2019 NJPAC Stage Exchange
New Jersey Theatre Alliance, in partnership with New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) in Newark, announces the return of NJPAC Stage Exchange for a fifth year. The program gives established playwrights an opportunity to hear commentary from the public about their new works at a special sneak peek reading event on Friday, March 8 at NJPAC.
The creative process also involves two additional script readings with public conversations at NJPAC on April 5 and May 3. The program then concludes with world premieres of each work that will be produced at two professional member theatres of the Alliance in the future. The
playwrights selected this year are Erlina Ortiz and Marlena Lustik. “How a new play comes to fruition is one of the great mysteries of the theatre for many patrons,” says John McEwen, Executive Director of New Jersey Theatre Alliance. “Audiences can now enjoy this unique opportunity to experience the creative development of the playwright at the beginning stage – a reading – which is being hosted so generously again by our partner NJPAC.”
In 2014, NJPAC established the NJPAC Stage Exchange program, which presented staged readings of plays-in-progress by notable New Jersey playwrights. An educational component was added during the following year to deepen the impact of the new plays and support the producing theatres.
“For the first time in NJPAC Stage Exchange’s five-year history, a new musical work will be presented and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Julia Kraus, NJPAC’s Producer of Artistic Development. “This year’s works-in-progress also tackle themes of acceptance and empowerment, which resonate in New Jersey and throughout our greater global community. We encourage audiences to join us, hear the plays, share their experiences, and be part of the development process.” Silueta, follows the unlikely friendship of two women who were ripped from their roots and planted in New York City, and is inspired by the life and work of Cuban-American performance artist, Ana Mendieta. A full reading of Silueta will be held at NJPAC on Friday, April 5th, at 7:00 p.m. with music provided by Aleksandra Weil, lyrics by Eloise Govedare, and book by Erlina Ortiz. The entire musical will be produced by Passage Theatre Company in Trenton.
Marlena Lustik’s 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. A full-script reading of Mother of the Bride? will take place at NJPAC on Friday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. The finished play will be produced by Cape May Stage in Cape May. The Stage Exchange kick-off on Friday, March 8 is free to the public and will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Chase Room of NJPAC in Newark, NJ. Guests will learn about the Stage Exchange program and enjoy excerpts of the two productions followed by a Q&A with the cast and creative teams. Advance registration is required. Tickets for all readings can be reserved at njpac.org or by calling 1-888-GONJPAC (1-888-466-5722).
Stage Exchange is presented by NJPAC in partnership with New Jersey Theatre Alliance, with support from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by ADP, official Community Engagement Partner of NJPAC.