New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.

It's summertime, and here at The New Victory we're busy getting ready for our upcoming season. All summer long, we're offering fun Summer Field Guides for you to celebrate being a kid in New York. Get inspired by the activities below and start getting in the mood for the shows to come!

In this issue, we celebrate Book Lover's Day on August 9th, and the four shows this season based on kids’ lit favorites.

August 9th – Book Lover's Day

In the three months between the last day of school and the first day of school, summer reading is a great way make sure the learning never stops. In honor of Book Lover's Day on August 9th, here are some summer reading recommendations, along with a peek at some of the stories coming to the New Victory stage this season.

Reading Recommendations

Two children reading togetherWhat's better than asking your local librarian for book recommendations? Asking six local librarians! The folks at Brightly recently teamed up with the New York Public Library to collect recommendations from librarians at five of their 87 branches around the city. Their choices (including Caps for Sale—more on that in a moment) are specific to pre-K reading, a formative time in every young book lover's career. Brightly offers recommendations for other age groups, too, along with tips and advice for parents of young readers.

Picture books don't tell stories that are only for the very young, though. Illustrated biographies are a great way to introduce kids of all ages to the personal stories of historical men and women. Marie Curie, Henri Matisse, Ella Fitzgerald and Harvey Milk are all represented in this great assortment from Brain Pickings. There's even a biography of Antoine de Saint Exupéry, who himself wrote and illustrated The Little Prince.

It's Reading Time!

If you're the competitive sort, you can track your summer reading as part of Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge. Sign up, keep track of your minutes and help your school reach the best sellers—er… readers list. Scholastic also offers book recommendations based on age and grade level, as well as resources and tips for parents looking to encourage their kids to do more reading.

Artful Adaptations

Many books lend themselves to theatrical or cinematic adaptation, but illustrated kids' lit offers visual inspirations that can make the dramatized version instantly recognizable and engrossing—the story come to life! Augment your summer reading list with these stories, then come see them adapted for the stage this season at the New Vic.
THE GRUFFALO book cover
  • The Gruffalo Written by Julia Donaldson
    Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
    Published by Pan Macmillan

    Returning to The New Victory in October is the world-famous tale of THE GRUFFALO! Adapted by London's Tall Stories, the award-winning picture book gets a musical makeover with sing-along songs, slapstick comedy and scary fun for little ones. Bring along your copy when you come to see the show this fall—just don't get lost in the deep dark wood.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit Written by Margery Williams
    Illustrated by William Nicholson
    Published by Harper Collins

    Some theater magic helps one little rabbit become very real indeed, when London's Unicorn Theatre brings Margery Williams's timeless tale of THE VELVETEEN RABBIT to life. Their poignant adaptation, for kids over six, perfectly captures the spirit of the book. Even if you know the story, give the original another well-deserved read.
  • Handa's Surprise Written and Illustrated by Eileen Browne
    Published by Walker Books

    Colorful illustrations of friendship and animal mischief are brought to life through song and lively puppets in Little Angel Theatre's adaptation of HANDA'S SURPRISE. Dance and sing along, but don't give away the ending!
CAPS FOR SALE book cover
  • Caps for Sale Written and Illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina
    Published by Harper Collins

    One art form inspires another when Adventure Theatre MTC interprets Esphyr Slobodkina's masterful illustrations through music in CAPS FOR SALE THE MUSICAL. We've been waiting 75 years to see those monkeys burst from the page onto the stage! Break out your first edition and join in the celebration.

Do you have a favorite storybook that you'd like to see adapted for the stage? Tweet us your choice @newvictory, #AdaptThisBook!
    Our favorite storybooks come to life starting with THE GRUFFALO in October, then continuing in 2016 with THE VELVETEEN RABBIT in January and HANDA'S SURPRISE and CAPS FOR SALE THE MUSICAL in February. Show your Book Lover's pride and let us know which shows you're planning on seeing!
Posted by Zack Ramadan

It's summertime, and here at The New Victory we're busy getting ready for our upcoming season. All summer long, we're offering fun Summer Field Guides for you to celebrate being a kid in New York. Get inspired by the activities below and start getting in the mood for the shows to come!

In this issue, we ring in the month of August—Family Fun Month—and celebrate Friendship Day on August 2nd.

August – Family Fun Month

It's hard to believe that June and July have already passed us by. In some parts of the country, school starts again in mid-August. Can you imagine? Here in New York, though, there's still one full month left of summer vacation—we call it Family Fun Month!

Island Vacation

Sure, four of the five boroughs are technically islands. But New York has some other great islands where you can have some family fun. First up, Coney Island (nowadays a peninsula).

Part amusement park, part boardwalk, part beach, it's easy to spend the whole day here—just be sure to pack enough sunscreen! You can also stop by the New York Aquarium at the eastern end of the boardwalk; or MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones.

Keep track of all the things you spot on Coney Island with this BINGO card:

Coney Island Bingo Card, featuring the following squares: Wonder Wheel, The Cyclone, The Parachute Jump, Palm tree, Tropical bathing suit, Curly straw, Musician, Dizzy rollercoaster rider, Popsicle cart, Outdoor shower, Rollerblader, Tandem bicycle, Nathan’s hot dog, Airplane banner or Skywriting, Kite, Volleyball net, Radio-controlled aircraft, Sleeping seagull, Fireworks, Mermaid (or merman), Melted ice cream, Lifeguard, Surfboard or Boogieboard, Floaties, Megaphone
Download a PDF
of this BINGO card to print at home
before you head out on your Coney Island adventure!

While you're visiting Coney Island, stop by the Coney Island Museum and check out exhibits from Coney Island's good ol' days: funhouse mirrors, 3D models and vintage circus artwork, sure to get you in the mood for the upcoming return of BELLO MANIA.

Complete your #IslandBingo card? Share it with us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater, or on Twitter @NewVictory, and win some New Vic swag!

Island Cycling

Get ready for the cranked up ingenuity of Cirque Mechanics’ PEDAL PUNK, and spend a summer weekend on wheels! You may have spotted a bike or two on Coney Island, but there are lots of places you and your family can safely cycle in the City. You can rent tandem bikes, beach cruisers, even pedal-driven surreys (fringe not guaranteed) at these outdoor destinations. 

Rockaway Park – Check out Wheel Fun Rentals at Jacob Riis Park for all manner of pedal-powered vehicles, including boats! They also have beach gear, if you’re more into sitting still in the sand.

Governor's Island – You can bring your own bike here on weekends via the East River Ferry or the Governor's Island Ferry, or you can rent from the Blazing Saddles near the ferry terminals. Either way, Governor's Island is a no-car zone, and it's small enough to easily to explore by bike. While you're there, keep an eye out for various art installations.

Roosevelt Island – Also free of cars, though not of busses, is Roosevelt Island, which sports amazing views of Manhattan, as well as its own peaceful parks and monuments. You can bring your bike on the aerial tramway; or you and your bike can take the F train to Roosevelt Island, then take the elevator to the surface. Starting in Queens, the Roosevelt Island Bridge has a bike lane, but the ramp may be a bit steep for little ones, and the narrow lane borders car traffic.

Bikes are photogenic, too. No matter where you decide to go, pull over for a group cycling selfie and share it with us, #FamilyFun!
Pedal Punk Icon Bello Mania Icon    Make the most out of summer while you can. Then head back to the island we call Manhattan for some family fun of the indoor variety—PEDAL PUNK in December and BELLO MANIA in April at The New Victory Theater!

August 2nd – Friendship Day

What makes a good friend? Friends listen without judgment, they make you feel like you can be yourself, and they lend a helping hand without you having to ask. HANDA'S SURPRISE, coming to the New Vic in February, tells the story of Handa, who has spent the day gathering various colorful fruits for her friend, Akeyo—a delicious surprise! In celebration of Friendship Day on August 2nd, here are some friendship-themed activities to share with your chums.

Bestie Bracelets

What better way to illustrate the importance of your friendship than by making a gift by hand? Friendship bracelets have a long history, and just like the pairings they represent, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Braided Bracelet   Simple Braided Friendship Bracelet from The Red Kitchen Chevron Bracelet   Fast Chevron Friendship Bracelet from Hey Wanderer
Fishtail Bracelet   Fishtail Braid Friendship Bracelet from The Stripe Striped, Chevron and Diamond Bracelets   Stripe, Chevron and Diamond Friendship Bracelets from The Purl Bee

Have you made something for a friend before? Do you have a favorite gift that someone else made for you? Share it with us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater or on Twitter @NewVictory, #FriendshipDay!

Funny Friends

HANDA'S SURPRISE also features some rascally animals, who—ahem—rearrange the fruit in Handa’s basket. Many animals in nature work together like this, but there are also those who, like you and your friends, hang out together just because they enjoy each other’s company! Check out these animal pairings, and think about how these friends like to spend their summer vacations. 

'Anjana the Chimp and Tiger Cub', photo by Bary Bland A giraffe and a zebra, 'Best Friends', photo by Raja Sambasivan 'White Rhino and Friend' (a bird), photo by Arno Meintjes
When you have an idea for a caption, share it with us on Instagram (click the photo to open the Instaversion)!
Handa's Surprise Icon   Come see HANDA'S SURPRISE at the New Vic in February, and find out what happens when those sneaky animals meddle with Handa's basket of fruit. Don't forget to bring your friends along!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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