The Academic Theatre and Dance program at Mercer County Community College will combine storytelling, dance and music in the spell-binding production “Blood Wedding.” Wildly popular in its day and still performed regularly in Latin countries, this Spanish classic comes to Kelsey Theatre Fridays, April 21 and 28 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, April 22 and 29 at 8 p.m., and Sundays, April 23 and 30 at 2 p.m.
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A reception with the cast and crew will follow the opening night performance on April 21. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road.
Written by Federico Garcia Lorca, “Blood Wedding” premiered in Madrid in 1933 and was an overnight sensation. It was performed around the world, including on Broadway. Incorporating song, chant, poetry, music, and rhythm, with action and sets that are highly symbolic and stylized, the show explores universal themes of love and death, family bonds and rigid societal laws that can lead to tragedy.
“Lorca wrote the play wanting to create a hit, and it was,” said Jody Gazenbeek-Person, the production’s producer and choreographer, and coordinator of the Theatre and Dance program. “It is a highly theatrical production that is emotional, thought-provoking and entertaining.”
Gazenbeek-Person notes that the cast includes not only MCCC students, but other Mercer County actors. “Many people came out to audition, specifically because they had always dreamed of performing a role in this particular play,” he said. “Blood Wedding is a highly regarded and much loved play,” he said.
Reflecting the play’s universal appeal, the production will feature a diverse cast and many different accents. “Especially in our choreography, we have absorbed elements from many of the original productions, including those performed in Madrid, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Paris, and more,” Gazenbeek-Person said.
The cast of includes Marissa Edwards of Lawrenceville as the Bride; Chris Ryan of Trenton as the Bridegroom; Sari Ruskin of Princeton as the Bridegroom’s Mother; Dan Fowler of Flemington as Father of the Bride; Charles Acosta of Levittown, Pa., as Leonardo; Jessica Klatskin of East Windsor as Leonardo’s wife; Meaghan Lukacs of Robbinsville as Leonardo’s Mother-in-Law; Madelyn Morrison Lichtman of Monroe Township as The Neighbor; Kimberly King of Mercerville as the Beggar Woman/Death; Sonia Perez of Princeton as The Maid; and Max Lobben of Lawrenceville as The Moon.
Also featured are Nestor Pacheco of Lawrence as Woodcutter #1; Kay Salcfas of New Egypt as Woodcutter #2; Pierce Hittelman of Bordentown as Woodcutter #3; Francisco Estrada of Lawrenceville as Young Man; Kadeem Rockhead of Franklin Park as First Young Man; Bobby Ahmad as Second Young Man; Kayla Johnson of Wrightstown as Little Girl; Amy Annucci of Ewing as First Girl; Christan Ellis of Trenton as Second Girl; Kayla Johnson as Third Girl; and Brianna Rapp of East Windsor as Young Girl/Dancer.
In addition to Producer/Choreographer Jody Gazenbeek-Person, the production team includes Director Deena Jiles-Shuaib, Assistant Director Patrick Martin, Stage Manager Nicole Schulnick, and Assistant Stage Manager E. Lukas DiGiacomo. Lighting and sound is provided by MCCC Entertainment Technology students.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $14 for students and may be purchased online here or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333. (This show is appropriate for mature theatergoers who enjoy satire and is not recommended for children.) Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking next to the theater.
More information about MCCC’s Theatre/Dance program is available here.
For a complete listing of the college’s performance events for adults and children, visit the Kelsey website here.