Mother Nature undeniably trumped Mother Courage as most of New Jersey’s two dozen professional theaters were preparing for the start of another season. It is unlikely that there will be anything on any stage in this state to compete with the real-life dramas that were experienced during and in the wake of the unsettling earthquake and the much more calamitous hurricane. Just as communities pull together to insure that life will go on, so do our theaters use all their resources to not only keep current subscribers happy but to also attract new ones.
For this season preview, I asked some of our nearest (and one not so near) resident producers and artistic directors to talk about how they have been able to continue undaunted in their mission and in their programming in the light of the economic downturn, and without compromising either quality or the expectations of their subscribers. You may be wondering already why there is no mention of being “unable to continue.” For theater folk the word “unable” is not part of the equation for as we all know, the show must go on.
Loyal subscribers have come to rely on the savvy artistic leadership of the state’s major theaters to consistently deliver top-drawer entertainment. The artistic heads of the theaters, however, appear to be facing more challenges than ever. Some of the challenges have proven to be a propellant rather than an impediment. And the choices, as you will see, reflect their decision not to shortchange their base and find ways instead to offer patrons high-profile shows with A-list players.
Just as we remain aware of how the times may affect a shift in a theater’s mission, as do trends in funding, support and attendance, not to mention the political atmosphere, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the overall optimism as expressed by those with whom I spoke. Say what you will about theater traditionally being a platform for edgy, non-conservative social and political perspectives, there is considerable proof to confirm that “theater folk” are generally quite level headed about what can be offered and at what price.
#b#George Street Playhouse#/b#
At first glance, it looks as if David Saint is getting the biggest bang for his buck with a musical that will be kicking off his 15th year as artistic director. You would never know that there was such a thing as a budget when you glance at the cast and the director lined up for the world premiere of “It Shoulda Been You,” the new musical that opens the season.
Budgets are a concern, but as Saint points out, “It’s my job to come up with imaginative ways to do the shows I want to do.” But as we chat, I can also see that part of that imagination are connections he has made over the years that are certainly enabling the first show of the season. You could say that Saint is putting the six-degrees-of-separation theory into action.
Although Saint has known Tony Award-winner and four-time Emmy Award-winner David Hyde Pierce for over 20 years, even before he got his big break in the hit TV show “Frazier,” Saint is proving his faith in his talent by handing over the director’s reins to Pierce for “It Shoulda Been You.”
Pierce will be directing Tony Award-winner Tyne Daly, whom Saint has known since she starred in “Gypsy” — whose book was written by Saint’s long-time friend, the late and lauded playwright Arthur Laurents. Saint is dedicating this season to Laurents, who died on May 5 at the age of 93 and with whom Saint had a special bond. Quite a few of Laurents’ late plays were developed at George Street, where they also had their world premieres.
Also starring in “It Shoulda Been You” will be Tony Award-winner Harriet Harris and everybody’s favorite wedding-planner (or will be after you’ve seen him in action) Edward Hibbert in this original musical about a perfect wedding that begins to unravel. As Saint admits, “There’s no way I could afford to do this musical without outside support money.” For this he secured a partnership with Broadway producers Scott Landis, Michael Hanel, and Daryl Roth. “In the best of all possible worlds, the producers would like to see this musical on Broadway this spring.” Previews begin October 4, opens on October 14, and plays through November 6.
If the development of one new musical isn’t enough, Saint is taking the director’s reins of the second show, “The Nutcracker and I,” conceived and written by Gerard Alessandrini (of “Forbidden Broadway” fame) and Emmy Award-winner Peter Brash, who have unapologetically used the music of Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky (who never won a Tony or an Emmy). Saint says that this “All Talking! All Singing! No Dancing!” send-up of the classic “Nutcracker” story has its own visions of sugar plums and nuts. This holiday confection begins previews on November 29, opens December 2, and plays through December 31.
Another exciting but also practical approach that Saint is taking is to co-produce a show with another theater. This season George Street will be teaming up with the Cleveland Playhouse to produce “Red,” the multi-Tony award-wining play about the abstract impressionist painter Mark Rothko. Says Saint: “It’s a mistake to whittle down your season so you can just get by. You can’t make your audience feel that they’re on a starvation diet.”
I suspect that, like Rothko, Saint isn’t worried about filling up a large canvas. “You don’t shrink during an economic downturn but rather have to come up with both practical and clever ways to expand,” he says. “Red” will be directed by Anders Cato, who has directed a number of plays at George Street as well as at the Berkshire Theater Festival in recent seasons.
Until Saint and company decide on a production to fill the March 13 through April 8 slot, we can look forward to Saint directing the hilarious comedy thriller “The 39 Steps,” based on the famous Alfred Hitchcock film. It begins previews on April 24, opens on April 27 and plays through May 20. A good thing to know is that it only takes one step to become a subscriber: www.GSPonline.org.
#b#Crossroads Theater Company#/b#
There is something very enlivening that happens as you walk down New Brunswick’s Livingston Avenue and see not one, not two, but three marquees lit up. Crossroads Theater Company abuts the George Street Playhouse (which is next door to the State Theater.) On any given night, there is a feeling that theater is alive and well and even more important, welcoming. Founding Crossroads director Ricardo Kahn remains as its creative advisor, but it is up to Crossroads executive director Marshall Jones III to handle the nitty-gritty day-to-day operations, a job that he carries out in addition to being a theater professor at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
While Jones admits that “Growing our audience base in the midst of these tough economic times is not easy,” he believes that once the public becomes aware of what great shows Crossroads is presenting this season, subscriptions and single ticket sales will reflect that. “Our summer membership sale, a subscription for $100, was very successful. Consumers today want value. We’re competing with streaming movies with surround sound via NetFlix. But live performance can’t be replicated over the Internet and on TV,” says Jones.
“It’s a season of musicals. We’ve never before produced a season with just musicals,” he adds, trumpeting the season opener, “Ain’t Misbehavin’.” The Fats Waller musical celebrating the music of the Harlem Renaissance will be directed by two-time Tony nominee Andre DeShields (a member of the original Broadway cast.) If Jones concedes that Crossroads may be constrained by a budget that is considerably less than many of the other major theater companies, he knows that “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a proven audience pleaser. “It would be great if some of our funders realized how much we do with so little. We haven’t been able to grow our staff or significantly increase our production budget in years, but better days are ahead,” he assures me as I’m thinking those better days are October 6 through 23.
Get ready for a “second installment” of “Holiday Jubilee,” a show that Jones says “is guaranteed to put the biggest Scrooge in the holiday mood. Plus, kids under 12 go free.” Interest should also be piqued by “In Bed with the Blues: the Adventures of Fishy Waters,” especially because it stars Guy Davis, the son of legendary theater couple Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Described by Jones as “poignant and funny,” this one-man show will be directed by Ricardo Khan, December 8 through 18.
My own enthusiasm for the final show of the season, “The Last Five Years,” should make getting a subscription to Crossroads a must. About a marriage on the skids in reverse, it has a great score with no spoken dialogue. According to Jones, what gives this acclaimed two-character musical by the Tony award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown a special twist is that the female lead will be played by a woman of color.
In the fall of 1990, Emily Mann was beginning her first season as artistic director of McCarter Theater and expressed her mission this way: “I want to stimulate and challenge an audience. I want the season to reflect who I am.” There is no doubt that Mann’s leadership over the past 21 years has been a confirmation of her original vision. No one doubts that Mann has on more than one occasion challenged her audience. But the questions I posed through E-mail to Mara Isaacs, McCarter’s producing director for the past 18 years, focused not only on the outside challenges to this Tony Award-winning theater (1994 Best Regional Theater) but also on the way they may have affected the choice of plays for this season.
Isaacs reminds me of the logistics that make McCarter unique, sitting halfway between two major metropolitan centers, Philadelphia and New York, and competing with theaters and performing arts centers in those cities. Perhaps that is what makes McCarter particularly ambitious, even when the economy suggests otherwise. “We certainly are experiencing the same economic trends that are discussed in the media. Over the last few seasons, we have seen a trend of continuing reduction of funding from government, foundation, and corporate sources. The silver lining in all of this is that our individual donors have remained a stable, sometimes growing, base of support,” she says.
It is safe to say that Mann’s vision has remained constant with perhaps only a slight shift toward new work, especially since the addition of the 360-seat Berlind Theater. “With any season, we work fervently to create a balance of new and classic work. This year,” Isaacs says, “we have two commissions: Marina Carr’s ‘Phaedra Backwards,’ based on a classic myth (October 18 through November 6), and John Guare’s ‘Are You There, McPhee?’ (May 4 through June 3).”
Carr, one of Ireland’s leading contemporary playwrights, was introduced to McCarter audiences with “The Mai” in 1996. Guare, one of America’s most admired playwrights, is probably best known for “The House of Blue Leaves” and “Six Degrees of Separation.” In his new play, a man is trapped in a house with a mysterious past and the only way to get out is to change his life.
Isaacs also expressed her enthusiasm for British playwright Tom Stoppard. “It has been more than 15 years since our audiences were treated to his wit, imagination, and inspired intelligence. We are thrilled to be able to do so now with ‘Travesties’ (March 13 through April 1) under the direction of Sam Buntrock.”
There is also Danai Gurira’s “The Convert” (January 13 through February 12), a poster child for the McCarter Lab that supports the development of plays and playwrights. Gurira’s newest play is the result of careful cultivating over the last few years, and the beneficiary of a cross-country collaboration with Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and the Goodman Theater in Chicago.”
One can see looking at the season that the McCarter defines “classic” quite broadly. It will be interesting to see the response to “Ten Cents a Dance,” a co-production with the Williamstown Theater Festival, now in previews and opening Friday, September 16. Billed as a new song cycle conceived by John Doyle (award-winning director of revivals of “Sweeney Todd” and “Company”), it celebrates the classic works of Rodgers & Hart. From what I have read, it sounds like a replay (but a melodic one) of the style Doyle used in the two lauded revivals by having the singers perform on their own instruments.
In truth, purchasing a subscription is like putting up front money. The only guarantee to the subscriber is that the season will reflect the taste of the artistic director with whom you have decided to entrust your support and faith. Isaac says, “There is no question that traditional subscriptions are on the wane. This is true across the field, not just at McCarter. That said, we’re just about even with subscriptions at this point last year, which is a very positive sign. We are launching a new membership drive this year.”
In this new marketing campaign, for a $35 membership fee, an individual will have access to $35 tickets to most events in a given season. Isaacs says people will begin to enjoy savings after just two events, and the potential for savings for the frequent ticket buyer is enormous. As for general ticket and subscription prices, they are up less than three percent.
Isaacs adds, “The one other thing that is worth mentioning is our reinvestment in larger scale productions. Thanks to funding we received from the Mellon Foundation, we have been able to redouble our efforts to put work of a scope and scale on our stage that is part of what we believe makes the theatrical experience so unique. I think you will see the impact of that effort beginning with this season and continuing into the next few years.”
An innovative non-subscription drama event at McCarter Thursday through Sunday, December 15 to 18, is “Gatz,” a word-for-word dramatization of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, “The Great Gatsby,” presented by the theater company the Elevator Repair Service. Running approximately six hours, it is presented with a dinner break and two short intermissions, so the whole experience lasts about seven hours and 45 minutes.
Readers may know that Fitzgerald has a special connection to Princeton University — the author was a member of the Class of 1917, though he failed to graduate. A New York Times review of “Gatz” says it captures “the unmatchable rush of falling in love with a book” and New York magazine called it “spellbinding. . . forcing a reassessment of our deepest beliefs about ourselves, our culture, our most treasured illusions, literary and otherwise.” All tickets are $150, and will be filled in order of receipt.
#b#The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey#/b#
It’s the 21st season as well for Bonnie J. Monte as artistic director of the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. After speaking on the phone with Monte about the balance of the season that began in June and will end in December, I am reminded of something that she also said to me a few years ago. “I always seek out plays that reflect and provoke thought about what’s going on in the world.” It is no surprise that her mission has continued to inform her choices over the years as demonstrated earlier in the season with “The Misanthrope,” about the hypocrisy of polite society; “Timon of Athens,” about the price of reckless philanthropy; and “Accidental Death of an Anarchist,” about political corruption.
Monte tells me, “A great portion of every day is devoted to sustaining the institution.” I don’t think she was specifically taking into account that a full weekend of performances had to be cancelled due to Hurricane Irene, or that the theater went dark when the town of Madison had a blackout earlier or this summer, or that everyone was holding their breath while the earth shook. “We had to evacuate all the buildings. Every time we cancel a performance, we lose a lot of money. We have no resources to fall back on.”
The one resource that Monte can always fall back on, however, is her incomparable artistic and executive leadership, something that has been her mainstay during the worst of economic times. Although Monte talks about some hard choices in hard times like no longer being able to afford full cast rehearsals from day one, she has a company of actors who are not only loyal, but also arrive fully prepared and ready to get to work from day one. “We have had to cut back rehearsals from four weeks to three weeks, but it has not affected the quality of the work.
“We are actually in a much better financial situation now than we were in 2008-’09 season when we did incur a lot of debt. Except for the banks, which have stood beside us, we are feeling the loss of corporate funding that we once relied on. I know they don’t think we are blind and deaf, but we are aware of the profits they are making.” Individual giving, however, has remained strong. Monte expresses her gratitude for the theater’s subscribers who are not only loyal but increasing, particularly young people who respond to internet marketing and YouTube.
In response to my question about attendance, Monte says, “I can’t explain why this season has been better attended than last year particularly since two of the shows, ‘Timon’ and ‘Anarchist,’ are really obscure.” There’s nothing obscure about “Othello,” which is currently playing and which Monte says is the last of the tragedies that she has always wanted to direct. Often described as Shakespeare’s most perfect play, “Othello” features Lindsay Smiling in the title role, Robert Cuccioli as Iago, and Victoria Mack as Desdemona.
The novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is one of the most admired works of the 20th century. As adapted by Christopher Sergel, the play has become a favorite in regional theaters, although it has never been presented by STNJ. “I felt I had to do this beautiful play at this time with Joe Discher directing. It couldn’t be timelier as I see our country becoming more openly prejudiced and racist,” says Monte. As evidenced by her choice of plays, be it classic or modern, she has remained a beacon for the kind of progressive values that bring additional distinction to her artistic leadership.
A not-to-be-missed opportunity for those who loved the film starring Gregory Peck is the appearance of actress Mary Badham, who played Scout in the film, Monday and Tuesday, November 7 and 8, in “Looking back with Scout: A Conversation with Mary Badham.” She will recall her memories on the set of the 1962 blockbuster film and discuss the book’s themes of tolerance, justice, and compassion, followed by an extensive Q&A session with the audience.
Don’t sigh and say “oh humbug, not another” until you have seen Neil Bartlett’s unique and inventive adaptation of “A Christmas Carol.” Although I wrote that it “is as astonishingly imaginative as it is effectively pure with the spirit of Dickens,” when I first saw it at STNJ in 2007, Monte says she is re-imagining it with a new look this year. But as we all know it takes more than imagination to keep a major theater going and Monte appears to have all the qualities that make a major theater stand out among the many.
They must be doing something right over at Passage Theater, where artistic director June Ballinger has kept things on course and on mission for 25 years. Staying true to the theater’s mission is something Ballinger can be proud of even if its means that the plays that are developed and produced are not likely to be your typical commercial ventures.
It takes me more than an hour from my home to drive to Passage, but I can tell you without hesitation that I not only have never regretted going, but have been tempted to go back and see the same play again. As Ballinger asserts, “This year we are focusing on our mission even more acutely than in years past — to be community centered in story, talent, and audience.”
Ballinger’s goal to integrate the culturally diverse community that is served by Passage couldn’t be more clearly stated when she says, “We have specifically been focusing on this since the great success of ‘Trenton Lights’ in 2010.” For this critic, it was an unexpectedly rewarding and revelatory theatrical experience in which was dramatized the personal hopes, sorrows, and dreams of local residents through oral histories.
“And yes,” Ballinger says, “it is a response to the trend that regional theater as a whole is taking in the country — to return to the original purpose of creating the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) — to serve their local communities with excellent professional theater. They were not created as a potential springboard for getting a show into New York City.”
Looking directly at “race” or “the elephant in the room,” as Ballinger tells it is something Passage has been committed to since “Trenton Lights.” “We are all so savvy about using PC language that it masks the often conflicted feeling within people from various races.” She recalls a board member stating, “we are living under the thin veneer of post-racism.” Adding to the mission statement that “Passage Theater develops and produces boundary-pushing and stylistically adventurous new works for the theater that entertain and challenge a diverse audience,” Ballinger says. “If we just own up to the fact that there are tensions and a feeling of lack of parity existing between cultural groups in the city, Trenton would be more functional.”
Called a “trouble-maker” by a friend, Ballinger admits that she doesn’t know how to solve it, but “we can expose it and have an honest conversation about it.” She and associate artistic director David White are in the second year into the interview process of another oral history interview based on work on race and identity, which will hopefully find its way to the stage in 2013.
Forward thinking is essential for this admirable “trouble-maker,” and that is exemplified by Passage’s first play of this season “De Novo: Beyond Borders (Mas Alla de las Fronteras).” With regard to this play about Guatemalan immigration brought to us by House on the Moon Company in New York City, Ballinger says, “We are really hoping to engage the Latino community of Trenton. I want to enlighten the community at large about this important issue.” (See review, page 35.)
While it is true that Passage is making its mark as a socially, culturally, and community conscious theater, it has earned a solid reputation for presenting well-written plays, craftily produced and excellently performed. The second play of the season is Elsa Davis’s “The History of Light,” the integration of the love stories of two interracial couples — one of the ’60s and one of contemporary times. It will be directed by Jade King Carroll, who was at the helm of last season’s “Samuel J and K,” one of the best plays of the entire New Jersey season. Ballinger says, “It alludes to what has changed and what has not changed over the past 40 years. And oh, I am in it.”
Speaking of her 40 years of professional experience, Ballinger says in regard to “Solo Flights” an annual festival of solo and (for the first time) ensemble pieces, that she was part of a theater collective in the ’70s in San Francisco, and it is where she formed her artistic values.
The season concludes with David Lee White’s “Slippery as Sin,” a thriller that Ballinger says “compares the political panic of the depression era with that of today.”
It is safe to say that you won’t find any higher artistic values or more impressive professional standards than those set and defined by the above leadership during these challenging times.
For full information about the season, subscription and individual tickets contact the theaters listed below.
635 North Delmorr Avenue, Morrisville, PA, 215-295-3694, www.actorsnetbucks.org.
Riding the Comet. World premiere of a new drama by Mark Violi, a Hamilton resident and playwright of “Roebling: The Story of the Brooklyn Bridge.” The World War II era drama centers on a farming family in German occupied France following D-Day. They are members of the Comet Escape Line, a secret underground railroad designed to help Allied soldiers get back to London. Directed by Kyla Mostello Donnelly. $20; Veterans, $10 to $15. Through October 2. Friday, September 16. See story page 39.
Candida. Shaw’s drama. Through November 13. Friday, October 28.
My Three Angels. Comedy by Samuel and Bella Spewack based on the Albert Husson’s French play “La Cuisine Des Anges.” Through December 18. $20. Friday, December 2.
#b#Bristol Riverside Theater#/b#
120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, 215-785-0100, www.brtstage.org.
Barrymore. Keith Baker brings the Philadelphia actor to life. $34 to $42. Opening night, Thursday, October 13. Through October 30. Tuesday, October 11.
Gypsy. Musical by Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents with Tovah Feldshuh as Mama Rose. $34 to $42. Opening night, Thursday, December 8. Through January 15, 2012. Tuesday, December 6.
7 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-545-8100, www.crossroadstheatrecompany.org.
Ain’t Misbehavin’. Musical revue of Fats Waller favorites. Directed by Andre DeShields. Through October 23. $40 to $50. Thursday, October 6.
Holiday Jubilee. Unification of cultures and communities. Through December 18. $40 to $50. Thursday, December 8.
#b#George Street Playhouse#/b#
9 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7717, www.gsponline.org.
It Shoulda Been You. Musical comedy featuring a Jewish bride, a Catholic groom, two mothers, an ex-boyfriend, and a sister. Tyne Daley and Harriet Harris star. David Hyde Pierce directs. Opening night, Friday, October 7. Through November 6. $25 to $62. Tuesday, October 4.
The Nutcracker and I. Holiday musical comedy for the family about a backstage happenings during a dance company’s annual production of “The Nutcracker Ballet.” Written by Gerard Alessandrini of “Forbidden Broadway” fame and Peter Brash known for “Inspecting Carol.” Opening night, Friday, December 2. Through December 31. $25 to $62. Tuesday, November 29.
#b#Kelsey Theater, Mercer County College#/b#
1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor, 609-570-3333, www.kelseytheatre.net.
Blood Brothers, the Musical. Musical about twin boys separated at birth presented by Pierrot Productions. For mature audiences. $18. Through Sunday, September 18.
And Then There Were None. Agatha Christie classic murder mystery based on the 1939 novel, “Ten Little Indians,” presented by Yardley Players. $16. Through October 16. Friday, October 7.
Camelot. Musical about a medieval kingdom presented by Playful Theater Productions. $18. Through October 30. Friday, October 21.
Urinetown. Musical about a gloomy city with a water shortage presented by Pennington Players. $18. Through November 13. Friday, November 4.
Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida. Musical, rock concert, and dance spectacular about an epic tale of ancient Egypt is presented by Maurer Productions Onstage. $20. Through November 27. Friday, November 18.
Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Radio on stage show features costumed actors and sound effect artists presented by the James Tolin Memorial Fund group in front of a live audience. $16. Through December 4. Friday, December 2.
’Twas the Night Before Christmas. $10. Friday, December 9.
#b#McCarter Theater (Berlind)#/b#
91 University Place, Princeton, 609-258-2787, www.mccarter.org.
Ten Cents a Dance. Rodgers and Hart musical directed by John Doyle with the cast doubling as the orchestra. $20 and up. Previews Wednesday and Thursday, September 14 and 15. Opening night Friday, September 16. Through October 9.
Fuente Ovejuna. Lope de Vega’s drama in a new English adaptation by Cuzi Cram. Directed by Suzanne Agins. Coordinated by Lewis Center for the Arts. $15. Friday, November 11.
Gatz. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel “The Great Gatsby” performed word-for-word by the 13-member cast of Elevator Repair Service. The six-hour marathon is not a retelling of the Gatsby story — but an enactment of the novel itself. $150. Thursday through Sunday, December 15 to 18.
#b#McCarter Theater (Matthews)#/b#
Phaedra Backwards. Marina Carr’s new adaptation of the classic myth. Directed by Emily Mann. $20 and up. Previews start Tuesday, October 18. Opening night Friday, October 21. Through November 6.
A Christmas Carol. Holiday classic by Charles Dickens. $20 and up. Sunday, December 4, through Saturday, December 24..
5 South Greenwood Avenue, Hopewell, 609-466-2766, www.off-broadstreet.com.
Heroes. Comedy by Tom Stoppard set in France, 1959. $27.50 to $29.50. Through October 29. Friday, September 23.
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Musical about six adolescents vying for the championship. $27.50 to $29.50. Through December 17. Friday, November 11.
#b#Paper Mill Playhouse#/b#
Brookside Drive, Millburn, 973-376-4343, www.papermill.org.
Newsies. Premiere of a new Disney stage musical with music by Alan Menken, book by Harvey Fierstein, and lyrics by Jack Feldman. Adapted from the 1992 film. Directed by Jeff Calhoun. Actors include Jeremy Jordan and John Dossett. Now through October 16. $25 to $96. Thursday, September 15.
White Christmas. New Jersey premiere of the musical based on the film. Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin; book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Through December 17. $25 to $96. Wednesday, November 16.
Mill Hill Playhouse, Front and Montgomery streets, Trenton, 609-392-0766, www.passagetheatre.org.
De Novo: Beyond Borders (Mas Alla de las Fronteras). A documentary play crafted from immigration court transcripts, interviews, and letters tells the true story of 14 year-old Edgar Chocoy’s legal struggle to stay in the United States. Written and directed by Jeffrey Solomon. $20. Through September 18.
The History of Light. Comedy focuses on two bi-racial couples a generation apart. Written by Elsa Davis. Directed by Jade King Carroll. $20 to $30. Through December 17. Thursday, November 3.
#b#Princeton University Players#/b#
Frist Theater, 609-258-1500, www.princeton.edu/pup.
Bat Boy. Musical. $12. Thursday, November 10.
#b#Raritan Valley Community College#/b#
Route 28, North Branch, 908-725-3420, www.rvccarts.org.
Southern Voices. American Place Theater’s Literature to Life Arts in Education program with a pre and post show discussion and refreshments. For ages 14 and up. $10 and $25. Tuesday, October 18.
Family Series. “Danny King of the Basement” for age eight and older. $25. Friday, October 28.
Down These Mean Streets. American Place Theater’s Literature to Life Arts in Education program with a pre and post show discussion and refreshments. For ages 14 and up. $10 and $25. Tuesday, November 15.
Family Series. “Shape of a Girl” for age 11 and older. $25. Friday, December 2.
A Christmas Carol. Classic story interwoven with English carols presented by Nebraska Theater Caravan. $37 and $47. Friday, December 9.
The Night Before Christmas Carol. David zum Brunnen presents a production set in 1843. Pre and post show discussion and refreshments. For ages 14 and up. $10 and $25. Tuesday, December 20.
#b#Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey#/b#
F.M. Kirby Theater, Drew University, Madison, 973-408-5600, www.shakespearenj.org.
Othello. Shakespeare’s tale of love, jealousy, and betrayal directed by Bonnie J. Monte. Cast members include Lindsay Smiling, Robert Cuccioli, Victoria Mack, and Jon Barker. $32 to $54. Now through October 2.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Pulitzer-prize winning tale by Harper Lee directed by Joe Discher. $31 to $54. Through November 20. Wednesday, October 12.
A Christmas Carol. East coast premiere of a new stage version of the classic Charles Dickens’ story. $31 to $54. Through January 1. Thursday, December 1.
#b#Somerset Valley Players#/b#
689 Amwell Road, Hillsborough, 908-369-7469, www.svptheatre.org.
Little Shop of Horrors. Musical by Alan Menken. $20. Friday, September 16.
On Golden Pond. Drama directed by Tina Lee. $17. Friday, October 28.
A Christmas Carol. Seasonal family show. $17. Friday, December 2.
15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469, www.StateTheatreNJ.org.
A Tribute to Pine Valley. “Celebrating 41 Years of All My Children” in a walk down memory lane with Vincent Irizarry, Julia Barr, Michael E. Knights, Cameron Mathinson, and other stars of the recently cancelled daytime drama. $45 to $75. Wednesday, October 26.
Aftermath. Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are writers, actors, and directors who wrote “The Exonerated,” a play based on interviews they conducted with more than 40 wrongfully convicted death row inmates across the United States. Through first hand interviews with more than 35 people in Iraq about what happened to the Iraqi civilians as a result of the events March 20, 2003, they have written another drama. $30. Wednesday, November 16.
My Mother Is Italian, My Father Is Jewish, and I’m Home for the Holidays. Comedy with Steve Solomon. $34 to $59. Sunday, December 11.
Hamilton Murray Theater, Princeton University, 609-258-1742, www.theatreintime.org.
Lost in Yonkers. Neil Simon play. $12. Thursday, September 29.
The 24-Hour Play Festival. $12. Saturday, October 15.
Rock ‘N’ Roll. Tom Stoppard play. $12. Thursday, November 10.
The Pavilion. Craig Wright play. $12. Thursday, December 1.