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.

Welcome back! As the sun continues to shine, our Summer Field Guides continue with more fun-filled activities that are perfect for the whole family. In this guide, we get to know two upcoming shows that teach us the importance of family and companionship, A Sky for the Bears and Pss Pss

From inventive shadow puppetry to silly slapstick, these shows are not to be missed. Read on to discover crafty and unique activities that will leave you counting down the days until the 2017-18 Season begins!
Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

A Sky for the Bears

In A Sky for the Bears, two heartfelt stories come to life through the use of shadow puppetry and physical theater. In the first, a handsome bear realizes what he wants most of all is a cub of his own. In the second story, a young bear is devastated by the death of his grandfather and wishes to join him in the sky. Both protagonists set out on different journeys, only to discover that the answers to their hearts' desires are closer than they think. 

Unleash your family's creative side by making your own simple shadow puppets in this Family Activity! All you'll need are these shadow puppet templates, a pencil, cardboard or cardstock, scissors, tape and a lamp or flashlight.

Once you've collected all of your tools, it's time to make your shadow puppet come to life!
  1. Use your templates to trace an outline onto the cardboard, and use your scissors to cut it out.
  2. Grab a few pieces of tape to attach your pencil to the back of each of your puppets.
  3. Place a lamp on the ground, or on a table. Point your lamp to the wall. Don't forget to turn it on! Turn off all other lights and close the curtains.  
  4. Hold your puppets between the light and wall. If you can spot a shadow on the wall, then you've succeeded! Try moving the puppets closer to the light or the wall to see what happens.
  5. Experiment with other household objects to see what kinds of shadows they cast. Try using your hands! What shapes can you make?
  6. Create your own performance with your new puppets. Make sure to use movement, just like the performers in A Sky for the Bears
Record a video of the story you create and make sure to tag us when you share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

Pss Pss

In Pss Pss, two clowns gracefully fumble through mishaps, tricks and acrobatics—all without saying a word! Inspired by silent films, this zany duo flaunts their friendship in a sweet, slapstick routine. 

Want to know a way you can tell your family you love them without making a peep? Try your hand at American Sign Language, a visual language used by the Deaf community throughout the United States. ASL uses your hands, face and body to communicate complex thoughts with vivid gestures. 

Be warned: ASL has a completely different set of grammar rules than English. But there's a sign for each letter of the English alphabet, so use this chart to S-P-E-L-L to your H-E-A-R-T'S content! Check out our favorite words below to show your family just how much you care.

I Love You: Place your middle and ring fingers flat against your palm and keep the others outstretched. This sign is a combination of the signs for the letters I, L and Y. 


Love: Cross both arms over your chest (and close to the heart!) as if you were giving your best friend a tight hug. 

I love you

Friend: This sign looks like a chain—because you'll always be linked together! Hook your two pointer fingers together and then switch your linked fingers to complete the sign. 


Pss Pss FrameAre you interested in learning more about ASL? Check out our sign-interpreted performances throughout the 2017-18 Season!

Take your friend power to the next level by taking a picture! Grab a friend, strike your favorite sign and print it out. For an added kick, try a black and white filter. Your photo will look just like a still from a vintage silent film. 

To make your photo look extra special, make a frame! You'll just need cardstock, glue and 15 popsicle sticks. 
  1. Glue 11 standard-sized popsicle sticks side-by-side onto a piece of 4.5"x4.5" cardstock. 
  2. Glue two popsicle sticks on each side of the frame. 
  3. Glue your photo in the middle.
  4. Decorate with markers, paint or stickers! Attach ribbon or string to the back so you can hang your frame. 

A Sky for the BearsPss Pss Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about A Sky for the Bears and Pss Pss here!
Posted by Beth Henderson

The 2016-17 SeasonLast season, we dove 20,000 leagues under the sea, danced through the streets of Bangladesh, celebrated the holidays with acrobats from Africa and partied with a worrisome elephant, a very excited piggie and a host of other colorful characters. Companies from 11 different countries inspired New Yorkers from every borough to share a smile, gasp and giggle.

Through our education programs, students from 179 New York City schools explored each show's themes and art forms in exactly 3,000 pre- and post-show workshops with our talented Teaching Artists. 

All in all, 110,000 New Yorkers nurtured a #LoveofTheater with The New Victory, and here’s what they had to say:

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea might be the most creative show we have seen in the past 5 years. It was totally original and felt like the future of theatrical drama and storytelling. –Keith T.

I loved the performance of Chotto Desh—what an extraordinary performer and production.  The New Victory is a wonderful performance space, because it feels so intimate. The moment I walked into the theater, the staff members were welcoming. –Betty R.

In a brief close-up routine ... there's real elegance and even wit in the precision of his gestures … But Mr. Bishop's enthusiasm is for larger illusions. He can teleport his assistant, he can vaporize a dog, he can walk through a wall ... 'That's not real!' gasped the 6-year-old pal I'd brought with me. – New York Times review of Jason Bishop: Straight Up Magic

Life may hold no guarantees, but unless the roof falls in at The New Victory Theater, you're pretty much assured a swell time at Mother Africa: My Home … My gadget-addicted 13-year-old was rapt, alternately laughing and gasping at the stunts. Only when she left the theater did she pull out her cellphone—to rave about the show to her friends.  – New York Times review of Mother Africa

Oh Boy was a great production. The actor was amazing, engaging and captivating. The wonderful script was able to convey deep feelings and family dynamics through a one man show. – Miri S.

Thank you for bringing Elephant and Piggie's We Are in a Play to New York! It was an amazing experience for my daughter because she learned how to read through the Elephant and Piggie books. We enjoyed making the Piggie headband, dancing with the New Vic ushers and taking pictures with the actors. –Natasa M.

Liam was transfixed. He sat forward in his seat, exclaimed in joy and surprise and even forgot to ask incessant questions throughout the show … The show continued to amaze and astound, looking less like a juggling display than frenetic athletes setting off fireworks. –NYC Dads Group review of Water on Mars

I have the greatest confidence that all who see The Aging Magician at The New Victory Theater will be shocked by how beautiful this show is. – BroadwayWorld review of The Aging Magician

It was our first time at The New Victory Theater and it will not be our last … [We] try to expose him as much as possible to the culture that the city has to offer, taking him to see live performances is something I want to do more of. This will be the perfect place to start! –Donuts, Dresses & Dirt review of Something


Right now, we're working hard to get ready for the 2017-18 Season. As we look back fondly on the incredible year we spent together, what was your favorite memory? Share it with us by commenting below or connecting with us on Facebook
Posted by Beth Henderson

One of the most bittersweet moments of the New Victory Season is when we bid a fond farewell to the graduating third-years of the New Victory Usher Corps. This program is more than professional development. It's a family. Here at The New 42nd Street, we take pride in our graduates' achievements, whether it's greeting New Vic audiences or growing life-skills at educational workshops.
The 2016-17 Ushers The 2016-17 Ushers
The New Victory Usher Corp, created to address the urgent need for youth employment in New York City, offers paid employment, job training, academic support and mentorship for 50 young New Yorkers each year. (They also throw excellent, annual holiday parties too!) Every usher has a different experience, and we work with each of them to ensure that they are both nurtured and challenged during their time with us.

Richard Lascelles first came to the Usher Corps as a soft-spoken high schooler, but by his second year he was ready to lead. During Fly, a play about the Tuskeegee Airmen, Richard volunteered to chaperone one of the three Airmen who attended the show and Talk-Back. Even after his graduation ceremony, he looks back on this opportunity fondly, as it helped him come into his own as a professional and leader.


A career panel A career panel for the New Victory Usher Corps with Mario Batali, Sade Williams and James Fuentes
Richard says "The Usher Corps opened my eyes to what I want to do in the near future … I thank the Usher Corps for pushing me to my full potential, and reminding me what I am good at."

Brendon Muniz, a third-year graduate of the Usher Corps program who starts at NYU in the fall, agrees, "The Usher Corps allowed me to grow as a person and show me the importance of making new connections and making sure you show your best self to others. Not only did I have a job, but I also had mentors teach me how to interview, how to get another job, and how to do better in school." 

In the past three years, we were lucky to call these graduates both coworkers and friends—Rachel Pang (Brooklyn College), Brendan Muniz (New York University), Cynthia Arce (John Jay College), Aniyah Carr, Donovan Molina (Hostos College), Dylan Christou (St Joseph's College), Richard Lascelles (Monroe College), Jaixa Lopez (Borough of Manhattan Community College), Nelson Malone (Kingsborough Community College), John DeLoatch (LaGuardia Community College) and Stephanie Cuevas (New York City College of Technology). We hope they look back with warm hearts, remembering the professional workshops, birthday parties and job training seminars. They'll always have a home here at The New Victory Theater, and we're thrilled to see what they accomplish in the future.
Posted by Beth Henderson

More summer means more fun! This Summer Field Guide is dedicated to getting the whole family up on their feet and ready to savor the sunshine. Get your blood pumping with the companies of The MigrationBromance and Rennie Harris: Funkedified.

Each show's performers tell a story using physical movement, enthusiastically accompanied by brilliant artwork, funk music and Cyr wheels. Step Afrika!'s The Migration provides a powerful intersection of fine art, live music and dance, the Barely Methodical Troupe of Bromance command the stage with flips and tricks and Rennie Harris: Funkedified celebrates funk and hip hop with infectious beats.
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

The Migration

In The Migration, Step Afrika! brings to life Jacob Lawrence's master work The Migration Series, the series of paintings illustrating the movement of African American communities from southern to northern cities. The Great Migration was due to the rise of violent, racist ideologies and Jim Crow laws, as well as the WWI-era industrial booms of certain northern cities. Performers move through The Migration Series with moving choreography and stirring music. 

To connect with Jacob Lawrence, bring his work to you! Print out these selected pictures from The Migration Series, try to find all ten items on the list and talk about how these paintings make you feel.  Look over the paintings and discover:
  • Six birds, flying north
  • A ringing bell
  • A candlestick
  • A girl with yellow ribbons 
  • An empty corner in an empty room
  • A splash of steel being poured 
  • The view from a train car 
  • A crowded bedroom
  • Three men wearing triangle jackets
  • A long line at a voting booth
Explore New York and spot Lawrence's work throughout the city! Many of his paintings are currently on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Also, have you ever noticed a glass mosaic at the Times Square–42nd St station (right next to the New Vic!)? That's Lawrence's last public work New York in Transit!

New York in Transit

Rennie Harris: Funkedified

If you can't stop tapping your toes this summer, Rennie Harris: Funkedified is the show for you. The performers pop, lock and groove to the dynamic rhythms of funk. 

Get your body moving to the beat with the music of Soul Train and James Brown. You never know, these tunes might inspire some cool moves, just like they inspired Rennie Harris! 

Once you've got your blood pumping, try spicing up the party with a couple of dance games that can be played with two people or two hundred!

Groove and Boogie

Crank up the volume and get dancing! During the song, the leader calls out one of four words and all of the dancers must complete the action associated with them to the beat of the music. The words are:
  • Clap—Clap your hands while dancing
  • Jump—Jump in place
  • Groove—Stomp your feet
  • Boogie—Spin in a circle while shaking your shoulders

For an added twist, try putting a couple of moves together. If the leader calls out, "Clap! Groove!" clap your hands and stomp your feet.

Hip Hop Clip Clap 

Get ready to put your hands together! One person starts by clapping a pattern with their hands. The next person repeats the pattern then adds one of their own. The game only stops when the song comes to an end!

Funky Freeze Dance

Just because the music stops doesn't mean that the FUNk has to! Everyone dances to the beat while one person periodically stops the music. When the song pauses, everyone has to freeze—in their best Funkedified pose! Try throwing your hands in the air or reaching way down low.

Ready to kick it up a notch? Try practicing some of your moves at a free dance event at one of New York's parks across the city.
Contributed by Caroline Dowded, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice


There is no "I" in team. After all, it takes three incredibly talented dudes to flip and fly their way into Bromance. The boys perform show-stopping parkour, hand balancing tricks and Cyr wheel stunts. In short, it's bro-tastic!

Do you have what it takes to be a hopeless bromantic?

Team building games have many benefits such as developing stronger relationships and building trust in others. Games that require group effort help foster creativity, encourage problem solving and increase motivational skills. Grab your buddies and give one of these games a go!

1. Human Knot


The Human Knot Our apprentices play a game of the human knot
What do you need?
Just yourselves

What is it?
This is a game of twists and turns! Have your group stand in a circle facing each other, shoulder to shoulder. Then, everyone hold out their right hand to someone else's across the circle, forming a giant knot. The trick is to get every player to collaborate with one another and untie the knot without letting go. Here's a fun challenge: Time yourselves for a round, and go back and see if you can beat the clock in a second try!

2. The Silent Game

What do you need?
A timer

What is it?
How long can you or a teammate go without feeling the urge to speak? This game teaches you to communicate nonverbally by forming different shapes with your team while attempting to stay silent the whole time. Your teamwork is put to the test as players attempt to motion (i.e. pointing) to one another to form different shapes, like a square, a pentagon or the whole United States! See how far you can go as the shapes become more difficult each round. Here are shapes for your team to conquer:
  • Triangle
  • Square
  • Kite
  • Pentagon
  • Heart
  • Sun
  • Star
  • The American Flag
  • Question Mark
  • The United States!
Group Juggling Our apprentices try group juggling with their Victor Bees

3. Group Juggle
What do you need?
Five or so balls to juggle

What is it?
With your group, stand in an inward facing circle. Start with one ball to juggle around the circle. Everyone starts with their hands raised and the person throwing the ball calls the name of the person catching. As each person has a turn they lower their hands so everyone gets a turn. As the game develops, more balls can be used to increase the pressure to watch and listen to the whole team.

The MigrationFunkedified
Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about The Migration, Rennie Harris: Funkedified and Bromance here!
Posted by Beth Henderson