The Evolution of Striving to be a Magic Neighbor

As seen in a current  edition of Lights Camera Read, there is a striving to be a magic neighbor, a role model. And in this blog entry for “Magic Neighbors” we are looking at the process of striving to be a magic neighbor and are borrowing a quote from LCR of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Innovation in the Creation of Workshops

Magic Neighbors of the Past

When our daughter was a toddler we did a lot of community outreach activities in Washington Heights and Inwood in Manhattan, NY. Our Magic Neighbors theater company was an outgrowth of that as we began to do a combination of magic show and the telling of stories, for kids in need such as those whose parents are homeless.

Online Projects

And now with the Pandemic surrounding us, much of our community building activities occur online with projects involving our now middle school age daughter, such as Harry Potter Fan Club NYC, Disneyite  and more.

And Now in the Present

If you have anything you are doing that integrates the concept of “Magic Neighbors” please let us know so you can share your adventures with others.


Magic Neighbors Theater Company in August

Working with Manhattan Kids Guide and Market Your Journey

August for us in terms of running a theater company is pretty slow. So we often look for other activities that are theater oriented to fill the time. What we’ve been working on this year is a marketing plan. Two other websites that we’ve partnered with are “Manhattan Kids Guide” and “Market You Journey.”

Putting Magic into Theater

Both of our partner sites have different reasons to want to help us develop promotions when things kick in again for us in September. Manhattan Kids Guide has long been a suporter of ours because our primary audience is children. Children, especially younger ones, still believe in magic. And magic is one of our primary components because our founder is a magician.

New Website “How to Get New Customers”

One of the marketing ideas we’ve been working on is expanding what we do to a national level. A source of information that has been helpful to us is the website and team at How to Get New Customers. A lot of the same techniques they use we are finding that we are able to use as well.

Input Always Helps

Even during this time off members still communicate with each other and lots of good ideas are brought to the table as has happened in past years. Additionally, we love the input that we get from Manhattan Kids Guide and Market Your Journey.

Budget Challenges

As is often the case for community organizations, having a budget is an ongoing issue. For the most part these days we do not have anything coming in as we did during the Lights Camera Read days.

Making a Difference in the Community

As a theater our mission is to make a difference in the community using a format that is part magic show and part storyline. The format we generally use is that Manhattan Magician reads from his magic book as the storyteller and the rest of the cast act out these stories.

Looking Forward to 2020

We believe that 2020 is going to be our best year ever because our expectations are in check and we realize that what it’s all about is impacting kids and maybe even have some of them develop a love of theater from seeing our performance. With the support of “Manhattan Kids Guide” there’s nothing we can’t do!

You are Always Welcome

We also open this process up to you. If you have anything you would like to share with us we would love to hear from you.

Happy Summer Everyone!

Magic Neighbors Theater for Kids and Other Theater Companies Across the Boroughs

Pied Piper Children's Theatre
Pied Piper Children’s Theatre is a beloved staple of the Inwood Washington Heights neighborhoods of Manhattan.Theater in Unexpected Places

We got a great response from the post we did last time, so we’re going to do something similar. The former blog entry here at the Magic Neighbors Theater Company for kids, was a look at theater companies – both for grownups and kids – that are in our neighborhood which is Inwood Manhattan. These companies, like ours, would often be performing their work in environments that are usually not associated with theater. For example most of our shows have been in various branches of the New York Public Library. This same idea can be found in another Inwood Manhattan kids theater company. And this company’s unusual place to perform is in Inwood’s Holy Trinity Church. Here’s an excerpt from our coverage from last time as seen on their FaceBook page:

“The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre 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.”

New York City Children’s Theater

Stepping outside of our neighborhood in Inwood Manhattan there are many other theater companies for kids. One of these is New York City Children’s Theater:

“New York Children’s Theater is a nonprofit organization (formerly Making Books Sing) that creates original, entertaining and enriching theater for young audiences and adults to enjoy together. We believe a city as culturally rich as New York needs a children’s theater that produces high-quality original productions and develops robust arts-in-education programs, serving children in all communities across the five boroughs.”

Brooklyn Children’s Theatre

Stepping further out from our Northern Manhattan location and going clear to the other side, and even to a different borough, we find ourselves at Brooklyn Children’s Theater. They are very mission driven as can be seen here:

“We especially seek the participation of students who have a gift to give the art of theatre who would not otherwise have theater or performance opportunities, due to economic or cultural barriers or lack of resources in their schools and communities. BCT fulfills an underfunded need in which all students are welcome, regardless of their economic situation. No child has ever been refused for an inability to pay.”

Why Kids Theater?

Great character building and literacy skills come from kids performing theater. It can be quite an adventure for a child to grapple with all the phases that a production requires. And it’s an experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Inwood Manhattan Based Theater Companies

Moose Hall Theatre Company
From the Moose Hall Theatre Company’s production of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, left to right: Zack Gafin (Page), J.B. Alexander (Bardolph), Kathryn Fray (Hostess Quickly), Richard Henry Scofield (Falstaff).

Magic Neighbors Theater for Kids

In addition to the Magic Neighbors Theater for Kids (established 2009), Inwood Manhattan based theater companies include Moose Hall Theatre Company, Pied Piper Children’s Theater and Up Theater Company. Of these companies, Magic Neighbors is the only one that exclusively performs at New York Public Libraries all around the city and boroughs in branches that include Inwood, Morrisania, Grand Central and Columbus. In fact, because M.N.’s headquarters is located in Inwood, whenever they go on a performing arts library tour they always make certain to launch it at the Inwood Manhattan Library Branch. Magic Neighbors is run by a dad, a mom and their young daughter.

Moose Hall Theatre Company

Moose Hall Theatre Company is headed by Ted Minos and is known for providing performance opportunities since the year 2000 for professional performing artists of various cultures and origins, particularly for those who would not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in contemporary or classical productions. The Inwood Shakespeare Festival (ISF) was conceived and developed by Ted Minos as a way to bring theatre to the greater Inwood community.

The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre

The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre is described as the community theater ministry of Holy Trinity Church Inwood. The program is offered to children and adolescents ages 5 to 18, regardless of race, color, religious belief, or gender. The Pied Piper Children’s Theatre 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.

Up Theater Company

UP Theater Company offers fully produced professional theater to its community in Northern Manhattan, and develops new plays – employing many theater artists who live in Inwood. Despite their parochial concerns, UP is no “community theater.” They eschew crowd-pleasing chestnuts in favor of daring new work that challenges its audience’s preconceived notions about what they think they think.