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.

Temperatures are rising, the sun is shining and ice cream trucks are ringing. That can only mean one thing—summer is here! For the next three months, keep checking the blog to find 2017-18 Season-themed Summer Field Guides to get the whole family exploring in the warm weather. 

Here at The New Victory, everyone is eagerly looking forward to our upcoming season. This year, two of our shows, The Young King and Seedfolks, will transport you to a regal kingdom and a vibrant urban community.
Contributed by Ruthie Ostrow, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice

The Young King 

In The Young King, a boy raised in the countryside suddenly discovers that he is the heir to the throne. The whole world is a stage in this production, with kids exploring the New Vic's transformed theater space, brought to life with stagecraft, puppetry and live music. To get into the royal spirit, imagine what it would be like to be a king or queen for the day!

Well, every king or queen needs a crown! All you need to show off your royal bling is some construction paper, crayons or markers, scissors and a stapler. Cut a piece of construction paper "the long way" to make two strips of paper. 
  1. Draw a zig-zag line across each strip and cut along the peaks.
  2. Decorate the band with crayons, markers and paper shapes. You can draw anything from jewels to bugs to pictures of your kingdom. 
  3. Staple the band in a ring to fit the head of your new king or queen!
Now that you have your crown ready, it's time to visit some castles!  Believe it or not, there are a couple of castles sitting amongst skyscrapers in New York. 

Belvedere Castle
This castle sits in the heart of Central Park. "Bella vedere" means "beautiful view" in Italian—fitting, because it gives the best view of the park and neighboring cityscape! Belvedere Castle isn't just famous for its good looks, the National Weather Service takes measurements from atop the tallest tower to report New York City weather each day.

Belvedere Castle
The Met Cloisters
Beautiful art, lavish gardens and breathtaking architecture makes this one special museum. On Saturday afternoons, the Cloisters host Family Workshops with programs on medieval stories, knights and—yes, kings and queens. The museum itself? Total #castlevibes. 

The Met Cloisters
The Park Avenue Armory
Two words: Battle. Castle. This castle started its life as a home for the Seventh Regiment of the National Guard in the 19th century. Now, it's an innovative arts space that hosts theater performances and visual art shows. Stop by for a guided tour and bask in its architectural glory.

Park Avenue Armory

Jefferson Market Library
This isn't your average branch of the New York Public Library. Though it was originally built as a courthouse, its Victorian Gothic style is a bugle call for royal citizens. Curl up inside one of its many reading rooms with a copy of your favorite fairy tale—or maybe even Oscar Wilde's The Young King in his House of Pomegranates anthology.

Jefferson Market Library

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
The Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island has its own castle. Its picturesque white walls mark the start of a journey into a tall hedge maze that is a perfect puzzle for kids to explore their taste for adventure. At the end of the maze lies a secret garden, based on the Frances Hodgson Burnett children's novel of the same name. 

Connie Gretz Secret Garden
Contributed by Caroline Dowden, Summer 2017 Communications Apprentice


Based on the award-winning book by Paul Fleischman, Seedfolks is an inspiring one-woman show that tells the story of Kim, a lively, young girl, who brings together her Gibb Street neighborhood from Ana, a crotchety old Romanian woman, to Gonzalo, a feisty Latino teenager, when she grows a garden in an empty lot near her home in Cleveland.
Flower Planter
In this Summer Field Guide, put your gardening skills to the test with your family. All you need to plant your own garden is a window planter, soil, flowers (or other herbs or plants) and small, waterproof toys. Are you ready to let your creativity flourish? Well, nothing beets this fun-loving activity!
  1. Fill the window planter with soil. 
  2. Position the plants to create hiding places for your toys to play.
  3. Create a pathway with things like rocks, seashells or buttons among the elements of your garden.
  4. Introduce your toys and create a story for each of them as they explore their new home! These stories can be as unique as possible. Perhaps each character has their own story like the ones in Seedfolks
Don't have a garden of your own or want to do some more outdoor adventuring? No problem. Below are a few of New York's most flourishing places where you can visit for a fun-filled day.
Jefferson Market Garden
When you visit the Jefferson Market Castle, stop by the garden! This garden offers fun-loving community events for children, such as history and garden tours, free musical programs and bloom guides about different flowers during all four seasons. The tree-filled garden, located Greenwich Village, is where you're sure to find a few blooming flowers and shrubs like the Spireas and the Foxgloves. The garden's guides are great if you want to learn more about different types of flowers for each season. 

Jefferson Market Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Here, kids of all ages can explore different habitats, uncover plant mysteries and experience garden wildlife at hands-on exhibits with Brooklyn's Discovery Garden. The garden provides a wide range of conservatories like the unique Shakespeare Garden and the iconic Japanese Garden. Depending on the season you visit, you can explore popular collections like the Aquatic House, Orchid Collection and the Cranford Rose Garden. 

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

Liz Christy Community Garden
Come take a look at New York's first community garden (est. 1974)! Located on the northeast corner of Bowery and Houston Streets in Manhattan, the Liz Christy Community Garden is filled with wildflower habitat, vegetable gardens and much more. The garden is divided into individual areas that are cared for by their talented staff. If you want to gain experience in gardening, this is great place to volunteer during open hours. In fact, if you volunteer in the garden for 20 hours, you're eligible for a free membership!

Liz Christy Community Garden
The Gardens at St. Luke
These beautiful gardens sit next to the Church of Saint Luke's on Hudson Street. The gardens provide over two-thirds of an acre of Native American flora and rare hybrids. The space is perfect for long walks with family and friends. The gardens are comprised of different areas such as the Barrow Street Garden and the North Garden. If you need a peaceful place to gather your thoughts and enjoy the outdoors, you have come to the perfect spot. 

The Gardens at St. Luke
New York Botanical Garden
Located in the Bronx, this National Historic Landmark is the largest garden in the United States. The NYBG contains a variety of gardens and collections that are spread over 250 acres. Scientists at the gardens are always finding ways to develop their plant research and conservation. Not only do the gardens grow plants—they grow programs, creativity and students who experience hands-on activities. Kids' programs include gardening lessons, science camps and outdoor adventures! 
New York Botanical Gardens

The Young KingSeedfolks Interested in joining us next season? Learn more about The Young King and Seedfolks here!
Posted by Beth Henderson
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
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