CARE TAKES STAGE IN "PARENTAL GUIDANCE SUGGESTED (AN UNFORTUNATELY
TRUE MUSICAL DRAMEDY)" BY IRENE HERNANDEZ
NEW YORK, August 7 – Children are a joy, right? Not to Irene, the teacher’s assistant (and leading character) in "Parental Guidance Suggested (An Unfortunately True Musical Dramedy)," a darkly comedic, partly autobiographical musical about the chaos of working at a daycare on minimum wage. Conceived and written by Irene Hernandez with lyrics by Hernandez and music by Paul Bremner and Jen Bush, "Parental Guidance Suggested" takes place within the typical daycare workday of an assistant teacher named Irene who does all the dirty work of the job. Every day involves a mountain of cleaning, preparing snacks, changing diapers, toilet training, more cleaning, organizing activities, dealing with the constant criticism of the lead teacher and taking care of the chaotic kids: Jenny, who cries over everything; Annie, a picky eater who takes everything away from the other kids; Milo, who takes forever to fall asleep at naptime and Peter, who only likes to drink juice and whose bladder and temper hate Irene.
To keep her sanity in this candy colored prison, Irene breaks the fourth wall -- and into song. It’s an unconventional book musical with uncensored songs about typical daycare dilemmas: two little girls fighting over the same doll, a little boy scared of monsters who can’t sleep at naptime, a bed wetter who pees in his pants again and again and the agony of cleaning Play-Doh from everything. The music spans genres including rock and roll, pop ballads, the blues, alternative rock and even barbershop quartet. The characters (grownups play the children) sing their grievances to Irene, while she struggles to get through her workday at the daycare and hopes to find a better job.
"Parental Guidance Suggested (An Unfortunately True Musical Dramedy)" takes a close look at the sacrifices we all make to get by, and the individuals we tolerate along the way. Can you ever achieve your dream if you have to spend time fighting to survive? What is the most we are willing to put up with in exchange for the humiliation of a terrible minimum wage job? This no-holds-barred show challenges our assumptions about professional childcare and the people we trust with our children. It smashes the perception that these are easy, or pleasant jobs, and instead serves us the cold, hard reality.
Writer/director Irene Hernandez is an actor, writer, director, producer, singer, jewelry designer, teaching artist and the artistic director of her own theater company, Dancing Frog, a non-profit theater company committed to producing original plays to create bold, honest work that challenges and connects with audiences. She has had several of her plays at theater festivals, such as Downtown Urban Arts Festival (for three years in a row) and Lower East Side Festival of the Arts. She graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Theater. She lives in Rockaway Beach, NY. For this play, she drew on her own experiences as a struggling multi-disciplinary artist and daycare employee.
Composer Paul Bremner has been a guitarist for the rock band, IZZ for almost 20 years. This is his first musical as composer. He is originally from Scotland.
The eighth annual Dream Up Festival (www.dreamupfestival.org) is being presented by Theater for the New City from August 27 to September 17. An ultimate new work festival, it is dedicated to the joy of discovering new authors and edgy, innovative performances. Audiences savor the excitement, awe, passion, challenge and intrigue of new plays from around the country and around the world.
The festival does not seek out traditional scripts that are presented in a traditional way. It selects works that push new ideas to the forefront, challenge audience expectations and make us question our understanding of how art illuminates the world around us.
A unique and varied selection of productions will again be offered that draw upon a variety of performance specialties including singing, clowning, poetry, street music, magic and movement. The Festival's founders, Crystal Field and Michael Scott-Price, feel this is especially needed in our present time of declining donations to the arts, grants not being awarded due to market conditions, and arts funding cuts on almost every level across the country and abroad.
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