I was privileged to bring one of my original works of musical theater to 4th Wall's new musicals in development series. They did a terrific job of getting the show up on its feet for one its first times in front of an audience. Theaters like 4th Wall are absolutely essential for the American musical theater to remain inventive and forward thinking! So, I hope they will be around for many years to come!
It's been two years since I shared a story on 4th Wall, but it was time again. This past season was a rough one on this favorite theater company in New Jersey. The place they have called home for the past ten years decided they needed to fix the roof to the arts center and in the middle of their season, literally put them out in the cold. (It was January after all.) That didn't stop them. They moved to another location with their show for Black History Month (actually doing it at two locations) and then found a home for their June show as well. Not only is this theater company professional, giving, and so creative in their choices...they are resourceful too! I can't recommend this group enough to actors wanting to work with an amazing company, audiences looking for powerful pieces to witness, or philanthropist seeking out a worthy non-profit.
4th Wall Theatre is one of those companies where you absolutely feel you are working on something truly special...no matter the project. I started with them as an actor and knew I wanted to be more involved. I was honored to have served as a former artistic director to get to work with this group shaping it from behind the curtains. But no matter if you're working backstage or on, a volunteer or a performer, everyone feels a part of the family. They present amazing works that you may never get to witness elsewhere. They are a hard-working group, producing on a shoestring, yet presenting some of the most inspiring works around. The fact they are celebrating their 20s years producing in New Jersey is a testament to their tenacity, drive, and passion for what they do. Kudos to this group on always thinking outside the box!
As a professional actress in New York City, I've worked at theatre companies of all different shapes and sizes. However, there is one that stands out among the rest due to it's professionalism and the incredible people that work tirelessly to bring outstanding, cutting edge theatre to New Jersey. 4th Wall Theatre is exceptional in every sense of the word. Their ability to assemble some of the best and the brightest in the area while still operating as a non-profit organization is truly astounding. They consistently deliver top quality work, utilizing the resources they have to their utmost potential. I can confidently say that 4th Wall was instrumental in my journey of becoming a professional in my field and that I wouldn't be the same performer I am today without the opportunities and guidance they provided me along the way. The experiences I've been so fortunate to have with this organization have been top notch from a professional standpoint and have personally been filled with memories and people that I will cherish forever. 4th Wall Theatre celebrates theatrical expression to the highest degree and deserves every ounce of support it can get.
4th Wall is really 5 STAR!! From the selection of shows to the creative teams to the talented performers, every production is a winner. The group works very hard at presenting well produced stories, that are told in the most powerful way. For 20 years now, 4th Wall has made an lasting impression on me and on the community!
4th Wall Theatre gave me the tools, the confidence and the vehicle to really hone my craft and begin my journey as a professional performer. From the time that I started my first show with them, I knew I was involved in something special. That is what kept me going back to them for a number of consecutive years. One common thread in all of my experiences at 4th Wall, is the shared vision & passion amongst every member involved. If there is someone that isn't "on board", rest assure that they are by the end! It is truly a gem of a nonprofit organization and deserves every bit of help they can get from the outside so they may continue to create art at a high level.
I have worked with 4th Wall Theatre as an actor, assistant director, and usher and I've also been an audience member for many of their shows. To say they handle all situations with complete professionalism and respect would be an understatement. They use their budget wisely, they treat everyone involved in their shows with a ton of respect, and they focus on their main goal - creating effective theatre with an edge. I've never heard of someone working with 4th Wall and not enjoying their time there. Their productions are also always up to par and very enjoyable. I've always walked out of their shows feeling uplifted and inspired - that, to me, is great theatre.
For the past 20 years I have been reviewing 4th Wall Theatre, I have been impressed by the breadth and quality of their talent and skill to produce theater that is far from the tried (and often tired) small theater fare. From a Godspell set on a school playground to Assassins, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade, Lucky Stiff, The Spitfire Grill and Dessa Rose, among many others, this fearless troupe has fulfilled its penchant for producing “theater on the edge.” I know that, whenever I go to review one of their performances, I will be treated to a play or musical I may not be familiar with. They are truly theater at its best, and we are lucky to have such a company out here in metropolitan New Jersey.
Anyone who attends a performance by 4th Wall Theatre quickly sees that this is a group of extremely talented, dedicated, and inventive actors, musicians, designers, and producers. Each production has a crisp and coherent creative vision, and all of the elements work together gracefully to tell a story that never fails to move audiences. Many of those stories are rarely told, but 4th Wall is true to its mission to produce infrequently performed works. This is another dimension of the group’s inventiveness, and reflects their commitment to show the excitement of live theatre. I’ve often heard members of the audience remark, “I’d never even heard of this play, but it’s so wonderful” and “Why hasn’t this play been produced more? Everyone should see it!”
There is a kind of magic in 4th Wall productions: a palpable warmth among performers, passion and energy that spill out into the audience, interpretations that are both smart and heart-felt. Even when 4th Wall produces a play that is not a personal favorite of mine, I end up getting sucked into theatrical life that they give it – and I always find more depths and subtleties in the play than I had seen before.
What isn’t always so obvious to audiences is 4th Wall’s educational commitment. The group is the resident company at Bloomfield College, and does so much to make theatre available to students (especially Bloomfield students who are, for the most part, first-generation college students who have never seen live theatre). The company offers a deeply reduced student ticket rate, and they often host talk-back sessions for students. For one production, they allowed students to attend the dress rehearsal (for free, of course) because that was the only opportunity those students had to attend the theatre. The 4th Wall team understands the importance of welcoming young people into the arts and inviting them to engage actively with the arts: to watch college students who are not regular theatre-goers talk about a performance with these actors is to see a new and exciting world open up to them. And this motivates a new generation of theatre-lovers. For this and for all of the stories and characters they have brought to life for me, I value and appreciate 4th Wall Theatre.
The fourth wall refers to an imaginary "wall" that traditionally exists between actors on stage and the audience. When "breaking the fourth wall" actors acknowledge the presence of their audience and the presence of the wall that isn't there. Playing on either side of this wall is theatrically legitimate. Over the years, the talented leadership of 4th Wall Theatre has clearly understood that being forward looking, while at the same time keeping up traditions, creates theatre experiences that edify both actors and audiences. I admire this company for upholding the theatre traditions that matter the most: a generosity of spirit; an active imagination; a high standard of performance excellence; a supportive environment that builds strong comradery among artists; and most of all, an emphasis on honest story telling as a way to bring people together through a shared experience. I also admire 4th Wall Theatre for for the ways it breaks with tradition by mounting otherwise rarely produced pieces and new works that have never been seen on stage before. The Mid Stage and Off the Wall productions have given new works and new writers the coveted opportunity to be seen and heard. Not many small theatre companies are willing to make that investment and take that risk. In the nine years I have worked with the company I have not had a disappointing experience. The artistic leadership seems to have an uncanny ability to put together groups of performers who show the highest respect for each other on stage and off. I believe this stems from the initial respect and consideration shown to those who attend auditions, and it continues to those who give up their time and talent to mount the actual productions. As a Bloomfield resident I am thrilled to have 4th Wall Theatre as a part of my home community; as an actor and audience member I am just as excited to see what the future holds for them.
You will never meet a group of more committed, gracious, and hard-working theatre artists than at 4th Wall Musical Theatre. They are not a theatre company, they are a family. It's why artists and audiences--from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and sometimes even further--continue to make the commute to rehearsals and performances. That, and 4th Wall does amazing pieces that artists and audiences not only love, but (sometimes) rarely get the opportunity to see. This may be the main reason 4th Wall deserves everyone's patronage--they are keeping alive our canon of American Musical Theatre. And we love them for it and everything else!
For 10+ years I have been a regular audience member at 4th Wall productions. Their mission of presenting works rarely seen or produced puts them in a league of their own in New Jersey, but their consistently high quality productions places them far above and beyond any similar companies. For those reasons (among others), I am proud to be an enthusiastic supporter, both as a subscriber and a donor. When attending 4th Wall productions, you can be guaranteed of great performances, thoughtful and engaging direction, and superior production values. I've even been known to see a production or two multiple times! Bravo to all involved with 4th Wall!
I can't say enough great things about 4th Wall Musical Theatre. I have been a volunteer and contributor with 4th Wall for about 10 years now and am always blown away by the professionalism of the Board of Directors and staff as well as by the consistently stellar, high-quality theatrical productions that 4th Wall mounts. Bringing the arts to people is such an important thing in today's world, and 4th Wall Theatre always and consistently excels at making superior quality arts entertainment accessible to its audiences. And the 4th Wall Board and production staff are such a delight to work with and for -- a more talented, dedicated and genuine group of people would be harder to find!