Miller Branch Presents Play Written & Directed by Former Member of Kool & The Gang

JERSEY CITY, N.J.   June 5, 2013 – As a backup singer in one of pop music’s most beloved bands, Jersey City’s Kool & The Gang, Renee Connell Walker may not be as well-known as the band.

Her play, The Candle Party, will change that.

The journey of enlightenment sometimes begins in the dark, but in this new play by Ms. Walker, just the glow of a candle can help lighten the way.

The Miller Branch Library, 489 Bergen Avenue in Jersey City, will offer the live stage play, The Candle Party, on Saturday, June 29, at 1 p.m.

Presented by Shirley’s Daughter’s Productions, the play tells the story of seven women from different generations, who are at different stages in life, love and relationships.  They come together for an evening of fellowship at Rhonda’s house (played by Ms. Walker) to show their support for their friend Christine (played by Minister Ericka Streeter-Adams) who has set sail with her new candle business. Each woman is on her own journey, coping with spirituality, marriage, widowhood, dating, single parenting and divorce. The six Christian women and one, who is indifferent, share stories of their lives through the bond of “Spiritual Sisterhood. The production is current, relevant, funny and heartwarming. There are many surprises as the evening progresses – and in the glow of their friend’s fragrant candles – secrets start to unfold as they rediscover things about themselves and each other.

“We are thrilled to present such high-caliber entertainment, native to Jersey City, at the Miller Branch,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “And best of all – library programs are free!”

“Live stage plays are regularly presented here, as are dance and music concerts, which gives the community at large great local fun value,” added Reneé Moody, branch manager of the Miller Branch.

Renee Connell Walker is director and writer of The Candle Party, an original Gospel play. She also writes the gospel music column “On High,” for The Courier Times newspaper. Walker grew up in Jersey City and as a teen was crowned "Miss Black America of Hudson County." She was the co-host of the local cable program, “Cable Beat,” and she is a former background singer for Kool & The Gang. Renee was featured on her own club single, Dancin’ in the Street. As an actress, she has appeared in local productions of Dream Girls, Going Back Home, Silver, and Sonny's Place.

On Saturday October 29, 2011 the NAACP-MEAB held their 35th Annual Freedom Fund Gala,

“Honoring Our Past – Encouraging Our Future.” Ms. Walker received with two awards for The Candle Party at the event, the “Lorraine Hansberry Theatrical Award” from the NAACP, and the “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition,” in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community, from Congressman Frank Pallone. Renee Connell Walker commented, “None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication of the cast, musicians, singers and crew.”

The cast features: Min. Ericka Adams (Christine), Marsha Trice (Lily), Wanda Brooks (Miss Sadie), Charlene Aiken (Monica), Margarite Mitchell (Margie), and Gretchin Lee-Noel (Brenda). Renee Connell Walker (Rhonda) is also the founder of the newly formed Shirley’s Daughter Productions.

For more information, call the Miller Branch Library at (201) 547-4551. For more information regarding Shirley’s Daughter’s Productions or The Candle Party, please contact: (732) 235-1441, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit the website,

For the latest on programs, events, and special announcements please follow the Library on Facebook or Twitter at Jersey City Free Public Library. Visit us on the web at for all information on the Library, including all press releases in The Press Room. As of today, June 5, 2013, the Jersey City Free Public Library has 227,567 valid card members.

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