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New Jersey's Stages Festival Offers Over 80 Free And Low-cost Theatre Experiences For All Ages

New Jersey's Stages Festival Offers Over 80 Free And Low-cost Theatre Experiences For All Ages

New Jersey Theatre Alliance ("the Alliance") is offering over 80 performances and programs for children and adults free-of-charge or at significantly discounted rates during its 23rd annual Stages Festival ("Stages"), a statewide event. Offerings include performances, workshops, readings of new plays, and participatory community discussions taking place at theatres, libraries, community centers, and other venues throughout the months of March, April, and May, 2020.

"We thank our many supporters whose investment in this program enables all New Jersey residents, regardless of economic background or geographic location, to experience the joy and wonder of live theatre," said John McEwen, Executive Director of the Alliance.

The program's Spotlight Sponsors are The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Bank of America, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, OceanFirst Foundation, the George A. Ohl, Jr Trust, New Jersey Historical Commission, and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.

The following are a few 2020 Stages highlights. Most events are free but require registration. For a full listing of events, program details, and registration information visit

Theatre for Kids and Families:

There are dozens of performances tailored for kids and families in various locations across the state. In Trenton, Passage Theatre will produce the world premiere of Larissa Fasthorse's new play for middle grade audiences Teaching Disco Square Dancing to our Elders: A Class Presentation from March 5-8. East Lynne Theater Company will present Sherlock Holmes: Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle at the Mahwah Public Library on March 15 at 2pm. Pushcart Players will tour to multiple locations including a performance of The Velveteen Rabbit at Wheaton Arts Center in Millville, NJ on March 21 and A More Perfect Union at the Newton Theatre in Newton, NJ on May 21. Additional tour listings for these and other theatre companies will be added throughout the spring. Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison will offer "Short Shakespeare" performances at a deep discount with code STAGES as well as a sensory-friendly performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream on March 7.

New Plays:

On March 5th, Skyline Theatre Company in Fair Lawn, NJ, will present a staged reading of a world-premiere musical, Southern Harmony, based on an historical true-crime event, followed by a talkback with the creative team. Art House Productions in Jersey City and Hudson Theatre Works in Weehawken will each produce a series of readings by a diverse slate of contemporary playwrights. In partnership with NJPAC, George Street Playhouse, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, and Pushcart Players will each present readings in May of new commissioned plays featuring New Jersey writers, artists, or themes. New Jersey playwriting talent will again be on display at two showcases of writing by current New Jersey State Council of the Arts Playwriting Fellows on March 18 at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, and on May 28 at Premiere Stages in Union, NJ.

Community Events:

The festival will include several participatory community events including a panel discussion on Theatre and Civic Engagement presented in partnership with the New Jersey Historical Commission at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center in Toms River, NJ on April 16. Two River Theater in Red Bank will open their doors to all for a community music master class "Everybody Sing with Elliot Roth" on April 27. McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will celebrate and kick-off Pride Month with a community reading and discussion of Execution of Justice by Emily Mann at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice on May 22.


This year's festival aims to celebrate the artistic expression and experience of all ages from children through senior citizens. A few events are specifically designed with an eye toward creative aging and illuminating senior experience. McCarter Theatre Center will present a performance by the OnStage Seniors of The Only Way Out is Through: Transitions on May 24. Paper Mill Playhouse will offer interactive musical workshops for residents of the Actor's Fund Home in Englewood, NJ, and Pushcart Players will bring their production of A More Perfect Union to the residents of Merry Heart Assisted Living in Succasunna, NJ and their families.

Healing Voices: Caregivers' Stories on Stage

Produced in partnership with Premiere Stages at Kean University, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center and Two River Theater, Healing Voices: Caregivers' Stories Onstage weaves together stories of both professional and family caregivers as part of an original professional theatre performance about the caregiving experience. Each theatre will create three professional presentations of the selected works, chosen from over 120 submissions. Performances will take place on April 24 at Premiere Stages in Union, May 21 at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, May 29 at Two River Theater in Red Bank, and June 9 at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.

In keeping with its commitment to making theatre accessible, the Alliance strives to make Stages events accessible to all people with disabilities. If you require a specific accommodation for a Stages Festival event, including ASL interpretation, open captioning, and audio description please contact Deonté Griffin-Quick at 973-731-6582 x 14 or at least two weeks before the event.

For more information and a current listing of Stages Festival events, please visit

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