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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.

For so many kids and families, #LoveOfTheater starts here at The New Victory, and over the past 20 years, the shows on our stage have helped thousands of families make lasting memories and establish theatergoing as a family tradition. We asked a few of those families to share their favorite New Vic memories with us. Take a look!


We've also been asking you, our friends and fellow theatergoers, to tell us where your #LoveOfTheater started. A shared love of theater brings us all together here at the New Vic, but we've come from all over! Here are some of the stories and moments that you've shared with us so far this season.
 

When I was five years old, my life was changed forever. I fell in love with the theater. I saw a show for the first time, and that magical place with tall ceilings, long aisles and red seats made me feel like I was in world where everything was possible. Needless to say, when those amazingly tall curtains opened, a world of magic opened itself to me! Today, I'm a magic-maker. I'm a theater-maker. The New Victory Theater Season is open! I am thrilled for all those children who will have the same chance I had. It only takes one experience! — Gyana Mella

My grandmother, Joan Howard, was very into the great movie musicals. Her love of those inspired my mother to experiment in theater as a young adult. As a result of my mom's theater experiments, I grew up going to musicals. I got my degree in theater and now teach high school theater and direct locally. My own daughters, at only eleven and twelve, are already hooked (my husband is a music director!). They've already performed in close to 20 shows. It's a love that just binds our family. — April Fritts
 

It's the place I love to take my daughter to. It's pure magic, it's mystery, and it opens a world of possibilities. She has a great time and so do I. I love the theater and I hope my daughter grows up to love and support the theater, too. — Rachel White, The Digital Latina

My #LoveOfTheater started with my family. We used to watch old time musicals all the time and I would end up singing the songs from The Wizard of OzThe Sound of Music and Annie in the backyard. I would even sing in the tub! — Kate Weidenman

My parents took me to Painters Mill Theatre (no longer there) to see my favorite TV star, Barbara Eden, play Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun. They even took me to the back door of the theater after the show, and she autographed my program! — Angie Townsend

My love of the theater started at a very young age (six), singing and performing at church and at a small local theater. — Judy Cas

My love of theater started in fourth or fifth grade at the Burlington County Community College Summer Theater Series, watching The Glass Menagerie: "I'll rise, but I won't shine." — Jay Cuasay

Mine started when my parents took me to see Phantom of the Opera when I was nine. Every time it came back to Louisville, I was there watching. I fell in love all over again seeing The Lion King. — Kathy Schremp Dean

When I saw Cats for the first time and Victoria, the white cat, came over to my seat, licked her paws and brushed my hair back, I was hooked! — Erin Williams

I have loved musicals since I was very young. Seeing my older sister in her high school production of Mame was a biggy! And seeing the national tour of A Chorus Line in my sophomore year was an amazing thrill for me. It was so different from anything I had ever encountered before! — Phil Michels

Cirque Mechanics at The New Victory has revived my #LoveOfTheater! (And my secret desire to become a clown.) So much fun down on 42nd Street! — Hillary Reeves

I played the starring role of the runaway pancake in our Kindergarten class show. Still going strong. #LoveOfTheater — Francile Albright Mullen

So where did your ‪#‎LoveOfTheater‬ start? Mine started when I saw Oliver at the Des Moines Playhouse when I was a kid.— Justin Roberts, New Vic Alum (2014)

My #LoveOfTheater started when I was in the Army in Germany and took Natasha Braecklein to a local production of The Wizard of Oz. Just some locals, nothing major, but watching it with her on my shoulders was so special. There's something amazing about people sharing their talent with the audience, and as an audience member being honored with that gift. The connection that is shared when watching a live performance is beautiful, and the best part for me is knowing that those on stage are living their dreams, and sharing their love and passion with all in attendance. — Robert Braecklein

We even heard from a few families who credited The New Victory with sparking their love of theater:
 
     
Luca and Nat date at The New Victory Theater. Ready to see The Gruffalo. Our #LoveOfTheater started here in 2014. Best theater in NYC. — Nat Hookway    Starting our #LoveOfTheater with the show White at The New Victory Theater today. — Angeline Sheridan, Macaroni Kid    #LoveOfTheater starts at The New Victory with The Gruffalo. — Edie Demas
 
 
  Now it's your turn! Tell us, where did your #LoveOfTheater start? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or in the comments below. Next week, we'll be sharing some of our own #LoveOfTheater origin stories. Until then, have a theatrical holiday!
Posted by Zack Ramadan

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 week, we turn the spotlight on the Sacco family. Dennis and Mayra Sacco, along with their kids, Michael Sacco and DeAnna Adonnino, have seen close to 60 shows here since 1996. Mayra attended the New Vic first with DeAnna during our second season, and she still counts that show among her most memorable theatergoing experiences. "It was the first show that I exposed my daughter to—she was about two and a half at the time," Mayra recalls. "I remember her jumping up and down on the seat, and you couldn't hold her back. She was just so enthralled by the experience." 

The Sacco Family, photographed in 2000. From left to right, Michael, DeAnna, Mayra and Dennis.
The Sacco Family, photographed in 2000. From left to right:
Michael, DeAnna, Mayra and Dennis.

 
"We have very special, fond memories of this place, there's no doubt about it," adds Dennis, who appreciates the impact the New Vic has had on their family. "I think it's so important that the kids came to the theater at a young age. Sometimes you don't know the impact that something will have until later on." Even though Michael and DeAnna are grown, their love of theater is as strong as ever, and they haven't left The New Victory behind. "They've come back individually. They've attended with their spouses, with their friends. Michael is in Florida now," explains Dennis, "and every weekend he goes to a live show of some sort."

"Our kids love to go to the theater, period," agrees Mayra. "And I think it's a result of having had the experience of seeing theater here at a young age." She's speaking from experience; Mayra traces her own love of theater back to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which she saw with childhood friends when she was just eight years old. "None of us had gone to the theater before—it was the first time for all of us. I just remember being mesmerized by it. I think my mouth was probably open the whole time."
 
Dennis's favorite comedian, Avner the Eccentric, as he appeared in our 1996-97 season brochure.
The comedic star of Dennis's favorite show, Avner the Eccentric, as he appeared in our 1996-97 season brochure.

 
Soledad Barrio of Noche Flamenca, who has performed at the New Vic in 2002, 2009 and during Victory Dance in 2014.
Mayra recalls her aunts' enthusiasm for the dancers of Noche Flamenca, who performed at the New Vic in 2002, 2009 and during Victory Dance in 2014.

Dennis had a very different experience growing up. "My mother and father enjoyed going to the theater, but never took the four kids!" As a result, his love of theater started a bit later, in his early twenties with the first of many Broadway shows. "There's nothing like a live show, and there's something very special about seeing it in New York." His first show at the New Vic, in 1997, was Avner the Eccentric, a show he still recalls with fondness. "Anytime we see a clown or magic show, we're reminded of Avner from twenty years ago!" This is a theme with the Saccos—live theater fostering stronger, more lasting memories. Of New Victory performances in particular, Dennis explains that the family "would talk about them six months later, one year later, twenty years later in a positive light."

"Going to theater as a family, there's nothing better than seeing a particular show and then being able to talk about it," adds Mayra. Even without their kids, she and Dennis still look forward to the New Victory season brochure arriving in the mail, and to the theatrical variety that they've come to expect. "There aren't many theaters where you can go and see a circus act, a drama, a musical." Over other forms of entertainment, Mayra likens live theater to an immersive, mind-body experience. "If it's a circus act, I'm at the edge of my seat. If it's drama, it's like reading a book. If it's music, I'm feeling the music." And this love of live performance runs in her family.

Mayra's parents and aunts are Cuban immigrants, and they've accompanied Mayra and Dennis to many shows over the years. "The arts were very important to them growing up. I think they lost that, unfortunately, when they came to this country," explains Mayra, "but The New Victory put it back within their reach."

"Any show that I ever attended with your parents that was of a musical variety, their feet or their hands were going," Dennis says to her, tapping a rhythm on his lap. And the Saccos look forward to continuing their theatergoing tradition. "It's gone from Mayra's parents coming along with us, to her aunts, to my daughter in-law, expanding, expanding, expanding beyond just the four of us, to the ten of us, to the twelve of us. I'm guessing that if we're blessed with grandchildren, they'll carry on that tradition." With big smiles at the thought, they agree: "We can't wait!"

For the Saccos, sharing their love of theater doesn't end with family and friends. Every year, Mayra and Dennis make a point of donating a set of New Victory tickets to charity during the holidays. They see the sharing of theatrical experiences as an extension of the New Vic's mission. "I think a lot of people view the theater as being out of reach when it may not necessarily be," says Dennis. "I think that's what the New Vic does. It makes it really within reach."

Where did your #LoveOfTheater start? Let us know on Twitter @newvictory, or snap a selfie for Instagram and tag us @newvictorytheater the next time you're here!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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