Hudson Theater Ensemble presents Songs, Laughs, and Positive Messages
By Sally Deering
Once upon a time in Hoboken a little theater company decided to put on plays for adults and kids, and now, celebrating its 14th season, Hudson Theatre Ensemble presents the newest musical in its “Silly on Sixth” children’s series, THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER
The show, adapted from the old fairy tale, is by Karen Boettcher-Tate and takes a comedic twist on a shoemaker and his wife who have a very demanding landlady. When their luck seems to run out, a complete stranger invites three kooky elves into their lives who start making magical shoes that save the poor shoemaker and his wife from eviction and the unemployment line.
“It is all so much fun and so exciting,” Director of Development Florence Pape says. She also plays two roles in the show, Sneerella Twerm and Mrs. Snootbottom. “The underlying theme is the value of hard work and kindness,” Pape says.
Sharing the stage with Pape are popular local actors Richard Dwyer, Wendy Weber Eaton, Nannette Matos, Deborah Michels, Leah Sayad, and David Silberger. The production is directed by Howard Richman, who plays the town mayor and designed the lighting. This is Richman’s sixth show with Hudson Theatre Ensemble. He played the title role in RUMPLESTILSKIN, then directed AESOP’S FABLES, and performed in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK and THE UGLY DUCKLING.
“We try to pick shows that are entertaining and have positive messages,” Richman says. “The Elves and the Shoemaker is basically about good people doing good things for other people and getting rewarded for their goodness.”
THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER is underwritten by several Hoboken sponsors: Drs. Brescia, Migliaccio, Chinn, Moon, Picard, Lowe, & Tully, Obstetrics & Gynecology; and the Hudson Psychiatric Associates.
Since it began, Hudson Theatre Ensemble has earned several awards from the New Jersey Association of Community Theaters (NJACT). In 2006, it won the Perry Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play for its production of SCAPINO; in 2008, it was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor for its production of THE FOREIGNER, and in 2014, nominated again for Outstanding Lead Actor, this time in AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN.
The children shows, which began when Hudson Theatre Ensemble first opened its doors have become a huge hit in Hoboken, especially during the town’s recent Baby Boom. One parent wrote to Pape and London about how moved she was by her child’s first theater experience at one of their children’s shows:
“This was my 4 year-old’s first exposure to theater and he loved it so much,” the parent wrote. “I was nearly brought to tears. Thank you for putting on such a wonderful interactive show with such a talented kid-friendly cast! “
Another parent wrote: “Knowing you are in Hoboken is such a big boon. It was a thrill to me that my 5 year-old loved her first real introduction to theatre!”
Doing children’s theater in the mile-square city is “a natural” artistic director Diana London says.
“For many of the children who see our shows, the Hudson Theatre Ensemble marks their very first experience with theater,” London says. “We want that experience to be positive, so we put on shows that offer more than entertainment, they offer a message about goodness, kindness or truth that families can take home.”
If you go
THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER
Hudson School Performance Space
601 Park Ave, Hoboken
Tix available for 5 of the 6 Performances
Sat, June 13 at 11 am & 1 pm
Sun, June 14 at 11 am & 1 pm
Sat, June 20, 1 pm (11 am show is sold out)