The Verona-based Pushcart Players, a non-profit theater company, has received a grant of $30,263 from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. A total of $15,560,823 in state and federal funding was awarded on Tuesday to nearly 800 arts organizations, programs, projects and artists across the state, including $259,954 for the Montclair Art Museum.
Pushcart’s award is an increase over last year’s, which represented a cut from the prior year. “We are definitely pleased,” says Managing Director Stephanie Carr. “It’s been a rough year all around. Everybody is suffering the effects of the economy. Our bookings, foundation support and individual support are all down. We are very grateful to the State Arts Council.”
The traveling theater troupe, which was founded 37 years ago in Verona, performs at venues such as the Paper Mill Playhouse and puts on shows and arts in education programs at local schools. This year they are offering a new production called “Let Freedom Ring,” an adaptation of an earlier show called “American Sampler,” along with six other musicals. One of them, “Happily Ever After: A Cinderella Tale,” will be performed at the Paper Mill Playhouse on October 16.
Two Veronans, Executive Director Geoffrey Morris and Set Designer Carol Huber, are on the Pushcart staff. So far, however, no Verona schools have booked the group to perform during the upcoming year. Says Carr: “Sometimes you don’t know what’s in your own backyard.”