Pushcart Players presents “Holiday Tales” at Jersey Shore Arts Center

Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s Emmy nominated and award-winning touring theater for young and family audiences presents “Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles” at The Jersey Shore Arts Center, Ocean Grove, on Sunday, December 11 at 2:00 pm. In the spirit of the season, Pushcart is designating the event “Grandparents’ Day” wherein tickets are free to any grandparent accompanied by a grandchild.

“…A Season of Miracles” is a magical musical to warm the hearts of family audiences with the true spirit of the year-end holidays of Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa.

Stacie Gogo, Oscar Castillo, Gia Ware, & Lou Steele in ‘Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles’

“…A Season of Miracles” visits O. Henry’s ‘The Gift of the Magi’; an original scene in Nigeria entitled ‘The Kwanzaa Kite’; a story based on the wise men of Chelm folklore called ‘The Chanukah Miracle’; and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘The Nutcracker.’ Every tale reflects the spirit of the holidays and the people that celebrate them. Music and orchestrations are by Tony Award-winning composer, Larry Hochman, book is by Pushcart co-founder, Ruth Fost, and direction is by artistic director Paul Whelihan.

“We’re very pleased to invite children to bring grandparents – theirs or someone else’s – to the theater for free,” noted Whelihan, referring to Grandparents Day. “Much of our work is in the schools, so grandparents mostly only get to hear about Pushcart shows. Here’s an opportunity for multi-generational engagement in theater at an excellent family event.”

“As for miracles?” added 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, has performed throughout the country and abroad and recently published a children’s book to accompany Pushcart’s production of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Larry Hochman has a career as 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 a hundred 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 directs, stage-manages and performs off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival, 54 Below) and regionally (Short North Stage [OH], Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Quillo Arts Center [FL], Centenary Stage, The Company, The Bickford Theatre, Growing Stage, Luna Stage, Forum Theatre, Premier Stages, Dreamcatcher Rep [NJ]) in musicals, dramas, and original works. He has appeared in locally produced television, film, and web series projects.

“Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles” features Oscar Castillo, Stacie Gogo, Dana Patrice, and Danny Sims, all playing myriad characters to illuminate the stories.

Castillo, a native New Yorker, is a graduate of Kean University with a BA in theater. He is a founding member of The Theatre Project. For the past 19 years Oscar has been a member of Pushcart Players performing for young audiences throughout the US, while appearing in various plays and films in the NY region. Oscar also performs throughout New York City with Peculiar Works Productions.

Stacie Gogo is a graduate of Wilkes University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and a Minor in Dance. Gogo appeared off-Broadway as a Kit Kat Girl in “Cabaret” at the Players Theatre, as Penny Pingleton in “Hairspray” at the Westchester Broadway Theatre, in the ensemble of “Grease!” at Surflight Theatre, and in international tours.

Dana Patrice performed in Lighthouse Opera of NJ’s production of “Ragtime” at South Orange PAC. She was featured in CDC Theater’s stage in “Vagina Monologues” and “Once Upon a Mattress.” She appeared in Expiration Date” at The Tank in NYC for the Wet Paint play festival, OLT’s “Side Show, The Musical,” and Aida.”

Danny Sims is a New Jersey-based actor and creative artist. He got his start performing in central NJ local theaters such as The Forum, Cranford Dramatic Club, and countless Plays in the Park (Edison) productions. He studied Musical Theatre at Montclair State University and has sung with The Encore Orchestra of NJ, as well as recently directing “The Shape of Things” with Third Revelation Theatre Co.

Pushcart Players is the award-winning professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy©, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A social-profit organization founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people and their families in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 6.5 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation’s White House.

Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, the Autism spectrum, special educational needs, social emotional learning, equity, diversity & inclusion, and values clarification for young people, their families, and their educators. All performances by professional artists (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems.

“Holiday Tales – A Season of Miracles” will perform on Sunday December 11 at 2:00 pm, at The Jersey Shore Arts Center, 66 S Main St, Ocean Grove, NJ. Tickets are $15 standard, with discounts for groups of 10 or more, and Grandparents are FREE! Tickets can be ordered by visiting: https://pushcartplayers.ticketleap.com/holiday-tales-a-season-of-miracles/ or calling Pushcart Players: (973) 857-1115.

For further information on this or any Pushcart Players program, visit the website www.pushcartplayers.org or email information@pushcartplayers.org.

As a social-profit organization, Pushcart Players’ programs are made possible in part by NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of New York, NJ State Bar Foundation, Actors’ Equity Foundation,  ADP Foundation, The Community Foundation of NJ, EJ Grassmann Trust, Essex County Small Business Lease Grant, The Grunin Foundation, Hyde & Watson Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, Newark Arts, New Jersey Arts and Culture Renewal Fund, New Jersey CARES Act Fund, New Jersey Economic Development Authority, Park West Foundation, PNC Bank/Lillian Schenck Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, The Sosland Foundation, The Turrell Fund, The Whitehill Foundation, and numerous individual contributors.

PHOTO CREDIT: Richard Kowalski

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