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The Breen Center for Performing Arts
United States
Cleveland, OH

Cleveland's Dancing Wheels to Reprise Ginger Thatcher's Pinocchio!, April 12, 13 & 15

by Mary Verdi-Fletcher
March 2, 2018
The Breen Center for Performing Arts
2008 West 30th Street
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 961-2560
The Dancing Wheels Company, America’s first physically integrated dance company uniting the talents of dancers with and without disabilities, continues its 37th anniversary season with the return of the classic children’s story, Pinocchio! The production will open at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts at St. Ignatius High School (2008 W. 30th St., Cleveland, OH 44113) with student matinee performances on Thursday and Friday, April 12th and 13th at 10:30 a.m. each day. On Sunday, April 15 at 2:00 p.m., the production is open to the public and includes a Family Fun Party. Ticket prices include a post-performance carnival for children complete with games, prizes, and goodies galore!

About the Production

This beloved story, created by Carlo Collodi (Lorenzini), won the hearts of children throughout Europe in 1883, and later through the genius of Disney, was popularized throughout the United States in a 1940s animated feature film. For Dancing Wheels’ version of the classic tale, former Cleveland Ballet dancer and now Broadway choreographer Ginger Thatcher portrays the story of Pinocchio! based off of the original story—but with a new twist. Choreographed to the spritely music of Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Pinocchio’s mischievous escapades take him on new adventures with unique characters such as tap-dancing donkeys and discombobulated, but determined, doctors. Of course, some of the old favorites like Jiminy Cricket, Geppetto, and the Azure Fairy still remain as central figures. A 12-member cast from the Dancing Wheels Company will play a host of witty characters throughout the production, including the following lead roles: Pinocchio portrayed by Matthew Robinson, Caleb Waybright as Geppetto, Mary Verdi-Fletcher as The Azure Fairy and Jake Washabaugh as Jiminy Cricket. Sunday’s performance only, students with and without disabilities from our School and outreach programs will join the Company for a special kids’ section in the performance.

“This revival of Pinocchio! will surely be an event that will bring generations together as this classic tale is told in an inventive, and new way. And who better to tell this story of acceptance than the diverse Dancing Wheels Company?” says President/Founding Artistic Director, Mary Verdi-Fletcher. Furthermore, Verdi-Fletcher says “The Company and School is proudly carrying on its tradition of nearly 4 decades presenting accessible arts to communities in Cleveland and across America, insuring that full and equal access in the arts is available to all ages and abilities.”

About the Choreographer

Ginger Thatcher, Choreographer, has choreographed over 30 works for theater, television, film and concert dance. Most recently, she choreographed the film Far From Heaven, and Maury Yeston's new musical Hans Christian Anderson for Maine State Music Theater. Other NY credits include: Syncopation at Stamford Theater Works, Big at Gateway Playhouse, Barrio Babies at Amas Theater Group, and As The World Turns. Regional credits include: The Robber Bridegroom at Cleveland Opera, Eugene Onegin and The Bartered Bride at Glimmerglass Opera. She has created works for Oregon Ballet Theater, Louisville Ballet, Sarasota Ballet (Triple Circle Choreographer Award), American Repertory Ballet, and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY at the Joyce Theater in NYC. She has self-produced her own evening of work at Lincoln Center and was the founding director of the New Steps Choreography Project in Cleveland, OH, for which she received an Achievement in the Arts Nomination. Broadway credits as Associate Choreographer, Assistant Choreographer and Resident Choreographer include: The Red Shoes, Carousel, Big, Oklahoma, and A Year with Frog and Toad. Other credits: PBS Dance in America-Othello, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, A Brahams Symphony, and Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame, Berlin, all with Lar Lubovitch.

About Dancing Wheels

Under the artistic direction of Founder Mary Verdi-Fletcher, The Dancing Wheels Company, hailed as the World Center for Integrated Dance & Art Access, is recognized as the first and foremost professional Physically Integrated Dance Company in America uniting the talents of dancers with and without disabilities. Now in its 37th season, company members include Matt Bowman, Maggie Doherty, Tanya Ewell, Molly Haslag, Sara Lawrence-Sucato, Deborah Reilly, Matthew Robinson, Mary Verdi-Fletcher, Jake Washabaugh, Caleb Waybright, Meredith Wells and guest artist ‘Lil Craig. Rehearsals are under the direction of Catherine Meredith.
The highly skilled ensemble of stand-up and sit-down (wheelchair) dancers has reached well over five million people world-wide with innovative mainstage performances, school assembly programs, guest appearances and numerous outreach activities. Furthering the mission of inclusive arts programming for all, the School of Dancing Wheels opened its doors in 1990. Today, The School provides community programming and student performances reaching over 6,500 children and adults with and without disabilities annually right here in Cleveland!www.dancingwheels.org


Tickets for Pinocchio! are $15/child and $25/adult and can be purchased by calling (216) 432-0306 or by visiting our website at www.dancingwheels.org (Special group rates available, inquire by phone). Tickets are also available at the door on a first come, first served basis.


The Dancing Wheels Company & School is sponsored through the generous support of the Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, The Kulas Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Kuhn Family Foundation and The Spaeth Family Foundation.
Dancing Wheels in Ginger Thatcher's Pinocchio!

Dancing Wheels in Ginger Thatcher's Pinocchio!

Photo © & courtesy of Dale Dong

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