Annual Theatre for Young Audiences Production
Based on the books by Don Freeman
Adapted for the stage by
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Movement direction by
This tender, enduring story about longing, determination, and true friendship stirs up the stage with a rumpus of action, pathos and joy.
OCT 29–NOV 1
*Please note: Tickets for the October 29 and 30 performances are only available to school groups and are not on sale to the public. If you or your school group are interested in attending, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On this page you'll find detailed programmatic information
as well as notes from the director, the education coordinator, the designers, and the cast about how our production of CORDUROY took shape over the past few months.
A message from
Melia Bensussen, Director
Welcome to the joyful world of a virtual live production of Corduroy. As Lisa, the little girl at the center of our story, struggles to achieve her dream of owning the perfect bear (perfect in his imperfection, perhaps), we too at Emerson have been struggling to continue in our work of making live theatre. Directing a play in the age of COVID—with all the necessary health precautions and guidelines—has been for me a brand-new adventure, and one that has led to a sense not unlike Lisa’s as she holds her beloved bear. This is a new art form, but like theatre, it is live, it is creative, and it contains the energy of students at Emerson in acting, design, technical theatre and stage management. They’ve gathered together to create a live performance work at a time when our theatres are shuttered, but when invention and creativity can still be transformative. All of us on the team that has made Corduroy have matched Lisa’s determination with our own to keep making plays. We’re glad you can join us.
ABOUT MELIA BENSUSSEN
Emerson Stage credits (selection): Brazen, Life is a Dream, Winter’s Tale, and All of a Kind Family (original adaptation). Melia, a long-time Emerson faculty member, is an Obie-winning director recently appointed as the Artistic Director of Hartford Stage in Hartford, CT. She has directed extensively around the country including productions at Shakespeare and Company, the Huntington Theatre, Sleeping Weazel (where she is an associate artist), Merrimack Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, the Long Wharf, Cincinnati Playhouse, ATL/Humana Festival, and many more. Raised in Mexico City, Melia is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted a variety of texts including her edition of the Langston Hughes translation of Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding.
Nathaniel (Natty) Justiniano is an actor, deviser, director, and movement designer. He is the founding Artistic Director of Naked Empire Bouffon Company, through which he has toured North America with original works that use outrageous satire to interrogate our social and political climate. As an actor, he has performed with Shakespeare Orange County, Son of Semele Ensemble, Cornerstone Theater Company, The Dell'Arte Company, Thrillpeddlers, Cutting Ball Theater, and We Players.
Corduroy’s Journey from Page to Stage to Screen
a dramaturg's note
The life of Don Freeman is one that steadily followed the course of Corduroy’s journey. Freeman is the author of more than 20 children’s books, including the original, classic Corduroy book that inspired this play. Just as our favorite green overall-wearing bear experiences some worries before he finds his forever home, Freeman had very little security growing up in San Diego. He and his brother were raised by a strict guardian after the passing of their mother, and he found solace in drawing comics. Stories began to emerge as Freeman kept track of his life in a graphic diary through comic-character scenes of his experiences.
The Virtual Leaps and Bounds of Corduroy,
An Interview With Movement Director Nathaniel Justinano
I had an opportunity to chat with the movement director of Corduroy, Nathaniel Justinano, to discuss the impact the virtual aspects of the show has had on the physical storytelling for which this play calls.
ABOUT CHANDLER DAVID, BFA Theatre & Performance '22
Emerson Stage credits: 10 Out of 12 (Director) and Spring Awakening (Adult Men). Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s Tuck Everlasting (Constable Joe) and Little Women (Executive Producer). They would love to thank Alyssa, Melia, Natty, Tim, and everybody else who made this show fantastic!
A note from
Leah Hamilton French, Education Coordinator
Welcome, parents, guardians, and educators! We are so glad that you and your young people will be joining us for Corduroy at Emerson Stage. While this year is quite different from usual, one thing has not changed; the joy and engagement generated by live theatre. We invite you to continue the fun and learning before and after the performance by exploring the materials below.
The teacher guide lays out post-performance discussion questions, as well as ideas for how to connect the themes and content of the play to your classroom studies. The student guides contain information about the story, the play, the cast, and the historical context of the play to read and talk about before the performance. There are also examples of fun activities that tie into language arts, drama, music, movement, and art for before or after the show.
The social story is a helpful pre-show tool to demonstrate what to expect from the experience of watching a play online. Social stories are a common tool for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders or sensory needs, but may also be helpful for young children who have never experienced a play before.
Thank you, and enjoy the show!
ABOUT LEAH HAMILTON FRENCH,
MA Theatre Education & Applied Theatre '21
Hamilton French is an artist and educator who creates curriculum and family programs for arts organizations and museums. Emerson Stage credits: Augusta and Noble (Education Coordinator) and 2021–2022 Season Selection TYA Subcommittee. Hamilton French earned her BA from Wellesley College, where she performed as a member of the Wellesley College Shakespeare Society. Many thanks to Bob and Bethany.
MADISON MARONEY, BFA Design/Technology '20
Emerson Stage credits: Squeaky Fromme Love Song (Scenic Design); Love and Information (Assistant Scenic Design); Antigone Project (Assistant Scenic Design); Marty and Tad are LIVING (Scenic Design); and Ipseity (Co-Scenic Design). Thanks to my family, friends and Tyler. maddymaroney.myportfolio.com
Ryan is the Props Director for Emerson Stage, and has worked as a props master and scenic designer throughout New England, including productions at New Repertory Theatre, Bridge Repertory Theatre, The Umbrella, Gloucester Stage Company, InMotion Theatre, Middlebury College, Longwood Players, Off the Grid, Fresh Ink, and many more. Ryan teaches Stagecraft at Emerson, and has served on the faculty at Boston University. MFA: Boston University.
REBECCA PALMER, BFA Design and Technology '20
Emerson Stage credits: 10 Out of 12 (Assistant Costume Designer). Emerson College credits: Musical Theatre Society's Little Women and American Idiot.
MIRI HENERSON, BFA Design/Technology '21
Emerson Stage credits: Squeaky Fromme Love Song (Lighting Designer), Lucky Stiff (Assistant Lighting Designer), and WRHISK (Assistant Master Electrician). Emerson College credits: Rareworks' Marty and Tad are LIVING! (Lighting Designer), Rareworks' Elephant's Graveyard (Lighting Designer), and Kidding Around's Tuck Everlasting (Lighting Designer). Regional credits: Menagerie Theatre's 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Sypher's Labyrinth of Jareth (Associate Lighting Designer). Love you Liz and Em!
Composer and Sound Designer
Emerson Stage Resident Sound Designer. Arshan's music and soundscapes have been heard at ArtsEmerson, The Huntington Theatre, Shakespeare & Company, The Guthrie, California Shakespeare Theater, Capital Repertory Theatre, Contemporary American Theater Festival, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, A.R.T Institute, The Lyric Stage, New Repertory Theater, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Harvard College, Brandeis University, The Nora Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage, Gloucester Stage, and Company One. 2016 IRNE Award Best Sound Design (Small Theater) appropriate (SpeakEasy Stage Company). Elliot Norton Award Outstanding Design (Small Theater) The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (2012, Company One) and Twelfth Night (2011, Actors’ Shakespeare Project). B.S. in Music from MIT. www.arshangailus.com
SOPHIE KLOKINIS, BFA Stage and Production Management '22
Emerson Stage credits: Mad Moon (Production Assistant), Augusta and Noble (Assistant Production Supervisor), Squeaky Fromme Love Song (Associate Company Manager), and Spring Awakening (2nd Assistant Stage Manager). Emerson College credits: 38th and 39th Annual EVVY Awards (Assistant Stage Manager). Other credits: Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival’s Crazy for You (Carpentry and Deck). Immeasurable, everlasting love and thanks to Carleigh, Lola, Michael, Deb, Greta, Sprinkler’s Room, and Skating Snacks.
LUCAS BABCOCK (Corduroy) BFA Musical Theatre '23. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Kidding Around's Frog and Toad (Toad). American Conservatory Theatre YC's Into the Woods (Baker). Thanks to Mom, Dad and Noah for the support!
ETHAN DENK (Clown) BFA Acting ‘22. Emerson Stage credit: Augusta and Noble (Ricardo Wojciechowski). Emerson College credits: She Kills Monsters (Miles). Thanks to the wonderful people working on the show!
MARY LEIGH MONTGOMERY (Clown) BFA '21 Theatre Education and Performance. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s She Kills Monsters (Assistant Stage Manager) and All Grown Up: The Cabaret (Singer). Other Credits: Central Square Theatre's Act Up and Vote! (Ensemble Member), Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's All American Boys (Jill), NYU Steinhardt's New Plays for Young Audience's Popularity Coach (Apple/Scarlett) and Lucky Petra (Trixie), CU Present's The Comedy of Errors (Courtesan).
CHARLOTTE ODUSANYA (Lisa), BFA Musical Theatre '23. Emerson Stage debut! A huge thanks to God, my family and friends for all the love and support!
BRIGIT O’MALLEY (Clown/Mannequin) BFA Theatre & Performance ‘21. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Drown (Carrie); EIV’s Man in the Box (Isla Arabella); Emerson Channel’s Escape the Farm Vol. 2 (Quipp); and Emerson Shakespeare Society’s The Taming of the Shrew (Gremio). Other credits: The Royal National Theatre’s An Inspector Calls (Supernumerary); Five Sister and Tufts’ Half the History: Duet of Florence Price and Amy Beach (Ensemble); and Office Hours (Taylor). Thank you Mom & Dad, for your loving support, to my 3/4 for putting up with my shenanigans, and to the cast and crew for all the fun!
JORDAN RADIS (Night Watchman) BFA Theatre Education ‘20. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s 13: The Musical (Evan Goldman); Musical Theatre Society’s La Cage Aux Folles (Jakob); Rarework’s Marty and Tad are LIVING! (Marty); and Kidding Around’s Tuck Everlasting (Jesse Tuck). Directing credits: Musical Theatre Society’s Heathers: The Musical ; and Kidding Around’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. This one goes out to 10:30, mama and papa, and all of the educators in my life who have encouraged me to shoot for the stars... I’m doing it!
KANDYCE WHITTINGHAM (Mother) BFA Theatre Education & Performance ‘23. Emerson Stage debut! Emerson College credits: Kidding Around’s She Kills Monsters (Kaliope); Rareworks Theatre Company’s The Clinic (Monette). All of the love and thanks in the world to my family, friends, and teachers for your unwavering support, encouragement, and care. Enjoy the show!
Meet the Corduroy
Artistic and Production Staff
Transmedia Consultant DEREK CHRISTIANSEN
Associate Director TIMOTHY L’ECUYER
Acting Advisor LINDSAY BEAMISH
Dramaturgy Advisor ALYSSA SCHMIDT
Master Electrician Advisor TAYLOR NESS
VMA Guest Consultants MAURICE METHOT and GABBY SUMNEY
Assistant Scenic Designer JORDAN BARNETT
Assistant Costume Designer MUNROE SHEARER
Assistant Lighting Designer BAZ KOUBA
Assistant Sound Designer AMANDA RYAN
Associate Props Master ALEX KOPLOS
Production Electrician ANGELA MANTEL
Master Electrician SAMUEL KISTHARDT
Production Sound Engineer NOAH SILVERMAN
VMix Technician NARISSA KELLIHER
Wardrobe Supervisor TUYET CORSON
Assistant Master Electrician JOE MORALES
Assistant Stage Manager CARLEIGH ALLEN
2nd Assistant Stage Manager LOLA SPECTOR
Production Assistant MICHAEL MENOR
Company Manager KELLEIGH LEVESQUE
Assistant Company Manager ALEX TAWID
Production Supervisor KIRSTEN DAVIS
Assistant Production Supervisor ALEX TAWID
Josie Arthur, John Benson, Delene Beauchamp, Emily Carruth, Felix Clarke, Karen Eskanazi, Susan Eyring, Samuel Guida, Lauren Hodgkins, Sabrina Mangone, Sarah Miller, Jamie Nickerson, Isabella Pagan, Adelaide Willert
Emerson Stage Staff
Artistic Director—Annie G. Levy
General Manager—David Colfer
Production Manager—Timothey Sullivan
Technical Director—Keith Cornelius
Props Director—Ryan Bates
Costume Shop Supervisor—Richelle Devereaux-Murray
Resident Sound Designer—Arshan Gailus
Scenic Painter—Joe Keener
Assistant General Manager—Alix Bigley
Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor—Brian Choinski
Sound Technician—Steven Deptula
Asssistant Properties Manager—Lauren Corcuera
Assistant Production Manager: Curricual Support—Jamie Carty
Stage and Production Management—Debra A. Acquavella
Scenic Design—Luciana Stecconi
Scenic Painting—Joe Keener
Costume Design—Tyler Kinney
Lighting Design—Scott Pinkney
Sound Design—Arshan Gailus
Emerson Stage Office Assistants—Carleigh Allen, Shannon Horsey, Kaitlin Phelan
Production Management Assistants—Anthony Feola and Caitlin Hudecheck
Scene Shop Assistants—Talia Colten and Samuel Kisthardt
Scene Shop Staff—Jonah Barricho, Sean Dougherty,
Marco Giacona, and Emerson Hart
Paint Shop Staff—Emily Curtis, Serino Nakayama, Garrett Traer,
Fernando Rueda, Kimberly Ndegwa, Leah Heath, Isabella Kochakian,
Lauren Velentzas, and Noelle DeConzo.
Prop Shop Assistant—Alex Koplos
Prop Technicians—Delene Beauchamp, Dan Bovair, Evy Burch,
Oliver Hawke, and Ryan Rock
Costume Shop Office Assistant—