New Jersey 2018/2019 Season In Review by Stephen Kaplan
The past year has been a great one for new plays in New Jersey—many of which were by New Jersey playwrights! (Note that any NJ-based writer has an * next to their name). This list is far from comprehensive but shows the great variety of new theatre being produced in our region.
Art House Productions in Jersey City produced the rolling world premiere of Not Medea by Allison Gregory, a workshop production of Brando/Capote by Sara Farrington, and The INKubator New Play Festival featuring work by eight playwrights.
Cape May Stage in Cape May produced the world premiere of The Shuck by Shawn Fisher* from September 17 through November 9, 2018. The play took place on an oyster boat in Cape May County and the set designed by the author was an actual buy boat.
Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre in Summit produced the world premiere of Psychodrama by Phoebe Farber* in February/March 2019.
East Lynne Theater Company in Cape May brought back A Year in the Trenches in May 2018, written by James Rana* and developed with Gayle Stahlhuth*. June 2018 included the world premiere of On the Sunny Side of the Street, a revue of the lyrics of Dorothy Fields. November 2018 brought the world premiere of O. Henry’s Christmas Tales adapted by Gayle Stahlhuth.
George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick produced two world premieres, The Trial of Donna Caine by Walter Anderson (October-November) and Little Girl Blue: The Nina Simone Musical by Laiona Michelle with additional material by Devanand Janki and arrangements and original material by Mark Fifer (January-February).
Luna Stage in West Orange produced the second productions of Pirira by J.Stephen Brantley (October) and The Assignment by Camilo Almonacid (November-December), along with the world premiere of Roan @ the Gates by Christina Gorman* (January-February), and an early production of Heartland by Gabriel Jason Dean.
Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken transferred their premiere of The Net Will Appear by Erin Mallon* across the river to 59E59 Theatre, in addition to their annual 7th Inning Stretch: 7 10-minute plays about baseball in May which commissions new 10-minute plays that contain baseball as a central theme.
New Jersey Rep produced five world premieres including Mercy by Adam Szymkowicz (June-July), Fern Hill by Michael Tucker (August-September), Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta (October-November), Apple Season by E. M. Lewis (January-February), and The Source by Jack Canfora (March-April).
Premiere Stages at Kean University in Union included three world premieres: 2018 Premiere Play Festival Winner Linger by Craig Garcia* in July, NJPAC Stage Exchange Commission Brick City by Nicole Pandolfo* in September, and Liberty Live Commission Black Tom Island by Martin Casella* in October.
The Theater Project produced their annual Think Fast Competition of short plays in March at the Burgdorff Center in Maplewood and included new work by NJ writers Mike Sockol*, Sheila Duane*, Joe Godley*, and George Cameron Grant*. The competition winners were Valerie Stack Dodge* and Steven Haworth.
Two River Theatre in Red Bank produced the world premieres of Pamela’s First Musical with a book by Wendy Wasserstein and Christopher Durang, with music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by David Zippel (September-October), and the commissioned Theo, by Martin Moran (February-March).