Since it was established in 2007, the Lewis Center for the Arts has supported partnerships with, among others, the Department of African American Studies, the School of Architecture, the Department of Art and Archaeology, the Carl Fields Center, Communiversity, the Humanities Council, the School of Engineering, the Princeton Environmental Institute, Forbes College, the Program in Hellenic Studies, L’Avant-Scene (Department of French and Italian), the Department of Music, the Department of Physics, the Princeton University Art Museum, and McCarter Theatre Center, as well a many student groups. Here are a few highlights:
Der Bourgeois Bigwig
The Lewis Center and the Department of Music collaborated to present the world premiere of Der Bourgeois Bigwig, a new adaptation by James Magruder of the Molière comedy Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme written to complement Richard Strauss’ well-known orchestral suite and incidental music from 1912. Tim Vasen, director of the Program in Theater, and Michael Pratt, director of the Program in Musical Performance, joined together with the idea to unite the now-famous music with a new script, and commissioned Magruder to pen the new version based on Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss’ Der Bürger als Edelmann, which was itself an early twentieth-century musical adaptation of Molière’s seventeenth-century comédie-ballets. The production brought together some forty-two musicians, fourteen actors, and many other student and faculty contributors to give the new play its world premiere at the Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center in November 2012.
“Memory and the Work of Art”
In 2011, The Lewis Center for the Arts partnered with the Princeton University Art Museum, the Princeton University Council of the Humanities, the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, and the Princeton Departments of Psychology and Molecular Biology and 10 other community and university collaborators to present a series of exhibitions, concerts, performances, readings and lectures to mark the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. These presentations, across greatly varied disciplines, sought to address the same question: how do the arts shape our collective memory of the past, and how does art decipher loss and inform our experience of global events? Presentations ranged from neuroscience lectures to theatrical performances and musical concerts to guest speakers from a host of disciplines, most of which were free and open to the community. In total, the partnership resulted in over 30 special events in commemoration of this national tragedy and in exploration of this humanitarian and scientific question.
Seuls en Scène – Princeton French Theater Festival
Each September, the Lewis Center, the Department of French and Italian, and the student theater troupe L’Avant-Scène present the Princeton French Theater Festival, which brings a new generation of French actors and directors to the University and local community, creating exciting opportunities for both audiences and student performers alike. These performers bring productions ranging from historical to autobiographical, all offering a distinctly French theatrical performance idiom, and all performed in their original French. These performances are often supplemented by workshops taught by the artists, available for students in the Program in Theater and Department of French and Italian, and other opportunities to learn and gain exposure to this wonderful and unique theatrical culture. Additional support is provided by Cultural Services of the French Embassy.