New Home For George Street Playhouse Opens Tonight
George Street Playhouse has a new home at the brand new NBPAC (New Brunswick Performing Arts Center) which also serves as the resident home for American Repertory Ballet, Crossroads Theatre Company and the Mason Gross School of the Arts. The new cultural venue is set to open this evening (Wednesday) with an invitational gala at 6 pm at the Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater, the larger of the two state-of-the-art theatres at NBPAC. This special event will feature two musical numbers performed by the stars of George Street Playhouse's upcoming engagement of the new musical LAST DAYS OF SUMMER, based on the best-selling novel by Steve Kruger and directed by Jeff Calhoun (GREASE, NEWSIES). NBPAC marks a new era in George Street Playhouse's esteemed history of bringing world-class productions to New Jersey audiences.
Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint since 1998, and Kelly Ryman, Managing Director since 2013, George Street Playhouse produces groundbreaking new works, inspiring productions of the classics, and hit Broadway plays and musicals that speak to the heart and mind, with an unwavering commitment to producing new work. As New Brunswick's first producing theatre, George Street Playhouse became the cornerstone of the revitalization of the City's arts and cultural landscape. With its 45-year history of producing nationally renowned theatre, the Playhouse continues to fill a unique theatre and arts education role in the city, state and greater metropolitan region.
LAST DAYS OF SUMMER features book & lyrics by Steve Kruger and music by Grammy Award winner Jason Howland (LITTLE WOMEN). The 16-member cast stars Teal Wicks (THE CHER SHOW, WICKED, FINDING NEVERLAND) and Bobby Conte Thornton (A BRONX TALE) and performances are set to begin October 15 through November 10. In this new musical, Joe Margolis and his young son open an old box of letters that transport Joe back to his youth in Brooklyn and the summer of 1942, when young Joey and his best friend Craig are writing fan letters to their hero Charlie Banks, the star third baseman of the New York Giants. Amid the tumultuous events of World War II, Joey and Charlie forge an unlikely friendship that might be the very thing they both need. LAST DAYS OF SUMMER, produced in association with Daryl Roth, features a new score of big band sounds and jazz music of the era.
Tickets became available to the public August 19 and have already shattered previous sales records for George Street Playhouse.
The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center features two state-of-the-art performance spaces, a donor lounge, expanded restroom facilities, an expansive two-story lobby, and elevator access to the lobbies and theatres. NPBAC boasts modern and comfortable new seats, contemporary heating and cooling systems, and all the amenities for patron comfort, convenience and accessibility. It also offers expanded theater technology such as a fly loft, an expansive orchestra pit and more.
"Arriving on the advent of my 23rd season at George Street Playhouse, the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center represents a dream fulfilled and a momentous point in our history," said GSP Artistic Director David Saint. "We have built our national reputation upon developing and premiering new works, and we are thrilled to continue that commitment in our new home."
Following LAST DAYS OF SUMMER will be MY LIFE ON A DIET in NBPAC's intimate Arthur Laurents Theater. Called "fascinating. lighthearted & spicy" by The New York Times, this hilarious autobiographical comedy stars Academy Award-nominated and Emmy Award-winning writer and actress Renée Taylor, best known for her starring role on TV's THE NANNY. In her side-splitting one woman show, which she wrote with her husband Joseph Bologna, she looks back on a life full of memorable roles in Hollywood and on Broadway, and just as many fad diets. Featuring juicy anecdotes about screen legends such as Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and Barbra Streisand, MY LIFE ON A DIET, originally directed by Joseph Bologna, will begin performances on November 19 and will run through December 15. MY LIFE ON A DIET is produced in association with Julian Schlossberg.
Kicking off 2020 is MIDWIVES, a world premiere thriller based on the book-turned-film of the same name by Chris Bohjalian. Adapted for the stage by the author from his own bestselling novel, an early selection of Oprah's Book Club, this tale of suspense and courtroom drama explores the fallout of an impossible decision made by midwife Sibyl Danforth during a routine at-home birth. This new play, directed by Artistic Director David Saint, is certain to keep audiences on the edge of their seats. MIDWIVES runs January 21 through February 16.
Also taking the stage in the Arthur Laurents Theater is CONSCIENCE, a world premiere historical drama set during the American Red Scare, written by Playhouse mainstay Joe DiPietro (MEMPHIS, Tony Award; NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT; I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE). Making a bold stand against party lines, real-world Congresswoman and Senator Margaret Chase Smith becomes one of the first to challenge Senator Joseph McCarthy in this gripping historical tale inspired by real events. Taking the stage under the direction of David Saint, performances begin March 3 and will run through March 29.
Closing the 2019-20 season in the Elizabeth Ross Johnson Theater is Pamela Gray's A WALK ON THE MOON, a new musical with music & lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman, based on the critically acclaimed film of the same title. Longing for more than her life as a mother and housewife, Pearl Kantrowitz catches the eye of a free-spirited traveling salesman while vacationing with her family in the Catskills. As the Woodstock music festival comes to life nearby, their whirlwind romance, set in the summer of 1969 when mankind first stepped on the moon, brings audiences on a musical journey set against the backdrop of an iconic moment in American history. Sheryl Kaller returns to direct A WALK ON THE MOON, which runs April 21 through May 17. A WALK ON THE MOON is produced by special arrangement with Stephen and Ruth Hendel.
Originally located in an abandoned supermarket on the corner of George and Albany Streets, George Street Playhouse was the first professional theatre in New Brunswick and played a major role in the revitalization of the downtown area. In 1984, the Playhouse moved to a renovated YMCA on Livingston Avenue, and in 2017 took temporary residence in the former Agricultural Museum during construction of its new home.
The Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and Off-Broadway, including the Outer Critics Circle Best Musical Award winner THE TOXIC AVENGER; the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League-nominated production of THE SPITFIRE GRILL;and the Broadway hit and Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play PROOF by David Auburn, which was developed at the Playhouse during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays. In 2015, IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU opened on Broadway and Joe DiPietro's CLEVER LITTLE LIES opened Off-Broadway. Both shows received their premieres at the Playhouse. In 2018, George Street Playhouse was represented on Broadway with GETTIN' THE BAND BACK TOGETHER, which premiered on the Playhouse mainstage in 2013. AMERICAN SON, produced by George Street Playhouse in 2017, opened on Broadway in 2018 starring Kerry Washington and Stephen Pasqual, and will be appearing on Netflix.
In addition to the mainstage season, the Playhouse's education department provides extensive programming for children, youth and adults. Partnering with administrators and educators throughout New Jersey, the Playhouse provides unique education experiences that both reinforce classroom curriculum and investigate issues such as bullying, diversity, immigration, health and wellness, and the rising epidemic of opioid addiction.
George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.
To purchase tickets, buy a subscription or learn more about George Street Playhouse, visit www.GeorgeStreetPlayhouse.org. NBPAC is located in downtown New Brunswick at 11 Livingston Avenue.