New Plays Take Center Stage In The Premiere Stages 2024 Season

Season will feature the development of numerous new plays, including a summer reading series, two full productions, and fall staged reading.

By: Apr. 17, 2024
New Plays Take Center Stage In The Premiere Stages 2024 Season
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Premiere Stages at Kean University has announced its 2024 season, which will feature the development of numerous new plays, including a summer reading series, two full productions, and fall staged reading.

The first of two full productions, Benjamin V. Marshall's new play Still, a 2023/24 Liberty Live Commission recipient directed by Marshall Jones III, will have its new play premiere at Premiere Stages in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center, from July 11th through the 28th. Based on a true story, Still takes us to 1850s New Jersey, where Peter has arrived at an abolitionist office seeking help from its director, William, an African American leader in the Underground Railroad.  As the two men learn more about each other's lives, they realize their vastly different pasts will lead them to a deeply connected future.

The Liberty Live commission is awarded biennially, in partnership with Kean University's Liberty Hall Museum, and seeks to develop and produce new plays that celebrate New Jersey's rich and diverse history. In partnership with the Museum, Premiere Stages will offer “Liberty Live Saturdays” which afford theatergoers the opportunity to tour the Museum grounds and participate in Q & As with historians and artists. The Museum will also host Premiere Stages' 18th Season Celebration as part of the Opening Night of Still on Friday, July 12, featuring a pre-show cocktail party with live music under the tent at Liberty Hall, reserved seating for the Opening at the Bauer Boucher Theatre, and dessert and a champagne toast with the artists after the show. Guided candlelight tours  of Liberty Hall will also be offered as patrons step back in time for an incredible evening.

Diversion by Scott Organ then takes the stage from September 5th to the 22nd. In this highly topical and compelling new play, directed by Premiere's Producing Artistic Director John J. Wooten, a group of devoted and hard working nurses in an ICU unit see their world turned upside down when it is discovered that someone is diverting (stealing) medicine on the unit. The nurses grow even more unsettled when a consultant shows up to investigate the diversion, effectively placing them all under a microscope. When it's finally revealed who the culprit is, the nurses must fight to save themselves and the integrity of the unit itself. Diversion is the winner of the 2023 Premiere Play Festival, Premiere's flagship program for new play development. The Play Festival is an annual competition for unproduced scripts that offers developmental opportunities to playwrights with strong affiliations to New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware. 

The 2024 Festival, now in its 19th year, will begin with the Premiere Play Festival Reading Series held from June 6th through 9th in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center. Selected from 760 submissions, four promising plays will have a professional reading on successive days. Each reading will be followed by a question and answer session with the playwright and Premiere Stages staff. Attendees will have the unique opportunity to see up to four plays in four days, meet the playwrights, and provide feedback to help Premiere select two of the four scripts for expanded development in the fall of 2024 and summer of 2025. The four finalists will be announced later this Spring.

The Festival continues with three readings on November 22nd through 24th of one finalist from 2024, held in the Liberty Hall Academic Center on Kean University's Union campus. Question and answer sessions with the writer follow each reading. The recipients of this 29-Hour reading and the full production selection slated for 2025 will be announced after the Play Festival readings in June. 

“We couldn't be more excited about the outstanding new plays audiences will experience for the very first time at Premiere in 2024 ” stated Producing Artistic Director John J. Wooten. “I am particularly thrilled to share Ben's true story about New Jersey's own William Still and Scott's hauntingly beautiful new play about America's often forgotten heroes - our healthcare workers.”

Premiere Stages will also present Healing Voices: Caregivers' Stories On Stage on April 28th in Enlow Recital Hall on Kean University's Nathan Weiss East Campus. Produced in partnership with the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, this intimate theatrical performance weaves together original short works of prose, poetry, and theatre about personal caregiving experiences.

Tickets for Premiere Stages' 2024 productions are now on sale. Prices range from $15-$100, with discounts available for season packages, groups, seniors, and students. Premiere Stages also offers a series of free interactive lobby talks and post-show discussions in conjunction with select performances. To purchase tickets or inquire about opening night or season packages, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit premierestagesatkean.com

Reservations for Healing Voices, the free Summer Readings Series and November Staged Reading are required. To RSVP, please visit the Premiere Stages website for instructions or email premiere@kean.edu 

Premiere Stages also presents summer theatre camp programs for middle and high school students and a musical performance series for the young and young-at-heart. For more information about our educational programs, please visit https://premierestagesatkean.com/play-factory/ 

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Sign-interpreted and audio described performances are available by request, at least two weeks in advance. Please call 908-737-4077 or email premiere@kean.edu to request these services. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at premierestagesatkean.com

About the Writers:

Benjamin V. Marshall's plays include Absolutions and Paradise, Boom Box, Buenas Smooches Piscataway NJ, Carlos and LaVonne, Corn Bread with Raisins and Almonds, Five Husbands, Henry's Bridge, Dad's Vision, Galilee House, A Goat on the Balcony, Purchasing Power, The Red Train Café, and Homestar. His work has been performed and developed at the HBO New Writers Workshop, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, Theatre for the New City in NYC, Luna-Stage/">Luna Stage, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, The Warner's International Playwrights, The Berrie Center, The National Playwrights Symposium at Cape May and the Kennedy Center. Some of his other honors include fellowships from the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, The Victor Bumbalo/ Robert Chesley Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and four playwriting fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. 

Scott Organ is a New York city based playwright and screenwriter. His plays have been published and have been performed and workshopped throughout the United States, Europe and South America and have been commissioned by The Atlantic Theater Company and developed by theaters including The Barrow Group, The New Group, Page 73, South Coast Rep, and the Gulfshore Playhouse. His most recent play 17 Minutes was extended in its Off-Broadway run at The Barrow Group Theater and had its European premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. His play Phoenix premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays and was subsequently produced at The Barrow Group and through Rattlestick at Cherry Lane Theater with Julia Stiles. Scott is an alum of Page 73's Interstate 73 writer's group and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros and ExxonMobil Foundation, The Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, Blue Foundry Charitable Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The Union County HEART Grant and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.

Premiere Stages is committed to producing topical plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, national origins, nationalities, ancestry, religious groups, gender expression or identities, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ages, abilities and disabilities.

ABOUT PREMIERE STAGES

Created in 2004, Premiere Stages is the professional Equity theatre in residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere's play development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively embrace the university's academic curriculum while expanding the scope, accessibility, and prestige of the professional programming on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at premierestagesatkean.com

ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY

Kean University, New Jersey's urban research university, is a national institution of higher education recognized for its diversity, innovation and the social mobility of its graduates. Founded in 1855 as a teachers college, Kean has evolved into a thriving research university that supports students as they persist to graduation, give back to their communities and launch successful careers. Kean's six colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate programs, six doctoral degree programs and more than 70 options leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications, across a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union, Toms River and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, as well as Kean Online, the University provides students of all backgrounds an affordable and accessible world-class education. Learn more at kean.edu.




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