Since our start in 1985, we have created and premiered 30 new musicals and dramas that are now part of the repertoire of quality, American theatre for children and their families.

ArtsPower has helped to light up the hearts and minds of more than 13 million children and adults by bringing our musicals and dramas directly to young people in grades K-9, their families, and their teachers in first-run regional theatres, cultural centers, university auditoriums, and schools throughout 49 states and the District of Columbia.

We have been privileged to work closely with a number of America’s most beloved authors for young readers, including Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, Paula Danziger, E.L. Konigsburg, Patricia Reilly Giff, and Tammi Sauer in creating one-hour, one-act productions based on their award-winning books for young readers.

ArtsPower supports our live performances with comprehensive Study Buddy educational guides that help teachers integrate the subject matter and themes of our productions into their classroom lessons and discussions.

ArtsPower is led by Founding Co-Directors Gary Blackman and Mark Blackman. Greg Gunning serves as Artistic Director and resident playwright. Karen Bibbo is Company and Production Manager. Suzanne Tuck is ArtsPower’s Booking Associate.

Our History

ArtsPower was founded in 1985 by identical twin brothers Gary and Mark Blackman, who were then jazz musicians and resident artists with a commitment to educating children about jazz music. From their keen interest in bringing high quality music performances to children, ArtsPower was born.

In 1989, ArtsPower produced its very first Actors’ Equity musical theatre production, entitled Four Score and Seven Years Ago, written by Greg Gunning and Kathleen Huber, with music and lyrics by Broadway composer John Forster. This poignant musical focused on the courage and tenacity of an African-American protagonist in his struggle to overcome prejudice and injustice.

Four Score and Seven Years Ago not only fostered pride in America and the young hero we portrayed, it put ArtsPower in the national spotlight as a producer of an exceptional piece of theatre for young people and adults

In 1990, the Blackmans and Artistic Director Greg Gunning set their sights on producing other original works that they believed had relevance to the lives of young people. In addition, their experiences as performers, and now producers, had taught them how well-crafted, compelling art – particularly when experienced at a young age – can make a real difference in people’s lives.

ArtsPower was established firmly around one most important priority: to create outstanding, spirited theatre that speaks intelligently to and resonates powerfully with our audiences, most of whom are young people aged 6 to 15. Now, as we embark upon the company’s 31st season in 2016-17, we take great pride in the national reputation we have earned as a reliable source of compelling theatre that connects with both children and adults.

Our Mission

To bring inspiring theatre to America’s children that feeds their intellect while enhancing the cultural life of their communities, giving children and parents hope, and providing them with powerful examples of how to be kindhearted and fair minded members of society.

Our Vision

To continue to actively engage and challenge children and adults to think more creatively, feel more deeply, and react more compassionately.

Our Values

Artistic Excellence
Respect for Every Person
Fairness
Empathy

Our Repertoire

YEAR CREATED PRODUCTION MUSICAL DRAMA
1989 Four Score and Seven Years Ago
1991 Olympic Spirit: The Jesse Owens Story
1992 Beyond the Miracle
1993 Anne of Green Gables
1994 Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
1995 Laura Ingalls Wilder
1996 Salem Justice  
1997 Terrifically Tilly
1998 A Little Princess
1999 Caddie Woodlawn  
2000 Are You My Mother?
2000 Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
2001 Anastasia Krupnik
2001 Highlights for Children
2002 The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle
2002 Lily’s Crossing  
2003 From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
2003 Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
2004 The Rainbow Fish
2005 My Heart in a Suitcase  
2005 Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
2006 Harry the Dirty Dog
2007 Madeline and the Bad Hat
2007 Fish Face
2008 The Silent Boy  
2009 Jigsaw Jones and the Case of the Class Clown
2013 The Monster Who Ate My Peas
2014 Dog Loves Books
2015 Chicken Dance
2016 Biscuit

Our Actors

ArtsPower is proud of the many talented actors, stage managers, composers, directors, and playwrights with whom we have had the good fortune to work. Below are some of them and their experiences since touring with ArtsPower:

Joseph Barbara: Broadway: Grease. TV:  NBC’s “Another World”

Russell Joel Brown: National Tours: The Lion King (Broadway Tour), The Scarlet Pimpernel, Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Regional: The Full Monty, Big River.

Mary Faber: Broadway: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Avenue Q, American Idiot

John Forster: (Composer) Broadway: Into the Light

Nathan Gehan: (Company Manager) Broadway: 42nd Street, Legally Blonde, Motown the Musical, Evita, Vew From the Bridge, Spamalot

Autumn Hurlburt: Broadway: Legally Blond. Broadway National Tour: Little Women

Brandon Kahn: (Stage Manager) Broadway: Seafarer, South Pacific, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mary Stuart

Gabe Kalomas: National Tour: Les Miserables

Norm Lewis: Broadway: Phantom of the Opera, Tommy, The Wild Party, Porgy and Bess, Sondheim on Sondheim, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon

Cary Miller McAllister: Broadway National Tour: Little Women

George Psomas: Broadway: South Pacific

Evan Siegel: Broadway: Cabaret

Hannah Sloat: Broadway: War Horse

Dan Sharkey: Broadway: Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark,The Music Man, Will Rogers Follies, The Bridges of Madison County

Rachel Spadaro: (Stage Manager) Broadway: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Annie, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, Spamalot, Next to Normal, Jersey Boys, Shrek the Musical, Lend Me a Tenor, The Frogs

Our Offices

ArtsPower has offices in New Jersey and New York City and is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in both states. Our New Jersey office and shop/warehouse are located at 9 Sand Park Road, Suite 6, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009. The New York City office address is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.