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The Cricket in Times Square: A Symphonic Play (2013)

The Cricket in Times Square

A Symphonic Play written and composed by Chris Brubeck
Based on the book by George Selden


Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.

Premiered in Washington, DC. by the National Symphony Orchestra with guest soloist Nick Kendall and Steve Reineke conducting.


CAST OF CHARACTERS: (in order of appearance)

NARRATOR – This gentleman with a kind, engaging voice reads from a book while seated in a rocking chair. He also performs the voice of Chester Cricket.

MARIO BELLINI – A bright, 9-year old boy who works at his parents’ newsstand in the Times Square subway station.

PAUL – The conductor of the Times Square/Grand Central Station Shuttle Train is played by the conductor of the orchestra.

MAMA BELLINI – Mario’s overly dramatic mother, oozing whatever emotion she is experiencing at any given moment; think Lanie Kazan. A somewhat recent Italian immigrant — her English is not so good.

PAPA BELLINI – A calm counterbalance to his wife as they claw out a living at the newsstand.

TUCKER MOUSE – A hustler from the hyper-energized core of New York, strong accent, super-animated, mercurial; in short, a Joe Pesci type.

CHESTER CRICKET – A musical, supernaturally talented insect from the countryside; honest, naive and lost in New York City until he is befriended by Mario, Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat.

HARRY CAT – Wise, unexcitable, sophisticated and rather droll

MR. SMEDLEY – A well-educated and rather prissy music teacher, a la Rene Auberjonois.

SAI FONG – Elderly proprietor of a Chinese novelty shop, an authority on crickets (same actor as Mr. Smedley.)

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  • Flute 1
  • Flute 2, Piccolo
  • Oboe 1
  • Oboe 2, English horn
  • Bb Clarinet 1
  • Bb Clarinet 2, Bass Clarinet
  • Bassoon 1, 2
  • French Horns 1, 2, 3, 4
  • C Trumpets 1, 2, 3
  • Trombones 1, 2
  • Bass Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Timpani
  • Percussion 1: Xylophone, Vibraphone, Marimba, Ratchet, Bongos, Metal Shaker, Tubular Bells, Small Single Bell or Triangle
  • Percussion 2: Triangle, Suspended Cymbal with soft mallets, Cabasa (large gourd wrapped with beads), Maracas, Tam Tam, Chinese Cymbal, Castanets, 2 Plate Crash Cymbals, Timbale (high pitched ) Cowbell, Agogo Bells, Guica, CD Player or similar small playback device for cricket field recordings
  • Percussion 3: Glockenspiel, Concert Bass Drum, Cowbell (low pitched,) Tenor Drum, Chinese Temple Blocks, Bell Tree, Sizzle Cymbal, Concert Snare Drum, Tambourine, Ratchet, Typewriter (old fashioned, non-electric typewriter with noisy mechanisms that would make a suitable percussion instrument) or Spoons
  • Drum Set: Drumset plus Police Whistle, Maracas, Tambourine, Small Bell Tree, Triangle (mounted) Guiro
  • Violin Solo: Soloist as musical manifestation of Chester Cricket's miraculous talents.
  • Piano
  • Violin 1
  • Violin 2
  • Violas
  • Cellos
  • Double Bass

Program Notes

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