SCTC’s Season 12 Opens October 7th

by Patricia Bradford

CAMDEN, N.J. — August 19th, 2016 – South Camden Theatre Company, a nonprofit professional theatre organization located in Camden, New Jersey will present four, full-length, professional productions during their 2016-2017 Season 12. The shows include, “The Emperor Jones” by Eugene O’Neill, “Water By The Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes, “The Miss Firecracker Contest” by Beth Henley and “My Name is Asher Lev” by Aaron Posner, adapted from the novel by Chaim Potok.

South Camden Theatre Announces The 2016/2017 Season of Shows and New Interim Artistic Director

The Theatre Company will produce four, full-length productions including plays written by Eugene O’Neill, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Beth Henley and Aaron Posner

Season 12 is being produced under the Companies new Interim Artistic Director, Raymond Croce, Sr.. “Ray has been an active member of the South Camden Theatre Company since its earliest days in the basement of the Sacred Heart Church. He’s an actor, director, volunteer and most recently a Trustee on the Board of Directors, beginning in October 2015. “Ray joined the board and immediately began serving the Company as a volunteer of the fundraising committee.”, states Board President, Robert Bingaman.

“Ray’s artistic talents and position on the board made him the perfect candidate as the new Interim Artistic Director. His selection came after a search of individuals who were familiar with our Company and it’s struggles. It also gives the board time to plan and execute a new, long-term strategic plan and to take the time needed to extend our search for a permanent, long-term Artistic Director.”, states Board Trustee, William Harden.

Ray Croce stated, “I hope that during my tenure I can move us forward in a positive direction. That I can select pieces of theatre that express our mission, while at the same time entertain our audience. Most importantly that we can become a “Good neighbor” in the community.” He continued, “I am excited, encouraged, and a little scared, but as an actor you learn to enjoy that feeling of being scared. I am scared every time I walk on stage, it reminds me I’m alive.”

The Company will open Season 12 with the play that gave Eugene O’Neill his first box-office hit and also established him as a successful playwright. “The Emperor Jones” opens October 7 and runs through October 23, 2016. The play will be directed by long-time SCTC favorite, Connie Norwood.

“The Emperor Jones” is a 1920 play by O’Neill that tells the tale of Brutus Jones, a resourceful, self-assured African-American and a former Pullman porter, who kills another black man in a dice game, is jailed, and later escapes to a small, backward Caribbean island where he sets himself up as emperor. The play recounts his story in flashbacks as Brutus makes his way through the jungle in an attempt to escape former subjects who have rebelled against him.

The play is one of O’Neil’s major experimental works, mixing expressionism and realism. “The Emperor Jones” also draws on his own hallucinatory experience hacking through the jungle while prospecting for gold in Honduras in 1909.

Opening January 13 – January 29, is “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. Under the direction of Ray Croce, Sr., “Water by the Spoonful” is a heartfelt and poetic meditation of lives on the brink of redemption and self-discovery during a time of heightened uncertainty. It is a drama peopled by characters who have traveled a long way in the dark. It gives off a shimmering, sustaining warmth. Ms. Hudes writes with such empathy and vibrant humor about people helping one another to face down their demons that regeneration and renewal always seem to be just around the corner. The Associated Press wrote, the play is “a rich, brilliant montage of American urban life that is as dazzling to watch as it is difficult to look away from”. “Water by the Spoonful was the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

We then take a turn in a more humorous direction with “The Miss Firecracker Contest” opening March 10 through March 26, 2017. The play was written by Beth Henley and will be directed by Scott Grumling. Its heroine, Carnelle, is an irrepressible young woman who thinks that winning the local beauty contest will restore her soiled reputation and make her somebody in her small Mississippi community. The family and friends who help her along the way are a dysfunctional bunch who tackle life in their own peculiar ways. There is a former beauty queen cousin, Elain, who comes to offer advice and to run away from her husband and children. Elain’s brother, Delmount, has come home from the mental institution to sell the family house and provide Carnelle another way out. Wandering into the chaos as Carnelle’s seamstress is sweet and strange Popeye, who falls in love with Delmount. The general conclusion the characters reach is that, even if the real you is not the fulfillment of your hopes, you will be more at peace if you learn to define and accept your own self.

Our final production for Season 12, is “My Name is Asher Lev” adapted by Aaron Posner from the book by Chaim Potok. The show opens May 5 and runs through May 21. Asher Lev, a Hasidic Jewish in New York City is a loner with artistic inclinations. His art, however, causes conflicts with his family and other members of his community. The play follows Asher’s maturity as both an artist and a Jew. Set in the 1950s during the time of Joseph Stalin and the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union.

During Asher’s childhood, his artistic inclination brings him into conflict with the members of his Jewish community, which values things primarily as they relate to faith and considers art unrelated to religious expression to be at best a waste of time and possibly a sacrilege. It brings him into particularly strong conflict with his father, a man who has devoted his life to serving their leader, the Rebbe, by traveling around the world bringing the teachings and practice of their sect to other Jews, and who is by nature incapable of understanding or appreciating art.

Asher grows up to be a formidable artist as an apprentice of Jacob Kahn, and even his father cannot help but be proud of his son’s success. Jacob Kahn teaches Asher about life and they eventually become very good friends. Asher’s gift calls upon him to paint his masterpiece. The play won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play and the John Gassner Award.

ABOUT SCTC: The South Camden Theatre Company is the resident Theatre Company of the Waterfront South Theatre in Camden, NJ. This is our 12th season. We’ve been producing plays in our new home at the corner of 4th Street and Jasper Street, just off Broadway at Ferry Avenue since the Fall of 2010 when the theatre was completed. The theatre and the revitalization of the arts in the neighborhood are the inspiration of Father Michael Doyle of the Sacred Heart Church. Together we are anchoring the neighborhood’s rebirth into a welcoming, safe and desirable place for families, the arts and life.


The South Camden Theatre Company

Robert Bingaman

President, Board of Trustees

400 Jasper Street

Camden, NJ 08104

(m) 609-471-4168


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Theater/Organization South Camden Theatre Company
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Theater/Organization Address: 400 Jasper Street Camden, New Jersey 08104 (Map It)
Theater/Organization Phone: (856) 409-0365

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