Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s Emmy nominated and award-winning touring theater for young audiences presents “Stone Soup…and other stories” at 10:30 am on Wednesday, February 8 at Union County Performing Arts Center, Rahway NJ.
“Stone Soup…” is a charming musical compilation of 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. In so doing, the production provides a springboard for reading and subsequent literacy-related activities.
“The play gently raises universal value clarification issues,” said Ruth Fost, Pushcart’s founder and co-author of the play. “Family audiences will be delighted by the show. Then they’ll find themselves discussing why certain characters made certain choices, and how outcomes would have differed with different behavior. That being said, the show is still a fun-filled romp through delightful stories.”
The cast of “Stone Soup…and other stories” includes: Oscar Castillo, Christina Gordon, Chris Morrissey and Phebe Taylor. Artistic director Paul Whelihan guides the production. Orchestrations are by Tony Award-winner, Larry Hochman. Choreography is by Susie Paplow.
Oscar Castillo, a graduate of Kean University with a BFA in theatre, co-founded The Theatre Project and performs frequently throughout NYC with Peculiar Works Productions. Christina Gordon is a New Jersey native with an M.F.A. in Acting from Rutgers University/ Mason Gross School of the Arts. She’s performed in “Good People” (The Public Theatre & Shadowland Theatre), “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “As You Like It” and “Reasons to be Pretty.” Television credits include: “HAPPYish,” “Person of Interest” and “Guiding Light.” She can be seen in the films “I Hate Being Black” (which she co-wrote and produced) and “Damsel.”
Chris Morrissey recently graduated with a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) where he received the Lehman Engel Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre. Chris has performed at venues across the country including Paper Mill Playhouse, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center. Phebe Taylor has been a Pushcart Player since 2004. She was recently seen flying around as Peter in “Peter Pan” at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre. A company member of the Heartland Actors’ Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, she appears in their summer Shakespeare productions, and is a frequent performer at Indianapolis’ Phoenix Theatre, in such shows as “Urinetown,” “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” “The Zippers of Zoomerville,” “Boston Marriage,” “Peter and the Starcatcher,” and the National New Play Network’s “Rolling World Premiere” of “End Days”.
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, Premiere Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, and original works. He has appeared in locally produced television, film, and web series projects.
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 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.”
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 nation’s White House to the rural red schoolhouse.
Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families, and their educators. All 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.
Union County Performing Arts Center provides quality programming and performances that are educational, affordable and enrich the arts within the diverse community. The Center offers musicals and plays presented by NJ theater troupes, classic and independent film presentations, multicultural programs and events, and live music concerts (www.ucpac.org). All Pushcart Players performances take place in UCPAC’s mainstage theater, a grand venue listed in both state and national registers of historic sites. Built in 1928, it is the centerpiece of the recently established arts district of Rahway.
UCPAC is located at 1601 Irving Street | Rahway. Single tickets are $15, with discounts for groups of ten or more. For single tickets, visit the UCPAC website or call the box office at 732-499-8226. For group sales, contact Pushcart Players at 973-857-1115.