On Thursday, May 16, the South Orange Performing Arts Center will present three events showcasing the cornerstones of its programming: professional artists on the Mainstage, the next generation of artists in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery, and the community supporting all arts in the Loft.  This trifecta of events will bring everyone from SOPAC’s community together for one evening to support the artists of today and tomorrow!

Comedian Liz Glazer anchors the evening with her historic performance on the Mainstage Liz Glazer Records A Special at SOPAC, beginning at 7:30PM.  Glazer, a South Orange resident and hilarious lawyer-turned-comedian, is the first comedian EVER to record a comedy special at SOPAC!

The best and brightest painters, photographers, sculptors, and visual artists from high schools throughout Essex County will gather in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery on SOPAC’s second and third floors to celebrate the Opening Reception of the annual INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition, beginning at 5:00PM. With this professional gallery experience for young artists, SOPAC aims to foster the next generation’s creative voices.

All SOPAC supporters, members, patrons, and community partners are invited to this one-night-only in-person viewing of its Spring Auction items in the Loft, beginning at 5:30PM!  The funds raised at this event will go towards bringing world-class performers (like Liz Glazer!) to the stage, fostering the creative visions of young artists (like INSPIRED MINDS), and strengthening arts education programs throughout the community.

“SOPAC is excited to host these three great events on one evening, all supporting our mission to offer audiences exhilarating and diverse arts entertainment in our intimate venue,” says SOPAC Board Chair Douglas Newman.  “This convergence of programming brings everything SOPAC does into one night activating all our spaces: the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery, the Mainstage, and the Loft.  It will be an evening of unforgettable community support for the arts in our community, and I cannot wait to see you all there!”


Liz Glazer Records A Special at SOPAC
THU, MAY 16 at 7:30PM

Liz Glazer is making SOPAC history as the first comedian to ever record a comedy special on the Mainstage!

A South Orange resident, Glazer has been doing comedy for ten years.  And before that she was a tenured law professor for nine!  She recorded her first comedy album, A Very Particular Experience, at two sold out headlining shows at the New York Comedy Festival.  It debuted at #1 on the iTunes Comedy Charts for six consecutive days and was featured in The New York Times.  Glazer is a recent first place winner of both the Boston Comedy Festival and the Ladies of Laughter Competition, and she opens for comedians such as Maria Bamford and Judy Gold.  She has been on NBC’s The Blacklist, BULL on CBS, and ABC’s For Life.  Glazer’s comedy draws on her experience as a lawyer and law professor, a rabbi’s wife, and a mother.

Glazer is deeply connected to SOPAC, serving as an advisor to the Creative Community Brain Trust and helping to guide the performing arts center towards increasingly inclusive and community-focused programming.  Liz has performed in numerous all-female nights of comedy at SOPAC, including the SO Jewish Comedy Night in December 2023.

“Liz is not just making comedy history, she’s making SOPAC history!” says SOPAC Director of Programming Dan Stankus.  “I couldn’t be more thrilled to witness Liz bring laughter to our stage and leave her mark on our theater.  Good times.  See you there!”

Come experience SOPAC history and Get Your Tickets Today!


The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery presents
INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artist Exhibition
THU, MAY 16 at 5PM
All the World, by Carlos Sanchez

Back for its ninth year in a row, the INSPIRED MINDS: Young Artists Exhibition brings the best and brightest painters, photographers, sculptors, and visual artists from high schools throughout Essex County to SOPAC’s Herb + Milly Iris Gallery.  As a regional arts center, SOPAC is dedicated to recognizing, nurturing, and enriching the next generation of artists.

Selected students participate in a fully professional experience beginning with a juried selection of their piece, installation, an opening reception, exhibition, and in some cases, sale of their first piece.  Through this process, SOPAC aims to foster the artistic talents of high school students while their families, friends, teachers, and wider community celebrate and encourage their creative work.

“I’ve said this every year, but the INPSIRED MINDS opening reception is my favorite night of the year,” says SOPAC’s Arts Education Program Manager Linda Beard. “We get to witness so many artists at the beginning of their journeys as they find their voices, tell their stories, and express themselves.”

Providing opportunities for emerging artists was a passion of the Gallery’s namesake, Milly Iris, and continues to be a vital part of SOPAC’s mission.  It is essential that we recognize arts education as valuable and that we nourish young artists and validate their achievements.  SOPAC is delighted to offer all participating artists the chance to present their work in a professional exhibition.

Join us in celebrating and encouraging the next generation of visual artists.  RSVP Today!


SOPAC Spring Auction
THU, MAY 16 at 5:30PM

SOPAC invites all supporters and arts lovers to this one-night-only in-person viewing of its Spring Auction items!  Running from Monday, May 13 to Sunday, May 19, SOPAC’s first digital auction gives supporters, members, patrons, and community partners a unique way to raise crucial funds and make meaningful impact.

This evening event will include live music, food, conversations with fellow philanthropic arts lovers, and the opportunity to win spectacular prizes.

All participants in this auction, whether virtually or in-person, will help SOPAC reach its fundraising goal and further its mission to transform lives through the arts while winning prizes and unique experiences.

There are two ways to participate in the auction:

  1. Bid & Purchase Items Digitally 
    Bidding will begin on Monday, May 13 at 6AM and conclude on Sunday, May 19 at 6PM. 
  2. Bid on Items In-Person on May 16 
    Attend this event and check out the items you are bidding on in-person. 

RSVP Today!

Please direct any question about the Spring Auction, or donating to SOPAC, to the Development Department at membership@sopacnow.org or (973) 712-4101.