MONTCLAIR, NJ - On Nov. 1, Montclair State University will commemorate a decade of performances at the Alexander Kasser Theater. The 500-seat artistic performance incubator has reaped international acclaim for developing talented performing artists and will showcase artistic talent during a gala affair featuring world renowned artists and musical talent.

The evening festivities will begin with cocktails followed by perfomances and dinner.  

“The 10th anniversary celebration will help us to ensure a vibrant future for the Alexander Kasser Theater,” said University President Susan A. Cole. “It is a jewel of a theater and a state-of-the-art home for dynamic, breathtaking and thought-provoking performing arts.” 

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Richard Alston, dubbed by The Times of London “our most musical choreographer,” makes a triumphant return to Peak Performances after the enormous success of his last visit, when The New York Times named Richard Alston Dance Company’s Unfinished Business as the year’s best dance performance. Live music from rising star tenor Nicholas Phan will also be the highlight. Guests will also hear from celebrated pianist Jason Ridgway, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble and Montclair State University’s own 24-voice choir, Vocal Accord.

Mary Kasser Mochary and Rose Cali are co-chairs of the gala event committee. Mochary, along with her brother, I. Michael Kasser, and her two children, Alexandra Bergstein and Matthew Mochary, made a joint gift of $4 million in 2002 to name the Alexander Kasser Theater after her late father, an international philanthropist, art lover and one-time Montclair resident. A member of the board of directors of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, she served as mayor of Montclair from 1980 to 1984. 

The Kasser family was presented with a proclamation from the Township of Montclair during Tuesday’s Township Council meeting.

Mrs. Cali, founder of the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center at Montclair State and the current co-chair of the Montclair Art Museum’s Board of Trustees, is a longtime member of the University’s Board of Trustees and chairs the John J. Cali School of Music Advisory Board. Mrs. Cali’s late husband is John J. Cali, for whom the School of Music is named. In 2008, the Cali family made a $5 million gift to name the school. 

Since opening in 2004, the theater has had celebrated performers, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, who became the first artist to grace its stage.  Other artists include Tony-award winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, MacArthur Fellow and Bessie Award-winner Susan Marshall. Other notable performances that crossed the Kasser Theater stage include Laurie Anderson and San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet.

For ticket or sponsorship opportunities: 

Gala Cocktails and Performance Ticket - 
Pre-performance cocktail party and one ticket to the performance

Cocktails, Performance and Dinner - 
Pre-performance cocktail party, one ticket to the performance and post-performance dinner

Tables and sponsorships are also available.

Alexander Kasser Biography

A native of Budapest, Hungary, Alexander Kasser directed the Swedish Red Cross during World War II, working to save hundreds of Jews and political targets from persecution. Together with his wife, Elisabeth, he supported the rescue efforts of Raoul Wallenberg whose heroic actions helped save tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungry in 1944. 

A leading innovator in Europe’s paper industry, Kasser resumed this career after immigrating to the United States after the war. In 1969, the Kassers and their children, Mary and Alexander, created the Kasser Art Foundation, which is dedicated to supporting art and music around the world.

About the Arts

Montclair State University has supported a commitment to making live arts performances an integral part of the University experience and accessible to the public by ensuring that students can see every performance for free and attendees pay just $20 per ticket.

For more information about the gala, please visit