Long Wharf Theatre hosts 5th annual Discovery Day, an open house for families, Nov. 19

Get your superhero on at Long Wharf Theatre!

Long Wharf Theatre transforms into a cool Superhero Training School for its 5th Annual Discovery Day, a fun family open house event taking place at 9 am Saturday, Nov. 19 at Long Wharf Theatre, located at 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven. There is a suggested donation of $5 per family or $2 per person. All donations from this event will go towards funding a family friendly March production entirely adapted, produced, designed, and built by the Next Stage residents, early career professionals training in specific fields of theatre.

Discovery Day has grown in popularity over the past five years and over 200 parents and children attended the event last year. This year, kids ages three and up, will have the opportunity to become their own special kind of superhero. Prompted by a pair of headmistresses (one good and one evil, played by residents Maria DiFabbio and Marissa Friedman – think Hogwarts), kids will begin a journey using the magic of theatre as their guide. They’ll take an acting class to create their superhero personas, with lights and sound on the stage to enhance the experience. Kids will then make superhero masks and capes in the costume shop, with more fun to follow. “We want kids to be able to do something engaging and theatrical,” Friedman said.

One of the theatre’s goals with Discovery Day is to help cultivate the joy and love of theatre in very young people. There isn’t a staff member at Long Wharf Theatre who doesn’t remember the theatrical experience that prompted a lifelong love affair with the art form. For residents Friedman, a New Haven native working in the artistic office, and DiFabbio, a stage management resident from Guilford, it happened to be the same musical: Broadway productions of Les Miserables seen around the age of 5. “I was struck by the enormity of the whole experience,” Friedman recalls. “I remember feeling incredibly happy and angry … I left the theatre and told my parents that this is what I have to do.”

“It is  amazing that I still remember (the performance),” DiFabbio said. “I listened to the soundtrack every single day when I was a little kid. I really hope that Discovery Day, with the tour of the backstage and seeing just what we do will show the fun of it all, how theatre is a is all about expressing yourself and learning to work with others to create something extraordinary. That’s our goal.”

Long Wharf Theatre’s 2011-12 Next Stage class is comprised of Marissa L. Friedman (Artistic), Kristianna Smith (Education), Gordon Granger (Scenery), Luke Reinwald (Scenic Paint), Craig Harlow (Props), Abbey Steere (Costumes), Jason Pratt (Electrics), Darlene Richardson (Sound) and Maria DiFabbio (Stage Management.)