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.

On Monday, January 9, actor and arts education advocate Ben Vereen presented our Director of Artistic Programming Mary Rose Lloyd with the William Dawson Award for Programmatic Excellence and Sustained Achievement in Programming. Mary received this honor from her peers at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals, the world's largest forum of international presenters, artists, managers, agents and arts leaders. We applaud her remarkable achievement in redefining quality performing arts for young people through her 20 years of spirited, revelatory and bold curatorial work at The New Victory Theater.​ These are her remarks on the importance of quality theatrical programming for kids. 
Mary Rose Lloyd at APAP
L to R: Laurie Anderson, Mikki Shepherd, APAP Board Chair Dr. Michael Blachly, Mary Rose Lloyd, APAP President and CEO Mario Garcia Durham, Laura Colby, Michele Roberge

I am, on behalf of the entire New Victory Theater team, so deeply honored to receive an artistic programming award from this group who I revere so much and with whom I've been a part since my grad school days in the 90s. (When I was 14 of course.)

Back then I didn't really know what a presenter was until I was lucky enough to get to work with Joe Melillo at BAM and learn from the absolute very best. As a mentor, Joe opened my eyes to the possibilities of curating wonderful work for specific spaces...matching artists to venues & communities, both nationally and internationally. My experience as a presenter grew even more meaningful when I was hired by the remarkable Cora Cahan, President of the New 42nd Street. The New Victory Theater is one of seven historic theaters located between 7th and 8th Avenues, theaters which comprise the whole of the "New" 42nd Street, here in New York. Cora and the Board of the New 42 had the original vision to establish, in one of those theaters, what was–incredibly–missing from the landscape of New York culture–a theater dedicated solely to presenting the very best work from around the world for young audiences and families.

Now, here, well over 20 years later, it means so much to us, and to the entire field of live arts for young people, that the New Victory is being honored for our artistic programming in this incredibly important field. As a matter of fact, this whole week there has seen a swelling of passionate conversation around the importance of quality performing arts in the lives of children. From the APAP/IPAY pre-conference workshop last Thursday led by the inspiring Sarah McCarthy and Boomer Stacey, to the 6th annual conversation on theater for young audiences led by the indomitable Monique Martin on Friday, to the weekend symposium on #CreatingQualityTYA co-hosted by the American Alliance of Theater Educators and the New Victory, topped off today, where focus is placed on artistic excellence in programming for young audiences. I have collaborated with this tribe of indefatigable heroes and advocates for the creation of compelling performing arts for people of all ages.
Mary Rose Lloyd with Ben Vereen
Mary Rose Lloyd with Ben Vereen

Here's the bottom line: it is our job to support, make and/or present bold, extraordinary, visionary work for young audiences. Work that tells their stories and reflects their worlds. Every child has the right to have access to this work now, I'd offer, more than ever. It is vital the we champion the building of and caring for our children's humanity, their ability to feel empathy and to be curious about their fellow, global citizens of this world. The platform of theater is a great way to do this. Not only to create "future" audiences, but to also respect the intelligence and the imaginations of young people now, and make work for them to absorb now. We must reflect in this work the diversity of our children, celebrate our differences, so that everyone, every child over these next few years, whether gay, straight, trans, black, white, Latino, mid-western, southern, east or west coast feels they have an equal place in this world and can utilize the power of artistic expression to fight ignorance. So spread the word. Encourage our best, brightest, most incendiary artists that there need not be a demarcation line between the quality or the intensity of work made for adults as that made for young people.

In closing, I'll just say that you’re most likely a fan of the New Vic because when you were young you were either a part of a show, in an audience of a show or were part of a family who provided cultural experiences for their children. Don't lose sight of that child you once were. Take that child into the great, good work you do and connect with the youngest folks in your audiences to the end of your–and their–imaginations and back.

Mary Rose Lloyd Read more about Mary Rose Lloyd in a blog celebrating her 20 incredible years at The New Victory Theater!

At the New Vic, we pride ourselves in bringing exciting theater to the young people of New York City. We couldn't do any of it without the people who broaden and enrich the kids' understanding of the art forms on our stages: our New Victory Teaching Artists. This year we welcome nine new Teaching Artists to the New Vic community! 

You'll be seeing them around the theater at Family WorkshopsArts Express, Talk-Backs and TXT Marks the Spot, so get to know this batch of performers, puppeteers, podcasters and artists below. Make sure you say hi when you spot them at the theater! 

Jamie Agnello

Hello! My name is Jamie Agnello and I'm a theater artist. I spend most of my time acting, puppeteering and devising with Trusty Sidekick Theater Company. I also work as a florist with Stems Brooklyn, where I get to design and play with foliage and blossoms. 

I grew up in Oil City, Pennsylvania, where I wrote a lot of poetry in the woods and was very involved with our community theater scene. I feel so lucky to have grown up in an inclusive artistic town with lots of encouragement as a child. I'm so excited to be in a position as a Teaching Artist where I can foster that kind of creativity in young people. 

I'm so thrilled to work with the Teaching Artist ensemble at the New Vic. Being a Teaching Artist requires us to be so thoughtful about the biggest question of all: WHY ART? Why this show? Why is this important? I love that we get to play and be goofy, deliberate and creative. I'm so looking forward to all the moments of connection and energy that will surely happen with our young audiences this year. 

Carolyn Charpie Fagan

What I love about being a Teaching Artist is the sense of community it brings to my life. At the New Vic, we work together as an ensemble developing lessons and teaching in the classroom and other creative spaces. As a result, the work we do is fun, fulfilling and of the highest quality.

I love that I'm surrounded by artists who teach me their skills in facilitating and performance. From my peers, I've become a stronger teacher, but also a better puppeteer, clown, acrobat, musician, dancer, juggler, actor and more! Because of this community, my life is much richer. 

Steve Cuiffo

I'm an actor and magician who makes solo, as well as, collaborative works with other artists and theater companies. My work incorporates aspects of sleight of hand, misdirection, imitation and re-enactment.

As a Teaching Artist, I like to put myself in the same mindset as the students. I like to encourage curiosity by being curious myself. Similar to the creative process, when making a new piece of art, it's important to facilitate an environment where everyone can be confident and try things they've never tried before and know that it's okay when things don't necessarily go as planned. I'm very excited to start meeting students and help deepen their theatrical experiences at The New Victory!

Chelsea Harrison

The thing I love most about being a Teaching Artist is seeing my students' imaginations blossom before my eyes. Not only do I enjoy teaching my students, I also enjoy learning from them. From them, I learn the true meaning of joy. I witness robust imaginations at play and it lights me up with laughter.

Working as a Teaching Artist infuses my life with purpose and playfulness. Kids teach me every day how to be my bravest and silliest self as I explore the limitlessness of my own imagination. 

Rachel Lee 

My name is Rachel Lee and I am a musical theater practitioner and Teaching Artist.

As a California native, I grew up going to the beach, cooking with my family and doing many jazz hands in local community theater and school productions. I still try to maintain my easy-going west coast mentality here in NYC and I love exploring the calm, outdoorsy spaces the east coast has to offer, in addition to the wackiness of the city. 

My favorite thing about being a Teaching Artist is being able to provide students with their earliest—maybe even their first—experience with the arts. As an artist, my first encounter with the arts had a profound impact on my life, and being able to provide that for students in a safe, welcoming and engaging way fills my own life and practice with joy everyday!

Jose "Esteban" Rodriguez-Alverio

I'm a young actor and director from the Boogie Down (South), Bronx. I recently graduated from the CUNY City College of New York, where I earned my bachelor's degree in Theater. My proudest achievement there was directing the World of Extreme Happiness (2016), a powerful tragicomedy set in modern China. In preparation for this project, I conducted research by not only taking three different Asian Studies classes, but also traveling to China and exploring seven different cities with my Assistant Director, Johnny Wang from Shanghai, to get a more in-depth perspective of Chinese culture and history.

I'm excited to be the first alumni of the New Victory Usher Corps to join the New Victory Teaching Artists! What I love most about working at the New Vic is being able to apply my passion for the arts to bringing young people in New York City public schools to theater.

Jason Vance
Hi there, I'm Jason Vance and I'm a musician, actor and educator with years of experience working with children of all ages.  I've toured schools and libraries all around the US with my one-man band of harmonica, spoons, banjo, bass drum and tambourine.  

Here in NYC, I perform and create immersive and interactive theater with multiple companies such as Trusty Sidekick, Live In Theater and Society for Misfit Puppets, for institutions such as Lincoln Center Education and the New York Historical Society.

I teach pre-school and I'm excited to bring enthusiasm and experience in arts and education to the New Victory teaching ensemble.

Blanca VivancosBlanca Vivancos

When I was a little girl I had a clear idea of what I wanted: I wanted to perform, I wanted to write stories and I wanted to make the world a better place for everyone.

In my early career I explored different professional paths: I graduated as a lawyer, worked in advertising and travelled the world as the director of a not-for-profit organization. On the side, I never stopped writing and training as an actress. Still, I felt the balance was off.

So I went back to my childhood certainties and looked for meaningful ways to connect social justice and the arts. After engaging in different social theater projects in my home country of Spain, I moved to NYC on a Fulbright grant. Since then, I've been lucky enough to have countless opportunities to explore how I could make an impact as an artist.

Through my acting work, my training and my collaborations as a Teaching Artist, I've experienced how art can open our eyes to new realities, enabling us to become agents of change. And I've learned that for that to happen, we—artists, audiences—need to be able to establish a meaningful, personal connection with the art in front of us.

As a Teaching Artist I have the ability to help build that connection and the privilege to witness the magic of every meaningful discovery it provokes. 

Ben Weber 

I'm Ben Weber and I'm delighted to join the New Victory Theater Teaching Artist Ensemble. I'm a performer, writer, comedian and podcaster, who's been performing from a very young age, thanks to the vibrant theater community of my hometown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I'm proud to celebrate my 13th year as a New Yorker, having studied at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study and CUNY's School for Professional Studies, where I hold a Masters in Applied Theater. I've worked as a Teaching Artist at the Children's Museum of the Arts, the Creative Arts Team, the JCC of Manhattan and Urban Stages.

I love teaching artistry because of the genuine exchange of creative ideas that happens between a group of participants and because I get to embody the philosophy "Everyone Is An Artist!" Listen to the podcast Cozy Zone with Ben Weber for all of my thoughts, feelings and notions of coziness.
New Victory Thumb Don't miss out on all of the extra engagement activities we offer! Check out what we're offering this season here.
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