The National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Jennifer Fawcett’s award winning Apples in Winter opens this weekend at Centenary Stage Company. The limited performances run November 8 through November 18 in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Avenue Hackettstown, NJ. Directed by Mikaela Kafka, the production stars Colleen Smith Wallnau.
A finalist of Centenary Stage Company’s Women Playwrights Series (in which Kafka directed the staged reading) and winner of CSC’s 2017 Susan Glaspell award, Apples in Winter also received the prestigious National New Play Network Smith Prize of 2015-16. Apples in Winter is a moving play about the lifetime journey of a mother and son. Robert has asked his mother to make him an apple pie. It is the one thing which has bound them together since he was a young boy, with the apples gleaned from the well-loved tree in their own yard. As she begins to make the pie (which will happen onstage), she realizes it will be at last act of love to a man for whom love wasn’t enough. Parts of this play were written when Fawcett was a new mother to her own baby son. “I could feel that deep gut-level drive to do anything to protect this little human,” Fawcett says, “to give him the best life I could but what if… what if… What if he isn’t happy? What if the world isn’t kind to him, or easy, or gentle? What if?” Apples In Winter marks the 75th new play to be a part of the NNPN RWP program with other productions being presented at Riverside Theatre (Iowa City, IA) and Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN).
Jennifer Fawcett is a co-founder and Co-Artistic Director of Working Group Theatre (WGT). She was the NNPN Emerging-Playwright-In-Residence at Curious Theatre Company (Denver) and is the winner of the NNPN Smith Prize for Political Theatre and the Susan Glaspell Award for Apples in Winter, the NEFA National Theatre Award with WGT for Out of Bounds, the National Science Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center for Atlas of Mud and her play Birth Witches was nominated for the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award. A graduate of the University of Iowa MFA Playwrights Workshop, Jennifer’s plays have been produced at the Source Festival (Washington, DC), Uprising Theatre Company (Minneapolis), Tennessee Women’s Theatre Project (Nashville), The Drilling Company (New York), Riverside Theatre (Iowa City), Available Light Theatre (Columbus), Hancher Auditorium (Iowa City), the Adirondack Theatre Festival (Glens Falls, NY), Halcyon Theatre (Chicago), Theatre Masters (Aspen/West Palm Beach), the Hatchery Festival (Washington, DC), and developed at Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab, the Banff Playwrights Colony, the Lark Playwright’s Week, Cultural Conversations (Penn State), the Little Festival of the Unexpected (Portland Stage Company, ME), Central Square Theatre and M.I.T. (Cambridge, MA), Curious Theatre (Denver), Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Palm Beach Dramaworks (West Palm Beach, FL), and Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI). Prior to moving to the U.S., Jennifer worked in Toronto, Canada, where she toured with her company, Red Engine Productions, to festivals across the country.
Helming the production is director Mikaela Kafka. Kafka has been involved with The Women Playwrights Series for many years directing the readings of; Apples in Winter, Another Revolution, Shame, Text of Sex, The Bigsley Project, True Love, Dumporama, and Perils of Human Discourse. Other directing credits include; The Unexpected Guest and The Selfish Giant (Players Theatre, NYC), Women Rising: Stories of Hope, Unveiling Liberty, and History Alive! (Speranza Theatre Co.), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Circle Players), ENRON (Garage Theatre), Dragons Breath (Fringe NYC). She received the 2016 NJACT PERRY Award, “Outstanding Original Production of a New Musical” for Wendy’s Shadow by David Maglione. She also works with children having directed; Guys and Dolls, James and the Giant Peach, HONK! The Musical, Little Mermaid, Bye Bye Birdie to name a few. As an actress, she worked alongside her husband, Osborn Focht, in No Candy (WPS reading). Favorite credits include; Stella in Light up the Sky (Centenary Stage), Empty Plate at the Cafe de Grande Boueff” (The Arden) ‘Night Mother, and The Maids (Garage) which earned her a Best Actress Nomination from the Star Ledger.
The production stars Colleen Smith Wallnau. Colleen Smith Wallnau has worked in the professional theatre for over 30 years on Broadway, off-Broadway, regionally and internationally. Credits include: Broadway; Crazy for You, Off-Broadway; Joseph Papp Public Theatre (Through Darkest Ohio), SoHo Rep (On The Verge), Peccadillo Theatre (Beggar on Horseback), and the Mint Theatre (The Flattering Word and Oroonoko) among others. Regional theatre; Paper Mill Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Meadowbrook Theatre, Midtown International Festival and the New York Fringe Festival among others. Colleen appeared in the one-woman show Mary Todd: A Woman Apart both regionally for the Centenary Stage Company and in its off-Broadway run at the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Other Centenary Stage work include The Wizard of Oz, Deathtrap, Blithe Spirit, The Killing of Sister George among others. Colleen holds an MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University, is on the faculty at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City made famous by Sanford Meisner, the illustrious acting teacher. She is married to her favorite actor/director Carl Wallnau.
Apples in Winter runs November 8 through November 18 in Centenary Stage Company’s Lackland Performing Arts Center. Individual performance dates are Fridays, November 9 and 16 at 8PM; Saturdays, November 10 and 17 at 8PM; Sundays, November 11 and 18 at 2PM; Wednesday, November 14 at 2PM and Thursdays, November 8 and 15 at 7:30PM. Tickets are $25.00 for adults on matinee performances, $27.50 for adults on Friday evening performances, $29.50 for adults on Saturday evening performances and $27.50 for ALL SEATS with a Buy One/Get One rush ticket special when purchased in person at the Centenary Stage Company box office beginning at 5:30PM. BOGO offer not valid for advance ticket sales and may not be combined with any other discounts. Centenary Stage Company also offers a variety of group sale, buffet matinee and discounts to students and children under 12.
For more information or to purchase tickets visit centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979 – 0900. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 – 5 pm and two hours prior to every scheduled performance. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center at 715 Grand Ave. Hackettstown, NJ on the campus of Centenary University. Centenary Stage Company can also be found on social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Like and follow to receive the latest in Centenary Stage Company news and special offers.
The 2018-2019 season of performing arts events at the Centenary Stage Company is made possible through the generous support of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the NJ State Council on the Arts, the Shubert Foundation, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Sandra Kupperman Foundation, and CSC corporate sponsors, including Premier Season Sponsor Heath Village Retirement Community, The House of the Good Shepherd, Silver Sponsors Hackettstown Medical Center, Home Instead Senior Care (Washington), Fulton Bank of New Jersey, and Centenary Stage Company members and supporters.