By Sanger C.
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – At the 2010 Perry Awards, Marjorie “Moxie” Sokoloff accepted the award for Best Direction in a Musical, one of the four major awards given to South Jersey-based theater companies that night. The award was well deserved, as student-actors and staff of Camden County College were involved.
“Theater is alive and well,” proclaimed Sokoloff in her acceptance speech, against a comment that night saying that “South Jersey is too far” – too far from the professional and austere New Jersey theater companies closer to New York City’s Broadway, far too amateur and less cultured.
Winning awards for Best Play, Best Musical, Best Direction of a Play and Best Direction of a Musical brought credibility to the companies. In a mid-November interview, Sokoloff stated, “I believe that South Jersey contains genuine and up-and-coming acts in amateur, semi-professional and professional theater.”
Although directing for STAGES at Camden County College is Sokoloff’s current passion, acting was her first love.
“At age 7, I was drawn to theater. There was a summer play being held, and I wanted to be a part of it,” Sokoloff recalled. “The girls my age were interested in being active in sports and being Girl Scouts.”
This did not stop her from enduring a future in theater. She had been completely immersed.
Sokoloff continued, “Being an actress (in New York City) is one big hardship especially when making a living out of it. No money, no relationships, getting small compensation for trying so hard for so long.”
“As a director, financially, I was more comfortable; however, at the expense of living in hotels away from my family, I believe the biggest hardship was that I missed out on certain things that women my age experienced. I married late. I believe I gave a lot of my life to my work.”
The hard work did not go unrewarded, as Sokoloff is a prominent figure in the tri-state area.
For her professional future, Sokoloff plans to establish an “equity-professional” theater company at Camden County College and work more as a director in professional theater companies in Philadelphia, stretching her directorial skills, to place South Jersey on the map as a professional theater region.
For those seeking to pursue a future in the arts, Sokoloff gives encouraging words by saying, “Don’t let anyone dictate your path for you. You will receive a lot of advice, especially of the negative variety. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a life in the arts. Define your notion of happiness. Happiness requires to make sacrifices. You must ask, ‘Does it make you happy?’ ”
Said Donald Swenson, technical director of STAGES, “Moxie is a professional. She puts on amazing productions, all of which entails being prepared as a director and taking time with her actors.”
Student-actor Ryan Ruggles stated, “Her honesty and true guidance helps me as an actor because she gives advice and objective views on possible improvements.”
Sokoloff also plans finally to finish writing her novel, travel more and put her life into balance.