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MUSICALS

THE BUTTER BATTLE BOOK
by Dr. Seuss

Adaptation by Lory Lazarus

Engaged in a long-running battle, the Yooks and the Zooks develop more and more sophisticated weaponry as they attempt to outdo each other. In this battle between the two neighbors, (over which way to butter your bread!), Dr. Seuss masterfully relates how petty differences must be considered in a constructive way. Allusions to the Cold War, like the wall dividing the two sides, is Dr. Seuss's vehicle for conveying the astounding destructive potential behind a war where the enemies lose sight of their true goals. The war ends up getting fought for the wrong reasons - reminding us of the danger and the prejudice attached to such battles which can eat away at our morals, our societies, and our motives. While the underlying theme to the book is the absurdity of battle, Dr. Seuss tries to convey that people must overcome their pride to live in peace.


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FARMER RABBIT'S FIESTA
Written by Mehr Mansuri
On a cold, blustery day, Roscoe Rabbit hops down the path to Farmer Haystack's vegetable patch where he collects all the potatoes, corn, turnips, carrots, apples, and berries that Farmer Haystack left behind. Roscoe Rabbit was very content as he filled every corner of his burrow with food for the winter. Later, as he sat outside eating his turnip, his neighbors passed by; Billy Chipmunk, Molly Mouse. Tina Chickadee and Rusty Robin, each hungry and shivering with cold because they could find no food for the winter. How can Farmer Rabbit show compassion to his neighbors? In this story Roscoe Rabbit prepares a big feast / fiesta and invites all his neighbors and friends.

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HORTON HATCHES THE EGG by Dr. Seuss
Adaptation by Jill A. Bolstridge & Mehr Mansuri
Music & Lyrics by Lory Lazarus
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hatches the Egg, directed by Jill Bolstridge does a salsa through the woods straight to Miami Beach as we witness a heartfelt story about a steadfast elephant preparing for the arrival of . . .his egg!

 

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KING KUNKA BUNKA & HIS ROTTEN ROYAL RASCALS
by Mehr Mansuri in collaboration with Nasan Fitzhenley
Music & Lyrics by Frank Sanchez & Mehr Mansuri

An original musical in rap with rousing Russian-style music and dance --this is the story of the land of Kunka Bunka which is ruled by a kind and benevolent King, who is consumed with worry as he discovers that none of his rotten royal rascal children are suited to govern the land. There are the three Princess sisters, Proudeska, Jealousina and Chatterina and their Prince brothers, Rudekov, Slackoff, and Coughkof - the sickly one, with the glum disposition. To discover which child might be best as royal heir, the King asks each of his children to wear the magical 'see-through spectacles' that allows them to see 'inside themselves'. As none of the rotten royal rascals are fit to fill royal shoes, the despondent King banishes his children from the palace assigned to work as common citizens, until they have learned the secret to happiness.

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THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss
Music, Lyrics and Adaptation by Lory Lazarus

Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Trees, an enterprising villain gets greedy and chops down the wonderous Truffula trees to produce and mass-market "Thneeds."The Lorax is not only an ecological warning, but also speaks to the dark side of "free enterprise" at it most depraved and greedy state.

 

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MISS SPIDER'S TEA PARTY
Music, Lyrics & Adaptation by Lory Lazarus
in collaboration with Mehr Mansuri

Miss Spider is shunned, despite the fact that she was so nice. All the bugs were afraid because of who they thought she was. But when a wet moth seeks her shelter, he sees her for who she really is. When Miss Spider proves herself a friend, all the other insects come back to play. Miss Spider's Tea Party brings home the notion that what we see on the outside isn't always what is in the inside. Therefore, we should give everyone a chance to be our friend. This musical adaptation by Lory Lazarus perfectly illustrates the colorful bugs beginning with the sweet and melancholy song of Miss Spider's lonely days to colorful numbers such as "Bumble Bee Buzz Band" and the "Six Legged Side Walker" -- all with a lively 6 person band!

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PROVIDENCE: The Story of Roger Williams
Written by Mehr Mansuri

Told in the voice of Roger Williams' young daughter, Mary, who witnesses the court case in Boston where her father is accused of standing up for preaching for religious freedom and against the Europeans' right to Indian land. In perhaps the most dramatic period of American history, and opening with a dramatic court hearing, Providence tells the story of Roger Williams who was driven from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635 to expulsion into the wilderness, where he survives with the help of his Narraganset Indian friends and goes on to found the settlement of Providence, Rhode Island. Providence tells the story of a man's integrity, conviction and belief in human rights and diversity in all forms, race, ethnicity as well as religion.


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RESCUE ME: A Musical History of Women
Based on the book RESPECT by Dorothy Marcic
Adapted by Mehr Mansuri

For more than the first half of the last century, the voice of women in Top-40 popular music has been one of neediness and dependency. "I'll do anything for you; just be my baby-even if you're no good and treat me bad- just LOVE me and I'll stand by my man; " to landmark songs, like "I will survive" …R.E.S.P.E.C.T is the musical evolution of women in songs tracking the Top 40 from 1900 to modern day.

 

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YOUTH CAN MOVE THE WORLD:
Civil Rights through Sit-ins, Slogans, and Song
Adapted by Mehr Mansuri & Michael Harley

Wyatt Tee Walker: "I don't think any white person can really understand what it is to be a Negro in America."
Martin Luther King, Jr.: "There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights."
Laurie Pritchett: "We didn't want to be forced into doing something, which is one sense what it was. We were intimidated, we were threatened."
Today we will travel to many communities and relive the voices of the peoples' songs and their stories, testimonies and mass meetings. We're hear to tell you the story of the youth, the children as well as an impressionistic history of the civil rights movement from Montgomery through Nashville, Albany, Birmingham and Mississippi- while tracing the development and spread of the freedom repertoire
.

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THE SNEETCHES by Dr. Seuss
Music, Lyrics & Adaptation by Lory Lazarus in collaboration with Mehr Mansuri

Lazie Mazie didn't want to sit on her egg, she wanted to take off and see the world, so she asks the trusting and kind-hearted Horton, the elephant, to sit on the egg while she took a vacation. Horton sits through the snow and sleet, through the icy cold of winter and into the spring. Then hunters capture the elephant and take him to a circus …squatting right on the tree, the egg and all. Poor Horton, doesn't like being a captive, but being "faithful 100%", he will not leave the egg. Then, just as the egg is about to hatch, Mazie returns and wants to claim it.


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STONE SOUP
Written by Mehr Mansuri


Once upon a time, somewhere in post-war Eastern Europe, there was a great famine in which people jealously hoarded whatever food they could find, hiding it even from their friends and neighbors. One day a wandering group of gypsies came marching down the road towards the village asking to stay for the night. The townspeople seeing them coming, suddenly became very busy, for gypsies are often hungry. So all the food washidden under mattresses or in barns. There followed a battle of wits, with the gypsies equal to the occasion. Stone soup? Why, of course, they could make a wonderful soup of stones...but, of course, one must add a carrot or cabbage...some meat and so it went. The very next day, the gypsies continued their journey, leaving the little town and its people behind. But the villagers never forgot them, NOR the lesson they had learned.In fact, during the hardest of times, in such a time as this tale, that little village thrived, because the townsfolk never forgot how to make "stone soup".

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YERTLE THE TURTLE by Dr. Seuss
Music, Lyrics & Adaptation by Lory Lazarus
in collaboration with Mehr Mansuri

A ferocious dictator decides that he needed to rule more and so he commands the other turtles to climb back-on-back to build him a throne, higher and higher, "For I am the ruler of all that I see!" A little turtle named Mack is the first brick of his throne, pleading with his majesty to let the turtles free.


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PLAYS

BIG SHOES, SMALL FEET caps off the season exploring heroes and cultures across the globe with a rousing presentation of song and dance from around the world. Regions featured are Africa, Latin America, India, France, Russia, Israel, China, Spain and Italy.

 

 

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CAUCASIA
Based on the Award Winning Novel by Danzy Senna

Birdie and Cole are the daughters of a black father and a white mother, intellectuals and activists in the Civil Rights Movement in 1970's Boston. The sisters are so close that they have created a private language, yet to the outside world they can't be sisters: Birdie appears to be white, while Cole is dark enough to fit in with the other kids at the Afro-centric school they attend. For Birdie, Cole is the mirror in which she can see her own blackness.

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THE GIVING TREE
by Shel Silverstein
explores the parent as a hero, featuring original music performed by critically acclaimed Lory Lazarus, composer for PBS' beloved Barney and Cartoon Network's Courage the Cowardly Dog

 


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GOLD IN FIRE: A Tapestry of Heroes and Heroines
Highlights such champions as Dizzy Gillespie, Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Lucy Stone, Persian poet Tahirih, Albert Einstein, Muhammad Ali, Joan of Arc, Albert Schweitzer, Luis Gregory, Unita Blackwell, Cesar Chavez and Mahatma Ghandi with spiritual classics as well as original music by internationally acclaimed gospel sensation Eric Dozier.

 

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THE LAST FLOWER by James Thurber
Music, Lyrics & Adaptation by Lory Lazarus
in collaboration with Mehr Mansuri
"World War XXII, as everybody knows, brought about the collapse of civilization...Then one day, a young girl who had never seen a flower chanced to find the last one in the world..."
Powerful, entertaining, thought-provoking, and hope-restoring. What happens after that is remarkable and renews the spirit. Through the act of taking care of this flower, together, the young girl and the boy who helps her, begin to bring the good back into the world. When war comes into our living rooms and is on every channel, there's no way for children to escape its ugliness. In this time of uncertainty about what's going on in the world, this parable offers hope.

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LETTERS TO GOD
by Children's Theatre Company Casts, 1999-2005

Children's candid letters to God asking tough questions - with humor and irony. Here's an excerpt:

"Dear MISS God, My name is Frankie.
There are so many questions that need answers....Like how do we get so many people of different races and nationalities to accept each other. America is a prime example, because here we've got races and nationalities of almost EVERY KIND. They look different. They speak different languages sometimes. But why does everyone have so much trouble with that? Its a mess if you ask me. Everybody hates everybody else. We have some terrible race-wars in this country....such violence and suffering."

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