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Centenary Stage Company opens NNPN Rolling World Premiere of Backwards, Forwards, Back by Jaqueline Goldfinger

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Jaqueline Goldfinger’s Backwards Forwards Back is a part of the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, is also the recipient of CSC’s Susan Glaspell Award, which gave it this full production in our season following its appearance in the Women Playwrights Series Readings in 2023.

The WPS is a developmental program dedicated to providing a working forum for the unique and under-served voice of women writing for the theatre today.

Each season 3 new plays are selected for a collaborative workshop process, with a professional director and actors, which takes place in a brief rehearsal period of approximately 1 week, allowing time for the playwright to hear and adapt their work with other professionals. The process culminates in a presentation of the work for the general public as part of the series, giving CSC audiences larger exposure to new work.

Playwright, Jaqueline Goldfinger (she/they), is a writer and dramaturg whose plays have been produced by The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Court Theatre (New Zealand), Ecole nationale de theatre (Canada), Vortex Rep, Urbanite Theatre, among others.

Their opera and choral libretti have been produced at Opera Columbus, Resonance Works, BBC Radio 3 (UK), Voces8 (UK), and others. Their plays have won the Yale Drama Prize, Smith Prize, Generations Award, Barrymore Award, and others. Their opera Alice Tierney won an Opera America Discovery Award with Composer Melissa Dunphy. Their work has been developed at MAryland Opera Studio, The Nationa Theater (UK), New Georges, La Mama, Disquiet (Portugal) and supported by YADDO, NEA, Sloan Foundation, among others. Their plays, libretti, and poetry are published by Yale Press, Edition Peters, TRWPlays, InBetween Literary Magazine, and others. You can visit for more of their work.

Starring in the production is Bess Miller who’s Past credits include: OFF-BROADWAY: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena) and Macbeth (Witch/Lady Macduff) at the Sheen Center; Double Blind (Emily) at Theatre Row OTHER NYC: Technodramatists (William Shakespeare) at TheatreLAB; Brett and Ashley (Ashley) at New Perspectives Theatre Co. REGIONAL: Hamlet (Hamlet), The Little Foxes (Birdie) and Uncle Vanya (Sonya) at Hudson Theatre Works; Votes For Women (Alice Paul) with Speranza Theatre Co – directed by Mikaela Kafka! In Chicago they improvised regularly with the iO-Theatre house team Birthday Girl and at Second City’s Donny’s Skybox, with Infinite Sundaes and The Science Show.

Directing the production is Mikaela Kafka, who also serves as the program director for WPS, has been working in the theatre for little over thirty years now, as an actor, director, and now Program Director of The Women Playwrights Series here at Centenary Stage Company.

Her true passion has always been ‘New Works’. Celebrating all new voices emerging in theatre. Directing credits; Apples in Winter’(World Premiere, Centenary Stage Company) Wendy’s Shadow (PERRY Award for ‘Best Original Musical” 2016), Women Rising:Stories of Hope, Unveiling Liberty, History Alive, The Revolution, History Alive! Votes for Women, and A Chain around the. World, the Nellie Bly story (Speranza Theatre Co.), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Circle Players), Murder on the Nile, The Selfish Giant, The Unexpected Guest (Players Theatre NYC), ENRON (GarageTheatre Group), and Dragons Breath by Michael C. Oday (NYC Fringe). She also directed the Zoom version of the office farce, The Bigsley Project by Catherine Castellani which can be streamed on YouTube.

As a part of the Rolling World Premiere Production of Backwards, Forwards, Back by Jaqueline Goldfinger, following the performance on April 7 at 2:00 p.m., CSC is hosting a Symposium following the show, where a panel of veterans and professionals serving the veteran community will join together onstage to host a discussion about veterans’ affairs, the content of the play, current PTSD therapies, and more.

The symposium is free to attend and currently will feature 7 guest panelists: Annette Conforti Smith, Dennis Higgins, Tim Nicinski, Emily Romero, Gregory Somjen, Ray Chimileski, Paul Frabizzio, and Margie Pavlichko.

Specific performances for Backwards, Forwards, Back include: Thursdays April 4 & 11 at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays April 5 & 12 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays April 6 & 13 at 8:00 p.m.; Sundays April 7 & 14 at 2:00 p.m.; with additional matinee performances on Thursday April 4, Wednesday April 10, and Saturday April 13 all at 2:00 p.m.

The symposium will take place following the matinee performance on Sunday April 7.

All performances will take place in the Kutz Blackbox Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center located on the campus of Centenary University at 715 Grand Avenue, in Hackettstown. Ticket prices range $22.50 – $29.50 for adults with discounts for children under 12 on select performances. Special 50% off tickets for active and veteran service members are available for the April 7 and April 13 performances at 2:00 p.m. Thursday evening performances feature family night with buy one get one rush ticket special.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at (908) 979-0900. The Centenary Stage Company box office is open Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. and two hours prior to performances. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary University at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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