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Theater Company Founder Leads Pleasantville to Act

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. - You won’t see the Little Village Playhouse in Pleasantville holding auditions for popular shows like "Annie" anytime soon, said its founder Adam Cohen. That’s because his goal is to give his students a more well-rounded education in theater, and to do that he said they must be exposed to newer, more innovative work.

“We’re teaching people to appreciate theater." he said. "We want to say something that hasn’t been said over and over already.”

What you should expect to see are shows like "Sweeney Todd," "Into the Woods" and "Pacific Overtures," many of which have even been directed by Cohen.

The Tisch School of the Arts graduate also opts to produce more ensemble-style shows that give attention to each individual cast member rather than one lead character. That way, he said, they can learn to communicate on stage and develop confidence.

“Writers use their words and actors use their voice and body—those are the tools they use to express themselves,” said Cohen.

The Little Village Playhouse is the non-profit youth theater wing of ARC Stages and offers theater workshop classes for children and adults all year round.

Past performers have even gone on to Broadway as cast members for hit shows like "Hair" and "Wicked," but Cohen said he is just as proud of the students who graduate from his theater program and move onto careers in environmental science.

“Theater helps everyone. It teaches you to problem solve, improvise, speak and to be free in your own body,” he added.

This spring, the Little Village Playhouse will perform "Once on This Island" and "Little Shop of Horrors." Check back for more information.

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