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Mixed Magic gets legislative grant for 'Moby Dick'

January 5, 2012

PAWTUCKET — Thanks to a $2,500 legislative grant, Mixed Magic Theatre will be able to embark on one of its favorite journeys: bringing the timeless tale of “Moby Dick” to new audiences in a unique and modern way.
On Thursday, state Sen. Donna M. Nesselbush (D-Dist. 15) presented a check to Mixed Magic Theatre, a non-profit arts organization based in the historic mill complex at the Hope Artiste Village in Pawtucket.
“I am pleased and proud to be able to support the good work of Mixed Magic Theatre,” said Nesselbush. “Their diverse group presents the arts with an inter-generational, multi-ethnic approach to fulfill their mission of building more literate and arts-active communities.”
Since its founding in 2000, Mixed Magic Theatre has strived to bring diverse stories and images to the stage through prose and song, well-known drama and original productions.
The Moby Dick project, called, “Moby Dick: Then and Now,” is part of this mission, and Mixed Magic founder Ricardo Pitts-Wiley said the legislative grant will help fund the re-mounting of the highly acclaimed production that last ran five years ago at the theatre's former downtown home.
The past Mixed Magic Theatre production of “Moby Dick: Then and Now” has become the centerpiece of a national teachers' study guide involving new media literacy, said Pitts-Wiley, who co-founded the theatre with his wife, Bernadet.
The Pawtucket-based play is featured prominently in a newly released book, “Project New Media Literacies Teachers' Strategy Guide: Reading in a Participatory Culture.”
“In conjunction with the full release of this book, we thought it was timely to re-mount the show,” Pitts-Wiley explained. “Plus, we're also at the vanguard of a whole new interest in Moby Dick,” he said. “We think it's an important piece. And, it attracts more students to theatre.”
The new production of “Moby Dick: Then and Now” is scheduled to begin March 1 and run through March 31 at Mixed Magic's new location at 999 Main St. It will be directed by Jonathan Pitts-Wiley, the son of Ricardo and Bernadet.
The younger Pitts-Wiley has also taken over the reins from his father as Mixed Magic's artistic director.
According to its website description, “Moby Dick: Then and Now” is a “page-to-stage” adaptation of the classic novel combining the original text with a modern tale of obsession, vengeance, and the realities of big business on the American landscape.
The cast will feature a number of young people selected from schools in the Blackstone Valley, Pitts-Wiley added.
Pitts-Wiley said that a total of $9,500 will have to be raised to support the production, but the $2,500 legislative grant is a welcome starter. “We really appreciate the support of Senator Nesselbush on this,” he stated.
For more information, visit the Mixed Magic website at www.mmtri.com.

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