Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project

stand up

A show from the creators of Class Dismissed. It’s a bright spring day when Peg watches as Nellie is bullied on the playground. Wondering about how Nellie feels, Peg is launched into a wonderland of fantastical folks who teach her that you don’t stand by – you stand up! Stand Up! Stand Out! features live actors, puppets, and a toe-tapping original score.

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Reviews for Stand Up! Stand Out!

Stand Up! Stand Out!” reaches a younger audience to combat bullying
By Sue Wahlert

Bullying is universal and affects at least “1 in 3 students” in their lifetime, according to Stopbullying.gov. “Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project,” an original musical by Jeffrey Sanzel and Douglas Quattrock of Theater Three in Port Jefferson, is an informative and enlightening touring production developed specifically for Kindergarteners through Fourth Graders.

A culmination of over six years of intense work, this play is a necessary teaching tool in helping children to identify and battle the wrath of bullying. Jacqueline M. Hughes, who plays the pivotal character Peg said, “If I had this in elementary school it would have helped me.” That appeared to be the sentiment of many of the audience members who previewed the world premiere on Tuesday February 4th.
Sanzel, the writer and director of “Stand Up! Stand Out!,” has created a program that presents “specific solutions for students, using live theater.” The creator’s enthusiasm has evolved into a 30 minute journey of a young girl, Peg, who is caught between the bully, Olivia, played by Amanda Geraci and the victim, Nellie played by Caitlin Nofi. The accompanying music by Quattrock and choreography by Sari Feldman will have the students and teachers leaving with a song in their hearts and new information on their minds.

This touring production adds to the list of other educational shows created by Sanzel and Quattrock which include; “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project” for grades five through eight, “From the Fires: Voices of the Holocaust” for grades six through twelve and “In My Shoes” for grades two through six.
“They offer a diversity of things to meet kids needs,” says Dr. Allyson Carlson, psychologist at Port Jefferson’s Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project” has visited their school at least two times. “This is an opportunity to validate that what they (students) are feeling is normal,” explains Carlson.

According to Sanzel, the play demonstrates the “empowerment of the bystander” which not only includes the girls but also the boys in the class – Jayden played by James D. Schultz and Tyler played by Bobby Montaniz. The superb character development allows the focus to be on “the person who can make the change” in a bullying situation.
When asked, all five of the actors in the play said that they had been bullied at least one time in their life. You can see evidence of this through the actors’ dedication as they become children again and channel some of the pain felt when they were bullied. Montaniz said, “this is a great age to begin before students become cemented in roles as older kids.”

The substance of the play is told through the use of childhood stories such as, “The Three Little Pigs,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Cinderella” and “The Wizard of OZ.” Each of these tales includes bullies, which helps Peg to untangle her conflicted feelings.
Janet Kanowsky, a retired teacher from Longwood School District said, “I applaud what they did. It is simple and clear and gives solutions on how you can act.”
Integrated into each musical number is a lesson which helps students clearly identify different types of bullying; Name calling and teasing, threatening, social isolation and physical bullying.

The large puppets used are designed and executed by Tazukie Fearon. They include Leo the bus driver, Mrs. Cotton the teacher, Mom, Dad and the dream doll, and are used to guide Peg through the journey of figuring out that she can help Nellie. Fearon says, “You don’t see Peg stand up to the bully. Instead, she is helping the victim. It takes the punch out of bullying.”

Following the conclusion of the play there is a question and answer session with the creators and the cast. Sanzel feels this a valuable tool that, “allows teachers to see who might be having some issues dealing with bullying that they might not be aware of.” In addition, there is an online study guide for teachers, which includes discussion questions and a bibliography of books related to bullying.
Sanzel and Quattrock have created an empowering tool, which enables students to effectively deal with bullying. Students will love the well thought out and entertaining performance of “Stand Up, Stand Out!” Educators, PTA and the general public will have a second opportunity to preview the play on May 13 at 11 am and again at 7 pm at Theatre Three, 412 Main St., Port Jefferson on the Main Stage. A question-and-answer period will follow this free event. For more information, call 928-9100 or visit theatrethree.com.

“Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project” is made possible by funds provided by the Port Jefferson Lions Club and through the office of Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and is BOCES affiliated for Nassau and Suffolk. Educators can have this play come to their schools by contacting Theatre Three’s Marci Bing at (631) 928-9202 or by using the form below.

LI theater troupe touts anti-bullying message
Originally published: March 7, 2014 9:14 AM
Updated: March 7, 2014 1:33 PM
By STEVE PARKS steve.parks@newsday.com

You wouldn’t think a show about bullying would open with a game of patty-cake. But the bully and the girl she has targeted are both elementary students in Theatre Three’s latest play for Long Island schools.

When it comes to bullying, it’s never too early to reach schoolchildren. That’s the theory behind “Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project,” the puppet-and-people show aimed at kindergartners through fourth-graders.

“The idea is to get to them before bullying starts,” says Jeffrey Sanzel, who has written 120 children’s shows for Theatre Three, including four productions that have toured Long Island and the Northeast. Three shows, including the latest effort, are offered to Long Island school districts.
One show, “Class Dismissed: The Bullying Project,” which debuted in 2007, targets fifth through eighth-graders. The sequel is intended to “reach kids before patterns are established,” said Douglas Quattrock, Theatre Three’s director of development, whose specialty is composing music for children’s theater. Quattrock recalls being bullied when his family moved from Queens to Selden.

“When I was growing up in the city, I had three older brothers, so no one picked on me,” Quattrock said. “We moved out here when I was 16 and there were no big brothers to protect me. I’d transferred to a new school, and when you’re in theater, people make certain assumptions. Mostly, it was a feeling of being left out.”

That’s one of the key messages in “Stand Up! Stand Out!,” according to Sanzel, who worked on the latest “Bullying Project” for six years before its showcase last month on Theatre Three’s main stage in Port Jefferson.

“I admit to being on both sides of the bullying coin,” said Sanzel, who grew up in suburban Rochester and lives in Sound Beach. In his new play, bullying is more than physical threats and intimidation. It’s also name-calling and social isolation.

Educational and theatrical

The company has a 30-year history in educational theater, beginning with “And These, Our Friends,” an anti-DWI program for grades seven through 12. It toured for 20 years before going on hiatus.

“From the Fires: Voices of the Holocaust” premiered in 1996 and has been performed more than 500 times in schools, libraries, churches and synagogues from Toronto to Washington.
The two “Bullying Projects,” with lyrics by Sanzel to Quattrock’s music, round out Theatre Three’s touring curriculum. “These shows are all educationally based, but theatricality’s also important,” Sanzel said. “We present something kids won’t find in a movie or TV show.”
But as Theatre Three’s executive artistic director, Sanzel concedes that his motives aren’t entirely altruistic.

“School tours are part of our income,” he said. The company, which first pitched the show to the public in two Feb. 4 presentations, charges school districts $1,250 per performance. The plays run 35 minutes, plus 10 minutes for a question-and-answer session with the five cast members and puppeteer. Shows are designed to fit one class period.

The difference between “Class Dismissed” and “Stand Up! Stand Out!” — besides the target audience’s age — is the focus. The first “Bullying Project,” for middle schools, concentrates on the bully. The second focuses on bystanders who haven’t learned to be mean yet.
“A kid who’s a bully probably won’t respond to a message play,” Sanzel said. “But he may respond to peer pressure if kids who’ve gone along with picking on unpopular kids refuse to.”

Guilt over doing nothing

In “Stand Up! Stand Out!” the bully is a girl. Olivia, like all the child characters, is played by actors in their 20s. Adults are represented by puppets, designed and manipulated by Tazukie Fearon. Olivia, played with a taunting, high-pitched tone by Amanda Geraci, enlists Jayden, portrayed by James Schultz, in playing “keep away” with a doll Nellie (Caitlin Nofi) has brought to school. The doll winds up in the possession of Peg (Jacqueline Hughes). While trying to concentrate on her homework that night, Peg feels guilty about doing nothing to intercede on Nellie’s behalf. After consulting her puppet-parents, she returns the doll to Nellie at school the next day.

As part of a class assignment, Peg recruits Nellie, and later Tyler (Bobby Montaniz) and Jayden, for an anti-bullying skit involving fairy-tale characters — from Alice and Cinderella to the Three Little Pigs and the ultimate bully, the Big Bad Wolf. Sari Feldman choreographs for both humans and puppets.

“I wish there was a show like this around when I was bullied in elementary school,” said Hughes, 25, of Kings Park. “I was in first-grade and I remember the girl’s name to this day.”
Hughes said she draws from that experience to portray Peg. “I use childlike mannerisms without overdoing it. We don’t want to mock or talk down to the kids in our audience. Skipping around and playing patty-cake in the first number, ‘A Perfect Day,’ gets us all in a kid frame of mind.”
About a dozen performances have been booked so far, and Sanzel said he expects more to be added in the fall.

“The show started out as a musical based on ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’ ” he said. “It didn’t work because, as any kid knows, the three bears aren’t bullies. Once we turned to the Big Bad Wolf, it came together.”

“Stand Up! Stand Out! The Bullying Project”
FOR INFORMATION CONTACT MARCI AT (631) 928-9202 or use the form below

“… an empowering tool which enables students to effectively deal with bullying … Students will love the well-thought-out and entertaining performance.”

“The preview to Stand Up! Stand Out! was … extremely professional and engaging. The actors really got the message across that bullying hurts others and how to stand up for yourself. I would highly recommend this musical to any districts that want to teach against bullying in their schools.”
Kathy Benincasa Bruno
Patchogue/Medford School District

“This is an opportunity to validate that what they (the students) are feeling is normal.”
Dr. Allyson Carlson, psychologist
Edna Louise Spear Elementary School, Port Jefferson

“It was awesome!”
Frankie Villani, 8 yrs. old/3rd grade
Terryville Elementary School, Port Jefferson Station

Additional Information


 Our full-scale touring productions run an average of 40-50 minutes in length depending on the production. They include 5 to 10 performers, complete with sets, props, and costumes. Each show is designed for a specific grade level. Study guides are available for all productions, and a downloadable copy appears below each of the production descriptions. All programs are BOCES-affiliated for both Suffolk & Nassau Counties.

FOR INFORMATION CONTACT MARCI AT (631) 928-1130 or use the form below