Last year, when STAGEfest unveiled its unique assortment of talented performances, the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre drew more than 600 people to six different performance spaces and more than 25 hours of performance over three days.
The second annual STAGEFest 2014 will feature more than 20 companies over the course of three days of theatre, music, and dance performances, on various stages located throughout the historic theater.
Like last year, the event sponsor, Leading Lady Costumes, will present a rare exhibit of historic costumes from stage and screen, throughout the building. Light food and drink will be available from Gia Gelato in the main lobby throughout the weekend.
“This is our second year,” said Christine Goodman, who is a member of the STAGEfest Committee. “This year we have more performances, 22 productions over three days.”
Some of these will be performed on the main stage, but many will take advantage of the many large spaces that the historic theater provides.
“We are trying to bring the arts community to together.” – Christine Goodman
The performers are from all over the region, bringing their talents to Jersey City as a showcase.
“This is about connectivity,” Goodman said. “We are trying to bring the arts community to together. This is also a celebration of the performing arts.”
The first STAGEfest came out of a desire to bring performance to people in Jersey City.
“The Friends of Loews were passionate about having a theater festival,” Goodman said. “They wanted to open their doors to an event like this. It is an opportunity to allow many to come together in the uniqueness and beauty of the space.”
The performers get to play in many of the elegant nooks and crannies that make up the remarkable theater’s interior, spaces that are large enough in their own right to serve as mini-stages.
“It’s very unique,” she said. “There are performances on the stage, but the lobby has a lot of character, and there are music performances in the salon.”
STAGEfest covers the full range of performance art from modern dance to plays, but for Goodman, the location makes it “an immersive experience.”
“This is a great way to see the theater and experience performance art,” she said.
Tickets are available per day or for the entire weekend. There is a special for Saturday night, and teenagers may enter free on Sunday.
Online pricing is discounted for advance sale. Prices are higher at the door. You can buy all-stage passes for each day, or a pass for access to the entire festival.
The event will also feature the culinary talents of Honey Bakery in the festival's cafe in the Grand Lobby.
Some of the highlights include Erin Parsch’s "Shapes on Location," which premiered at the Gershwin Hotel in New York last year. It uses a series of dances and performance artworks to abstractly explore concepts and rituals of birth and rebirth in a show involving masks and paint-smeared dancers. The piece kicks off the festival Friday at 6:45 p.m. following a 6 p.m. reception, with a second performance Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
"As It Is Written" by Megan Woods, which played the Your Move Dance Festival in Jersey City last year, gets a reprise in two prime time slots: Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m. The work explores grief, hope and resolve as they relate to loss.
Summer Dawn Hortillosa’s "Before, After and Always" is a one-act romantic comedy in three parts, each exploring a critical moment in a relationship. Hortillosa, whose work has appeared at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival and the So Low Theater Festival, is also a songwriter and journalist. Show times are Saturday at 3 and 7:45 p.m. and Sunday at 2:45 p.m.
"The Wall," by Lisa Gabby Creery, is an excerpt from "Fore/Closure," a one-woman show based on the author’s Jersey City Independent blog that traces the effects of unemployment on family and community life. Show times are Friday at 9:30 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 2:15 p.m.
"Penny the Proletariat" by Kyle Marsall uses Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s "The Threepenny Opera" as inspiration for a new dance work. Show times are Friday at 9:30 p.m. and Saturday at 2:30 and 4:15 p.m.
"National Scandal" showcases performers from the People’s Improv Theater in New York. Friday at 10 p.m., they have a "best-of" show and Saturday at 3:45 p.m., they will try out new experimental material.
Little y Theatre Company, an Australia-based group that performs Generation Y-aimed works, offers "The Office of Dead Letters," which involves clown-like creatures who bring back letters that have gone unsent, been burned or otherwise gotten lost or destroyed. The performance includes surreal physical theater and dance. Show times are Saturday at 6:30 and 10 p.m. and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased on line at http://loewsstagefest.brownpapertickets.com/. Prices for tickets and all-day passes range from $8 to $25 depending on time of performance, age of audience member, and various discounts.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.