Premiere Stages Presents 2016 Play Festival Winner Las Cruces

09.06.16

Premiere Stages will present Las Cruces by Vincent Delaney, the winner of the 2016 Premiere Stages Play Festival, September 1 – 18 in Kean University’s Zella Fry Theatre.

Set in the New Mexico desert, not far from the casinos and the spaceport, Mr. Delaney’s enigmatic story of buried secrets, improbable friendship, and unexpected redemption follows Sheridan, a Connecticut man who has fled his life on the East Coast under mysterious circumstances, and Soledad, the wisecracking, teenage card player he befriends. Selected from over 400 submissions as the winner of this year’s Play Festival, an annual competition for unproduced scripts by area playwrights, Las Cruces will be directed by Premiere’s founding producing director John J. Wooten, and feature actors Brian Sutherland, Charlotte Cohn and Diomargy Nuñez.

Playwright Vincent Delaney is a recipient of the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award, McKnight and Bush fellowships, a Jerome Commission, the Reva Shiner Comedy Award, Core Membership at the Playwrights Center, and a residency at Seattle Rep. His plays have been produced throughout the United States, and in the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and the Netherlands.  His work is published by Smith and Kraus, Samuel French, Heineman, Dramatics Magazine, Theatre Forum, and Playscripts.com. His most recent play, Fire Station 7, will have its world premiere in 2017 at Seattle Children’s Theatre.

Mr. Wooten is in his twelfth season as producing artistic director of Premiere Stages, where he has directed and produced numerous new plays including The Beautiful Dark, The Good Counselor, and Follow Me to Nellie’s, all of which were honored by the American Theatre Critics Association. New Jersey Premieres he has directed include Rabbit Hole, Snakebit and Boy Gets Girl. Mr. Wooten is also a frequent director for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and is the resident director for the Peter Ustinov Screenwriting Competition, a project of the International Emmy Awards.

“Las Cruces provides a moving and fascinating exploration of the power of friendship and humor in the face of unspeakable tragedy,” stated Mr. Wooten. “The secret behind Sheridan’s mysterious escape to the desert has shattered more than his spirit; it has exacerbated a growing debate that is quickly dividing America.”

The accomplished cast includes Broadway veterans Brian Sutherland and Charlotte Cohn, and newcomer Diomargy Nuñez. Ms. Cohn, previously seen on the Great White Way in Coram Boy, is an Ovation Award winner for Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed production of La Boheme, which originated at The Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles before transferring to Broadway. Mr. Sutherland’s numerous Broadway credits include The Sound of Music, 1776, Steel Pier, Victor/Victoria, A Change in the Heir, Dance a Little Closer, and Cats. Ms. Nuñez is perhaps best known for her work on the hit television series, “Law & Order: SVU”, and can also be seen in the feature film Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster, released earlier this year.

Audience members are invited to further engage with the issues raised by Mr. Delaney’s thought-provoking play through Premiere Stages’ 2016 Talk-Back Series, which offers free post-show discussions with community leaders and local experts after select matinee performances. Featured topics include New Play Development with Mr. Delaney (Saturday, September 3 following the 3:00 pm performance), and Grief and Bereavement with Dr. Norma Bowe, a professor in Kean University’s College of Education and co-founder of The Center for Grief Services (Sunday, September 11 following the 3:00 pm performance). Premiere will also offer a series of informal pre-show talks every Saturday evening 35 minutes prior to performance in the lobby of the theatre. Please call 908-737-4092 for information on additional talk-back speakers.

Las Cruces runs September 1-18 in the Zella Fry Theatre on the Kean University main campus in Union, NJ. Days/times: Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 3:00 pm.  Tickets are $30 standard, $20 for senior citizens and Kean alumni, and $15 for students and patrons with disabilities. Significant discounts for groups of 8 or more apply. To make reservations or to order a season brochure, please call the Kean Stage Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469) or visit Premiere Stages online at www.kean.edu/premierestages.

Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities, and free parking close to the theatre. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces, and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advanced notice. Please call 908-737-4092 for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at www.kean.edu/premierestages.

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 Northfield Bank Foundation, The Provident Bank Foundation, Union County HEART Grants, The Hyde and Watson Foundation, The Union Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival and through the generous support of individual patrons. Discover Jersey Arts is our marketing partner. Visit www.JerseyArts.com for more information about other arts programming happening around the Garden State.