Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 21, 2016

First Annual Drama Festival Offers Union County High School Students Unique Opportunity to Learn From Broadway Theatre Professionals

Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the first annual Drama Festival presented at UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage on April 29 offers Union County high school students the unique opportunity to learn from Broadway theatre professions including Tony Award winning actress Michele Pawk, preeminent Broadway Fight Choreographer Rick Sordelet, as well as playwright and composer Joe Slabe.

Sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the first annual Drama Festival presented at UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage on April 28 offers Union County high school students the unique opportunity to learn from Broadway theatre professionals including Tony Award winning actress Michele Pawk, preeminent Broadway Fight Choreographer Rick Sordelet, as well as playwright and composer Joe Slabe.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders sponsors students from Union County high schools to participate in the first annual Drama Festival next week in Rahway.

High school students from Rahway High School, Union County Academy for the Performing Arts, and Abraham Clark High School, as well as students from Montclair and Bound Brook, are registered to participate in the day-long Drama Festival.  Produced by American Theater Group, a nonprofit professional theatre company, the event is scheduled to be held at UCPAC’s Hamilton Stage in Rahway on Thursday, April 28.

“The new Drama Festival will provide a unique opportunity for students to develop their craft, learn from trained theatre professionals and educators, and perform on a professional stage,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “The entire experience is a great opportunity to enhance student learning and creative thinking, explore imagination, and promote teamwork and collaboration.”

Each school participating in the Drama Festival will have the opportunity to present a scene from a play or musical to a panel of working members of the Broadway theatre industry who will offer in-depth critiques of the student presentations.

Students will also have an opportunity to participate in a workshop with Tony-Award winning actress Michele Pawk and preeminent Broadway Fight Choreographer Rick Sordelet.

In addition, after the day’s events, students will attend a performance of ATG’s production of Crossing Swords.  This world premiere musical is about a group of high school students who attempt to put on a play, and end up seeing life imitate art as passions ignite and jealousies fly.  The day’s events culminate with a post-performance Q&A with the cast and creative team of Crossing Swords, including writer and composer Joe Slabe.

American Theater Group (ATG) is one of New Jersey’s newest nonprofit professional theatre companies.  Founded by New Jersey natives Jim Vagias, Joe Mancuso and Rick Sordelet, and under the Board leadership of Tony-Award winning actress Michele Pawk, ATG’s mission is to produce works by American Playwrights, with an emphasis on the development of new works and undeservedly neglected classics, and to nurture the audiences and artists of tomorrow by strong arts-in-education programming.  Now in its fourth season, ATG produces in the new state-of-the-art facility, Hamilton Stage, an intimate 199 seat theater that is operated by the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway.

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