An exclusive behind the scenes look at the casting process for the first pilot production of Matilda, JR.
An exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of the junior adaptation of Bring it On: The Musical.
An exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of the junior adaptation of Bring it On, The Musical.
An exclusive behind the scenes look at the making of Bring it On, JR!
23 Pixie Dust Performers were among the 90 students selected to perform in a very special - and surprise - production of the Broadway Musical CHICAGO at The Ambassador Theatre on Tuesday March 21, 2017. These performers were invited to join the students of NYC’s iTheatrics' High School All Stars to help celebrate the 90th birthday of the beloved musical composer John Kander and to announce the creation of CHICAGO (High School Edition).
These Pixie Dust Performers made their ‘Broadway debut’ in the company of the great legends, Chita Rivera, Joel Grey, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth and many more, who all made surprise appearances. Just before the final number, Bebe Neuwirth, a Tony winner for her performance as the original Velma Kelly in the revival, introduced the 90 students who performed “All That Jazz” with the Broadway cast.
With only two rehearsals, these talented teens were able to learn the original Fosse choreography and worked with the Broadway Dance Captain and Music Director. The students flooded the aisles and the stage to dance with the cast members.
In order to keep the announcement of the release of CHICAGO (High School Edition) and its special Birthday guests a surprise, parents and the teens were not allowed to talk about the event -- much to the disappointment of family and friends. The secrecy added to the excitement surrounding this momentous occasion.
Pixie Dust Players’ founder, Lindsay Maron, was asked by iTheatrics to bring her youth group to New York City for this special night. iTheatrics adapts Broadway musicals into junior versions for performances by elementary, middle and high school aged children. Lindsay and Pixie Dust have piloted multiple MTI Broadway Junior and KIDs titles for iTheatrics and worked with Stephen Schwartz to create the adaptation CHILDREN OF EDEN, JR. She also worked closely with iTheatrics on the adaptation of OLIVER! JR and presented the world premieres of both of these productions at The Summit Playhouse. This coming summer, Lindsay will be producing and directing a new youth adaptation of R&H’s CINDERELLA for iTheatrics.
Lindsay Maron said, “It’s not every day you get to make 23 dreams come true! When I received the email from iTheatrics, I knew this was not an opportunity that comes around often. I’m so glad we were able to make it work and keep the secret! Getting to watch the cast and guest performers rehearse for the big performance was an extra special treat.”
Pixie Dust had 23 performers at CHICAGO: Sophia Blanchard, Sydney Brenton, Karenna Breslow, Ben Errig, John Ertman, Katherine Ertman, Maya Fortgang, Dexter Kennedy, Jacob Lesser, Charlotte MacMurray, Cameron Matheson, Mia Montero, Jack Nissen, Will Nissen, Natalie Pereira, Alex Pereira, Grace Petersen, Nina Randazzo, Darby Ryden, Ally Salort, Wasif Sami, Maya Slaughter, and Charlotte Wesson.
CHICAGO, playing at the Ambassador Theatre, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary on Broadway and is the longest-running American musical in Broadway history. The show is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording. With a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, CHICAGO is directed by Tony winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony winner Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse.
Enjoy a sneak peek of the World Premiere of Children of Eden, JR!
The World Premiere of Children of Eden, JR. begins previews in just 4 days! Take a behind the scenes look at the production...
By Michael Gioia
The youth production of Children of Eden, Stephen Schwartz's epic musical based on the Book of Genesis, has announced its cast. Performances will begin July 17 in New Jersey.
As previously reported, Schwartz granted permission to college sophomore Lindsay Maron to adapt this production for a cast of young performers.
Maron will direct and choreograph the production, which will feature music direction by Alex Ratner.
The cast includes Paul J. Hernandez as Father, Steven LaMaita as Adam/Noah, Melody Atkinson as Eve/Mama, Dylan Randazzo as Cain/Japeth, Gianna Porfano as Yonah, Anthony DeStefanis as Abel/Ham, Elisabeth Lynn as Aphra, Jack Nissen as Seth/Shem, Emma Price as Aysha, Soren Schwerner as Young Cain and Ryan Hatzlhoffer as Young Abel.
The Snake will be played by Karenna Breslow, Arielle Handler, Grace Petersen, Anna Pettigrew and Darby Ryden.
Soloists include Lindsey Cornelison, Veronica Gonzalez, Zoe Latanision, Grace Petersen, Anna Pettigrew, Emma Price, Darby Ryden and Aviva Winick. Storytellers are Julia Bavoso, Elizabeth Bigham, Katherine Ertman, Jhailyn Farcon, Jack Gullo, Abby Jeffries, Anna Jeffries, Dexter Kennedy, Madison Lagares, Will Nissen, Kate Petrella, Taryn Ryden, Priya Roychowdhury, Ariela Rozentul, Jessica Santa, Maya Slaughter and Chloe Warlick.
Children of Eden tells the story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel in Act I and the story of Noah and the Flood in Act II.
Click here to learn more about how the musical is being adapted.
A reading of the youth version was held Feb. 22 at Northwestern University. The full production (with children ages 6-18) will bow this summer at the Summit Playhouse in New Jersey with previews scheduled July 17-19 (tentatively opening on July 23 or 24) for a run through Aug. 2.
Stephen Schwartz Grants a College Sophomore Permission to Adapt Children of Eden for Young Performers
by Michael Gioia
What did Stephen Schwartz say when he got an email from a college sophomore asking to adapt his epic two-act musical Children of Eden for younger performers? Yes.
Lindsay Maron, a 20-year-old college sophomore at Northwestern University and founder of New Jersey's Pixie Dust Players — a theatre company solely for children and teenagers to perform for audiences of all ages — was passionate about the musical and emailed Schwartz for his blessing.
"I just told him how much I loved the show," Maron told Playbill.com. "I told him that I had a lot of experience working with Junior versions and with kids, and I kind of had an idea of what would work and what wouldn't work and, also, how I felt the show should be adapted to keep the parts that are very important to Stephen Schwartz — like the parallels and the music, which is my favorite part of this show. I guess he liked my email because he sent it along to MTI."
Schwartz's team forwarded Maron's message to Music Theatre International, which licenses the property and had workshopped a Broadway Junior version of Children of Eden in the past. Although MTI's Junior version was put on hold (and still continues in a workshop phase), the licensing company and Schwartz granted Maron permission to adapt Children of Eden.
Though Maron is not an official creative on a definitive version in MTI's Junior catalogue, Music Theatre International is still involved. Maron is sending her changes along to MTI — which are then forwarded to Schwartz for approval — and the licensing company hopes to see her finished product. It is possible, after Maron's staging of Children of Eden, that she could further develop the piece alongside the professional team.
"We hope to have someone go down and see it," Drew Cohen, the president of MTI, told Playbill.com by phone. "We did start along the path for Junior forChildren of Eden, and it would certainly be informative to see how someone who is knowledgeable about the show — as a fan of the show, and also someone who is a potential customer for the Junior version — would conceive an abridged version of Children of Eden."
Maron said, "They basically gave me the script to look at and the drafts that they've done before and gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted with it. Most recently, I did a reading here at Northwestern — of my current draft — and then following that, I sent them my proposed script with a summary of my changes and why I felt the changes should be made. Within 24 hours, they responded and approved all of the changes. It's been a very easy collaboration… They seem to trust me with it, which is exciting."
The reading at Northwestern University was held Feb. 22. A full production (with children ages 6-18) will bow this summer at the Summit Playhouse in New Jersey with previews scheduled July 17-19 (tentatively opening on July 23 or 24) for a run through Aug. 2.
When asked about giving Maron permission to adapt the piece, Schwartz's team said, "When Ms. Maron approached us with a proposal to work on a Jr. version of Children of Eden, it was very clear she understood the show. Her thoughtful approach to putting together a Jr. version made us feel comfortable letting her give it a go. A couple of years ago, Music Theatre International produced a workshop of a Jr. version that was basically the first act of the show. The presentation went very well — so much so that Mr. Schwartz felt confident a Jr. version was attainable. We look forward to seeing what Ms. Maron comes up with and hearing reports on how it goes."
With Children of Eden, Maron said that her goal is to "reduce the complexity" to a manageable length for children ("without removing the beauty and the complexity of the story and music," she added). The piece is based on the Book of Genesis and tells the story of Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel in Act I and the story of Noah and the Flood in Act II.
"I kept most of the songs — at least in some capacity — because I think the story is really told through the music, so it's all really important," explained Maron. "In a bunch of cases, I would just remove a verse or two of songs — anything that was redundant and not necessarily showing the parallels, which are so essential to the show. I made sure to really keep lots of featured parts because I think that's important in the Junior version… I minimized some of the script… and then I took out some of the Father material because I felt like it would be harder for a young performer to portray that role in a way that's as powerful as it is in a production with a larger age range."
Maron said that two of Father's songs that have been cut are "Father's Day" and "The Gathering Storm." The goal is to trim the musical to run between 60 and 70 minutes in one act (but incorporate both "acts" seen in the large-scale version). To connect the two stories (Act I and Act II), "Children of Eden" (the Act I finale) fades into "Generations" (the Act II opening).
"I think some of the biggest issues are yet to come because this show requires such a large vocal range, especially for the lead roles, so I think it's going to be an interesting challenge this summer to work with the actors and figure out keys and maybe alternative notes to be more manageable for the younger voices and, similarly, condense the harmonies," Maron said. "We [explored] that in the reading, and it was all very doable, it's just something that we're going to have to play around with."
Auditions for the Pixie Dust Players' production of Children of Eden will be March 17 in New Jersey and March 18 at Ripley-Grier Studios in Manhattan. For more information, visit PixieDustPlayers.org.
After a short and intense rehearsal process, The Hundred Dresses, played 14 performances to public audiences and school groups. We also had multiple opportunities to offer our audiences talkbacks with the cast and director after the performances to discuss the show. We received incredible feedback, especially from the young students who visited us. Pictures and videos coming to the site soon!
Click here to see what people had to say about the show: http://www.pixiedustplayers.org/hundred-dresses-feedback.html
We believe this show has a future and are looking for ways to share this important story with more audiences. If you have any ideas, let us know!