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.
Written by Catherine Mercanti, Summer 2016 Communications Apprentice


You can see Patience the lion right outside of The New York Public Library!
It’s nearly the end of the summer, have your kids achieved all of their reading goals? If not, why not take them to a place where many kids first learn to love books, the library. To inspire their end-of-summer book bonanza, here are ten fun facts about libraries to share with your kids: 
  1. The largest library in the world is The Library of Congress, with more than 158 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. (Library Outsourcing
  2. There are more public libraries than McDonald's in the U.S. (ALA)
  3. The marble lions who live outside of the famous Beaux-Arts branch of the New York Public Library, on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, are named Patience and Fortitude. The names were coined by Mayor LaGuardia in the 1930s. (NYPL)
  4. There's one book that's on record as being stolen from libraries more often than any other title—The Guinness Book of World Records. (INALJ)
  5. The smallest library in the world has appeared on the streets of New York City—and it has space for just one reader at a time. (Library Outsourcing
  6. The world’s oldest continuously running library in the world is at the St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, Egypt. (Library Outsourcing
  7. Did you know that famous historical figures like Mao Zedong, Laura Bush, J. Edgar Hoover, Beverly Cleary, Lewis Carroll and Giacomo Casanova were all librarians at a point in their lives? (AbeBooks)
  8. The NYPL's collection includes a unique 1493 letter written by Christopher Columbus, announcing his "discovery" of the New World. (NYPL)
  9. Beneath Bryant Park are two-level stack extensions, 37 miles of shelving in total, that hold many of the flagship branch's volumes. Think about that next time you're picnicking on the lawn! (NYPL)
  10. Haskell Free Library is built on the US/Canadian border. Exiting the library through the opposite entrance requires one to report to the other country’s customs! (Interesting Facts About Libraries)

Pick a Book!

Now that your kids know a little more about libraries, how about you guys visit one to see the thousands of stories that reside there. There’s no better place than a book to spark your imagination and take you to a completely different land (except for maybe a theater), but how do you pick a story to start? We have a few ‘back to school’ suggestions for you that we happen to know first hand are great!

Ages 2-4

Grug and the Rainbow by Ted Prior 
Grug has gone on many fascinating adventures in his life and this is no exception! Join Grug, the fun loving top of a Burrawang tree, as he sets out to try and make a rainbow that really lasts. Grug will come to life later this season on The New Victory stage in May, but to hold you over until then, we recommend reading any of his thirty stories. 
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers 
If you found a single propeller airplane in your room, where would you fly off to? One boy finds himself in this very scenario and flies himself all the way to the moon! But how will he find his way back home? This story comes to the New Vic in March, but who can wait that long to find out? Read this heartwarming tale by Oliver Jeffers to chart the boy’s courageous journey back home. 
Elephants Cannot Dance! By Mo Willems
Elephant Gerald and Piggie are set to star in their new musical later this season at the New Vic, but it took a lot of rehearsing to get this dynamic duo ready for the bright lights. In Elephants Cannot Dance! Piggie teaches her dear friend Elephant to dance is this zany story. We hope Gerald’s moves are ready for his big debut

Ages 5-6
Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer 
This season, we have three circus shows. That a lot of acrobats and juggling and dance to prepare for! To get you in the circus mood, we recommend Olivia Saves the Circus. Olivia is a spunky six year old pig with lots of skills. Some of these skills involve single handedly saving a circus who’s entire troop has fallen ill! 
Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare by Rosie Dickins
This season, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar comes to the New Vic in rep with X, the story of Malcolm X. While this production is targeted for older kids, it’s always a good time to introduce the Bard to your kids. This book beautifully illustrates some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and voices them for young minds, something we’re big fans of at the New Vic.

Ages 7-9

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater 
This beloved classic comes to life in October with amazing puppetry and catchy tunes, but if you can’t wait that long, relive the wacky tale with the original story. Mr. and Mrs. Popper’s life gets a little crazy when a package in the form of a penguin arrives at their door. 
Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz
This book tells the story of how Malcolm Little became Malcolm X, as told by his daughter.  Malcolm X's work as an activist changed the lives of millions and his influence is still felt today! We'll see his life play out on stage in Marcus Gardley's X later this season, but to learn more about this influential figure, this book is a great place to start.   

Ages 10+

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
This famed nautical tale kicks off our season this year. The tale contains daring adventures, mythical creatures and a journey into the unknown. While the book itself is a little daunting for young readers, we think this pick is a great opportunity for you and your child to read together. Then, when you’ve finished the story, see it come to life in a whole new way on stage with us! 
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 
This season, Nivelli’s War tells the captivating tale of Ernst, a young boy whose life is torn apart due to World War II. In Number the Stars, a modern classic for young readers, Annamarie Johansen lives in Copenhagen with her family. The novel tells of her journey during the war, both physically and emotionally. Annamarie’s story will grip your heart.
Those are a bunch of books to get started on. No matter which story you share with your kids, their love of reading will only grow stronger from then on. Do you have any favorite books you share with your kids? Share your picks with us in the comments below, on Twitter or on Facebook!
Catherine Mercanti Catherine Mercanti is a Communications Apprentice for The New 42nd Street. She is currently a sophomore at Fordham University with a major in marketing and a minor in communications and media studies. A native of New Jersey, Catherine is passionate about musical theater, eating desserts, reading and dogs.

Posted by Beth Henderson
Elephant and Piggy
Photo: Teresa Wood

Written by Clare Lockhart, Summer 2016 Communications Apprentice

You know that one person who laughs at all your jokes, listens when you have a problem and is always there for you? That person’s your best friend! They could be someone you met at school, your sibling, your parent or maybe someone you met at The New Victory Theater. 

In honor of the magic of friendship, the US Congress declared the first Sunday of August "National Friendship Day" in 1935! Then countries all over the world wanted to celebrate as well, so it has now become International Friendship Day. And because we have some BFFs (Best Friends Forever) in our upcoming show, Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, we’re going to share with you five fun NYC activities you can do with your BFF. 
Highline Elephant and Piggie are huge fans of sharing and of food! So why not combine the two by going on a picnic? Head downtown to Chelsea Market, pick out some fun foods you and your friend can enjoy and have a picnic on the beautiful High Line
Did you know that Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! is actually based on books written by Mo Willems? If you’re a bookworm, some of the most fun you can have is wandering a bookstore with your friend and sharing your favorite stories. Bank Street Books, Books of Wonder and Book Culture all have great kids' sections. The New York Public Library also has a KidsLIVE program which includes live readings, performances and more! So either share your favorite book with your friend or discover a new story together. 
Summer in the Square Something you may not know about Elephant & Piggie is that they have three squirrel friends who are in a band called The Squirrelles. We bet they would really enjoy Josh + the Jamtones at Summer in the Square. And if you’re a fan of music, or just rocking out with your best friend, we bet you would enjoy it too! 
The Children's Museum of Manhattan Now Piggie really likes to get dressed up, and we bet she’s not alone! If your kid likes to play dress up, The Children’s Museum of Manhattan is for you. Not only do you get to learn about history, religion and different cultures, but you get to dress the part as well! In past exhibits you could dress up as a football player, embody an ancient Greek philosopher or step inside a piece of modern art! Piggie would be very excited to try it out. 
Broadway In Bryant Park Do you and your BFF belt Wicked in your bedroom? Do you dream of being a big Broadway star? Then head to Broadway in Bryant Park to get up close and personal with the blockbuster stars of the Great White Way...and maybe meet your favorite actor. It’s a win-win situation. 
PLUS Two Bonus Activities!
Psychobarn Not only is it International Friendship Day in August; it’s also Women’s Friendship Day on August 21st. So in honor of all those female friends, here's a fun activity designed by a female artist. Transitional Object (or Psychobarn) was envisioned for The Metropolitan Museum of Art's roof by Cornelia Parker, one of the most celebrated English sculpters alive today. Take in Manhattan on the roof after exploring the third largest museum in the world!
AND Elephant & Piggie are super excited for this last activity. Their creator, Mo Willems, is getting his own museum exhibit called The Art and Whimsy of Mo Willems at the New-York Historical Society. So, before you and your friends come to Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!, go explore their adventures and meet their friends, too. 
Clare Lockhart Clare Lockhart is a Communications Apprentice for The New 42nd Street. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Theater / Arts Management with a minor in Political Science at Emerson College. A native of DC, Clare is passionate about the power of theater, marketing, politics and keeping arts in schools.

Posted by Beth Henderson
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