Rose Caiola is the co-book writer and conceiver/producer of "Freckleface The Musical" as well as the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Manhattan Youth Ballet and Manhattan Movement an Arts Center. Rose is also a producer of "Godspell" on Broadway and the film "First Position" which was just awarded Best film by San Francisco Film Festival. She received her education at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and was mentored by Maestro Zsedny, principle dancer of the Royal Hungarian Opera Ballet. Rose's not-for-profit pre-professional ballet school, Manhattan Youth Ballet, alumni dance in top world companies including ABT, New York City Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, among others. It is Rose's goal with both MMAC and MYB to provide cultural and educational opportunities for the city’s children at large. She is also associated with Save the Children.
"Freckleface The Musical" is currently playing every Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm at MMAC Theater at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (248 West 60th Street). Click here for tickets!
1. Who or what inspired you to become a producer? I am always inspired by the project rather than an individual when deciding to produce something. When I find a project that I am drawn to, my creativity runs wild and compels me to put a team together and make it happen. The concept usually pops into my head and drives me to proceed and realize it.
2. Who haven't you worked with that you would like to? I would love to produce a show for Meryl Streep. To collaborate with that kind of genius would be an invaluable opportunity.
3. What made you want to make "Freckleface Strawberry" into a musical? I loved the universal message in "Freckleface Strawberry the Musical" that celebrates diversity, self-confidence, and emphasizes that every human being is "different, just like everyone else." "Freckleface Strawberry the Musical" is Julian Moore’s story as a young girl being teased and made fun of because she looked different. I felt it would translate into a fun filled musical theater piece about an ensemble of friends of various ethnicities, shapes, sizes, and personalities that everyone could relate to. As the story unfolds, they learn to love and celebrate what makes them unique. I felt it would teach as well as entertain because of the strong anti-bullying message.
4. What was it like to co-write the show with Gary Kupper? I asked three different composers to write a sample song that would be the theme song for the show. Gary’s music had the catchy, pop rock vibe I was looking for. It was both challenging and fun working with Gary Kupper as he has a great sense of humor as well as strong opinions about his creative vision. In the end, it was a very fruitful collaboration.
5. What do you hope audiences come away with after seeing the show? I hope that audiences are captured by this full scale Broadway musical with ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and rap packed into a family friendly seventy minute show. I also hope that it will open up a conversation between parents and kids about bullying being wrong and that the differences in people add spice to the world.
6. What made you start Manhattan Youth Ballet and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center? I started Manhattan Youth Ballet sixteen years ago in the hope of creating a pre-professional program where students could receive the best classical training in a disciplined yet nurturing environment. Alumni from Manhattan Youth Ballet currently dance in such world-renowned companies as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet and many more. My first location was called Studio Maestro, which still exists and is located at 48 West 68th Street. When the program grew beyond the 5,000 square feet of that location, I built Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, which is 18,000 square feet and houses the off-Broadway venue MMAC Theater where "Freckleface Strawberry the Musical," "The Amazing Max and The Box of Interesting Things," and "Pinkalicious the Musical" are running as part of our family theater program. The theater is also for rent to clients such as New York Musical Theater Festival, Martha Graham Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and many more. We rent space for casting calls, rehearsals, and special events. Manhattan Movement and Arts Center is the home of MMAC Kids which offers a pre-school alternative, pre-ballet, hip hop, tap, and musical theater classes for children. We have a circus arts program as well.
7. What have you learned about yourself from being a librettist/producer and from staring Manhattan Youth Ballet and Manhattan Movement and Arts Center? Through all my endeavors, I have learned that hard work and determination are necessary to realize any dream. Especially to succeed at a career in the arts, one must surround him or herself with a team of people that are also driven by love and passion. As an artist, I do not measure my accomplishments in business only by monetary gain, but by how the public is affected by the work I create.
8. What made you want to get involved with Save The Children over another charity? My life and career have been devoted both directly and indirectly to children’s charities. Manhattan Youth Ballet is a 501 (c)(3) and has provided numerous opportunities for underprivileged kids to pursue their dreams to dance. While Manhattan Youth Ballet feeds the souls of its kids, Save the Children feeds their hungry bellies. They do wonderful work, and I am proud to help Save the Children in any way I can.
9. If you could dream about anyone while you sleep, who would it be? If I could choose anyone to dream about, it would always be my father, Benny Caiola. He was and will always remain the driving force in my life to make good. He has encouraged, guided, and supported me throughout my life. All that I have accomplished was made possible by his love, strength and shining example.
10. Favorite way to spend your day off? My favorite way to spend my free time is with my family. My children bring meaning to everyday. In fact, before embarking on any new projects, I always take into consideration whether or not my children would enjoy it. They love "Godspell" just as must as "Freckleface Strawberry the Musical!" I am blessed to share my work with them.
11. Favorite skin care product? I am simple and old fashion in my skin care approach; for me it is Nivea all the way! I have tried many expensive skin care lines and nothing compares in my opinion!
12. Favorite website? Did he like it? (Broadway Reviews)
13. "Mary" or "Rhoda"? I think I am half Mary, half Rhoda. I like things organized like Mary, yet I am driven by impulse and passion like Rhoda. (I love this question, by the way).