BWW Review: WATER BY THE SPOONFUL at Premiere Stages is Rich and Rewarding Drama

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"Nothing changes if nothing changes."

-Water by the Spoonful

The New Jersey Premiere of Water by the Spoonful is now being performed through July 31st by Premiere Stages, the professional Equity Theatre at Kean University. The exceptional Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Quiara Alegria Hudes features excellent direction by Kel Haney and a very accomplished troupe of actors. This is a particularly relevant piece of theatre as it explores the influences of drug dependency at a time when the metropolitan area is realizing record numbers of drug-addicted young people and adults in our communities.

In Water by the Spoonful, Elliot, an Iraq War veteran and his cousin Yazmin, a recent divorcee, are searching for their path out of the shadows. Meanwhile, Odessa, Elliot's estranged mother is struggling to keep her online family of fellow drug addicts stable and sober. As this family negotiates the limits of loyalty, friendship, and their community, they realize a sense of acceptance and even grace. The story is a poignant contemporary depiction of real life with all of its pain and promise.

The talented cast includes Zack Calhoon as Fountainhead; Sean Carvajal as Elliot; Zuleyma Guevara as Odessa; Kana Hatakeyama as Orangutan; Ethan Hova as Ghost/Professor Aman/Policeman; Jamil A.C. Mangan as Chutes & Ladders and Emma Ramos as Yazmin. Denisse Estefany is the Female Understudy and Sebastian Madrigal is the Male Understudy.

The Premiere Stages production of Water by the Spoonful incorporates state-of-the-art video, projections, and sound techniques that enhance the scenes. These carefully crafted special effects make the show especially captivating.

The Creative Team has done a great job of bringing Water by the Spoonful to the stage with scenic design by Lianne Arnold, lighting design by Brant Thomas Murray, costume design by Dori Morgan and sound design by Janie Bullard. The Stage Manage is Dale Smallwood; Dramaturg is Nicholas Orvis; Props Master is Helen Tewksbury and the Casting Director is Carol Hanzel.

Hats off to Premiere Stages for presenting a rich and rewarding production of Water by the Spoonful. It is a topical play that must be seen.

Water by the Spoonful has a running time of approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes with one intermission. The show will be performed through July 31st in the Zella Fry Theatre on the Kean University main campus in Union. Standard tickets are $30, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. There are significant discounts for groups of 8 or more people. To make reservations or to order a Premiere Stages season brochure, call the Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.7469 or visit Premiere Stages online at

Steve Hockstein/Harvard Studio

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