The New Victory Theater presents
Tall Stories’ “The Gruffalo”
Based On the Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
A New Staging of an Old Favorite Hits New Victory Stage October 17 – 25, 2015
New York, NY (September 23, 2015) – A tiny mouse and a giant Gruffalo with “knobbly knees, and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose” will take New York by storm when London’s Tall Stories (The Snail and the Whale, New Vic 2014) brings its adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s beloved award-winning picture book The Gruffalo out of the deep dark wood and into the big city. Created for ages four through seven, The Gruffalo runs at The New Victory Theater, New York City’s premier performing arts venue for kids and families, from October 17-25, 2015.
The Gruffalo follows a tiny brown mouse with a huge appetite for hazelnuts and intrigue, who enters the deep dark wood to find something delicious to eat. Equipped with a map and a flair for the dramatic, she meets a slick fox, a militant owl and a maraca-shaking snake, all of whom want nothing more than to make her their next meal. To escape the clutches of these forest foes, the small mouse invents a tall tale about her ferocious new friend and protector: the Gruffalo! Combining original music, slapstick comedy and storytelling, Tall Stories’ adaptation of the celebrated book is sure to captivate young audiences.
Since its 2001 premiere, Tall Stories’ stage adaptation of The Gruffalo has been performed in three different languages and has toured around the world, including runs in London’s West End and at the Sydney Opera House. The production was also filmed for DVD release by Really Useful Films. This production, featuring reimagined sets and inventive new costumes, is Tall Stories’ fourth visit to The New Victory Theater, having previously toured their productions of The Snail and the Whale (2014), The Gruffalo (2004) and Snow White (2003) to the New Vic stage.
According to children’s book author Julia Donaldson, the unlikely inspiration forThe Gruffalo lies in an ancient Chinese folktale about a clever girl who tricks a hungry tiger into believing she is the queen of the jungle. Alas, the popular children’s book scribe found that rhyming the word “tiger” proved to be a challenge. She recalls, “I thought up the lines ‘Silly old Fox, doesn’t he know/There’s no such thing as a….’ and somehow the word ‘gruffalo’ came to mind to fill the gap!” Thus, after a bit of wordplay, the fierce Gruffalo was bornand has since become a beloved character in children’s literature.
Created by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo is considered by many to be a modern classic. Since it was first published in 1999, the award-winning picture book has sold over 13 million copies in 58 editions worldwide, earning the 2014 Bookseller Special Award, the 1999 Nestle Smarties Prize and the 2000 Blue Peter Award for The Best Book to Read Aloud. The Academy Award-nominated animated film adaptation of the story features the voices of Helena Bonham Carter, Rob Brydon, Robbie Coltrane, James Corden, John Hurt and Tom Wilkinson.
The Gruffalo stars Ellie Bell as Mouse, Timothy Richey as The Predators, and Owen Guerin as the Gruffalo. The show’s creative team includes Olivia Jacobs, director; Toby Mitchell, creative producer; Isla Shaw, set designer; James Whiteside, lighting designer; Jon Fiber, Robin Price, Olivia Jacobs and Andy Shaw, music and lyrics; and Benjamin Luke, company stage manager.
Watch the trailer for Tall Stories’ The Gruffalo on the New Victory Theater’s Website
Public Performance Schedule: 10 performances
Saturday October 17 11am, 3pm
Sunday October 18 11am, 3pm (autism-friendly)
Saturday October 24 11am, 3pm
Sunday October 25 11am, 3pm
The Gruffalo has a running time of 55 minutes without intermission and is recommended for everyone ages 4 through 7.
General Ticket Information
Tickets for The Gruffalo at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street)are $17 for Members and $25 for full price tickets. Theatergoers who buy tickets to three or more New Victory shows qualify for free Membership, with benefits including up to 35-percent savings on tickets all season long, invitations to special events and unlimited free ticket exchanges. Purchase tickets online or by phone at 646-223-3010. The New Victory box office (209 West 42nd Street) is open Sunday and Monday from 11am-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm. For more information, visit the New Victorywebsite.
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 Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Julia Donaldson, the award-winning children’s author, and Axel Scheffler, the celebrated illustrator, first collaborated in 1993 when Julia’s song “A Squash and a Squeeze” was transformed into a book. Since then, the duo has collaborated on over 20 books, amongst which emerged The Snail and the Whale (New Vic, 2014) and The Gruffalo (New Vic, 2004) and The Gruffalo’s Child, which became a bestseller and won Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2005. Julia began her career in singing/songwriting and wrote many songs for children’s television; since then, she has had 20 plays published and has written 165 books. From 2011-2013, Julia was a Waterstones Children’s Laureate, a role that enabled her to advance child literacy, support libraries, promote more stories for and about deaf children and initiate projects linking music with storytelling. Axel has achieved worldwide acclaim for his humorous illustrations, and his books have been translated into over 29 languages. In 2006, he was called upon to design the then UK Chancellor Gordon Brown’s annual Christmas card.
About Tall Stories
Tall Stories is a not-for-profit theater company that is dedicated to bringing great stories to life on stage for audiences of all ages. Since 1997, when Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell founded the company, Tall Stories has toured the UK and the world – as far afield as Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Dubai, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Poland, Singapore and the U.S. Tall Stories’The Gruffalo has been released on DVD by the Really Useful Group and a picture book has been published based on the Tall Stories show The Snow Dragon.
About The New Victory Theater
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 over 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.”
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