A Brand New Family-Friendly Musical Hits The 14Y Theater in September!
Here at the 14th Street Y, we celebrate all members of our community, even our furry friends! In honor of National Dog Day, I went to chat with Arif Silverman, writer and composer of The Stray, a new musical for families that will be coming to the 14Y Theater in September. Read more below and don’t forget to get your family ticket at a discounted price!
Arif, The Stray is about some wolf cubs who are vegetarians, going against their family tradition of eating meat. That concept just makes me smile. What inspired you to write this story?
First off, I really wanted to tell a story about wolves, because wolves are awesome. Who doesn’t love wolves?! A lot of my writing features animals in a big way, often serving as allegories to different aspects of the world in which we live. Additionally, I quickly realized I wanted this story to be about barriers. There are barriers between the community of wolves, as the vegetarian principles of this new generation are at odds with the more ferocious principles of the previous one. And there are barriers between wolves and humans – they don’t speak the same language, and they’re afraid of each other. This piece is an attempt to question the efficacy of these barriers in preventing living things from connecting with one another – is it possible to befriend someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you? Who doesn’t look like you? Who doesn’t always believe what you believe? One of the big things I hope people take away from this story is that community can be made anywhere, that love can be found in unsuspecting places.
What can our families expect? Will there be actors in full wolf costumes?
Families should be ready for a story that shows children how, while the world can sometimes be a dark place, there is a great hope that can be found in being who you truly are. The Stray is the story of a changing world, of the adversity that comes from those who fear change, and the power of those who bring it.
The animals in this story will look different from the humans, but the actors will not be in full wolf costumes – no one will think that there are real-live wolves in the theater! We are excited to be utilizing a lot of storytelling elements commonly found in classical American folk tales, almost as if this story could be told or enacted around a campfire. The music will be live and is heavily influenced by contemporary folk music (think Nickel Creek, Josh Ritter, The Wailin’ Jennys). We’re very excited to be telling this brand new, modern American folktale to audiences of all ages!
You were also a performer in last season’s family musical, Old Turtle and the Broken Truth. It was such a charming musical that I know our families loved. What is it like coming back to the 14th Street Y and our community?
It’s amazing. Sarah and I have been talking about this piece for over two years now, and the fact that it will be coming to life in this space is such a privilege. It was great to be involved in Old Turtle, especially since the community seemed so taken by the magic of the animals and the mythical world of that play. That experience was reassuring to me, as the world of The Stray is similarly mystical and mysterious, with a menagerie of animals and a simple, natural world.
Finally, let us know you more as an artist. What brought you to New York and what is coming up next for you?
I was born and raised in New York! I’ve been doing theater since I was a child, so it made a lot of sense for me to come back here after I went to school in Ohio. My primary focus as an artist is to tell fantastical stories allegorical to the American experience. After this, I am going to continue developing a new fantasy play about a crew of pirates tasked with finding and capturing a school of mythical sea creatures that were previously thought to be extinct. Keep your eyes and ears peeled!
The Stray // family theater
September 28 – October 6
Arif Silverman | Book, Music and Lyrics
The conflict between wolves and humans has existed for years, but can an unlikely friendship mend the rift between them? A new folk musical about love, loss, and the power of understanding, “The Stray” shows us growing pains lead to remarkable change.TICKETS
Recommended for ages 5 – 9
Discount Family Pack (4 tickets): $70
Running Time: 60 minutes