(Not) Just for LAFS

LONG BRANCH, NJ — For more than ten years, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in partnership with Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, has helped bring the work of the Garden State’s most exciting creators of poetry and prose from the page to the stage — through the Literary Artist Fellowship Showcases (LAFS) program; a series of live reading events that have connected homegrown writers with new and appreciative audiences.

On two consecutive Sundays in April and May, New Jersey Repertory Company will play host to the latest in a series of free Showcase events — the first devoted to prose authors, and the second to poets — at the Long Branch playhouse of the professional, non-profit stage company. Presented by NJ Rep and the Long Branch Arts Council, the 7:00 p.m. readings are produced in collaboration with Madison, NJ-based PTNJ, with the support of the NJ State Council on the Arts.

On Sunday, April 27, NJ Rep’s Lumia Theater (179 Broadway at Liberty Street in downtown Long Branch) welcomes a trio of central New Jersey’s leading creators of prose fiction, in a rare in-person appearance. The evening is highlighted by a reading of short pieces by Curt Leviant, the Edison-based writer who’s been hailed as “one of the greatest novelists you’ve never heard of.” The author of “Diary of an Adulterous Woman” and seven other critically acclaimed novels and short story collections, Leviant has been the recipient of an O. Henry Award, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and praise from Nobel laureates Saul Bellow and Elie Wiesel.  

Leviant will be joined on April 27 by a fellow NEA grant recipient — Aberdeen resident Norman Lock, whose work as a playwright (the internationally produced “House of Corrections”), short story writer (the recent “Boy in His Winter”) novelist (the forthcoming “American Meteor”) and video artist have won him acclaim from The Paris Review and others. Completing the program is an award winning creator of fiction for young readers (“Under the Banyan Tree”) and young adults (“The Devil’s Triangle”), Toni De Palma of Toms River.


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On Sunday, May 4, the Literary Artist series spotlights a pair of award winning published poets with faculty affiliations at nearby MonmouthUniversity, in addition to the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. The author of the collections “Father Dirt” and the forthcoming “Immigrant Model,” Romanian-born Mihaela Moscaliuc has also gained acclaim as a translator (of fellow Romanian poet Carmelia Leonte), and serves as editor for a forthcoming volume of essays on Gerald Stern.

The author of ten solo collections of poetry (including the LA Times Book Prize finalist “Darling Vulgarity”) — and a frequent contributor to journals and periodicals that have ranged from The Paris Review to Rolling Stone — Michael Waters is the recipient of a fellowship from the NEA, and the editor of anthologies that include “Contemporary American Poetry” and a unique volume of “Poems On Boxing from Homer to Ali.” He joins his wife Mihaela Moscaliuc, both residents of OceanTownship, on the May 4 program.

Admission to the 7:00 p.m. events in the Literary Artist Fellowship Showcase series is free, with a suggested donation of $10 welcomed. For additional information on the Fellowships program, visit www.ptnj.org/pages/literary-artist-fellowship. For more on the April 27 and May 4 showcases, contact LBAC president Gabor Barabas at the email address above.

The Long Branch Arts Council is a partnership dedicated to working with the city government, civic and business organizations and the arts community to re-establish the City of Long Branch as a thriving regional center for the arts. Our aim is to accomplish this goal by attracting artists and arts organizations, by coordinating fundraising and development efforts, by establishing arts education programs, and by presenting arts-oriented events that draw upon the natural resources, accessibility, historic assets and “people power” that are unique to our beloved city.

New Jersey Repertory Company is a professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 by SuzAnne Barabas (Artistic Director) and Gabor Barabas (Executive Producer). Located in Long Branch, New Jersey, the theater’s primary mission is to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage. In keeping with its mission New Jersey Rep has produced nearly 100 plays in seventeen seasons, including more than 60 world premieres and “rolling world premieres” as a member of the National New Play Network (NNPN). The theater is committed to nurturing the work of not only established writers but new and unknown playwrights, and through its Developmental Reading Series, NJ Rep has presented over 300 script- in-hand readings of new works.

Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution, founded in 1986 and dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2013, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only four other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Funding for our activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Dramatist Guild Fund, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, The Shubert Foundation, Travelers, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.

Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts is a division of the New Jersey Department of State. It receives funding through direct appropriations from the State of New Jersey and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Since 1966, its volunteer members and professional staff have worked to improve the quality of life in New Jersey by helping the arts to flourish. For more information about the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, please visit www.artscouncil.nj.gov. Further information regarding the arts is found on an interactive web site (http://www.jerseyarts.com) and available on a toll-free hotline (1-800-THE-ARTS).

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...