UNION, N.J.: Premiere Stages at Kean University has announced their 2018 season, which will feature the winner of the 2018 Premiere Play Festival, Linger, by Glen Ridge resident Craig Garcia. The play’s full production will be part of the theatre’s 14th season in residence at Kean University. The festival’s runner up, Baton, by Brooklyn resident Deneen Reynolds-Knott, will receive a developmental workshop and staged reading.
“We are excited to feature a season of all new works,” said John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages in a statement. “For the first time in Premiere Stages’ history, all three plays that we are producing are written by New Jersey playwrights, and two are plays that we have commissioned over a two-year cycle. Craig’s topical play Linger embodies our mission and is the ideal play to celebrate the newly christened Bauer Boucher Theatre Center.”
The season will kick off with Garcia’s winning play, Linger (July 12-29), in which a couple must accept that their son is capable of a horrible act which explodes on social media. Wooten will direct.
“I’m so happy to be named the winner of the Premiere Play Festival,” said Garcia in a statement. “As a New Jersey playwright, working with Premiere Stages means so much. It has already been a terrific experience collaborating with John [Wooten] and the team, and I couldn’t be more excited to bring my work to the stage this summer.”
Next onstage will be Brick City (Sept. 6-23), by Nicole Pandolfo, about a star basketball player and an artist with a disability stuck in an extended study hall. This play was the recipient of a 2017 NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission in partnership with NJPAC and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Jessi D. Hill will direct.
Finishing out the season will be Black Tom Island (Oct. 11-21), by Martin Casella, presented in the 1882 Carriage House at Kean University’s Liberty Hall Museum. Based on an actual incident that took place in Jersey City in 1916, the play explores what is described as the first documented terrorist attack on American soil through the lens of a fictionalized Slovak immigrant and his wife. Wooten will direct.
The season also includes a free staged reading of Reynolds-Knott’s Baton (June 15-17), about an African-American woman forced to revisit feelings from the past instigated by a date and news of unrest in Baltimore, Md., after Freddie Gray’s funeral. Hill will direct.
Created in 2004, Premiere Stages at Kean University provides play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities in addition to Equity theatre premieres.