The Shindig Movie is Here!

After three weeks of shooting and six weeks of editing, the short documentary of our week of developmental rehearsal of Fred Waring's Christmas Shindig has arrived. Tina Budnik of KXB Studios is the creator of the movie, which includes the story of the musical, interviews with key artists, footage of the week, and special animations from KXB! The movie will be used to promote the project and raise funds for more developmental rehearsals, and eventually a full production. Check it out!

Shindig wrap

Hello, World!

Break a leg! #theshindig #whitepines @bxlloyd #abingtonfriendsschool

A photo posted by White Pines Productions (@whitepinesproductions) on

Above L - R: Elias Rosenblitt, White Pines acting student, Shindig director Benjamin Lloyd, Shindig actor Isabel Cohen, Shindig actor Dalia Lorenz.

On June 19th at Abington Friends School, White Pines presented the first 20 minutes of it's new musical, Fred Waring's Christmas Shindig. In the cast were professional actors and singers, student actors from Abington Friends School and actors with disabilities. The cast presented the first four scenes of the play,  Bill Jolly and his singers performed three Fred Waring arrangements, Sutie Madison choreographed two dances, and Tina Budnik showed three original videos based on archival footage from actual Fred Waring holiday TV specials from the 1950s. About 100 people saw the show, which included a 15 minute talkback afterwards. It was a great success!

We are grateful to the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council for their support for this project, and to Abington Friends School for the space they donated to make it happen. 

Now, we await Tina's documentary of Shindig week due to be released sometime this summer. Meanwhile Ben is soliciting feedback from various audience members, and the creative team will meet during the summer to plot next steps. Our goals: to raise the money to do two more developmental workshops and then to produce the full musical in December 2017.

Before the show on the 19th (which as it turned out was Father's Day), several people involved in the production rose to speak about what The Shindig has meant to them. Here's a letter read aloud by Karen Lecks, mother of Isabel Cohen, one of our actors with disabilities.  We were very moved by what Karen said, and she has graciously allowed us to reprint it here:

It warms my heart to have you all here tonight.

It’s poignant that today is one of the holidays where we honor parents.  To be a parent is always to be worried. If you have a neurotypical child you’re worried about who they are hanging out with, are they doing drugs or driving drunk etc.  A parent with a special needs child has an equal but different set of worries. Will the world be accepting of my child or treat them as a burden?  Will they be able to have a place in the world after I’m gone?

When a place is found like White Pines where their mission is that every person has equal value and can play together it is genuinely a blessing.

Ben Lloyd, Jerry Perna and the other performers at White Pines have made inclusion as you are going to see tonight part of the fabric of who they are. They took on educating themselves in the art of using theatre as a vehicle to bring together creative people with a wide range of abilities, physical, social and intellectual. 

Our daughter Isabel has grown in many ways from being a part of this inclusive community. Everyone learns and wins by the melding of people with differences and brings us one step closer to a world that can work for each and every one of us.

Thanks so much for being here tonight and enjoy The Shindig.

As so it begins . . .


Today, supported by a grant from the PA Development Disabilities Council, four actors with disabilities, four professional actors from Bright Invention , five students from Abington Friends School, and a three-time Emmy award winning musical director will meet to begin the creation of a new piece of theater: Fred Waring's Christmas Shindig. How rare this is: for such a diverse group to assemble towards a common purpose, for an ambitious act of creativity to commence, for a new piece of theater to be born.

Check back here, and our Facebook and Instagram pages, for pix and updates of this amazing week! And be sure to visit our tickets and reservations page to reserve a spot for our free work-in-progress share of our work, Sunday June 19th at 7:00 pm at Abington Friends School!

Here's the team in alphabetical order:
 

Isabel Cohen, actor: Jessica Silver

Isabel Cohen, actor: Jessica Silver

 

 

 

Ife Foy, actor: Chorus Leader

Ife Foy, actor: Chorus Leader

 

 

 

 

Drew Jacobson, actor: David Silver

Drew Jacobson, actor: David Silver

 

 

 

Bill Jolly, musical director.

Bill Jolly, musical director.

 

 

 

Benjamin Lloyd, director.

Benjamin Lloyd, director.

 

 

 

 

 

Dalia Lorenz, actor: Breeze Rochenberger-Halberstam

Dalia Lorenz, actor: Breeze Rochenberger-Halberstam

 

 

 

 

 

Sutie Madison, choreographer.

Sutie Madison, choreographer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew Norden, actor: Apollo/Artemis Roachenberger-Halberstam

Matthew Norden, actor: Apollo/Artemis Roachenberger-Halberstam

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Pauls, actor: Buffy Waring.

Michelle Pauls, actor: Buffy Waring.

 

 

 

 

 

Jerry Perna, actor: Max Silver

Jerry Perna, actor: Max Silver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine Perry, actor; Susan Rochenberger-Halberstam

Katherine Perry, actor; Susan Rochenberger-Halberstam

 

 

 

 

Eric Salomon, actor: Stokely Waring

Eric Salomon, actor: Stokely Waring

 

 

 

 

 

Caleb Schaphorst, actor: Thor Roachenberger-Halberstam

Caleb Schaphorst, actor: Thor Roachenberger-Halberstam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Schultz, actor: Fred Waring

John Schultz, actor: Fred Waring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan Smelcer, actor: La-la Waring

Jordan Smelcer, actor: La-la Waring

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Smelcer, actor: Ruth Silver

Lindsay Smelcer, actor: Ruth Silver

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Wang, stage management assistant.

Brian Wang, stage management assistant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Shindig welcomes Ife Foy!

White Pines is pleased to welcome local actor Ife Foy to the cast of Fred Waring's Christmas Shindig. Ife will be playing the Chorus Leader and contributing to the overall development of the piece , along with the other artists involved. Ife is exactly the kind of dynamic citizen artist White Pines seeks to support, and we are thrilled to have her for our week of exploration!

Ife is a native Philadelphia actor who is thrilled to be working on White Pine's production of the "Fred Waring's Christmas Shindig". Recent credits include: Losing Back the Sleep You've Gained (PYP & The Greenfield Collective), Saint Joan & Doctor Faustus (Quintessence Theatre), Black Nativity (u/s. Theatre Horizon), Metamorphoses (u/s, Arden), The Taming of the Shrew (Delaware Shakespeare Festival),  and Henry V and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre) among others. In addition to being a theatre artist, Ife is also a teaching artist. She'd like to thank her family and friends for their continued love and support and her partner Noelle for always being there