Cornerstone presents ‘An Evening in Spoon River’

Sussex. The North Star Theater Company brings Edgar Lee Masters’ masterpiece to life in a collaboration of local actors, musicians, artists, and dancers.

| 17 May 2021 | 04:20

The North Star Theater Company presents its first show of the season, “An Evening In Spoon River,” from May 21 to 23

This night of music, art, dance, and theater is happening at the Cornerstone Playhouse, located at 74 Main Street in Sussex. It consists of excerpts of monologues from Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology,” depicting rural town life from the perspective of those who have died.

The show is directed by Kelly Dacus-Smith of Sparta, produced by Jodi Halteman, of Andover, and stage-managed by Zachary Halteman of Andover.

The theater company has partnered with several creative groups and performers who all live in Sussex County for a dynamic treatment of art disciplines within the performance.

“There were many artists who were unable to perform or showcase their work during the pandemic, and North Star Theater thought ‘An Evening In Spoon River’ would be the perfect opportunity to bring artists together in this unique theatrical setting,” said Dacus-Smith. “It’s a collaboration of art forms that create a collage of hope, reflection, and inspiration as our community reawakens from the pandemic.”

The collaboration includes music direction by cellist Aimee Nishimura, of Branchville and her students, dancers from Dance Expression Dance Arts in Hamburg, and artwork provided by students from Wallkill Valley Regional High School. The performers are all from Sussex County.

Art work can be viewed prior to the show and then experienced as a backdrop when the performance begins.

North Star Theater Company will also perform “The Cemetery Club” at the Cornerstone Playhouse in September. Tickets will go on sale in August.

To get involved with North Star Theater Company, join its Facebook page at @northstartheater or email

Funding has been made available in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the State/County Partnership Block Grant Program, as administered by the Sussex County Arts and Heritage Council. Additional funding is provided by the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

What: North Star Theater Company presents “An Evening In Spoon River”
When: Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 22, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday, May 23, at 2 p.m.
Where: Cornerstone Playhouse, 74 Main St., Sussex
How much: $20 for adults, $17 for seniors 65-plus; and students age 17 and under
Zachary Halteman of Andover
Phil Cocilovo of Montague
Anmarie DeGiovanni of Sparta
Bill Fell of Sparta
Rowan Mendel of Sparta
Allison Ognibene of Sparta
Ella Simmons of Sparta
Nate Simmons of Sparta
Kelly Dacus-Smith of Sparta
Miranda Smith of Sparta
Sabrina Smith of Sparta
Todd Smith of Sparta
Sierra Trapanese of Sparta
Emily Brunner of Sussex
Kaela Brunner of Sussex
Jim Berkheiser of Vernon
Alex Bisanzio of Vernon
Julia Chmielowiec of Vernon
Kim Knabb of Vernon
Maya Sauer of Vernon
“It’s a collaboration of art forms that create a collage of hope, reflection, and inspiration as our community reawakens from the pandemic.” Kelly Dacus-Smith