2019 NJPAC Stage Exchange
The 2019 NJPAC Stage Exchange commissions were given to an extraordinary playwright, and one creative team. The 2019 Stage Exchange marks the first musical development in the program, Eloise Govedare (Lyricist), Aleksandra M. Weil (Composer), and Erlina Ortiz (Book Writer). Marking another first is Marlena Lustik's "Mother of the Bride" featuring a transgender character's story.
Friday, March 8, 2019, 6:30 p.m. at New Jersey Performing Arts Center's Chase Room in Newark.
Join us for scene readings from each of this year's commissions. A reception will follow.
We will open up the discussion to questions and comments, so please come lend your voice!
This event is free but requires reservations.
Stage Exchange Reading on Friday, April 5, 2019, 7:00 pm at NJPAC. Directed by Passage Theatre artistic director, C. Ryanne Domingues.
THE PLAY: Inspired by the life and work of Cuban-American performance artist, Ana Mendieta, Silueta follows the unlikely friendship of two women who were ripped from their roots and planted in New York City. Quiet, conservative Xiomara and eccentric activist Ishtar aren't a roommate match made in heaven. But in 2016, as the Cuba embargo lifts and anti-immigrant sentiment boils over, nothing is as it seems. Plagued by the ghosts of their pasts, Xiomara and Ishtar struggle to find meaning, laughter, and family away from home.
THE CREATIVE TEAM: Eloise Govedare (Lyricist) is a lyricist and book-writer currently based in Brooklyn, New York, and originally from Seattle, Washington. Musical theater works include A Rebel Prayer (music by Aleksandra Weil); workshop with Collaborative Development and Production (CDP), NYU (August 2016), Musical Theatre Dramaturgy Project #5 at the University of Portsmouth, UK (2016); musical developmental reading at The Tisch New Musical Theatre Workshop (October 2015), 29-hour equity reading at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (April 2015), Goodspeed Musicals Residency (January 2015); The Chimes (music by Liz Barnett); Dixon Place (Off-Off Broadway, October 2015), developmental equity reading at NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (May 2014). Eloise received her MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She also holds a B.A. in Comparative History of Ideas and a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Washington.
Aleksandra M. Weil (Composer) is a Brooklyn-based composer, singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in the tumultuous aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, Aleksandra’s work often reflects on themes of cultural and political identity, social justice and the resilience of the human spirit. Her work has been performed at Feinstein’s/54 Below, Joe’s Pub, American Opera Projects, Target Margin’s The Doxsee, Dixon Place, NYU, Columbia University and on the West Coast at The Moore Theater and the Triple Door. Recent and upcoming selected theater works include Uprising, one act opera (American Opera Projects/NYU); Henna Leaves, one-act opera (The International House/American Opera Projects); A Rebel Prayer (Portsmouth College, Portsmouth, UK; The Tisch New Musical Theatre Workshop, Goodspeed Musicals); Love in the Dark (Dixon Place, NYU). Aleksandra holds an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a BA in Women’s Studies from University of Washington.
Erlina Ortiz (Book Writer) is a Dominican-American playwright, performer, and theatre-maker from Reading, PA based in Philadelphia. Her plays on gentrification, domestic violence, and rape culture have been produced with Power Street Theatre Company where she is proud to be the resident playwright. Erlina is a member of Philly emerging playwrights lab The Foundry and New Pages with Azuka Theatre Company. Erlina has received the Amtrak Writer’s residency, the Signal Fire Outpost Residency on Mount St. Helens. She has also twice been a finalist for the Leeway Transformation Award, and her play She Wore Those Shoes had a developmental reading at Theatre Exile’s Studio X-hibition Series. Erlina believes being an artist is a superpower, she believes in using her powers for good. Up Next: Her play Morir Sonyando will receive a run at Passage Theatre this May, followed by a remounting of her hit show MinorityLand which she will be directing at Power Street.
THE PARTNERING THEATRE: Passage Theatre Company, Trenton's premier professional theatre, is committed to staging dynamic works that celebrate the human experience - across cultural lines. Led by Artistic Director C. Ryanne Domingues and Managing Director Damion Parran, Passage has gained national recognition for its productions of both new and established plays that appeal to the diverse communities of New Jersey's State Capitol. In addition, Passage organizes and produces the State Street Project, an educational program that teams city children with theatre professionals to write and stage original works in front of a live audience.
Stage Exchange Reading on Friday, May 3, 2019, 7:00 pm at NJPAC. Directed by Cape May Stage artistic director, Roy Steinberg.
THE PLAY: Mother of the Bride? is the tale of two families, one from northern New Jersey, the other from Texas with traditional views on life who find that their children have decided to wed and face life as a transgender couple. The wedding takes place in Cape May, New Jersey. How much love do we have for our children? Can we bless them and let them sail off into unknown waters? Can we laugh at ourselves in the midst of all these changes?
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Marlena Lustik (playwright) has written The Private Resource that was given a staged reading at the Eagle Theatre in Hammonton, NJ and at Fremont Theatre Center in South Pasadena, California as well as at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Her adaptation of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard was mounted by the Triangle Theatre in New York and her adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya was produced by the Deptford Players in New York. She adapted Everyman for the Church of the Holy Trinity for their hundredth anniversary. Ms. Lustik created Blue Plate Special for Cape May Forum that featured Kate McCauley Hathaway singing songs related to food and created A Cape May Christmas, Merry Melodies, and Cape May Kids for Cape May Stage. She is also an accomplished director, actor, and teacher.
THE PARTNERING THEATRE: Cape May Stage, is the premiere Equity Theatre in Southern New Jersey, inspiring performers, audiences, our community, and the entire region. They introduce audiences to great professional performers and performances through their main stage productions. They also bring top performers from Broadway and elsewhere across the nation to our Monday Night Second Stage series; and in collaboration with other nonprofits, they provide family programming for the community. Their educational programming serves to enrich lives and foster artistic development throughout the region. Their rich performance history combines timeless classics and the best contemporary and premiere works. Cape May Stage brings inspiring artists to the region and function as a training ground for a new generation of inspired theatre professionals. Located in the heart of the downtown Historic District of Cape May; the Robert Shackleton Playhouse is a completely restored key historic building which serves as an intimate comfortable setting where audiences share cultural experience, stories, and emotion.