News: Interactive Family Musical "Petunia's Playhouse Live!: Petunia's Big Day" Opens Dec. 22

 

Photo courtesy Party Claw Productions

New Ohio Theatre for Young Minds invites families to its historic Greenwich Village theater for Party Claw Productions’ Petunia's Playhouse Live!: Petunia's Big Day – a new musical puppetry experience based on the award-winning web series Petunia’s Playhouse, conceived during the COVID lockdown as a tool to help children cope with the mental health challenges of our new reality. With a brand-new book and story by Laura Kay Clark, directed by Christina Rose Ashby, the interactive show follows the titular character on her first day of school and weaves together puppetry, original songs by Billy Recce, and participatory activities designed to introduce young audiences to the crucial practice of self-care in times of stress and uncertainty. The show, suitable for young theatergoers aged 6-12, will be presented at New Ohio Theatre (154 Christopher Street, NYC) from December 22, 2021 to January 1, 2022. Tickets ($25; $18 for groups of four or more) can be purchased at https://newohiotheatre.org/programs/theatre-for-young-minds/petunias-playhouse-live-petunias-big-day/.

Petunia’s Playhouse Live!: Petunia’s Big Day draws on characters and themes originated by the 2020 web series Petunia’s Playhouse, in which cheerful puppet Petunia and her friend Pumpkin Duck guided the viewers through mental health-related challenges of the pandemic and introduced them to strategies and tools necessary to understand their own feelings, maintain a positive attitude, and foster resilience. In its new, live, musical version, Petunia prepares for her first day of school when an unexpected visitor – the Anxiety Monster – makes a mess of her plans, wreaking havoc on what was supposed to be the best day ever. Creator, writer, and performer Laura Kay Clark reprises the role of Petunia the puppet and is joined by a talented cast of puppet and human characters (including Christopher Isolano as Anxiety Monster and Renee Titus as Mom) in an interactive adventure for the entire family, featuring original songs by composer and lyricist Billy Recce (A Musical About Star Wars). Christina Rose Ashby directs. Joining the cast are Renee Titus, Christopher Isolano, John Pickup and Amanda Spencer. Main puppet characters are designed by Puppet Kitchen artist Eric Wright who built them with Jamie Bressler; additional puppets and colorful sets are by Myra G. Reavis. Merchandise is available for purchase at all performances, curated by merch., the first Black-owned Broadway merchandising company.

Laura Kay Clark, the creator of the original web series and writer/performer for the live show explains: “Having struggled with mental health issues my entire life, I believe so wholeheartedly in providing the means and opportunity for anyone of any age to learn how to better take care of themselves. The pandemic presented me with the perfect opportunity to create the Petunia’s Playhouse web series and to start sharing practical self-care tools with a widespread audience. The positive response to this project has been immense, and I cannot wait to share Petunia with live audiences this December. Now that we’re able to return to the theatre and create a live, interactive musical, I’m confident that families will delight in having something to see that will spread joy and positivity. I want audience members to leave feeling empowered, inspired, and excited to talk about their feelings!”

Robert Lyons, the Artistic Director of New Ohio Theatre, adds: “We’ve been open for a while now, but we’re especially excited to welcome back the kids and the grownups together again to share live theatre! This is the sixth year of Theatre for Young Minds, and we’re lucky to have several artists returning from last year’s online hit Journey Around My Bedroom [You can read Thinking Theater NYC's review here]. This is going to be fun!”

PERFORMANCE DATES:
Wednesday, 12/22: 5:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Thursday, 12/23: 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Friday, 12/24: 11:00 am & 2:00 pm
Saturday, 12/26: 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Tuesday, 12/28: 2:00 pm & 7:00 pm
Wednesday, 12/29: 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Friday, 12/30: 2:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Saturday, 12/31: 11:00 am
Sunday, 1/1: 2:00 pm

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