Trenton’s Passage Theatre Company Brings “Janet Wide Awake: The Hedgepeth-Williams Dream” to the Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations, LLC
photo by David Lee White

Passage Theatre Company is proud to announce the premiere of their newest theatre for families and young audiences (production appropriate for ages 10+).  Janet Wide Awake: The Hedgepeth-Williams Dream is an original play written by David Lee White, Richard Bradford, and students at the Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School of the Arts. It tells the true story of Gladys Hedgepth and Berline Williams and their fight for racial equality at the Trenton school formerly known as Junior High No. 2.  Performances run March 31 through April 3 at the Hedgepeth-Williams School, located at 301 Gladstone Ave, Trenton.

“At Passage, we believe that theatre has the power to transform its participants; to inspire understanding of the rich diversity of the human experience; and to serve as a passage between our own lives and the empathy we can feel for others,” notes Artistic Director C. Ryanne Domingues.  “Our upcoming production of Janet Wide Awake is a perfect example of how we put our mission to action.  This production is a shared experience that we can carry into the world and use as a catalyst for inclusive conversation, connection, and change in our community.”

In the 1940s, Gladys Hedgepeth and Berline Williams challenged the Trenton school formerly known as Junior High No. 2 and its policy of segregation after their children were not admitted due to their race.  After a historic legal battle, the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down the widespread practice of segregation in New Jersey public schools. Written and performed by both theatre professionals and students from Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School of the Arts, Janet Wide Awake shares Trenton’s local history with the next generation and shows audiences what can happen when one stands up for what’s right.

The cast features Richard Bradford, Johanna Tolentino, and Monah Yancy, along with 17 students from the Hedgepeth-Williams Middle School of the Arts.  The show is directed by Andrew Binger.  After each performance, there will be a talkback with the artists where audience members can ask questions and engage with the material. These talkbacks are moderated by a nonprofit professional from the community who has in-depth knowledge regarding the topics explored in Janet Wide Awake.

Tickets are $25 adults, $5 for children, and are available at https://www.passagetheatre.org/janet-wide-awake.

This event is part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance 2022 Stages Festival, made possible by support from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; Bank of America; The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey; OceanFirst Foundation; New Jersey Historical Commission. www.njtheatrealliance.org/stages

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