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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 28, 2004
CONTACT: Faith Jackson
Office of University Relations
(908) 737-NEWS

Kean University Receives Three Performing-Arts Grants

UNION, N.J. – Kean University’s Theatre Management and Programming Office has been honored with three performing-arts grants totaling $15,390. The awards will support the University in its mission to become the cultural hub of the area, as it brings internationally acclaimed performers to Wilkins Theatre for the upcoming 2004-2005 concert season.

Two grants, one an ArtsCONNECT grant from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in the amount of $6,800, and the other from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project for $4,250, will fund the University’s presentation of Shawn McConneloug and her Orchestra’s Stand On Your Man on Friday, October 8, at 7:30 p.m. Combining contemporary dance, words, music, film and video to create evocative works to enlighten and entertain, the company celebrates country and western music while challenging the way Americans look at relationships and gender expectations. “Picture the wild and wicked West as an alternative universe where cowgirls with attitude wrassle (sic) some powerful traditions to the ground,” wrote Linda Shapiro of St. Paul Pioneer Press.

A second ArtsCONNECT grant totaling $4,340 will support the Wilkins Theatre performance of The Western Wind’s The Chanukkah Story featuring Tony Award-nominated actress Tovah Feldshuh, on Wednesday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m. The Western Wind is a vocal sextet that has devoted itself to the special beauty and variety of a cappella music. The company, along with guest narrator Feldshuh, who has performed on Broadway in classics like Yentl and won a Drama Desk award for her current role in Golda’s Balcony, explores Chanukkah’s orgins, spiritual significance and the rituals and customs that have evolved to celebrate it. The Chanukkah Story is comprised of 25 songs that weave together ancient Ladino songs of the Spanish Jews, Yiddish melodies of Eastern Europe and modern Israeli and Mexican tunes along with insightful and informed commentary. The piece won The New York Times Critics’ Choice award for favorite holiday recording, and the Pittsburgh Press hailed, “This is a rich tapestry of sacred and secular fare, sung with subtlety and fervor, accompanied by an ensemble of old and new instruments.”

Lindsay Gambini, executive director of the Theatre Management and Programming Office, was the driving force behind planning the 2004-2005 season and winning the grants. “I'm very grateful to the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and the New England Foundation for the Arts for their support of these two programs,” she said. “The funding they provide is critical to being able to bring innovative and exciting cultural events to Kean audiences.” For more information about Wilkins Theatre at Kean University and upcoming events, call the Box Office at 908-737-SHOW (7469).