As producers we need to think about more than just the show we're doing. We need to think about "why" we're doing the show. I personally only get behind something that touches me. I have to either want to cry, laugh hysterically, or grit my teeth in anger, before I decide that something is worth getting involved with. As a result, I have become pretty discerning about what I go and see. I am especially wary of shows with children.
I have always felt that when a show has kids in it, I'm watching "theatre-lite"
There's very little truth, a lot of the kids seem to be posturing their way through the material, and I'm usually pretty annoyed at the end of it all. I'm glad to say I had the exact opposite reaction to the show I saw last night.
Michael Pizzi runs a great organization that has a unique mission. His organization is finishing up the run of a production of I Never Saw Another Butterfly that has two performances left and yes, after two recommendations folks, I'm making another one.
Michael's handling of incredibly serious subject matter is exemplary and everyone who runs a childrens theatre, needs to come and take notes. I have not in all of my years of seeing shows with young people seen anything like the truth and honesty this production achieves.
I once used to make a joke that I would start my own dance company where the kids would just wear cute costumes and stand around picking their noses and singing off-key and I'd make millions, because none of the adults seem to care. This should give you an idea of how I feel whenever I get invited to something with kids in it.
I was really impressed. No matter how young each actor was on stage, they each were so committed to the material that this story was heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. The staging was also expertly executed and used very little in the way of set and props, so that we as the audience could just focus on the story. I heard some sniffles in back of me at the end of the show, and must admit that I was also a little misty myself. In a world where people have huge million dollar sets and thousands of lights making for a laser show, it's great to see that so much power can come from a cast of all ages, with a few platforms and some cloth stars of David, in the auditorium of a church. Info about the last two performances is below. Check the production out and make sure you swing by to say hi to Michael after. That is if you can hold it together after the last number.
So if you want to accomplish great things in thea arts, the first step is obvious:
Find something that touches an audience and the rest will fall into place.
Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 7:30pm
Saturday, June 27, 2009 at 8:00pm
Assembly Hall at the Community Church of New York
40 East 35th St
New York, NY
New York, NY June 4-27 - Touching Humanity, Inc, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 arts and educational organization promoting disability awareness and social justice is presenting a fully staged concert of I Never Saw Another Butterfly with a 5 piece orchestra throughout select dates in June. The musical is adapted from the heartrending book of poems of the same name and the collection of children’s artwork created while imprisoned at the Thieresenstadt concentration camp. Theperformances will be held at the Assembly Hall, Community Church of New York at 35th and Park on June 4-6, June 20 and June 27th (2 shows on each of the Saturdays).
I Never Saw Another Butterfly is a beautiful and poignant musical play about love, hope, empowerment and remembrance set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. This compelling story is based on historical research and inspired by the poetry, drawings and lives of the children imprisoned between 1942 and 1944 at Terezin. It is the tale of a woman who instills creativity and imagination in the encamped children and allows them to live their childhoods as fully as possible, even while staring into the face of evil. It is the tale of two young people who embrace their love without fear. It is the tale of family sticking close together against forces trying to rip them apart. The story illuminates how one can conquer adversity and promote living life to the fullest. The uplifting music and unforgettable story will stick with you long after the final bow. A truly inspirational tale!
I Never Saw Another Butterfly is based on the play by Celeste Raspanti. Book and Lyrics are by Joseph Robinette with music by E.A. Alexander. Directed by Michael A. Pizzi and Alexis Fishman with musical direction by Casey Erin Clark and movement/choreography by Sonya Hamlin.
For additional information visit: www.touchinghumanityinc.org or www.ineversawanotherbutterfly.com Reserve now! Limited seating!
Performances: Assembly Hall at the Community Church of New York
40 East 35th St. , NY, NY 10016
Thursday, June 4, 7:30pm
Friday, June 5, 7: 30 PM
Saturday, June 6, 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM
Saturday June 20, 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 27, 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM
Adults: $30, Children under 10 and Seniors over 65 with ID: $25; Equity actor discount $20 with ID
At door: Adults-$40, children under 10 and seniors-$30.
Tickets: Paypal and credit cards accepted at www.touchinghumanityinc.org and click on performances or through Theatermania at 212-352-3101 orwww.theatermania.com.
Group Sales (Presale only):
$25 per person for groups of 10 or more. Call 212-533-5166. No refunds or exchanges. Checks or money order only.
TOUCHING HUMANITY, INC - The primary goal of THI is to produce theatre and develop and present educational health care workshops that inspire, instill hope, engage people’s minds and hearts and encourage communities to be more inclusive of people with disabilities, no matter the disability, and promote social justice. We educate through our artistic endeavors and through straight forward presentations about disability, particularly workshops that focus on wellness and prevention strategies and strategies to improve one’s quality of life. Our art educates audiences through our motto: “given opportunity, always able”.