Alliance Welcomes New Board Members
New Jersey Theatre Alliance is happy to welcome Neha Bhalani, an associate in the Intellectual Property Group at CSG Law in West Orange, Suzanne Klar, an Associate General Commercial Counsel at PSEG Services Corporation in Newark, and Michael Stotts, Managing Director of Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn have joined the Board of Trustees.
"I am thrilled to welcome Neha, Suzanne, and Michael to the Board of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Their business skills, connections within the community, and their belief in the power of theatre to impact the lives of our communities will be an asset to the Alliance and our member theatres”, said John McEwen, Executive Director.
A resident of Hoboken, Neha Bhalani she handles all aspects of trademark and copyright prosecution at CSG Law, including clearance searches, applications, office action responses and maintenance, and provides domestic and international intellectual property strategy planning. In addition, she has experience drafting, structuring and negotiating numerous licensing, co-existence, non-disclosure and promotion agreements. She also has experience working with clients in the entertainment industry as well as in the food and beverage, and hospitality industries. Ms. Bhalani grew up in Livingston, and attended New York University, where she majored in Art History and minored in South Asian Studies, and Law and Society. She received her J.D., with Intellectual Property and Litigation concentrations, from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York City, where she was the articles editor for the Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution. “I am extremely honored to be joining the board of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance," Bhalani said. “I am thrilled for the opportunity to help support and cultivate the performing arts community in my home state of New Jersey. I am also very proud to work with the Alliance in connection with its equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives which will undoubtedly further the Alliance’s and its member theatres’ goals of attracting and serving diverse talent and audiences.”
A resident of Livingston, Suzanne Klar handles negotiation of commercial transactions and commercial dispute resolution in her role as Associate General Commercial Counsel at PSEG Services Corporation. From 2012 to 2019, Klar served on the board of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, an organization that coordinates pro bono legal services throughout New Jersey. She remains a member of that organization’s gala committee. She also has been a gala committee member for the Newark Public Library, and serves as a congregational homeless shelter coordinator for Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County. Ms. Klar has been recognized with the 2009 Tribute to Women and Industry Award from the Bergen County YWCA, 2012 PSEG Volunteer for Excellence vision award for her work to create a pro bono clinic for veterans, a 2013 Award for outstanding volunteer work as Social Action Chair at Temple Emanu-El in Livingston, PSEG’s 2016 Volunteer for Excellence Award for her work with Interfaith Hospitality Network, and in 2016 and 2017 she was recognized with PSEG’s Volunteer for Excellence Award for her participation on a team serving the St. Johns Soup Kitchen in Newark. “I believe that a strong theater arts presence is vital to a healthy society,” says Klar. “The New Jersey Theater Alliance’s efforts help to ensure that our local theaters large and small continue to entertain, spread awareness, encourage introspection, and inspire audiences young and old. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with John McEwen and the other board members at the New Jersey Theater Alliance to support and promote the New Jersey Theater community.”
A Florham Park resident, Michael Stotts is a graduate of Queen's University, Ontario and Columbia University, New York. He has over 32 years of arts management experience, with 28 years leading five regional theatres as Managing Director. He recently joined the Tony-Award winning Paper Mill Playhouse as its new Managing Director after 13 years at Hartford Stage. His credits include Anastasia (also a co-Producer of the Broadway production); A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love and Murder (2014 Tony Award for Best Musical); the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes; and Horton Foote’s The Orphans’ Home Cycle which enjoyed a celebrated run in Hartford and subsequently at the Signature Theatre in New York (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle awards, among others). Prior to his tenure at Hartford Stage, he served as Managing Director at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT, George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison. He began his career in the general management office at the Manhattan Theatre Club. Mr. Stotts was a co-founder and President of the Connecticut Arts Alliance. He also served as Co-chair of Hartford Performs from 2010 – 2016, and on the boards of the Edward C. and Ann T. Robert Foundation, the National Corporate Theatre Fund (now Theatre Forward), and ArtPride, NJ. He also served on the Theatre Alliance board from DATE TO DATE before leaving the state for his position at Hartford Stage. In 2016 he attended Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management at the Harvard Business School, and in the fall of 2018 he was a member of a delegation of US arts leaders at the 7th Annual Workshop on Theatre Management at the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing, China. He has recently been made a member of the Tony Award Nominating Committee, and will serve a three year term. “I am delighted to be rejoining the New Jersey Theatre Alliance board after a sixteen year absence from the State,” Stotts said. “I have always held the work of the NJ Theatre Alliance in very high esteem as a convener, collaborator, and an organization that celebrates diverse theatre offerings across the state. I look forward to working with John McEwen and the Board in continuing to advance theatre in the lives of all New Jerseyans."