The Verona-based Pushcart Players present “A Season of Miracles” at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn on Wednesday, December 3 at 10 a.m. This magically musical production warms the hearts of family audiences as they reflect on the true meaning and spirit of the holidays.
“A Season of Miracles” is a multi-cultural collection of tales that celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa and Chanukah. Stories within this delightful musical include O. Henry’s ‘The Gift of the Magi;’ an original scene in Nigeria entitled ‘The Kwanzaa Kite;’ a story based on the folklore of Chelm called ‘The Chanukah Miracle’ and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘The Nutcracker.’
“As for miracles?” noted Ruth Fost, Pushcart co-founder and the production’s playwright, “They are within us all and at the heart of each story. Miracles are the gifts of love, kindness, caring and sharing.”
Pushcart Players artistic director Paul Whelihan directed the production, based on original staging and choreography by Fost and Susie Paplow. Whelihan has directed, stage-managed and performed off-Broadway (47th Street Theater, 59 East 59 Theatres, NY Fringe Festival) and regionally (Royal Poincianna Playhouse, Broward Center for the Arts, Centenary Stage, The Growing Stage, Luna Stage Company, Forum Cultural Arts Center, Quillo Arts Center, Dreamcatcher Rep) in musicals, dramas, original works and locally produced television, film and web series projects.
“A Season of Miracles” cast features Melanie Beck, Melissa Cox, JD Lynch and Anthony M. Stokes. Ms. Beck received her BFA from Ithaca College and recently played Izzy in “Cloned! The Musical,” which premiered during the2014 New York Musical Theatre Festival, winning the “Best of Fest” award. Other credits include the Off-Broadway production and tour of TheatreWorks USA’s “Skippyjon Jones,” “Spelling Bee” at the Hangar Theatre, and the regional premier of “Grace” at Lake Dillon Theatre in CO.
Melissa Cox is a master in corporate and organizational communication from Fairleigh Dickinson University where she studied Musical Theater as well. Cox performed the role of Beth in “Little Women” in Maplewood NJ and has been seen as Martha in “Spring Awakening” and Sister in “Damn Yankees.” JD Lynch is a graduate of DeSales University who portrays the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar and many other roles in Pushcart’s “Alice in Wonderland,” now touring the region to critical acclaim. Anthony Michael Stokes returns from South Korea where he worked as a teaching artist. A trained cellist and puppeteer, his recent credits include Hondo/Walt in Aisle Six (2013NYFringe), the first national tour of “Clifford,” originating the roles of Charley/Mr. Partland, Alcestis (American Thymele Theatre), Admetus’ Servant, Romeo and Bernadette/Romeo.
Larry Hochman musically arranges “A Season of Miracles.” Hochman won both the Tony and the Drama Desk awards for best orchestrations for “The Book of Mormon.” He received Tony nominations for “The Scottsboro Boys,” ”Monty Python’s Spamalot,” (Hochman also received Drama Desk nominations for both), Fiddler on the Roof (2004 revival) and “A Class Act.”
Pushcart Players has traveled over 2 million miles nationally and abroad since 1974 to serve more than 8 million children and their families with meaningful theatre. From the White House to the little red schoolhouse, this dynamic company has been nominated for an Emmy, and has received numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation. A cast of professional Equity actors and stage managers come with complete scenery, lighting and sound systems, making every performance adaptable to any location.
Paper Mill Playhouse is located at 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn NJ 07041. Tickets for “A Season of Miracles” can be ordered by calling 943.315.1680 or by visiting www.papermill.org. Group sale and other discounts apply.
For further information on this or any of Pushcart’s programs and services, contact Pushcart Players at 973.857.1115 or visit the website at www.pushcartplayers.org. LIKE us on Facebook to get up to date information on activities and events and follow us on Twitter @PushcartPlayers. (Photo by: Gerry Goodstein)