About the writer: This a guest post written by writer Lisa Gerstel, a diverse and seasoned executive who has spent her career in children’s and family entertainment via Publishing, Live Events and Broadcast before stepping back to take a much earned reprieve from the corporate world in order to reinvent herself and remember why she moved to NYC. She lives in the latest hip neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn with her daughter.
One extremely chilly November weekend, I ventured all the way from Brooklyn to Manhattan with my 7-year-old daughter and her grandparents to continue her introduction to the glitz and glamour of Broadway, beyond the bigger than life characters in Times Square! Our destination: “Mummenschanz In Re:Play” at the New Victory Theater on 42nd Street.
If you are looking for a unique theatrical experience, this is for you AND your kids. It’s a 60-minute immersion into a world that is not quite puppetry, not quite straight visual theater or Pantomime but 100% imagination.
Mummenschanz, the Swiss troupe, is performing at the New Vic until December 1st, is presenting a series of two dozen standalone routines, featuring the performers’ favorite sketches pulled from a 47-year history, tweaking them specifically for families. The unique use of shape-shifting costuming that the players turn into various forms – mouths, snakes, frogs – in complete darkness, allowed the black-clad artists to move around the stage unseen as they manipulated sticks, boxes, and poofs. Forms appeared to float, swirl, and dip and dive around the stage, creating an amazing, playful, non-verbal language appealing to all. The audience of mostly children, ages 4-12, and enamored adults, “oohed” and “ahhed” and loved participating in tossing a huge red ball around the theater.
Routines using musical instruments in very unusual ways created even more whimsy. My daughter, Almah, said, she loved the sticks that started out like snakes and morphed into people walking, running and sitting. Grandpa loved the simplicity of the purely visual staging which made everyone use their imaginations to interpret what they were experiencing.
The New Vic Theater is a fabulous venue for families introducing their young ones to the Broadway scene. With an imaginative downstairs play area for pre-theater hanging out and a Healthy Snack bar, you can even stow your gear in kid-friendly lockers.
“Mummenschanz in RE:PLAY” is playing through December 1st. Full price tickets are available online and by phone 646.223.3010. You can also purchase tickets at the box office.
Disclosure: Lisa was provided with complimentary tickets to facilitate this review, but all opinions are her own.