Posts Tagged ‘Middlesex’

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The Urban Arts Festival is Here! What Do We Do Now?

May 22, 2009
So, after months and months of planning, it’s here and it’s tomorrow, Sat, May 23…the State Theatre’s first annual Urban Arts Festival. It’s an all-day (12pm-8pm) outdoor festival and we’ve booked so many acts, it’s unbelievable. Very quickly, this venture into new territory, the urban arts, has gone from “what do we do and how do we do it,” to “what do we do with all these big plans now?”

We have booked 20 plus acts, and scheduled 2 open mic times for local spoken word poets, and all of that must fit into 8 hours…that is going to be some crazy turnaround time for our stage hands. And that is not to mention we have all sorts of other stuff going on at the same time including free workshops, a 25 ft mural project and a hanging “art happening” or art installation, both of which are open to the public for participation. Nevertheless, we are confident in our plans and we just hope that people like what we have put together. We just have to remember, this is the “first annual” Urban Arts Festival, which means you never know…stay tuned (or just stop by!).

For more information on the Urban Arts Festival, visit: http://www.statetheatrenj.org/urban_arts. 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/.

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An Urban Arts Festival for New Brunswick, New Jersey

March 27, 2009
For years now, we at the State Theatre have been trying to put together an Urban Arts Festival, a celebrated community experience of music, dance, poetry, and art. And now with the support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, our dreams have come true and the date is set for Saturday, May 23. Now if we can only figure out what exactly what we want to do….

The city of New Brunswick is a diverse city, so planning for the festival (which will be free of charge) has been harder than we could ever imagine. We are currently in the process of booking local acts for an outside stage that will be open on the street in front of the State Theatre from 12:30pm to about 6pm. As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to be done in just under 2 months (and that’s not to mention the evening performances on the State Theatre stage and the day-time workshops we want to do). There are TOO MANY options (and time is running out) and how often can you say that in times like these?! I guess what it comes down to is that we are very thankful for this opportunity, and we want it to be the best it can be, so our emotions and expectations are running high. And for lack of a better phrase, THE HEAT IS ON!

Performers scheduled for the Urban Arts Festival so far include Mayhem Poets and performance poet Glenis Redmond. If you are a solo performer or part of a group that would like to perform at the Urban Arts Festival, contact Andrew Fishman: afishman@StateTheatreNJ.org. No phone calls, please.

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/.

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Rutgers to break Guinness World Record of most Waldos in one place!

March 24, 2009

In any other case, seeing over 1500 people dressed up as Waldo from the book series “Where’s Waldo?” would probably frighten you. If you are a child of the 90’s you probably remember Waldo as the tall, lanky, guy that always seemed to be lost amidst a crowd of people/objects that looked like his red and white striped shirt at first glance. On April 2, 2009 Rutgers University is attempting to break the Guinness World Record of the largest gathering of people dressed up as Waldo. I know what you’re thinking, “THAT’S a world record?” You would be surprised to find out what other bizzarre world records there are out there (actually, last April, Rutgers students broke the world record for the most people dressed up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

This year’s record breaking attempt will take place at the State Theatre, with an entry fee of $5 or a new children’s book. All books and proceeds will benefit literacy efforts for the students of the New Brunswick School District. So, not only will you be able to be a part of breaking a really unique world record, you will also be helping out the kids that live in the local community. We are living in a time where books are becoming a more and more obsolete source of entertainment for children. It is nice to know that there are still events like this that are fighting for books to remain a part of childhood. So, if you grew up in the 90’s looking for Waldo, want to break a world record, or just want to benefit a good cause, put on your Waldo gear and stop by the theater.

–Teisia Park, Marketing/PR Intern

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/.

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What will you be spending money on three months from now?

March 9, 2009

What will you be spending money on three months from now? How about six months, or even a year down the road? Will you pop for those $75 tickets to see one of your favorite performances in concert, or dinner and a Broadway show? Will I? Chances are neither one of us know answers to these questions. We are currently in the thick of programming our schedule for the 2009-2010 season, which entails booking shows, setting ticket prices etc. for events as far away as May 2010. Normally we can predict with a fair degree of accuracy of what the market will bear, but “normally” has gone out the window. The good news is, that in spite of the uncertainty, we forge ahead. Will we make concessions and adjustments based on the economy, of course, but compare next season to this one, and all that have come before, and you will see the same broad variety of quality shows that the Theatre is known for. We all know what predictions are worth these days, but here’s one thing for certain, three months, six months or a year from now, we’ll be here. Hope you will be too.

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/.

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State Theatre’s Third Annual Family Day

February 20, 2009

Every year the State Theatre hosts Family Day on Presidents’ Day, a nonstop schedule of both free and paid activites at the State Theatre , George Street Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre, Uniter Methodist Church, and the Hub City Big Top. Each time Family Day gets bigger and bigger and this year was no exception. There were ten workshops, five performances at the State Theatre and Crossroads Theatre, and free sing-a-longs and story telling all day long at United Methodist Church. The size was not limited to just the events, but also to the size of the Hub City Big Top, a 30×75 foot heated tent that shuts down Livingston Avenue from George Street to New Street, when last year’s was only 20×50 feet.

Live characters from popular children shows filled the street, while volunteers from the community, like Rutgers University, ran a variety of free activity stations. Our most popular station was face painting where kids could get colorful penguins, flowers, Hello Kitties, and Elmos on their cheeks. A close second was balloon animals where kids could choose from a dog, elephant, mouse, horse, monkey, snail, sword, hat, or bunny.

The bunny was clearly the most popular balloon animal of the day. Once the children saw Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny they all wanted one of their own. These two performances were the main attraction of Family Day.

So after all was said and done, and the last cheek was painted and the last balloon was handed out, kids and parents alike went home with lifted spirits and smiling faces. It is those faces that make us want to continue this tradition for years to come.

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/.

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A New Guild to Bring Together the Community

February 13, 2009

This past Monday, the State Theatre held the first official event for its brand new gild, The Rising Stars. The sold-out event brought together 80 women for a special dinner before a lecture by one of Hollywood’s most famous actresses, Goldie Hawn.  

The Rising Star is a new program that was started up to bring together people who can help us to educate and enlighten the community about the State Theatre and its programs and encourage involvement in all age groups. It was a wonderful kick-off event (even if Goldie didn’t stop by), as this was the first of five special dinners between now and June 1.  

And this is just the beginning, as plans for the future Rising Stars community events are in the works.  

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/.

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Report from the Children’s Theatre Showcase: Cleveland Rocks (But Sometimes It Doesn’t)

January 30, 2009

Last week in Cleveland I attended the IPAY Showcase of theater for young audiences. I got to see full-length performances of music, dance, drama, and physical theater from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Scotland, Denmark, and Israel. In all, I saw 14 shows in 4 days. Seeing the full-length performances was extremely valuable in helping to decide which shows we want to book for the State Theatre and (just as important) which ones NOT to book. As I’ve indicated in a previous post, you have to sit through a lot of mediocre/bad children’s theater in order to discover the real treasures. This year’s IPAY Showcase was no exception. 

Unfortunately, there were two productions—one from Australia and the other from the Republic of Congo—that were not allowed to perform at Showcase due to the U.S. Immigration Department’s refusal to grant them a work visa. I’ve seen the Australian show on DVD and it was so fantastic we will probably book it anyway if it ever tours to the U.S. 

My favorite performance at Showcase was The Man Who Planted Trees, from Scotland. The two actor/puppeteers have created a brilliant adaptation of Jean Giono’s short story about a French shepherd who devotes his life to transforming a barren wasteland into a fertile paradise by planting thousands and thousands of trees. The production is exactly what I look for in a show for young audiences. First and foremost, it’s an imaginative piece of theater, expertly performed. Yes, there’s an important message about caring for the environment, but it’s seamlessly integrated into the storytelling; the audience is never made to feel as if we’re sitting in a classroom instead of a theater. The star of the show is a dog puppet who was perhaps the funniest, cutest, and most talented performer in the entire showcase. 

The Man Who Planted Trees ended up winning the Showcase Audience Choice Award. This is a pretty big honor since the voters are all theater professionals. We’ve been trying to bring the show to New Brunswick ever since my boss, Wes Brustad, saw it at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland a couple of years ago. I’m thrilled to report that it will be on our 2009-10 season! 

Besides seeing lots and lots of showcases, I also attended sessions addressing important issues in the field of performing arts for young people. Particularly relevant to me was a conversation about the changing role of education directors at performing arts centers; many of us are seeing our jobs evolve beyond programming performances for schools to becoming an instrument for community outreach and engagement. We didn’t arrive at any earth-shaking solutions, but it was helpful to hear that many of my colleagues are grappling with the same concerns as I am. 

 —Lian Farrer, Vice President for Education

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.