Family Programming

The Klezmer Nutcracker

"The enterprising Vital Theatre Company’s production ….contained a theatrical innocence …. fresh, unembarrassed."  John Heilpern – The New York Observer

"…an amusing play …winning characters and enthusiastic cast …. This sort of thing is the true magic of the theater, the reason to take kids out to a show rather than plop them in front of a DVD." -John Sobel,

Sara is miserable at the family Chanukah party. But when mysterious Tante Miriam arrives with the gift of a Golden Dreydl, everything changes. The Dreydl, an enchanted princess in disguise, whirls Sara away on an exciting adventure through a magical world. A delightful holiday tale for everyone, that weaves together threads of folklore and tradition with fantasy and humor.

December 6, 2008 - January 3, 2009

Workshops: Dreydl Delight Origami,
December 13, 20, 30

Children will use the ancient art of origami
to create Dreydls and other fantastical shapes.

**A conversation with ELLEN KUSHNER**

Writer Ellen Kushner discusses the development of her story from a Klezmer-inspired public radio special to illustrated children's book to Vital'sfull-fledged theatrical production (including becoming an actress along the way!),

Thursday, December 18th and Monday, December 22nd after the 7pm Shows


2162 Broadway, 4th Fl. (at 76th St.)

Book by Ellen Kushner
Music by The Shirim Klezmer Orchestra
Directed by Linda Ames Key
Choreographed by Dax Valdes

based on the book "The Golden Dreydl" by Ellen Kushner

Choreography by DAX VALDES
Production Stage Manager KARA TEOLIS
Stage Manager LEAH MCVEIGH


ELLEN KUSHNER is the host and writer of the award-winning national public radio show PRI's Sound & Spirit, a co-production of WGBH Radio, Boston, hailed by Bill Moyers as "the best show on public radio!" With the band Shirim, she created the original radio version of The Golden Dreydl: a Klezmer "Nutcracker" for Chanukah (winner of a Gracie Allen Award), which was then released as a CD on Rykodisc. In 2007 an expanded chapter book, The Golden Dreydl, appeared from Charlesbridge publishing, and in 2008 Vital Theater commissioned a full-scale theatrical version. Ellen Kushner is also a performance artist and award-winning fiction writer for teens and adults. Her short fiction for young readers based on fairy tale and folklore has appeared in the award-winning anthologies The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales and Troll's Eye View, and her novel Thomas the Rhymer (World Fantasy Award, Mythopoeic Award) is considered a modern classic of mythic fantasy. Her most recent novel is The Privilege of the Sword (NYPL "Best Books for the Teen Age, Nebula nominee, Tiptree Honor Book, Locus Award). A popular public speaker, she also teaches writing at workshops in the U.S. and abroad, and is a co-founder of the Interstitial Arts Foundation. She lives in New York City.
THE SHIRIM KLEZMER ORCHESTRA features some of the most respected and experienced virtuosos of the klezmer movement. Band leader Glenn Dickson was the klezmer soloist in the Hollywood film "A Stranger Among Us," and the band was featured on the soundtrack of Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry." Based in Boston, Shirim has four recordings out on Newport Classic and Northeastern Records. The members of THE SHIRIM KLEZMER ORCHESTRA also perform in "Naftule's Dream", an avant jazz/klezmer band which has recorded four albums on John Zorn's Tadzick/Radical Jewish Culture label. As "Naftules Dream" they have performed all over Europe including the Berlin, Germany Jazzfest, as well as the New York City Jazz Festival, the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival in Washington, DC, and the Ashkenaz Festival of New Yiddish Culture in Toronto, among others. Shirim is internationally recognized for rocking renditions of classic klezmer and Yiddish music as well as fresh and creative innovations.
LINDA AMES KEY has directed TWILIGHT LOS ANGELES: 1992; BANG BANG YOU'RE DEAD (Fringe First Winner, Edinburgh Fringe Festival); THE LARAMIE PROJECT (Fringe First Winner); THE LARAMIE PROJECT, Cochrane Theatre, London; ANTON IN SHOW BUSINESS, THREE DAYS OF RAIN, BRINK OF LIFE, THE LARAMIE PROJECT, KATHY AND MO, WHATEVER WILL BE with Dreamcatcher Rep; 365 Days/365 Plays for Gansfeld: EMBRACING FREEDOM, REMEMBER THE DREAM for the Ellis Island Foundation; LONE STAR GRACE, RITA FAYE PRUITTE by Suzanne Bradbeer and FLYER by Kate Aspengren for Six Figures Theatre Company; FULL BLOOM, THE RISEN CHRIS, BETHLEHEM, MY WIFE'S COAT and OVERHEAD for Vital Theatre; A (TOOTH) FAIRY TALE, MY NEW YORK and THE NASTIEST DRINK IN THE WORLD for Vital Family Programs; ALISON'S HOUSE and OF SLEEP AND SHADOW at the Mint Theatre Company, NIGHTS AT THE CIRCUS, CLOWNING THE BARD and CLOWNING THE BIBLE at FringeNYC, DEGAS IN NEW ORLEANS at E.S.T's Oktoberfest. As a producer: Vital Signs 9,10 & 11, Andria Laurie's THE AWAKENING, Sherry Kramer's WALL OF WATER, Katt Lissard's DARK LANTERN and Watermark's Wordfire Festival featuring David Cale and Dael Orlandersmith. She has served as Director of the Mint Process Company, NY Liaison for Mannie Manim Productions, South Africa; Brink Productions, South Australia; State Theatre of South Australia and Melbourne Theatre Company; Artistic Director of Six Figures Theatre Company for five years: US Drama at Greenwich Academy. She was the Producing Director and is now the Education Director of Vital Theatre Company in NYC.
DAX VALDES has choreographed A (TOOTH) FAIRY TALE and PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL at Vital Theater Company. Other credits include ALTAR BOYZ (Millbrook Playhouse), HONOR (Prospect Theater Company) and THE FULL MONTY (The Gallery Players - 1st NYC revival).

Music by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged by Michael McLaughlin & David Harris. The Golden Dreydl recorded and mixed at WGBH Studios Music, used courtesy of WGBH and Public Radio International © 2000, 2002 WGBH Educational Foundation.




2162 Broadway, 4th floor at 76th Street, New York, NY 10024 (212) 579-0528   © 2007 Vital Theatre Company, Inc.