Arts and entertainment news, features and event previews from New Jersey.


Originally published: 11/22/2022

(NEWTON, NJ) – The newly formed Alpha Arts Institute at Sussex County Community College will host its first Artist Lecture Series with professional artists in the visual, performing and literary arts as part of its interdisciplinary initiative. Alpha Arts Institute welcomes Broadway actress Charissa Bertels who will share her experiences as a professional artist.

Professor James Jeffreys, Coordinator of the Alpha Arts Lecture Series, will lead the lecture series, which will include a question and answer session following the lecture. The event is free and open to the public. The lecture will take place on Monday, December 5 at 12:30 p.m. at the College’s Performing Arts Center on One College Hill Road in Newton, New Jersey. Before the lecture there will be a master class at 10:30 am. To attend the Master Class or if you have further questions about the lecture series, please contact Jeffreys at [email protected].

Charissa Bertels is a Broadway actress and advocate for new musicals. She has performed on Broadway and at Madison Square Garden a Christmas Story and toured the country in the first national tour If then, with Idina Menzel, La Chanze and Anthony Rapp. As a member of the vocal ensemble for New York City Center Encores’ productions of Gentlemen prefer blondes and lady be good, their work can be heard on subsequent cast recordings, including Megan Hilty and the legendary Tommy Tune. Charissa received rave reviews for starring in her original one-woman musical, My 80 year old friendat the Merrimack Repertory Theater (IRNE Award for Best Solo Performance), the Arizona Theater Company and the Human Race Theater Company (Best Actress in a Musical).

Bertel’s latest collaboration, The uncivils, contains unheard female, non-binary, and BIPOC voices from the American Civil War and received a Special Mention for the 2019 Women in Arts & Media Coalition Collaboration Award. In addition to her own writing and production projects, she is currently a professor at the New York Film Academy’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theater, recently received an MFA from the University of Idaho, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA.

“The Alpha Arts Institute at Sussex County Community College is a new vision taking shape, with plans to host artists and scholars in residency, strengthen our theatrical arts and gallery exhibitions, host an artists’ lecture series and an annual film festival and film festival annual arts festival,” noted Daniel Cosentino, assistant professor and coordinator of visual and performing arts at SCCC and director of the Alpha Arts Institute.

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