Premiere Stages at Kean University to Present AT LIBERTY HALL
Premiere Stages, celebrating its 10th anniversary as Kean University's professional Equity theatre, will present a full production of its 2013-2014 Liberty Live Commission, At Liberty Hall by James Christy, October 16th through 19th in the historic 1882 Carriage House at Liberty Hall Museum. The story of an unlikely pair of American immigrants, At Liberty Hall follows two high school students who've just moved to New Jersey: Cristian Rosario, a funny but unfocused teenager from Queens by way of the Dominican Republic; and Alexander Hamilton, 16, the subject of Cristian's 10th grade history project. This time-bending story finds common threads of humor, honor and awkwardness as told through the experiences of a someday-Founding Father and a kid looking for a way out of the projects. This year's fully staged production and an earlier developmental reading in November 2013 were both funded in part by a HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
In addition to four public performances, Premiere Stages will offer an exclusive benefit performance of At Liberty Hall on Friday, October 17 at 8 p.m. This celebratory event will commemorate Premiere Stages' 10th anniversary as New Jersey's leading developer and producer of new plays by regional and emerging artists, such as New Jersey resident Mr. Christy, while embracing the rich history of Liberty Hall Museum in the context of New Jersey's 350th anniversary. The four-star event will begin with a V.I.P. reception at 6 p.m., featuring wine, handcrafted hors d'oeuvres and music, followed by a private, candlelight tour of Liberty Hall Museum at 7 p.m. The evening will conclude with a champagne toast and dessert reception with the cast and creative team post-performance. Admission to the event is $100 ($70 of which is tax-deductible), with proceeds from the evening to benefit future programming supporting emerging artists and plays. Benefit tickets can be reserved by calling 908-737-4092 or visiting www.keanfoundation.org/LibertyHall2014.
"At Liberty Hall perfectly represents the uniquely collaborative partnership between Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum," said John J. Wooten, Producing Artistic Director of Premiere Stages. "And it couldn't be more fitting that we are celebrating our ten-year anniversary as New Jersey celebrates its 350th."
Playwright James Christy is a past winner and six-time finalist for the Actors Theatre of Louisville's prestigious Heideman Award for Best Short Play, most recently for last year's Dissent. His play Egyptian Song is a former Premiere Stages Play Festival finalist, and received a staged reading at Premiere in 2011. Director Kel Haney has directed and developed new work at The Lark, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre and New Dramatists, among others. Her recent directing credits include The Elephant in Every Room I Enter at La MaMa (opening October 3rd), The Recommendation at The Flea, and Row After Row and Little Rock at the prestigious Williamstown Theatre Festival.
The premiere of At Liberty Hall coincides with a number of local and statewide initiatives commemorating the 350th anniversaries of New Jersey (http://officialnj350.com/) and the founding of Elizabethtown (http://www.goelizabethnj.com/350/), as well as Four Centuries in a Weekend (http://ucnj.org/cultural-and-heritage-affairs/four-centuries/), Union County's annual historic homes tour sponsored by the Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs. In conjunction with Elizabethtown 350 celebrations, Liberty Hall Museum will also welcome the Brigade of the American Revolution (BAR) to its grounds for an extended encampment October 18 - 19 (10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). The renowned living history association, which will participate in a number of re-enactments countywide, will offer a "Civilian Class Membership" (CCM) Ladies' Tea at Liberty Hall on Saturday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m., and a recreation of portions of the Battle of Connecticut Farms on museum grounds on Sunday, October 19 at 2:00 p.m. Guests attending the Saturday and Sunday matinees of At Liberty Hall are encouraged to arrive early to enjoy these and other free events.
"We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Premiere Stages on this latest iteration of Liberty Live, and delighted that the production coincides with so many other exciting events at Liberty Hall Museum," stated Bill Schroh, Director of Museum Operations. "Seeing a play about Alexander Hamilton's time in Elizabeth on the very property where he may have stayed raises the concept of 'history come to life' to a whole other level. We really hope patrons will arrive early to enjoy the BAR's encampment, and stay late for their free tour of Liberty Hall."
Liberty Live: At Liberty Hall runs Thursday, October 16 at 10:30 a.m. (Student Matinee), Friday, October 17 at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (Benefit Performance), Saturday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, October 19 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $15, with discounts for school and community groups available; admission includes a tour of Liberty Hall Museum. Seating is extremely limited due to the intimate nature of the Carriage House, and patrons are encouraged to purchase in advance by calling the Kean Stage Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visiting Premiere Stages online at www.kean.edu/premierestages.