Wednesday, July 26, 2023

BLACK LIVES/BLUE LIVES July 31-Aug 1, THE THEATER PROJECT at the Burgdorff Center, Maplewood, NJ






WHENtwo performances, 7:30pm, Monday, July 31 and Tuesday, Aug 1
 Burgdorff Center, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ
TICKETS: Tickets for the performance and facilitated discussion are $20.


“Courageously open and respectful dialogue”


Confronts Race and Policing in Dueling One-Acts

  Powerful Drama Examines Painful Issue

The Theater Project (, a leading incubator for rising talent and a showcase for New Jersey artists, will be offering the thought-provoking interactive program, Black Lives/Blue Lives at 7:30pm, Monday and Tuesday, July 31 and August 1. 

The two short interlocking plays were written by two accomplished screenwriters: Black Lives: What I Know was written by Los Angeles-based, Emmy-nominated writer Steve Harper, whose credits include the ABC series American Crime, and the TNT drama Tell Me Your Secrets, while Blue Lives was adapted from Adam Plantinga’s acclaimed non-fiction book, 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman, by New Jersey novelist, playwright and screenwriter Bill Mesce, Jr. The piece is directed by Will Budnikov.

“The Theater Project has a history of choosing material that asks us to consider difficult issues,” says company artistic director Mark Spina. “We want to demonstrate theater’s potential as a safe space for thoughtful discussion and community problem solving.”

The audience conversations that follow the two monologues are facilitated by retired Theater Project Executive Producer Daaimah Talley, and Dr. Sara Compion, director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies at Kean University. “There is power in courageously open and respectful dialogue,” says Dr. Compion. “It builds social trust and harmony amongst divided groups. The Black Lives/Blue Lives production offers a venue for this kind of important conversation.” The program has been offered to schools and organizations around the state for the last two years, thanks in part to grants from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

Black Lives/Blue Lives is made possible by a grant from The Puffin Foundation. The program is part of The Theater Project’s Summer Theater Festival at the Burgdorff Cultural Center in Maplewood, NJ, made possible in part by grants from the Essex County Local Arts Program, the Princeton Community Foundation, and many private and corporate donors, such as Ms. Stephanie Fein.

For further information on The Theater Project, a Union Township-based 501(c)3 non-profit, professional theater producing off-Broadway quality shows for New Jersey audiences, or for tickets to Black Lives/Blue Lives, visit or call 908-809-8865.

Courageous conversations encouraged at BLACK LIVES/BLUE LIVES: Top: Actors CK Allen, Gary Martins; playwright Steve Harper. Bottom: Playwright Bill Mesce, Jr; discussants Dr. Sara Compion, Daaimah Talley