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The SmartTalk Series

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SmartTalk series held at State Theatre features Jane Goodall
January 15, 2012

For more than a decade, the SmartTalk Connected Conversations series has brought entertaining and inspirational personal stories to audiences in the heart of New Brunswick, and that work is set to continue this week with the start of its 2012 season.

Held at the State Theatre, 15 Livingston Ave., the woman-oriented series’ run of New Brunswick dates kicks off on Monday, Jan. 16, with “Making a Difference: An Evening with Dr. Jane Goodall,” a United Nations Messenger of Peace and founder of the Jane Goodall Institute.

Based out of Tampa, Fla., the SmartTalk series has been connecting women with speakers in theatrical settings since 1991. Along with the New Brunswick, the 2012 season will include dates in Cincinnati, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; and Wilmington, Del.

Series coordinator Stacey Sanchez said Goodall is making a welcome return after being a hit with the series in 2011.

“We had (Goodall) last season as well, and everybody was amazed and happy, and that’s why actually we brought her back to the other markets where she didn’t get to go last season,” Sanchez said.

Wrapping up the 2012 series on May 22 will be film star Sigourney Weaver, a three-time Academy Award nominee who appeared in “Avatar” (2009), “You Again” (2010) and “Paul” (2011).

In between Goodall and Weaver, the State Theatre will welcome Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile on Feb. 28, “Under the Tuscan Sun” author and cook Frances Mayes on March 27, and athlete, actress and singer Cathy Rigby on April 18.

Single ticket prices range from $25 to $75, with a discount available to anyone who purchases tickets to three events in the series or for subscriber tickets available for all five events.

Sanchez said the SmartTalk series works to provide a diverse group of speakers all season.

“We know that women have different interests, from politicians to actress to authors, so we always try to have a main star, someone that they’re familiar with, and then we go with the authors or women that maybe they haven’t heard so much about.

“We find from the feedback that we get from our women patrons they’re really more interested in getting a story than getting to a main (star), like Goldie Hawn or Bette Midler,” she said. “They love to see that, but they also like to learn and see what all these other remarkable women are doing. Not only do they write a book, but after that they do so much more than that, and sometimes we don’t hear about it in the media, it’s not covered, so that’s usually what they enjoy.”

The SmartTalk series is a change of pace for both speakers and attendees, Sanchez said.

“It is a different show, it’s geared toward women, it’s a girls’ night out, it’s an entertaining event more than just a motivational speaker or anything like that. We wanted to give women the opportunity to go out with their daughters, their granddaughters, their friends and get some time out from their busy routine.”

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