Arts & Entertainment

Go Back in Time with Liberty Live’s Interactive Production Talking to Westfield Nov. 1-4

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Actors Sam Kitchin and Nick Piacente Credits: Ben Gancsos
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A Westfield dollhouse on display. Credits: Ben Gancsos
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WESTFIELD, NJ—In Talking to Westfield, a new family-friendly play by award-winning New Jersey playwright EM Lewis, a Westfield High School student finds himself thrust into the past, where he meets famous Westfield citizens who helped shape the future of New Jersey and the world.

The production—the first in a series—is part of a brand new initiative between Premiere Stages and the Liberty Hall Museum, located on the campus of Kean University, called Liberty Live. In addition to the family-friendly play, each Liberty Live event features a tour of the museum grounds and interactive programing and displays.

 “I’m excited about it because it’s not your typical theater event. It’s interactive,” said John Wooten, producing artistic director of Premiere Stages. “I think that people are going to have a really good time and learn something along the way.”

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Participatory post-show programs in partnership with Liberty Hall Museum, the Westfield Historical Society and accomplished teaching artists, will vary with each performance.

For the November 1 and 2 performances, Premiere Stages will partner with Westfield’s Miller-Cory House to offer a Native American medicine pouches workshop.

For the November 3 and 4 3:00 p.m. performances, Premiere Stages will partner with Westfield’s Miller-Cory House to offer an 18th century toys and games workshop. Through a donation from Westfield’s Cold Stone Creamery, children will have the opportunity to sample black cows–an old-fashioned treat that might have been served in a Westfield soda fountain shop at the turn of last century.

Displays in the Carriage House will include “Memories of Westfield,” and residents of Westfield are encouraged to send their written memories and items from an event that happened in Westfield to Clare Drobot, Premiere Stages at Kean University, 1000 Morris Ave, Union, NJ, 07083 for inclusion. There will also be workshops exploring history through ensemble storytelling and improvisation.

Liberty Live’s Talking to Westfield is recommended for children ages nine and older. Performances will run Thursday, November 1 at 10:00 a.m.; Friday, November 2 at 4:00 p.m.; and Saturday, November 3 and Sunday, November 4 at 3:00 p.m. Admission for all tickets is $15. Groups of 10 or more can get discounted $10 tickets. For reservations call Kean Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit www.kean.edu/premierestages. All performances will take place in the Carriage House at the Liberty Hall Museum.

Premiere Stages will also hold a special VIP Celebration of Liberty Live on Saturday, November 3. All tickets are $100 and proceeds from the event will support Premiere Stages artistic and educational endeavors, with a special focus on school residency programs for students living in underserved districts.

The evening includes admission to the pre-show party at 5:30 p.m. at the Liberty Hall Wagon Shed featuring music, wine and carefully selected hors d’ oeuvres  representing the evolving cuisine of New Jersey; a ticket to the performance of Talking to Westfield at 7 p.m. in the Liberty Hall Carriage House; a candlelight tour of the Museum grounds at 7:45 p.m.; and a champagne toast, dessert and music at 8:15 p.m. in the Liberty Hall Wagon Shed. For more information and to reserve tickets, call 908-737-4092.

The 2012 pilot program of Liberty Live is made possible through funding from The Westfield Foundation and The New Jersey Historical Commission. Premiere Stages is also made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The National Science Foundation and through the generous support of individual patrons. 

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities, free parking and discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. 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.

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