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 Kali DiPippo, Assistant Director of Artistic Programming

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." — Winston Churchill


Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
I can't help but think of these words when a season of New Victory LabWorks comes to a close. It is a time to debrief and reflect, but also ask: what next? Each year, The New Victory has the pleasure of supporting a handful of New York City-based artists creating work for young audiences as part of our LabWorks program. Taking place primarily at the New 42nd Street Studios, these artists hunker down over the course of a year—some with just the seed of an idea, others with a script, and many somewhere in between—to write, plan and experiment. These eclectic artists test out ideas, keep some, scrap others, and by the end, make great strides toward creating work for young audiences and families.

Over the past year, I've watched these artists develop these works (some from just the glimmer of an idea) into presentations for a live audience. The residencies are a vital and inspiring stop on each company's path to a full production. In fact, one of the reasons we started LabWorks was to increase the presence of work for young audiences by American artists. The idea that we could (and indeed are beginning to) see pieces developed by LabWorks Artists at national and international festivals, showcases and venues is thrilling. To come back to Churchill's words, LabWorks is only the beginning.

But before we leave this particular beginning, let's take a look back at some reflections from a few of the 2015-16 LabWorks Artists, in their own words:


The Village of Vale in the midst of an open rehearsal. Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
"There is an unfortunate irony that the theater we make for adults (or anyone, really) is called a 'play,' and yet play is often the very thing that it is lacking. Allowing myself the freedom to work in a world that was more fun, that was high-spirited, but that also had to retain a sense of structure and a kind of rationality resonated deeply with me and is something I will not soon forget."
— Jason Gray Platt, Bird Brain


"The chance to be part of LabWorks really made us think of ourselves as an 'us'—as a company that has its own aesthetic and process and, we hope, trajectory—and I'm grateful for that."
— Jonathan Karpinos, The Village of Vale

"Within the program there are a range of opportunities to build and expand your network, learn and grow business skills to ensure sustainability, and receive artistic mentorship and feedback from some of the most respected people involved with theater for young audiences."
— Rachel Sullivan & Liz Parker, Layer the Walls

"The open rehearsals were incredibly helpful to us, especially at the place we found ourselves in developmentally at the end of our residency. We needed to get these ideas up and in front of eyes and ears and we have had such valuable feedback from those showings that it's reinvigorated our writing and given us such useful intel that will help guide our process going forward."
— Joseph Varca, The Village of Vale

"Artistically, we learned where the audiences are connecting to our stories and characters, where more information is needed, what is confusing, what is working with form and content, what is lacking and what people are craving. We've never opened up a show to share with an audience at this phase of development, and that in itself was a learning experience. While it was vulnerable to open the doors at this point in the process, it was ultimately rewarding and will allow us to create a stronger piece."
— Rachel Sullivan & Liz Parker, Layer the Walls


Layer the Walls in their open rehearsal. Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
"My first instinct would be to keep [LabWorks] a secret so that no one else would find out about it and I'd be able to be part of it again and again ad infinitum. :) But, if pressed, I'd describe it as a fantastic opportunity to develop a show for young audiences, learn more about making theater for young audiences and become part of a community of people who make theater for young audiences."
— Jonathan Karpinos, The Village of Vale

"I had a blast. I felt fully supported by the theater and the staff throughout the process. Considering the program is only a few years into its life it already feels very smoothly run and well-organized. I'll miss you guys!"
— Jason Gray Platt, Bird Brain
Kali DiPippo ​Kali DiPippo, Assistant Director of Artistic Programming, oversees New Victory LabWorks, a program designed to foster the creation of new works for family audiences and provide New York City-based artists with professional development opportunities. Formerly a stage manager, Kali turned her sights to family audiences after a serendipitous stint in Education at Hampstead Theatre in London and has worked in varying capacities with Roundabout Theatre Company, MCC Theater Youth Company, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre and the Kitchen Theatre Company. Kali received her BA in Drama from Ithaca College and her MA in Educational Theater from NYU. 

Posted by Beth Henderson

Explore the World of Penguins 

Though penguins are often associated with an icy environment, many species of penguins reside in warmer climates in the Southern Hemisphere. The cooler the environment however, the larger the penguin! 

In October, we'll be welcoming Mr. Popper’s Penguins to The New Victory Theater where the very normal Mr. and Mrs. Popper suddenly find themselves with a house full of penguins... and chaos! In order to get ready for the show, you can read our selection of penguin-themed books or explore the different zoos of New York City with your family!

Read About Them!

Penguins have been book-stars for quite some time. Get to know Mr. Popper's co-stars a little better and make a visit to your local library to check out some of the following. 

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole
— Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester, Lynn M. Munsinger
— Penguin by Polly Dunbar
— Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
— A Penguin Story by Antoinette Portis
— Penguin on Vacation by Salina Yoon 
— 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental, Joëlle Jolivet
— Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater, Robert Lawson

Catch Them All!

Sadly, the zoos will not take kindly to you catching their penguins. Instead, print out this list and check off each bird you see this summer in the square next to their name! You can keep track of where each species lives by looking at the map above. 

 Little Penguins or Fairy Penguins

The most pint-sized penguins that exist, these little guys grow to be only one foot tall! Like many species of penguins, they live in warm climates. You can typically find them swimming in the waters of Australia and New Zealand, living up to their scientific name Eudyptula meaning "good little diver." The main difference between little penguins and other species is that they're nocturnal, meaning they only are awake at night!

Little Penguin

Where will you find them this summer? The Bronx Zoo
Fun Fact: The Bronx Zoo successfully hatched a little penguin chick for the first time in 120 years on May 10, 2016!

 Magellanic Penguins 

Contrary to what you'd expect, these birds also live nowhere near ice! They live along the coast of South America under bushes, unless they're able to burrow for their nests. Their unique name comes from Ferdinand Magellan, who first spotted these critters in 1520. 

Magellanic Penguin
Where will you find them? The Bronx Zoo

 African or Black Footed Penguins 

Known for their donkey-like bray, the African penguin lives off of the southern coast of Africa. In fact, it's the only penguin to breed in Africa! You can tell how closely it's related to the Magellanic Penguin due to its similar appearance and behavior. For instance, they both mate for life. Sadly, due to human behavior like oil spills and habitat disruption, the African penguin is listed as an endangered species. If nothing changes, experts believe they will be extinct in 15 years. 

African Penguin

Where will you find them? Staten Island Zoo and New York Aquarium 

 Gentoo Penguins 

These penguins are famous for a lot of reasons. They have the largest tail, they're the third largest of all penguin species and they're the fastest diving bird in existence! Even more impressive, these are the penguins that Mr. Popper receives in the mail! You might be wondering about their odd name. Unfortunately, no one is sure where it comes from, but theories range from Anglo-Indian to Portuguese origins. Though the gentoo penguins are native to the cold Antarctic waters, they prefer to live in areas without any snow or ice. 

Gentoo Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

 Chinstrap Penguins

Most closely related to the gentoo penguin, these chinstrap penguins rock some serious facial feathers. They're one of the two penguin species with white faces, but theirs are separated from the body by a thin black strap. They make their homes on steep, rocky terrain in cold climates. They aren't found as far north as their relatives, and their breeding colonies can be found near the Antarctic Peninsula. 

Chinstrap Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

 King Penguins 

Second in size only to emperor penguins (which, sadly, cannot be found in any NYC zoo), king penguins are seriously large birds. They grow up to three feet tall and weigh up to thirty-five pounds! King penguins have a long and healthy relationship with zoos and are even the Edinburgh Zoo's mascot. In the wild, you can find them in the sub-Antarctic belt in groups that can number in the tens of thousands. 

King Penguin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo

Bonus point!

 Tufted Puffins 

These funny looking fellas are relatively common birds found throughout the northern Pacific Ocean, close to Alaska. They gather on islands or cliffs where predators can't easily access their nests, the steeper the better! Many people are quick to group puffins and penguins together, but in fact they are from completely different families. There's not even any geographical overlap between the two! 

Tufted Puffin

Where will you find them? The Central Park Zoo


Mr. Popper's Thumb Make it Social!

While you’re visiting all your penguin pals, make sure to take some snapshots! Post them on social and tag us on Instagram @NewVictoryTheater or Twitter @NewVictory. Use the hashtag #MrPoppersNewVic so we can see your photos! 


Posted by Beth Henderson
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