Montclair Story Salon holiday event will benefit Toni’s Kitchen

story salon montclair

From left, Story Salon performers Nadine Bernard, Stacia Thiel, Liz Samuel, Carol Crittenden, Merrie Koehlert and Rachel Martens.

Montclair Story Salon hosts its holiday event “Lights Up!” — to benefit Toni’s Kitchen, a local food ministry — Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. in the Cornerstone Montclair building.

“We will have storytellers, singer-songwriters, a poet and a visual artist,” says Montclair resident Liz Samuel, who has coordinated the salon since 2018. Performers will include singer-songwriters Stacia Thiel and Carol Crittenden, writer Rachel Martens, actress Geraldine Leer, storyteller Jenn Cohen-Vigder and painter Merrie Koehlert. Samuel, who will share a story about “performance and light,” said that Koehlert “creates a piece of art live while everyone performs their story or song.”

Cornerstone Montclair’s general store will be open for shopping 30 minutes prior to the event, with 10 percent of the sales going to Toni’s Kitchen.

Liz Samuel in front of Cornerstone Montclair.

Samuel previously held the salon at Verdigreen; since the shop closed, she has used different spaces. “I hosted (a salon event) for Planned Parenthood at Montclair Brewery back in June,” she said. “We raised a lot of money … and the last one was in September at Cornerstone Montclair with the theme ‘Speak Your Truth.’ We raised funds for New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education. It went really well and Wendy (Wilks Lacey), who runs Cornerstone Montclair, is inviting us back to host future events.”

Samuel is an actress, writer and producer who has created a digital series called “MOMtress.” She has appeared in an episode of the CBS crime drama “East New York” and in the Netflix comedy, “The Week Of.”

She is planning another salon that will likely occur in early February with a heartbreak theme, she said, adding that “I think we’re going to invite guests and our audience to make cards to be given to hospital patients before the performances.”

She is “always looking for passionate storytellers,” she said, and encourages interested performers to contact her at She has a core Story Salon group and invites two new performers to join the collective at each event.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit There is additional information on Montclair Story Salon’s Facebook page.


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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