Casting is announced for Premiere Stages’ ‘Still’

Atmospheric Still artwork

UNION, NJ — Premiere Stages at Kean University will present the premiere production of “Still,” by Benjamin V. Marshall, the recipient of the 2023/24 Liberty Live Commission, from Thursday, July 11, to Sunday, July 28, in Kean University’s Bauer Boucher Theatre Center, Vaughn Eames Hall, 1000 Morris Ave., Union. Directed by Marshall Jones III, “Still” will feature actors Ashley Nicole Baptiste, D. Malik Beckford, Brian D. Coats, Perri Gaffney, Carl Hendrick Louis and Nafeesa Monroe.

In this new play based on true events in 1850s New Jersey, Peter has arrived at an abolitionist office seeking help from its director, William, a black leader in the Underground Railroad. As the two men learn more about each other’s lives, they realize their vastly different pasts will lead them to a deeply connected future.
“When I first read about the life of William Still, I was not only struck by the power of his story but also the deeply dramatic encounter with a man coming to him for help ” said John J. Wooten, Premiere Stages producing artistic director. “Ben’s moving and thought-provoking play provides an important study about one of New Jersey’s most consequential figures.”

Marshall’s plays include “Absolutions and Paradise,” “Boom Box,” “Buenas Smooches Piscataway NJ,” “Carlos and LaVonne,” “Corn Bread with Raisins and Almonds,” “Five Husbands,” “Henry’s Bridge,” “Dad’s Vision,” “Galilee House,” “A Goat on the Balcony,” “Purchasing Power,” “The Red Train Café” and “Homestar.” His work has been performed and developed at the HBO New Writers Workshop, WBEZ Chicago Public Radio, Theatre for the New City in NYC, Luna Stage, Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Interact Theatre in Philadelphia, The Warner’s International Playwrights, The Berrie Center, The National Playwrights Symposium at Cape May and the Kennedy Center.

Jones directed the developmental workshop of “Still” in November 2023. Prior to the workshop, he directed the New Jersey premiere of Dominique Morriseau’s “Mud Row” in Premiere Stages’ 2022 season. Jones serves as the associate dean for Equity at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. For 13 years – from 2007 to 2019 – he was the producing artistic director for the Tony Award-winning Crossroads Theatre Company where he directed several shows including the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center’s inaugural production – “Paul Robeson.” He was also the replacement director for the 2018 play with music “Little Rock,” which was a NY Times Critic Pick. Marshall proudly serves as the president of the NJ Theatre Alliance and is a 2020 inductee in the Rutgers African-American Hall of Fame.

The accomplished cast includes Ashley Nicole Baptiste, whose theater credits include “Chicken & Biscuits,” by Crossroads Theatre Company, and “Mud Row,” by Premiere Stages; D. Malik Beckford, an educator and director whose acting credits include “Blue Bloods,” CBS; Brian D. Coats, whose theater credits include “Gem of the Ocean,” currently running at Two River Theater in Red Bank, and “Jitney,” Manhattan Theatre Club/US Tour; Perri Gaffney, whose theater credits include “STAFF MEAL” by Playwrights Horizons, and “Shadow/Land,” by The Public Theater; Carl Hendrick Louis, whose theater credits include Broadway’s “1984” and “The Cherry Orchard”; and Nafeesa Monroe, whose acting credits include “Manifest,” on Netflix, and “Madam Secretary,” CBS.

Understudies for the production are Kean Theatre Conservatory alum Lucien Edme and current Kean Theatre Conservatory student Nijah Muhammad.

The professional design team includes set designer David Barber, costume designer Ali Turns, lighting designer Zack Gage, projection designer Taj Rauch, sound designer David Wright, hair and make-up designer Rachelle Dorce, mask designer Marlon Campbell and props master Jennifer Bonilla. Casting is by Stephanie Klapper. Dale Smallwood is the production stage manager.

Still runs from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 28, in the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center on the Kean University main campus in Union. The performance schedule is Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays, July 18 and 25, at 1:30 p.m.; Fridays, at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, at 3 and 8 p.m.; and Sundays, at 3 p.m.

Celebrate Premiere Stages’ 19th Season at the opening night of “Still,” on Friday, July 12. Join Premiere Stages for a pre-show cocktail party with live music at the Liberty Hall Museum in Union, across the street from Kean University’s main campus. Step back in time with a guided candlelight tour of Liberty Hall before heading to the Bauer Boucher Theatre Center for the show. Following the performance, mingle with the cast in the theater lobby while enjoying champagne and dessert.

Tickets for the Opening Night of “Still” are $100. Tickets for all other performances are $35 standard, $25 for senior citizens and Kean alumni and staff, $20 for patrons with disabilities and $15 for students. Significant discounts for groups of ten or more apply. To purchase tickets, call the box office at 908-737-7469 or visit

Photo Courtesy of Yadira Hernandez