Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s Emmy nominated and award-winning touring theater for young audiences, has announced their 2022-23 season. It contains performances of “Cuentos Del Arbol (Tree Tales)”, “Stone Soup… and other stories”, “Holiday Tales: A Season of Miracles”, “Velveteen Rabbit”, “Lift Every Voice: A Letter to the Editor”, “Peter and the Wolf”, and “Outta this World: The Adventures of Kalien the Alien”. In addition to their plays, Pushcart’s season also includes “Storytelling by Gerald Fierst” and a performance by “mr RAY” in concert.
“Cuentos del Árbol (Tree Tales)” – A delightful bilingual musical drawn from Spanish and Latin American Folklore. Presented live or as a virtual assembly: Pushcart Players will provide a study guide connected to the live performance of this play. Available October 2022-June 2023 (Ideal for Grades Pre-K through 5).
“Cuentos del Árbol” is a bilingual musical drawn from Spanish and Latin American folklore. The play is designed to bring Spanish to life and make theatre accessible to students, parents and grandparents for whom English is a second language.
The centerpiece of all the “tales” is a tree (Un Árbol) that has sheltered, shielded and nurtured countless characters who have passed her way over the years. The tree’s caretaker, Arbolita, shares four of these stories with Tomas, a storyteller, who is looking for tales for his collection.
The tales include The Garden of the Golden Oranges, Brothers Who Were Both Wise and Foolish, Juan Bobo (Silly John) and Caperucita Roja (Red Riding Hood), a perennial favorite in both Spanish and English households. A spirited finale is designed to send audiences home with “dancing feet, clapping hands and happy hearts.”
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“Stone Soup…and Other Stories” – A charming, well-seasoned blend of folk tales from around the world! Presented live or as a virtual assembly: Pushcart will provide a study guide connected to a video of the production of this play. Available November 2022-June 2023 (Ideal for Grades Pre-K through 5)
“Stone Soup…and Other Stories” supports the literacy movement’s emphasis on the joy of reading, and provides a starting point for ongoing enjoyment of folk tales in the classroom. Without a doubt, this familiar brew of favorites will delight very young audiences — from age 4 to 94!
Dynamic, participatory and filled with zesty entertainment, “Stone Soup…” is on the gourmet “not to be missed” list for young viewers!
“Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles” – As for miracles, they are the love, kindness, and generosity that are the spirit of the season and the heart of each tale! Presented live or as a virtual assembly: Pushcart will provide a study guide connected to a video of this play. Available December 2022 (Ideal for Grades K through 6)
“Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles” is a sparkling collection of holiday stories from different cultures. With a book and lyrics by Ruth Fost, tales within this heart-warming musical include O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” an original tale set in Nigeria entitled, “The Kwanzaa Kite,” a fanciful tale from The Wise Folk of Chelm – “The Chanukah Miracle,” and E.T.A Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker.”
Crafted and set to music by Tony Award-Winner Larry Hochman, with the timeless tone of each classic piece, this magical presentation is designed to warm the hearts and perhaps change the perspective of young audiences as they think about the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season.
“Velveteen Rabbit” – One of America’s favorite storybooks brought to life! Presented live: Pushcart will provide a study guide connected to the live performance of this play. Available February-June 2023 (Ideal for grades Pre-K through 5)
“Velveteen Rabbit” tells the tale of a young boy’s love and a little nursery magic help transform the Velveteen Rabbit from a favorite plaything into a real rabbit. The 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.
“Lift Every Voice: A Letter to the Editor” – A multimedia piece exploring the music, images, and spirit of mid-century America. Presented live: Pushcart will provide a study guide connected to the live performance of this production. Available mid February-June 2023 (Ideal for Grades 4 through 8)
“Lift Every Voice: A Letter to the Editor” celebrates the courage and resilience of everyday Americans during the Civil Rights Movement.
The story centers on Junebug, a 12-year-old boy in the 1960’s South, who learns of James Meredith’s attempt to enroll as the first African American at the University of Mississippi. When the editor of “The Oxford Eagle,” a local newspaper, expresses her negative opinions on integration, Junebug takes matters into his own hands and confronts these views, speaking out for equality and inclusion.
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This play with music offers a pathway to understanding and compassion for young learners. Historical touchstones include the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Nine, the Greensboro sit-ins, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The production resonates with the voice in each of us to fight against injustice.
“Peter and The Wolf “– A classic tale that has it all – music, laughter, danger and defiance in a young boy’s magical moment of growing up. Presented live: Pushcart Players will provide a study guide connected to the live performance of this play. Available March-June 2023 (Ideal for Grades Pre-K through 5)
“Peter and The Wolf” will tickle, intrigue, and delight young audiences while also offering a splendid introduction to theatre, classical music and value clarification themes. When Peter visits his grandfather for the summer, creative solutions are needed to provide a happy ending to a riveting story. This extraordinary musical presents young and family audiences with a precious moment of theatre they will long remember.
THE MUSIC: A different instrument and melody (or “leitmotif”) represents each character of the play, creating an excellent link to understanding all types of music.
THE STORY: A true adventure about a spirited young boy who meets the challenge of danger with courage, creativity and leadership.
THE CELEBRATION: The value of love, friendship and caring. The lessons of greed, arrogance and prejudice. There is innocence and wisdom, youth and maturity, conflict resolution, moral development, and beauty in the natural order of life!
“Outta This World: The Adventures of Kalien the Alien” – Based on the song by children’s pop music icon, mr. Ray, this delightful musical explores themes of anti-bullying, prejudice, and friendship. Presented live: Pushcart will provide a study guide connected to the live performance of this play. Available April-June 2023 (Ideal for Grades PreK through 5)
A young alien named Kalien accidentally visits planet Earth; he learns and teaches about acceptance, anti-racism, and fun. Music appreciation, new pathways to learning, and social-emotional development come to life for Pushcart’s young learners.
Storytelling by Gerald Fierst – All of us have stories to tell. Presented live or as a virtual assembly: Through his live and virtual assemblies, Mr. Fierst delivers laughter, drama, participation, and surprises from a multi-cultural collection of folklore, literature, & original materials.
VIRTUAL CLASSROOM: Mr. Fierst will visit your classroom virtually, with tailor crafted storytelling and theater workshops to support your school’s arts learning objectives.
Available Throughout 2022-2023 (All ages)
Gerald Fierst is one of America‘s most acclaimed storytellers. As a performer, he has appeared throughout the US, Europe, and Asia, telling original stories, stories from his own Jewish tradition, and stories from world folklore. As a writer and teacher, he has worked for school systems and universities throughout the US, leading workshops for teachers and students in writing and performance.
mr. RAY – Music for the kid in all of us. Presented live or as a virtual program. mr. RAY (Ray Andersen) has been writing and performing for kids from pre-K to 5th grade for 26 years. His interactive shows feature his original songs, with messages of Kindness, Diversity, Being Creative, and Staying Healthy & Active.
Additionally, he performs family-friendly songs by the Beatles, Bob Marley, and many more. In January 2021, Ray became an official United Nations NGO (non-governmental) Representative of Pathways to Peace, on behalf of his musical work and messages.
Available Throughout 2022-2023 (Ideal for Grades Pre-K through 5th)
For live engagements, Pushcart Players adheres to all safety guidelines and protocols as directed by the Center for Disease Control, Actors’ Equity Association, and all individual state mandates. All performers, teaching artists, and stage managers are fully vaccinated and regularly tested. Learn more about their COVID safety practices HERE.
Founded in 1974, Pushcart Players brings substantive musical theater productions and innovative educational residencies to young people directly 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 learning through and about theater.
Pushcart Players has traveled over 2.6 million miles nationally and abroad to serve more than 8 million children and their families. From the little red schoolhouse to the nation’s 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’ programs are made possible in part by the NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of NY, ADP Foundation, The Community Foundation of NJ, E.J. Grassmann Trust, The Grunin Foundation, Hyde& Watson Foundation, NJ Arts & Culture Renewal Fund, NJ CARES Act Fund, NJ Economic Development Authority, PNC Bank/Lillian Schenck Foundation, The Turrell Fund, The Whitehill Foundation, and numerous individuals.