Pushcart Players

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Pushcart Players

An orchestra for youths

Pushcart Players reinvent 'Peter and the Wolf' for Strings

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Past Event

Peter and the Wolf Family Concert

  • Tuesday, July 8, 2008, 5:30 p.m.
  • Strings Music Festival, 900 Strings Road, (Corner of Mt. Werner Rd & Pine Grove Rd), Steamboat Springs
  • All ages / $1 - $10

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— In the 70-plus years since Sergey Prokofiev wrote "Peter and the Wolf" for his children, the fairy tale introduction to the classical orchestra has been re-imagined by some of the biggest names in entertainment: Leonard Bernstein, Sting, Jimmy Smith, Rob Reiner, Jack Lemmon and David Bowie all have played a part in its narration and performance.

On Tuesday, New Jersey children's entertainers Pushcart Players will take on the classic work in the troupe's first appearance in the Strings Music Festival Youth and Family Performances series.

Originally scored for orchestra and a narrator, Pushcart's production gives lines to characters that usually are voiced through the flute, oboe, strings, bassoons, horns and clarinets. Ruth Fost, executive and artistic director for Pushcart Players, said the only challenge in her adaptation was "imagining what each character would say and how he or she would say it."

Fost said she was drawn to adapting "Peter" as a play set to Prokofiev's score, along with some original backing music, for the number of levels on which it can work.

"The sounds and themes, introduced in the prologue to the play become an excellent link to understanding and appreciating classical and other music," Fost said. "Then there is the story - a true adventure. A spirited young boy, confronted by danger, meets the challenge with courage, creativity and leadership."

The play also appeals to the principles and lessons Pushcart hopes to share in its year-round performances at schools and family concerts, Fost said.

"There is all that the story represents: love, friendship and caring, greed, arrogance and prejudice. There is innocence and wisdom, youth and maturity, conflict resolution, moral development and the beauty of the natural order of life," she said.

Betse Grassby, director of operations and non-classical programming for Strings Music Festival, said she looks forward to presenting a musical and theatrical production of "Peter."

"It's a classic fairy tale, and Prokofiev actually wrote it as a story for his children. So it's just one of those timeless pieces that every kid should see," Grassby said.

For Fost, adapting "Peter" was a natural fit with Pushcart's mission of telling stories that reach children on a personal level, with themes that have stayed the same through the generations.

"I believe that everyone involved has expressed a love for this piece since childhood," Fost said.

"I know it was a favorite story of mine in growing up. I loved the fact that the music represented and interpreted the characters' feelings and actions, making it powerful and dramatically viable."

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