Midtown Direct Rep announces new partnership, moves to The Woodland

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Midtown Direct Rep recently announced a new partnership with the township of Maplewood. Beginning with the 2016-17 season, MDR will present its staged readings and other productions as the resident theater company of The Woodland, located at 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood. MDR’s newly named staged reading series, “Theater at The Woodland,” will take place in the Parlor, and larger productions, such as the well-known annual event “Listen To Your Mother,” will be held in the Great Hall.

MDR is moving all of its activities from its former home, the South Orange Performing Arts Center, to Maplewood.

“We are thrilled to partner with the township of Maplewood,” MDR Managing Director Aliza Wassner said in a press release. “MDR has really grown over the past few seasons, and we are looking forward to expanding our programming and education outreach with the support of the township administration and Office of Cultural Affairs. Our goal is to continue to provide professional and engaging theater experiences, while also being an anchor for this cultural center and contributing to our shared mission of creating a place to encourage artistic exchange and collaboration in our unique community.”

Located in the heart of Maplewood Village, The Woodland was built in 1930 and has been owned and operated by the township of Maplewood since 2013. The building is now dedicated for cultural, educational and recreational activities.

“We purchased the former Woman’s Club to promote local arts and cultural groups and are excited that Midtown Direct Rep has chosen to make The Woodland their new home,” Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca said in the release.

“Theater at The Woodland” will continue upon the success of MDR’s past five years of public staged readings of new plays and musicals. The readings, which include post-show discussions with the cast and creative team, allow the audience to witness and participate in the development of vital new works. Many of the shows presented as MDR readings have gone on to major productions off-Broadway, in regional theaters and beyond. The reading series focuses on scripts reflecting diverse issues in the community, writers or subjects with a local connection, and roles that can be cast significantly from the MDR ensemble of professional actors.

The 2016-17 reading series will be held on Sunday evenings at 7 p.m. on the following dates: Oct. 23, Nov. 20, Dec. 11 and Feb. 12. Additional details about this season’s chosen plays, playwrights, cast and ticket information will be announced soon. The season will also include “Listen To Your Mother: North Jersey” on May 13, 2017, in The Woodland Great Hall, as well as MDR education outreach programs for children and adults throughout the year.