MADISON, NJ – Summer is long gone, and autumn is getting colder. In the borough of Madison, many fun events were canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the annual Bottle Hill Day and much-loved METC/DDC Downtown Concert Series.
However, on September 25th, a new kind of celebration was kicked off for the next few Fridays, on Waverly Place. This new fall festival, occurring on every Friday until November 6th, will feature a variety of free public entertainment for all Madison residents who felt robbed of their summer, staying indoors.
The festival was organized by the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance (MACA), the Downtown Development Commission (DDC), and the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce (MACC), with sponsorship by Coldwell Banker Realty.
“This is Madison showing its support for the arts,” said Eric Hafen, MACA director of arts and events.
For the first show of the first Friday, attendants were treated a Broadway cabaret-style performance by singers from Work of Art Productions, based in Madison. From the ages of 14 to 21, these talented singers sang originals to classic songs from the best-known musicals.
“This district is only four-square miles but within is borders, it has every discipline represented. We want to relieve the stress of the rotavirus through the arts. This is basically an extension of some of the summer events we’ve been able to have,” said Madison Councilman John Hoover. “It’s great that they’re doing this. It’s a way to get people outside and into community. I know everyone will respond well to this.”
And indeed, the Madison crowd, amounting to about 100 people, found this new fall festival a great venue to enjoy the fresh air, great food from local restaurants and the musical entertainment of that evening.
“This is why I come to Madison a lot,” said Harding resident Walter Ness, whose children had attended Madison High School. “I like to come down and hear the music. This is local entertainment that I love.”
As the music played, spectators also walked around downtown Madison, enjoying various restaurants and eateries that opened their doors for both indoor and outdoor dining and takeout. Though everyone was wearing face masks, and keeping their chairs and tables six feet apart, it almost felt like some things were back to normal.
“We are so grateful and it just all works out fine,” said Nicole Lippey, founder/director of Work of Art Productions. “People need this more than ever. All of our shows over the last six months have been cancelled so we are happy to have this platform, not only for their talents, but for their mental health.”
Work of Art Productions is a nonprofit, educational program for high school and college artists who learn about musical theatre and other various artistic expression.
Going into next month, the Fall Back Into the Arts Festival will continue with its Friday schedule…
- -October 2nd, Half Step Down
- -October 9th, Stand-Up Comedy
- -October 16th, Renaissance Jazz Band & Swing Dancers
- -October 23rd, GVRL
- -October 30th, Work of Heart Children’s Interactive “Wizard of Oz” and MMA/MHS Musical Theater Students
- -November 6th, The Thorns
And already, no one can wait for next Friday on Waverly Place.
“The evening was well-received and applauded by so many who were there,” said Hafen. “Many positive comments as the guests left. I hope the audience will continue to grow to support both the arts and the downtown. The community should know that it can lean on the arts for some needed pleasurable relief.”
To learn more about the Work of Art Productions, visit their website at https://www.workofheartproductions.com/.