Sunday, September 7, 2008

New Victory

I Love New York!

or rather...

NYC is chock full o' amazing opportunities for school children and I am of the opinion that it is my honor/duty as an educator to provide my students with the means to take advantage of as many of them as possible. If you are going to attend classes in this cultural wonderland why not partake of its majestic parks, wondrous museums and captivating theater?

In the past I have taken my students to see several shows including Peter Pan at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. We went to see The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley last December and attended a children's theater performance of The Adventures of Curious George at The Town Hall in the heart of New York's theater district.

But for each of these shows I have had to figure out a way to raise the bucks to fund the outing or jump through hoops to acquire the script to give to the sign language interpreters. This was all a hassle, to be sure, but one that seemed worth it while the children's excitement grew as the day of the show drew nearer. The troubles I went through to bring them to their seats were forgotten when the curtain rose, but when it came time to plan another outing those memories came flooding back. I'd tell myself to take a deep breath and dive into the paperwork again.

So, imagine my delight when I discovered The New Victory Theater Education Program. This is a ridiculously affordable theater experience at the gorgeously restored New Victory Theater on 42nd Street in Manhattan.

Their Education Partnership Program includes "$2 tickets to education performances, free New Vic in the classroom workshops, free New Vic SCHOOL TOOL resource guides and free seasonal teacher institutes" and each of the 15 shows in the 2008/09 season includes a sign language interpreted performance! Who could ask for anything more?

There is a $100 enrollment fee which my gracious and supportive principal Rebecca is paying. That covers the entire school for the next year. And to top it all off the contact person at the New Vic is Jonathan Shmidt - Education Associate. He has made this process extremely smooth for me. I give him a great big heartfelt "Thank You!"

The first show we are attending on September 16th is based on the children's book Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox. Jonathan was able to arrange it so that our entire kindergarten and first grade could acquire last minute tickets (yippee!).

This show is done with puppets while other titles in the season range from circus performances to comedy, variety and music/dance. It seems to be a brilliantly diverse offering of shows that reflects the colors of our exciting city. I heart New York indeed!


Ashley & Jason said...

gary - i love your blog & when you post pics of yourself it always makes me smile! what is your school address - we'd love to send your kids a postcard from our neighborhood!!
much love, ash

Mikey T said...

that's awesome!! the kids must love it (almost as much as you)
Are you still putting on shows within the classroom - I still remember The Three Little Pigs - a masterpiece!!!

tut-tut said...

I read about this (or a similar) program in the NY Times months back. Kids in that program write and direct plays at this (or similar) theatre, and "real" actors appear in them, and help them to immerse themselves in theatre.

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Gary - as an educator, you rock!

patti said...

I wish other teachers shared you love for the children as much as you do.

Barbara said...

WOW! I applaud your efforts to allow your children to savor the many theater opportunities in New York! They will remember them always.

Reya Mellicker said...

The show sounds fabulous. As I always say, I would LOVE to be one of your students. I've had great teachers but no one as creative, energetic, attentive and dynamic as you.

You are a force for good in the world, Gary. B R A V O !!!

Steve said...

That's great! Bravo to you for searching this out and going to such great lengths to give your kids a meaningful cultural experience.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

hope to see you at the end of the month (sept 27th) for the blogger convergence....alas no school days in nyc this trip to meeting the current crop of gary's kids, but perhaps later in the academic year!

again such marvelous stuff you've got going.

namaste sweet g.

lettuce said...

ashley & jason's comment had me rushing back to your post, thinking i'd missed a picture of you..... but unless you are one of those sheep....

what a great opportunity. I think London isn't bad for this sort of thing and LG had a number of theatre trips - and/or theatre companies coming into school - when she was little. they were always high points - and i'm sure your trip this week will be a high point for your children.

they are all going to have such great memories of you, you know, as they grow up

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I don't know who is luckier -- you for being able to lead the kids on such adventures or the kids for having such a great teacher. Can I be your student for a day when I'm in town in a couple of weeks?

Aileen said...

This is great! I'm going to pass this on to my friends in NY who have kids...!

Pod said...

i am planning a trip to nyc next year. i am sure i will love it too.

are you still hungry?

Gary said...

Ashley & Jason - What a sweet offer. Do you have my home address? You can sent it there and I will bring it along to the kids. Sorry that I didn't get to visit you both this summer - but how about summer '09?

Mikey - The Three Little Pigs will always be my favorite simply because it was my first (and you were there!). The last play we put on was a reenactment of the battle of Troy. It was very involved, much more so than The Three Little Pigs, and the 'fighting' went on for longer than I had planned but still an awesome spectacle.

Tut-Tut - There are some amazing opportunities to partner with theaters in NYC and they all offer unique programs. I am looking into some of those as well for the spring.

J.DZ-S - Only as an educator? :)

Patti - I think they do but most of them don't have a blog. I have Joy to thank for that.

Barbara - That is my goal - to create a new crop of theater loving, ticket buying kids who find magic in the mundane circumstance of life.

Reya - Thanks dah-link. I think I should have liked very much to have a young Reya in my class. But then I couldn't flirt with you incessantly.

Steve - Do you think they would enjoy "Hair" as much as you did? I hear that it's coming to Broadway.

Kimy - It's a date.., and a date for a later date as well.

Lettuce - I am not surprised that London should have similar programs. We are all looking forward to the trip this Tuesday. What a great motivator for us all to dive into the book and ignite conversation.

Gregg - I would love it if you could find time to visit the classroom and meet my new students. We must work it out!

Aileen - Great to see you back. I hope you had a fantastic trip.

Pod - I hope your trip includes a 'hello' in person. And yes, always hungry. Any ideas?

Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I'd love to drop by that Monday morning (the 29th) if that works out. If they're interested in hearing about international issues, I'd love to talk about that and my work.

Mona said...

I have been there!

I am glad that the kids had an opportunity to watch the show & enjoyed it! :)

WAT said...

Hello Evan Tanner's body double!

Man, u make your city sound so inviting, so incredible! I never been to NYC! I'm a simple West Coast L.A. boy. I know people across America hate my city though. That bums me out sometimes, but we really are not that bad. We're pretty culturally rich too!

"I Love New York." Yes that sounds like that song by RUDE Madonna. AHAHAHAHAH!

WAT said...

I really like the CHILDREN'S ARTWORK flashing on the right side of this blog by the way.



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