Laura Brown – Contributing Writer
Wu Han, world-renowned pianist, will once again take the Concert Hall stage at Drew University for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s (CMS) concert series. Sponsored by the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation, the concert series will kick off its 2016 season with an evening of music played by some of the Chamber Music Society’s most prominent artists. It will feature Wu Han, the Society’s own Co-Artistic Director.
Wu Han’s career as a concert pianist, recording artist, arts administrator and educator has propelled her into the highest ranks of classical musicians in the world today. At age nine, she began her musical studies in Taiwan. Quickly claiming first prize in many of Taiwan’s piano competitions, Wu Han moved to the United States to continue her studies at The Hartt School in Connecticut where she learned from artists such as Rudolf Serkin and Menahem Pressler.
Wu Han has performed at venues as local as the Madison Public Library and as renowned as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. In 2014, she received Musical America’s Musician of the Year award along with her husband and chief collaborator, Madison-born cellist David Finckel.
Wu Han and Finckel together have a uniquely impressive background in musical education, teaching at Carnegie Hall and the Jerusalem Music Center, overseeing the LG Chamber Music School in South Korea, and participating in educational outreach programs across the country. In 1997, the pair launched a unique Internet-based recording company called ArtistLed that has become a model for other independent labels.
Repertoire for the evening is a Haydn trio, a Mendelssohn sextet and a Schumann quintet. In addition to Wu Han, this chamber music concert will also feature an all-star roster of accomplished soloists: pianists Michael Brown and Anne-Marie McDermott, violinists Chad Hoopes and Ani Kavafian, violist Matthew Lipman and Paul Neubauer and cellists Dmitri Atapine and Joseph Conyers.
The concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 19. Single tickets may be purchased for $55 and tickets in a group of ten cost $45 each. Subscriptions for the CMS three-concert series cost $144. These tickets may be purchased online at the Drew Box Office or by calling (973) 408-2917. With a valid educational ID, a limited number of discount tickets are available for $15 when purchased in person. Fore more details, visit: drew.edu/concerthall/.
Christian Regan – Contributing Writer
It would be simple to call this week’s mainstage show just another show about sexual assault or abuse. It would be simple to say you should go see it, it’s good. But like the show, this review is anything but simple.
Jaybird, written by Emma Levin (‘16) and directed by Emma Osmundson (‘16), is an exercise in parallel storytelling. The story paints a picture of a girl who was sexually abused as a child, simultaneously telling the story of her encounters and her present day life dealing with the fallout. From the moment the center fuschia light floods the stage, the audience meets originally inspiring set design and characters written and portrayed with impressive emotional depth.
Down and center stage are left open for the present day scenes to happen, while upstage the audience is treated to the flashbacks the main character experiences throughout the show. Credit goes to Ronald Truman Kitts (’16) and the Theater 120 class for their work on the set, using levels on platforms to create an otherworldly plane and distinct scene locations. The use of individual levels allows the audience to clearly see flashbacks without any more than a lighting change. Also of important note, at multiple points in the show colored lights were used to set specific tones and moods. This lighting was designed by Zoe Camp (‘18) with assistant Ben Schneider (‘19). Credit should also go to Devon Villacampa (’16) for the sound design of the show, which was critical to the plot at several points and was very well done.
Grace Leneghan (’16) plays June, a high school dancer worried about her upcoming dance showcase. She also faces the pressures of paying for college and the pressures of her friends wanting her to “lose her virginity,” all while either coping or running from the tragedy in her past. Leneghan does a very good job striking a balance in her character between avoidance and fragility in regards to her past.
Young June, played by Janine Pasquale, pictured in flashbacks, gives the audience a deeper view into the abuse June endured. Pasquale does a phenomenal job making the audience feel her pain and how badly she’s been damaged by the events. Nathan Keiller (’18) plays abuser Jim Hunter and also June’s current love interest Richard, showing two vastly different characters. This performance attests to his talent as an actor.
Despite the difficult subject matter, there are still opportunities in the show for humor and wit, since it is a show about a group of teenagers after all. Several jokes were tossed around, from the casual “Debby’s gonna puke again” to topical humor like “What’s going to happen? Is a Republican going to be elected President.”
The writing in the show balances a very serious and delicate topic while maintaining entertainment and true-to-life moments. Though the story may not be breaking large amounts of new ground, it finds innovative ways to allows its actors the chance to shine. The ending reaches an appropriate climax with June facing her fears, allowing the audience the resolution of June’s burden. This show is anything but simple, and the only explanation that exists is that you need to see it for yourself.
4 / 5 Acorns.
From the Director’s Note: “What you are about to see is the product of months of extremely diligent work and attention to detail.”
Taylor Tracy – Student Life and Arts Editor
As the weather begins to cool down heading into autumn, imagine curling up under an afghan with a good book and a pumpkin spice latte on a brisk weekend afternoon. For Drewids who can’t imagine what book they should read, the Second Annual Morristown Festival of Books might be able to offer a few suggestions.
More than thirty authors writing in several genres and styles will be discussing their work on discussion panels today and tomorrow in Morristown. Tonight, Pulitzer Prize winning authors Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn will be delivering a Keynote Address on their co-written book A Path Appears.
Civically and globally engaged Drewids might be interested in this novel about giving, service and helping improve the world one step at a time. This event is ticketed, but student tickets are available at mayoarts.org.
For Drewids who enjoy reading young adult books, there will be two events featuring YA authors tomorrow: David Levithan will be in conversation with Tommy Wallach, the debut author of the New York Times Bestseller “We All Looked Up” and the Say What? YA Panel will include authors Susane Colasanti, Sarah Darer Littman and Kendall Kulper.
Drewids interested in food and ethnic heritage might enjoy the finale of the festival’s One Community One Book initiative, an author talk by Laura Schenone about her book “The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken.”
Aspiring authors might be interested in The Writer’s Craft panel featuring debut authors Christopher Scotton, Asali Solomon and Emily Schultz. The authors will be discussing the process of writing and how they wrote their first books.
Events will be held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, St. Peter’s Parish Hall, Church of the Redeemer, the Starlight Room at the Mayo Performing Arts Center and the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Books for signings at the festival will be provided by three local bookstores: The Bookworm in Bernardsville, [words] in Maplewood and Short Stories Community Book Hub in downtown Madison.
Come out to support local, independent bookstores and authors to find some great autumn reads. For times and dates of specific events or more information visit: www.morristownfestivalofbooks.org.
Caitlin Phillips – Staff Writer
What’s the word for the intense energy you get after eating candy? What’s the new store in town that can supply you with such candy, where the people are as sweet as the treats? The answer to both is Sugar Rush! An entire store dedicated to the joys of candy, fun and parties, Sugar Rush is a rainbow of colors and endless types of candy and home to an un-bear-ably cute gummy bear chandelier.
“The store has a little bit of everything,” Andrea Zembilis, the store owner, said. She added, “Drew students can get their nice sugar rush before exams.” Along with the rush from the candy, the store itself is energizing. Brightly colored walls and displays make up the interior, along with beautiful displays of the delicious products. Drew students can get a number of great items here, from bags of candy they can personally pick out to sample containers with a little bit of everything, and can even have items gift wrapped for special occasions.
When asked what makes the store special, Zembilis said “The variety of the gifts and candy, the personal attention including gift wrapping, events and celebrations. The store is kid-friendly and it’s a happy place. We promote happy.” Zembilis’ services include candy tables, children’s birthday party planning, custom cookies, and dessert tables.
They offer a candy buffet, where customers can fill their bags with all types of sugary delights from gummy worms and bears to Pixy Stix and Starbursts to chocolate pretzels of many kinds and everything else in between. The candy can be bought at $10 per pound and the chocolate can be purchased at $15 per pound. Boxes of candy that contain a variety of samples sell for $15-$20. Along with candy, the store also sells jewelry, toys, notebooks, sketchbooks and pencils. The toys are mostly learning-based, including puzzles and matching games, which sell for $13-$25, and the notebooks, sketchbooks and pencils sell for around $5. The jewelry includes bracelets and necklaces that span from $5-$20 in price, depending on the type.
The store currently has a Halloween display with Pez, chocolate pops, gummy and regular candy corn and more, ranging from $3-$5. Additionally, the store carries nut-free and sugar-free candies, which are extremely popular. Customers can also purchase beautiful gift bags, for which wrapping is free. Within the store is a children’s nook where they can sit and color while their parents shop around.
So what inspired this cheerful store? “My love of candy,” Zembilis said. “That and my love of children and parties and fun.” Her daughter, Lauren, has the same love for candy. When asked what her favorite candy is, Zemilis replied, “chocolate gummy bears.”
You can contact Sugar Rush by calling 973-845-2390 or emailing email@example.com. The store is located at 10 Waverly Place in Madison next to the Chase Bank. More information can be found on their website, http://sugarrushnj.com/.
Catherine King – Staff Writer
Drew once again opened its doors to authors for their inspiration and advice. Over 50 students flocked through the doors of Mead Hall to hear the semester’s first reading of Writers@Drew. Drewids welcomed Jess Row, an acclaimed American short story writer and novelist, with applause and enthusiasm last Wednesday. Row has won many awards, including a Whiting Writers’ Award, and he was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelist in 2007. He recently published his novel Your Face in Mine.
Row entered the room with an informal tone and humor, commenting on the room and past readings. He said, “what a nice room. The acoustics are good. It has a nice resonating quality. I feel like we should go off to the hunt.”
Row proceeded to read two short stories. The first was a short piece entitled “The Last Reader.” The second was a longer piece named “Waterfalls.” Both pieces can be described as macabre and comical, with an undertone of mischief–stories of both slight horror and reality. The first piece centered around an author who killed those who read his book. The second revealed a recently unemployed man’s thoughts and slightly twisted memoirs as a camp counselor.
After he finished reading, Row turned to the students for questions. While the protagonists of these two stories are male, Row regularly alternates voice between females and males. When questioned about this by a student, he said, “It goes back and forth. I’ve written a lot of stories of female character. I feel like it’s something I am very comfortable. In terms of female or male protagonist, for me, it feels so basic and integral, and I feel like I have to leave it to other people to interpret. I’m drawn to writing female protagonists because I want to see the world from that point of view.”
When asked about the writing process by an aspiring writer, Row said, “The hardest part is coming up with ideas in the first place. Once you have the stories and the characters, the writing just flows. If you are asking where the writing vibes come from, that is harder to define. The problem with writers your age is that your psychic space is all in social media. You really need to unplug. It’s not just staying off Instagram. It’s spending time by yourself–by showering or running. You can get some stuff from Instagram but not a lot and not good. It comes from your parents, grandparents, history, and ancestry.”
Row also tends to write stories with characters of many different racial backgrounds. When asked for advice in not diminishing a person’s background, he replied, “My motivation is not to crowd out any one else’s story and to write fiction in which more than one character have the focus. You should create an area where you’re drawn to a place where many stories connect.”
Drewids at the event seemed to enjoy it. Megan Goodson (‘16) said, “He did the exact style that I like–very honest, very different from the norm, and refreshing.” Sanah Athar (‘17) said, “It was my first time going. It was nice to hear the voice of the actual person talking.”
Writers@Drew is an ongoing series at Drew. It allows Drewids a chance to hear relevant authors authors read their own work. This also gives students the opportunity to ask authors a few questions, buy the author’s books, and even get it signed.
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