Year One

Full Production - 2022
September 9 - 26, 2021

Year One

a new play by Erik Gernand
Directed by John J. Wooten

In Year One, a populist’s rise to power exacerbates mounting political and social divisions. When Anna’s brother Max arrives unexpectedly, harboring a dangerous secret, the family matriarch is forced to choose between embracing a radical new country or saving those she loves.


Kate Kearney-Patch* (Rosemary)
Kevin Loreque* (Max)
Kaitlyn Lunardi (Claudia)
Kathy McCafferty* (Anna)
Eric Phelps* (Peter)

*Appearing through an Agreement between Premiere Stages and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.


Understudies never substitute for listed players unless a specific announcement for the appearance is made at the time of the performance.

Megan Tobias (Claudia, understudy)

Joseph Gottfried (Peter, understudy)


John J. Wooten, Director
Matthew Eggleton, Set Design
Karen Lee Hart, Costume Design
Zack Gage, Lighting Design
Greg Scalera, Sound Design
Jack C. Wooten, Music Consultant
Helen Tewksbury, Props Master
Dale Smallwood, Production Stage Manager
Roe Manzo, Assistant Stage Manager
Dustin Ballard, House Manager


Writing a new play is both exhilarating and terrifying. Staring at that blank page, you truly don’t know where the journey will eventually take you.

It can also be a long process. The initial inklings that would eventually become Year One—early research, character work, the germ of the idea—began in 2011. I’m grateful for the opportunity to now have the play’s world premiere with this production.

If you happened to attend the virtual reading of this play with Premiere Stages in March, you were hearing it out loud at the same time I also heard it aloud with actors for the first time. It was an incredible gift to have life breathed into these characters who had only been in my head for years. It gave me exactly what I needed to dig back into revisions.

I’m writing this statement in the middle of the rehearsal process, still making discoveries about these characters and the world they inhabit. Entire scenes are being reshuffled, moments added and cut, the narrative arc being refined. Working with the play’s director, John Wooten, the play’s climax was recrafted sitting at the dining room table on set, hearing Kathy and Eric, the actors who play Anna and Peter, read it over and over until we discovered a version that seemed to flow naturally. This development is invaluable.

The script you’re seeing performed today is because of the numerous theatre artists who contributed their time, talent, and expertise to nurture it. Premiere Stages, and theatres that support new work, offer a critical resource for writers like me because they take chances on unknown, untested plays and give them the tools they need to come into fruition.

Thank you for supporting new plays along this journey.

Erik Gernand

Dear Friends,

We’re back!

Erik’s important and poignant play is the perfect piece to bring live indoor performances back to Premiere Stages at Kean. While our outdoor and virtual performances have been both successful and rewarding, there is nothing like sharing the magic of being inside a theatre.

Since the pandemic took hold 19 months ago, we have worked diligently to continue our mission and have remained vigilant in our commitment to new plays, emerging artists and you, our valued patrons. Year One is just the beginning of a year of outstanding plays at Premiere Stages. After producing the first Premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s first play, Follow Me to Nellie’s in 2011 and the NJ Premiere of her play Skeleton Crew in 2016, we are pleased to announce that we will be producing the NJ Premiere of her play Mud Row in July.  2022 will also include Premieres of two excellent new plays, Scab by Gino Diiorio, a 2020 Play Festival Finalist; and Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family by Tylie Shider, our 2021/22 Liberty Live Commission. For a sneak peek of Tylie’s play, be sure to join us for the Staged Reading next month in Kean’s Liberty Hall Academic Center.

Our commitment to high artistic quality is important; our commitment to the safety of our audiences and artists is paramount. So please follow the protocols in place. 

Thank you! And welcome back!

John J. Wooten
Director/Producing Artistic Director

Matthew Eggleton (Scenic Design/Technical Director) has been a Technical Director and Production Manager for regional theatres such as ACT Theatre in Seattle, and The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey as well as touring with Mark Morris Dance Group, Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane, The Collective Unconscious, and the First National Tour of Parade. He’s honored to have the opportunity to design and TD this show and to be working with such a dedicated and talented group of artists.

Zack Gage (Lighting Designer/ATD) With a BFA for Lighting Design from Kean University, Zack has designed multiple shows with Premiere Stages, including: My Lord What A Night, Black Tom Island, and Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It!. He works as a freelancer across the tri-state area designing for straight plays, musicals, and concerts at various venues. In addition to his work as a lighting designer, he is also the Assistant Technical Director for Premiere Stages and Kean University Theatre Conservatory.

Karen Lee Hart (Costume Design) is an Associate Professor of Theatrical Design for the Kean Theatre Conservatory and a freelance designer. Her designs have been seen in regional and off-Broadway, national tours, HBO as well as the White House Rose Garden, the Kennedy Center Awards, the UN in Geneva, the Grand Theatre in Shanghai, and Kean’s award-winning film Liberty Hall 360. She received the 2006 National Kennedy Center Faculty Design Fellowship for Costume Design. She has designed over 20 productions for Premiere Stages.

Greg Scalera (Sound Design) is an alumnus of the Kean University Theatre Conservatory. His sound design credits include more than 25 professional productions with Premiere Stages, Dreamcatcher Repertory, Alliance Repertory Theater, The Theater Project, The Growing Stage, and more. He is a published songwriter and touring musician, and he currently serves as the artistic director of Bullet Theatre Collaborative and the host of Fantasy Fanline, an independent fantasy football call-in show.

Helen Tewksbury (Props Master) This is Helen’s 6th season as Props Master with Premiere Stages.  Helen has been a professional Props Master, Artisan, and Fine Artist in NJ for 12 years.  She has worked throughout the country with The George St. Playhouse, The Paper Mill Playhouse, The State Theater, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Echo Valley Arts in Vermont, and The Ohio Valley Summer Theatre. Her fine art has been sold at auction to benefit local non-profit theater.  She is a proud member of IATSE Local 21. 

Dale Smallwood (Production Stage Manager) Previous productions for Premiere Stages include last fall’s Fannie Lou Hammer, Speak on It!  among many others since 2005. Other stage management credits include the New Visions/New Voices festivals, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Caucasian Chalk Circle and Stage Door (New School for Drama); Master Class, High Spirits, A Noon Day Sun, and Barnum (TheatreFest); The Tempest (Shakespeare on the Sound); Suspense (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival) and over 30 productions with the former Pearl Theatre Company in NYC.  She has also worked numerous special events in venues such as NJPAC, Avery Fisher, PNC Bank Arts Center, Union County Performing Arts Center and Prudential Center and also works closely with The Riverdale Children’s Theatre in Riverdale, NY in a variety of roles. 

Roe Manzo (Assistant Stage Manager) Off-Broadway: New York Classical Theatre: (Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear); Regional: Brick City, Yasmina’s Necklace (Premiere Stages); Murder at Mt. Hope Mansion (Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire); Regrettably, The Ghost Previously Haunting Our Mansion Has Died, Bhutan, The Texas Homecoming Revolution of 1995 (Stella Adler/NYU). Educational: Anna in the Tropics (Kean Theatre Series). BFA, and proud alumni, from Kean Theatre Conservatory. Love to my parents, friends, and Meg for all their constant support.

Dustin Ballard (House Manager) is an alumnus of the Kean Theatre BFA program. He was the 2009 Region II Winner and National Finalist for the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. He has been on stage with Premiere Stages, Two River Theatre, and at Lincoln Center. He is a Teaching Artist for George Street Playhouse and McCarter Theatre Center. And he is the co-creator and co-host of the acclaimed outdoors podcast Gaze at the National Parks

David Barber (Scenic Painter/Advisor) Off-Broadway: Signature Theatre, Women’s Project, Classic Stage Co., Red Bull, others.  Regional: South Coast Rep, Denver Center, Hartford Stage, Baltimore CENTERSTAGE,  ART, Pittsburgh Public, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Cleveland Public, Alabama Shakespeare, Two River, Barrington Stage, Idaho Shakespeare, Jacobs Pillow, many others. Television: E! Network, the TODAY Show, Football Night (Art Director) Film: It’s All Relative, Day 39 (Production and Costume Designer)  Awards: Drama Desk, Henry Hewes, others. Faculty – Kean University Theatre Conservatory.

Liz Polley (Costume Shop Manager)  received her MFA from the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music in Costume Design and Technology and Bachelor of Arts from Albright College in Theatre & Fashion.  She is thrilled to join the Kean University Theatre Conservatory and Premiere Stages teams as the Costume Shop Manager.  Most recently, she worked as an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  Her prior work credits include The Phoenix Theatre Company, The Shakespeare Theatre, The Glimmerglass Festival, and Surflight Theatre.

B Reeves (Wardrobe Supervisor) is thankful to be joining this production for her first backstage role since March 2020. B lives in NYC and is currently stitching for Radio City Hall during the day. B would like to thank Elizabeth Polley, whom she worked with in Arizona, for giving her this opportunity to be backstage again. She would also like to thank her parents, Jim and Roxann, and her partner, Seth, for their continued support. 

Sabrina Garland-Sash (Marketing/Box Office Intern) received her Bachelor’s in Theatre Arts with a Concentration in Acting from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is currently pursuing her MBA in Marketing at FDU. She is thrilled to be a part of the Premiere Stages’ team and is excited to be staging live theatre again.

Tisa Harriott (Artistic/Literary Intern) received her BA in Theatre Arts from Kean University. She is a member of the National Council of Negro Women and Alpha Psi Omega. Her recent performances include Smokey Joe’s Cafe directed by Jelani Remy, The Misadventures of Romeo and Juliet directed by Rick Sordelet, and Sister Act.

Morgan Hope (Run Crew) is a recent college graduate from Kean University, where she earned her BFA in Theatre Performance. She assistant-stage-managed In the Next Room; Or the Vibrator Play at Dragonfly Multicultural Arts. Recent performance credits include Appointment at 3 (Amy), Twelfth Night (Sebastian), and Sister Act (Martin of Tours/Dance Captain). Morgan is also a new Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) with this production and couldn’t be more thrilled. Enjoy the show!

Kaden Reuter (Run Crew) is pursuing a BFA in Theatre Design & Technology with a Fine Arts minor at Kean University. Through Equity Through Design Mentorship, they’re currently in a professional mentorship with the production designer of Sesame Street. Regional theatre: Year One (Run Crew). Collegiate credits: Sister Act (Asst. Production Designer), …Gone (Props Master), An Octoroon (Asst. Props Master), Anna in the Tropics (Asst. Scenic Designer), and Sunday in the Park with George (Asst. Scenic Designer).

Nicole Schwarz (Production Assistant) is currently a student at Kean University majoring in BFA Theatre Design and Technology (lighting and sound design concentration) and BA Theatre with Teacher Certification. She works as a Scene Shop Assistant for Kean University. She interned with Premiere Stages and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival and has worked with other companies like Plays-in-the-Park. She is very excited to be once again working with Premiere Stages.

Christina Hoffman (Director of Marketing & Audience Development) joined Premiere Stages and Kean Stage in March 2020 after helping to open The Avenel Performing Arts Center (APAC) in Avenel, NJ in Spring 2019. As Marketing Manager of APAC, Christina oversaw the marketing for over 200 performances in the performing arts center’s inaugural season. Prior to APAC, Christina worked at TheaterworksUSA, for seven years, first in the marketing and sales department before getting promoted to General Manager. She is a graduate of New York University’s Performing Arts Administration Graduate Program (class of 2011) and William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.

Nick Gandiello (Education & Play Festival Manager) has worked around the country as a playwright and teaching artist. His plays include The Blameless (The Old Globe), The Wedge Horse (Fault Line Theatre), Oceanside (Merrimack Repertory Theatre), and Cicada (Roe Green Award Winner). He was the 2015 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow, is an alum of the Lark Rita Goldberg Playwriting Workshop and the Ars Nova Play Group, the recipient of an MTC/Sloan Commission, and was awarded Marin Theatre Company’s David Calicchio Emerging American Playwriting Award for Sunrise Highway. Gandiello was the Literary Manager at Young Playwrights Inc., taught playwriting at Marymount Manhattan College, and is the head of the Dramatic Writing Division at Broadway For All   |  MFA, New School for Drama.

Jennifer Milone-Clapp (Box Office & Front of House Supervisor) holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Kean University, where she volunteered with many charitable organizations including Sigma Beta Chi. Jennifer developed her passion for human rights further by interning with the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) during her senior year. Upon graduation, Jennifer continued to work for Kean Stage and was soon promoted to House Operations/Box Office Manager where she is responsible for overseeing all of Kean Stage’s Front of House and Box Office.

Yadira Hernandez Naranjo (Marketing Associate) has been part of the Kean Stage and Premiere Stages family since her undergraduate years at Kean University. She holds a BA in Art History and various certificates in graphic design and front-end development. Her love for the arts propelled her to experience myriad fields, from being an usher, a box office clerk and coordinator to an Exhibitions Associate at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Now you can find her coding and designing to bring the magic of the performing arts to the small screens.

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