THEATRICAL WORKS OF Christopher Kaufman
THE PHANTASTIC THEATER – New Music and Art for People of All Ages All at Once
Contact Doctor Kaufman: soundartus at gmail dot com
Doctor Kaufman’s unique presentation method features Symphonic Music and Sound Design, Acting, Dance, Illustrative art streaming on screen (scenery and sometimes interactive characters), Puppetry, Narration and Theatrical Production*. All of these works feature Kaufman’s brilliant music, art and creative spirit.
Doctor Kaufman is an accomplished composer of music for the concert stage, film and the theatrical stage. Kaufman has worked in arts education for over 20 years. Visit his composer page, with news, highlights and resumé, :HERE:
These works celebrate Imagination and are infused with educational elements.
From Doctor Kaufman:
“For the the last number of years I have developed a series of works for Family/Children’s Theater. I am a ‘serious composer’ who has dedicated himself to the life of a creative artist and educator. When my daughter turned four I began the journey which has led to the creation of these works which I call ‘Classical Music Plays’.
In this presentation style, fully realized symphonic music pours through speakers, illustrative art flows on screen – which acts as scenery and sometimes features interactive characters. All is combined with acting, dance, narration, and puppetry. Each work features one signature song.
These works are for all ages all at once. They are interlaced with vital educational content and leave no one behind.
I look forward to collaborating with theatrical troupes and dance companies – to adapt and grow the project to fit your ensemble and vision! For all of these works, I can create a performance package with book, performance film – which includes music and visuals, puppets and set materials as you wish. I am open to your ideas and how your imagination reacts to the works.
Allow me to share a reference from an accredited source.
“Christopher Kaufman’s ‘The Musical Forest’ builds on the tradition of Stravinsky’s L’histiore du Soldat and Prokoviev’s Peter and The Wolf, creating a unique performance work that entertains and educates in an original work of art.” – Joe Carroll – Emmy award winning composer who worked with Jim Henson on Sesame Street and much else.
Another observer called my The Phantastic Zoo ‘Peter and the Wolf on Steroids.’
I feature and premiere these works on my annual event: THE PHANTASTIC THEATER: New Music and Art for People of All Ages All at Once.
I have been developing these works since 2016. They are: The Musical Forest (a ‘music teacher’ for younger audiences), The Phantastic Zoo, Dancing Night Hawk (a cinematic ballet inspired by Native American Myth), The Talisman of Ahau-Kin (a halloween parable film), and my epic fantasy series, Tales of the Ocean City.
Below are synopses of these works with links to pages devoted to them. Thank you for your time in reviewing them and considering these original works for new productions crafted to your specifications.
NOTE: Several have full video/film representations (created from live performances). In them you will see my daughter, Sofia Rose Kaufman, who often performs the lead role, and I perform the works in theatrical chamber settings such as the illustrious Mark O’Donnell Theater. Each works is ripe for expansion. I look forward to adapting them for larger companies. Many characters, now on screen or in puppet form, can be played by live actors and/or dancers. I am happy to work with a company on this and to create performance materials which match your needs.”
*NOTE: All story, music, art and puppet making is the original work of Doctor Kaufman.
First premiered on the very first THE PHANTASTIC THEATER event 2/27/1916, along with a few episodes from THE MUSICAL FOREST. Film is from recent performance 10/30/22.
The Phantastic Zoo tells the story of two young children, Mary and Tim, on their way to a filed trip to the zoo. Tim loves fantasy creatures and looks forward to seeing the alligators because his friend, Little Roger, had said dragons were just giant alligators from long ago. He imagines alligators turning into dragons. Mary thinks back upon the loss of their parents a year past, and is glad to see Tim joyful and excited. They reach the zoo and see exhibits (set pieces) – Elephants, Exotic Birds and Lions. Here Doctor Kaufman’s soundscore combines the sounds of these actual creatures in his orchestrations. When they reach the alligators they are greeted with a sign that the tank is under repair. There are no alligators. They sit on a bench as Tim cries and Mary consoles him.
Here, the story takes a magical turn, as the Wizard Zitthoona arrives, introduces himself and ushers the children into his Phantastic Zoo. Mary and Tim hear the profound stories of The Phoenix, The Mermaid and The Dragon, who give the children powerful life lessons about living life with Imagination.
Afterwards, they return to their Aunt Peggy’s house and the giant tree in their front yard comes to life. The works ends with a song, ‘Music Magic is Everywhere.’
DANCING NIGHT HAWK – an original fantasy adventure inspired by Native American Mythology
Project Page ::HERE::
See the film ::HERE::
Young Dancing Night Hawk must save the Ne’ne’me’kay’aa, the Thunderbirds who protect her village, from
Ma’ha’kuk, the evil Dragon Lords who hold the Ne’ne’me’kay’aa captive in their Niagra Fortress. Join Dancing Night Hawk and her grandfather ‘Tree Who Hugs The Clouds’, on their terrific adventure!
Doctor Kaufman created this work for his daughter, Sofia Rose Kaufman, and he to perform together. You may see the film of the first production. This film, as per Kaufman’s ‘Classical Music Play’ presentation style, features full symphonic music pouring through speakers, illustrative art on screen which acts as scenery and has interactive characters, acting, puppetry and dance. Kaufman often describes this work as a cinematic ballet.
This work can be developed theatrically as a larger-scale ballet, or a combination of the two. Doctor Kaufman can, per usual, deliver a
performance package which has whatever elements as theatrical company may desire – performance film with characters redacted or not, and the like. His puppets are available for rental. Speak to him about your ideas. He is ready to collaborate!
The Adventures of Squiggle T. Buglet in THE MUSICAL FOREST
PROJECT PAGE ::HERE:: (scroll down)
STORY: Squiggle T. Buglet adventures through the musical forest. She ‘plays the forest’, making music with leaves and rocks and wind. She learns music words and earns ‘seed pods’ by playing music adventure games with her teacher friends – each seed pod represents a different music fundamental (rhythm, melody, harmony, the families of instruments) – all with the goal of reaching Doctor Soundartus’s Mysterious Cave and playing music on his Magic Music Wall, which she does in the final episode.
As she adventures to different parts of the forest to meet new teacher friends, Squiggle must cross the bridge. Here, ‘Little Troll’ pops up and quizzes her on what she learned in the previous music adventure. At the last, she and ‘Little Troll’ make friends and adventure to Doctor Soundartus’s Mysterious Cave together.
Doctor Kaufman and his daughter, Sofia, have performed The Musical Forest, the first of his music plays, starting from when Sofia was four years-old. They performed it in classrooms, as a workshop, on stage in chamber settings and all the way to full orchestra when Sofia was 6.
Doctor Kaufman is now working on a new version for l’Histoire ensemble for performance in 2024.