Contemporary Dance, Acrobats, Children’s Shows, Plays About MLK, Robeson Set At RVCC Theatre

From contemporary dance, to an award-winning play about the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, to high-flying acrobats and a show based on a children’s book—The Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg has offerings for all ages and interests in February. The month also will include a special photography exhibition in the Theatre lobby. The following shows will be presented:

Paul Taylor Dance Company, Saturday, February 3, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

The Paul Taylor Dance Company is one of the world’s most highly respected and sought-after ensembles. Paul Taylor first presented his choreography with five other dancers in Manhattan on May 30, 1954. That modest performance marked the beginning of 60 years of unrivaled creativity. In the decades that followed, Taylor became a cultural icon and one of history’s most celebrated artists, hailed as part of the pantheon that created American modern dance.

The Mountaintop (LA TheatreWorks), Friday, February 9, at 8 p.m.; $25 & $35

Winner of the prestigious Olivier Award for Best New Play, Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop is a gripping reimagining of events that took place the night before the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. This acclaimed play is rife with humor and political jabs, and gives us a glimpse of Dr. King as a person. LA TheatreWorks presents this exciting, radio-style touring production featuring a first-rate cast and live sound effects. The production contains some mature language.

It’s Dark Outside (The Last Great Hunt), Saturday, February 10, at 3 p.m., $15 (special matinee pricing) & 7 p.m.; $20

From the creators of the international smash-hit The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer comes an epic western about redemption and dementia. As the sun sets, an old man goes wandering into the night. He is swept up in a surreal western, on the run from a mysterious tracker hell-bent on hunting him down. A heartfelt exploration of dementia told through puppetry, mask, animation and live performance, this award-winning adventure depicts an old man chasing his memories as they escape into the wild.

Peking Acrobats, Friday, February 16, at 7 p.m.; $25 & $35

These elite gymnasts, cyclists, jugglers and acrobats leave audiences breathless, defying gravity with amazing displays of strength, balance, agility, grace and artistry—whether they’re spinning plates, climbing poles or balancing chairs. Experience the rich and ancient Chinese folk art tradition highlighted by today’s technology, melding the traditional with modern wonders of the 21st century. Prepare to be astonished—but don’t try this stuff at home!

The Gruffalo (Tall Stories), Sunday, February 25, at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. (relaxed setting); $10 (Recommended for ages 3 and older)

Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation of the same-titled picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl, and the party mad Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from ending up as dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there’s no such thing as a Gruffalo—is there? The Gruffalo is full of songs, laughs and scary fun.

The 3:30 p.m. performance offers a more relaxed setting and is designed specifically for children with autism or related conditions who experience heightened sensory sensitivity, providing a safe and judgment-free space that is welcoming for all families. The performance is general admission, allowing families to choose a comfortable seating space. Families who have not been to The Theatre at RVCC before are invited to stop by and visit the theatre space and explore the seating areas one hour before the show. They also may visit in advance by making an appointment date.

Call Mr. Robeson (Tayo Aluko), Tuesday, February 27, 1 p.m. & 7 p.m.; $15 (General admission; recommended for audiences age 14 and older; includes discussion and light refreshments; audience members may pre-order a $5 box lunch and dine before the 1 p.m. show)

Paul Robeson was a world-famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When he got too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he was branded a traitor to his country, harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel. One of the 20th century’s most impressive but overlooked figures is revived in this powerful, compelling, one-man performance that takes audiences on a roller-coaster journey through Robeson’s remarkable, eventful life.

In celebration of Black History Month, The Theatre at RVCC will present “March to Freedom,” a photo exhibition commemorating the 1965 Selma-Montgomery marches and the 50th anniversary of the landmark Voting Rights Act. The traveling exhibit, on display in the Theatre lobby February 1-28, features rare images from the collections of The University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History, and select photos from the April 2014 Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library. “March to Freedom” follows determined and undaunted marchers, both black and white, as they try on three different occasions to take their cause to Montgomery and the steps of the Alabama Statehouse. The exhibition is free of charge, but reservations are required. For information about group reservations and public hours, contact the box office at 908-725-3420.

To purchase tickets for any of the Theatre’s offerings, contact the Box Office, 908-725-3420, or order online at www.rvccArts.org. Subscribers’ packages are available for most Theatre series. Senior citizen, student and group discounts are also available for most performances.

Raritan Valley Community College’s main campus is located at 118 Lamington Road in Branchburg, NJ. For further information, visit www.raritanval.edu.