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Premiere Stages to Launch 13th Season with 1980 (OR WHY I'M VOTING FOR JOHN ANDERSON)

Premiere Stages will kick off its 13th season in residence at Kean University with a free staged reading of 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson), Patricia Cotter's entertaining portrait of a beleaguered campaign office, June 16-18 in Kean's Murphy Dunn Theatre.

In Ms. Cotter's contemporary comedy about class, race and the politics of hope, four very different (and slightly lost) campaign workers advocate tirelessly for their long-shot candidate, convinced he can change their country and their lives.

Selected from over 400 submissions as the Runner-Up for the 2017 Premiere Stages Play Festival, 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) is one of two scripts receiving expanded development as part of the 2017 Season. The workshop will be directed by Jessi D. Hill and feature actors Roger Casey, Kelley Rae O'Donnell, Victoria Pollack, and Emily Verla.

"The richly drawn characters in Patricia's play share similarities with modern Americans who are looking for independent voices to champion the causes they believe in," stated John J. Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. "But the script effectively transcends politics, making the search for a connection by four vastly different people particularly compelling."

Playwright Patricia Cotter is an alumna of the famed improvisational comedy troupe The Groundlings, and an Emmy Award-winning writer for Comedy Central's "Win Ben Stein's Money." Her plays include Rules of Comedy (Humana Festival), The Anthropology Section (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and The Surrogate, which received its world premiere at Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown earlier this season. She is a recipient of the American Academy of Arts & Letters Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater and former Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwright.

Director Jessi D. Hill currently serves as the Artistic Associate at Flying Carpet Theatre Company and the Literary Team Director at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater in New York. She is the former Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective, where she co-created the Groundbreakers Playwrights Group and Groundworks new works program, and Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, where she focused the company exclusively on the development and production of socio-political new plays. Her work has been seen internationally in Edinburgh, London, New Zealand, Berlin and Hamburg.

Audience members attending Premiere's workshop of 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) are encouraged to participate in the new play development process by providing direct feedback to Ms. Cotter through interactive post-show discussions and written evaluation forms. Positive feedback from patrons attending an earlier reading of 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) in March contributed to Premiere's eventual decision to name the play this year's Runner-Up in the prestigious Play Festival.

1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) runs Friday, June 16 at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 17 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, June 18 at 3 p.m. in the Murphy Dunn Theatre, located in Kean University's Vaughn Eames Hall at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J. Admission and parking are free. Reservations are strongly recommended, as seating is limited; please call 908-737-7469 or email to reserve. Tickets can also be reserved 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. Call 908-737-4077 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at

Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's five undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctoral degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit

Art by Chris Holden.

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