Category Archives: Essex County


Middle school and high school students in search of their inner artist don’t have to look any further than NJPAC when their classes adjourn. Creative minds are at work to make 2016’s Summer Programs at NJPAC an unforgettable experience for young people involved in the performing arts.

Many of the country’s most recognized performers in their fields are back to lead these popular, immersive sessions in acting, dance, jazz, hip-hop, musical theater, dance and comedy. Seasoned pros of Chicago’s famed Second City will return to coach students in improv comedy, while building teamwork skills in the process. Jazz piano great Geri Allen will again head a faculty of ace musicians for the All-Female Jazz Residency, this year at Rutgers University in Newark in partnership with its Institute of Jazz Studies.

Participants often describe their experiences in terms of having fun, while receiving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study with the masters.

“While learning the ins and outs of their chosen pursuit, our teens use the arts to express their creativity and their most authentic voice,” says Alison Scott-Williams, Vice President of Arts Education at NJPAC. “Through this exploration, they make new friends, inspire others to share their art, and have a great time.”

Summer Programs at NJPAC includes:
All-Female Jazz Residency
July 10-16, 2016
In collaboration with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers-Newark, NJPAC’s All-Female Jazz Residency offers a weeklong, one-of-a-kind opportunity for young women, ages 14-25, to study jazz. This residential camp, with students coming from across the country, presents a unique blend of instruction and mentorship as students are taught improvisation, musicianship, jazz theory and more. Geri Allen, celebrated Grammy-nominated pianist, is the program’s artistic director and leads a stellar faculty including Ellen Rowe, piano and composition; Linda Oh, bass; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Bruce Williams and Tia Fuller, saxophones; Connaitre Miller, voice; Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums; and Stefon Harris, vibraphone. A final student showcase will take place along with field trips to jazz monuments and institutions. Auditions are not required.

Hip-Hop Intensive
June 27-July 8, 2016
Students ages 10-16 have the opportunity to study at NJPAC’s Hip Hop Intensive with recording artist and U.S. State Department Cultural Ambassador Sheikia Norris, aka “Purple Haze.” As Artistic Director, Norris will lead students in the art of hip hop, including MCing, DJing, graffiti, breakdancing, beat boxing, spoken word, and sound engineering. This hands on workshop will allow participants to come away with an understanding of how hip hop has become such a large force in modern American culture. A final showcase will take place at NJPAC.

The Young Artist Summer Intensive
June 27-July 29, 2016 (Advance Division)
July 11-August 5, 2016 (Apprentice Plus Division, Session One)
July 25-August 5, 2016 (Apprentice Plus Division, Session Two)
The Young Artist Summer Intensive (YASI) develops the student’s skills in acting, dance, musical theater and vocal performance in a professional setting. The program is taught by professional artists in two divisions. The Apprentice division is for beginning and intermediate students ages 10-16, and will provide students with a cross-genre, two-week overview of the performing arts. The Advance division, for students ages 12-18, is an immersive five-week performing arts workshop. Students are accepted by auditions, and are offered the opportunity to focus on a single discipline (acting, dance, vocal performance, musical theater, and enrichment classes) for the length of the program.  The final showcase takes place at NJPAC.
A completed registration is required to audition. The deadline to register is June 1.

The Second City at NJPAC
August 1-12, 2016: Teen Improv and Sketch Comedy Workshop
August 8-12, 2016: Adult Improv and Comedy Writing Immersion
August 8-12, 2016: From the Inside Out
NJPAC is excited to continue its collaboration with The Second City this summer to bring programs in improvisation and comedy to teens and adults alike. Teens will develop skills in creative thinking, self-confidence, team building, empathy and communication while adults can explore improvisation and writing.

From the Inside Out is a groundbreaking program for teens diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome  and/or autism. Teens, ages 14-18, will take class in improvisation that will explore relationships and social cues focusing on ensemble and team building. Taught by a team of teachers, all with special needs certification, the students will learn skills such as accessing emotions and storytelling in a safe and fun environment where they can explore and challenge themselves. The students are given the chance to break through barriers that block creativity and socialization.

The Second City is a world renowned comedy enterprise that has been based in Chicago since 1959. The Second City helped launch the careers of stars such as Tina Fey, Steve Carrell, Jimmy Fallon and Mike Myers.

NJPAC Arts Education programs are made possible by the generosity of: Merck Foundation, ADP, Women’s Association of NJPAC, McCarter Foundation, Inc., care of Margrit McCrane, The Victoria Foundation, PSEG Foundation, Wells Fargo, BD, United Airlines and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

For more information about Summer at NJPAC visit, email or call 973.353.7058.

NJPAC’s Arts Education offerings reach more than 75,000 students and families through live performances, in-school residency programs and arts training classes. These programs bring the joy of dance, music, theater, and poetry directly to the classroom. Through innovative residencies, Teaching Artists create stimulating performing arts experiences that engage students’ imaginations and build self-confidence through positive self-expression. Our residencies help students learn to work together and develop their creative independence.

In addition to NJPAC’s innovative In-School Programs, the Arts Center’s comprehensive Arts Education Department offers an Arts Training Program that helps students at every level learn the artistic and technical skills they need to study acting, dance, instrumental music, vocal music, and musical theater. NJPAC also presents ASchoolTime performance series, which introduces students and their families to a world of entertainment and culture. NJPAC’s Arts Education programs feature professional artists from a wide variety of traditions and performances of music, dance, storytelling, puppetry, and more. To learn more about
Arts Education at NJPAC, please visit

One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102 or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)

President Declares Disaster for the State of New Jersey

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of New Jersey to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by a severe winter storm and snowstorm during the period of January 22-24, 2016. Continue reading President Declares Disaster for the State of New Jersey

Disney Musicals in School “A Whole New World” for Newark Area Students

How do you get to NJPAC’s Prudential Hall stage?  Practice – for exactly 17 weeks.

That was the amount of time blocked out by nearly 250 students in five Greater Newark elementary schools to “graduate” from the Disney Musicals in Schoolsprogram.  A rare opportunity, which brought the youngsters on stage to perform before an audience in the New Jersey Performing Art Center’s main concert hall, was put into motion last year by a $100,000 grant awarded to the Arts Center by Disney Theatrical Group. Continue reading Disney Musicals in School “A Whole New World” for Newark Area Students

RIVERDANCE – 5 PERFORMANCES!! April 2016- Legacy of Irish Dancing- Audiences Love!

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents five stellar performances with the international Irish dance phenomenonRiverdance!

Riverdance captures the imagination of audiences across all ages with an innovative and exciting blend of dance, music and song. Performances begin Friday, April 22, 2016 8:00 PM, Saturday, April 23, 2:00 PM & 8:00 PM and Sunday, April 24, 2:00 PM & 7:00 PM at Prudential Hall. Get your tickets now at or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.5722)

During the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, Michael Flatley and Jean Butler danced a seven-minute Irish dance routine for the interval act, which was seen by 300 million viewers worldwide. The performance was so well-received that it was expanded into a full-length stage show, titled Riverdance.

Riverdance premiered in Dublin in February 1995, hitting the North American stage for the first time in 1996 at Radio City Music Hall. Since then, it won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Recording and played on Broadway from 2000-2001. The show toured 46 countries across six continents and will return to NJPAC with a 20th anniversary tour for five performances, from April 22-24.

During Riverdance’s last engagement at the Arts Center, in April 2008, it set a box office record in sales for a multi-performance residency at NJPAC.

Riverdance combines world-class dance with the theatricality of 21st century lighting, set design and special effects to create a mesmerizing performance that’s great for families,” says NJPAC Executive Vice President and Executive Producer David Rodriguez. “So given its anniversary, and the interest in Irish dance that has permeated our mainstream culture, it was appropriate to bring it back.”

Associate Director Padraic Moyles calls the 20th anniversary tour “the strongest show we’ve ever had.

“I think there’s an understood value to the brand that you know you’re always going to get the best and I think that’s why there’s still an audience there,” says Moyles, an 18-year-veteran of the show.

Riverdance features a series of songs and dance numbers that depict Irish legend while including other non-Irish dance forms, such as flamenco, tap and Russian dance. It is directed by John McColgan and composed by Bill Whelan. In addition, it contains set design by Robert Ballagh, costumes by Joan Bergin, lighting by John Comiskey and sound by Michael O’Gorman.

While changes include updated scenic design, costumes and a new dance sequence, Moyles says Whelan’s score remains untouched.

“What’s said so often about Riverdance is that it’s timeless,” he observes about the score. “The music in itself I think is phenomenal.”

Senior Executive Producer Julian Erskine says the anniversary tour is “brighter, fresher (and) newer than it was.” Included in this rejuvenation is a new number, “Anna Livia,” named for James Joyce’s personification of Dublin’s River Liffey in his novel Finnegans Wake. “Anna Livia” replaces “Oscail an Doras” (Open the Doors) and is an all-female, a cappella hard-shoe dance.

The first new number created for Riverdance in almost 14 years, “Anna Livia” features choreography by John Carey and rhythms and additional text by Whelan. Although the male dancers have an all-male hard-shoe number – “Thunderstorm” – before “Anna Livia,” the women did not have the same opportunity to let their hard-shoe skills shine.

The women frequently dance in ghillies, or soft shoes, a black leather shoe that resembles a ballet slipper. The hard shoe features a dense heel that makes an audible click by hitting the floor or another heel, enabling dancers to create loud, powerful rhythms with their feet. “You can close your eyes and still be entertained,” says Erskine of the rumble.

The number also features a newly designed wardrobe by Bergin, the Emmy Award-winning costumer for The Tudors.

Riverdance has updated its scenic design to keep pace with advances in technology. While Ballagh’s paintings have always been projected behind the dancers, animation will be incorporated as well.

Bergin has updated several other costumes in the show to give them a contemporary flair. Accommodations in fittings were also made for the more athletic, muscular bodies of the cast. Erskine attributes the changing physiques of the company members through the years to Riverdance’s role as the first Irish dance show, which produced professional Irish dancers. An ensemble of pros – not dancers who performed Irish dance in their spare time – meant the creative team not only had to take another look at costuming, but emphasize proper nutrition and health awareness.

“Before Riverdance, there was no such thing as an ‘Irish dancer,'” Moyles says. “You couldn’t make a living out of it. It was a competitive, amateur hobby.”

Riverdance has brought the popularity of Irish dance to a worldwide audience. According to an article by Irish Central, Riverdance has been seen by over 25 million people in 465 venues around the globe. It has traveled 700,000 miles, required 15,000 hours of rehearsal on tour, and even stocked 14,000 dance shoes., a site where Irish dancers gain information about amateur competitions, counts eight dance schools in New Jersey alone. But the art form is not just popular with those who have ties to the Emerald Isle. Moyles says Riverdance’s story is relevant to any culture that connects with themes of oppression and leaving home for a new opportunity.

Riverdance precedes Celtic Woman’s Destiny Tour on June 30. Tickets for all events may be purchased at

SBA to Close Some Recovery Centers in New Jersey; Last Chance for One-On-One Assistance

The U. S. Small Business Administration announced today that due to a steady decrease of activity, the Recovery Centers located in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Union counties will cease operations on Feb.  11.  The Centers located in Atlantic, Monmouth and Ocean counties will remain open until further notice.  However, in observance of Presidents’ Day, the Centers located in Atlantic and Ocean counties will be closed on Friday, Feb. 12 and Monday, Feb. 15; the Monmouth County Center will be closed on Feb. 15 for the holiday.  Continue reading SBA to Close Some Recovery Centers in New Jersey; Last Chance for One-On-One Assistance

Attention Filmmakers: Entries Sought for Newark Black Film Festival’s 2016 Paul Robeson Awards

Filmmakers are invited to submit entries for the Newark Black Film Festival’s Paul Robeson Awards. The biennial competition, administered by the Newark Museum, recognizes aspiring filmmakers and honors the spirit of Paul Robeson, who was an activist, performer and athlete. The deadline is February 26, 2016.

Winners will receive special recognition at an award ceremony, a film screening. plaque and a cash award. The award winners will be screened on August 3, 2016.

“The high caliber of films submitted to the Newark Black Film Festival Paul Robeson Awards is astounding,” said NBFF Chair and Charter Member Gloria Hopkins Buck. “The judges for the Robeson Awards are dedicated in choosing films that represent the festival’s mission, while engaging our audience with inspiring and intriguing films. It is an awesome responsibility to select films that represent the African-American and African Diaspora experience.” Continue reading Attention Filmmakers: Entries Sought for Newark Black Film Festival’s 2016 Paul Robeson Awards

5 Newark Schools Benefit from NJPAC’s Disney In Schools Program-Producing Their Own Disney Productions

On February 8, more than 170 elementary students from Greater Newark will have the extraordinary opportunity to sing and dance on NJPAC’s world-class Prudential Hall stage as the result of a $100,000 grant awarded to the Arts Center last year by Disney.

The grant from Disney enables the Arts Center to offer the Disney Musicals in Schools program to five schools in Greater Newark. Through the program, participating schools produce a Disney KIDS musical in their school community and join in a culminating performance at NJPAC. The participating schools are Branch Brook School, Luis Muñoz Marin School and Mount Vernon School, all in Newark; Rosa Parks Community School in Orange, and John Marshall School No. 20 in Elizabeth.   Continue reading 5 Newark Schools Benefit from NJPAC’s Disney In Schools Program-Producing Their Own Disney Productions