Watch The Magic City's trailer!
Get a sneak peek at the show.

The Magic City

Manual Cinema
from Chicago, Illinois

March 27 – April 4, 2025
Recommended Grades
Grades 1 – 4
Students: $2
Chaperones: $5
What Kind of Show?
Puppetry with live music and projections; poignant and inventive
Running Time
70 minutes with no intermission
The New Victory Theater 209 W 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036

School-time tickets may only be booked by Partner organizations.

Select a Performance


Few Seats Left


Week of July 15 – 21

Dec 31

Wed, 7pm

About the Show

Nine-year-old Philomena loves building miniature cities with her big sister, Helen. But when Helen gets engaged, what will become of their world? And who wants a weird new stepbrother? So Philomena fashions herself a new world from books, toys and found objects that come alive when she falls asleep. Will she retreat into her imagination, or can she open up to her newly blended family? Brought to adventurous life through Manual Cinema’s (Leonardo!, 2022) signature fusion of actors, puppets, live music and miniatures, The Magic City encourages us to build bridges rather than walls.

The Magic City lets everyone in.

Chicago Tribune

Things to Know

  1. Manual Cinema was last at the New Victory in 2022 with Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster.
  2. As cinematic as the world of The Magic City is, everything on stage will be performed live—including the music!
  3. The Magic City is based on Edith Nesbit’s 1910 novel of the same name.

About the Artists

A performance troupe, design studio and production company, Manual Cinema tells visually exciting stories that redefine the term “multimedia.” Vintage overhead projectors, puppets, actors and live feed cameras cross moviegoing with theatergoing, remaking the cinema experience with liveness and theatricality for the stage. Their ingenuity won them an Emmy in 2017 for The Forger, a documentary short made in collaboration with The New York Times.


Photo: Chuck Osgood
Photo: Chuck Osgood
Photo: Chuck Osgood
Photo: Chuck Osgood
Photo: Chuck Osgood

Creative Team

Drew Dir

Art Direction & Puppets
Lizi Breit and Drew Dir

Costume & Wig Designer
Mieka van der Ploeg

Lighting Designer
Claire Chrzan

Sound Designers
Ben Kauffman and Kyle Vegter

Production Stage Manager
Kate Hardiman


On the left, a paper puppet of a woman with curly brown hair holds a smaller kid with red glasses and a blue hat in her backpack, and on the right, an ASL interpreter signs against a gray background.
Watch The Magic City's ASL-interpreted trailer!
Watch Trailer

For every performance at the New Victory Theater…

  • You can request to borrow supports like fidgets, earplugs, assisted listening devices, wheelchairs and more.
  • Our quiet Cozy Zone and a live feed of the performance are available in the lower lobby at all times for those with sensory sensitivities or anyone who needs a break from the theater.
  • Wheelchair-accessible seats and Companion seat tickets are available (see more details when buying tickets).

Get additional accessibility details, and prepare for your visit with our New Victory Social Narrative.

Curriculum & Trip Planning