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Rescue Rue - Autism-Friendly Performance

Book and Lyrics by Stacey Weingarten; Music and Lyrics by Kate Steinberg & Joshua Zecher-Ross

Rescue Rue - Autism-Friendly Performance

at Ford Foundation Studio Theatre  [map]

  • Sunday, July 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

Find your happily furever after!

When a little dog named Rue wishes for a “Happily Ever After” from her Fairy Dogmother, she soon embarks on an emotional journey of self-discovery and belonging. Kicked out of her home, Rue meets new friends and enemies alike on the street and at the pound before finding her “Furever” home in NYC and realizing life is really about finding your happy beginnings, not endings! Based on a true adoption story, this family-friendly pop musical is told by a colorful cast of puppets and people. Fun for all ages!

Autism-Friendly Information:

This show is performed in a friendly, supportive environment for an audience of families and friends with children or adults who are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other sensitivity issues. Slight adjustments to the production include reduction of any jarring sounds or strobe lights focused into the audience. The theatre lobby will have a quiet/activity area, staffed with autism specialists, for those who needed to leave their seats during the performance.

Downloadable social narratives (in Word format), with pictures of the theatres and productions, are available for download in advance of the performances. These are designed to personalize the experience for each attendee with ASD.

Rescue Rue Social Narrative Available Here

As with all NYMF performances, tickets are only $25, which includes one fidget per seat.

Special thanks to Theatre Development Fund's Autism Theatre Initiative for serving as consultant,


Note to parents:

Rescue Rue features some potentially scary moments in the song "Danger's Coming." This show also addresses bullying.

Running Time: 1 hour with no intermission

Stacey Weingarten

Stacey Weingarten (Book/Lyrics)

Stacey wears many hats, often bookwriting, producing (EP Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC), and puppeteering – sometimes directing. She's the Puppet Wrangler/Wardrobe Head at Avenue Q Off-Broadway and Professor of Puppetry at Pace University, after an Off-Broadway debut in John Tartaglia's ImaginOcean. Stacey's first collaboration with David Levinson, Les Enfants…, premiered at NYMF ’11 (Dir. Donna Drake). Other projects: Monica’s Mixing Bowl, Jarreau’s, and Ludo’s Broken Bride (ANT Fest ’13; upcoming Cutting Room concert 6/23).

Kate Steinberg

Kate Steinberg (Music/Lyrics)

Kate Steinberg is a New York City-based performer, composer, songwriter, and session vocalist. NYC: Ludo's Broken Bride (Ars Nova and The Cutting Room), concerts at The Bitter End, 54 Below, The Cell, Subculture, Rockwood Music Hall. Kate's arrangements, vocals, and compositions have been featured in artist recordings, jingles, film, television shows, video games, and advertisements for clients such as Hefty, Marvel, Coors Light, Brother, UPS, McDonald's, and KFC.

Joshua Zecher-Ross

Joshua Zecher-Ross (Music/Lyrics)

Joshua Zecher-Ross is an NYC-based music director, composer, accompanist, and vocal coach. NYC: work on Avenue Q, A Night with Janis Joplin, various shows at 54 Below, Joe’s Pub, The Laurie Beechman, Don’t Tell Mamas, and others. Most recently: Celebrating the Music of William Finn at Merkin Hall with Mr. Finn. Regional: over 75 productions as music director at various theatres in NY, CT, CA, and IL. Joshua holds a bachelor of music from the Steinhardt School.

Jennifer Barnhart

Jennifer Barnhart (Squish)

Jennifer Barnhart is delighted to be part of the pack of RESCUE RUE! She was an Original Cast Member of Avenue Q and remained with it for its six-year run on Broadway (and she still occasionally gets to play at New World Stages). She also played the title role in the musical The Legend of Julie Taymor at the Fringe Festival in 2011, for which she won an Award for Overall Excellence in Performance. Other recent roles include Lady Macbeth, Veronica in God of Carnage, and Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor, all at Alabama Shakespeare Festival. TV credits include Between the Lions, Johnny & the Sprites, and Sesame Street, as well as two stints on Law & Order: SVU twice… once, playing a puppeteer.

Nate Begle

Nate Begle (Prissy/others)

Nate is so thrilled to be a part of this wonderful show, and not just because he loves both dogs and puppets! Or even that his last name is "Begle" (pronounced like the dog!) You can see all of his past work and current silliness at!

Sarah Liz Haines

Sarah Liz Haines (Narrator)

Sarah is thrilled to be a part of the RESCUE RUE team! She has been in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, Freckleface Strawberry, Romeo and Juliet, and others. Sarah is currently working on her one woman show ...And Juliet. Thank you to her incredible support system of family and friends, without you I would be lost.

Jason Jacoby

Jason Jacoby (Apollo/others)

Jason Jacoby is currently appearing Off-Broadway in Avenue Q as Nicky/Trekkie/Bear. Other credits include: Rubble (with Bruce Vilanch, FringeNYC), G.B.S. (Clockwork Theatre), Le Hot Blu (NYTW), Avenue Q (Skylight Music Theatre, Smithtown PAC), Cabaret, The Producers, Beauty and the Beast (Park Playhouse), The Piper (Capital Repertory Theatre), Reckless (The Gallery Players). Thanks to 9MUSE, and my "furever" friends Max and Al.

Lisa Helmi Johanson

Lisa Helmi Johanson (Rue)

Lisa is doggone delighted to be portraying one of her favorite four-legged friends! She is currently in Avenue Q at New World Stages. New York/Tour credits: Christmas Eve in Avenue Q (National/International Tour), Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem), Women Beware Women (Red Bull Theater), Ghost Girl (Workshop Theater). Select Regional Credits: 4,000 Miles (St. Louis Repertory Theatre), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Merry-Go-Round Playhouse). Workshops: Bruce Lee the musical (Broadway Asia/Elephant Eye Productions), Bathory (SeeSAW & D3 Productions). Film: Waystation in the Stars, Helena's Flushing. Grateful performer with Musical Magic with the Ronald McDonald House of New York. Heartfelt thanks go out to Harden-Curtis and her beautiful family, friends, church, and J. Micah 6:8.

Brendan Malafronte

Brendan Malafronte (Artemis/others)

A graduate of A.M.D.A in NYC, Brendan has had one foot in musical theatre, and the other in professional puppetry and puppet design. Favorite credits include John Tartaglia’s Imaginocean, Losing It: With John Stamos, The 39 Steps (Clown 2), Singin In The Rain (Cosmo Brown), The Producers (Leo). Huge thanks and even more love goes out to his parents and family, without whom he might have ended up sane.

Gretchen Wylder

Gretchen Wylder (Fairy Dogmother)

Gretchen Wylder is happy as a pup to be joining the cast of RESCUE RUE as part of the NYMF this year! She was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Til Divorce Do Us Part, which was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Best Revue. She's thrilled to be breaking out her puppet skills again after playing Kate Monster/Lucy in Avenue Q, directed by Rick Lyon. Other off-off New York credits include The Wild Party (Madelaine True), Urinetown (Pennywise), and Lesbian Love Octagon (Wendy). Selected regional credits include Tick Tick Boom, 1776, Assassins, and The Musical of Musicals: The Musical. Gretchen will be debuting her first cabaret in the fall – go see it! This one is for my favorite pupsicle, Marlow!

Rhonda Miller (Choreographer)

Rhonda is proud to be the Director of the BFA Commercial Dance program at Pace University in New York City.
Stage credits: Nothing Like A Dame at the Marquis Theater in New York City, ABC Daytime Salutes at Town Hall, The Wild Party, Chicago, All Shook Up, City of Angels, Rent, Hairspray, Little Shop of Horrors, Cats, Anything Goes, and numerous musicals for New York City Musical Theater Festival for which she received the Outstanding Choreography Award. Some of Rhonda’s television credits include American Film Institute Awards with Catherine Zeta Jones, General Hospital, The Boys for HBO and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show for HBO. Her work has also been seen in commercials and industrials for such Fortune 500 companies as Chrysler, Toys R Us, Warner Brothers, and Exxon-Mobil. She choreographed Broadway Nights for Celebrity Cruisline, Cinematastic for Princess Cruise line and is looking forward to choreographing Mary Poppins in 2015 with Director John Tartaglia.

Andrew Wheeler (Musical Director)

NYC: It's a Wonderful Life (Mile Square Theatre), Help Wanted: Pirates! (dir: Mary-Kate Burke); Failure (w/ Max Von Essen, dir: David F. Chapman); Benefit Concert w/ Rebecca Pitcher, Karmine Alers, & Anthony Galde; Ligeia (Metropolitan Room); Hedwig... (with Jonathan Whitton); Welcome to the World (with Julie Foldesi, Chris Hanke, Kate Reinders, and Sarah Lizsinger); and Bring Back Birdie (2006 MAC Award Nominee). Regional: Sweeney Todd (Playmaker's Rep.), Fiddler... (starring Bill Nolte), Sweeney Todd, Legally Blonde, JCS (CFRT), Hairpsray, Triumph of Love, ...Forum, Annie, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, ...Spelling Bee, (Millbrook Playhouse); Last 5 Years; Do Patent Leather Shoes...? (dir. by David F. Chapman). Teaching artist at Seton Hall Univ., and Mayo PAC in Morristown, NJ. BFA from NYU/Tisch (CAP21).

David Goldstein (Scenic Design)

David Goldstein is happy to be back with NYMF for his 5th Season and 11th NYMF Project. This year, he is represented by Der Gelbe Stern, Cloned!, RESCUE RUE, and Deployed! PREVIOUS NYMF: The Water Dream, 2013. Riley Thomas' Looking Forward, 2013. The Pirates of Finance, 2013. Gary Goldfarb: Master Escapist, 2013. Stuck, 2012. Ghostlight, 2011. The Most Ridiculous Thing You’ve Ever Hoid, 2010. NYC: Wearing Black, Kraine Theatre. Miss Kim, 45th Street Theatre. Jack and the Beanstalk, New Acting Co. Apollo and Daphne, Riverside Church. Assisted David Korins (BWY: Pee Wee Herman Show, Chinglish, Godspell). REGIONAL: NCStage Company (Stalking the Bogeyman, upcoming Off-Broadway), Cohoes Music Hall (Hello Dolly, Five Guys Named Moe, My One and Only, Les Miserables), West Virginia Public Theatre (9 to 5, Anything Goes, All Shook Up), Allenberry Playhouse (Smokey Joes Café, The 39 Steps). LA: West Side Story, Elevator (Hudson Theatre), Boomermania!, Silent Roar (El Portal Theatre). Its Top Secret!, Noho Arts Center. The Playground, MET Theatre. Rocky Horror Show, Underground Theatre. Batboy, Whitefire Theatre. Frankie and Johnny, Santa Monica Playhouse.

Mitchell Ost (Scenic Design)

Mitchell Ost is thrilled to be working on RESCUE RUE. He is a New York City based set and lighting designer with credits on both sides of the Atlantic and Pacific. He is a resident designer for Joe's Pub, Tiny Starr Theater, and Theater for a New Generation. Thanks to Katie, Matt, and Sarah for all their help!

Bree Perry (Costume Design)

Bree Perry is a Costume Designer, Stylist, and the real life Squish's forever mom. Her skill set spans Film, Theatre, and Fashion. Most recently Bree worked on various projects costuming the Muppets, tailoring Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour, and on the design team for the feature film The Mend. Thanks to the Cast, Crew, & Stacey!

Andy Hayward (Puppet Design & Construction)

TV/Film Performance: Elmo's Christmas Countdown, The Get Healthy Now Show, Kids' Favorite Country Songs, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Nice Is Cool, The Money Mammals, Disney's Golden Screams. Puppet Design/Fabrication: Chuck E. Cheese, Sesame Street Live, Bear in the Big Blue House Live, The Second City, BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, Roman Coppola Studio.

Kate Devine (Lighting Design)

Kate Devine graduated with a degree in Theatrical Design from The University of North Carolina - Greensboro in 2010 and had lived in New York ever since. She has interned at Williamstown Theatre Festival and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Previous design credits include Grease (DreamYard Prep), The Wonderful Remix of Oz (Haberdasher Theatre Company), and A Chanukah Charol (New World Stages). Previous technician credits include Avenue Q (New World Stages), La Soirée (Union Square Theater), and Taking Care of Baby (Manhattan Theatre Club). She currently runs lights and sound for Satchmo at the Waldorf (West Side Theater).

Gordon Heal (Sound Design)

Gordon Heal is currently a house sound engineer at Rockwood Music Hall. Highlights include-- Head of Sound: Belfry Theatre (Victoria, Canada). Head of Sound: Royal Caribbean’s Oasis, Liberty, and Freedom. Theatrical design and engineering: Any Night (Vancouver-Jesse Award Nomination, Toronto-Now Award), The Ends of the Earth (Victoria-Critics’ Choice Nomination), Hairspray (RCCL), Saturday Night Fever (RCCL), Illusions: Magic N’ Miracles (Tour). Recent sound engineering: Jessie J, Michael Kiwanuka, Ingrid Michaelson, etc. IATSE 168.

Caskey Hunsader (Stage Manager)

Caskey is excited to be joining Stacey and the RESCUE RUE team! Previous children’s theatre includes TheatreworksUSA’s If You Give A Pig A Pancake and Other Story Books. National tour credits include: Love, Janis, The Wizard Of Oz, Tap Dogs, A Chorus Line, and Alton Brown Live!. In NYC, Caskey has worked on a number of festival shows and developmental workshops. In addition to stage management, Caskey is a writer/performer and the creator and star of the web series, fat guy. He also host the ongoing series, Standing By. Learn more at

Jamie Bednarchick (Assistant Stage Manager/Hair Design/Makeup Design)

Jamie Bednarchick is a Philly-based freelance Hair and Makeup Stylist. With 17 years of industry experience, she has styled for countless private events, including a wedding in Cairo, Egypt. Her most recent work includes Penn Jersey Roller Derby's Knock Down Drag Out and local independent film. As an enthusiastic dog-mother to her terrier mix Benjamin, RESCUE RUE holds a special place in her heart.

Corey Gosslin - Your Theatrics International (General Manager)

Your Theatrics International (YTI) is a full service entertainment production company specializing in the production and management of theatrical events around the world. With offices in The United States and Australia, we collectively have produced theatre and live music in 4 continents and over a dozen countries. Currently: Executive Producer of The Your Theatrics International Cabaret Contest (YTICC), General Management of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), Associate General Management of Tony Award winning Tom Smedes Productions and Cesa Entertainment. Previously: The 56th Drama Desk Awards, Australasian tours of Tony Award winners Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel, nominees Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and General Manager of Jekyll and Hyde The Musical International tour.

For more information visit:

Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC (Producer)

Formed in 2011 as a partnership between three multi-cultural, multi-generational women, Chinese Mother Jewish Daughter LLC strives to support developing works that live where art and entertainment collide. Under EP Stacey Weingarten, the company debuted at NYMF ‘11 with Les Enfants… (now 5eme République), and is also developing Jarreau's (fka Madame, NYMF Reading ‘12), Ludo's Broken Bride, and Monica’s Mixing Bowl – a series that challenges children and families to "make friends with food."

Michelle Geisler (Assistant Director)

Michelle Geisler is thrilled to be a part of this exciting new production! She recently spent the season with the Alabama Shakespeare Festival in various productions, including Twelfth Night (Olivia), Tom Sawyer (Becky Thatcher), and To Kill A Mockingbird (Mayella Ewell). BA Musical Theatre/Music Theory minor, SUNY Geneseo. Endless gratitude and all my love to NBF.

Rue (Production Assistant)

Rue is thrilled to lend a paw to this semi-autobiographical adventure! Rue hails from West Virginia, having ventured to NY thanks to the baddest Brooklyn animal rescue there is, where she found her furever with Stacey Weingarten. Favorite activities include snacking, napping, The Golden Girls, and chewing plastic water bottles for greater recycling efficiency. She also enjoys visiting her grandparents and Auntie Baby (Rat Terrier) and "Unkie" Fred (Yorkie) out in the beautiful NJ countryside.