Pushcart Players To Stage Autism-Friendly Musical


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Pushcart Players 2010Pushcart Players, the Verona-based touring theater for young audiences will present an Autism and sensory-friendly performance of Stone Soup and Other Stories on Wednesday, April 30 at 10 a.m. at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.

Planned in cooperation with Autism New Jersey and the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, Pushcart Players and Paper Mill Playhouse adapt the performance and the theater environment to provide a welcoming, comfortable and judgment-free space for all. Theater house lights remain up, sound levels are kept consistent and children are free to move about with supervision. Pushcart adjusts the script to make it literal, free of innuendo and other dramatic devices not readily understood by children with autism or other developmental disabilities. Dynamics of the music and performance avoid sudden or jarring changes, while keeping the integrity of the production intact.

A “Meet Your Seat” Open House will be hosted by Paper Mill on Tuesday, April 29 from 4 to 6 p.m., giving audiences an opportunity to visit the theater before the show.

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“An inclusionary attitude in reaching schools and students with developmental, learning and other disabilities has always been important to Pushcarts’ Arts Access Plan and overall mission,” said Stephanie Carr, Pushcart’s managing director and coordinator of the program. “Our partnership with Paper Mill expands both companies’ outreach objectives by making professional theatre accessible in a way that would not typically be an option.”

Stone Soup and Other Stories is a charming musical compilation of favorite stories from Africa, India, Eastern Europe and the United States of America. Filled with music, fantasy and fun, each tale introduces the spirit and customs of these unique cultures. In so doing, it serves as a springboard for reading and subsequent reading-related activities.

“The play also gently raises universal value clarification issues,” said Ruth Fost, Pushcart’s co-founder, executive artistic director and co-author of the play. “Family audiences will be delighted by the show. Then they’ll find themselves discussing why certain characters made certain choices, and how outcomes would have differed with different behavior.”

Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive in Millburn. For tickets to Stone Soup and Other Stories (which are $8.50 to $9.50 with group rates available), call the Paper Mill Playhouse box office at 973.376.4343 or visit the website.

For further information on this or any of Pushcart Players’ programs and services, contact Pushcart at 973.857.1115 or visit the website. LIKE Pushcart Players on Facebook to get up to date information on activities and events and follow us on Twitter @PushcartPlayers.

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