This Weekend: Play Premiere by NJCU Alumna at Hackensack PAC


Flyer for The Wickham Way. Photo courtesy of Ladutke.

Haresh Oudhnarine

An NJCU alumna is producing a play this weekend at the Hackensack Performing Arts Center in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Rachel Rubin Ladutke, who wrote and will be in one of the starring roles of her play The Wickham Way, received a master’s degree in early childhood education from NJCU in 2013. Ladutke also has a master’s degree in theater from Hunter College.

The play will follow an up-and-coming folk singer named Liza Cooper who fled her life in Wickham, Vermont after a traumatic experience ten years prior.

“She vowed never to return…until an important occasion demands her presence,” reads the description of the play. “Over the course of an emotionally fraught weekend, Liza wrestles to come to terms with her past, in the form of her estranged childhood best friend, Charlie, and makes significant choices about her future with Marti [her girlfriend].”

Ladutke said she has always been interested in theater.

“I always wanted to be a teacher but I also always wanted to work in theater,” said Ladutke. “I started writing plays when I was in college, towards the later part of college, but I really wasn’t very good at it yet. So I did directing, I did a little bit of acting.

Something that motivated Ladutke during the COVID-19 pandemic to return to playwriting was Zoom theater.

“I’ve met all these amazing theater practitioners on Zoom and I work with amazing actors from all over the country on all kinds of stuff,” Ladutke said. “I also have a local community now of people that really love my work and will do anything with me, and I’m so blessed.

“Zoom theater has been a godsend for me in that regard.”

Before pursuing her master’s in teaching at NJCU, she worked as a legal secretary/paralegal because it was the best opportunity at the time.

Laudutke said that her play The Wickham Way stemmed from her visits to New England, Vermont with her husband. She said that she was particularly inspired by the folk music scene there.

Not only did Ladutke write the play, but she will be in the second lead role. She said she was not originally going to act in her play, but the actor in that role had to step away due to health concerns.

In advice for NJCU students looking to pursue theater and playwriting, Ladutke said to get involved with a theater group, even if it’s just to help with painting to set.

“Soak up the atmosphere,” she said. “Just start writing and know that you’re doing it for yourself first. Know what you want to say and find your own voice. I didn’t take a playwriting class until I found my own voice.”

The Wickham Way is sponsored by the Teaneck New Theatre. There will be four shows from August 19 to 21:

Friday, 8/19 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, 8/20 at 2 p.m. (This showing will be followed by a “talk back” with members of the cast and creative team.)
Saturday, 8/20 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, 8/21 at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here.

SNEAK PEEK ALERT…A few snaps from last night’s tech rehearsal!

Posted by The Wickham Way presented by Teaneck New Theatre on Wednesday, August 17, 2022