Photo by Thierry Donaus
(SECAUCUS, NJ) -- Pushcart Players, New Jersey's Emmy-nominated and award-winning touring theater for young audiences presents "Holiday Tales - A Season of Miracles" at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center in Secaucus, NJ on Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 1:00pm. This show is a sparkling collection of holiday stories from different cultures.
Tales within this touching musical include O. Henry’s “The Gift of the Magi,” an original tale set in Nigeria entitled, “The Kwanzaa Kite,” a fanciful tale from The Wise Folk of Chelm – “The Chanukah Miracle,” and E.T.A Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker.”
Tickets for the Saturday, December 16th performance of “Holiday Tales: A Season of Miracles” at the Arthur F. Couch Performing Arts Center (1 Millridge Rd, Secaucus, NJ) are available for purchase online or by calling the Secaucus Public Library at 201-330-2083.
This magical presentation is designed to warm the hearts, and perhaps change the perspectives, of young audiences as they think about the true meaning and spirit of the holiday season.
Music and orchestrations are by Tony Award-winning composer, Larry Hochman, the book is by Pushcart co-founder, Ruth Fost, and direction is by artistic director Paul Whelihan.
"As for miracles?" noted Fost, "they are within us all and at the heart of each story. Miracles are the gifts of love, kindness, caring, and sharing."
Ruth Fost is a playwright, designer, actor, and arts advocate, with a particular focus on arts in education. Fost has appeared in more than fifty leading roles in major productions ranging from Simon (Neil) to Shakespeare to Shaw. She has written 30 musical plays for children, and has performed throughout the country and abroad.
Larry Hochman has a career as a composer and orchestrator for over 40 years that encompasses theatre, film, recordings, concerts, television, and video games. Most well-known for his work in theater, Larry has orchestrated over 100 musicals. He has 18 Broadway shows to his credit and has won the Tony Award ("The Book of Mormon"), two Drama Desk Awards, and The Outer Critics Circle Award ("Hello, Dolly!"). He has received 9 Tony Award nominations, and 9 Emmy nominations.
Paul Whelihan is an actor, director, playwright, arts administrator, teaching artist, and producer whose involvement in professional theatre is an ongoing mission spanning four decades. Whelihan has been affiliated with Pushcart Players since 1982. Starting as an actor, he performed in four seasons. He went on to pursue other projects as an actor, director, and arts administrator, returning annually to Pushcart throughout the years to work as resident director. In 2016, Paul took the helm as producing artistic director.
"Holiday Tales - A Season of Miracles" features Oscar Castillo, Stacie Gogo, Keara Hailey Gordon, and Danny Sims, all playing numerous characters to illuminate the stories.
A native New Yorker, Oscar Castillo is a graduate of Kean University with a BA in Theatre. He is a founding member of The Theatre Project. For the past 20 years Oscar has been a member of the Pushcart Players performing for young audiences throughout the US. Oscar also performs throughout New York City with Peculiar Works Productions.
Stacie Gogo is a NJ based actor, singer, and dancer who is currently in her twelfth season with the Pushcart Players. She attended Wilkes University where she obtained her B.A. in Musical Theatre with a Dance Minor. Throughout her time with the company, she has performed in 8 different productions. Some of her favorites include Alice in “Alice in Wonderland”, Rosa in “Ellis Island: Gateway to America”, and both Cinderella and Griselda (Stepsister) in “A Cinderella Tale.”
Keara Hailey Gordon is a NJ certified teacher of Theatre K-12 with a performing arts background of over 35 years. She and her husband recently co-founded Practically Dramatic, LLC educational consultants, specializing in the teaching and implementation of dramatic and performing arts including public speaking and communication skills. Keara has appeared on stage and screen, beginning her professional acting career in 1986 where she portrayed the role of the Young Whitney Houston in the music video for the #1 hit song “The Greatest Love of All.”
Danny Sims is a New Jersey based actor/director and creative as well as the creative production supervisor for Michael Anthony Theatrical in New York City. Danny studied Musical Theatre at Montclair State University. Some of Danny’s favorite shows to perform in the Pushcart repertoire are: “Stone Soup”, “Velveteen Rabbit”, “A More Perfect Union” and “A Season of Miracles.”
Pushcart Players is an award-winning, professional touring theater company specializing in arts in education for children. A social profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart Players brings substantive musical theater, workshops, educational programs, and residencies to young people and their families in schools, theaters, and communities nationwide.
Twice nominated for an Emmy, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. The company has traveled more than 2 million miles nationally and abroad, from the little red schoolhouse to the White House.
Pushcart addresses social studies, literature, history, special educational needs, and values clarification for young people, their families and their educators. The guiding principles of equity, diversity, access, and inclusion infuse all aspects of Pushcart’s programing, artists, and educators. All performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments, and other supplemental materials. They adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems.
Pushcart has a significant theater education program, providing in-school workshops, direction of student productions and curriculum development for elementary and middle schools. Among Pushcart cast members are experienced teaching artists, who provide workshops, acting classes, and residency programs to schools, community centers and summer session programs.