News from the Arts

March 2022 • Princeton Public Schools

Welcome to News from the Arts

The Princeton Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts department is pleased to share an electronic newsletter with information about recent and upcoming events. We are grateful for the tremendous community support for our programs and invite you to attend our many events so that you may experience the incredible and inspiring work of our students. If the cost of admission would present a financial hardship for your family, please contact us at For more information, please visit our website at:

Updated Arts Health Protocols

As artist-educators, we are committed to moving our students forward in creative ways, helping them to navigate challenges and to seek new opportunities. We know the power of the arts to help students to think, feel, and experience in different ways, beyond the limits of language. We recently saw evidence of this work in two major events, our district collaborative art show and our gospel festival. Students grew as artists and as people throughout these experiences. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize our arts teachers across the district, who have given countless hours and tremendous effort to ensure that your children continue to have a positive and meaningful experience in the visual and performing arts.

Based on the decreased level of community transmission in our area, the high vaccination rate of our population, and the transition away from mandated masking in Princeton Public Schools, we are recommending the following changes to our arts protocols, effective March 7, 2022. Masks, including special face masks and instrument bell covers, will be optional for all students and faculty. In addition, masks will be optional for all audiences attending our live performances and art exhibitions. Masking will still be encouraged by the district, especially for vulnerable and at-risk students. Furthermore, each family can make their own decision about masking, and we will ensure that this choice is honored and respected in our arts program. We will continue to require physical distancing, with a goal of six feet when that is practicable. Three feet of physical distance will be required between all students during arts activities, similar to other classrooms. Audiences will also maintain three feet of physical distance between household units; this results in approximately 50% capacity in our performance venues. Teachers and instructional assistants will maintain six feet of physical distance from students. During periods of elevated community transmission, we will re-evaluate these changes with our local health officials. Planning will continue for a full range of in-person activities in the spring, including concerts, plays, art shows, and field trips.

Our complete arts plan can be found on our district website. Please feel free to contact Patrick Lenihan if you have any questions. Thank you for your continued support of our arts program.

District Collaborative Art Show 2022

On February 25, we presented a District Collaborative Art Show, "WE ARE...Princeton Public Schools." Students and families gathered in Princeton High School's Numina Gallery to celebrate student artwork from all six schools based on the theme of "self-portraiture/identity/community." A special thank you to our district visual art teachers for all of their efforts in making this event happen: Jennifer Shea (CP), Linda Gates (JP), Colleen Dell (LB), Abigail Cohen (RS), Brittany Bialek (PMS), Angela Carbone (PMS), Judy Buckley (PHS), Matthew Pembleton (PHS), and Bridget Schmidt (PHS).

A Spirituals and Gospel Festival

The PPS African-American History Month Celebration was proud to present a Spirituals and Gospel Festival on March 4. The District invited Dr. Raymond Wise, choral conductor, composer, and educator, to work with students across the district during the week of February 28, presenting assemblies at each school. The week culminated in a performance featuring Dr. Wise and all of the PHS choirs on Friday, March 4, 2022, in the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center. Congratulations to all of the choir students and directors Vincent Metallo and Sarah Pelletier for an incredibly moving experience for all of us.

Mr. Pembleton Presents at NAEA National Conference

Matthew Pembleton, Visual Art and AP Art History Teacher at Princeton High School, was invited by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) to present a workshop at their 2022 National Convention in New York City. His workshop, "Considering Hip-Hop Pedagogy and New Media Literacy with Hamilton, Kehinde Wiley, and The Carters," which was also the subject of his graduate thesis, was well-received by art educators from around the country. Congratulations to Mr. Pembleton on this exceptional honor!

PHS Drama Students Participate in Virtual Theatre Arts State Competition

PHS drama students participated in the virtual STANJ competition for theatre arts in January and February. We submitted 53 performances to the competition in 15 different theatre categories. At the awards ceremony on February 11, the following results were announced:
  • Sebastian Bongiovi and Zoe Nuland, 5th Place in the Dramatic Pairs category.
  • Elliot Becker Peeler and Lydia Garcia, 4th Place in the Dramatic Pairs category.
  • Lena Hamilton and Noa Zacks, Finalists in the Comedic Pairs category.
  • Graham Beers and Anton Edson, 4th Place in the Improvisational Pairs category.
  • Lydia Garcia and Pippi White, Finalists in the Improvisational Pairs category.
  • Lydia Garcia, 4th Place in the Dramatic Monologue category.
  • Avery Dixon, Finalist in the Dramatic Monologue category.
  • Sebastian Bongiovi, 2nd Place in the Comedic Monologue category.
  • Adithi Chellappan, Finalist in the Comedic Monologue category.
  • Bianca Orostizaga, Finalist in the Musical Solo category.
  • Edward Cao and Anika Hadap, Finalists in the Musical Pairs category.
  • Julia Hill, 1st Place in the VSA Monologue category. Julia will represent PHS at the NJ Governor’s Awards Ceremony in May.
  • Graham Beers and Pippi White, 1st Place in the Pantomime Pairs category.

We had 41 students on our PHS competition team, and everyone performed excellent work. Congratulations to all of the students who represented Princeton High School and drama director Julianna Krawiecki!

PHS Spectacle Theatre Spring Musical

PHS Spectacle Theatre proudly presents

Curtains, School Edition

on March 24, 25, and 26, 2022!

"It’s the brassy, bright, and promising year of 1959. Boston’s Colonial Theatre is host to the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on stage, the entire cast and crew are suspects. Enter a local detective, who just happens to be a musical theatre fan! Packed with glorious tunes and a witty, charming script filled with delightful characters, Curtains is a hilarious journey for both performers and the audience." (TRW)

Due to the limited audience capacity, tickets will go on sale for families of students involved in the production first. Ticket sales will open to the public on Monday, March 14. Tickets will be available on our Ludus webpage and are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors. The show is double-cast, and each cast performs two shows.

Thursday, March 24 at 7:30 PM (Red Cast)

Friday, March 25 at 7:30 PM (Blue Cast)

Saturday, March 26 at 1:30 PM (Blue Cast)

Saturday, March 26 at 7:30 PM (Red Cast)

All performances will be live in the Princeton High School Performing Arts Center Auditorium. The production features the work of approximately 150 PHS students, including actors from across the school, instrumentalists from our orchestra program, artists from our visual art program, and members of the PHS Tech Crew.

PMS Spring Musical

Princeton Middle School Presents

Disney's High School Musical, Jr.

It’s the first day after winter break at East High. The Jocks, Brainiacs, Thespians, and Skater Dudes all find their cliques. Basketball team captain and resident jock, Troy, discovers that the brainy Gabriella, a girl he met singing karaoke on his ski trip, has just enrolled at East High. The couple cause an upheaval when they decide to audition for the high school musical. Although many students resent the threat posed to the “status quo,” Troy and Gabriella’s alliance might just open the door for others to shine as well.

BLUE CAST on Friday, April 1, 2022, at 7:30 PM

GOLD CAST on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at 7:30 PM

The shows will be virtually streamed for your viewing enjoyment with family and friends. Tickets are now available for $10.00 each at the ShowTix4U website. Enjoy the show!

Contact Us

Patrick Lenihan, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts

Princeton Public Schools

Our next electronic arts newsletter will be distributed in late April and will include additional details about our upcoming events.