Premiere Stages at Kean University has announced its 2022 season, featuring three new plays from regional playwrights. The season kicks off in July with the New Jersey premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Mud Row. The season will also feature Scab by Gino Diiorio, finalist of the 2020/2021 Premiere Play Festival, the theater’s annual competition for unproduced screenplays written by playwrights affiliated with the greater metropolitan area, and the complete production of Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro. Family by 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission recipient Tylie Shider. Dates for a development reading of the 2022 Premiere Play Festival finalist will be announced later this year.
“After two years of producing pieces project by project, we are thrilled to be back with a full season of contemporary works, all new to New Jersey audiences.” said Production Art Director John J. Wooten “While our outdoor and virtual performances were both successful and rewarding, there’s nothing quite like sharing the magic of being inside a theater!”
In Ms. Morisseau’s Mud Row (July 14-31, Bauer Boucher Theater Center), two generations of sisters navigate class, race, love and family on “Mud Row,” an area in the East End of West Chester, in Pennsylvania. Elsie hopes to advance in the world by marrying “the talented tenth”, while her sister Frances joins the fight for civil rights. Decades later, estranged sisters Regine and Toshi are forced to consider their and each other’s common heritage, when Regine inherits Grandma Elsie’s house. The play was first produced by People’s Light (Abigail Adams, Executive Artistic Director; Zak Berkman, Production Manager) in Malvern, Pennsylvania on June 26, 2019. Mud Row is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals on behalf of Samuel French, Inc. concordtheatricals.com.
Dominique Morisseau is the author of The Detroit Project (A 3-Play-Cycle): Skeleton Crew (Atlantic Theater Company), Paradise Blue (Signature Theatre) and Detroit ’67 (Public Theatre, Classical Theater of Harlem and NBT). Additional plays include: Pipeline (Lincoln Center Theatre), Sunset Baby (LAByrinth Theatre), Blood at the Root (National Black Theatre) and Follow Me To Nellie’s (Premiere Stages). She is also the author of the TONY-nominated book for the Broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations (Imperial Theatre). TV/Film Projects: She recently served as co-producer of the Showtime series “Shameless.” She is currently developing projects with Netflix, HBO and A24, and wrote the film adaptation of the documentary STEP for Fox Searchlight. Awards include: Spirit of Detroit Award, PoNY Fellowship, Sky-Cooper Prize, TEER Trailblazer Award, Steinberg Playwright Award, Audelco Awards, NBFT August Wilson Playwriting Award, Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama, OBIE Award (2), and the Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellowship, named one of Variety’s Women of Impact for 2017-18 and recipient of the 2018 MacArthur Genius Fellowship.
Next up is Mr. Diiorio’s Scab (September 8-25, Bauer Boucher Theater Center). Gilda, a middle-aged woman, must train Eduardo, a young Mexican, to become a shop foreman when his factory moves to Mexico. Over the course of a week, they discover that their assumptions about personal expectations and cultural differences are not always correct.
Mr. Diiorio’s plays have been produced in theaters across the United States, including New Jersey Rep, Shadowland Theatre, Playhouse in the Square, Luna Stage, Arclight Theatre, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Custom Made Theatre, Urban Stages, Seven Angels, Penguin Rep, The Garter Lane Theater and the Virginia Stage Company. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including the Julie Harris Award (Darwin at Down) and the BBC International Playwriting Prize (Dead Ringer). His play Sam and Dede or My Dinner with Andre the Giant received an Off Broadway production at 59E59 and was produced last winter at the Washington Stage Guild. His plays are published by Samuel French and DPS. He is a proud member of the Guild of Playwrights.
The season closes with M. Shider’s Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family (October 13-23, Liberty Hall Museum). Some Aspects of Conflict in the Black Family explores the internal divisions of a family in response to the 1967 riots in Plainfield, New Jersey. As tensions reach an all-time high between the residents of Newark and the police, racial and civil unrest begins to spill over into surrounding communities. Clif and Peach have moved their family to Plainfield for the promise of a better future, but as the riots begin, the family considers moving back South. The Liberty Live Commission is awarded every two years, in partnership with Liberty Hall at Kean University, and seeks to develop and produce new plays that celebrate New Jersey’s rich and diverse history.
Tylie Shider is a Minneapolis-based writer and a 2022-23 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting at the Playwrights’ Center (PWC). He is the recipient of the Liberty Live Commission, two consecutive Jerome Fellowships (PWC) and an I Am Soul Playwright in Residence at the National Black Theater (NBT). Upcoming projects include the fall 2022 New Jersey premiere of Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family at Premiere Stages, The Gospel Woman (NBT), Whittier (PWC) and her film debut “Sign O’ the Times”. Screenwriting credits include: Truant. He holds a BA in Journalism from Delaware State University and an MFA in Playwriting from NYU. A proud member of the Dramatist Guild, he is currently a professor of playwriting at the University of Augsburg and a writer for Minnesota Playlist.
Tickets for the 2022 season of Premiere Stages are now on sale. Prices range from $15 to $35, with discounts available for opening night and season packages, groups, seniors, and students. Premiere Stages also offers a series of free interactive lobby talks and post-show talks in conjunction with select performances. To purchase tickets or inquire about opening night or season packages, please call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit premierestagesatkean.com/current-shows.
To ensure the safety of all customers and staff, Premiere Stages will continue to implement safety protocols which can be found at premierestagesatkean.com/shows/safety-protocols.
Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking near the theatre. Premiere Stages also offers free or discounted tickets to customers with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces and companion seating is available for guests with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Gestural and audio-described representations are available on request, at least two weeks in advance. Please call 908-737-4077 or email [email protected] to request these services. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at premierestagesatkean.com.
Premiere Stages is made possible in part by funding from W. John Bauer and Nancy Boucher, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Shubert Foundation, Carole Shaffer-Koros and Robert Koros , the ExxonMobil Foundation, the Dubose and Dorothy Heyward Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, EJ Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theater Alliance, Investors Foundation, The Union County HEART Grant and thanks to the generous support from individual patrons and local organizations. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information on other arts programs taking place in the Garden State.
Premiere Stages is committed to producing thematic plays and interactive programs that reflect people of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, national origins, nationalities, ancestry, religious groups, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation, political beliefs, ages, abilities and disabilities.
ABOUT THE FIRST STEPS
Established in 2004, Premiere Stages is the Equity Professional Theater in Residence at Kean University. Through its unique partnership with Kean, Premiere’s game development programs, educational initiatives, and professional development opportunities actively integrate the university’s academic curriculum while expanding programming reach, accessibility, and prestige. professional on campus. For more information, please visit Premiere Stages online at premierestagesatkean.com
ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1855, Kean University is one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher learning in the region, with a highly diverse population of students, faculty, and staff. Kean continues to play a key role in teacher training and is a center of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving more than 16,000 students. The University’s six undergraduate colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate degrees in a full range of academic subjects. Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers six doctoral programs and more than 80 graduate options leading to master’s degrees, professional degrees, or certifications. With campuses in Union, Toms River, Jefferson and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University pursues its mission of providing an affordable and accessible world-class education. Visit kean.edu