ShowKids Invitational Theatre Presents MY SON PINOCCHIO

After 30 years of delighting audiences, award-winning ShowKids Invitational Theatre (SKIT) kicks off its season with Disney's MY SON PINOCCHIO: Geppetto's Musical Tale. Real boys and girls of all ages will delight in the classic tale of an aging toymaker and his beloved wooden puppet in this Disney gem.

A new musical, My Son Pinocchio retells the classic Disney story from Geppetto's perspective, and features the beloved classic songs, "When You Wish upon a Star" and "I've Got No Strings," alongside a host of new songs by Oscar- and Grammy Award winner and master melodist, Stephen Schwartz. The touching new tunes tackle timely issues about what it means to be "the perfect child" and what it means to be "a real father."

SKIT presents four performances of Disney's My Son Pinocchio on Saturday, January 21 at 2:00pm; Sunday, January 22 at 2:00pm; Saturday, January 28 at 7:30pm; and Sunday, January 29 at 2:00pm. All performances will take place at Voorhees High School, 256 Country Road 513, Glen Gardner, NJ 08826. Tickets are $15 -20, and can be purchased directly at www.showkids.org or by calling the SKIT ticket line at (908) 638-5959. Tickets are on sale now.

"Pinocchio has always been a fun and charming story, and with flying fairies and such talented kids from 7 to 17 our staging of Geppetto's Musical Tale is truly magical," says Carolyn B. Newman, SKIT producer/director. "Adding to the show's excitement, this production marks the SKIT debut for many of our youngest cast members."

Join the Blue Fairy, Stromboli and a lively cast of characters, as Geppetto journeys beyond the toy shop to discover the meaning of family. When the Blue Fairy grants Geppetto's wish to bring his beloved puppet to life, the new father quickly learns that being a parent is full of challenges.

This family-friendly musical is appropriate for all audiences and is a magical mix of heartwarming fairytale and action-packed adventure. Audiences will love following Pinocchio's journey from an awkward wooden puppet to a real, live boy and will be charmed by Geppetto's transformation from a demanding creator to a real, live father.

MY SON PINOCCHIO CASTING

Pinocchio is played by Emma Nasto, 10, of Mt. Laurel and real life grandfather and SKIT veteran Tom Newman plays the patriarch puppeteer Geppetto.

The role of the Blue Fairy* is shared by Natalie Mehl, 16, of Lebanon Twp. and Grace Postiglione, 17, of Stewartsville. Additional fairies-in-training are Jonatha Berg, 15, of Clinton as Rosa*; Allisa Conover, 14, of East Amwell Twp. as Arancia*; Kaylyn Feeley, 15, of Clinton Twp. as Viola; Amanda Jackson, 15, of Asbury as Verde*; and Amy Schroeder, 16, of Bethlehem Twp as Sue. (*fairies that fly!) Amy also leads the cast as Dance Captain for the production.

Stromboli is played by Todd Gagnon, of Long Beach Township. Prajeet Sarker, 16, of Clinton Twp. plays both Lazaro and Buonragazzo. Junior is Ryan Apgar, 14 of Clinton Twp. Bernardo is Ben Black, 15, of Union Twp. And the role of Ringleader is shared by Sara Alicea, 16, of Lebanon Twp., Sean Kane, 14, of Bloomsbury and Haley Marra, 16, of Clinton Twp. who also plays Signora Giovanni. Maria is played by Aliza Campbell, 14, of Pohatcong.

Most performing in multiple roles, the cast of marionettes, puppeteers, roustabouts and adorable delinquents are: Lauren Bancalari, 15, of Bethlehem Twp.; Clara Bravstein,12, of Chester; Sabrina Bunca, 12, of Asbury; Sera Bunca, 16, of Asbury; Sienna Faith Cerasani, 12, of Clinton Twp.; Riley Conaty, 9, of Clinton Twp.; Jack Gallagher, 12, of Stewartsville; Tori Kramer, 13, of Holland Twp.; Serenity Marce, 11, of Raritan; Julia Morrissette, 10, of Clinton Twp.; Maddie Nasto, 7, of Mt. Laurel; Andrew Pedri, 6, and Evan Pedri, 9, of Drums, PA; Charlotte Ruffine, 13, of Tewksbury Twp.; Sana Sarker, 14, of Clinton Twp.; Imani Smith, 14, of Phillipsburg; Aubrey Whitmore, 8, and Josie Whitmore, 14, of Lebanon Twp.; and Hannah Willsey, 14, of Clinton Twp. Adult ensemble players are Dale Dabour, Sue Disko, Holly Pedri, Lisa Postiglione, and Earle Steeves.

SKIT founder, director and producer Carolyn B. Newman is a Hall of Fame member, inducted by the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT) in 2015. ShowKids Invitational Theatre has received 14 Perry nominations for best musical and a whopping 153 total nominations over the last 20 years. SKIT won "Outstanding Production of a Musical", NJACT's highest honor, in 2014 for Shrek - The Musical, and was nominated in 2016 for Me & My Girl, out of over 200 productions reviewed.

SKIT is a non-profit, family community theatre group. Founded in 1986 to offer the children of Hunterdon County an opportunity to experience the joys of theatre and give the community professional quality children's theatre productions, SKIT has since blossomed into an organization that also provides families the opportunity to share quality time while providing an unending amount of wonderful memories. ShowKids Invitational Theatre programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, through the funds administered by the Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

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