Meet the Guest Artists

Classical Kids

Classical Kids

Plot Synopsis

"I saw his ship sail into New York Harbor that day in 1891 - past the Statue of Liberty, past the hundreds of people cheering on the shore. All America seemed to be waiting for him and his music..." Based on the actual event, this story tells of the great composer's arrival in New York for the grand opening of Carnegie Hall in 1891 and his famous trip to Niagara Falls. A surprise encounter with a young American girl, Jennie, reveals much about Tchaikovsky - his life in Russia, his love of music and his fears of conducting. This is a poignant story of the meeting of old world influences and new world experiences; a tale of contrast, courage and classical music. "There's an electric energy in this country... all these people, so generous and open-hearted... their ideas, their dreams, their music... all flowing together like a mighty river - everything tumbling toward the future.”

Production Notes

Based on the highly acclaimed and awardwinning Classical Kids recording Tchaikovsky Discovers America, this theatrical symphony concert is an imaginative way to introduce young audiences and their families to the life and music of Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky in a live performance venue. Audiences will enjoy much of the composer's best-loved music - including The 1812 Overture, First Piano Concerto and String Serenade featured with dramatic choreography recreating theatrical story passages from his three famous ballets - The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. Classical Kids LIVE! is produced by Classical Kids Music Education, a not-forprofit organization dedicated to furthering classical music education. In combination with the Classical Kids Teaching Edition, Classical Kids LIVE! serves as one of the worlds best educational outreach and community engagement programs contributing to the long-term health of classical music. Having received more awards and honors than any other entity of its kind, Classical Kids is proud to say, “We’re making a difference!” (www.ckme.org)

Paul Pement, producer & director

Paul holds an exclusive international licensing agreement with the award-winning Classical Kids organization to direct and produce the highly-acclaimed symphony concert series that includes Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery, Mozart's Magnificent Voyage and Hallelujah Handel. As executive and artistic director of Classical Kids Music Education, NFP, Mr. Pement oversees all business and artistic aspects of the Classical Kids Live! theatrical concert productions around the world. (www.classicalkidslive.com) Paul received a BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois and, as a long-time member of Actor’s Equity Association, has extensive theatrical experience performing in over 50 productions throughout Chicago and abroad. He has appeared in such long-running commercial hits as Peter Pan (Peter), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Benjamin) and Forever Plaid (Sparky), the latter of which he has also directed and choreographed at theatres across the country. In addition to film and television appearances, he has written tolerance-related short films and has directed/choreographed industrial shows for companies such as Target and Mobil. Paul resides in Chicago with his yellow lab, Gus.

Susan Hammond, series creator

Susan has created a whole new generation of classical music fans through her innovative and award-winning Classical Kids recordings. She is the executive producer of a 16 title series of children’s classical music recordings known collectively as Classical Kids, selling to date nearly 5 million CDs, DVDs and books worldwide, and earning over 100 prestigious awards and honors. Each story entails its own adventure featuring a unique combination of music, history, and theatricality to engage the imaginations of children. Susan holds the philosophy that, “Where the heart goes, the mind will follow.” An accomplished concert pianist and music teacher, Hammond searched for recordings about classical music to share with her young daughters. One day, she sat reading to her girls with a classical music radio station on in the background and noticed how they responded to the literature in a different way when enhanced by music. The rest, as they say, is history. Susan is the recipient of Billboard Magazine’s International Achievement Award and resides with her husband in Toronto where she is a member of the Order of Canada for her contribution to the arts.

Douglas Cowling, playwright / music editor 

Douglas is a writer, musician and educator with a lifelong interest in bringing classical music to wider audiences. He is the writer of five Classical Kids audio productions; Mozart's Magic Fantasy, Tchaikovsky Discovers America, Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery, Hallelujah Handel! and Mozart's Magnificent Voyage. He was also associate producer on Daydreams and Lullabies and serves as the principle writer /music editor for the Classical Kids Live! theatrical symphony concert series.

Roger Anderson – Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Roger is a nationally acclaimed actor and musical theatre artist based in Chicago and is proud to be a part of the acclaimed Classical Kids concert series. He has been featured in films and commercials for United Airlines, Sony, Microsoft, IBM, Volvo, Ford Motor Company, Fidelity Investments, S.C. Johnson, Colgate, and the New York Stock Exchange. He has had the privilege to work on musical theatre stages across the country with Patti LuPone, Audra MacDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Cerveris, and Sean Hayes as well as under the baton of Zubin Mehta and Andre Previn. His performances have included appearances at The White House, The Kennedy Center, Walt Disney World and the Ravinia Festival. Regional musical theatre credits include: Juan Peron in Evita, Jacob/Potiphar in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Harold Hill in Music Man, Barnum in Barnum, KoKo in The Mikado, Petruchio in Kiss Me Kate, Georges in La Cage Aux Folles, Sergeant of Police in Pirates of Penzance and Roger DeBris in The Producers. He currently sings with the Chicago based vocal group Table For Five and, along with his career as an actor, is a practicing Speech/Language Pathologist.

Nicole Hren – Jennie

Nicole is currently in her eighth season performing with Classical Kids.  Recent credits include Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, A Chorus Line, Beauty and the Beast, Swing! at the Marriot Theatre. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Atlanta, Orlando, and Nashville, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Meet Me in St. Louis, Hairspray, at the MUNY Theater in St. Louis.  Funny Girl, Thoroughly Modern Millie, A Christmas Carol, Curtains, Sweet Charity, Fiddler on the Roof, Kiss Me Kate, Camelot, Superman, and Meet Me in St. Louis at Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago at Pheasant Run Dinner Theater, Singin' in the Rain at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, and Association, The Musical at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago's McCormick Place.  Nicole performed for many years with Moraine Valley Theater for Young Audiences as an artist in residence in the following productions:  The Little Mermaid, The Velveteen Rabbit, Babes in Toyland, Cinderella, The Odyssey, and The Diary of Anne Frank.  Nicole lives in the Chicago area with her husband, Gideon.  Special thanks to Paul for this amazing opportunity!

Classical Kids Music Education. NFP

Classical Kids Music Education, NFP was formed for charitable and educational purposes to build pathways for progression in music so that all young people, whatever their background or abilities, have access to the rich and diverse range of influence classical music offers. Reduced funding to the arts has diminished the ability of many symphony orchestras to provide high-quality educational and family programs like the one you are seeing today. It is imperative that more organizations are able to reach students and families through excellent music education programs in a time when affordable and worthy programming is lacking. Classical Kids Music Education, NFP was created to “bridge the gap” by securing funding for high-caliber projects and, together with individual donor support, help to bring music education into the 21st century by creating more opportunities for young people to be exposed to their interest and develop their talents to the fullest. Please visit www.ckme.org to learn more about how you can help.

Actors’ Equity Association

Actors and Stage Managers are members of Actors’ Equity Association. Actors' Equity Association, founded in 1913, is the labor union that represents more than 45,000 Actors and Stage Managers in the United States. Equity seeks to advance, promote and foster the art of live theatre as an essential component of our society. Equity negotiates wages and working conditions and provides a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans, for its members. Actors' Equity is a member of the AFL-CIO, and is affiliated with FIA, an international organization of performing arts unions. 

Visit Classical Kids at http://www.classicalkidslive.com

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