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June 5, 2015 by The Play Group Theatre

Spreading the Magic

Pinocchio Nose

Here at PGT we pride ourselves on the success of our students, while they are here in our home and once they go out into the world. We see the artists they can become, while we celebrate the children that they are. Wouldn’t it be neat to have a piece of PGT’s “heart” taken out into the world not only by our students but by spreading this notion to other schools and organizations? Inadvertently, our amazing Executive Director and technical genius, Steven Abusch, developed a traveling prop that brings the spirit and heart of PGT to hundreds of students around the world.

This intricate and unique tool works with just a click of a button. It is the only one of its kind and has spread to over 30 schools/theatres in the past few years. Check out a few of the exciting adventures below. The PGT magic has spread worldwide…

Beginning with PGT’s own Mira Goodman as Pinocchio in My Son, Pinocchio the nose made its debut in the fall of 2010. “I remember everyday having to put the nose on. THAT was a bit of an ‘experience!’ But I liked it that way because it made me feel professional. It taught me about getting into character, and how to use different technical props to my advantage, something I‘d never done before. It was also really fun because there would be that kind of ‘wow’ factor when the nose came out (onstage) I actually felt like I was Pinocchio.”

In the fall of 2012, “The Nose” made its way to Brandon, Manitoba for Vincent Massey High School’s production of My Son, Pinocchio. Playing the role of the animated wooden puppet was grade 10 student Davis Placatka, appearing in his second Major Production with his school. Davis found the technique of using compressed air to make the nose “grow” a difficult task to master, but the end result was always entertaining for audience and cast members alike. The magic of the nose captured the imaginations of elementary school students attending the matinees. Some members of the younger audiences were amazed to discover that Davis was in fact a live actor and not just a puppet with a growing nose!

The nose then made its way to Lynchburg, Virginia to the Liberty University Theatre Summer Camps production of Pinocchio Junior. We had a lot of fun with the Pinocchio nose during the run of the show. The kids were really excited to get to use such a cool little prop. It added so much to the show by actually allowing Pinocchio’s nose to grow on stage, which was a really fun scene to watch. It made the story come alive.

Fall of 2013, the nose made its way back home to PGT for its run of Shrek the Musical. Our own Thomas Levy recalls his experience as Pinocchio: “Putting on the Pinocchio nose transformed me. Once the nose was fixed to my face, the air tube down my back and the canister on my waist, I was Pinocchio. I was a wooden puppet, driven to refrain from lie. It was truly magic. But the real magic occurred when I pulled the trigger on the canister and the nose grew. It was so fun; I remember I wanted to do it all the time!The nose was a simple device that gave life to my character and made the audience laugh every time - what else could I ask for? It’s so cool that the Pinocchio nose that I used is being shared around, and I hope that everyone enjoys it as much as I did. For me, passing along the nose embraces what PGT loves to do the most…spread the magic!“

More recently, the nose traveled to Sommers, NY for Somers Middle School Drama club production of Shrek Jr. Student Riley reports on her experience: “Hi, I’m Riley Comparetto from Somers, New York and I had a wonderful experience with the Play Group Theatre Pinocchio nose. I played the role of Pinocchio in Shrek the Musical Jr. for the Somers Middle School Drama Club. I was delighted when I learned that my part was going to have the greatest prop of all time … a Pinocchio nose that actually grew. However, a week before our opening night, it was cut from the show. I couldn’t believe it! Understanding that everyone involved in making our production happen was already swarmed with duties to fulfill, I took it upon myself to find a growing nose we could use. It took long, hard, torturous hours of searching, but I’d finally found the perfect option. And that was The Play Group Theatre Pinocchio nose. Everything was set perfectly. Until it snowed in late March and our show was forced to be rescheduled until Sunday morning rather than that Friday night. The problem with this was that the nose had another renter that Monday, and needed to be returned on our new show night … Sunday. Office hours made this situation into a dilemma, but The Play Group Theatre handled the issue with grace and understanding. I highly appreciated that. Not only did I have a good experience with the business side of the nose, but the nose itself was a huge hit. The audience adored the humor and brilliance of the contraption. Everyone was talking about it (all good things of course!). Everything ran smoothly and safely and I couldn’t have been happier to work with the traveling Pinocchio nose. I truly never thought there’d be so much buzz about one nose!”

Check out where the nose has been:

Brandon, Manitoba Canada

Stony point, New York USA

Gloversville, New York USA

Albany, New York USA

Huntington, West Virginia USA

Steger, Illinois USA

Houston, Texas USA

Scott, Arkansas USA

Mamaroneck, New York USA

Atlantic, Iowa USA

Hoosick Falls, New York USA

Whitesburg, Kentucky USA

Murfreesboro, Tennessee USA

Mount Vernon, Washington USA

Naperville, Illinois USA

East Lansing, Michigan USA

Wyckoff, New Jersey USA

Sedalia, Missouri USA

Larchmont, New York USA

Parlin, New Jersey USA

Granite Springs, New York USA

Bogota, New York USA

Hattiesburg, Mississippi USA

Go ahead! Give a click. You've earned it . . .

Honored for excellence in arts education and voted Best of Westchester's Best Local Theater Group, Best Children's Theater, Best After School Program, Best Place to Take the Kids