Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s Emmy-nominated and award-winning touring theater for family audiences will present “Outta’ This World: The Adventures of Kalien the Alien” on November 10th at the Bickford Theatre at Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ. Founded in 1974, Pushcart will be celebrating 50 years of stirring up serious fun for young people nationwide.
“…Kalien the Alien” is the story of a young accidental visitor to Earth from another planet. Seeking help at the local elementary school, Kalien interacts, sometimes comically, with their Earthling contemporaries. Throughout one magical day, our alien learns — and teaches — about acceptance, anti-bullying, and fun! Based on the song of the same title by children’s pop music icon, mr. RAY (Ray Andersen), the production supports pathways to learning in music appreciation and science as well.
“Social-emotional development and poignant understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion come to life for Pushcart’s young learners,” said Paul Whelihan, producing artistic director. “Supporting people’s character education is significantly important these days,” he continued, “and the production bolsters this in a lively, good time rock musical for families. And ours is somewhat of a period piece – as we’ve set it in the 1960s.”
The production is directed by Whelihan; music and lyrics are by Ray Andersen; book by Sheryl Berk. The cast features Jason Pumarada and Scout Graham (sharing the role of Kalien), Tomo Watanabe, Aycka Lima, Danny Sims, and Joshua Hendricks.
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.
Ray Andersen, better known as mr. RAY, has been writing and performing for kids from pre-K to 5th grade for 27 years. His interactive shows feature his original songs, with messages of Kindness, Diversity, Being Creative, and Staying Healthy & Active. He sings children’s classics like “Five Little Monkeys,” and family songs by The Beatles, Bob Marley, and many more. He has performed from NYC to LA and London and has appeared on “Good Morning America” in addition to being featured in The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal.
Andersen toured with Meat Loaf as his guitarist/keyboardist/backup singer, and performed with Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Chuck Berry. He has recorded music for national TV commercials, including 12 Publishers Clearing House campaigns. Andersen is the leader of an 8-piece David Bowie tribute band.
A New York Times bestselling author several times over, Sheryl Berk is most proud of the dozens of books she has co-written with her daughter, Carrie, including ‘The Cupcake Club’ and ‘Fashion Academy’ series. Berk has co-written eight bestsellers and also served as an editor for publications such as McCall’s and Life & Style Magazine.
Jason Pumarada is a NJ/NYC based actor, singer, and voice over artist most recently completing narrations for two feature-length documentaries, “The Story of Nintendo” (Amazon Video), and “The Story of PlayStation.”
Scout Graham has performed Enjolras in “Les Miserables” and Cinderella in “Into the Woods” (Stage Craft Studios). They are a graduate of Drew University with a degree in Theatre Arts – Performance, Playwriting / Dramaturgy Concentrations. Scout is a day player on the web series “Hive.”
Tomo Watanabe is originally from Japan and is a graduate of AMDA-NY. She has performed regionally and off-Broadway in roles such as Little Red Riding Hood in “Into the Woods,” Gigi in “Miss Saigon,” and Jogo in “The Monkey King, A New Musical.”
Aycka Lima is a California native who works professionally in both East and West coast theaters in productions of “My Fathers Play,” “Goosebumps The Musical”, “Next To Normal,” “Carrie,” “Legally Blonde,” “Snow White,” “Evita,” “The Nutcracker,” and “Beauty and The Beast.”
Danny Sims is a NJ based actor, director, and creative who holds a degree in Musical Theatre from Montclair State University. He is the creative production supervisor for Michael Anthony Theatrical in NYC. As an actor, Danny has been seen on various NJ stages.
Joshua Hendricks studied drama at NYU Tisch and its multitude of studios, as well as Shakespeare and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. He has played a range of roles from The Groom in “Blood Wedding” (Playwrights Horizons Theater School) to Timon in “Timon of Athens” (RADA).
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. 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 6.6 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to The White House.
Pushcart Players addresses social studies, literature, history, special educational needs, social-emotional learning, equity, diversity, accessibility, inclusion, values clarification, and character education 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. Pushcart adapts to any location with innovative scenery, lighting, and sound systems.
“Outta’ This World: The Adventures of Kalien the Alien” will be presented at the Bickford Theatre at Morris Museum at the Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Heights Road, Morristown on November 10th at 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.
Tickets can be purchased at https://morrismuseum.org/for-kids/outta-this-world-kalien-the-alien-with-mr-ray or by calling 973-971-3706.
As a social-profit organization, Pushcart Players’ programs are made possible in part by NJ State Council on the Arts/Department of State, NJ State Bar Foundation, Pine Tree Foundation of New York, Actors’ Equity Foundation, ADP Foundation, The Community Foundation of NJ, EJ Grassmann Trust, The Grunin Foundation, Hyde & Watson Foundation, The Montclair Foundation, Newark Arts, PNC Bank/Lillian Schenck Foundation, The Sosland Foundation, Turrell Fund, The Whitehill Foundation, and numerous individual contributors.
PHOTO CREDIT: Thierry Donaus