On November 3rd, New Jersey Theatre Alliance will present Excellence Awards to two New Brunswick theatres, Crossroads Theatre Company and George Street Playhouse, at “Curtain Call,” the annual celebration of New Jersey’s professional theatres. Each year, New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the service organization for the state’s professional theatres, presents Excellence Awards to professional theatres in New Jersey that have shown exemplary achievements in the field. The Alliance will also honor Kessler Foundation with the Star Award for its ongoing support of programs that make theatre accessible to people with disabilities.
Curtain Call will take place on Monday evening, November 3rd, at the Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, and will feature entertainment from the winning theatres. Crossroads Theatre Company will present two musical numbers from its acclaimed production of Ain’t Misbehavin’, choreographed by two-time Tony Award nominee André DeShields. George Street Playhouse will present a musical performance by actress Janet Metz, who starred in The Spitfire Grill, which debuted at George Street Playhouse in 2000, moved to off-Broadway, won the Richard Rogers Award, and has since been produced over 500 times world-wide. Curtain Call is open to the public, and reservations can be made by contacting New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
“We are delighted to honor Kessler Foundation, Crossroads Theatre Company, and George Street Playhouse,” said the Alliance’s Executive Director John McEwen. “Kessler has been a stalwart supporter of the Alliance as we work to ensure that people with disabilities can enjoy live theatre with comfort and dignity. George Street and Crossroads have both contributed to the American theatre repertoire with their world premieres, and have provided productions of the highest artistic quality. Their work is consistently entertaining, engaging, and provocative. What’s more, they both have innovative education and outreach programs that bring the power of theatre to youth and diverse communities.”
Crossroads Theatre Company, founded in 1978 with the mission to explore the African Diaspora, won a Tony Award in 1999 for Outstanding Regional Theatre in the United States—the first time a predominantly minority-run company had earned this award. Today the work of Crossroads Theatre Company is broader in scope, exploring other facets of global interaction, diversity, and inclusion. “On behalf of our hard-working, dedicated staff and volunteers, Crossroads is pleased to be recognized by our industry peers,” said Crossroads Producing Artistic Director Marshall Jones III. “The recession was very challenging for culturally-specific theaters but we remained true to our mission and true to our audience, so it feels great to be acknowledged by the Theatre Alliance.”
George Street Playhouse, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, has a rich history of producing world premieres of plays and musicals (such as The Spitfire Grill, The Toxic Avenger, and Proof) that moved on to Broadway, off-Broadway, and theatres around the globe. George Street Playhouse also has an impactful Education Department that reaches tens of thousands of students each year through touring productions that explore issues such as tolerance, bullying, environmental stewardship, and personal health. Kelly Ryman, Managing Director of George Street Playhouse said, “We are grateful to New Jersey Theatre Alliance for this recognition of George Street Playhouse’s 40th Anniversary and for the work the Alliance does year after year to promote and support the professional theatres of New Jersey.”
Kessler Foundation, located in West Orange, is a global leader in rehabilitation research benefiting people with neurological disabilities. The Foundation has been a consistent supporter of the Alliance’s many accessibility programs, including the most recent Google Virtual Tour initiative, which uses Google technology to help reassure audience members with disabilities that venues are accessible.
“A venue may be accessible, but to attract people with disabilities, there needs to be awareness of the lack of barriers,” said Elaine Katz, Senior VP of Grants and Communications. “We are pleased to be instrumental in publicizing the accessibility of the venues of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, ensuring that our community of theatergoers includes people with disabilities.”
Curtain Call includes a buffet dinner, wine and beer, a silent auction, and a raffle. Bidding has already begun on select auction items listed on the Bidding for Good website, including golf at Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, NJ; tickets to see Aretha Franklin at NJPAC in Newark; VIP tickets to the Dr. Oz Show; and tickets to Broadway’s Honeymoon in Vegas, including a backstage visit.
Raffle prizes include tickets to It’s Only a Play on Broadway, a weekend for four in Cape May, and an iPad Mini. More information on the raffle is posted on the New Jersey Theatre Alliance website.
Proceeds from the event will strengthen the Alliance’s role as a critical resource for the state’s arts community, and advance the Alliance’s growing programs that benefit children, seniors, people with disabilities, and the theatre-going public. The community has already enthusiastically supported Curtain Call, with sponsorship from Bank of America, Engel & Devlin, P.C., Carolyn J. Ferolito, H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture, Investors Foundation, The Karma Foundation, Kessler Foundation, Mills + Schnoering Architects, and Bob and Mary Ellen Waggoner.
Founded in 1981, New Jersey Theatre Alliance is the first statewide organization for professional, not-for-profit theatre companies in the United States, and is a leader in developing model programs that unite, promote, and strengthen professional theatre in New Jersey. Funding for the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a not-for-profit organization, is provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations including the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Prudential Foundation, New Jersey Cultural Trust and Bank of America.