Student actor holding a blue ball

Princeton Summer Theater announces its 2023 schedule

Princeton Summer Theater opens its 53rd season with “Pride and Prejudice,” June 15-July 2 in Hamilton Murray Theater. Pictured: Toys and games play their own role in this adaptation — here, Katie Hameetman, Class of 2023, as Mr. Bingley poses with his favorite toy.

From a playful adaptation of a classic Jane Austen novel to an apocalyptic musical to an irreverent dark comedy, Princeton Summer Theater invites audiences to delve into worlds of imagination — and reimagination this year. The season includes three main-stage shows, a workshop reading of a new musical written by Princeton (and Princeton Summer Theater) alumni, as well as the return of the beloved original children’s programming. Performances run June 15-July 30 in Hamilton Murray Theater on the Princeton University campus.

“A common thread that connects our mainstage productions this year is reimagination,” said Eliyana Abraham, the company’s artistic director and a 2023 Princeton graduate. “Whether through Kate Hamill’s witty ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for the audiences of today, or through the tales of four friends whose songs transcend history and space, or through a fiercely adolescent retelling of ‘Macbeth,’ this season reimagines everything — time, place and everything in between.”

The 53rd season of Princeton Summer Theater (PST) opens with “Pride and Prejudice” on Thursday, June 15. This summer’s roster continues with Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet” and Jiehae Park’s “Peerless.”

Deepening a love of theater at Princeton

Eliyana Abraham smiling

Eliyana Abraham, Class of 2023, is the artistic director for the 2023 season of Princeton Summer Theater, a student-run company that presents three plays in six weeks. “A common thread that connects our main-stage productions this year is reimagination,” she said.

Abraham, a neuroscience major who also earned certificates in theater and music theater, brought her passion for theater to Princeton. She was widely involved in the theater community on campus — directing, performing and choreographing for many shows with the Lewis Center for the Arts, and the student-led Princeton University Players, Theatre Intime and Princeton Triangle Club.

She said a highlight of her theatrical experience at Princeton was directing her senior thesis production, “Affecting Expression,” written by fellow Princetonian Eliana Cohen-Orth (who wrote the play as her senior thesis).

In addition to serving as artistic director, she will direct the last show of the PST season, “Peerless.”

Abraham directed and choreographed “Shrek the Musical” last year, a joint production of Theatre Intime and Princeton University Players. She intends to pursue a career in directing, movement and acting.

The story behind the shows

Abraham said the opening production, “Pride and Prejudice,” will be playful and puts a decidedly contemporary spin on the Austen classic.

“It may not be precisely what audiences expect, but it is nonetheless a love letter to Austen’s vivid cast of characters,” she said. “Through its fast-paced tone and wit, and its unique use of toys and games to tell the story, this production will be chaotic, farcical fun, informed by a modern and deeply theatrical sensibility.”

Playwright Kate Hamill is known for adapting classics with strong female characters including “Emma,” “Little Women,” “Mansfield Park,” “Sense and Sensibility,” “The Scarlet Letter” and “Vanity Fair.”

The PST production is directed by Cohen-Orth, Class of 2021, who served as PST's artistic director in 2020 with an entirely virtual season.

"Pride and Prejudice” runs June 15 through July 2.

The season continues with “Ghost Quartet,” which Abraham describes as a genre-defying musical about four souls at the end of the world, featuring a cast of actor-musicians who each sing and play their own instrument.

“A group of spirits gather to recount the many tales which may have led to their end, which was perhaps apocalyptic,” she said. Presented as a song cycle, their interwoven stories span seven centuries, with a murderous sister, a treehouse astronomer, a bear, a subway and the ghost of Thelonious Monk. “I am excited to bring the joy of this music to the PST stage this year,” she added.

“Ghost Quartet” playwright Dave Malloy co-taught a Princeton Atelier course in 2012.

BT Hayes, a 2022 Princeton graduate, will direct the PST production, which runs July 6-16.

Abraham was drawn to “Peerless” — a twist on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” — for itsdarkly comedic and fun script” and the play’s theme, the cut-throat world of college admissions. The plot centers on twins, M and L, ambitious high schoolers who have given up everything to get into The College. When another classmate gets “their” spot instead, they seek darkly comic revenge.

“The script maintains a silly irreverence while unpacking more serious themes like the Asian American experience, female rage, cruelty, life and death,” Abraham said. “The show balances the comedic and the serious in a way that I find particularly exciting and moving.”

Without revealing too many details, Abraham noted: “I think audiences will find this production of ‘Peerless’ to be a rollercoaster that pushes the envelope in its script, performance and design.”

“Peerless” playwright Jiehae Park was a 2016-17 Hodder Fellow at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts, which mounted a workshop production of “Peerless” in 2017. Park returned to the University in spring 2019 to teach intermediate playwriting.

“Peerless” runs July 20-30.

New work and children’s programming

This summer marks the return of PST’s children’s show, this year written by Sam Melton, Class of 2023. “The Woman Who Built the Brooklyn Bridge," a one-act show that tells the story of Emily Roebling, a female engineer who helped complete the Brooklyn Bridge, features fun music, silly characters and audience participation, devised to inspire laughter and get kids interested in engineering. Performances run July 7-30.

The season will close with a workshop reading of a new musical written by PST alums Allison Spann, Class of 2020, and Maeli Goren-Wilson, Class of 2015, based on the novel “We Ride Upon Sticks” by Quan Barry. Performances take place Aug. 4 and 5.

Visit for ticketing and performance information.

  • Two actors on stage

    Paige Allen (left), Class of 2021, as Lizzy Bennet rejects the courting overtures of Mr. Collins, played by Emmie Collins.

  • Actors on stage

    A group scene in "Pride and Prejudice," adapted by Kate Hamill from the Jane Austen novel.

  • Two actors on stage

    Emmie Collins (left) as Miss Bingley works her wiles on Mr. Darcy, played by Malachi Benjamin, Class of 2023.

  • four actors on stage

    From left: Kate Short, Class of 2023, as Jane Bennet; Chloe Webster, Class of 2025, as Charlotte Lucas; Kelly Brosnan as Lydia Bennet; and Paige Allen, Class of 2021, as Lizzy Bennet in a dramatic moment in the Bennet household.

  • costume details of the actors

    Although steeped in period dress, artistic director Eliyana Abraham said this “Pride and Prejudice” will be playful and puts a decidedly contemporary spin on the Austen classic.

  • Four actors on stage

    Emmie Collins (far left) as Mr. Collins extends an offer to the Bennet family: Chloe Webster, Class of 2025, as Mr. Bennet (second from left); Paige Allen, Class of 2021, as Lizzy Bennet; and Nicabec Casido, Class of  2023, as Mrs. Bennet.