Since our start in 1985, we have created and premiered 33 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 13.5 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, District of Columbia, and Canada.

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, Alyssa Satin Capucilli, Megan McDonald, 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 resident playwright. Karen Bibbo is Company and Production Manager, Suzanne Tuck is ArtsPower’s Senior Booking Associate, and Josie McAdam is the Assistant to the Company and Production Manager.

Our History

ArtsPower was founded in 1985 by identical twins 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 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 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 33rd season in 2018-19, 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

ArtsPower’s primary mission is to develop and tour new, literature-based musicals and dramas that highlight the most transformative and thrilling aspects of theatre for young and family audiences – the live presence of professional actors, the robust sounds of a beautifully composed and orchestrated musical soundtrack, and the dynamic expression of well-crafted sets and eye catching costumes – to strengthen children’s connections to family, peers, and their own feelings. In order to accomplish this mission, we make our high-quality theatre accessible to elementary and middle school children by touring our productions to regional theatres, cultural centers, university auditoriums, and schools throughout the United States and Canada.

Our Vision

To continue to actively engage and challenge children and adults to think more creatively, feel more deeply, and be kindhearted and fair-minded members of society.

Our Values

Artistic Excellence
Educational Relevance
Respect for Every Person
Fairness
Empathy

Our Repertoire

YEAR CREATEDPRODUCTIONMUSICALDRAMA
1989Four Score and Seven Years Ago
1991Olympic Spirit: The Jesse Owens Story
1992Beyond the Miracle
1993Anne of Green Gables
1994Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
1995Laura Ingalls Wilder
1996Salem Justice
1997Terrifically Tilly
1998A Little Princess
1999Caddie Woodlawn
2000Are You My Mother?
2000Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great
2001Anastasia Krupnik
2001Highlights for Children
2002The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle
2002Lily’s Crossing
2003From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
2003Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
2004The Rainbow Fish
2005My Heart in a Suitcase
2005Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon
2006Harry the Dirty Dog
2007Madeline and the Bad Hat
2007Fish Face
2008The Silent Boy
2009Jigsaw Jones and the Case of the Class Clown
2013The Monster Who Ate My Peas
2014Dog Loves Books
2015Chicken Dance
2016Biscuit
2017Nugget & Fang
2018You Alien
2019Judy Moody and Stink

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: A Bronx Tale, Grease. Off-Broadway: Tony and Tina’s Wedding. National: A Bronx Tale (Broadway tour), Jersey Boys (Las Vegas). TV: NBC’s “Another World,” “All My Children.”

Russell Joel Brown: Broadway: The Lion King. 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. Regional: Saved, The Tutor, The Corn Is Green. TV: “Parks and Recreation,” “Kidding,” “Nurse Jackie,” “The Good Wife.”

John Forster: (Composer) Broadway: Into the Light.

Nathan Gehan: (Company Manager/Associate Company Manager) Broadway: 42nd Street, Legally Blonde, Motown the Musical, Evita, A View From the Bridge, Spamalot, The Gin Game, Something Rotten, The Audience. National: Shrek, Jesus Christ Superstar. (President): Fifth Estate Entertainment.

Kirk Geritano: Off-Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof.

Paul Ianiello: National Tour: Elf.

Autumn Norman: Broadway: Legally Blond. Broadway National Tour: Little Women, Something Rotten.

Brandon Kahn: (Stage Manager) Broadway: Seafarer, South Pacific, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Mary Stuart. Regional: (Producing Manager) Williamstown Theatre Festival. (General Manager) The Alley Theatre.

Gabe Kalomas: National Tour: Les Miserables. Regional: Mary Poppins, Carousel, Evita, Memphis, My Fair Lady, Closer Than Ever, Big Fish.

Norm Lewis: Broadway: The Phantom of the Opera, Tommy, The Wild Party, Porgy and Bess, Sondheim on Sondheim, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Chicago, Dessa Rose, The Little Mermaid, Show Boat, Once on This Island. TV: “Scandal.”

Cary Miller McAllister: National: Little Women (Broadway Tour).

George Psomas: Broadway: South Pacific, Fiddler on the Roof.

Paul Salvatoriello: Broadway: A Bronx Tale. National: A Bronx Tale (Broadway Tour).

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 a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our New Jersey office and shop/warehouse are located at 9 Sand Park Road, Suite 6, Cedar Grove, NJ 07009. Auditions and stage manager interviews take place at Ripley-Grier Studios and Simple Studios in New York City. ArtsPower’s rehearsal space is located at A.R.T./NewYork.