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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.

As we celebrate The New Victory's twentieth birthday this season, we're highlighting some of the families who have been a part of our greater New Vic family for many years. For these parents and kids, seeing theatrical performances at the New Vic has become a tradition, and over the years they've shared their love of theater with their extended family and friends. This month, the spotlight is on Julia Levy and Ari Edelson, co-founders of the Culture Craver Kids app, and their son, Eliot!

 

Julia Levy and Ari Edelson with their two-year-old son, Eliot
Ari and Julia are starting their family theatergoing tradition early with their two-year-old son, Eliot.

Sleeping Beauty by Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company
Julia recalls bringing her niece to the New Vic in 2013 to see Sleeping Beauty by Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company.
"We love The New Victory," says Ari.

Julia agrees. "The standard of the work presented here competes with the greatest in the city. And we love that the productions visit from all around the world."

Ari and Julia, who share a profound #LoveOfTheater, were exposed to the performing arts when they were very young. Ari began staging puppet shows at the age of four, and Julia performed as a green bug at about the same age. They have been attending shows at the New Vic since 1999 and love the medium because "it's a platform for storytelling and idea sharing."

Ari describes theater as "the most collaborative artform, allowing audiences to create temporary communities that are inspired, illuminated or transported."

Because of Ari and Julia's work on Culture Craver Kids, theater is playing a larger part in their family life than ever before. Their son, Eliot, who turns two in May, is already becoming a connoisseur of the arts.

"We have started taking Eliot to some age-appropriate theater, and we want other families to be able to find more culture they'll love," says Julia. "New York City parents like us need a modern guide that knows the city and knows us."

With their new app, Culture Craver Kids, Ari and Julia are solving the discovery problem for families seeking ways to engage with the arts. "Looking at what's available on Culture Craver Kids, we are so excited for what's in store for Eliot," says Julia. "In the meantime, he's spending a lot of time listening to showtunes and visiting the city's museums and outdoor cultural experiences."

"As he grows up in New York City," adds Ari, "we can’t wait for him to see as much art, music, theater, and dance as possible." Of course, there's one obvious place to start. Eliot had his first New Vic experience in January when he and his cousins came to see Handa's Surprise, and they've been humming the fruit lullaby ever since.
 
 
Culture Craver Kids was developed in consultation with staff here at The New Victory, where we want families to make a habit of engaging with the arts. Culture Craver Kids makes it easier for parents to find those opportunities and discover new ones. Crave events that excite your family and rate culture you've seen together. Available for iPhone on the App Store. Check it out online at crav.es/kids!
Posted by Zack Ramadan

All season long, we've been asking you to tell us where your #LoveOfTheater started; and last week, we shared some of the many wonderful responses we've received via social media. A shared love of theater is what brings us all together at the New Vic, so this week, as 2015 comes to a close, we're turning the mirror around and sharing with you where our #LoveOfTheater started.
 
 
Where did my #LoveOfTheater start? I've wanted to be an actor for as long as I can remember. I started performing when I was seven. I remember even sitting in the dark in the wings of my local theater, listening to what was happening onstage before my entrance, knowing I never felt more at home. — Curt James, New Victory Teaching Artist

My #LoveOfTheater‬ actually started with a production of Robin Hood in 7th grade. I still remember my line, "Robin, you're so clever I could just kiss you," which of course elicited "ewwws" from kids and "awwws" from parents! — Lilaia Kairis, Director of Digital Services
 

My #LoveOfTheater started when I was cast in the coveted role of Women #4 in Les Misérables and befriended all of these crazy/wonderful people! — Lauren Hood, Artistic Programming Assistant


My #LoveOfTheater started in 1989 when I saw The Wizard of Oz at the Carousel Dinner Theatre. The Wicked Witch came flying overhead—surprise!—and Dorothy fell into the orchestra pit! — Zack Ramadan, Digital Content Producer


My #LoveOfTheater started early. I saw South Pacific on Broadway when I was five, and I sang along to every song in my seat. I've been hooked ever since! — Jono Waldman, New Victory Teaching Artist

My #LoveOfTheater started with The Muppet Show. Watching the Muppets struggle to put on their show every week made the joys and challenges of collaborating on a live performance very exciting to me. In middle school I became obsessed with the musical Sweeney Todd. I remember when my music teacher played the record for us in class. The sound of the opening whistle and the creepy music that followed made me want to know more. I went the library to check out the whole album and have loved it ever since. — Kevin Ray, New Victory Teaching Artist

The conductor handing three-year-old me his baton at Cathy Rigby's Peter Pan on Broadway started my #LoveOfTheater. — Lindsay Amer, Fall 2015 Communications Apprentice

I discovered my #LoveOfTheater in 1986. I was six years old, and my mom took me to see the national touring production of Annie. I loved every minute! — Christopher Ritz-Totten, Public Relations Associate

My mom would always take me to the theater—kids shows at arts festivals in the summer, touring productions of Broadway musicals, ballet and modern dance performances. Some of my most vivid memories are of sitting in dark theaters letting my mind wander and my imagination soar. — Patrick Ferreri, New Victory Teaching Artist

My ‪#‎LoveOfTheater‬ started with my Dad. He directed me in my first production of The Wind in the Willows at Knowlton Elementary School. I will never forget rehearsing in the school library and thinking, "This is the best thing ever!" — Renata Melillo Townsend, Education Programs Manager

My #LoveOfTheater started when I went on a school trip to see Sesame Street Live, and I loved the show so much that I called the theater to ask for an audition. I was seven! Surprisingly, I was given an opportunity, but my mom wasn't able to take me. All these years later, I'll never forget that experience. — Janet Onyenucheya, New Victory Teaching Artist

My #LoveOfTheater started when I was five years old. I saw a show where the actors entered through the audience. One of the actors crouched next to my chair and said hello before racing down the aisle and bounding onstage. It was so magical—I love the "liveness" of theater, the community experience. It is still pretty magical to me! — Julia Sirna-Frest, New Victory Teaching Artist

I would say my #LoveOfTheater started when I was five or six years old. We had the double-tape VHS edition of The Sound Of Music, and I would watch it every single day, on loop. I eventually moved on to Mary Poppins. To this day, I know all the lyrics and quips from both (incredibly long) Julie Andrews productions! — Katie Diamond, Graphic & Media Production Coordinator​

My #LoveOfTheater started at age eight in a production of The Wizard of Oz (Goes Improv).  The whole show was improvised, and we learned all the songs by listening to the soundtrack. I played the Tin Man, and I was so serious about it—I learned all of my lyrics. One lyric to the Tin Man's song is "...and awful sentimental regarding love and art." But I had only listened to the words, not read them on paper, so I thought the lyric was "an awful scent of metal regarding love and art." It made sense to me, given that it was about the Tin Man! I belted out that line, holding my nose, and everyone cracked up. I felt really liberated, and I've been doing theater ever since! — Arielle Lever, New Victory Teaching Artist
 
 
  From singing along with classic Broadway musicals to performing in low-tech elementary school productions, our #LoveOfTheater has brought us all together. Here's to 2016—may your love of theater grow and grow!
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