2018 NJPAC Stage Exchange
The 2018 NJPAC Stage Exchange commissions were given to three extraordinary playwrights: Darrah Cloud, Stephen Fredericks, and Tony Meneses.
Friday, February 9, 2018, 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble in Newark. B&N Newark is located in the new Hahne's Building at 42 Halsey Street, right across the street from NJPAC. FREE.
Join us for a special kick-off event where Marshall Jones III, artistic director of Crossroads Theatre Company will lead a discussion about the NJPAC Stage Exchange commissioning program and this year's plays. Discussion will include:
- Stephanie Coen, Associate Artistic Director at Two River Theater
- Stephen Fredericks, Founder & Executive Director at The Growing Stage: The Children's Theatre of New Jersey, and commissioned playwright
- Catherine Rust, General Manager of Centenary Stage Company
- Darrah Cloud, commissioned playwright
You will hear an excerpt from Darrah Cloud's commissioned play, Turning, about the first U.S. women's gymnastics team, which trained in Newark for the 1936 Olympics. We will open up the discussion to questions and comments, so please come lend your voice!
RESCHEDULED: The Stage Exchange reading of Turning by Darrah Cloud has been rescheduled for Friday, March 16, 2018, 7:00 pm, at NJPAC in Newark. Tickets are $5.
THE PLAY: Turning is a play about the young athletes from New Jersey who competed in the women’s gymnastics (“turning”) Olympic event in 1936 Berlin. This was the first year that women’s gymnastics was included in the Olympics, and the first time that world-class gymnastics coaches had to coach women. Women’s turning was a taboo sport, and some of the team members had to rise above resistance from their fathers and husbands. It was the women’s first voyage to Europe, and they had to learn etiquette because they were invited to balls where the 4-foot-nothings danced with Jesse Owens, and social functions where they were greeted by Adolf Hitler.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Darrah Cloud is currently working on a new musical, SABINA, at The Cell in NYC. Her most recent full-length play, OUR SUBURB, premiered at Theater J in Washington, DC in 2014 and was recently produced at Center Stage in Rochester. Her play for teens, JOAN THE GIRL OF ARC, premiered at Cincinnati Playhouse in January, 2014, then toured. Other plays produced in New York, Europe and across the U.S. include WHAT’S BUGGING GREG?, THE STICK WIFE, (Manhattan Theatre Club, Victory Gardens, LATC, Trinity Rep, etc) THE MUD ANGEL, DREAM HOUSE, BRAILLE GARDEN and THE SIRENS. Her musicals include HEARTLAND, (Goodspeed Opera, Madison Repertory Theatre, The Majestic Theatre/Dallas, TheatreWorks Palo Alto) THE BOXCAR CHILDREN (Theatreworks USA), HONOR SONG FOR CRAZY HORSE (TheatreWorks Palo Alto) and the stage adaptation of Willa Cather’s O PIONEERS!, which has received over 100 productions in the United States and was filmed starring Mary McDonnell for American Playhouse. Her plays are published by Dramatic Play Publishing, and she has won numerous awards, including the Macy’s Prize for Theatre for Young Audiences, an NEA and a Rockefeller. She has had over 10 movies-of-theweek produced on CBS and NBC, is a proud alum of the Iowa Writers Workshop and New Dramatists. She teaches at Goddard College.
THE PARTNERING THEATRE: For over 20 years Centenary Stage Company of Hackettstown has served as a cultural resource for its community and the beautiful Skylands region. Its mission as a theatre has always been to entertain, to enlighten, and to inspire, and each year the staff and artists venture forth on a journey they hope will have an impact on the lives of their diverse audience. They celebrate their commitment with not only their professional Equity Theatre, but also their beloved Women Playwrights Series, the state-acclaimed Young Performers Workshop, the Young Audience Series on Tour program, and their Special Events Jazz and Concert Series. They hold steadfast to the belief in the transformative power of art, but, most importantly, the transformative power of live performance. For more information, visit centenarystageco.org or call 908-979-0900.
Stage Exchange Reading on Friday, April 20, 2017, 7:00 pm at NJPAC. Tickets are $5.00.
THE PLAY: The idea for A Better Place to Be emerged when the playwright redeemed his wife’s holiday gift: a genealogy research service. Fredericks discovered that his grandmother had immigrated to the U.S. from Norway in the early 1900s when she was 14 years old, and went right to work as a domestic servant. He decided to meld the story of his grandmother’s immigration with the story of a Syrian girl, also 14, who flees to the U.S. as a refugee in the 21st century. He has been meeting with Syrian refugee families in Paterson to gather first-hand stories of their experience.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: As founder and Executive Director of The Growing Stage – The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, Stephen has directed and designed the majority of productions for our professional AEA company. Works under his direction range from THE MIRACLE WORKER to THE MASQUE OF BEAUTY & THE BEAST - THE SECRET GARDEN to LILY’S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE – SALT AND PEPPER to THE HOBBIT. As a playwright he has adapted and written over a dozen plays for young people either by himself or in collaboration with TGS Resident Artist Perry Arthur Kroeger. Together they have written THE STORY OF THE NUTCRACKER; THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN, ARIZONA; and ALICE IN WONDERLAND performed with Bunraku puppetry. By himself, some of Stephen’s works include THE TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER; SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS; THE LIFE & ADVENTURES OF SANTA CLAUS and A BOY CALLED CINDER. Through The Growing Stage’s New Play Reading Festival he has directed the East Coast premiere production of Anne Negri’s WITH TWO WINGS; and the World Premieres of both Susan Rowen Master’s THE SECRET LIFE OF HUBIE HARTZEL, Emily Freeman’s AND THEN CAME TANGO Casey Daigle-Oriens THE BOOK OF D, and most recently J.S. Puller’s THE BOX OF STORIES. In the first six years of the New Play Reading Festival four of the works have gone on to publication.
In 2008 Stephen received the Sara Spencer Award from the American Alliance for Theatre & Education for making a significant contribution to the field of professional theatre for young audiences. Committed for the past thirty-five years to the genre, Stephen recently served as the Lead Chair of the PLOTYA negotiations with Actor’s Equity for the TYA contract that will run to 2019 which includes for the first time a new play development piece within the agreement. Stephen is a graduate of Arizona State University.
THE PARTNERING THEATRE: The Growing Stage: The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey is a non-profit professional performing arts center dedicated to theater for young audiences. The Growing Stage was founded by Fredericks, its Executive Director, in 1982 with a small professional staff, a dedicated corps of volunteers, and a dream to bring quality professional theater to children and their families. Initially, performances took place at the Black River Playhouse and the Williamson School in Chester, N.J. As its reputation for outstanding children’s theater grew, the company embarked on a journey to create the only performing arts center in the state dedicated solely to young people and their families. The Growing Stage purchased the Palace Theatre in Netcong in 1995, and this historic venue has become its home. Today, The Growing Stage enjoys a statewide reputation for creating professional, quality theater for young audiences. Since its inception, over 500,000 patrons have shared in the wonder of the performing arts both at the Palace Theatre and through its workshops, residencies, and programs throughout the state. For more information, visit growingstage.com or call 973-347-4946.
Stage Exchange Reading on Friday, June 1 2018, 7:00 pm at NJPAC. Tickets are $5.00.
THE PLAY: The Hombres looks at the intimacy of male relationships through the point of view of machismo culture. Set in New Jersey (“somewhere off a NJ Transit line”), the play follows Julián, a gay Latino yoga teacher, as he clashes with the Latino construction workers working outside his studio—particularly the older head of the crew, Héctor, who seeks from Julián something he never expected.
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Tony Meneses is a New Jersey-based playwright. His work, which always includes a Latinx point of view, gives voice to Latinx experiences. His plays are about visibility and representation; they show, in Tony’s words, “that our lives are complex and diverse even within our own community.” Two River Theater has premiered two of his plays: Guadalupe in the Guest Room (2015) and The Women of Padilla (2017).
THE PARTNERING THEATRE: Two River Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director John Dias and Managing Director Michael Hurst, develops and produces great American theatre. Through 10 theatrical productions each year (including world premieres, musicals, classics, and theater for young audiences) and 50+ annual events happening around Monmouth County, it produces exceptional theatre and cultivates engaged audiences. Founded by Joan and Robert Rechnitz in 1994, Two River is recognized in the national theatre community for its new-play commissioning program, which creates a pipeline for developing work that contributes to the vitality and future of the American theatre. Each season, the theater hosts numerous artist residencies, workshops, and readings, and presents an annual Cabaret of New Songs for the Musical Theater in association with NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program. The Crossing Borders (Cruzando Fronteras) festival and Nosotros program foster a closer relationship between the theatre and Latino artists and audiences. Two River cultivates a new generation of theatregoers through innovative arts-education programs that introduce young people to the theatre and create opportunities for them to engage with renowned theatre artists. For more information, visit tworivertheater.org or call 732-345-1400.