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CPH PRESENTS WORLD PREMIERE OF NEW PRODUCTION THE VERY LONELY DINOSAUR

Posted June 6, 2024 in Press Releases

The Very Lonely Dinosaur becomes the third play premiered in the regional theater’s Family Theatre Program.

The Very Lonely Dinosaur

Written by Nandita Shenoy

Directed by Pamela DiPasquale

June 3- 29, 2024

Various Locations across Buffalo, Cleveland, and Las Vegas

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House (CPH) is proud to present the World Premiere of The Very Lonely Dinosaur as the third production in the CPH Family Theatre Program. This new, heartwarming story written by Nandita Shenoy and directed by Pamela DiPasquale will be performed for young audiences and families in Northeast Ohio and will tour communities in Buffalo, New York and Las Vegas, Nevada, and is a fulfilling, family friendly production for children and adults of all ages.

The Very Lonely Dinosaur uses live theatre to help children viewers understand their big and small emotions in the form of an unlikely friendship between a little girl and a lonely dinosaur. In the humorous yet meaningful story, little girl and dinosaur form a friendship despite the dinosaurs occasional feelings of insecurity, anger, and loneliness. He begins to heal his past trauma due to a loss in his life by talking about his emotions, gaining self awareness, caring for others, and making new friends. This educational yet touching play leaves plenty of room for comedy between its serious messaging, and involves exciting audience interaction with the loveable characters. The charming play encourages little audience members to tell their own stories, so everyone will know exactly how they feel and why it is important that the big people in their life get it just right.

Playwright of The Very Lonely Dinosaur, Nandita Shenoy, is a New York City based actor-writer. Cleveland Play House is thrilled to collaborate with Shenoy, who has used her talents to curate The Very Lonely Dinosaur to meet the needs of children and families across Buffalo, Cleveland, and Las Vegas. Cleveland audiences may remember Shenoy for her performance of the role of Jevne in the Cleveland Play House production of Tiny Houses in 2019.

Shenoy says. “I hope that audiences will feel empowered to tell their own stories after seeing The Very Lonely Dinosaur. Meeting with students and teachers at several CARES schools, I was struck by their desire not only to see themselves and their experiences reflected on stage but also by the wish for agency over that narrative. They inspired me to write this play about an outsider who learns how to process their trauma by sharing their experience from their own perspective. As a playwright who grew up in Buffalo, it means so much to me to have a play premier in my hometown.

CPH Director of Education and Aritstic Strategies, and director of The Very Lonely Dinosaur Pamela DiPasquale says, “We have been lucky enough to work with a talented playwright who was more than willing to learn about the children of our community and write this love letter specifically for them. Further, the entire creative and extremely talented team brings with them the responsibility and importance in creating art for young children and their families- and as such, they are exploring a fleeting part of humanity and childhood, with a dignity that gives way to humor and joy.”

The Very Lonely Dinosaur is one in a series of six plays funded by the U.S. Department of Education. Previous productions include Teddy Bear Mountain, which toured to communities in Greater Cleveland and upstate New York in 2022, as well as Watching Butterflies, which premiered at Playhouse Square and toured to Amsterdam, Netherlands in 2023.

Cleveland Play House’s groundbreaking educational programming seeks to use the medium of theatre to mitigate the adverse childhood experiences that many young people have in their formative years. DiPasquale says, “When very young children experience trauma, it can have adverse, long lasting side effects. In many cases children will create imaginary friends as a way to dissociate from the trauma.”

Cleveland Play House’s Family Theatre programming takes away the stigma of discussing Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) opening within our community, and allows families a safe space to discuss challenging life experiences with young children.

DiPasquale continues, “There is nothing like the power of live theatre. Children are able to see themselves through the lens of a character or a story as they laugh, cry, cheer and jeer with those characters. In an audience full of their peers, they realize they are not alone in their feelings or their stories. It builds a community in which even the youngest of us discover empathy and compassion. We hope that children and families can use the common language and tools that our sweet little dino learns to describe and control his own big feelings, and we’re very excited to be embarking on this opportunity and this partnership with our anchor institutions in Las Vegas and Buffalo.”

Performances of The Very Lonely Dinosaur will tour schools and community centers within Cleveland, Buffalo, and Las Vegas. The tour begins in Greater Buffalo with performances running June 3 – 8; moves to Greater Cleveland from June 11 – 22; and completes in the Las Vegas Metro area from June 24 – 29.

The performances in Cleveland are at the following locations:

Thursday, June 13 at 10:00 a.m. at the Fatima Family Center

Saturday, June 15 at 1:00 p.m at the CPL Lorain Ave Branch

Monday, June 17 at 10:00 a.m. at Memorial Nottingham

Tuesday, June 18 at 1:00 p.m. at CPL Harvard Lee

Friday, June 21 at 4:30 p.m. at 2nd Semester Consignment & Resource Shop

Saturday, June 22 at 1:00 p.m. at Julia De Burgos Cultural Arts Center

Performances of The Very Lonely Dinosaur are free to attend. No ticket is needed. For more information, please email community@clevelandplayhouse.com, or visit http://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/the-very-lonely-dinosaur

ABOUT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. To learn more, visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com.

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