Green Eggs & Ham

Production Plays to Packed, Enthusiastic Audience!

Keenan Buckley and Lori Mirabal in 'Green Eggs & Ham'

The Community Coalition on Race’s theatrical production of Dr. Suess’s The Sneetches and Green Eggs & Ham was staged at the SOPAC Loft for over 400 children and parents.  Children and adults alike were spellbound by the performances of actress Emily Zacharias, opera singer Lori Mirabal, orchestra leader Jim Buchanan and his many fine musicians, tenor Keenan Buckley in the youth’s role of Sam-I-Am, and the CHS Special Dancers—all under the direction of Ruthanna Graves.  The event was conceived and developed by the Coalition as part of its Integration through the Arts program which uses the arts to build bridges across racial boundaries.

Emily Zacharias tells the story with Sneetches played by CHS Special Dance

“Our goal was to bring our message of integration out to a younger audience,” according to Program Director Audrey Rowe, “And by the looks of all the smiling faces, this performance more than exceeded our expectations.”  The idea was so popular that reservations for seats closed a full week before the performance.

The stories and the way they were staged were first and foremost entertaining but educational as well.  After mesmerizing the audience with her reading of The Sneetches with the CHS dancers playing the parts of the Sneetches, Emily Zacharias asked the children some questions about difference and fairness.  They happily yelled out responses and it was clear they got the idea. 

CHS dancers play the Sneetches

The Sneetches are played by members of the CHS Special Dance Troupe

The musical adaptation of Green Eggs & Ham by composer Robert Kapilow combines story-telling, singing, and orchestral music that is a modern pastiche of classical composers, soul, jazz, and more.  Lori Mirabal taught the kids a few things about opera and the orchestra and then captivated all with her voice.   It was a clever way to retell the classic Dr. Seuss story about learning to be open to the unexpected and to new experiences.

“We are deeply grateful to the local artists who gave their time and incredible talent to help bring our message of racial integration out to families and young children.  Without their commitment, we couldn’t have pulled off such a professional and meaningful event,” said Executive Director Nancy Gagnier.

Funding for this program was provided in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts and administered by the Essex County Division of Cultural Affairs.  The 2011 grant also covers a photography workshop “Through the Lens of Integration” to be held later this spring.  Visit the Coalition website at for more information.

Here’s what one parent had to say:

“I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU …. I went today with my kids and it was FANTASTIC. I was so, so impressed and I really appreciate all the volunteer time and effort that went into it. It was so entertaining and great for kids. What great messages depicted through fantastic acting and dancing and singing. The creativity of the performances left me speechless. I will definitely be on the look-out for more shows like this one.” – Susan Bottino , Parent – South Orange/ Maplewood Chapter  Mothers and More.

Actress Emily Zacharias & Program Director Audrey Rowe ask the kids about difference and fairnessKeenan Buckley as Sam-I-Am and Lori Mirabal as Lori, the cook who won't eat green eggs & ham

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