Arts & Entertainment

Press Releases

World Premiere of Beyond the Oak Trees Celebrates Harriet Tubman At Crossroads Theatre Company, Feb. 16-26


Past and present, history and a touch of fantasy converge on stage in the world premiere of Beyond the Oak Trees, by Kisha Bundridge, at Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, Feb. 16-26. The play offers a dramatic retelling of the daring story of  Harriet Tubman, former slave and fabled abolitionist who led hundreds of slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Set in the present at the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged in Auburn, N.Y., (designated a National Historical Park on Jan. 10, 2017), and in the past on the treacherous route to freedom. Beyond the Oak Trees brings audiences into the heart and mind of Tubman.

Two college students, Joseph and Hodari, visit the home for a history project and discover their own history embedded within its walls, inhabited by an ethereal woman named Jessica who seems to know more than the average guide. The history they are studying comes to life as Tubman leads a group of vulnerable, frightened slaves north from Maryland on her last journey as “the Moses of her people.”

Sign Up for E-News

The play continues Crossroads’ “celebration of a woman’s gift,” the season’s theme honoring the power, glory and struggles of women in its mainstage productions. 

“This play gives a very intimate account of the humanity and burdens that Ms. Tubman carried,” said director Marshall Jones III, who also is the theater’s producing artistic director. “It also offers a unique glimpse of history from a modern perspective. Kisha has created an exciting tableau that portrays the complex nuances of cultural identity against the backdrop of American history. A must see!”

Beyond the Oak Trees features Ademide Akintilo as Hodari and Sampson, Elijah J. Coleman as Joseph and Jasper and Abigail A. Ramsay as Jessica and Harriet Tubman. Sampson and Jasper are two of Tubman’s “passengers” who rely on her for guidance and strength.

Akintilo holds a BFA and Coleman an MFA degree from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Coleman also holds two BFA degrees from Buffalo University in acting and dance.

A duel U.S. and Nigerian citizen, Akintilo also trained at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Interlochen Arts Academy. Coleman has performed with the Buffalo City Ballet, Broadway Dance Center and Zodiaque Dance Company in addition to acting.

Ramsay holds a BA from Brown University and trained in theater at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. A versatile actor, she has performed at the Public Theater and many other venues in New York as well as regionally and internationally on stage, film and on BBC Radio.

Performances are Feb. 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m.; Feb. 19, 25 and 26 at 3 p.m.; and Feb. 22 at 10 a.m. Ticket prices range from $25 for the 10 a.m. matinee to $55 for opening night on Feb. 18.

For tickets, go online to or call (732) 545-8100. Crossroads is located at 7 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick.

Founded in 1978 by Ricardo Khan and L. Kenneth Richardson, Crossroads Theatre Company embraces the vision that African-American theater is intended for a broad-based, diverse audience.  As a major force in the development of new ideas and the introduction of formerly marginalized writers, Crossroads produces works that enrich and diversify the representation of African American culture on the American stage. Crossroads was the winner of the 1999 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater in the United States.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

New Brunswick

The Jaffe Briefing - March 23, 2018


TRENTON - It's good to live in a state where the NRA is about as reviled as the act of putting peanut butter on a bagel. That's why we aren't worried about a NRA "alert" to members, urging them to contact Assembly members to vote "No" on a host of bills up Monday in Trenton. That includes sensible legislation that ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 22, 2018


STATEWIDE - It's been excruciating to write about snow; there's only so much you can blindly repeat without sounding like a 24-hour news channel. The final totals: 14 inches in the central and southern part of the state, and at least 5 inches in all northern counties. Yippee.  As of 6 a.m. this morning, the utility companies were ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 21, 2018


STATEWIDE - Utility companies are dragging themselves back into the war room this morning, preparing for another day of downed wires, public scorn and mounting pressure from the governor's office to magically keep all the lights on. One would assume the utilities are still trying to patch up fragile networks from the back-to-back nor'easters that ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 20, 2018


NEW BRUNSWICK - The governor has targeted The Hub City as the new hub for innovation and technology. Gov. Phil Murphy was in town yesterday to meet with city, business and Rutgers officials to chat about how all the ongoing downtown investment will be a magnet for scientific and technological innovation, TAPInto New Brunswick reports. The ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 19, 2018


TRENTON - New Jersey, one of the only employers who pays its workers for unused sick time, and then appears mystified when it struggles to balance its budget, may finally be capping sick-leave payouts.  The proposal, obviously unpopular with labor unions, has been discussed before, but not with traction. It is back in the mix again, to cap payouts ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 16, 2018


ON THE RAILS - Another commuting mess this morning, as the antiquated Portal Bridge got stuck in the "up" position at 4:22 a.m.  That caused a bunch of rush hour trains to be cancelled between Newark and Manhattan for four hours or so.  Both NJTransit and Amtrak riders were completely screwed. You may recall the proposed Gateway ...

Rutgers to close for Wednesday storm

March 20, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - With the likelihood of more than a foot of snow set to dump on New Jersey, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi has declared a weather emergency closure for all three campuses: New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden.

School will be closed for students and all non-essential employees from 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 21 to 5 a.m. Thursday, March 22.

Rutgers Student on Front Lines of Orangutan Conservation, Research

NEW BRUNSWICK - Deep in a tropical forest in Borneo 15 years ago, Rutgers student Didik Prasetyo first encountered a young male orangutan that he named “Jerry.”

The great ape was one of several orangutans that Prasetyo and other researchers followed at the Tuanan Orangutan Research Station in the Mawas Conservation Area in Indonesia. Prasetyo was skeptical when colleagues said ...

RU police investigate assault on Douglass campus

NEW BRUNSWICK - Rutgers University police are investigating an aggravated assault and attempted sexual assault  reported to March 14 at 3:55 a.m. in front of Hickman Hall on the Douglass campus.


The victim, not affiliated with Rutgers University, reported that she was walking with a male whom she did not know in the area of Commercial Avenue and George ...

City opens 6th ‘supportive’ housing complex, 12 units provide aid people who lost homes

March 22, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK – In a continuing effort to eliminate homelessness, city and county officials this month opened 12 units of low-cost and subsidized housing in a complex designed to provide counseling and support services for its residents.

Zebra Way, named for the street on which it is located off Van Dyke Avenue, is expected to have residents move in next month.

Tenants, including ...


DEP Control Ensures Protection for New Jersey's Vulnerable Birds

March 23, 2018

Dear Editor: In January, the Department of Environmental Protection regained control of the state-owned North Brigantine Natural Area when a long-term management agreement with the city of Brigantine expired. DEP introduced new permitting guidelines which will greatly reduce human disturbance and increase protections for shore birds. NJ Audubon applauds the DEP for its efforts to better ...

Congress Passes $5 Million for Delaware River Basin Restoration Program

March 23, 2018

TRENTON – The Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) has received $5 million in funding as part of the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus spending bill approved by Congress. The bill will now go to the President’s desk for his signature.

The Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed worked with Congress on the authorization of the Delaware River Basin ...