LIST OF PRODUCTIONS

Betsy Hellman as Puck
Jean-Claude Vasseux and Muriel
Jenny Robinson as Great Gertrude
Eugene Pressman as The Prince

The Snow Queen - 1948, The Kaufman Concert Hall, adapted from the Hans Christian Anderson story by Seyril Schochen, (Muriel’s sister)

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The Lost Princess - 1948, The Kaufman Concert Hall.  A Chinese fantasy by Dan Totheich

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A Day at The Beach -  1949, Kaufman Concert Hall   Originated by an idea suggested by Leslie Stevens and developed by the children through improvisation, edited by Muriel Sharon.    The set was borrowed from Julliard and was designed by Frederich Kreisler.  

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Horatio, The Magnificent -  1951, in the Kaufman Concert Hall. Improvised by the children in the class, an opera about a horse who solves the problems of a group of progressive school children and becomes famous.  1957, in the Kaufman Concert Hall – Directed by Connie Isaacson, Artistic Consultant – Muriel Sharon    

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Tom Sawyer - March 1952 at Theatre for Children in Binghampton, Long Island, sponsored by the Children’s Theatre Council of Binghampton.  Based on the student’s improvisations and directed by Muriel Sharon.  

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The Farce of Maitre Pierre Patelin - a medieval folk play, 1950, 1958.  Presented by The Pocket Players. Kaufman Concert Hall. Costume designer- Esther Bialo, Sets- Michael Geller, Floria Maria of the Stella Adler Conservatory - Advisory of stage movement.

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Gamer Gurton’s Needle - Performed in The Kaufman Concert Hall.  A medieval play about Grandma Gurton and her lost sewing needle.  

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The Wise and the Foolish  - An atonal chamber opera by Kurt List , 1951, adapted from The Strange Musician  based on the Brother’s Grimm about a musician’s search for true understanding.     

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Histoire du Soldat - by Stravinsky,  Dec.18th and 19th,  1954. Kaufman Concert Hall.  Sidney Tillim, (Muriel’s husband) adapted it for Vox records, based on an English translation of the French text of C.F. Ramus, Swiss poet-philosopher - March 1954.

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The Dyspeptic Ogre - by Percival Wilde March 15, 1956, Kaufman Concert Hall – Charming tale of an ailing ogre whose sole enjoyment in life is eating juicy sweet girls.  Directed by Isaaca Siegel, a student of Muriel’s and performed by her youngest students.

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Master of All Masters - 1958, Kaufman Concert Hall.  Adapted by Muriel Sharon and Betty Butterworth based on the English folk tale of the same name.  It is a one act allegory involving the substitution of silly worlds for common objects.  Score arranged by Irma Jurist.  Presented by the Pocket Players, with sets by Bert Schwartz, orchestra – Franz Bibo.   

Margaret Gruen
Jeffrey Friedman and Lorna Sinclair
A Day at the Beach
Florence Winston

Pinocchio - Kaufman Concert Hall, 1950, 1951.  Sets by Kim Swados, Lighting by Robin Lacy, Costumes by  Dale Clemnet,  Masks by Ed Wittstein

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Many Moons -  By James Thurber, 1954, 1956, Bellevue Hospital Auditorium. Imagination reigns supreme in this tale of a princess who becomes ill and asks her father for the moon in order to get well.  An impossible task until the court jester intervenes.

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The Tale of the Donkey -  1955 and 1958, 1961, Kaufman Concert Hall, various community centers.  Presented by The Pocket Players. Based on the Fontaine fable, Le Meunier, Son Fils and L’Ane.  Utilizing the conventions of Commedia dell’Arte, it was presented in a Grand American Vaudeville style with piano and drums.  Scenery by Michele Geller, Costumes by Bette Butterworth and Esther Bialo, Music composed and performed by Irma Jurist.

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The Plain Princess - 1961, The Junior League of Brooklyn, NYC   

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The Glass Slipper - presented  by The Pocket Players.  Music by Kurt List.    Kaufman Concert Hall, December 18, 1960.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Dec. 10, 1960, as part of the Children’s Entertainment Series. 

 

This version of Cinderella, written by Eleanor Fargeon in collaboration with her brother Herbert Fargeon is marked by its’ poetry, by its’ elevated characterizations and reconstruction of a period of fabled elegance.  The sets and costumes for this production were designed by Marcia Brown, one of the outstanding illustrator’s of children’s books in the U.S.  Staged in late restoration style, the kitchen scenes evoke the genre of Hogarth in contrast to the baroque elegance of the court scenes.

 

“Cinderella is essentially a rebellious character with a true belief in her worth.”

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Madeline’s Rescue -  1961 or 1962, by Ludwig Bemelmans, Directed by Muriel, wherein Genevieve the Dog saves Madeline in a daring rescue.  Performed in various venues throughout New York City.  

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Emil and the Detectives - Directed by Muriel Sharon and Richard Edelman. Translated by Cyrus Brooks, from the novel of Erich Kraestner, Music by Kurt List.  Performed as part of The Production Group in The Studio Theatre, 1961. Had a run at The Gramercy Arts Theatre, 1962. The Pocket Players toured the play in the tri-state area on the weekends 1963 -1964.  Performance at The Brooklyn Academy of Music, February, 1964.  One performance in The Kaufman Concert Hall.

A young German boy in the 1920’s, robbed on a train of money his mother pinned to him for his journey, enlists a gang of young Berlin kids to find the thief.

“Never trust a man who goes to bed in a bowler hat”.

Muriel worked tirelessly to gain the rights to produce and direct Emil and The Detectives.  Her attempts mirrored many of her own hilarious productions, involving letters, Western Union telegrams, publishers,  Kraestern’s solicitor –, agents, a postal strike in England, (“The Post strike is over, your letter dated Feb. 5th arrived today!”), Erich Kraestners’ stay in a sanitorium in Switzerland, (”A few days ago I met Dr. Kaestner in Agra near Lugano”),  a letter to Lotte Lenya for permission to use Kurt Weill’s music, and other not to be believed plot twists. 

In addition, Muriel was pitted against a monolith.  Yes, Disney wanted the rights to the novel at the same time as she did!  (“Impossible to find Kaestner  …. suggest you contact Disney directly”).  The ins and outs of this story are as elaborate as any of her Commedia dell’Arte productions, so here for your reading pleasure is just one letter that Muriel penned

To Dr. Kurt Maschler, 

Atrium Verlay A.G. 

London

 

February 5, 1962

 ….. We plan to use the Brooks adaption (published by Samuel French) and incidentally, entre nous, I should be willing to make the wager that our production will be more faithful to the spirit of Kaestner than his (Disney).

….  Time is of the essence and a delay in our plans will only add to the age of our child actor who are really just the right ages now.

Please do cable me if this mail delay will hold us up …  and send it collect. 

Abby Imber and  Isaaca Siegel
Betsy Ottenberg as Titania
The Servant of Two Masters
Pinocchio

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - by William Shakespeare .  Year 1962.   Directed by Muriel Sharon and Malcolm Black.  As part of The Production Workshop in the Studio Theatre.  Staged in the romantic style of Benjamin’s Pollack’s Toy Theatre.   The costumes and scenery were vivid flamboyant designs representative of the period.

 “The new Studio Theatre ideally lends itself to the atmosphere of a toy theatre.” 

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The Prince Who Learned Everything Out of Books - by Jacinto Benavente, 1955, a musical fairy tale.  The 1963 version had music composed by Irma Jurist. A prince who has been brought up on fairy tales is sent out into the world by his father, the King, to learn from experience and have adventures. 

Queen Chucharumbo to the Prince: “Good bye!  Good bye!  Don’t forget the Milk of Magnesia …. Have you finally learned that life is not a fairy-tale?”

 

Prince“No, on the contrary, I have found all my dreams realized, because I have believed in them …. Glory to the fairy-tales!" 

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The Servant of Two Masters - Performed as part of The Production Workshop in The Studio Theatre, 1964, The New York Pavilion of The World’s Fair in 1964.  Performed excerpts on the Children’s Program on Channel 13, PBS, hosted by Ms. Judy Golfman –, “your TV teacher”. Performed at the Kaufman Concert Hall, 1964.

 

Truffaldino works for 2 masters and hilarity ensues in this 18th century classic Italian of mistaken identities by Carlo Goldoni; with the traditional masked Commedia dell’Arte characters of Truffaldino, Pantalone, the Doctor and Brighella. 

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Christopher Columbus -  1964.  Short subject with the young students improvising. On the Public Broadcasting Station Children’s Program, Adventures in Language.

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Turandot - by Carlo Gozzi,  Year. 1965.  Directed by Muriel Sharon and Harvey Grossman.  A Commedia dell’Arte play.  Turandot,a cold, beautiful princess, poses three riddles to her suitors.  

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The Unborn - a movie written by Betty Jean Lifton.  Screened at The Kaufman Concert Hall, 1966 and The Children’s Theatre Conference, The Hague, 1967.  The screenplay, based on a story idea by Betty Jean Lifton was written from taped interviews with children, aged 8 – 15, who were asked, “Knowing what you know of life, would you choose to be born again?  What would you tell the unborn?”

You can view The Unborn at the NYPL Performing Arts Library.  Call 212-870-1687 to schedule a screening.

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The Play of Innocence and Change - by Jonathan Levy, 1967 a modern/medieval morality journey for children about the loss of innocence, Mark Epstein was the medieval consultant.  Members of the circus troupe:  Margherite, a thin, fat lady, Moschetta, a graceless acrobat,  Gisilbert, a weak, strong man and Maurice, an arthritic, dancing bear.

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The Little Green Bird – Summer 1969, by Carol Gozzi, translated and adapted by Jonathan Levy, based on an 18th century fairy tale called Il Papagalle Verde, Young Hamptons Players in Bridgehampton, Long Island

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Cabaret Theatre ’70 - a week of performances of children’s creative writing, in The Studio Theatre

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The Marvellous Adventure of Tyl Eulenspiegell - A Commedia for Children, by Jonathan Levy, 1971 at the Triangle Theatre, NYC. is based on the Germanic legend of Tyl Eulenspiegel.   Tyl is almost diabolic in his uncanny ability to see people as they are, not as they wish to appear.  Martha Edelheit- set designer and masks, Frank Sarvello- composer, Sally Gross– movement director, Natalie Lunn- costume designer

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Eugene Pressman as The Prince

The Prince Who Learned Everything Out of Books