Pushcart Players to Present CELEBRATING NEW JERSEY at Park Middle School, 2/8

Pushcart Players to Present CELEBRATING NEW JERSEY at Park Middle School, 2/8

Pushcart Players, New Jersey's renowned touring theatre for young audiences performs "Celebrating New Jersey" at Park Middle School in Scotch Plains, NJ on Saturday, February 8 at 1:00 pm. A timely folk musical that coincides with New Jersey's 350th Anniversary, the event is hosted by Young People's Theatre.

"Celebrating New Jersey" reaches across more than three centuries, linking young viewers to the past while breathing new life into a most creative period in the Garden State's history. From the arrival of the first settlers to the American Revolution, from the writing of the Constitution to the significant participation in the Civil War, from Thomas Edison's life-changing work in West Orange to New Jersey's pivotal role in industry, "Celebrating New Jersey" is a spirited and stylish exploration of the innovation and diversity that continue to define New Jersey.

"The production is brimming with humor, conflict and discovery," said Ruth Fost, Pushcart's co-founder and executive artistic director. Fost is the playwright and lyricist for the production as well. "I think people will be surprised by the many 'firsts' from NJ, which include the steam locomotive, America's first copper mine, the first World Series radio broadcast and movies. There's a lot of pride!"

Phebe Taylor and Harry Patrick Christian perform "Celebrating New Jersey." Taylor is a Pushcart Player since 2004. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Phebe is a company member of the Heartland Actors' Repertory Theatre and a frequent performer at The Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis. Christian performed in the one-man show, "Santaland Diaries " in Quincy, IL and at Luna Stage, NJ. Appearing in improvisational shows, cabarets and regional theatre, he most recently was seen in "The Language Archive" and "The Other Place," for Dreamcatcher Repertory Theater in Summit. Through Pushcart Players, Christian brings theatre arts to teenagers who are first-time violent crime offenders with the Passaic Police Department's Youth Services Division.

The production is directed by Paul Whelihan, who is also an actor, stage manager, producer and playwright. Whelihan has directed the majority of Pushcart's productions throughout its history, and has directed for Luna Stage (West Orange), Forum Theatre (Metuchen), Growing Stage (Netcong) and for the New York Fringe Festival. Paul is a teaching artist in the tri-state area in elementary, middle and high schools.

The music of "Celebrating New Jersey" combines traditional folk songs with original works. Incidental music and orchestrations are by Larry Hochman, who has collaborated with Pushcart co-founder Carole Wechter, since the company's inception. Hochman won the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his co-orchestration of "The Book of Mormon." He also orchestrated "Monty Python's Spamalot," "The Addams Family" and "Jane Eyre" among others.

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.

PHOTO CREDIT: Harvey Glick

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