Archive for the ‘New Jersey Theatre’ Category

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“Springing” into the Music Industry

July 7, 2011

By Audrey Yeager, Marketing & PR Intern

When I was younger, I used to work as a camp counselor. I always found it interesting to ask children what they wanted to be when they grew up, mostly because the question elicited so many original (and occasionally comical) responses: an ice cream man, a rock star, a princess, a doctor, a teacher, a painter, an actor. I was amazed by the amount of responses I received that dealt with professions in the arts. Take a “rock star,” for instance. I know many teens that have followed their passions and started their own bands, practicing out of their garages and booking local gigs. I think it is fabulous that teens today are so involved with music.

I wonder if Rick Springfield knew how successful he was going to be when he formed his first band named “Icy Blues” in high school in 1964. At that time, he was 15 years old. Now seeing the sensation that Springfield has become in his career, it is easy to forget about the fact that he was once a kid too, starting off in music the same way thousands of rock star hopefuls do today. After all, it was only two years earlier, at age 13, that Springfield had received his first guitar as a birthday present. Nevertheless, Springfield’s talent for music was unquestionable. After leaving high school, everything began to fall into place. Pete Watson asked the young Springfield to join Rock House, and the emerging musician accepted. While with the band, which changed its name from Rock House to MPD, Ltd in 1968, Springfield got the opportunity to play gigs in Vietnam. After returning, Springfield formed his own band, Wickedy Wak, but then decided to join the Australian band Zoot in 1969. (Did you know Springfield was born in Australia?)

It was clear that Springfield’s musical career had taken off by the time he recorded and released “Speak to the Sky.” At this point in his life, Springfield had moved to the United States. “Speak to the Sky” was his debut single at age 22; it became a hit. We all know what happened from there: Springfield went on to write and record more and more music that topped the charts. Springfield has released 17 top 40 singles throughout his music career. In 1982, he won a Grammy for Best Male Vocal Performance for the song “Jessie’s Girl.” Other hits include “Affair of the Heart,” “Love Somebody,” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers.” Springfield also branched out into acting and appeared in General Hospital. He most recently made appearances on Californication and Hawaii Five-0.

See Rick Springfield live on Sunday, July 10 at 7pm.

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A Hectic Fall Season Rewards the Education Department

November 24, 2010

The beginning of November was a busy time for the State Theatre’s Education Department. From school shows to the Free Milk & Cookies events, we had every age group attending one of our events. It started with two school day performances of Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, Frederick, and Inch by Inch on Monday, November 1st. Over 2,000 preK-3rd graders attended the performances and teachers and students alike had a blast. We even got a chance to take some new pictures of the students in the audience! That Monday also marked the beginning of the STREB residency with the high school students at Emily Fisher Charter School in Trenton. Each Monday in November, three teaching artists from the company will visit the high school. I got to watch as they used the 90 minute workshop to introduce the students to Pop Action and begin choreographing the piece that the students will be performing at Crossroads Theatre on December 4th. This was also my third annual visit to the NJEA teacher’s convention – held every year in Atlantic City. Together with representatives from American Repertory Ballet,Crossroads Theatre, George Street Playhouse, and the Zimmerli Art Museum, I was able to talk to teachers at the convention about all the different programs each of our organizations has. It’s always a fun trip (and shopping in the outlet stores isn’t bad either!). Over the weekend, the Education Department also had some of our free Milk & Cookies events for children ages 3 to 8. Cookies were donated by the sisters of the Rutgers University chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda and some sisters from Sigma Lambda Upsilon were in attendance to help run the event. There’s nothing cuter than little kids lining up for their milk and cookies after listening to stories and songs by our storyteller, Ken Galipeau. On Sunday, we were treated to a performance by the BBC Concert Orchestra. Before the performance, we held a Scientists Exploring the Arts event in the Heldrich Room of the State Theatre and welcomed back Pre-Performance Insights. The Education Department rounded out our busy week with three performances of Jason and the Argonauts in Crossroads Theatre, brought to us by Visible Fictions out of Scotland.

It was a hectic week, but I think it’s safe to say that each of these events was enjoyed by everyone who attended, and by myself most of all! As you can see, the Education Department always has something going on!

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Performance Poet Glenis Redmond returns to State Theatre

May 11, 2010

We at the State Theatre are happy to announce the return of performance poet Glenis Redmond as this year’s Artist-in Residence. The North Carolina poet (who is back by popular demand after last year’s residency) will appear in a variety of settings during her three-week residency, May 11-28. During her stay, she will be the State Theatre’s artistic ambassador, offering free poetry performances and writing workshops throughout New Jersey. Her busy schedule takes her to 13 different host sites—encompassing public schools, social service organizations, corporate headquarters, residential treatment centers, transitional housing facilities, and senior communities from Princeton to Newark, Whitehouse Station to Trenton. The three-week residency will culminate in a free public performance at Crossroads Theatre on Friday, May 28 at 7pm. All residency activities are offered to the public free of charge. To reserve tickets for the May 28 public performance at Crossroads Theatre call 732-246-7469, ext. 545. (Look below for a video featuring Glenis.)

For more information on the residency program or on Glenis Redmond’s visit : http://www.statetheatrenj.org/education/artistresidencies.asp.

And a big thank you to The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey and The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for their support of this wonderful program.

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A Few Minutes with John Waters

December 2, 2009
Every holiday season we present a lot of the normal family fare such as The Nutcracker, musical acts that play Christmas songs, a feel good musical like Annie or Scrooge in Concert (a musical version of A Christmas Carol), but rarely do we present something well, you know, NOT for the kids. Well, this year, I am happy to announce we have broken that tradition. And with who/what you ask? With none other than cult filmmaker John Waters! His movies including Hairspray, Cry-Baby, and Pink Flamingos, his wacky sense of humor, and his campy personality, have cemented his staying power in Hollywood and helped earn him legions of fans across the globe. Now, I can go on and on about what he’s actually “doing” at the State Theatre, but really wouldn’t you like to hear it from the man himself? So, go ahead and take a few minutes to listen to this podcast (for Jersey Arts by NJN) with John Waters, the man with the pencil-thin mustache.

Click below for the John Waters Podcast: http://www.jerseyarts.com/podcast.asp

Kelly Skinner

–Director of Public Relations
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Summer Food Drive Success!

August 7, 2009

On Tuesday, August 4th, the State Theatre in collaboration with Elijah’s Promise held a community food drive to benefit the Elijah’s Promise Food Pantry in New Brunswick, NJ.

And we are happy to report that it was a success!

The food drive—held during the concert, Harry Chapin: A Celebration in Song—was in honor of Harry Chapin and his dedication to the fight against world hunger. (Chapin founded World Hunger Year in 1975.) Many patrons attending the celebration, brought in multiple bags of non-perishable food items (including Costco sized items!). It was a very nice evening and we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of food that we received. Thanks for making a difference and providing a nutritious meal to those in need in the New Brunswick community.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Ave in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW (7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and YouTube.

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A Brief Q&A with Michael Cavanaugh

July 14, 2009

A brief Q&A with musician Michael Cavanaugh, the original Piano Man in Broadway’s Movin’ Out on his upcoming tour and his new CD, In Color

How long have you been playing the piano? And did you always want to play the piano? I have been playing since I was 7. My parents purchased a piano for my Mom and immediately loved it and started playing. When I showed up to my first piano lesson I played “It’s still Rock & Roll to me”. Then my first lesson was something like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” I wasn’t that interested. I wound up being a poor piano student.

How did it feel to be hand-picked by Billy Joel to star in Movin’ Out?
It was unreal. It was the kind of thing I imagined when I was a kid.

Can you tell us about your new album In Color?
My new CD was one of the greatest experiences I have had making music as we teamed up with producer Rob Mathes and have some great originals as well as some interpretations of some classic songs by Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, Pete Townsend, Bob Dylan, and others. We also received a great distribution deal so it is available at iTunes, Amazon.com, as well as Best Buy and Borders. I will be out front after the show at the State Theatre signing CD’s too!

What’s has been your most memorable performance? What town/city was it in?
There have been many, if I had to pick a few, I would pick playing on stage with Billy Joel in Cleveland, Ohio (my hometown) during one of his shows. Others of note would be the first symphony performance I did with the Indianapolis Symphony because they had such belief in the project and that first night was incredible. And obviously my first night on Broadway was pretty special 🙂

What are some of the bands/artists that you are listening to right now?
The Beatles, John Mayer, Daughtry, The Eagles, The Who

Would you ever consider performing on Broadway again?
Who knows, I never say never. For now, I have many other projects that I am working on. A new symphony show (Generations of Rock-n-Roll), a new Vegas show (hoping to debut this fall), as well as a tour in the Far East. I plan on having a long career so you never know.

Michael Cavanaugh performs with a full band at the State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ on Thursday, July 16 at 8pm.

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.

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The Amish Project – An Intense Hour Worth Your Time

July 8, 2009

A group of State Theatre staff members including myself, recently went into NYC to the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater for a performance of The Amish Project (presented by the State Theatre in March 2010). If I had one word to describe this show, it would be captivating. For 65 minutes, I, like my co-workers was glued to every word and every movement made by Jessica Dickey, the one-woman actress/playwright of this show.

The play, a fictional exploration of the true events of the 2006 shootings of 5 girls (and the gunman) in an Amish Schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA, is imbued with poetry, humor, and wonder. Throughout the hour, Dickey moves seamlessly back and forth among different characters (including the gunman, his widow, an Amish child, a news reporter, and a 16-year-old Hispanic girl), deftly weaving a complex and thought-provoking web of differing perspectives that explore the major themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. Each character is portrayed with a different voice and very distinct mannerisms that make it clear as to who she is playing at any given moment and all of this while in the same costume of an Amish dress, apron, and bonnet. It is truly a masterclass in acting to watch as she makes you forget that she is playing the deranged gunman while wearing this bonnet.

As intense as the play is, we didn’t leave the theater feeling sad, in fact, it opened a dialogue between us. A dialogue that has been ongoing since we saw the show almost 2 weeks ago. And apparently, we are not the only ones still talking about this show, as the run has been extended to July 12 due to critical acclaim and popular demand (New York Times review. NPR review.) Check it out now at: http://www.rattlestick.org/ or catch it at the State Theatre in March 2010.

–Kelly Skinner, Director of Public Relations

The State Theatre is located at 15 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ. For information or to purchase tickets call 732-246-SHOW(7469) or visit http://www.statetheatrenj.org/. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace.