Off-Broadway's New Victory Theatre continues its youth-oriented 1998 99 season with the fantastical puppet-piece, The Star Keeper, by Quebec's Le Theatre de l'‘il, April 16-25.
Without words, Keeper tells the story of a worm named Pretzel and his fallen star as they travel from the depths of the ocean to the heavens above on a quest to return his celestial charge home. Spiders, mermaids, worms and centaurs are featured in this whimsical tale.
Founded by Andre Laliberte in 1973, Le Theatre de l'‘il is one Canada's top puppet theater companies. They have produced more than 19 original productions and won numerous awards, including a "Citation of Excellence in the Art of Puppetry" from the American Center of the Union Internationale de la Marionette.
Previous to Star Keeper, the New Victory presented, in co-operation with NJ's Crossroads Theatre Company, the Broadway-bound It Ain't Nothin' But the Blues. After strong reviews, the producers of Blues surprised the theatre community by announcing a Broadway transfer to the vacant Helen Hayes Theatre.
Following Keeper and rounding out the New Victory season is the virtuosity of The New Shanghai Circus, April 29-May 23, 1999. With more than 2,500 years of circus tradition behind them, these incredible acrobats, contortionists and jugglers will certainly end the New Victory season with a bang. A Broadway theatre from 42nd Street's golden age, the New Victory Theatre (formerly the Victory Theatre) reopened Dec. 11, 1996 as an Off Broadway venue. The 500 seat New Victory (209 West 42nd Street) presents theatre and films geared specifically for children. An organization called The New 42nd Street operates the theatre, working 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 theater to reopen its doors under the multi-million dollar rehabilitation of 42nd Street, which also includes the recently-built Ford Center (Ragtime) and 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 theater empire (with The Lion King).
For tickets and information on New Victory shows, call (212) 382-4020 (memberships) or (212) 239-6200 (individual tickets).
-- By Sean McGrath