“Listen to your heart song. Listen deep within. Share the love you have while you still can.”

Such is the message behind the 2017 Village Playhouse traveling children’s theatre production. "Nightingale" opens this weekend at Inspiration Studios, 1500 S. 73rd St., West Allis, before taking the show on the road. Performances will be at 7 p.m. Friday, March 10, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 11 and 12.

"Nightingale" is a Hans Christian Andersen favorite with a message for children—and for adults. Rita Grauer and John Urquhart adapted for the stage the folk tale of the emperor of China, played by Paul Pfannenstiel, who is obsessed with his worldly possessions. He has grown blind to the needs of his people and to the real treasures of life. The nightingale, played by Mary Kostopoulos, and ancient Oriental gods work to cure the emperor of his possessive and grasping ways.

“This is going to be such a fun show for our West Allis community,” said director Judy Lee Tarbox. “And true to the nature of Village Playhouse children’s productions, there will be plenty of audience participation. The characters of the play will seek help from the audience to encourage the emperor to listen to his heart song. It should be a lot of fun for all ages.”

Rounding out the cast are Michelle White as the emperor’s servant and A.J. Koenig as one of the Oriental gods. Bella Zeimet will provide musical accompaniment for the production.

“There are great messages for our children to learn from the many folk tales that we grew up with as children,” says Tarbox. “As the Nightingale says, only by listening to his heart song can the emperor learn that treasures of the heart are more precious than his worldly possessions.”

"Nightingale" is the Village Playhouse's 2017 traveling children's production. Because of its minimal set, the show is able to travel to various locations in the metropolitan area and is available for bookings at churches and festivals.

Admission will now be $5 for all ages. Tickets may be reserved by calling (414) 207-4VPW.

More information is available at

Contributed by Erico Ortiz, founder of Inspiration Studios

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