firefighters' Mutual Benevolent
Association in support of The Sandy Ground Project: Where Angels Play
for the production. Inspired by the senseless violence in Newtown,
Connecticut, and in an effort to restore the storm-ravaged East Coast
after Hurricane Sandy, The Sandy Ground Project endeavors to build 26
playgrounds as living memorials to all children who have been victims of
violence while creating safe, fun places for children to be children. A
special benefit performance of The Beautiful Dark is scheduled for
Sunday, September 15, beginning with a pre-show reception at Kean
University's Human Rights Institute at 1 pm. The performance, scheduled
for 3 pm, will be followed by dessert and champagne with the cast.
Tickets are $100 ($70 of which is tax-deductible), with a portion of the
proceeds to benefit The Sandy Ground Project. To purchase tickets to
the benefit, please call 908-737-4092. For more information on The Sandy
Ground Project, please visit http://www.thesandygroundproject.org/.
popular post-show talk-back series continues with a Q & A with Erik
Gernand, moderated by Resident Dramaturg Clare Drobot, on Sunday,
September 8 immediately following the 3:00 pm performance. For a full
schedule of upcoming talk-backs, please call 908-737-4092.
Beautiful Dark runs Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:00
and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Standard tickets are $30, with
discounted rates of $20 for seniors, and $15 for students and patrons
with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of 10 or more
apply. All performances take place in the Zella Fry Theatre in Vaughn
Eames Hall, located on the Kean University campus at 1000 Morris Avenue.
To purchase tickets or request a season brochure, please call the Kean
Stage Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit Premiere Stages online
Stages offers air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the
fully accessible spaces. Free or discounted tickets for patrons with
disabilities are available. Please call for a list of sign-interpreted,
audio-described, or open-captioned performances. Assistive listening
devices and large print programs are available upon request.
Publications in alternate forms are available with advanced notice.
Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey
State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R.
Dodge Foundation, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The Provident
Bank Foundation, The Hudson City Savings Bank Foundation, The Robert
Rauschenberg Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance and through the
generous support of individual patrons. Discover Jersey Arts is our
marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.