"American Spring" Celebrates American Arts on April 2 and 3

Works by American performance icons including Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, and Martha Graham to be presented

From "Fancy Free," courtesy of the Jerome Robbins Foundation

American Spring, a celebration of the best of home-grown, modernist American performing arts comes to the Montclair State University campus and to the surrounding community as part of the University’s year-long Centennial celebration. Listen to the podcast preview here.

Part One: American Spring on Campus, April 2, in Montclair State's Kasser Theater from 2 -5 p.m. with excerpts from:
Elmer Gantry, the brand-new opera honoring an American literary classic steeped in the ever-more timely furor of evangelicalism;
Machinal, the 1920's noir drama confronting hot-button issues of feminism, the woman's sphere, murder and capital punishment;
•"Steps in the Street," the authorized restaging of a stark, modern dance classic that emerged out of the tumult of the Spanish Civil War; and
Fancy Free, a raucous celebration of the 90th birthday of Leonard Bernstein and his trend-setting collaboration with Jerome Robbins.

A panel of experts will discuss these works and their context with audience members. Joining in the discussion are:

Neil Baldwin, Montclair State Distinguished Visiting Professor and project director for "American Spring;"
• Robert Aldridge, Elmer Gantry composer, and director of the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University;
• Herschel Garfein, Elmer Gantry librettist;
• Jennifer Rivera, who performs the role of Sister Sharon Falconer;
• Matthew Avery Sutton, scholar and author of Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America;
• Rosemary Andress, director of Machinal;
• Liz Coen, dramaturg;
• Jerry Dickey, scholar and author of Sophie Treadwell: A Research and Production Source Book;
• Denise Vale, senior artistic associate director of the Martha Graham Dance Company, who starred in "Steps in the Street," and
• Amanda Vaill, best-selling author of Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins.

Part Two: American Spring in the Community
on April 3. The show goes on the road to various Montclair community locations including the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair High School, the Montclair Public Library, Claridge House, and Watchung Booksellers. At each location, the excerpts performed will be followed by discussion.

Admission to American Spring is free. For further information and to make a reservation, please visit the Office of Education and Community Outreach American Spring Web page.

American Spring is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Generous support for American Spring is also provided by the Theodore H. Barth Foundation; the Albert Grokoest Fund for Nature's Cure; John T. Riordan; Kathryn Kent and Rob Patton.

Read The Star-Ledger article on American Spring here.