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PrimaryStages Presents: Children’s Theater Festival of Berks County

by Yocum Institute for Arts Education

Feb 09, 2022

The Yocum Institute for Arts Education has served Berks County for nearly a century, pivoting programming to meet the needs of our community. The impact of Covid-19 was met with another pivot. The Yocum Institute, took on additional expenses to mitigate risk, keep teaching artists and performers employed while providing unique arts opportunities for small groups as well as performances (live and streaming.) Live Theater’s ability to foster connectivity between the performers, the audience and the community cannot be understated. The Theater Festival is a celebration of the return to theater! Join us this weekend as we bring to our community a celebration of stories of Friendship, Laughter, Dance and Music with 3 days packed with inspiring live performances and events!!

The Children’s Theater Festival of Berks County is supported The Wyomissing Foundation, Berks County Community Foundation, Fulton Bank, The Stabler Foundation, Arethusa Designs, Reading Musical Foundation (RMF), The Yocum Family Charitable Trust and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

All events will be held at the Yocum Institute for Arts Education at 3000 Penn Avenue, West Lawn, PA. For tickets prices and show details visit YocumInstitute.org or stop by our front desk.

Detail about each individual event:

Elephant and Piggie’s, We Are In a Play!

February 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM
February 11, 2022 at 7:00 PM – PJ Party Night
February 12, 2022 at 11:00 AM – with Post show Piggie Dance Party
February 13, 2021 1:00 PM – *SENSORY FRIENDLY PERFORMANCE

Get ready for a musical experience, ripped from the pages of Mo Willems’ beloved, award-winning, best-selling children’s books, that will leave audiences doing the “Flippy Floppy Floory” dance all night long! In Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are in a Play!”, Gerald and Piggie take to the stage in a rollicking adventure that is perfect for young audiences.

When “bestus” friends Elephant and Piggie get together, anything is possible. They might get invited to a fancy costume party, learn a crazy new dance, or decide to spend the day playing ping-pong in silly hats. Well, they do all that and more in this lively and irresistibly charming musical featuring Elephant Gerald and Piggie, who are joined by their delightfully nutty back-up singers, the Squirrelles, as they discover the fun of being in a play – all the while encouraging the audience to join in for some interactive fun. Bring your bestie and share in the laughter and how good it feels to put friends first.

Using catchy, jazz- and Broadway-inspired melodies to bring the story to life on stage, author Mo Willems transports his simple – yet endearingly fanciful – look at friendship into a musical message that resonates with every age in the family. It’s the same message about the endurance of friendship that has propelled the Elephant and Piggie books to become one of the best-selling and most beloved young reader series of the past decade. The 25-book series, which debuted in 2007, has twice been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal and had two titles appear on TIME magazine’s Top 10 Children’s Books of the Year.

The author of numerous popular children’s books such as Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, and Cat the Cat, Mo Willems has received many of the highest honors for literature, including the Caldecott Medal, the Carnegie Medal, and the Irma Black Award Honor. He served for nine years as an animator for Sesame Street before creating several animated series for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network. Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” marks Willems’ second stage adaptation with composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, who also worked on Willems’ musical adaptation of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical.

Cast:
The cast of Elephant & Piggie’s “We are in a Play!” features Eli LaCroix as Elephant Gerald and Mind Pornsakulpaisal as Piggie, with Jaida Garber, Joanna Ferbrache, Elizabeth Robinson as the Squirelles. Special Guests as “Dog” and “Ice Cream Penguin”

*What is “sensory friendly?” It is a relaxed performance atmosphere with quiet areas to leave the theater, house lights on through show, lowered volume of overall performance, vocal “warnings” by cast before confetti cannons and flashing lights.

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Improv Night: Laughter Guaranteed:
February 11, 2022 at 8:30 PM

Featuring members of the Talent Scholarship Teen Theater Ensemble, selections from the Berks 24 hour Play Festival and other Special Guests for an evening of laughter and spontaneity.

Tickets: Pay What You Will, suggested $10

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Barrio Alegría Presents: … But We’re Still Here!
February 12, 2022 at 4:00 PM

Storytelling through dance. This community engagement project takes the shape of a movement theater performance. Using the framework of classic fairytales, presenters integrate social justice issues to start and continue conversations in our community. The project builds a space for community members to gain leadership skills, explore selflimiting beliefs, occupy spaces they do not naturally see themselves in, and build a better world.

…But We’re Still Here! brings the Three Little Pigs into a new world where they need to help a family dealing with work trouble, relationship problems, and community resiliency. After the Three Little Pigs lose their homes and are forced to do community service, they head over to help Candela and Adela. But will they arrive in time to help? Through love and humor, anything is possible!

Tickets: Pay What You Will, suggested $10

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Something Beautiful, Cabaret with Corinna Sowers Adler
February 12, 2022 at 8:00 PM
February 13, 2022 at 3:00 PM

Considered, “One of the most gorgeous voices in New York,” Corinna Sowers Adler, returns to Berks County with Something Beautiful, which debuted at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Appel Room. Filled with magical songs, this splendid event incorporates both well-known and lesser-known songs spanning genres from country to pop to Broadway. Corinna Sowers Adler will mesmerize and delight while packing an emotional punch with the songs of Something Beautiful.

Corinna, a Tony Award nominee for Excellence in Theatre Education, includes a chorus of Teen singers in Something Beautiful. Local young adults from across Berks County will join the artist onstage to share their voices to uplift and remind and encourage us all to bring and to be “something beautiful” in this world. Joining Corinna on stage are local youth singers Maggie Angstadt, Hailey Firek, Oliver Houck, Katie Kreska, Jacinda Motley, Kailey Reinboth and Maggie Smedley.

Accompanied by Stephen Murphy on piano, Wilhelmus Sapanaro on bass and Michael Advensky on drums. Sowers-Adler delivers a musical journey. Something Beautiful will touch your heart, uplift your soul and make you want to dance. “Look for future performance dates by her to be announced, and if those dates include Something Beautiful, run, don’t walk to see it. It will touch your heart, uplift your soul and make you want to dance.” – The Huffington Post

Tickets: $20 adults, $15 students

Corinna Practicing with the Youth Singers

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Garba-Raas Folk Dance & Art Workshop
February 12, 2022 at 1:00 PM

Participants will have the opportunity to paint and decorate their sticks that they will use in the Garba-Raas. Garba is a dance based on circular pattern with hand movements. Raas is a line dance with sticks. Garba-Raas is a folk dance from India’s state of Gujarat that is popularly performed during the Hindu holiday of Navratri and other special occasion such as weddings.

Tickets: Pay What You Will, suggested $10

Event Schedule:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11
7:00 PM: Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play!
PJ Party Night!
8:30 PM: Improv Night, Laughter Guaranteed
Featuring selections from the 24 hour Play Festival

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12
11:00 AM Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play!
Post show Dance Party!
1:00 PM Garba-Raas Folk Dance & Art Workshop
4:00 PM Barrio Alegría Presents:… But We’re Still Here!
Storytelling Through Dance
8:00 PM Something Beautiful, Cabaret with Corinna Sowers Adler
Featuring Area High School Performers

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13
11:00 AM Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play!
1:00 PM Elephant & Piggie’s We are in a Play!
Sensory Friendly Performance
3:00 PM Something Beautiful, Cabaret with Corinna Sowers Adler

Tickets: Tickets are on sale now, prices vary. Tickets can be purchased online at YocumInstitute.org, stop by the Yocum Institute front desk at 3000 Penn Ave, West Lawn or call 610.376.1576.

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