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Premiere Stages Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Blockbuster 2014 Season

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Premiere Stages

Premiere Stages will celebrate its 10th Anniversary as the professional theatre in residence at Kean University with a blockbuster 2014 Season, featuring an expanded lineup of award-winning premieres, engaging musical presentations for young audiences, captivating summer camps for middle-school and high-school students, and collaborations with like-minded organizations, both on and off campus.

Over the past decade, with its unique commitment to presenting ground-breaking and socially relevant work, Premiere Stages has grown to become one of the nation’s most respected centers for new play development. “I am exceptionally proud of the numerous regional and emerging playwrights who have been developed at Premiere. The program is unlike any in the country, fast-tracking important and topical new work, while simultaneously affording students unprecedented professional development opportunities and access,” stated John Wooten, Premiere Stages’ founder and producing artistic director.

The special anniversary season features the New Jersey Premiere of Soldier’s Heart (July 10 – 27; Zella Fry Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall) by Tammy Ryan, winner of the prestigious 2012 Francesca Primus Prize. Ms. Ryan’s plays Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods (2010) and Dark Part of the Forest (2006) enjoyed critically acclaimed runs at Premiere Stages and established Ms. Ryan as a Premiere fan favorite. In this important new play ripped straight from the headlines, a devoted mother leaves her son behind to defend the country she loves. When her commanding officer becomes her assailant, she returns home to face her greatest test, bringing back more than she bargained for. Soldier’s Heart will feature Emmy Award-winning actress Kim Zimmer, who last collaborated with Premiere Stages and Ms. Ryan on the award-winning production of Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods. John Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, will direct. Premiere Stages will partner with Safe Horizon (, the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, and the Kean Office of Veteran Student Services on the production. Premiere Stages will offer a free film screening, as well as a number of interactive “talk-backs” after select matinee performances; please call 908-737-4092 for dates and scheduled programming.

Premiere’s 10th Anniversary Season continues with Tom Matthew Wolfe’s Janice Underwater (September 4 – 21; Zella Fry Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall), directed by Jade King Carroll. Selected from over 400 submissions as the 2014 Premiere Stages Play Festival Winner, Janice Underwater features a number of scenes set in Union County. Mr. Wolfe, a native of Hillside, is a two-time Semi-Finalist for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Center. In this moving new comedy, Janice has a sneaking suspicion that she’s losing her mind. While waiting for the results of genetic testing that could confirm her fears, she struggles to hold it together and pursue her art in the city. With the help of an attractive but troubled super, a devoted brother, and visions of her mentally ill mother, will Janice find her way home?

The 10th Anniversary Season also features a free staged reading of The Ansel Intimacy (June 20 – 22; Murphy Dunn Theatre, Vaughn Eames Hall) by Vincent Delaney, directed by Padraic Lillis. On his 16th birthday, Tate receives a gift he never wanted: Ansel, who was scientifically engineered to provide him with replacement parts. But as the bond between them grows, Tate discovers some gifts can't easily be accepted. Mr. Delaney’s plays have been developed and produced at a number of respected theatres nationwide, including the Guthrie, the Humana Festival, and Seattle Rep. The Ansel Intimacy, recently named this year’s Runner-Up in the prestigious Premiere Stages Play Festival, was one of four finalists featured in Premiere’s popular Spring Reading Series in March.

Premiere’s 2014 celebration concludes with At Liberty Hall (October 16 – 19), the 2013-2014 Liberty Live commission, to be performed in the historic 1882 Carriage House at Liberty Hall Museum. Written by New Jersey resident James Christy and directed by Kel Haney, At Liberty Hall follows two high school students who've just moved to New Jersey: Cristian Rosario, a funny but unfocused teenager from Queens by way of the Dominican Republic; and Alexander Hamilton, 16, the subject of Cristian's 10th grade history project. This time-bending story finds common threads of humor, honor and awkwardness as told through the experiences of a someday-Founding Father and a kid looking for a way out of the projects. Mr. Christy, a Heideman Award winner for his play Creep, was previously developed at Premiere Stages in 2011 (Egyptian Song).

Tickets to Premiere Stages’ 2014 Season range from $15 - $30, with deep discounts available for season packages, groups, seniors and students; admission to The Ansel Intimacy is free. To purchase tickets or inquire about packages, please call 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit For more information on Premiere Stages’ 10th Anniversary Season, call Premiere’s administrative offices at 908-737-4092 or email

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