Pushcart Players “A Cinderella Tale…happily ever after” at Tribeca PAC

Pushcart Players presents “A Cinderella Tale…happily ever after” at Tribeca Performing Arts Center, NYC on Friday and Saturday, November 2nd and 3rd.  Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart Players is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation, and has traveled nearly three million miles nationally and abroad — from the little red schoolhouse to White House – stirring up serious fun since 1974.

“Happily Ever After” is the musical about Cinderella, a young woman whose kindness changes her dreary circumstances into remarkable fortune. A less-than-perfect stepfamily, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a search by a prince for his true love illuminate the triumphant account.

Based on a legend first told more than a thousand years ago, the story is informed by the universal longing to overcome adversity. It’s about dreaming dreams, and about goodness, generosity, and compassion.

“It’s also about things that help us learn and grow,” said Ruth Fost, Pushcart co-founder and playwright / lyricist for the production. “We address the dark side of aggressive behavior, the importance of making good choices, and being responsible for those choices.  A moral of the story is that beauty can be treasured, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.”

The cast of “Happily Ever After” includes Stacie Gogo (Cinderella), Oise Ohiwerei (Prince), Nicole Colon (Stepmother / Godmother), and Melissa Cox (Griselda). Stacie Gogo is a graduate of Wilkes University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance. Gogo appeared Off-Broadway as a Kit Kat Girl in “Cabaret” at the Players Theatre, as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray” at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, in the ensemble of “Grease!” at the Surflight Theatre, and in national tours. Oise Ohiwerei was recently seen as a videographer at the New York Fringe Festival and in the short film ‘Solutions’ which was selected to be screened at the Chain NYC Film Festival.

Nicole Colon has performed in national tours of Legally Blonde” and Fiddler on the Roof,” and in New York productions of “My Big Gay Italian Wedding/Funeral” and “Queen Bees. Regionally, she has appeared in “West Side Story”, “Legally Blonde,” “Hairspray,” “High School Musical,” “All Shook Up,” “Les Misérables,” and “Showboat.” Melissa Cox is a master graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University, where she studied Musical Theater as well. Cox performed the role of Beth in “Little Women” in Maplewood NJ and has been seen as Martha in “Spring Awakening” and Sister in “Damn Yankees.”

Music for “Happily Ever After” is by award-winning composer Larry Hochman and his daughter, Laurie Hochman. Producing artistic director Paul Whelihan directs the production. Larry Hochman is the Tony Award-winner for orchestrations for “She Loves Me” (2016 revival) and Tony and Drama Desk award-winner for “The Book of Mormon.” He received Tony nominations for “The Scottsboro Boys,” ”Monty Python’s Spamalot,” (Hochman also received Drama Desk nominations for both), “Fiddler on the Roof” (2004 revival) and “A Class Act.”  Larry was the orchestrator for the recent “Hello, Dolly!” revival starring Bette Midler, and composed additional music for Disney’s “Little Mermaid,’ for Stephen Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and for numerous celebrity concerts.  Hochman’s other awards include the ASCAP Award for Musical Theater (“One Man Band”), 4 Emmy Awards for “The Wonder Pets” television series and a Bistro Award for composing “One Man Band.”

Paul Whelihan directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Bickford Theatre, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Cultural Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Premier Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, original works and locally produced television, film and web series projects.

Tribeca Performing Arts Center is lower Manhattan’s longest operating performance venue dedicated to identifying, supporting, and presenting established and emerging artists in a variety of disciplines. Tribeca PAC offers a broad global perspective through high quality theater, music, dance, film and visual art that celebrates diversity, inspires creativity and instills social awareness. Tribeca PAC is located at 199 Chambers Street, New York, NY 10007. Performances of “A Cinderella Tale…happily ever after” are on November 2 at 10:15 am and 12:00 noon, and November 3 at 11:00 am. Tickets can be reserved by calling 212-220-1460 or visit the website: www.tribecapac.org.

For further information on this or any of Pushcart’s programs and services, contact Pushcart Players at 973-857-1115 or visit the website at www.pushcartplayers.org.

PUSHCART PLAYERS LAUNCHES 2018-2019 SEASON

Pushcart Players announces the 45th Season of touring theater for young audiences, bringing performances to schools, theaters, production venues, and community centers throughout the United States.  In Pushcart’s 5th decade of stirring up serious fun, the repertoire is an exceptional mix of musical productions exploring American history, self-discovery, classical music, teaching tolerance, and holiday celebrations.

Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart Players is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. Traveling more than 2 million miles nationally and abroad — from the little red schoolhouse to White House — the upcoming season (through July 2019) includes nine exceptional musical productions.

New to Pushcart’s repertoire is “Lift Every Voice – America’s Civil Rights Movement.” This multi-media play with music explores that pivotal time in the United States development as experienced by young people. Personal stories of the ordinary citizens in extraordinary circumstances reinforce the hope and promise of equality that resonates with today’s young audiences.

“The Velveteen Rabbit” tells the story of how a young boy’s love and a little nursery magic help transform the Velveteen Rabbit from a favorite plaything into a real rabbit. Boy and Velveteen embark on exciting imaginary adventures, from deep dark caves to the wide open sea, and together they learn the true meaning of friendship in this musical re-telling of one of America’s favorite storybooks.

“Ellis Island: Gateway to America” takes a loving look at a small group of immigrants. They came to America in the early 1900’s, seeking freedom, opportunity and a better life for themselves, their children, and their children’s children. A combination of original and traditional American music, the play explores the ordinary people and extraordinary events in the nation’s history through the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.

“Stone Soup and Other Stories” features short literary favorites from Africa, India, Eastern Europe, and the United States of America. Filled with exuberant music, fantasy, and comic plot lines, each tale introduces the spirit and customs of these unique cultures; the production provides a springboard for reading and subsequent literacy-related activities.

In “Peter and the Wolf,” Pushcart puts its’ trademark spin on a beloved Eastern European folk tale. Classical music, story-telling, puppetry, and the ageless adventure of growing up comprise this masterpiece. Set to the resplendent music by composer Sergei Prokofiev, each character is represented by a different musical motif in this story of a spirited young boy who confronts the dangers of the forest with courage, creativity, and leadership.

“The Last…Butterfly” is a touching, informative, and provocative multi-media play with music, based on the poems, drawings, and experiences of children of the Holocaust. While dealing with a particular episode in history, the production brings relevance to current human rights issues.

In late November and December, Pushcart presents the perennial favorite, “A Season of Miracles: A Collection of Holiday Tales.” This charming musical presents four heart-warming tales that celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa.

“A Cinderella Tale…happily ever after” is Pushcart’s whimsical comic version of the well-known fairy tale. The story’s origins are informed by the universal longing to overcome adversity. Certainly it speaks to everyone who has a vision or a dream yet to be fulfilled, with central themes of goodness, generosity, and compassion.

“Story Telling with Gerald Fierst” offers tales from around the world for very young audiences in an interactive, story-telling format. Fierst is a renowned story-teller who has travelled internationally with his delightful brand of narration. He is also the author of “Imagine the Moon,” a children’s illustrated book on the science and folk-lore of the Earth’s satellite published last year.

“Pushcart hasn’t been around this long by chance,” said producing artistic director, Paul Whelihan. “The company’s endurance is a testimony to both the subject matter of our productions, and to our inclusive approach with audiences. In substance and style, Pushcart embraces history, literature, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families, and their educators. That being said, the repertoire quite simply offers entertainment that is funny, thought-provoking, intelligent and enormously engaging.”

The season is directed by Whelihan, who directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Bickford Theatre, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Theatre Cultural Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Premier Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, original works and locally produced television, film and web series projects. Whelihan also wrote the books for “Lift Every Voice” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.”

Orchestrations for the digitally recorded soundtracks to each production are created by award-winning composer, Larry Hochman, who also provides original music for many of the titles as well. Hochman is the Tony Award-winner for orchestrations for “She Loves Me” (2016 revival) and Tony and Drama Desk award-winner for “The Book of Mormon.” He received Tony nominations for this season’s “Hello Dolly” with Bette Midler, “The Scottsboro Boys,” ”Monty Python’s Spamalot,” (Hochman also received Drama Desk nominations for both), “Fiddler on the Roof” (2004 revival) and “A Class Act.”  Larry composed additional music for Disney’s “Little Mermaid,’ for Stephen Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and for numerous celebrity concerts.  Hochman’s other awards include the ASCAP Award for Musical Theater (“One Man Band”), 4 Emmy Awards for “The Wonder Pets” television series and a Bistro Award for composing “One Man Band.”

All Pushcart Players performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems. Pushcart has a substantive theater education program, providing in-school workshops, direction of student productions and curriculum development for elementary and middle schools. Among Pushcart cast members are experienced teaching artists, who provide workshops, acting classes and residency programs to schools, community centers and summer session programs.

As a social-profit organization, Pushcart Players’ programs are made possible in part by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Actors’ Equity Foundation, ADP Foundation, The Community Foundation of NJ, EJ Grassmann Trust, Hyde & Watson Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, PNC Bank/Lillian Schenck Foundation, The Turrell Fund, The Puffin Foundation, The Whitehill Foundation and numerous individual contributors.

All productions are available for touring. Potential school and theater sponsors are encouraged to book their programs with Pushcart early, as available dates rapidly fill up. For further information, including public performance listings, visit the website www.pushcartplayers.org, email information@pushcartplayers.org or call the Verona, NJ office at 973.857.1115.

Whitehill Foundation Grant Supports Pushcart’s “LIFT EVERY VOICE.”

Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s Emmy nominated and award-winning touring theater for young audiences, has received a generous grant from The Whitehill Foundation (Montclair) to support the development and performance of “Lift Every Voice: The Hope and Promise of America’s Civil Rights Movement.”

Founded in 1999, The Whitehill Foundation is a private nonprofit organization that awards grants in the areas of elementary and secondary education, health, human services, and sports and recreation. The Foundation supports children and youth, economically disadvantaged people, low income and poor people, academics, and students.

“The Whitehill Foundation is a model of meaningful philanthropy,” said Paul Whelihan, Pushcart’s producing artistic director, and playwright for “Lift Every Voice.”

“As a social-profit organization, Pushcart relies on investments from enlightened foundation, government, and corporate sectors. It is through their participation that Pushcart can develop timely material, and make that material accessible to any community.”

Pushcart Players’ mission is to bring substantive musical theater productions and innovative educational residencies to young people in their schools. Performances are curriculum oriented, focusing on literacy, history, values clarification, and music. Workshops and residencies focus on the craft of theater itself, promoting the benefits of creating theater.

Pushcart Players has traveled over 2.5 million miles nationally and abroad since 1974 to serve more than 8 million children and their families. From the little red schoolhouse to The White House, this dynamic company has received numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A cast of professional Actors’ Equity Association actors and stage managers present with complete scenery, lighting and sound systems, making every performance adaptable to any location.

Pushcart Players will be bringing a variety of productions to schools and theaters throughout the 2018 – 2019 school year. New to the repertoire, “Lift Every Voice” is a multi-media piece that explores the music, images, and spirit of mid-century America. Pushcart celebrates the ordinary people and the extraordinary events of this pivotal time in history.

“Young people are often at the forefront of meaningful societal change,” said Whelihan. “I see it in America today, and that’s energizing. ‘…Voice…’ commemorates the young people of the 1950’s and 60’s whose struggles made today’s freedoms possible. But their struggles are an important reminder of the goal: true civility in our society.”

For further information on this or any of Pushcart’s programs and services, contact Pushcart Players at 973.857.1115 or information@pushcartplayers.org; visit the website at www.pushcartplayers.org.

Pushcart Receives Arts Education Grant

Verona-based Pushcart Players received a generous grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey to provide theater arts education to children on the Autism spectrum and with other cognitive and physical disabilities. The John F. Kennedy School in Newark will benefit from the school-year long residency program.

Healthcare Foundation of NJ (HFNJ) is founded and guided by the Garden State’s Jewish community, and works to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable, underserved populations. JFK School in Newark identifies and enhances the talents of their special learners, directing them toward productive citizenship.

“And Pushcart Players delivers the benefits of arts participation to learning and to life,” said Paul Whelihan, Pushcart’s producing artistic director. “The Healthcare Foundation is providing a pathway to learning, healing, and human connection. The collaboration among HFNJ, JFK School, and Pushcart is phenomenal!”

Teaching artists from Pushcart will be integrated into the lessons at JFK School each week for students to develop, create, and present original musical theater works. The program is designed to offer both arts literacy and learning in other areas of development. Piloted during the 2015-16 semesters at JFK, the current program deepens and diversifies active arts participation by the students and faculty.

“Theater at its best is a transformative process,” said Whelihan. “Both actors and audience should leave the theater or classroom feeling differently from when they entered. At JFK School, I have seen unrestrained joy in the students as they create and perform. And there is a true communication among performers and participants. Here, it’s abundantly clear ‘why we do what we do.’”

During the residency at JFK School, Pushcart will also perform its productions of “The Velveteen Rabbit” and “Peter and the Wolf” to offer high quality theatrical experiences for all students. These performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, costumes, lighting and sound systems.

Pushcart Players is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 6 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation’s White House.

Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families, and their educators. For further information on this or any Pushcart program and service, visit www.pushcartplayers.org.

As a social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart Players’ programs are made possible in part by Actors’ Equity Foundation, ADP Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The Healthcare Foundation of NJ, The Hyde & Watson Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, NJ State Council on the Arts / Department of State, The Pine Tree Foundation of NY, The Puffin Foundation, The Turrell Fund, Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement, Josh & Judy Weston Foundation, and The Whitehill Foundation.

 

Link to article: http://www.myveronanj.com/2017/10/25/pushcart-players-receives-arts-education-grant/