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Princeton's Festival 56 Kicking Off Summer Season

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A Princeton theater group will raise the curtain on their live upcoming season after the COVID-19 draped last year’s audiences with virtual shows.

Tommy Iafrate is the producing artistic director at Festival 56. He says the theater used last year’s downtime to discuss a different vision for the group.

“Exploring the different ways that we as a theater industry can be more inclusive,” he said, “more actively anti-racist, and empowering more people from communities that have not enjoyed power in theater in the past.”

Iafrate mentioned that the upcoming shows reflect this theme.

“Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical” focuses on the experience of Ruby Bridges and the Little Rock Nine. These children were the first Blacks to integrate an Arkansas school after the Brown versus the Board of Education ruling.

The theater will also include a Shakespeare in the Park film, “Romeo and Juliet” as well as a traditional musical “Godspell.”

“And shockingly, we've never done Godspell in the 18 or 19 years of Festival 56’s history. So, I'm thrilled that we're doing it this year,” Iafrate said.

The season begins with an outdoor cabaret June 17 and goes until July 25. Actual dates for the showings and tickets are available online and at the festival’s box office. “Romeo and Juliet” tickets are free and they are low priced for “Polkadots.” The theater is also accepting donations.

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.