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Premiere Stages To Present 2019 Premiere Play Festival Winner THE WAKE

Premiere Stages To Present 2019 Premiere Play Festival Winner THE WAKE

Premiere Stages at Kean University will present Tammy Ryan's The Wake July 11-28 in Kean University's Bauer Boucher Theatre Center (Vaughn Eames Hall, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.). Recently selected from 659 submissions as the winner of the 2019 Premiere Play Festival, The Wake will feature actors James Gushue, Wayne Maugans, Kathy McCafferty and Kelley Rae O'Donnell. John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, directs.

In Ms. Ryan's powerful and affecting new work, Maggie and Rosemary rent a beach house in Florida to scatter their sister's ashes six months after her death, only to find themselves and their respective partners staring down a hurricane. As the storm begins to rage, strange encounters with wildlife signal something more is going on. Filled with humor and heart, The Wake explores grief, family, and America's shifting cultural and environmental climates.

A resident of Pittsburgh, Ms. Ryan's work has appeared locally at Premiere Stages and Luna Stage in West Orange, and regionally at Pittsburgh Playhouse, 29th Street Rep and Florida Stage. She is a former recipient of the American Theatre Critics Association's Francesca Primus Prize for her play Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods, which was originally developed and produced at Premiere. The Wake marks Ms. Ryan's fourth collaboration with the theatre, and will be directed by Mr. Wooten, who also helmed the New Jersey Premiere of Ms. Ryan's acclaimed play, Soldier's Heart.

"It's always great to come back to Premiere to collaborate with John Wooten and the Premiere Stages team again," said Ms. Ryan in a statement. "Often a theatre will commit to a production of one of your plays, but it is rarer that a theatre commits to a playwright as their work evolves. This kind of encouragement contributes to a playwright's trajectory, for which I am so grateful."

"I'm also happy to be sharing my work with New Jersey audiences again," she added. "Even though I'm from Queens, if feels a bit like coming home, and it has always seemed to me that New Jersey audiences have responded to my work. It's great to get that kind of support, too."

Mr. Wooten has directed numerous critically acclaimed productions of new plays at Premiere, many of which were subsequently published, including Ms. Ryan's Dark Part of the Forest, Any Other Name, ODD, The Beautiful Dark and The Good Counselor. The latter two productions were also honored by the American Theatre Critics Association, along with the sold-out run of Follow Me to Nellie's, Dominique Morisseau's first play. New Jersey Premieres he has directed, at Premiere Stages and elsewhere, include Rabbit Hole, Snakebit, Boy Gets Girl, Soldier's Heart, Shmulnik's Waltz and last season's celebrated production of Linger.

The accomplished Actors' Equity Association cast includes James Gushue, previously seen on television's "Guiding Light" and "Law and Order: SUV"; Wayne Maugans, whose distinguished regional credits include The Glass Menagerie at Yale Rep and True West at Two River Theater in Red Bank; Kathy McCafferty, recently seen in the Broadway Tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and the American Premiere of John Cleese's Bang Bang!; and Kelley Rae O'Donnell, who recently appeared in Occupied Territories at 59E59 and the 10x10 New Play Festival at Barrington Stage Company.

Audience members are invited to engage more deeply with Ms. Ryan's thought-provoking play in Premiere's free talkbacks following select matinee performances. Patrons can learn more about the creative process at designated Artist Talks, or dive into the issues and themes of the show with community leaders and local experts at Community Connections. Please call 908-737-4077 for an updated schedule of post-show events and speakers. Premiere will also offer a series of informal pre-show talks every Saturday evening 30 minutes prior to performance in the lobby of the theatre.

The Wake runs July 11-28 in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center on the Kean University main campus in Union, N.J. Performances take place Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm. Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni and staff, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of eight or more apply. To make reservations or to order a season brochure, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit Premiere Stages online at

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, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available upon request; please call 908-737-4077 at least two weeks prior to your desired performance. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at

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, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant, Actors' Equity Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit 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, religious groups, gender identities, ages, abilities, disabilities and sexual preferences.

Premiere Stages To Present 2019 Premiere Play Festival Winner THE WAKE

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