“Spookley the Square Pumpkin” Kicks off First Stage’s First Steps Series

Pick of the Patch – SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN Kicks off First Stage’s Popular First Steps Series

 

October 1 – October 29, 2017

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

Stage play by Joe Troiano
Based on the film “Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano and Tom Hughes
and the book “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin” by Joe Troiano
Lyrics by Joe Troiano
Music composed and arranged by Jeffrey Zahn
©Holiday Hill Enterprises, LLC

Directed by Jeff Schaetzke

 

Suggested for families with young people ages 3-7+

 

Milwaukee, WI – First Stage’s 2017-2018 First Steps series kicks off with the return of family favorite SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN, October 1 – 29, 2017. This fun, interactive performance, designed to introduce children ages 3 – 7 to live theater in an engaging and lively environment, will take place at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee.  Tickets can be purchased through the First Stage box office by phone at (414) 267-2961 or online at www.firststage.org. First Steps performances sell out quickly, so families are encouraged to buy tickets in advance.

 

Spookley the Square Pumpkin is teased by the other pumpkins because of his odd shape. His new friends – three hilarious spiders named Edgar, Allan and Poe – try to convince Spookley that square or not, he has a right to be the Pick of the Patch on Halloween. “We are thrilled to welcome back the original First Stage adaptation of this heart-warming story back to the stage to share with our youngest audiences,” said First Stage Company Manager Jeff Schaetzke who directs the play.  “SPOOKLEY is an adorable tale that reminds us that it doesn’t matter what you look like, we are all special and meaningful to each other,” Schaetzke continued.

Professional actors Chris Feiereisen, (Jack) Zach Thomas Woods (Little Tom/Big Tom), and Julie Shiely (BoBo) return with a new cast of young performers for another adventure on the farm, with two new songs ,“This Way to the Well” and “Don’t Go Near the River.”

Just in time for Halloween, Spookley – the Official Spokes Pumpkin for National Bullying Prevention Month as recognized by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center – teaches us there are times it is better to be square.

A special sensory-friendly performance, designed to serve families with children on the autism spectrum and other sensory, social and cognitive disabilities will take place on Saturday, October 14 at 3:30 p.m. Families can enjoy a welcoming, comfortable environment including lower sound, lights up, and available quiet areas staffed by experienced educators.

First Stage’s production of SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN is sponsored by PNC. The media sponsor is Metroparent.

Jeff Schaetzke (Director and Music Director) is the Director of Artistic Operations at First Stage and helped develop and direct the World Premiere of SPOOKLEY in 2015. Other First Stage favorites include: LOVABYE DRAGON, ELLA ENCHANTED, BIG NATE: THE MUSICAL,  THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, BIG FISH (having also appeared as Edward Bloom) and many others. Jeff was seen last fall as Father in Skylight Music Theatre’s production of VIOLET. Jeff has also directed music for the Milwaukee Rep, Skylight Music Theatre, Carroll University, UWM, and Marquette University. Other credits include Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s THE DALY NEWS, two seasons at American Players Theatre, and a 20-year relationship at Dominican High School. Jeff is a 2014 inductee into the Wisconsin Theatre Directors Hall of Fame and a proud graduate of North Central College.

The adult actor cast of SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN includes Chris Feiereisen* as Jack; Zachary Thomas Woods as Little Tom/Big Tom and Julie Shiely as BoBo/Farmer Hill. Logan Milway will be the understudy for this production. *Member of Actor’s Equity Association

Young performer roles are double cast.  Young performers in the Square Cast are Ella Vitrano (as Spookley) from Greendale; Celeste Hermans (as Mimi) from Saukville; Adelaide Schaetzke (as Lala) from Whitefish Bay; Nathan Kabara (as Edgar), Avana Kelly (as Poe), Ananda Bluhm (as Girl Vines) and Eliz Rodriguez De Santiago (as Boy Vines) from Milwaukee; and Dakota Komorowski (as Allen) from Kansasville.

 

Young performers in the Round Cast are Ryann Schulz (as Spookley) from Wauwatosa; Mary Jensik (as Mimi) from Greenfield; Alayna Perry (as Lala), Valerie Bausch (as Allen) and Costello Mylott (as Boy Vines) from Milwaukee; Tyler Johnson (as Edgar) from Waukesha; Abigail Krahe (as Poe) from Oconomowoc; and Natalia Dedinsky (as Girl Vines) from Delafield.

First Stage presents SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN/add two
The Artistic Staff for SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN includes: Chris Feiereisen* (Choreographer); Brenna Kempf (Young Performer Coach/Movement); Brandon Kirkham (Scenic and Costume Designer); Nick Belley (Lighting Designer); Greg Hoffmann (Assistant Lighting Designer); Erin Paige (Sound Designer); Marissa Ashlyn* (Stage Manager) and Ashley Pavlak (Assistant Stage Manager). *Member of Actor’s Equity Association

 

 

FACT SHEET

 

About: SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN

 

Location:  Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut Street, Milwaukee

 

Dates:  October 1 – October 29, 2017

 

Description:  Spookley the Square Pumpkin is teased by the other pumpkins because of his odd shape. His new friends – three hilarious spiders named Edgar, Allan and Poe – try to convince Spookley that square or not, he has a right to be the Pick of the Patch on Halloween. Spookley isn’t sure he has what it takes until a mighty storm threatens to destroy the entire patch, sending the round pumpkins rolling towards the raging river. Just in time for Halloween, Spookley – the Official Spokes Pumpkin for National Bullying Prevention Month as recognized by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center – teaches us there are times it is better to be square. Suggested for families with young people ages 3-7+

 

Performances:

  • Sunday, October 1 at 3:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 7 at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 8 at 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 14 at 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 14 at 3:30 p.m. – SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE
  • Sunday, October 15 at 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 21 at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. & 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, October 28 at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 & 3:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m.


Tickets for SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN are $14.
  Tickets may be purchased at www.firststage.org or through the First Stage Box Office, by phone at (414) 267-2961.

ASL Interpreted Performance: Sunday, October 29 at 11:00 a.m. – this performance will be sign language interpreted for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.
About First Stage
First Stage is one of the nation’s leading theaters for young people and families. First Stage touches hearts, engages minds, and transforms lives by creating extraordinary theater experiences through professional theater productions that inspire, enlighten, and entertain. Its Theater Academy, the nation’s largest high-impact theater training program for young people, fosters life skills through stage skills and serves over 2,100 students each year. As Wisconsin’s leader in arts-integrated education in schools, First Stage’s dynamic Theater in Education programs promote literacy, character building, and experiential learning throughout the curriculum, serving over 20,000 students each year. First Stage was selected to participate in the Partners in Education program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (2012), and was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Eureka Award, recognizing creativity and innovation in business, education, and the arts for its Next Steps program for students with autism (2013, 2015). First Stage is a member of TYA/USA, the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, the Wisconsin Alliance for Arts Education, Theatre Wisconsin, Milwaukee Arts Partners, and is a cornerstone member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).


About Spookley the Square Pumpkin

Spookley the Square Pumpkin was created by children’s author and lyricist Joe Troiano when his young son, Nicholas, asked him for a bedtime story — something not scary, something about pumpkins.  Joe Troiano’s bedtime story became “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin,” a top-selling book for 10+ years and the beginning of a series of stories, movies, songs, and 10+ stage shows about Spookley and his friends from Holiday Hill Farm that educates and entertains children throughout the year.
For more information visit www.holidayhillfarm.com.

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