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New York Times

Spare Times: For Children
By Laurel Graeber
Published: April 30, 2010
Peter Pan

A new production of this J. M. Barrie classic offers something that may seem even more remarkable than a magical, ageless boy who flies: a boy playing a magical, ageless boy who flies.

Defying the tradition of casting a woman, the New Acting Company, a program of The Children’s Aid Society, has based its “Peter Pan” on John Caird and Trevor Nunn’s 1982 Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation, a partly narrated drama that starred a young man. Stephen Michael Rondel, this version’s producer and director, takes that conceit further. Here Zach Zamsky, 12, makes a charming Peter, conveying all the exuberance and mischievousness of, well, a 12-year-old. Click here to read more.

Read more reviews of the New Acting Company's 2010 production of Peter Pan at:

New York Times

Spare Times
By Laurel Graeber
Published: May 23, 2008
Alice In Wonderland

‘ALICE IN WONDERLAND’ Unless you’re an Oxford don with a fondness for nonsense rhymes, onomatopoeia and ceaseless puns, any faithful adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice” books is likely to be more fun to watch than to listen to. That is mostly true of the New Acting Company’s “Alice in Wonderland,” playing through this weekend in Greenwich Village. Its script, by Brainerd Duffield, includes large excerpts from Carroll’s original text, drawn from both “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and its “Through the Looking Glass” sequel. But this production is so visually rich and energized that children unused to unadulterated Alice-isms aren’t likely to mind that a lot of the dialogue is jabber — or “Jabberwocky,” whose non-English English is recited several times. Click here to read more.

New York Times

Family Fare
by Laurel Graeber
Published May 13, 2005
The Hunter and the Hunted

The young hero of The New Acting Company, a program of the Childrens Aid Society, latest production worries that he doesn¹t fit in with his peers or his parents. This may sound like the typical estrangement of a preadolescent who feels that those around him are a different species. But this is Mowgli, the boy of "The Jungle Book," and his fellows really are of different species - namely a bear, a panther and a pack of wolves.

Monica Flory's script is both scrupulously faithful to Rudyard Kipling and completely original in its approach. While Kipling¹s story is basically a grand adventure, this version takes its subtext - a boy¹s quest for identity - and makes it the heart of the piece. It includes all the book¹s action and even some of its dialogue, but increases the emotional resonance. The only substantive change is the more hopeful ending. Click here to read more.