MORRISTOWN – The New Jersey Theatre Alliance is offering more than 80 free or discounted performances and programs for children and adults during its 23rd annual Stages Festival, a statewide event. Offerings include performances, workshops, readings of new plays, and participatory community discussions taking place at theaters, libraries, community centers, and other venues throughout the months of March, April and May.


Among the offerings is “A More Perfect Union” at The Newton Theatre on May 21.


"A More Perfect Union," performed by the Pushcart Players, is a musical that captivates the spirit, action and causes of the United States founders as they formulated the Constitution. It remains timely today as basic constitutional tenets continue to be a part of the national conversation, particularly in the presidential election year of 2020.


While detailing some broad, sweeping historical events and concepts, the play’s focus is on ordinary citizens involved in extraordinary events: Luke, Rebecca, Benjamin and Abby. Through their eyes the story is told and the history unfolds.


The following are a few 2020 Stages highlights. Most events are free but require registration. For a full listing of events, program details, and registration information visit www.njtheatrealliance.org/stage.


Theater for Kids and Families


There are dozens of performances tailored for kids and families in various locations across the state. In Trenton, Passage Theatre will produce the world premiere of Larissa Fasthorse’s new play for middle-grade audiences, “Teaching Disco Square Dancing to Our Elders: A Class Presentation,” March 5-8.


East Lynne Theater Company will present “Sherlock Holmes: Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle,” at the Mahwah Public Library on March 15 at 2 p.m.


Pushcart Players will tour to multiple locations including a performance of “The Velveteen Rabbit” at Wheaton Arts Center in Millville on March 21. Additional tour listings for these and other theater companies will be added throughout the spring.


Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison will offer “Short Shakespeare” performances at a deep discount with code STAGES, as well as a sensory-friendly performance of “A Midsummer Night's Dream” on March 7.


New Plays


On March 5, Skyline Theatre Company in Fair Lawn will present a staged reading of a world-premiere musical, “Southern Harmony,” based on an historical true-crime event, followed by a talkback with the creative team.


Art House Productions in Jersey City and Hudson Theatre Works in Weehawken will each produce a series of readings by a diverse slate of contemporary playwrights.


In partnership with NJPAC, George Street Playhouse, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre, and Pushcart Players will each present readings in May of new commissioned plays featuring New Jersey writers, artists, or themes.


New Jersey playwriting talent will again be on display at two showcases of writing by current New Jersey State Council of the Arts Playwriting Fellows on March 18 at Mile Square Theatre in Hoboken, and on May 28 at Premiere Stages in Union.


Community Events


The festival will include several participatory community events including a panel discussion on “Theatre and Civic Engagement” presented in partnership with the New Jersey Historical Commission at the Jay and Linda Grunin Center in Toms River on April 16.


Two River Theater in Red Bank will open its doors to all for a community music master class “Everybody Sing with Elliot Roth” on April 27.


McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton will celebrate and kick off Pride Month with a community reading and discussion of “Execution of Justice” by Emily Mann at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice on May 22.


Seniors


This year’s festival aims to celebrate the artistic expression and experience of all ages from children through senior citizens. A few events are specifically designed with an eye toward creative aging and illuminating senior experience.


McCarter Theatre Center will present a performance by the OnStage Seniors of “The Only Way Out is Through: Transitions” on May 24.


Paper Mill Playhouse will offer interactive musical workshops for residents of the Actor’s Fund Home in Englewood, and Pushcart Players will bring its production of “A More Perfect Union” to the residents of Merry Heart Assisted Living in Succasunna.


Healing Voices: Caregivers’ Stories on Stage


Produced in partnership with Premiere Stages at Kean University, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center and Two River Theater, “Healing Voices: Caregivers' Stories Onstage” weaves together stories of both professional and family caregivers as part of an original professional theater performance about the caregiving experience. Each theater will create three professional presentations of the selected works, chosen from over 120 submissions.


Performances will take place on April 24 at Premiere Stages in Union, May 21 at McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, May 29 at Two River Theater in Red Bank, and June 9 at George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick.


If you require a specific accommodation for a Stages Festival event, including ASL interpretation, open captioning, and audio description, contact Deonté Griffin-Quick at 973-731-6582 ext. 14 or dgiffin-quick@njtheatrealliance.org at least two weeks before the event.


Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance was the first statewide service organization for professional, not-for-profit theater companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, strengthen and cultivate professional theater in New Jersey.