Fitz&StartZ Productions, based in Ithaca, NY, creates new theater works focusing on children under ten, that explore the nature of theater, music, dance and performance. The company is an outgrowth of the long-time collaboration of Lesley Greene and Rachel Lampert who were colleagues at Kitchen Theatre Company (KTC) where Lampert was artistic director until 2017 and Greene serves as Associate Producing Director. Beginning in 1999 and continuing through 2009, Lampert & Greene developed and produced ten new musicals for family audiences. As Lampert looked to retire from KTC, she and Greene formed Fitz&Startz Productions to reboot their work together for new audiences. The first performances under the name Fitz&Startz Productions were in 2015. The work Lampert & Greene write, direct and produce is created to encourage curiosity, imagination, and empathy and expose very young people to new ways to express ideas and tell stories.
The Mystery of the Magic Flute
Photo by Camaron Cohen
The work may take the form of a traditional musical, a movement piece with no words at all, or an interactive play. The productions often introduce a new genre of theater to young audiences by exploring opera, dance, classical music, or bare bones story-telling. It is our goal to create a theatrical experience that kindles new interests, stimulates insight, and has the potential to inspire a view of the world as a place where expression and communication is expansive, powerful, exciting, and available to all.
We build the team of collaborating artists from our associate artist roster and other talented local upstate NY artists including actors, musicians, dancers, and puppeteers, and academic experts when needed, who join in the process of collaborative theater-making. Our artists are diverse in their backgrounds, their ages and their experience, but they are always committed to fully exploring the work knowing our young audiences may be attending the theater for the first time.
Photo by Fatima Sowe
Our intended audience is children under ten and their families. However, as we always say, "adults
unaccompanied by children are welcome" and many seniors enjoy our shows with without grandkids in tow. We find that our work draws audiences who are interested in specific forms: original musicals, dance pieces, and puppets, etc. We develop the pieces so that adults and children can be equally engaged in the performance.
Greeting the audience post-show!
Our mission is to make original work, and to demonstrate by example, that theater-making takes many forms and can be done by everyone. Although there may be 'lessons' in the work (for example, "don't leave the house in the middle of a snowstorm when your mother has said not to" or "we can learn to appreciate someone different from us"), the plays are not extensions of a school curriculum nor do they necessarily deal with the hot button topics of today. They plays focus on how a theatrical experience can spark your imaginations, and how performance offers alternative means of expression, delight, and even awe. And, because it is a live performance, it opens the audience to the kind of participation that is more immediate than seeing something on a screen that can be revisited at any moment in time. Live performance is that moment in time.