New York, NY (April 14 , 2016) – In a stunning display of enchanting artistry and masterful storytelling, Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company (Sleeping Beauty, New Vic 2013) tells the cautionary tale of a town overrun by greed, corruption and rats in the U.S. Premiere of The Pied Piper from May 6 – 15, 2016. This gorgeous production will take the New Victory stage by storm when one of Italy’s oldest and most respected marionette companies recounts the mythical legend of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” employing intricate, traditional marionette puppetry, music and lyric opera.
The story of the mysterious town of Hamelin, first recorded around 1300 AD, has been the subject of poems, books, films, short stories, animated featurettes and, now, classical marionette theater. Each scene of this magnificent production is brought to life by 11 expert puppeteers who skillfully and gracefully manipulate 410 handcrafted marionettes—including 300 ravenous rats—each with their own handcrafted collection of marionette couture. The ornate scenery and intricate puppet design are also conceptualized and made entirely by hand in the Collas’ workshop in Milan, utilizing the same 18th-century techniques used by the company’s founders. “When we make new material, we do it following the tradition so that we can use old marionettes and new marionettes, old scenery and new scenery, all in the same production. They appear the same because they are realized in the same way,” says the company’s general manager Piero Corbella.
Over the past 300 years, the Colla studio has built a collection of more than 3,000 marionettes. They all begin as blocks of wood that are carved into figures roughly two and a half feet tall, given delicate facial features, realistic eyes, wigs and costumes. The process of creating each marionette, a skill that has been passed down through many generations, takes roughly one week and is the handiwork of many people, all of whom also work in Colla productions as puppeteers. Eugenio Monti Colla, Artistic Director and the last puppeteer to have performed at Milan’s Theatre Gerolamo, the company’s first permanent residence, says, “Since the beginning, we have taken pride in the work and individual time we give to each of our marionettes and the development of each of our shows. I learned the art of the marionette, both creation and puppeteering, from my mother, who learned from her father, who learned from his father, and I am happy to keep this rich Italian heritage alive.”
Today, Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company is one of the most recognized and celebrated puppet theaters in the world, performing nationally and internationally for audiences of all ages. Based in Milan, the company has toured five continents since 1980, participating in prestigious arts festivals in Edinburgh, Paris, Berlin, Sydney, Melbourne, Charleston and Mexico City, among others. In 1984, the new generation of puppeteers formed the Associazione Grupporiani under the artistic direction of Eugenio Monti Colla. Since 2000, the company has collaborated with the Piccolo Teatro of Milan-Teatro d’Europa, and presents in Milan at the Piccolo Teatro and at the Atelier Carlo Colla e Figli. In 2007, the company received accolades in the U.S. for their co-production of Macbeth with the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, later presented at The New Victory.
The puppeteers behind the magic of The Pied Piper are Eugenio Monti Colla, Elisabetta Cecconato, Franco Citterio, Maria Grazia Citterio, Piero Corbella, Camillo Cosulich, Debora Coviello, Cecilia Di Marco, Tiziano Marcolegio, Giovanni Schiavolin and Paolo Sette. Eugenio Monti Colla is the writer, costume designer and director; Enzo Oddone is the lyricist and composer; Cecilia Di Marco, Debora Coviello, Mariapia Lanino and Sheila Perego are assistant costume designers; Franco Citterio is the scene designer, sculptor and lighting designer; Tiziano Marcolegio is the technical director; Maria Grazia Citterio is the wig designer; and Giovanni Schiavolin, Camillo Cosulich and Paolo Sette are toolmakers. For the recording of the English text, Nadia Boaretto is the translator, Laura Pasetti is the vocal director and Carlotta La Floresta is the assistant vocal director, with voices performed by Michael Cooke, Daniel Hird, Matthew O’hara, Laura Pasetti, Paul Ross, Riley Stewart and Clare Waugh.
Learn more about The Pied Piper on the New Victory website.
Public Performance Schedule: 9 PERFORMANCES
Friday, May 6 at 7pm
Saturday, May 7 at 2pm & 7pm
Sunday, May 8 at 12pm & 5pm
Saturday, May 14 at 2pm & 7pm
Sunday, May 15 at 12pm & 5pm
The Pied Piper has a running time of 90 minutes including one intermission and is recommended for everyone ages 7 and up.
The Pied Piper is supported, in part, by a Presenter’s Grant from The Jim Henson Foundation, and by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tickets for The Pied Piper at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street) are $10, $13, $18 or $25 for Members based on seat locations, with full price tickets starting at $15. Tickets are available online (NewVictory.org) and by telephone (646.223.3010). The New Victory Theater box office (209 West 42nd Street) will be open Sunday and Monday from 11am-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm.
Theatergoers who buy tickets for three or more New Victory shows qualify for free Membership benefits, including locked-in discount ticket prices, free unlimited exchanges (up to 48 hours in advance) and access to a first-look purchase period for newly added performances.
About Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company
The Colla family tradition began when Giovanbattista Colla, a wealthy businessman in late 18th-century Milan, turned a room of his own home into a private puppet theater. The company’s first documented public performances date back to 1835. Upon Giovanbattista’s death in 1861, his three sons divided up the marionettes, props, sets and scripts, and founded three separate companies. Carlo, the eldest, founded the Carlo Colla & Sons Marionette Company after the birth of his sons, Rosina, Carlo II, Giovanni and Michele. The company thrived throughout the 1800s, touring great classics of European opera and drama. In 1911, the company took up permanent residence at Milan’s Theatre Gerolamo, which had reduced dimensions specifically designed for marionettes, so that the audiences had a close view of the artistry of the puppets, their costumes and scenery. Today the company is one of the most recognized puppet theaters in the world, performing in venues of all shapes and sizes.
About The New Victory Theater
This year, The New Victory celebrates its 20th Anniversary season of bringing kids to the arts and the arts to kids as New York City’s premier theater devoted to the highest quality performing arts for kids and families. Serving the community in all its diversity, The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street presents theater, dance, circus, opera and music from around the world at affordable ticket prices. In addition to its public performances, the New Vic is also the largest provider of live performance to NYC school kids, serving 40,000 youth through more than 200 schools, after school programs and day camps each year. The New Victory has been recognized for its contributions to the cultural landscape of the city. Awards include a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award presented by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities for the New Victory Usher Corps, which provides paid employment to approximately 50 NYC teens each year, the national Arts Education Award from Americans for the Arts and a Special Award from The Drama Desk for “providing enchanting, sophisticated children’s theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people.”
About The New 42nd Street
Founded in 1990, The New 42nd Street is an independent nonprofit organization charged with the continuous cultural revival of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Committed to the transformational power of the arts, The New 42nd Street builds on the foundation of seven historic theaters to make extraordinary performing arts and cultural engagement part of everyone’s life. The New 42nd Street fulfills this purpose by ensuring the ongoing vibrancy of 42nd Street’s historic theaters; maintaining and fully using the New 42nd Street Studios and The Duke on 42nd Street to support performing artists in the creation of their work; and through The New Victory Theater, New York’s premier theater for kids and families.
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