Performances to Grow On
Performances to Grow On

School Assemblies
Opening New Horizons for Schools

If we omit the arts from the curriculum, we are in effect short-changing the mind.

— Howard Gardner, Harvard researcher


Welcome to a new year full of wonderful possibilities in the arts. Performances To Grow On is adding an important link to arts education with this assembly program to bring the arts to your school.

See also Adventures in the Performing Arts for field trips to the theatre. 

We believe in a balanced curriculum and the power of the arts to make the educational process more relevant and exciting. In these times of standards and testing, the arts can play a vital role in helping to enrich the curriculum. We hope your school can take advantage of these extraordinary artists and book assemblies for the coming year. Each of the programs in this booklet comes with a special guide designed to help you prepare your students for what they will see as well as providing follow-up activities.  Performances To Grow On looks forward to being part of your Arts-in-education program. 

To schedule an assembly, fill out an order form and mail it to:

Performances To Grow On, P.O. Box 212, Ojai, CA, 93024, or e-mail

Our touring performers are award-winning artists that perform all over the United States. The cost includes their travel and hotel accommodations. These artists are block booked throughout Ventura County making these shows quite affordable compared to a single booking.You must complete this form for each program you wish to reserve. A $100 deposit must accompany each assembly reservation. Full payment is due 3 weeks prior to the show date. For more information, please call Brian Bemel, (310) 890-1439.


Touring Assemblies: Fixed dates for the 2017-2018 School Year


Motoko and Antonio Rocha

From Japan to Brazil
with Motoko and Antonio Rocha
September 7, 2017

1 assembly $850; 2 assemblies $1200

 Acclaimed storytellers Motoko of Japan and Antonion Rocha of Brazil will take your students on a journey with stories and movement from around the world.

Motoko: | video
Antonio Rocha: | video


Dovie Thomason and Kim Weitkamp

Traveling the World Through Stories
with Dovie Thomason and Kiim Weitkamp
September 7, 2017

1 assembly $850; 2 assemblies $1200

From Native American legends presented by Dovie Thomason to humorous tales with music from Kim Weitkamp, your student will be totally engaged by these two award-winning storytellers.

Dovie Thomason: | video
Kim Weitkamp: | video


Norman FooteNorman Foote
November 5-9, 2017

1 assembly $800; 2 assemblies $1200

Norman Foote is an award winning entertainer from Vancouver, Canada who has received international acclaim for his song writing, creative props and off beat sense of humor. His stage show is uniquely Norman and is innovative both musically and visually. When Norman comes to a school, he brings with him the joy of music and performance. The song list comes from his most recent albums ‘Love My New Shirt’, ‘Always Be Yourself’, along with some older Foote classics. What makes Norman so great is his ability to find subject matter that challenges and engages students of all ages. He puts his theatrical and comedic talents to use as he weaves stories and paints musical imagery that audiences respond to immediately. | video | study guide


Hobey Ford - Sea SongHobey Ford's Golden Rod Puppets
Present Sea Song
January 22-24, 2018

1 assembly $800; 2 assemblies $1200

Sea song is the story of a boy discovering nature for the first time through a fascination with the life cycle of the sea turtle.  When a city boy comes to spend his summer at the coast he is suddenly cut off from his digital world and turns his attention to the natural world of a remote coastal beach. Hobey tells the story without words, performing his own hand crafted foam puppets in full view of the audience to the enchanting hang drum music of David Kuckhermann. Following in the style of his classic production Animalia, Sea Song will inspire and delight the audience with the story of the animals that live in the environment where the land meets the sea, where sea turtles, herons, gulls and terns all come to life in the hands of master puppeteer Hobey Ford

Workshop on making shadow puppets can be added for students or teachers for an additional cost: Students: $200, Teachers: $400. Participants learn to make shadow puppets. This is a fantastic workshop combining art, theatre and writing. It has been presented nationally through the Kennedy Center. All materials are provided. Student workshops limited to 25. The workshop is 1 hour for students, 90 minutes for teachers.

hobey ford online | video | study guide


Kuniko Yamamoto with fluteOrigami Tales with Kuniko Yamamoto
March 5-9, 2018

1 assembly $800; 2 assemblies $1200

Welcome to the infinite world of Origami! In Japanese, ori- means “to fold” and -gami means “paper”. Using origami, music and audience participation, storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto provides a magical entry into Japanese culture. In her new show “Origami Tales”, mythological character masks & puppets, amazing flowers and a dragon — all made from origami — set the stage while Kuniko shares heartfelt stories from ancient Japan.

According to organization/school needs, in 45-60 minutes show, expect boundless imagination out of simple paper folding and uplifting world of storytelling.

Stage requirement: a sound system to hook up her wireless headset microphone and MP3 player or CD; minimum stage area of 6’ depth and 12’ width; a variety of stage lighting. 

Workshop on Paper Folding can be added for students or teachers for an additional cost: Students: $200, Teachers: $400. All materials are provided. Student workshops limited
to 25. The workshop is 1 hour for students, 90 minutes for teachers. | video | teacher resource


Clare Murphy, Dublin storytellerClare Murphy, Storyteller Extraordinaire from Ireland
April 16-20, 2018

1 assembly $800; 2 assemblies $1200

Clare Murphy is a renowned storyteller from Dublin, Ireland. She will totally captivate your students with fabulous stories from all over the world. She doesn't just tell stories, she inhabits them and brings them to life in the most fantastic way using humor, movement and interaction with the audience. Clare has performed in over 20 countries and she will take your students on an unforgettable journey. Please don't miss this opportunity to have your students experience this truly magical performer. | video


Assemblies by Arrangement for the 2017-2018 School Year


Alfredo Rolando Ortiz, Harpist Extraordinaire

1 assembly $500; 2 assemblies $725; 3 assemblies $950
Best to have separate assemblies for grades K-3 and 4-5
Elementary schools: Maximum number of students per assembly 350.
Middle School and High School: Flexible.

Invited to return again and again by many schools, over 300,000 children have enjoyed his assemblies! The educational content, adapted to the age and educational levels of the students, includes subjects such as history, geography, language, math, science and others. Assemblies available include:

  1. WORLD ADVENTURES WITH A HARP: Alfredo's personal life stories bring to the students his adventures of migration, hardship and success, including his birth in Cuba and his travel to Venezuela as a child, where he learned the Venezuelan folk harp from a school friend. He then learned the Paraguayan harp and immigrated to Colombia, where, thanks to his music, he became a medical doctor. The internationally acclaimed harpist, composer and author is also the winner of a GOLD RECORD in South America. He interweaves his true-life adventure stories with spectacular music from several countries, music composed to the birds, the crops - even music improvised in the delivery room during the birth of his second daughter! study guide
  2. THE WATER CYCLE ON HARP: Learn about the Water Cycle through music composed to the sea, lakes, rivers, evaporation, clouds, rain and even the world famous IGUAZU waterfalls in the jungle of South America. Explore the creative process of the composer, inspired by nature to imitate on his harp even thunder and "a light in the sea." Each aspect of the cycle is clearly explained and the students participate in the creation of special sound effects to accompany some of the music. study guide
  3. WORLD HOLIDAYS ON HARP: Traditional Latin American melodies, international holiday favorites as well as original music celebrate Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year and more in this fun assembly which also includes audience participation. | videos


Antonio Sacre, Bilingual Storyteller

1 assembly $600; 2 assemblies $850; 3 assemblies $1100

Antonio is a nationally acclaimed storyteller that tells folktales from Latin America and original stories with humor and style. Antonio connects with students of all ages and his warm personality and engaging style are a winning combination for students of all ages. Antonio is also a published author.


Ashas Baba

1 assembly: $625, 2 assemblies: $850, 3 assemblies: $1075

Music, Stories & Amazingly More! with Asha’s Baba” is an astonishing amalgam of songs, singing, African harp playing, interactive games, storytelling and much, much more! Lessons on geography, history, music, languages and cultures are ingeniously and surreptitiously interwoven into the vibrant fabric that is Baba’s energetic, entertaining and witty performance.

Show learning objective: Students will learn of continental Africa’s geography, geology, history, languages, and cultures (music, clothing, food, games, etc.) and the important relationship of its’ land and peoples to the Americas. State of California educational standard connections employed during a typical performance include: History/Social Science, English/Language Arts, Music, Foreign Language and Theater.


Beth Sussman - Concert Pianist

1 assembly $450; 2 assemblies $700; 3 assemblies $950

Juilliard trained pianist, Beth Sussman, uses classical music, literature and poetry to encourage students to read, use their imaginations and improve their listening skills in her highly interactive programs.

NEW SHOW!! Music Tells a Story – Foster a love of reading through stories, music and imaginative games as students learn that music is a language that can express feelings and tell a story.

Who's Afraid of Classical Music?  Become active listeners and make listening fun through games and other interactions as Beth plays accessible classical music including selections familiar from cartoons and commercials.

Needed: a tuned piano. Artist can provide a digital keyboard for an additional rental fee if requested in advance. study guide


Boxtales Theatre Company

Iron John only: 1 assembly $650; 2 assemblies $800; 3 assemblies $950
All other shows : 1 assembly $750; 2 assemblies $900; 3 assemblies $1050

BOXTALES Theatre Company uses storytelling, music, masks, and movement to present world myths and folktales to audiences of all ages. | video

Hero TwinsWaters of the Earth - This production, directed by renowned movement theatre artist James Donlon, with masks and set by Lindsay Rust, explores the rich folklore and mythology of seafaring peoples from all over the globe. Waters of the Earth also includes an introduction to the tradition of Sea Chanteys, songs sung by working sailors on all kinds of ships. Songs from Irish, New England, and African American/Afro Caribbean traditions will be taught and sung during the performance.
study guide

Hero TwinsThe Hero Twins – A Mayan Story - Our newest bi-lingual piece is based on the The Popol Vuh which is the central creation myth of the Quiche Maya people of Central America. It tells the story of Hero Twins who journey down to the Underworld to be tested by and eventually defeat the evil Lords of Xibalba, avenging the death of their father, and clearing the path for human beings to arrive on Earth. The story is filled with magic, a close connection to the animal world and the struggle between life and death. Like Homer's Odyssey, it is one of the world's great "Hero's Journey" tales.
Boxtales' The Hero Twins - A Mayan Story | study guide

B'rer RabbitB'rer Rabbit and Other Trickster Tales from Around the World - Boxtales inspires self-reliance and creative problem solving on a humorous and magical journey with wily creatures who teach us folk wisdom, morals, and life lessons in this collection of Trickster Tales from around the world. 
Boxtales' B'rer Rabbit | video | study guide

Prince RamaPrince Rama and the Monkey King - BOXTALES is pleased to present Prince Rama & the Monkey King. Prince Rama tells the story of Rama of Ayodhya and his wife Sita who is abducted by a demon king, and Rama’s journey to win her back and defeat the powers of darkness in the world. Prince Rama is filled with examples of virtue, values and morality lived out in a challenging and complex world. This entertaining show is more relevant to our times than ever and is presented in the classic BOXTALES style. Don’t miss this unforgettable, curriculum oriented show.
Boxtales' Prince Rama | study guide

Iron JohnIron John - Mining mythology for relevancy for our times, BOXTALES brings this classic tale to life on the stage. This dynamic production is based on the Brothers Grimm tale of Iron John, in which a youth uses a golden key to open up the vital creativity needed for the trials of life. The story as a parable about maturing into adulthood through meaningful rites of passage.
Boxtales' Iron John | study guide

The OdysseyThe Odyssey - Heroic Tales from Greek Mythology - BOXTALES is pleased to present The Odyssey, Heroic Tales from Greek Mythology, now available for elementary schools and theatres. In this show, Greek Hero Odysseus tells of his ten-year journey home from the Trojan War. His encounters with Poseidon, Athena, Zeus, the Cyclops, the Sirens and many other adventures are presented in the classic BOXTALES style. Don’t miss this unforgettable, curriculum oriented show.
Boxtales' The Odyssey | video | study guide

Leyendas de DuendeLeyendas de Duende - Magical Tales of Latin America - Leyendas De Duende explores the rich Indigenous and Hispanic folklore and mythology of Latin America, with stories from Mexico and Puerto Rico as well as Afro/Cuban Rhythm and Song. The stories include La Calavera from Mexico, Paco and the Witch from Puerto Rico and a song that calls to "Alegua - the trickster god of the crossroads", from the Afro-Cuban tradition of Santeria. This bilingual performance was directed by renowned Mexican theater artist Sigfrido Aguilar, in Guanajuato, Mexico, and features stunningly beautiful masks designed by Ann Chevrefils.
Boxtales' Leyendas de Duende | study guide


Bully Dudes

1 assembly $900; 2 assemblies $1000; 3 assemblies $1300.

Mime Keith Berger and Actor David Prather, team up to deliver a one two punch in this exceptionally informative entertainment. Adding humor and physical comedy to the very serious subject of bullying, Berger and Prather enact a series of thought provoking vignettes such as: "The Robot Bully Dude," "The Annoying Name-Calling Bully Dude," "The Bully Dudette," and..."The Bully Dude Buddies"

"Pitch Perfect! I've now seen several of these anti-bullying programs and this is far and away the Best!" |
--Jim Astman, Headmaster Oakwood School, Studio City, CA



The Chameleons - Physical Theater and Mime

Elementary through High School

Touching and funny, their highly crafted vignettes reach students of all ages. Four shows available:

  1. Mime Over Matter -(a collection of classic mime plays, including the Life Cycle, The Escalator, etc.). 1 assembly $750; 2 assemblies $900; 3 assemblies $1150.
  2. Adventures in Space - (a highly original theatre piece that actually ties into the science framework, performed to a thrilling narrated and musical sound track). 1 assembly $750; 2 assemblies $900; 3 assemblies $1150.
  3. The Wonder of Words -(a solo piece by Keith Berger in a highly original theatre piece that ties into the language framework). 1 assembly $700, 2 assemblies $850, 3 assemblies $950.
  4. | video | study guide


Christopher Yates:  Renaissance Arts and Variety

3 performances: $850, 2 performances: $750, 1 performance: $500

Hear ye, gather your young Lords and Ladies to the round table of Lord Rusty and learn how princes to paupers were entertained 500 years ago.  See world class juggling, diabolo tricks, hear renaissance music, and view medieval dance, sports and stilt walking.  With historical reference, live theatrical demonstration, entertainment from the times and lots of participation, Christopher Yates will totally entertain your students as he takes them back to a fanciful world of imagination and humor.  Whether it's storytelling, juggling, comedy, roving on stilts, medieval, pirates and more, Christopher works the crowds like no other. No matter what the age, he wins everyone's hearts. And with commanding presence on stage he is one of the few entertainers who thinks on his feet and has both the talent and experience to alter his entertainment to fit the audience's changing mood. | video


A Classical Blast... of Music & Mime featuring, "Peter and The Wolf"

1 assembly $900; 2 assemblies $1000; 3 assemblies $1300.

Mime artist and member of the world renowned CHAMELEONS Mime Theatre, Sharon Diskin, has teamed up with the brilliant Juilliard trained classical pianist, Beth Sussman, to create a charming interpretation of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter & The Wolf”. In addition to this beloved classic, Diskin and Sussman bring other works of classical music to life with their totally unique blend of Music and Mime.

"Fantastic!!! I have never seen our students in grade Kindergarten through five so enraptured by a performance. The integration of pictures, music, words and mime helped every child be fully engaged in the program." -- Susan Lasken, Principal, Sunny Brae Elementary School, L.A., CA


Courtney Campbell

1 assembly $500; 2 assemblies $650.

Courtney Campbell is a singer/songwriter, master storyteller, writer and musician. She travels the world performing for children, giving concerts, workshops and keynote speeches. Her songs and stories are some of the best most enduring ones for children that you will hear. Teachers use them extensively, Kids and their families worldwide are devoted fans. She has a natural ability to write for children and connect with them " where they live" and they love it. Courtney also stars in and is the co/creator/writer of the award winning children's TV/DVD series Mustard Pancakes. The most fun way to see Courtney is at one of her delightful performances. She is a master. Her audiences are totally and happily engaged from the minute she steps on stage. " What's most important to me," Courtney says, " is to reach inside each person and turn on the lights."


Craig Newton - A Journey Through America's Music

1 assembly $600; 2 assemblies $700; 3 assemblies $850

This 45 minute presentation carries the audience from the roots of American music, English-Irish-Scottish folk and religious songs, to the present day scene of rock, pop and whatever. To make the music come alive, Craig uses a variety of instruments, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, banjo, flute, harmonica and others. The emphasis is on music rather than lecturing.


Dan Crow

1 assembly $500; 2 assemblies $650; 3 assemblies $850

Dan is a wonderful performer known for his zany songs and stories. The biggest secret about Dan is that his school shows are not only fun but quite educational. For the primary grades his focus is on sounds and Dan explores language in a way kids will never forget. For upper grades, Dan does songs about homonyms, prepositions, palindromes, etc., as well as myths and his own original stories. Dan's friendly manner and zany characters are a winning combination your students will long cherish. | study guide | video

gaelic gathering

A Gaelic Gathering - Irish Music & Dance

1 assembly $1000, 2 assemblies $1500

A feast of Reels, Jigs & Hornpipes from Ireland
Thrilling rhythms of Irish Dancing with traditional tunes
Fiddle, flute, pipes, whistle, bodhran, accordion, guitar & vocals

Led by dancer choreographer Máire Clerkin, A Gaelic Gathering was originally created in 2007 for World City, the Music Center’s acclaimed family series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, where it was a smash hit. The six-artist ensemble was developed into a school performance program by funding from the Barbara & Sheldon Pinchuk Fund, with assistance from Barbara Leonard at the Los Angeles Music Center. For students who have never attended a live performance, this riveting assembly can be a transformative experience. Teacher and student feedback has been tremendous. Appealing to all ages, this popular group of dancers and musicians perform lively Reels, Jigs and Hornpipes to excite and educate in equal measure.The music and dance is interspersed with a spoken cultural background narrative, explaining the instruments' origins; describing the dances; the meaning of the songs; the history of figure and stepdancing which link to many other folk traditions. The program includes interactive rhythm games and participatory singing and dancing. It adheres to California Content Arts Standards. 


Jim Cogan, Storyteller

1 assembly $550; 2 assemblies $800; 3 assemblies $1050

Former Principal, Master-Teacher, PBS-Storytime presenter, and dynamic children’s artist-educator, Storyteller Jim Cogan has created a wide array of animated assemblies that creatively incorporate sound, movement, a myriad of facial expressions, and audience participation to engage students with the love of language and involve theme in several programs that help kids deal with difficult issues of today (Bullying, Red Ribbon, Character themes). Jim Cogan Storyteller’s literacy-based programs weave together folklore, fable, legend, myth, history, and personal stories in an individually designed format that incorporates powerful educational concepts and highlight various Standards in the California Framework. study guide

Selections include:

Participation Tales (K-3): Fully interactive assembly involving all in Jim’s physically animated storytelling style.

Literacy, Language, Lore (K-3, 4-6, MS): Character-rich, visually imaginative, vibrantly told stories to celebrate the many treasures of storytelling arts, love of language and lessons of lifelong iteracy.

Bringing Bullying to Bay (K-3, 4-6): Jim has designed two different programs for different age levels that use humorous and dramatic allegorical and true life stories to help students identify bullying behavior, empathize with the targeted victim and understand how immediate group action can protect all…no bystanders

The Language of Health (K–3, 4–6, and 7–8) is a collection of several, age-appropriate storytelling-based, interactive drug education programs that engage students in decison-making skills, problem-solving and lessons for a healthy life.

Family Evenings As you wish; individually designed to promote family storytelling or celebrate school events.

Many other specialized venues available such as:

Multicultural Magic (K-3, 4-6): The celebration of cultural diversity as a unifying force thru stories.

The Story of Character (K-3, 4-6, MS): Highlighting positive behavior through stories that celebrate universally respected character traits.

History is a Story Told Well (4-6, MS): Stories mixed with dramatic narrative that capture perspectives on California history, the Gold Rush, numerous themes in American history and lore.

Innovation and Invention (4-6, MS): Science Program: The story of the Industrial Revolution as seen through the lives of inventors that made it happen: how art and technology created the world of today.


John Zeretzke

John Zeretzke (Professional Teacher Training, A World of Music, A World of Strings, Music Art and Innovation, Goin’South, and Salaauncam).

Professional Teacher Training: Exploration and Connections in the Visual and Performing Arts: 1.5 to 2 hours: $450; 2-4 hours: $550

A World of Music
1 assembly $550; 2 assemblies $750; 3 assemblies $900

With a new and revised show for the season, award-winning artist/educator, composer and world musician John Zeretzke will take you away with "A World of Music." From ancient nomadic double reed shawms to the Hungarian, goat-shaped bagpipe, this unique program will explore aspects of music from early civilizations to the present, including the electric-computerized Steinberger 5-string violin. Connections to modern day band, orchestra and popular instruments are high-lighted. Cultural and historical information is woven into this magical, musical journey. Performances are highly engaging as well as interactive.

World of Strings

A World of Strings
1 assembly $550; 2 assemblies $750; 3 assemblies $900

An exotic journey into the wonderful world of string instruments! Audiences will learn about innovations, new creations, unique designs and musical wizardry within the land of string instruments, from the beginnings of the first bowed and plucked string instruments to modern acoustic and electrical variations. As an award-winning performer of arts education programs for over 28 years, master artist John Zeretzke weaves a awe-inspiring trail for listeners to experience through this solo concert performance and instrument demostration. His rare collection of string instruments from around the globe will leave audience members thrilled, inspired and motivated to learn to play and hear more about the world of music around us.

Music, Art and Innovation with John Zeretzke
1 assembly $600; 2 assemblies $800; 3 assemblies $1100

From music boxes and hurdy gurdies to Theremins and synthesizers, the birth of mechanical and electric instruments paved the way to every innovation and modern design in music today. This performances combines music, visual art and scientific innovation to present a contemporary look at modern culture. Jimi Hendrix, John Cage, Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, the loop recorder and more join forces to present a musical, scientific and visual arts performance. Wow!
study guide



Goin' South
1 assembly $925; 2 assemblies $1200; 3 assemblies $1400

Welcome to a home spun performance of foot stompin' Cajun music, back woods Appalachian mountain tunes, New Orleans street jazz, Zydeco music of the Creoles, the roots of blues and bottleneck guitar styles along with a host of other musical treats. Led by John Zeretzke, A Journey South is a one of a kind performance of music from the southeastern United States. The ensemble is composed of some of America's finest professional musicians artist/educators trained in the skills and techniques of the musical arts and sciences. This fascinating exploration and educational program will open student's minds and hearts into the history and roots of American music and our own unique traditional instruments of the south.



1 assembly $925; 2 assemblies $12000; 3 assemblies $1400

The Salaam Ensemble brings together four famous and inspiring musical talents of the Arab-American music world in this outstanding performance of vocal and instrumental music from the middle and near east, a world of magical sounds that are unfamiliar in our every day lives here in America. Students will see and hear such ancient instruments as the oud (lute), ney (cane flute), kemence’ (bowed spike fiddle) and darabuka or dombek (goblet drum). These styles and forms of music have been heard throughout the middle and near east for thousands of years, delighting listeners of all ages. Story-telling, history, geography, personal and descriptive narrative are woven into this exotically rhythmic educational show. Audience participation is encouraged and guided by the performers during the show, which includes clapping traditional rhythmic patterns of eastern music and some ‘on stage’ music making with the performers.


Lulu Washington

The Lula Washington Dance Theatre

1 show: $1000, 2 shows: $1500

We are pleased to present one of the nation's finest dance companies in our assembly program that can perform at your school.  Internationally recognized for its unique blend of African, Afro-Caribbean, modern, street-dance and jazz techniques, the Lula Washington Dance Theatre provides brilliant depictions of African American experiences, past and present. Founded in 1980, the company is one of the premier African American arts institutions on the West Coast.  An interracial group that reflects a multitude of experiences and backgrounds, under the leadership of Washington this company presents a dynamic, inspirational performance that seeks to build bridges between people of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds.


Mark Beckwith

Mark Beckwith / Solo shows

1 performance $475; 2 performances:$675; 3 performances $875
See also Razzle-Bam-Boom

Waterology:  Performed by either veteran performance artist Mark Beckwith or Michael “Tuba” Heatherton, Waterology is about water science and conservation.  Audience members will be thoroughly engaged by participating in every moment of the performance.

Singing Green:  A high energy K-6 assembly which used music and audience participation to teach students about our valuable natural resources and the reason why we should reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Michael Katz

Michael Katz

“Michael Katz launched into his first tale, silence reigned. Katz is a versatile performer and wonderful storyteller"

— Los Angeles Times.

1 assembly $545; 2 assemblies $725; 3 assemblies $950

Michael Katz has been a storyteller since 1984 and has been featured at such illustrious locations as the openings of both the Los Angeles Getty Center and the Disney Concert Hall. MIchael is the host of the radio storytelling program Katz Pajamas heard on NPR station KCBX FM. He is one of the founding members of the national touring theatre company BOXTALES, and his recording of folktales from around the world, "Far Away and Close to Home" was a receipient of a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award.

Tell me a Story Residency - Michael will be offering a storytelling residency that consists of 2 assemblies and 16 classroom workshops over a 4 week period for $1,945. His 3 day residency includes 12 workshops and 2 assemblies, $1625. He also offers a two day residency that consists of 6 classroom workshops and two assemblies for $1025. The residencies are designed to offer students and teachers an in-depth experience in the art of storytelling.

Assembly Programs:

  • A Journey Through Grimms: Featuring the captivating stories of the brothers Grimm, Michael takes audiences on a delicious tour of portrait, landscape, laughter and sound as they discover one of the most significant collections of folklore in our literary heritage.
  • Ghost Stories: Captivate the imagination with giggles and goosebumps in age appropriate collections of eerie legends, ghost stories and jump tales guaranteed to make them laugh and shiver.
  • I Read it in a Book: Encourage students to read through this captivating program where Michael explores the joy of searching for good books and discovering the wonderful worlds of entertainment, education and imagination they provide.
  • See Me, Hear Me: Inspire children with folktales and original stories that teach them about compassion for themselves and others, a perfect and powerful tool to address the topic of bullying.
  • United States of Stories: Take an exciting tour of the U.S. through stories of different regions and cultures in a rollicking, hilarious and poignant collection from our American patchwork of tales.
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio: Storyteller Michael Katz brings tells his tour de force adaptation of the original Pinocchio, written in Italy by Carlo Collodi between 1881 - 1883. This beautiful, classic tale deals with such important topics as: true friendship, respect, generosity, wise speech, gratitude, sacrifice, and love. Hear Pinocchio as you've never heard it before.

Michael McCarty - Storyteller

1 assembly $550; 2 assemblies $750; 3 assemblies $900

Known for his high-energy performances, Michael will take your students across the globe through story. Using humor, movement and spirited telling, Michael will captivate your students with his exciting program. video


Moira Smiley and VOCO

1 show $750, 2 shows $1250

Moira Smiley & VOCO (vocals, cello, banjo) brings shimmering four-part vocal harmony, crooked rhythms and inventive instrumentals to original song. With vocal sounds called up from Sarajevo to Dublin, Appalachia to the Avant-garde, Moira Smiley & VOCO is about the voice – explored with unrivaled integrity and playfulness. VOCO pulls the audience in with laughter, participation, improvisation and percussive movement, and their joyous and moving story songs. Singing new spirituals, old ballads and dance-songs, these improvisors leap high across vocal bounds while cello and banjo weave in the funk and grace at the low end. In their school assembly programs, they show their playful use of the voice, and both the quirks and beauty of the banjo, accordion and cello. VOCO touches on the folk traditions that celebrate how people sing together (North American, Balkan, South African especially) – with harmony, improvisation, ornamentation. video


Obediah Thomas

The Character Show

The Character Show

1 show $595, 2 shows $795, 3 shows $950

Obediah Thomas (from Razzle Bam Boom) presents an exciting new assembly which uses music, humor, story-telling and audience involvement to educate and inspire K-6 students about trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, citizenship and bullying. | study guide

The Character Show

Bye, Bye Bully

1 show $595, 2 shows $795, 3 shows $950

Obediah Thomas uses song, role playing, and audience interaction to deal with the important topic of bullying. Obediah delicately informs K-6 graders how they can each handle a bully, whether they are the bullied or the bystander. “Bye Bye Bully” defines the “verbal bully”, “physical bully”, the “relational bully”, and the “cer bully”, but does so in a very light, artistic, and engaging way.
| study guide


ON Ensemble

1 assembly $700; 2 assemblies $950; 3 assemblies $1200

With the powerful rhythms of ensemble taiko music as its foundation, the On Ensemble combines musical and dance talents of its four members into unique and provocative performances. On Ensemble School Demo/Lectures provide a unique opportunity for students to be exposed to and learn about taiko drumming and its Japanese roots. The exciting, 50 minute presentation intersperses educational material with engaging and powerful music. Students learn about the various instruments of the ensemble , their names , and how these instruments changed as they made their way from ancient origins to their current use in ensemble taiko. Students learn and participate in the oral tradition of taiko, learning rhythms by vocalizing them. Students hear a range of compositions from heart-pounding, energetic to soothing and melodic. On Ensemble performances are tailored to provide students musical knowledge in an educational, engaging and exciting exposure to taiko drumming. video

Perfect Gentleman

The Perfect Gentlemen

1 assembly $900; 2 assemblies -or- Family Night $1200; 3 assemblies $1400

The purpose of this educational show is to illustrate not only how music and harmony have changed over the last one hundred years but also how the public experiences music through the medium in which they receive it.  The show is crafted to take the audience on a musical journey through time, beginning with a re-creation of the classic American image by Norman Rockwell from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post called “Barbershop Quartet,” and ending with today's most popular form of commercial music, rap and hip-hop. | video


Phil Briggs

One show $525; 2 shows $675; 3 shows $875

The World in the Circus - Tracing the history of the circus from ancient Egypt, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas Circus arts come from everywhere. Drawing from his experience in the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus and his degree in Theatre from Duke University, Philip Briggs, as ringmaster, clown, juggler and acrobat will entertain and educate his audiences about the historical and cultural beginnings of this most eclectic art form.

Clowning with the Classics - A clown's interpretation of the works of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven Classical music remains an enduring part of our cultural landscape. Mr. Briggs (Epoxie the Clown) will transform from bumbling buffoon to triumphant hero through the inspiration of several classical compositions. Clown, juggling, plate spinning and rope walking routines will be performed to the works of Beethoven, Khachaturian, Copeland and others demonstrating the inspirational power of classical music


Pierre Cruzatte -
A Musical Journey on the Lewis and Clark Trail

1 assembly $450; 2 assemblies $650; 3 assemblies $800

The main navigator and most esteemed musician of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Pierre Cruzatte comes to life in this one-man show written and performed by Daniel Slosberg. Playing fiddle, jaw harp, bones, spoons, and other instruments of the expedition, Slosberg takes you on an unforgettable musical voyage-with stops along the way for humorous and moving stories about the journey and Cruzatte's critical contributions to it. Formerly a musician with the nationally known Aman Folk Ensemble, Slosberg has performed and taught in hundreds of schools throughout the country. "Pierre Cruzatte" is suitable for audiences of all ages. A special program of music and song is available for younger children. video



All that Trash

Razzle-Bam-Boom / Beckwith & Thomas

1 assembly $750; 2 assemblies $995; 3 assemblies $1225 (add $100 for outdoor shows)

Mark Beckwith and Obediah Thomas combine guitar, trumpet, banjo, vocals, percussion, humor, movement, juggling, and audience participation to create several distinctively different "edu-tational" shows for schools, libraries, and family venues. Four shows to choose from. video

All That Trash (ecology and recycling)
The musical-comedy All That Trash  features three characters: Professor Pile (played by Mark Beckwith), Tuba (played by Michael Heatherton) and a non-speaking puppet named Polly Ethylene (operated by Mr. Beckwith), who is made from recyclable materials.Faced with the problems of wasted natural resources and too much garbage, Professor Pile helps Tuba discover solutions such as reducing, reusing, recycling, and rethinking the future. The performers use song, humor, and audience participation to communicate and demonstrate concepts about conservation and science. An onstage video screen artistically displays photo collages.

History of Rock And Roll
The roots of Rock and Roll music go back much further than the Beatles, Little Richard or Elvis Presley. Through musical performance, humor, and audience participation, Razzle Bam Boom explores the early cultural influences that led to this 20th century phenomenon. This program is a great blend of fun, culture, and education.

200 Years of American Music
From Stephen Foster to George M. Cohan, from Fats Waller to John Philip Sousa, musician-performers, Beckwith & Thomas incorporate their own zany brand of humor as they sing and play their way back through time and across America. Bluegrass, Gospel, Hawaiian, Western, Jazz, Blues, Folk and Rock 'n Roll are performed with guitar, trumpet, banjo, and vocals. Audiences enjoy doing Cajon hambonin', singing contests, and watching surprise guests from the audience dance the Charleston or the Jitterbug.
study guide

The Wright Brothers
As we approach 100 years of man in flight, Beckwith & Thomas present, with song and humor, the facts about Orville and Wilbur's quest. Beckwith & Thomas assemble a half-scaled, 20-foot wing span model of the original "Flyer" right on stage during the program. Peer pressure awareness and staying on a course of action are among the many character lessons taught and demonstrated in this lively musical program. The show is filled with plenty of laughs and audience participation.
primary grades study guide | secondary grades study guide



Viver Brasil, Dance and Music Company

1 assembly $950; 2 assemblies $1300; 3 assemblies $1450

This Los Angeles based ensemble was founded in 1997 and is committed to cultivating Afro-Brazilian dance and music traditions. The company has developed a body of work that represents the traditional and contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance and music experience. The company received the prestigious Lester Horton Dance Award in 2000 for outstanding achievement in a company performance/no-western dance. The performance is exciting, educational and entertaining with beautiful costumes, unusual instruments and acrobatics. | video


We Tell Stories

1 assembly $675; 2 assemblies $850; 3 assemblies $1050
Elementary through Middle Grades

Folklore and fine literature come to life when We Tell Stories comes to town. With their old trunks full of costumes and props, their extemporaneous style, and their imaginative ways of involving the audience in every production, it is play along theater for young hearts. Since 1981, this multi-ethnic storytelling troupe has inspired thousands of audience members to say, "I could do that!" Titles available: The Soul of the Story, Cuentos de la Familia, Earth Tales, Let Them Eat Books, Asian Tales, Choosing My Way, Season of Giving, and On Our Feet in Open Court (stories from each grade level of the Open Court Reading series), etc. | video