Pushcart Players to Bring 'STONE SOUP' to Paper Mill Playhouse, 4/30

Pushcart Players to Bring 'STONE SOUP' to Paper Mill Playhouse, 4/30

Pushcart Players, New Jersey's award-winning touring theatre for young audiences presents an Autism/Sensory-Friendly performance of Stone Soup and Other Stories on Wednesday, April 30 at 10:00 am at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn NJ.

Planned in cooperation with Autism New Jersey and the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, Pushcart Players and Paper Mill Playhouse adapt the performance and the theatre environment to provide a welcoming, comfortable and judgment-free space for all. Theatre house lights remain up, sound levels are kept consistent and children are free to move about with supervision. Pushcart adjusts the script to make it literal, free of innuendo and other dramatic devices not readily understood by children with autism or other developmental disabilities. Dynamics of the music and performance avoid sudden or jarring changes, while keeping the integrity of the production intact.

A "Meet Your Seat" Open House will be hosted by Paper Mill on Tuesday, April 29 from 4:00 - 6:00 pm, giving audiences an opportunity to visit the theatre space before the show.

"An inclusionary attitude in reaching schools and students with developmental, learning and other disabilities has always been important to Pushcarts' Arts Access Plan and overall mission," said Stephanie Carr, Pushcart's managing director and coordinator of the program. "Our partnership with Paper Mill expands both companies' outreach objectives by making professional theatre accessible in a way that would not typically be an option."

Stone Soup and Other Stories is a charming musical compilation of favorite stories from Africa, India, Eastern Europe and the United States of America. Filled with music, fantasy and fun, each tale introduces the spirit and customs of these unique cultures. In so doing, it serves as a springboard for reading and subsequent reading-related activities.

"The play also gently raises universal value clarification issues," said Ruth Fost, Pushcart's co-founder, executive artistic director 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."

The cast of Stone Soup and Other Stories includes Oscar Castillo, Jaclyn Ingoglia, JD Lynch and Phebe Taylor. Castillo is a New York native, and a member of Pushcart Players for eleven years. A graduate of Kean University with a BFA in theatre, Oscar co-founded The Theatre Project and performs frequently throughout NYC with Peculiar Works Productions. Jaclyn Ingoglia is a 2009 NJ OBIE Award-winner as Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Mrs. Lovett in "Sweeney Todd" at NJPAC. Ingoglia made her Off-Broadway debut as a swing in the play, "My Big Gay Italian Funeral." JD Lynch is a graduate of DeSales University and has performed in eight Pushcart shows and with other companies throughout the country. Phebe Taylor is an ensemble member of Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre and is a frequent performer at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis.

Stone Soup and Other Stories has original music and lyrics by Carole Wechter. Incidental music and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, who won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his co-orchestration of "The Book of Mormon." His orchestrations include Broadway's "Monty Python's Spamalot," "The Addams Family" and "Jane Eyre."

Pushcart Players is in its 40th anniversary season of presenting productions filled with fun, facts, magic and wonder. The company has traveled over 2 million miles to serve more than 8 million children and their families nationally and abroad. All performances come with innovative scenery, complete lighting and state of the art sound systems, making it adaptable to any location. Study guides and other supplemental materials support the educational benefits of each theatre piece.

Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn NJ 07041. For tickets to Stone Soup and Other Stories (which are $8.50 - $9.50 with group rates available), call the Paper Mill Playhouse box office at 973.376.4343 or visit the website: www.papermill.org.

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

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