"Tony [Kushner] and I have been engaged in an ongoing conversation about the best way to present Brundibar to today's audiences," explained Taccone in a released statement. "We felt that Comedy on the Bridge was the perfect opener for the adult subscribers at my theatre in Berkeley and at our co-producer's venue in New Haven, but the piece was too mature for The New Vic's audience. So, as we present Brundibar in New York, we're pleased to begin with But the Giraffe, a curtain raiser written specifically for kids and families.”
Euan Morton (Boy George in the musical Taboo) stars in Brundibar as the titular sinister organ-grinder opposite youngsters Aaron Simon Gross (A Stoop on Orchard Street) and Devynn Pedell (The People Garden) as Pepicek and Aninku, respectively, the brother and sister who try singing in town to help their ailing mother. Geoff Hoyle (The Lion King, Mr. Fox) also appears as The Baker and The Dog.
Eleven-year-old Danielle Freid will lead the cast of But the Giraffe, which also features William Youmans (Doctor Dillamond in Broadway's Wicked), Anjali Bhimani (Bombay Dreams, Metamorphoses), Henry DiGiovanni (17 Reasons Why, Dreamlandia), Matt Farnsworth (Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Who's Tommy), Angelina Reáux (Wall to Wall Sondheim) and Martin Vidnovic (Brigadoon, Here Lies Jenny).
A chorus of young performers from the Rosie O'Donnell-created arts education organization, Rosie's Broadway Kids, will make their professional stage debuts. The youth ensemble will feature Kelly Chan, Kellian Delice, Maurice Hilton Dawkins, Mary Dunkley, Damon Evans, Daniel Estrella, Ajee Haynes, Susan Jaquez, Ashalay Kelly, Christina Lai, Taisha Lavarello, Christopher Marte, Cindy Martinez, Jack Mennell, Mathew Ortiz, Milagros Pena, Doug Rosario, Kirra Silver, Ebony Soler, Maci Star, Anitra Williams, Tasica Williams and Nicole Wong. But the Giraffe... is based on the real-life event of Brundibar conductor Rudolph Freudenfeld, who smuggled the score into the Terezin concentration camp where the children performed the work in protest against the Nazis. "It's about a little girl who has to make a difficult decision," reads a show description.
Kushner and Maurice Sendak ("Where the Wild Things Are") — who created the namesake 2003 children's picture book — reteam on the one-act opera take on Brundibar which features a libretto by Kushner adapted from Adolf Hoffmeister and Vaclava Klimenta Klicpery, music by Hans Krasa and Bohuslav Martinu with production design by Sendak ("Where the Wild Things Are").
The design team assembled to create the magical, storybook universe also includes Kris Stone (scenic), Robin I. Shane (costume), Don Holder (lighting), Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen (sound). Kimi Okada handles movement. Greg Anthony serves as musical director and conductor.
Tickets are available for Brundibar and But the Giraffe, a Curtain Raiser to Hans Krása’s Brundibar at the New Victory Theater, 209 West 42nd Street by calling (212) 239-6200 or at the box office. Visit www.newvictory.org for more information.