Never Saw Another Butterfly
Based on the play by Celeste Raspanti.
Book and lyrics by Joseph Robinette.
Music by E.A. Alexander.
Dramatic Publishing I03
|Cast: 8m., 5w., 8 children. With doubling, 3m., 4w., 4 children. This new musical version of Celeste Raspanti's widely produced play brings an added dimension to the story of the children of Terezin, a ghetto under Nazi rule during World War II. Though few of the children survived, their lives were given meaning and hope through the tireless efforts of an inspirational teacher, Irena, who challenged their creativity and artistry in a makeshift classroom using scavenged materials which she kept hidden from the authorities. More than 5,000 drawings, poems and prose pieces were produced by the children in the concentration camp during its three- year existence, thus providing a legacy that continues to be honored and celebrated today. As narrated by one of the survivors - and close friend of Irena - Raja takes the audience on a never-to-be-forgotten adventure that moves seamlessly back-and-forth between past and present. The musical is rich in its variety of songs including "Terezin," "We'll Stick Together," "When I Go Home," "You Don't Know the First Thing About Anything," and "I Loved You Before I Met You." The final words of the song "I Leave You These" best summarize the theme of the musical. As Irena is leaving Terezin to meet her fate, she secretly passes the writings and drawings to Raja and sings: "These poems and pictures will live on after us all/And on the memory of the children who made them/Night shall never fall." Area staging. Promotional CD available. Approximate running time: 90 minutes.|
Composer E.A. Alexander has created numerous works for music theater. The list includes Another Kind of Hero—about Raoul Wallenberg, which played at Phildelphia's Walnut Street Theatre and the Leah Posluns Theatre in Toronto; and Anne Frank: A Voice Heard, which toured nationally and was commissioned by American Theatre Arts for Youth. Alexander's musicals for young audiences include Mumbo Jumbo, which premiered at Pulse Ensemble Theatre in New York; Whalesong, for the New Jersey State Aquarium; Stakin' My Claim, presented by Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park; and many other productions including The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Valentine, The Snow Queen and Alef Bet Bop. As composer-in-residence at Hedgerow Theatre, Media, Pa., she composed the music for The Scarlet Pimpernel, which played to sold-out audiences. In addition to awards for her songwriting, Alexander has received fellowships from the PA Council on the Arts and a "Best of Philadelphia" from Philadelphia magazine. She has been a participant of the BMI and ASCAP musical theater workshops and currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband, artist Burnell Yow!, and their six cats including Nora—the world-famous piano-playing cat featured on YouTube.
Celeste Raspanti comes to the theatre with experience in producing, directing, performing and teaching. Her published and produced plays include full-length and short plays, the book and lyrics for an operetta, children's plays, religious drama and chamber theatre scripts. She also publishes articles in academic and professional journals. Her special dramatic and historical interest is the Holocaust. She brought the Holocaust to the stage with I Never Saw Another Butterfly, No Fading Star and The Terezin Promise, enriching these dramas with her firsthand information of the camps from visits, oral histories and her friendship with survivors. A retired university professor, Raspanti lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she continues to write and publish.
Joseph Robinette is the author of 51 published plays and musicals, including The Fabulous Fable Factory, written with composer Thomas Tierney, and Charlotte's Web, adapted from the novel by E.B. White, two of the most widely produced children's plays in the United States. He has also dramatized the authorized stage versions of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Paper Chase, and A Rose for Emily. The recipient of numerous playwriting awards, Robinette was presented the 1976 Charlotte Chorpenning Cup, given annually by the Children's Theatre Association of America to "an outstanding writer of children's plays who has achieved national recognition." In 2002, as professor of theatre at Rowan University, he received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award for Demonstrated Excellence in the University Classroom. In 2004, he received the American Association for Theatre and Eductation's best play award for his adaptation of Sarah, Plain and Tall, and in 2006, he was awarded the Children's Theatre Foundation of America Medallion "...for his body of dramatic works for children and young people in the United States and beyond." He currently resides in New Jersey.
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