Interview with Cheryl Katz, Artistic Director of Luna Stage
West Orange, NJ
By Patricia Rogers
Luna Stage's 2016-2017 starts this month, and I could not be more excited! This will be the second year I have had the pleasure of reviewing productions, mostly world premieres. Since coming to the Valley in 2011, Luna Stage has always been a huge talking point for the Valley Arts District. The theater is the only performing arts center in the Valley, and it delivers thought-provoking material every time. Now that the fall is here, I am so ready for what's new this season!
I was able to talk to Luna Stage's Artistic Director, Cheryl Katz, about what patrons can look forward to. The season opens with King of the Mountains written by Ben Clawson, directed by Cheryl herself.
Patricia Rogers: How many seasons have you worked at Luna Stage and in what capacity?
Cheryl Katz: I began working for Luna in 2003 as Director of Play Development. I became Associate Artistic Director in 2011 and Artistic Director in 2013.
What can longtime Luna fans look forward to this season?
We'll be upgrading and expanding the offerings of our Context Room, an interactive museum of sorts that we build around each production. This new program was a huge hit with our audiences last season so Luna fans can look forward to new elements, including an electronic component.
I think Luna is best known for our new plays, and this season we have three world premieres, two by authors our audiences know well, Ben Clawson and Nikkole Salter. The third premiere is by a writer who is new to Luna, Andrew Rosendorf. Andrew has been receiving fellowship and fellowship so I am thrilled to be introducing his voice to our audiences.
We're also expanding our adult education offerings with three really useful workshops for aspiring writers and directors. These should be unveiled this week.
Can you tell me a little bit about each of this season's new productions?
KING OF THE MOUNTAINS (Oct) was commissioned with the support of The Dramatists Guild Foundation in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of The National Park Service. It gives us a seat at the camp fire for the famous 1903 Yosemite camping trip between President Teddy Roosevelt and the naturalist John Muir and explores the ongoing question of how to care for our public lands.
INDIAN HEAD (Feb). Another story ripped from the NJ headlines from the author of Lines in the Dust. This time, the topic is anti-Native activism and the misappropriation of culture. Indian Head tells the story of a teenage Lenape as she grapples with the cost of reclaiming dignity.
TRANQUIL (April) is a story of a family that has been torn apart by accident and injury. It focuses around Ellen, a 17-year-old girl who has been paralyzed and her determination to live a normal life and heal her family.
You can visit www.lunastage.org for more information, season passes, adult education classes, and more.
About the Writer
Patricia Rogers, #ValleyGirlNJ, lives in New Jersey's Valley Arts District. The native New Yorker works as a writer, blogger and community activist. Starting Masconsumption Media in 2012, she has been passionate about capturing the stories of the vibrant up and coming Valley Arts District neighborhood through her blog, zine, events and more. She blogs for Jersey Indie, Luna Stage, and Hat City Kitchen and offers many creative media services. Visit her blog www.masconsumption.com and keep up with your favorite Valley Girl on social media at @valleygirl_nj (Twitter / Instagram).