Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" saved Halloween

Joe Troiano, author of the book “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin," and Emmy winning music composer Jeffrey Zahn (he has written music for Calliou, Sesame Street and others) paid a visit to the set of their upcoming world premiere play SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN over the weekend. We had an incredible time showing them how First Stage plans to bring the story to life on stage. Joe Troiano shared the story of how "The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin" came to be. 

Nick on  that Halloween night
One Halloween night, a long time ago, I took my son Nicholas trick-or-treating. Unfortunately, the kids we were walking with were not very nice and kept ditching Nick, which of course made him sad and broke my heart. That night as I was about to make up some ridiculous bedtime story to tell Nick (an every night event), he began talking about always being left behind by the kids (an everyday event for Nick). After I did my best to cheer him up, Nick asked me for a Halloween bedtime story, but not a scary one. I asked him what he wanted it to be about. He looked out his bedroom window at the field of pumpkins next door and said he wanted it to be about pumpkins, because pumpkins were sweet and funny and not scary. So I told him the story about a square pumpkin that saves the day because he, like Nick, is different and very, very special.

I told Nick the story from beginning to end, in rhyme - and even made up the name Spookley - in one uninterrupted telling. It was one of my life’s coolest muse moments. The story in the book “The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin” is word for word the same as the first telling.

That night when Nick fell asleep, I ran to my office to write the story down before I forgot it. And then I held my breath every Halloween until it got published and released. After all…a square pumpkin…a pretty obvious thing to think of if you think about it.

Luckily no one, but me, did.
Joe Troiano

First Stage is proud to present the world premiere of SPOOKLEY THE SQUARE PUMPKIN as part of our First Steps series at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, October 10 to November 1, 2015.

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