PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s student theatre troupe, Bergenstages, will begin its 50th season on October 27 with a production of “The Laramie Project,” which centers on the 1998 murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard. The troupe will also perform “Man of La Mancha,” “She Kills Monsters” and “The Grapes of Wrath” as part of the 2023-24 season.
“Bergenstages is one of the leading community college theatre companies in the United States and we couldn’t be more excited to offer such a diverse 50th anniversary season for our students, college community and our Bergen County community,” Bergenstages Producer and Professor Jim Bumgardner said.
According to Bumgardner, Bergenstages maintains a mission to produce shows that respect the original intentions of the playwrights, making the troupe different than many other college theater ensembles. This season, Bergenstages will perform:
- The Laramie Project (Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theatre Project) – Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, the Bergenstages production will open on October 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ender Hall Lab Theatre at the College’s main campus (400 Paramus Road, Paramus). An example of verbatim theatre, the play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of Laramie, Wyoming, company members’ own journal entries and published news reports on the Shepard murder.
- Man of La Mancha (Miguel de Cervantes with Dale Wasserman, Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion) – The classic musical tale of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza opens on December 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre at the College’s main campus (400 Paramus Road, Paramus).
- She Kills Monsters (Qui Nguyen) – Dungeons & Dragons fans will flock to this story of a woman exploring topics such as sexuality, adolescence and 90s culture in her departed sister’s computer game world. The show opens on February 23, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ender Hall Lab Theatre at the College’s main campus (400 Paramus Road, Paramus).
- The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck, with Frank Galati) – The Bergenstages 50th anniversary season closes with the 1990 Tony Award winning play adapted for the stage. Desperately proud but reduced to poverty by the loss of their farm, the Joads pile their few possessions on a battered old truck and head west for California, hoping to find work and a better life. Curtain up: March 29, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre at the College’s main campus (400 Paramus Road, Paramus).
For tickets and information, visit tickets.bergen.edu or call (201) 447-7428.
Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.
# # #