Meet NYC Children’s Theater’s incredible staff of tireless professionals working to give New York kids and adults the best theater experience.

Young Charles Dickens

Kate Mincer on Costumes in “Young Charles Dickens”

Costume designer, Kate Mincer, is opening our new series behind holiday musical Young Charles Dickens! Check out our video as she shares her excitement designing elegant and gritty Victorian English outfits.

More About Young Charles Dickens

Before he became a famous writer, Charles Dickens was a typical 12-year-old with a gift for telling stories. But it wasn’t until he had to spend a year supporting his family, working on Christmas Eve, that he realized just how important his stories could be.

Based on the true story of Charles Dickens’s childhood, Young Charles Dickens is the uplifting story of how one of the most famous writers of all time found his calling.


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NYCCT TYA Playwrighting Contest

My Experience Running the Young Playwrights Contest for NYCCT

This past Monday our Artistic Associate Danielle planned our first Theater for Young Audiences, Young Playwrights for Dramatic Change Contest – here she discusses how the extremely successful event came together! Read more

The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess

Simplicity on Stage

Three weeks ago, I watched Fly by Night at Playwrights Horizons: A musical written by Kim Rosenstock, Will Connolly and  Michael Mitnick. The show was very well conceived, written, designed and directed. However, a couple of design related instances in the show got me thinking about the use special effects and technical elements in theatre.

1) The beginning: The conspicuously empty space center-stage, amidst a very elaborate set, told me that it was going to be used for some gimmick; and it was. Almost at the outset the band ascended from below, and remained there for the entirety of the show. Did they need to spend all that time and effort engineering the ascent, or would the audience have been just as pleased with the show had the band walked on stage and taken their places?

2) The great reveal: The sub-plots in the show were building up to the blackout of 1965, and when we reached that moment in the story line, hundreds of tiny lamps, carefully woven into the hard and soft black masking, lit up around the theatre. These were the stars that New Yorkers (then and today) fail to see, because of the permanent smog of diffused artificial light. The gimmick was (presumably) very cheap; yet very effective.

I compare these two instances because I am very interested in the line between creativity that makes dramaturgical sense, and creativity just because it is doable or because the budget allows it. Simplicity is important, not just to ensure we don’t waste our resources, but because we should trust our audience to imagine, and to complete the image we represent on stage. We owe them that. As we at Making Books Sing begin work on our next production, The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess, that line becomes all important, because Harvey teaches us that all we need to be creative is our imagination…

– Jit

Literature at Play Workshop

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Melissa Gordon

What Program Do You Teach for NYCCT?

I teach Literature at Play for NYC Children’s Theater. I also perform in My City Park and sometimes If You Really Love Polar Bears. I feel lucky to be involved in so many programs within the education department! I have been an NYCCT TA since 2011 and have taught or performed in every single borough of New York City….and New Jersey!

What is Your Most Memorable Teaching Moment?

There are so many memorable, funny, and inspiring moments from NYCCT residencies and performances over the past several years. Most recently, I taught a Literature at Play musical theatre residency in Queens and the students just did such an amazing job, especially with their song. They committed to everything 100% and the pride they had in their work really shone through. It was a joy to watch them celebrate their creativity.

Are There Any Non-NYCCT Projects You Can Share with Us?

I have a solo show of original songs going up July 17th* at Dixon Place! I perform very frequently and you can always check out upcoming shows on my website at www.melissasgordon.com

More About Melissa

Melissa Gordon is an actor, writer, musician and comedian who is proud to call New York her home. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from Ithaca College and has also studied at the National Theatre Institute, Upright Citizens Brigade, The Groundlings and Magnet Theater. Melissa has performed with the Manhattan Children’s Theatre, Traveling Lantern Theatre Company and most recently worked with New York City Children’s Theater in a production of If You Really Loved Polar Bears… at the Bronx Zoo. Melissa performs regularly at the Magnet Theater with her musical improv team Mint Condition and is also a member of the Story Pirates. Melissa feels very lucky and extremely proud to work and perform with so many wonderful people.

*The show at Dixon Place has now passed but visit Melissa’s website for more upcoming performances!

Literature at Play Workshop

New Funding Provides More Opportunities for a Child’s Self-Discovery in Schools

At a recent event I attended for the NYC Arts and Education Roundtable, John Patrick Shanely, the guest of honor, gave an extremely inspiring speech about self-discovery. I’m paraphrasing, but the crux of his story centered around the idea that we are all born as fully-formed individuals, complete with likes, dislikes, passions, opinions, desires and fears….only we don’t know what they are yet because, as babies, we haven’t experienced anything. As we grow up, our exposure to the world, people, places and activities slowly reveal our preferences and we learn that we’re innately drawn to certain situations and repulsed by others.

His point was that these experiences are not cultivating our opinions or preferences in the moment, but rather they are unlocking predetermined aspects of our personalities that were imprinted on our souls long before we were born. The more exposure we have to different experiences, the more we get to know ourselves. However, if we are not exposed to these experiences, these talents and passions remain locked. Shanley credited his successful career as a playwright to a chance encounter he had in his high school’s theatre. He never knew he had a talent for writing until it was revealed to him through this experience. When children are only exposed to a limited number of ideas and subjects, at home and at school, they miss out on valuable opportunities to discover and unlock their hidden talents and passions that live inside them.

The arts, in all mediums, provide children with an opportunity to experiment and play in order to find the perfect fit. One might gravitate to the violin, another to the theatre, a third might create new worlds with a paint brush, and a fourth might realize they prefer math and science…all are wonderful discoveries, but they will only occur if children have access to all of these experiences. Mayor de Blasio, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that New York City will spend an unprecedented $23 million in additional arts funding for New York City schools. This is encouraging news for NYC Children’s Theater, and all of the other arts professionals and cultural organizations in the city because it means we will be able to continue our contribution to providing the children of NYC with a well-rounded education which can only result in creating a new generation of well-rounded individuals.

– Brooke

The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess

Adventures in Stage Management!

This past May, NYC Children’s Theater awarded me another glorious opportunity: stage managing the workshop of The Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess! I had never staged managed a performance before and found myself excited (albeit nervous) to tackle a new and thrilling challenge.

My adventures began acting as a liaison between the members of the creative team and the cast – answering questions, making contact sheets and schedules, assuring that every actor had the proper materials, creating binders with scripts and sheet music for each actor and even making boat and mountain props to be used during the reading (although my far more talented uncle ended up doing the hard part!).

Sitting in on a meeting with the creative team; Laurie Berkner (music & lyrics), Barbara Zinn Krieger (book and Artistic Director of NYC Children’s Theater), Marty Johnson (director), Kristen Rosenfeld (music director), and Emma Halpern (Co-Artistic Director of NYC Children’s Theater) I began to realize how lucky I was to be given this opportunity.

That feeling only intensified during the rehearsal for the workshop when I got to sit in an empty theater with our brilliant creative team and watch four extremely talented performers bring Laurie and Barbara’s creation to life!

The day of the reading is a blur – it flew by so quickly and there was so much to do to prepare for the guests who would be coming to see the performance. Seeing how far the show had come in less than two days due to Marty, Laurie, Barbara and Kristen’s instincts and the incredibly hard work of the cast, was staggering and inspiring.Then as the guests took their seats and the reading began it became clear thatThe Amazing Adventures of Harvey and the Princess was something special and I am fortunate to have played such a small role in its journey.

– Nicole

Literature at Play Sharing Day

Brooke Boertzel on Giving Kids Permission to Dream

I remember babysitting a young boy and his sister when I was in college. We were on a walk and we spotted a nest with a colony of thousands of ants. They sped up and down their small domed hill, weaving in and out of one another with carefully choreographed precision.

The young boy seemed unimpressed by our discovery, but his sister was quite fascinated. She asked me what the ants were doing and I told her that they were practicing a new dance, which they were all going to perform at their annual colony barbeque. Her eyes widened with interest and she bent down to get a closer look at the dance practice. Her brother, on the other hand, thought my answer was ludicrous.

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Ballerina Swan (2013)

Barbara Zinn Krieger on “What’s Your Dream?”

I recently had some delightful interactions with little girls in tutus with big dreams. Our show, BALLERINA SWAN is playing now at Theater Three, so the arrival of many audience members dressed for the occasion didn’t surprise me. So that the kids would have something to do before the show started, we decorated the lobby with large sheets of paper, and invited anyone who wished to, to draw their dreams.

“SOPHIE THE SWAN’S DREAM IS TO BECOME A DANCER, WHAT’S YOUR DREAM?”- read the notice on the wall above the paper, and a cup of crayons sat invitingly on the floor next to it. As crayon monitor, I was close to the action and had discussions with the dreamers about what they were drawing; some were so little that their ideas were a bit hard to decipher. Here are some of the dreams that unfolded.

TO RIDE IN A HOT AIR BALLOON!

TO BE A CHEF AND SERVE GREAT MEALS!

TO LIVE IN THE COUNTRY WHERE EVERYTHING’S GREEN!

TO TRAVEL THE WORLD!

TO BE A STAR!

I felt so lucky to be in on the first stirrings of what may be to come for these eager bright-eyed kids; it’s one of the great pleasures of being the Artistic Director of New York City Children’s Theater.

-Barbara

Alices Story NYCCT Anti-Bullying Program

NYCCT Education Director Brooke Boertzel Talks Bullying

As the Director of Education at New York City Children’s Theater, I have the task of creating age-appropriate curricula for both elementary and middle school students. In creating these programs, I’ve had to pay close attention to the developmental difference between the ages of these children so that I could address relevant and interesting topics that appealed to these specific ages, and respect (yet challenge) the inhibiting social/personal barriers that develop and strengthen with age. Read more

Patron Manager Logo

An Ode to Patron Manager by Julie Griffith

Arts and technology.

If you ask most people, they aren’t really synonymous. Theater organizations, in general, are about 10 years behind the technological tide. NYC Children’s Theater is no exception. Read more