New Jersey Stages Festival goes on despite COVID-19 pandemic

A New Jersey entertainment tradition will continue this spring, even if the COVID-19 pandemic keeps audiences from gathering as they did in the past.
Ballet dancers had a rare opportunity to perform live with the Axelrod Contemporary Ballet Theatre.
“This is the first time I’m actually dancing for people again,” says Gilbert Bolden III.
The dancers performed a ballet of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as part of a program called The Bard at Bell Works – the landmark building in Holmdel where the ballet company has a studio. The performances are a collaboration with the Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey. Its touring company will perform the play at Bell Works over the next two weekends.
This is among the more than 60 events of the Stages Festival, which is organized by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. The alliance has provided lower cost programing for the past 24 years, according to executive director John McEwen.
“We want to make sure that every individual, regardless of economic level or geographic location, that they have access and can participate in great theater,” he says.
New Jersey stages are currently dark because of the pandemic. But the festival is offering man virtual experiences produced by theater organizations all over New Jersey, which are hoping to bring entertainment and possibly inspiration to the audience.
The Stages Festival continues through May.