Archive for February, 2011

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ONE SINGULAR SENSATION — Come see A Chorus Line!

February 24, 2011

By: Katie Stoppiello, Marketing and PR Intern

Desperate for a job, wondering if you’ll make the cut, hoping for a chance, dreaming for a future… We’ve all been there. It’s the reason why A Chorus Line is a timeless classic. Winner of 9 Tony ® Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and the fourth longest running Broadway show, A Chorus Line tells the stories of 17 dancers hoping to be cast in the newest Broadway production. They open up about their dreams, their life, and the decisions they made to get where they are. A Chorus Line is not your typical musical. It is more than just song and dance or smoke and mirrors; it’s based on the true stories of real dancers.

The musical was formed from several taped workshop sessions with Broadway dancers, known as “gypsies,” including eight who eventually appeared in the original cast. The two dancers running the sessions hoped that they would form a professional dance company to make workshops for Broadway dancers. Instead, their workshops quickly developed into one of the most well known musicals of all time. With book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante, lyrics by Edward Kleban, and music by Marvin Hamlisch, A Chorus Line has been playing around the world for the last three decades.
 
A Chorus Line, will be presented ONE NIGHT ONLY, on Thursday, March 10th at the State Theatre. Visit StateTheatreNJ.org for more information.
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Irish Music Legends Make a Long Awaited Appearance

February 16, 2011

Originally set to perform back in March, The Chieftains are rescheduled to perform on February 18th at the State Theatre! Not even a power outage can hold these traditional Irish musicians from the stage!

Together for almost 50 years, The Chieftains are a six-time Grammy®-winning band. They have performed around the world including places such as London, in the Capitol Building in Washington D.C., on China’s Great Wall, and for the Pope in front of an audience of over ONE MILLION people.

Formed by Paddy Maloney in 1962, The Chieftains sound has become instantly recognizable.

Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music has captured a much broader public, making them today the best known Irish band in the world. Beginning as a traditionally Irish band, The Chieftains have transcended music-genre barriers and their distinctive sound can be heard with some of the biggest names in rock and pop including in Paul Mc Cartney and Stevie Wonder’s “Rainclouds” and in Art Garfunkel’s “Watermark”.

The Chieftains have been able to share their love of Irish music with millions of music lovers across the world. Now it’s your turn to come share in the love of music and see Ireland’s Official Musical Ambassadors, The Chieftains, at State Theatre in New Brunswick.

The Chieftains include:

Paddy Moloney, Uilleann pipes/Tin Whistle;

Matt Molloy, Flute; Kevin Conneff, Bodhrán/Vocal;

Triona Marshall, Harp/Keyboards;

Jon Pilatzke, Fiddle/Dance;

Jeff White, Guitar/Vocals;

Alyth McCormack, Vocals;

Deanie Richardson, Fiddle/Vocals

Nathan Pilatzke, Dance

Cara Butler, Dance

For tickets and more info go to http://www.statetheatrenj.org/the_chieftains.

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The Reviews are in – 5th graders Love STREB!

February 15, 2011

Jessica Kennedy, a 5th grade teacher at New Brunswick’s Roosevelt Elementary School gives us her review of the dance group STREB’s recent school day performance on Feb. 4. Also, the kids themselves share a few words with us.

Inertia, motion, force, energy, load, effort, work…the kids are making so many connections to our just-completed science unit on levers & pulleys: today they are seeing trained artist-athletes interact with machines. And it is beautiful. I’ve never seen the excitement level so high: in the first 5 minutes, when i heard a kid behind me shout, “I LOVE THESE PEOPLE.” The loud music, the lights….as fun and unpredictable—and scary—as any rock concert i’ve ever been to. I ADORE, and so do the kids, the subversive boom of directions hurled among the performers…a vital communication missing from all the dance I’ve ever seen…Could there be a more perfect break in the tedium of almost two months of cancelled outdoor recreation at school, where the kids have to sit quietly in the auditorium during recess, because the teachers need to park their cars on the “blacktop” instead of the icy streets. Something like this gives me a much-needed referent to talk about art, commitment, passion…possibilities…wish dance were emphasized as much as sports in our schools.

Glad I was with my 10-year-olds who could explain to me exactly what was going on…they missed nothing! Evocative of Houdini, the first woman to go over Niagara Falls…How brilliant when physical and intellectual bravery are experienced hand in hand.

Reviews from Jessica Kennedy’s 5th grade class:

AJ: “That show made us excited and still. Elizabeth Streb is a genius for making Streb.”

AP: “It reminded me of Leonardo da Vinci. The part where the women spread out like a star reminded me of Leonardo da Vinci’s VITRUVIAN MAN!”

SM: “Streb is unspeakable. It took my breath away. Amazing.”

AA: “The performance was so awesome. Everyone was cheering for Streb when the performance ended.”

KB: “I thought STREB actioneers had a lot of skills. When everyone was in the box I was speechless, also when they were doing their dives. AMAZING’.”

DV: “My favorite part is when the performers climbed this ladder to get on this moving bar. Then this performer said to move the bar as up as it can so she can jump off it, then everyone was screaming then she jumped for the bar and landed on a drop bed and I was amazed. I loved it.”

MA: “My favorite part of the show is the part when you guys got on the round circle because you guys were brave and I saw your owner he was cool you guys rock!”

DS: “The polar wander was the coolest performance in the show.”

JB: “My favorite part was when all of the actors threw themselves from the high spot. It was amazing because it was a high height.”

PM: “This performance was so great!! I was scared when they threw yourselves from a high surface to a sponge all the way down to the floor!!!”

SM: “I liked the way the performers threw themselves off the poles.”

EH: “The show was amazing. They threw themselves like if they action figures. Please be careful when you perform. Have luck when you perform.”

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The Poetry of Coming Home

February 4, 2011

Glenis Redmond

With all the snowstorms, it is hard to believe that Spring is just around the corner and so is my return to New Brunswick, NJ, where I will be working at the State Theatre. I will be Poet-in-Residence for the month of March. Since this is my third return visit, I now think of NJ as my home away from home. Last year I enjoyed working in the schools, senior citizen homes, vocational centers, corporations, and several halfway homes. The great joy last year was culminating with a community reading at the theater with the participants that took my workshop. They were people from all walks of life. The joy in the room that night made me an even more fervent believer that poetry is a great equalizer.

This year, as every year, I am taking my lead from what is weighing on my heart: Place. I will be facilitating workshop participants to reflect and discover their own Sense of Place. It is my belief there are two types of landscapes: the external and the internal, when we reflect and go deep we make connections and find the nexus between the two and what generally surfaces is poetry. I look forward to returning to my 2nd home and having great conversations and classes that will lead to powerful expressions.

Yours-n-Verse,

Glenis Redmond

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Four Days, 44 Shows (Really.)

February 2, 2011

By Lian Farrer, Vice President for Education

The week before last I was in Tampa Bay, FL, at the annual IPAY (International Performing Arts for Youth) Showcase and conference. And yes, I really did see 44 shows in just 4 days. And went to workshops, meetings, lectures, and a party or two. Despite the grueling schedule, I came home reenergized and excited about the things I saw, heard, and did.

I’ll begin with the sheep. Or, I should say, Les moutons. That’s the name of this bizarre but inspired interactive performance piece presented by a dance company from Toronto called Corpus. They set up a sheep pen (complete with sheep dung that I hope wasn’t real) on the plaza alongside the river walk. Through the crowd came a shepherd driving his flock: dancers dressed in sheep’s costumes. The dancer/actors who played the sheep should all win awards for never once breaking character during the show. They did the usual sheep-y things, including getting shorn and milked. I tasted the milk, warm from the udder. (Don’t ask.) Kids in the audience had a chance to come up to the pen and feed the critters. This show was totally goofy and unexpected. I’d like to figure out a way to work Les moutons into our State Theatre season. Can you hear me out there, Cook College?

Another show featuring herd animals was equally strange and wonderful: The Wolf and the Goat, by Italy’s Compagnia Rodisio. A wolf and a goat, natural enemies, take shelter one stormy night and, not recognizing each other in the dark, become friends. When daylight comes, will the wolf eat the goat? Will the goat manage to escape? Or will they break the accepted order of things and remain friends? (The audience never finds out.) The show is basically two actors—not in animal costumes, thank goodness—a red velvet settee, and three small lighted trees. Dressed in a simple white frock, Manuela Capece, playing the goat was all wide-eyed innocence, while Davide Doro, as the wolf, managed to be both sleazy and seductively sexy at the same time. The Wolf and the Goat was originally in Italian; my colleagues and I were further impressed when we learned that Davide Doro spoke no English, and had learned his part phonetically. Bravo, Davide!

Without a doubt, my very favorite showcase was Grug. Now, I will confess to you here that I normally don’t get too excited about shows for really little kids. But I lost my heart to a character who “began his life as the top of a burrawong tree” and who looks like this:

Grug was created by Australia’s Windmill Theatre and is based on a children’s book series that I confess I’d never heard of. The production was everything theater should be: imaginative, expertly performed, and completely captivating. I loved the clever design of the sets and puppets. Most of all, I was struck by how the actors seemed genuinely delighted to be performing for their young audience; there was no condescension and none of that exaggerated cheerfulness that makes me cringe at so many other shows targeted to kids this age. As we like to remind each other in my profession, children are just like our adult audience, only smaller.