After three decades as the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra announced a new name in 2013 to signal its evolving artistic mission and growing love of confetti. Having cultivated musical excellence in Westfield for so long, they turned their attention to bringing that culture to a statewide audience. Their concerts are a celebration of symphonic music both classical and contemporary, including world premieres from local composers, and operas-in-concert in collaboration with Opera at Florham.
Crossroads Theatre commits its company to producing literary work that examines the African-American experience and challenges a multicultural audience to a sense of communion. For its efforts, it won a Tony Award in 1999 for the Most Outstanding Regional Theatre.
Chanteuse and actress Miranda Cosgrove pied-pipers her adoring droves of devoted fans with her electrifying and family-friendly brand of pop. The breakout star of Nickelodeon's iCarly, Cosgrove has been a seasoned showbiz pro since before her baby teeth could crawl and has compiled a songbook featuring singles such as "Dancing Crazy" and the recently released "High Maintenance." For her July 23 concert, Cosgrove shares billspace with crooner, dancer, and Australian import Cody Simpson, as well as effervescent troubadour Greyson Chance, creating a youthful stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.
Winner of the JerseyArts.com 2009 People's Choice Award for favorite Professional Theater, Paper Mill Playhouse has been opening the curtain on top-quality musical theater and plays since its debut in 1938. The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a Tony Award-winning musical comedy, follows the travails of a group of young students participating in their countywide spell off. With hilarious tunes and frequent fourth wall demolition, the musical expertly tickles audience funny femurs while filling their ears with the harmonious euphony of the Tony-nominated score. Groupon buyers will leave the theater with a Paper Mill Playhouse cup (a $5 value), allowing patrons of the arts to signal their theater affiliation to rival gangs of symphony and museum cup holders.
One of the nation's most esteemed Shakespeare outfits, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey has brought the playwright's work to life for the past half-century. But the troupe takes its name more as an inspiration than a strict limit, also mounting productions of other classics by writers such as Thornton Wilder and Noël Coward. Once a summer, the company takes to the College of Saint Elizabeth's outdoor amphitheater—modeled after Athens' Theater of Dionysius, a favorite venue for Shakespeare performances in Greece—to present the bard's work in the way he intended: alive under the open sky.
Playwrights Theatre stages productions of up-and-coming plays each year through its New Play Development program. The 2010–2011 season keeps the theatre's long-standing commitment to fresh ars theatrica with three works: Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods by Tammy Ryan, MoM A Rock Concert Musical by Richard Caliban, and Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie by Julie Jensen. Your season subscription to Playwrights Theatre entitles you to view all three performances, receive a 50% discount on two tickets for family or friends, gain admittance to opening-night parties, and attend post-show talkbacks about new-play development and the inside story on plays. You'll also receive a pass to the FORUM staged reading series, enough to attend a reading of each of the series' 13 new plays and discuss the material with artists in an intimate setting.