Writers Theatre of New Jersey’s 2018 Summer Youth Theatre Shows!

In partnership with the Madison Recreation Department, Writers Theatre of New Jersey runs two Summer Youth Theatre productions each year that are FREE to participate in and open to all Madison-area residents who wish to perform. The emphasis of the experience is on the creative process, collaboration, and professional craft. The participants are treated like professionals and are expected to treat the work and their responsibilities in it as such. The Junior Show features artists ages 8-13 and the Senior Show features artists ages 14 and up.
Learn more about our 2018 Summer Youth Theatre shows below!

 Our 2018 Senior Show was “Pippin!”

Our 2018 Madison Summer Youth Theatre Senior Show, “Pippin,” by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson, uses the premise of a mysterious performance troupe, led by a Leading Player, to tell the story of Pippin, a young prince on his search for meaning and significance. The production was in partnership with the Madison Recreation Department.

The protagonist Pippin and his father Charlemagne are characters derived from two real-life individuals of the early Middle Ages, though the plot is fictional and presents no historical accuracy regarding either.  Pippin premiered at the Imperial Theater on October 23, 1972, and ran for 1,944 performances before closing on June 12, 1977. In 2013, it won Tony, Drama League, and Drama Desk Awards for Best Revival of a Musical.

This was the Senior Show (ages 14-24) for the Summer Youth Theatre program. Pippin was directed by Danielle Constance with Brian Lang as Vocal Music Director and Karen Greenstein Romero as Conductor/Orchestra Director. Technical Direction by James Sullivan. Drew University student Hailey Benson was the wardrobe stylist.

Two of this year’s performers were guest artists and Madison residents who’d been a part of the program for eight years: Kacey Colligan played Fastrada and Brian Lang played Pippin. The other players included: Loren Grace Donnelly as the Leading Player, Nathan as Charles, Patrick Colligan as Lewis, Erin Colligan as Berthe, Sammie Resnick as Catherine, Nathan Boland as Theo, and Erin Quinn, Alexandria Holbrook, Cindy Jemas, Nicole Cannizzo, Camille Miller and Bill Wagstaff played multiple roles.  The supporting vocal band included Grace VanCleef, Liz Kent and Philipe Abiyuoness. Assistant stage managers were Sahiba Madan and Corey Ciancio. Carl Hausman, one of the 2018 winners of Harmonium Choral Society’s High School Composition Contest played cello in the orchestra. Other members of the production’s creative team were Alyssa Jemas, Jane Keitel, Matthew Stebbins, and Luke Stebbins.

Performances took place on August 9th, 10th, and 11th, at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts’ Directing Lab, at Drew University at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison, New Jersey.


Our 2018 Junior Show was “Popularity Lies!”

Professional actor, teaching artist, and musician, Jane Keitel, worked with children (ages 8-13) to devise their very own original musical! The students wrote the lyrics and music with Jane’s help and under her supervision. The new musical is entitled “Popularity Lies” and is directed and musically direction by Jane Keitel.

“Popularity Lies” told the story of twins Rosie and Ronnie as they navigate the social structure of their new town, Siphic City, where popularity is dependent on economic status. Their new classmates, including Laurie, Abigail, and Lynne are dealing with their own insecurities in the image-focused world they inhabit. The students soon sweep up Ronnie and Rosie in a scheme to avoid bullying from the popular kids, Mackenzie and Jason, and maybe even gain their friendship. Lying seems like the only way to be popular in a place where even the principal takes sides. Their plans soon unravel, however, when the truth comes out about Ronnie and Rosie’s lack of money.

Student artist and cast member of the senior show, Loren Donnelly, was an indispensable addition to the production as Assistant Director. Other members of the cast/creative team included Camryn Morales, Calvin Peterson, Devon Donnelly, Emma Cipriani, Nathan Beland, Cailyn Kouh, and Katie Varga.

Performances took place on August 3rd and 4th at the Dorothy Young Center for the Arts’ Directing Lab, at Drew University at 36 Madison Avenue in Madison, New Jersey.