NJ State Bar Foundation Funds Pushcart Players ‘A More Perfect Union’

The Pushcart Players in 'A More Perfect Union'
The Pushcart Players in 'A More Perfect Union'

Pushcart Players, New Jersey’s award winning touring educational theater for families, has received a generous grant from The New Jersey State Bar Foundation to fund the latest musical in the repertoire, “A More Perfect Union.”

The foundation’s investment will make free and reduced rate performances available to New Jersey schools through Pushcart’s outreach initiatives.

“Within Pushcart’s mission is reaching all young people in our schools,” said Paul Whelihan, Pushcart Players producing artistic director. “We identify barriers to active arts participation – economic, geographic, administrative. With the enlightened support of organizations like the Bar Foundation, we’re able to overcome those barriers and share the live theater experience with young people who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity.”

“A More Perfect Union” is a musical that captivates the spirit, action, and causes of the United States founders as they formulated the Constitution. It remains timely today as basic constitutional tenets continue to be a part of the national conversation, particularly in the presidential election year of 2020.

While detailing some broad, sweeping historical events and concepts, the play’s focus is on ordinary citizens involved in extraordinary events: Luke, Rebecca, Benjamin, and Abby. Through their eyes the story is told and the history unfolds.

While addressing the complexities and conflicts of the period, the tone is purposely lighthearted. Through song, dance, and scene, history is made accessible to a young, contemporary audience.

The NJ State Bar Foundation is a nonprofit educational and philanthropic organization that offers a wide variety of free law-related education programs and services for teachers and their students in the Garden State. With the certainty that informed citizens make better citizens, the fundamental purpose of the foundation is to affect people’s lives by helping them better understand the laws that impact them every day.

Whether educating students about the justice system through their mock trial programs, training teachers to better combat teasing and bullying, or keeping students up to date with timely articles on social justice issues, quality programming is the hallmark of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.

“”We’ve discovered a creative way to synergize the missions of both our organizations,” added Whelihan. “And the targeted group for ‘…Union’ opens up a population of younger learners than the Foundation has typically served. We’re extremely grateful for these opportunities”

Pushcart Players is the professional touring theater company specializing in arts education for children. Twice nominated for an Emmy Award, Pushcart is the recipient of numerous state and private awards for excellence and innovation.

Founded in 1974, Pushcart brings substantive musical theater, workshops, and residencies to young people in schools and theaters nationwide. The company has traveled more than 2.5 million miles nationally and abroad, from the rural red schoolhouse to the nation’s White House.

Pushcart Players pioneered the movement to make the arts a central part of the school curriculum, and continues to be in the vanguard of this commitment. The company provides opportunities for meaningful arts learning in its 33 wonderful, wildly original musical plays and myriad classes for young learners.

Both the plays and classes introduce the joy and magic of the live theater experience while underscoring many rich curriculum connections such as history, diversity, equity, inclusion, human values, science, responsible behavior, and social value clarification issues.

All performances by professional artists and technicians (Actors’ Equity Association) are supported by study guides, post-performance assessments and other supplemental materials, and adapt to any location with innovative scenery, lighting and sound systems.

Pushcart has a significant theater education program, providing in-school workshops, direction of student productions and curriculum development for elementary and middle schools. Pushcart cast members are experienced teaching artists, and provide workshops, acting classes and residency programs to schools, community centers and summer session programs.

“A More Perfect Union” is appropriate for students in grades 1 through 6, and is available throughout the 2019-20 school year. Schools interested in learning about or booking a show through  Pushcart Players’ outreach program with  the NJ State Bar Foundation should call Pushcart at 973-857-1115, or email Corey Whelihan, Development Officer at corey@pushcartplayers.org.

For further information about this or any of Pushcart Players’ programs and services, visit www.pushcartplayers.org.