American Repertory Ballet (ARB) presents a fantastical forest of faries, eleves, and mischief grows in New Brunswick, N.J. with the world premiere of Ethan Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 1-3, 2022 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. His first full-length ballet for the company since being named Artistic Director in the summer of 2021, Stiefel’s magical production for audiences of all ages will be performed in collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Bean.
Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic score with additional music written for film by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the enchanting production will transport audiences to a fantastical forest filled with fairies, elves, mischief, romance, joy and love. ARB’s Artistic Associate and American Ballet Theatre principal ballerina Gillian Murphy will dance the role of Oberon, leader of the elves.
“I can’t wait to dance in the world premiere of this incredibly unique, magical, and entertaining production,” says Murphy. “The story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is such a treat to watch or perform, and I’m thrilled to portray Oberon for the first time in such a brilliant new version created by the one and only Ethan Stiefel.”
Stiefel’s artistic vision employs an expansive choreographic vocabulary, with a style and dynamic that veers from tradition. Scenery by award-winning designer Howard Jones, lighting by Joseph Walls, and original costumes by ARB’s Wardrobe Supervisor Janessa Cornell Urwin will complete the modern transformation of Shakespeare’s celebrated work for a cast that includes the entire ARB Company and trainees from the Princeton Ballet School.
“Ultimately, we hope that ARB’s new version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream becomes a crowd favorite for many years to come,” notes Stiefel, “a production the personnel and patrons can be proud of and one that continues to promote ARB’s own unique and innovative perspectives on dance.”
Family-friendly activities inspired by the production will take place all weekend. On April 1st, from 3:00-5:00 p.m., American Repertory Ballet will partner with the Arts Institute of Middlesex County with A Midsummer Night’s Dream themed programming as part of First Friday in New Brunswick. Children of all ages can enjoy fairy and elf hand painting, a beginner ballet class offered by Princeton Ballet School’s DANCE POWER Scholars, giveaways, and more. First Friday attendees will also experience fantastic art in the making with spoken word poetry, live mural creation by New Brunswick students, and a papermaking workshop from Frontline Printmaking.
Children can also enjoy elf and fairy themed activities in the lobby of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday April 3rd, to further enhance the performance experience.
American Repertory Ballet’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is made possible by a generous gift from leading sponsor Norah Orphanides.
Additional support for the production comes from The Hyde and Watson Foundation and Jan Schadrack and Ngoc Nguyen. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund.
Gillian Murphy’s appointment is made possible by Lewis and Genevieve Geyser.
PERFORMANCE and TICKET INFORMATION
A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed:
Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m.*
Saturday, April 2 at 2:00 p.m.* and 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 3 at 2:00 p.m. *
Tickets start at $25 and are available at https://secure.nbpac.org/midsummer
*Free community programming at Monument Park will be available Friday, April 1, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. The park is located at 2 Livingston Avenue in New Brunswick, directly across from The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC). Additional family-friendly activities will take place in the lobby of the NBPAC before each matinee performance, beginning at 1:00 p.m.
The New Brunswick Performing Arts Center is located at 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. The venue can be reached by car or New Jersey Transit, and has ample parking in its attached parking deck.
Beginning March 1, 2022, all patrons attending a performance at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center must show proof of vaccination, including a booster, if eligible. If not vaccinated, a Negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance date is required. Masks must be worn unless actively eating or drinking. Photo of Gillian Murphy by Harald Schrader