On June 28th something magical will come to life for the first time; after more than ten years and from the creative mind of the playwright, Eden Atias, The Magical Journey of Arlekina will debut at the Abrons Arts Center in New York City.
Based on a true-story of Atias’ career as a professional clown in Israel, Atias has crafted a story that reminds us all that happiness is more important than riches and material things. A family-friendly musical that’s immersive, tells the story of Old Erliko and Dell’Arte Park. Old Erliko is a butterclown; half clown, half-butterfly hails from the Kingdom of Pentioga, who had been given magical wings called Eyosha by the good fairy that allows him to live forever. Erliko founded Dell’Arte park in order to bring joy and happiness, free of charge and without judgment, to anyone.
He wanted to create a place where the halflings from the kingdom of Pentioga and the people from the human kingdom could work side by side and could gather every day without fear of being together. However one day, one of the Dell’Arte Park’s residents, Mr. Fire viciously managed to take away Erliko’s Eyosha wings and Erliko dies like a normal butterfly. After Erliko’s death, Mr. Fire takes control over the park and changes things for the worse. No longer a free park, everything that was once colorful, bright & alive is now lifeless and gray.
The delicious, mouthwatering foods are now bland along with everything that was once happy and fun are now alienated and evil.
Arlekina is the product of the audience and as soon as the colors disappear from the stage, emerging from her cocoon and becomes a butterfly. She saves the day with innocence, and happiness, and teaches us that money is not the most important thing in life. The park’s workers will turn back into their old selves at the end, and the Dell’Arte Park will once again be happy.
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I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Sabrina Rudden who’ll be playing Arlekina.
When did you know that you wanted to be in theater, particularly Broadway?
I always knew I wanted to be an actor, but what really solidified it for me was being cast as “Miss Adelaide” in my summer camp’s production of “Guys and Dolls”. One of the greatest shows, if not the greatest show was ever written. I was about thirty years too young to be playing that part, but I was in awe of being able to dig into and play such a fantastic character (and don’t even get me started on the score!) Being so young and in such a weird place in life, where society is pressuring you into deciding what you’re going to do for the rest of your life and if it’s “good” enough, it was truly the first time in my life where I felt like yes, this is it. This is what I’m meant to do.
What are some of your earliest memories of performing?
Any time I could perform, I would. Whether I was running around my house putting on a show or participating in random acting programs in the area. I was one of those “annoying” kids who begged their parents to do everything. Besides the yearly dance recital, I think the earliest show that I remember performing in was my first-grade alphabet play. I played the letter E, it was adorable.
You’re currently the lead in the new musical by Eden Atias, The Magical Journey of Arlekina (congrats), tell us who is Arlekina?
Thank you! One of the interesting things about playing Arlekina is that even though it’s a fantasy show, she is based on a real person. In this case, a person who is very involved in the production, our writer and producer Eden. Normally when playing a character, you rely a lot on what’s written in the text and your own imagination. With Arlekina, I not only have that, but I have the real living person as a resource. The additional knowledge and understanding definitely adds an extra layer to the character. I do feel it’s also very important to find and bring myself and my interpretation to her. Arlekina is a Butterclown (half-butterfly/half clown) who is full of life and love. I’m excited for the audience to get to meet her and experience her (magical) journey!
The musical is really different from traditional Broadway-style shows, tell us what makes this showcase magical?
The show is very immersive, especially in comparison to traditional Broadway shows. It encourages and asks for audience participation. It’s a fun show for the whole family!
What do you like most about being Arlekina?
I love Arlekina’s drive and passion. It’s easy to assume that she’s this “starry eyed Princess” type character, but she’s not that at all. She’s a fighter, she calls people out. As a Butterfly, she only has twenty-four hours to live and she devotes her entire life to helping other people, to strangers. She’s very selfless and there’s something very admirable about that.
What’s your favorite thing about the show?
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My favorite thing about the show is working with my fellow cast members. I love watching them work, they’re incredible! We all really support each other and it creates such a safe space to play and have fun. Especially in a show like this where it’s larger than life, it’s super important to have that camaraderie.
What can the audience expect to experience when they attend the show?
I would say expect to interact with the characters and be a part of the story in some way (and of course, to have fun!)
The Magical Journey of Arlekina debuts on June 28th at Abrons Arts Center in New York City. You can learn more about the showcase here.