Second Generation Theatre (SGT) and Theatre of Youth (TOY) have created an interactive digital theatrical experience (parental participation required) for young patrons ages 5 to 12. ONCE UPON A TIME was written by Philip Farugia, Kelly Copps, and Amy Jakiel with some new angles on familiar fairy tale characters. The 40-minute original musical will be streamed via ZOOM February 13 to 21 from the TOY stage. As writer / Zoom stage manager Amy Jakiel explains, young viewers will learn about inner strength and becoming the heroes of their own stories during this upbeat, high energy, show.
For a video trailer, click here. The original script is by Kelly Copps (co-founder along with Kristin Bentley and Arin Lee Dandes of Second Generation Theatre) who is Jakiel's sister. The music is by Jakiel's husband, Phil Farugia, and Copps and Jakiel co-wrote the lyrics. It's convenient, to say the least, when your co-creators are in your "pod."
The musical stars Leah Berst, Alexandria Watts, Bethany Burrows, Dan Torres, and Brittany Basset. While all five may be on the Zoom screen at any one time Jakiel promises that there won't be a confusing array of five talking boxes. "Zoom fatigue is real" she says and as Zoom stage manager (now that's a job description you wouldn't have seen before Covid) she is planning on keeping things on-screen simple and kid friendly. "Stage managing for Zoom in the time of Covid is completely different from any on or off stage experience I've ever had."
The actual production will take place on the stage of Theatre of Youth which, like all theaters, is currently closed to the public, and Jakiel and company are very grateful to TOY Managing Director Tracy Snyder. Tickets may be purchased through the SGT or the TOY website.
*ONCE UPON A TIME requires parental participation! Parents/guardians are asked to help set up the magic and will receive an email with information on setting up some magical items before the show for your child to discover during the performance. PLEASE NOTE: If you would like these items provided, ticket Add-On VIP MAGIC Boxes are only available for local Buffalo NY pick-up at the Theatre of Youth (203 Allen Street near Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo) by appointment. The Magic Boxes will contain at least one item that can't be duplicated at home, and that's a coloring book with art that depicts the actual actors that children will see: Leah Berst, Alexandria Watts, Bethany Burrows, Dan Torres, and Brittany Basset.
Comedienne Amy Jakiel has quite a range, but Anthony and Peter have been particularly charmed by her improv as co-host (along with Charmagne Chi and Anthony) of the Annual Artie Awards as well as a stunning entrance as Kate Monster / Lucy the Slut in AVENUE Q. As Jakiel told Theater Talk, she loves taking artistic chances.