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For Families and Young Audiences


For more information about any of these plays, contact me here.


For more information about my frequent collaborator, Grammy-winning composer Michael Silversher (who needs to update his bio), click here!

Mr. Toad and the wheel of a car
The Wind in the Willows
Adapted from the book by Kenneth Grahame
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
Cast of 8

A new musical version of the classic story, commissioned and originally produced by South Coast Repertory.  Tired of spring cleaning his dismal little home, Mole ventures up into the Wide World, embarking on a series of adventures with his new companions--the clever Rat, wise old Badger, and especially the motorcar-crazed Mr. Toad.  From boating to caravanning to the Battle of Toad Hall, they're adventures that, in the end, still lead back to the home that is always waiting, happy to hear a song sung like willows in the wind... "The beguiling centerpiece of SCR's season of professional family theatre...The escalating zaniness of Toad's progression from motoring maniac to jailbird to repentent lord of the manor dominates--but it's also Mole's poignant recognition of the importance of home that sounds the resonant final note." (Los Angeles Times)  "A must-see 75 minute musical adaptation... Highly recommended."  (DC Theatre Scene)

Two scoundrels and a "Wanted" sign
The Emperor's New Clothes
Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen
Cast of 8

A timeless fable runs headlong into the Marx Brothers.  When two rogues--one who specializes in rapid-fire humor and one who doesn't talk at all (but has a coat full of props...)--show up in the Empire of Abalonia, the vain, clothes-loving Emperor becomes their latest mark.  But they meet their match in a girl who sees exactly what isn't there...."Adapted with a wink and a several nods to the Marx-ists, it is an immensely clever and entertaining tale...The script is freeflowing and funny; hits all the plot points of the familiar fable about vanity and greed, and does so in hyperdrive....Four stars."  (Sacramento Bee)  "A hit for all ages; kids loved the slapstick, and adults the clever wit and physical comedy.  Among the highlights of the summer at People's Light and Theatre Company."  (Philadelphia ArtBlog)

Princesses dancing at a ball
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Adapted from the Brothers Grimm
2 M, 13 F, 2 Extras

"Once upon a time, a widowed king had twelve beautiful daughters..." Who, each with their own personality, are enough of a handful during the daytime.  But at night, desperate to be free of rules and restrictions, they travel to a secret castle--where they dance the night away with enchanted princes.  And then defiantly leave a pile of worn-out shoes for the king to discover outside their room every morning. Mystified, the king issues a challenge to the men of his kingdom: find out what his daughters are up to--and whoever succeeds will have the hand of the princess of his choice.  With the help of a mysterious guide, one young man accomplishes the deed--but at what cost? A story from the past that will be recognizable to any modern teenager or exasperated parent, about the walls we build between each other and the power of love and communication to tear them down.  Originaly produced at South Coast Repertory, and widely-produced at high schools across the country.  Published by Samuel French.

Poster for "Gathering Blue"
Gathering Blue
Adapted from the book by Lois Lowry
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher and Joy Sikorski
6 M, 5 F, 2 Children

The premiere musical adaptation of the second book in Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry's "The Giver" series. Kira--a young, disabled weaver living in the Time After the Ruin--is orphaned, in a world that sacrifices its old, its weak, and its genuine artists.  But a powerful magistrate who recognizes her skill rescues her, and puts her to work applying her craft.  First to the preservation of the past--the mending of the great Robe, worn during an annual ritual telling of the world's despair--and then to a depiction of the future dictated to her by the authorities, a hopeless vision meant to control the populace through fear. With the help of a younger friend, a boy her own age, and an older teacher--and her own determination to weave the truth--Kira discovers the power of her art and craft to create a future of hope.  If only she can find the long-lost color of blue...

Scene from "Johnny Tremain"
Johnny Tremain
Adapted from the book by Esther Forbes
6 M, 3 F

The Newbery Award-winning young-adult novel of the American Revolution, newly adapted.  Severly injured in an accident, apprentice silversmith Johnny Tremain finds a new purpose in colonial Boston, joining with Paul Revere, Sam Adams, John Hancock and the Sons of Liberty in the early days of the fight for independence--and in the process, learns new lessons about love and sacrifice. Features songs from the Revolutionary period. "An outstanding new production...Manages to pack the important scenes and details from the novel into a 75-minute show, while showing that all issues are not black-and-white--or one dimensional...Most importantly, this Johnny Tremain triumphs because it connects with children without talking down to either them or adults.  Four stars."  (Sacramento Bee)

Classic commedia dell'arte masks
Face 2 Face
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

When Benno finds himself rejected by his "friends" because his face is different, he embarks on a journey to find out who he should be in order to be accepted.  A Master and Servant teach him that he needs to dislike himself--go along to get along.  An outrageous Bully tells him exactly the opposite: why be liked when you can be feared?  When he finally returns home, it’s with the knowledge that his face is part of who he is, but not all of who he is--and that friendship means appreciating similarities while respecting differences.  Inaugural production of the Sundance Children's Theatre; mutlple tours by South Coast Repertory and Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre.  "Surely no subject has struck as stinging a bullseye as Face 2 Face.  Nor done so as engagingly...The musical drama employs cartoon-silly masks and slapstick characters from classic commedia dell'arte to confront, with remarkable frankness, children's cruelty over racial differences.  The snappy script never talks down to kids, and the half-dozen songs get their bite from spiky, splendid lyrics."  (Orange County Register)  Published by Samuel French.

Scene from an Asian folktale
My Mom's Dad
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

Maddie's life has been turned upside down.  It's bad enough that her parents are forever working, never home, but now they've given her room to a hard-of-hearing, slightly daffy old man who's always there.  The fact that he's her grandfather doesn't make much difference--something her Asian-American friend James, whose grandmother is a central part of his life, can't understand.  To explain, he tells Maddie a folktale--which she finds herself part of.  And she discovers that, far from being useless, her grandfather may have brought an important piece missing from the puzzle of her life.  "Written with care, the play delivers its intended message of tolerance and understanding... The traditional Asian-style play-within-a-play, gracefully staged, invites the audience to appreciate 'the river of time' that connects us all, and the young song that can live inside an old heart."  (Los Angeles Times)  Published by Samuel French.

Scene from production of "Bad Water Blues"
Bad Water Blues
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

A fish-noir mystery!  Famed undersea detective Coral Reef has a new case to solve: something--or somebody--has been messing with the water in the ocean, wrecking the voices of the latest contestants on American Tidal.  Her scientist assistant confirms: oxygen is disappearing at a dangerous rate, due to pollution. But where is it coming from?  And who stands to gain?  The mysterious nightclub owner La Nina?  Her finned accomplice Tiburon?  What about the washed-up--and possibly jealous-- blues singer Thelonius Monkfish?  Not until she gets a cold tip from an offshore friend does Coral discover that the trail may lead to the most dangerous place of all: dry land....A colorful, pun-filled musical about ocean ecology and conservation; multiple school tours for South Coast Repertory.

Photo of Dust Bowl migrants, 1930s
The Pride of Weedpatch Camp
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

Second in the series of "California Plays".  Driven from their midwestern homes by the Dust Bowl, families fled to California, often finding themselves in labor camps.  In one of these, the Weedpatch Camp, young Deenie and her friend Will find themselves not just displaced but ostracized and denied an education.  Until the local school superintendent--real-life educator Leo Hart--enlists them in a remarkable plan: they will build their own school.  In the process they not only regain their pride, but lay the groundwork for a brighter future.  Based on the actual story of the Weedpatch School in Kern County, California.  Also produced by the William Inge Center for the Arts in Kansas, in conjunction with the Lincoln Center Rural Arts in Education program.

Wall plug overloaded with cords
Power Play
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
3 M, 1 F

Alex never met an electrical device he didn’t like—or run at maximum power.  Until the day he blows all the circuits, and finds himself in what may (or may not) be a dream, following a familiar white-haired scientist through a rabbit-hole of a wall-socket.  His encounters with a pair of madcap ions, some befuddled inventors from history (including Benjamin Franklin), and a mad tea party of alternative-fuels power salesmen, offer a lesson in how electricity works, the challenges of power generation and consumption, and how we can all help to keep the lights on.  A South Coast Repertory school tour.

Mesa in the Grand Canyon
Birds of a Feather
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

Coyote, the mythical Trickster and Predator of the Southwest, is on the move again--and this time he's stumbled onto a flock of young birds who haven't yet learned Fear.  If he can get them grounded on their mesa, in their fear and distrust of each other, it's the meal of a lifetime. Until the youngest bird, recognizing what's happening, finds a way for the flock to reclaim their community, and their wings, and send Coyote on his way.  A touring production of South Coast Repertory and the Sundance Children's Theatre.  "Seeks to inspire unity by celebrating similarities, not differences....Deftly uses comedy and elements from Hopi and Navajo mythology to tell the story, with fine-tuned music and lyrics by veteran songwriter-composer Silversher.  An engaging theatre piece."  (Los Angeles Times)

Scene from production of "Indian Summer"
Indian Summer
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
3 M, 1 F

First in the series of "California Plays", touring musicals commissioned and produced by South Coast Repertory.  Based on the true story of Thomas Jefferson Mayfield, son of a pioneer cattle driver, who left him in the care of the Choinumne tribe in California's one summer in the 1850s.  Over the course of the summer Jeff befriends a young native boy, Koo-nance--who, along with his mother, teaches Jeff a new understanding of native culture, and a deeper appreciation for the natural world that American civilzation has begun to change, possibly forever. "A lively four-person exercise in making the past come alive for youngsters...As educational as it is entertaining, 'Indian Summer' offers authentic insight into California's history a century and a half ago."  (Los Angeles Times)

Painting of people panning for gold in a river
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
4 M, 1 F

Third in the series of "California Plays."  The true story of the California Gold Rush--at least as told by young Martin Wimmer, who was there for the whole thing.  From the discovery of the first nugget, through encounters with everyone from gold-crazed prospectors to the inventor of Levi's to one of the great Mexican Californians about to be displaced, this (somewhat tall) tale proves that one of history's great adventures was really all thanks to a boy who was in the right place at the right time...

Polar bear in flower-print shirt holding a power cord
You're Getting Warmer
Music and Lyrics by Michael Silversher
2 M, 2 F

Alex is back--and wiith a guaranteed supply of electricity, everything is humming along just fine. Sure, the polar bear in the basement keeps turning up the air conditioning and ordering deliveries of ice, because even though it’s the middle of winter there’s been almost no rain, the trees don’t know what season it is, the flowers don’t know whether to bloom, and--wait a minute.  What’s a polar bear doing in the basement?  Maybe it has something to do with climate change....Alex would like the bear to go home. The bear would like to go home.  Finding a way to make it happen means finding out why the North Pole isn’t what it used to be--and what Alex can do to help make things cool for his friend, and for himself...

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