Archive for September, 2010

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Rola-bola of death! Tell me more!

September 16, 2010

By Kelly Blithe, Director of Public Relations

You may or may not have seen, but recently we posted The Passing Zone’s (a juggling duo here on 11/21/10) “Top 5 Dangerous Tricks” …which are…

5. The Chainsaw Ballet
4. The Rola-bola… of death!
3. Wearing white after Labor Day
2. Rat Traps, Leapfrog, Volunteer, need we say more?
1. Hurling dangerous objects so close to the audience, without properly warming up!

Now, I don’t know about you but I want to know what the “Rola-bola of death” is!! And that’s what these guys are all about, keeping us on our toes, in fact they literally keep audiences on their toes since many of their tricks include volunteer participation. I know volunteer participation is not for everyone, but isn’t it funny when your Dad, husband, wife, or crazy Uncle get dragged into it? I think so. Any way, I’ll let you decide for yourself, enjoy the clip below…

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State Theatre Marketing and PR Internship Reflection

September 8, 2010

By State Theatre Marketing and PR intern, Matt Lipsky

Every summer thousands of college students from around the country emerge from the safety of their dorm rooms and lecture halls and return home. They trade their cargo shorts and hoodies for slacks and ties and for some inexplicable reason, subject themselves to the internship process. As a student, especially a business student, this tradition of unpaid employment is inescapable. “If you want to get a job when you graduate,” we are told, “you have to have a strong resume of internships first.” Moreover, as useful as a college degree is, much of what one needs to know to work in an office is overlooked by professors and theory textbooks. As a student looking for an internship, it is difficult to know what to expect. Every employer says the same thing—something along the lines of, “you will have to do some filing or data entry, but I promise you will learn a lot here too.” It is hard to know when selecting an internship where on the continuum it falls – will this one be more filing and less learning, or more learning and less filing?

In the case of the State Theatre Marketing and PR internship, the scale is tipped heavily towards the learning end. Although not every task was exciting work, I was never asked to do anything that is not marketing related. Admittedly, many of the projects I worked on earlier in the summer were centered around the slow process of posting State Theatre events all over the internet, even this task was fundamentally the leg work of the theater’s online marketing strategy. As the summer progressed, my list of tasks quickly shifted away from mind-numbing website postings toward the writing of press releases, researching and contacting organizations with which to cross-promote and planning the promotion of the NJ Blues & Jazz Festival featuring Sugar Blue, Eddie Palmieri, Maria Muldaur, and Regina Carter (hey, I’m in marketing). Working in a theater, especially one with such a diverse season, proved to be a great experience. Instead of spending all day, every day promoting the same product to the same potential clients, this venue offers an opportunity to experience the promotion of very different events to very different groups. Marketing strategies for such exciting upcoming shows as Michael Feinsten: Sinatra Project and Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick and Inch by Inch (what, did you think the shameless marketing would stop?) differ immensely.

Of course, as anyone who works in an office knows, much of what makes a job enjoyable or not is the people you work with. In that respect, the State Theatre certainly has not disappointed. The staff is fun, extremely good at what they do, and most of all dedicated. The fact that everyone here likes what they do is certainly reflected in the quality of the product they provide – excellent shows year after year. As an intern, I have learned as much about what it takes to enjoy office life as I have about marketing and PR.

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Back on the Fringe

September 3, 2010

By Lian Farrer, Vice President for Education

Your intrepid Vice President for Education has been running herself ragged scouting out fabulous new shows for the State Theatre. There are all kinds of showcases and conventions where performing artists display their wares, but for sheer density, none can compare with the New York Fringe Festival. Close to 650 performances in just 17 days, at 18 tiny venues scattered across Greenwich Village, Soho, the East Village, and the Lower East Side. Despite my best efforts, I was not able to see all 197 productions. I did manage to pack in 21 shows in 6 days, which you must admit is pretty impressive.

So, how did it go? Pretty much what I’ve come to expect from my annual Fringe Binge. About 90 percent of the shows fell into one of two categories: just plain awful (no, I’m not going to name names, so don’t bother to ask), or not quite good enough/not a good fit for the State Theatre. The remaining 10 percent passed both the “great theater” and “right for us” tests. I’ll talk about those.

Of my three winners, two of them were companies I saw at last year’s Fringe and booked at the State Theatre this season. Run, do not walk, to BAMA Theatre’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing here April 1-2. These nimble actors speak “Shakespearian” so naturally and fluently that you’ll forget the lines were written in the 16th-century. I’ve seen a lot of productions of this play—but none that makes the complicated plot so crystal clear, and none with such a sense of fun. Think I’m exaggerating? Read the Wall Street Journal’s review of BAMA’s latest production, As You Like It. I rest my case.

My other discovery from last year’s Fringe is the Project Girl Performance Collective in a show called Voices of Our Generation. The ensemble, made up of 16 girls ranging in age from 13 to about 20, is smart, outspoken, and immensely talented. In 40+ short pieces—spoken word poetry, songs, monologues, and ensemble scenes—they explore issues important to young women today. Some of the material is pretty heavy, but the overarching message is one of strength and empowerment. You’d be smart to skip out of class or work to catch the State Theatre’s school-day performance (Monday, April 4 at 10:30am). Bring your teenage daughters—sons, too.

New to me at this year’s Fringe was a solo play, For Kingdom and Fatherland. In one of those truth-is stranger-than-fiction stories, Shabana Rehman recounts her autobiographical tale of being a Pakistani Muslim female standup comic in Norway. A survivor of childhood abuse, death threats, and other ordeals too numerous to mention, Shabana speaks out against Islamist fundamentalism, government bureaucracy, and the oppression of women. The show is by turns provocative, inspiring, and really, really funny. I’m keeping my eye on this one.

My assistant Jenn (like me, a real theater junkie) scouted some additional shows that simply wouldn’t fit into my schedule. She’s pretty excited about a show called Hamlettes. According to the description, “Three pre-pubescent girls decide to stage a production of Hamlet. When, as an exercise, they decide to never drop character, the dramas of their middle-school quibbles magnify, resulting in a very real tween tragedy.” Shakespeare meets Mean Girls? Gotta check this show out for myself.