Premiere Stages at Kean University will hold its 9th Annual Spring Readings Series Thursday, March 14 through Saturday, March 16 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 17th at 3:00 pm in the University Center Little Theatre, located on Kean’s Central Campus, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J. This year’s readings will feature the 2013 Premiere Stages Play Festival finalists Brownsville Song by Kimber Lee (Lark Playwrights’ Workshop, Ma-Yi Writers Lab), Soldier’s Heart by Tammy Ryan (Primus Prize Winner for Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods), Ontario Was Here by Darren Canady (Jeff Award-nominated Brothers of the Dust), and The Beautiful Dark by Erik Gernand (New Works Project Winner at T. Schreiber Studio). One new play will be read by professional actors each evening, and the public is encouraged to actively participate in the new play development process through post-reading dialogues with the writers. Patrons are also afforded the opportunity to provide written evaluations.

The Premiere Stages Play Festival is an annual competition for unproduced scripts that offers developmental opportunities to playwrights born or currently residing in the greater metropolitan area (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut). Four finalist plays are selected from more than 400 submissions, given professional readings and considered for expanded development as part of the Premiere Stages 2013 summer season. One of the four plays will be selected for an Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) staged reading in June, and the most promising play will be awarded a fully produced AEA production in July.

All of the finalists also receive cash awards ranging from $500 to $2000. The schedule for the March events is as follows:

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Brownsville Song by Kimber Lee, March 14 at 7:30 pm

In the aftermath of a shooting, a Brooklyn family struggles to find peace.  Time moves in scattered rhythms, pivoting unpredictably between before and after, as they each stumble through grief, find each other, and fight their way toward hope.

Soldier’s Heart by Tammy Ryan, March 15 at 7:30 pm

An American soldier 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.

Ontario Was Here by Darren Canady, March 16 at 7:30 pm

Nathan and Penni are two bright Kansas City social workers who give their all for the children they serve, determined to make a difference. When a case blurs the lines between romance, work, and friendship, their dreams of changing the world are put to the test.

The Beautiful Dark by Erik Gernand, March 17 at 3:00 pm

A woman's life is turned upside down when she suspects that her teenage son may be planning an attack on a school. Is her son capable of the unthinkable? And can she stop him before it’s too late? The Beautiful Dark provides a moving and thought-provoking approach to a subject that haunts the American psyche.

The heart of Premiere Stages’ mission, the Play Festival has quickly become known for being a launch pad for regional dramatists. Numerous plays developed through the Festival have been published, subsequently produced in New York and regionally, and honored by the American Theatre Critics Association and the National New Play Network.

“At Premiere we are committed to fast-tracking plays from a sit-down reading to a fully staged production within a few short months, allowing topical and socially conscious plays to remain relevant,” stated John Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “We also afford playwrights the benefit of retaining the world premiere rights to their scripts. Second productions of new plays are extremely rare, and we are committed to building and extending partnerships that will reverse that trend.”  

Admission and parking for the Premiere Spring Readings is free. Please call 908-737-4092 for more information or visit Reservations are recommended. Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces. Please call for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times. Publications are available with advanced notice in alternate formats.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The New Jersey Historical Commission, The Provident Bank Foundation, Hudson City Savings Bank Foundation, The Robert  Rauschenberg Foundation, and through the generous support of individual patrons.

Premiere’s 9th Annual Spring Readings Series is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival, an annual statewide event that provides discounted and free theatre performances, workshops and events for families throughout the month of March. The Stages Festival is a co-sponsored project of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.  Additional program sponsors are Bank of America and The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Events in Burlington and Ocean County are made possible by the generous support of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. Additional program support has been provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Hidden Ponds Foundation, The HMS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, The F. M. Kirby Foundation, Prudential Foundation and Springpoint Senior Living Foundation and The Victoria Foundation. For more information on the Stages Festival, please visit or

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