A Broadway theatre from 42nd Street's golden age, the New Victory Theatre (formerly the Victory Theatre) reopened as an Off-Broadway house Dec. 11, 1996. The 500-seat New Victory at 209 W. 42nd St. presents theatre and films geared specifically for children.
Up next, March 7-15, is Fred Garbo Inflatable Theatre Company offer Air Time, which delivers just what it promises: an array of blow-up shapes the performers can bounce, juggle and cavort with. Fred Garbo, a "pneumatic wizard," and Brazillian ballerina Daielma Santos star. Among the characters are Puff the Air-Dale and Fred Zeplin, the Inflatable Man.
Garbo appeared in the Broadway musical Barnum and has worked the insides of Barkley the Dog on TV's "Sesame Street."
Also on the New Victory schedule:
March 27-April 5, 1998: The Number 14, a co-production by the Axis Theatre Company and Touchstone Theatre Company, tells the farcical story of folks on a city bus. Six actors play over 60 characters, utilizing masks, puppets and commedia dell'arte techniques.
April 15-26, 1998: The Great Gilly Hopkins. Making its New York debut, Stage One: Professional Theatre For Young Audiences (of Louisville, KY) offers this musical about a brash foster child determined to live with her "real" family. Along with Steve Liebman, David Paterson has adapted the novel by his mother, Katherine Paterson, for the production. May 1-3, 1998: Peter Pucci Plus Dancers
May 8-17, 1998: Nicky, Somewhere Else comes from Speeltheater Holland, which mixes puppetry and realistic narrative. Nicky tells of a young boy learning that he has a twin brother "somewhere else" and setting off to find the missing sibling.
May 29-June 14, 1998: The Wind In The Willows. From Syracuse Stage comes this musical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's tale of Toad, Mole, Rat and Badger.
A return of Mabou Mines' Peter And Wendy is also anticipated for this season.
An organization called The New 42nd Street operates the theatre, and worked with Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Bill Irwin, Theatreworks/USA, Warrington Hudlin of the Black Filmmaker Foundation and others to schedule its first season.
The New Victory was the first theatre to reopen its doors under the multi-million dollar rehabilitation of 42nd Street, which also includes the renovation and 1997 reopening of Ziegfeld's old New Amsterdam Theatre (just across the street from the New Victory) as the throne of Disney's new theatre empire.
For tickets and information on New Victory shows, call (212) 382-4020 (memberships) or (212) 239-6200 (individual tickets).
-- By David Lefkowitz