The Pied Piper program is offered to children and adolescents ages 5 to 18, regardless of race, color, religious belief, gender, or sexual orientation. PPCT is committed to creating a non-threatening environment where children and adolescents explore their creativity, learn new theatrical and musical skills, and develop artistic values such as self-discipline, teamwork, commitment and leadership; helping them excel in all aspects of daily life and in their future professions. Older and more advanced adolescents are encouraged not only to help those with less background, but also to learn their material with the aim of preparing themselves to teach the younger students, lead rehearsals, and even direct productions.
Four to six full-scale productions are produced each season. Productions last six to twelve weeks depending on the complexity of the work being produced. Cast members rehearse an average of two hours, three times a week. During the course of each production, participants are taught performance skills including acting, singing, and dance. Older participants are also exposed to technical theater, stagecraft, and costume design.
The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre of NYC was founded at Holy Trinity Church Inwood in 1999 by Reinaldo ‘Rey-Rey’ Martinez-Cubero, the theatre’s former Executive and Artistic Director. During a long search for a possible venue, Rey-Rey came upon the theatre space at Holy Trinity Church Inwood, with its rundown stage that at the time was used as storage for folding chairs, lumber, and the oversized toys of a children’s indoor playgroup. The Reverend Johanna-Karen Johannson, herself a former performing artist who had wanted to start arts programming and community outreach through theatre at the church, invited Rey-Rey to give a presentation to the Vestry. The Vicar, Wardens, and Vestry of Holy Trinity Church Inwood approved the program and The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre of NYC (PPCT) presented its first production, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, in October 1999 with a cast of 27 children ages 5 to 13. Since then, over five hundred and fifty children have participated in the program. This has created a strong community of families from different income levels and ethnic backgrounds. In 2003, Rey-Rey developed the Delphi Theatre as a branch of PPCT in order to present productions involving professional performers, adults from the community and the participants of The Pied Piper Theatre.
Sutton Foster, award winning Broadway performer and Rey-Rey’s long time friend, took an interest and watched the theatre’s progress from its beginning. Impressed with the theatre’s fast development, she decided to co-produce and star in a benefit concert version of Snoopy to commemorate the theatre’s 5th anniversary. The concert took place on Monday, April 12, 2004 at the Peter Norton Symphony Space, and featured an all-star Broadway cast including Christian Borle, Ann Harrada, Deven May, Hunter Foster, and Jennifer Cody, as well as a chorus of PPCT participants.
PPCT celebrated its 10th anniversary with a gala presentation that included scenes and musical numbers from shows produced by the theatre during its first 10 seasons. The performers were PPCT’s current participants, former participants who returned to the theatre to take part in the celebration, and past Delphi Theatre performers. This incredible reunion and celebration took place on Saturday, January 3, 2009 in the theatre’s home space at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.
Currently in its 20th season, The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre has presented over 100 productions ranging from Shakespeare and classic Greek theater to adaptations of fairy tales and bi-lingual plays to contemporary musical and dramatic plays. Each season, The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre reaches over 5,000 people from Northern Manhattan and Bronx communities. These include children and adults participating in one of our productions, classes and workshops, as well as adults volunteering in many different capacities. In addition, audience members enjoy what has become an important, bi-monthly, social and family event in the community. Since productions are usually double cast, as many as 45 families work to produce each theatrical event. The theatre also reaches out to the community by providing free performances of productions ranging from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, at senior citizen and day care centers.