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A musical performance marking New Jersey’s 350th anniversary comes to Hopewell Valley next month.

Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s touring theater for young audiences, is presenting “Celebrating New Jersey,” a timely folk musical that coincides with New Jersey’s 350th anniversary in 2014. The production is touring the state and arrives at the Hopewell Valley Performing Arts Center (adjacent to Central High School at 259 Pennington-Titusville Road in Pennington) on Friday, March 14 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $5 for adults and free for anyone 18 and younger. Reservations are recommended and may be made by contacting the Stony Brook Elementary School PTO at stonybrookpto@gmail.com.

Appropriate for Kindergarten to eighth grade audiences as well as families, “Celebrating New Jersey” reaches across more than three centuries to recognize the Garden State’s numerous milestones. From the arrival of the first settlers to the American Revolution, the writing of the Constitution and the significant Civil War battles waged in New Jersey, from Thomas Edison’s life-changing work in West Orange to New Jersey’s pivotal role in industry, “Celebrating New Jersey” is a spirited and stylish exploration of the innovation and diversity that continue to define New Jersey.

“The production is brimming with humor, conflict and discovery,” said Ruth Fost, Pushcart’s co-founder and executive artistic director. Fost is the playwright and lyricist for the production as well. “I think people will be surprised by the many ‘firsts’ from New Jersey, which include the steam locomotive, the submarine and the electric guitar. Oh, and did I mention America’s first copper mine, the first World Series radio broadcast and the first robot? There’s a lot to be proud of!”

The music of “Celebrating New Jersey” combines traditional folk songs with original works. Incidental music and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, who has collaborated with Pushcart co-founder Carole Wechter, since the company’s inception.

Pushcart Players is in its 40th anniversary season of presenting productions filled with fun, facts, magic and wonder. The company has traveled more than 2 million miles to serve more than 8 million children and their families nationally and abroad. All performances come with innovative scenery, complete lighting and state of the art sound systems, making it adaptable to any location.

The production is part of the New Jersey Theater Alliance’s Stages Festival, a statewide program offering free and discounted tickets to performances, workshops, classes and events at the states professional theatres, partner performing arts centers, as well as libraries, schools, senior centers and museums.  The program was developed to encourage New Jersey’s residents to attend their local professional theatres by making the experience affordable, accessible and fun.

More about New Jersey’s 350th anniversary can be found at officialnj350.com.

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