Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller

Basic Information

Address: 15 Forest Lane Cold Spring, NY 10516
Phone Number: 845.216.9087

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Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller
Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller
Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller
Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller

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Additional Information

Focus: Interactive Storytelling, writing workshops, creative dramatics
Grade Levels: Pre-K, K-5, 6-8
Length: 40-60 minutes for performances, 40-50 minutes for workshops


Pricing: 400. for one performance, $250. for each additional show, workshops $75.

Story Makers- Students listen to interactive stories. Retelling and re-enacting their storyteller helps them use "Ingredients for a Good Story" to write their own tale. Topics include writing; fables, folklore, fairy tales, persuasive letters to story characters, myths and tall tales.

Story Tellers - A voice-on workshop. Children learn how to speak clear project their voices and how to picture, posture, practice a tale to perform.

Teaching by Tales - Teachers learn storytelling techniques, imagination games, and creative dramatics techniques to meet their curricular goals.

Shakespeare is Elementary - three actor educators work for three days with students in fourth grade and up to do a real scene from Shakespeare.

Residencies: Listen! Retell! Write - Performances tailored to each grade's curriculum, followed by an in-class workshop. Students learn to write better by retelling and re-enacting stories. Each day opens with a performance for all students in one grade, followed by up to four in-class workshops. Topics may include, finger fables, story sequences, five senses words, folklore, world tales, Tall tales, medieval skits, using primary sources for New York history. Jonathan-in-Residence - performances followed-up workshops tailored to each grade's curriculum and your themes. Topics have ranged from animals to inventions that changed everything.
Setup: Ten minutes to survey room for clear stage, and close seating. Medieval Manors and Manors - requires 45 minutes.
Takedown: none, expect for Medieval Manors & Manners
Equiptment: A four-foot long table
Special Requirements: Workshops require a smart board or an easel with drawing paper and markers. Students need to be equipped to write.

I offer schools and other venues interactive storytelling performance programs, tailored to the curriculum, and themes. Look for mastery in the use of varied voices, movement, theatrics and a sensitivity to children's interests. Silly skits, jumps and local history tales often are a part of my tales. Here are the highlights:
Finger Fables - Grades Pre-K - 2
Your master storyteller teaches young children to actively listen, with this "hands-on" experience of Fables. Drawing from Aesop to Anansi, these selections naturally provide morals and many ways to retell, reenact, sequence and write.
CCS - Reading gr. K - 2 #1-9, (i.e. responding, retelling, key details, characters)

Story Theater - Grades K - 4
Guided by their tale-teller, using simple costumes children step into classic fairy tales. Selections come from Grimm Brothers, H.C. Anderson, Jataka Tales, and your requests. Workshops use "Ingredients for a Fun Fairy Tale" to prompt writing, new endings, and retellings from a different character's perspective.CCS - Reading / Literature - 1-4 # 9, 10, 11 Informational - 1-4 #1-3 Writing 1-4 # 3 (main idea, characters, story structure compare/contrast, responding to Literature)

The World in Tales - Grades 2 - 5
Students experience diverse countries and cultures on a "story journey" around the world. Listening to a folk or fairy tale from six continents, they'll discover what makes each place unique and will understand their values. Fifth graders get "Tales of the Americas" Ask about a live musical accompanist. Workshops show students how to write their own tale using characteristics a country they pick. CCS - Reading/Informational - #3-5, 7, 9, 11 Writing 4A Speaking & Listening 1f, - Main Ideas, Structure, Integration, Cultural perspectives, Different backgrounds, Responding with original story)

New York Lore (History on the Hudson) - Grades 4-5, 7, 11
New York's history experienced through dramatic stories of Native, Colonial, Revolutionary, Industrial and Environmental times. Offers creation myths, Dutch and British settlers, George Washington, Sybil Ludington, Women's rights, Pete Seeger, haunted history. Add NY songs with the Hudson River Ramblers. Workshops show students how to use primary sources to write a persuasive letter to a historical figure. CCS - S.&L.1e, 4 / L.S. 3, 4a, 6/ R.S.L. H/SS 6-12 - 1-3, 9 - retelling, analysis, understanding perspectives, primary sources, point of view

Medieval Manners & Manors - Grades 6-12 Jonathan the Troubadour immerses students in medieval times. They experience feudalism, feasting, knighting, and guild rules. There's a mystery tale students help solve. Many done caps and cotehardies to step into skits. They'll bow, speak "forsoothely" and sing in "olde English." A double period event, complete with a ten-page teacher's guide. $725. = two presentations. Ask about in class skit workshops. CCS - S & L 1e, 2/ W.S. 11c & d / L. in H & S.S. 3, 4, / W in H & S.S. 8, 9 (analysis, context,historical perspective, using sources, draw evidence, reflection)

Myth - Grades 2-12
Select a culture's myth, from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece, Norse, Native for your performance program. Garbed as a bard from the period, your storyteller engages, with dramatic technique, a skit, and humor. Ask for Myth-Making workshops. CCS - S & L 1e, 2/ W.S. 11c & d / L. in H & S.S. 3, 4, / W in H & S.S. 8, 9 (analysis, context, historical perspective, using varied sources, draw evidence, reflection)

Shakespeare is Elementary - Grades 4-12
This is a three-day residency where every student has a chance to have fun performing an authentic, unedited kid-friendly scene from Shakespeare. Three actor/educators coach in students in scene groups of four. A culminating assembly highlights the experience, with groups from each class sharing their scenes from Shakespeare. Scenes are provided. CCS - S & L 4/ R.S. 1-4, 11 / W.S. 3, 4, 11 (tell a story, responding to literature, audience awareness, perspective)

Mission Statement:

Once upon a time, we all learned listening tales. Stories performed by a master of the art engage children enchanting them to listen and imagine, inspiring them to read, write, and become lifelong learners.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

A timely well-told tale can change and even save the world. A full-time career since 1989, my passion has always been storytelling. My first crush was on Little Red Ridinghood. I adored exaggerating, dragons, science fiction, and the American Revolution. It is a blessing to find ways to enchant children into listening and learning.

Program History:

I started telling tales to scare and soothe my little brothers. My first booking in 1981, giving a woodland tour in fairy tales, continues as an annual event today. I earned a masters degree in education from New York Univerisity, studied educational theater in England and ritual urban theater with Gabrielle Roth and the Mirrors. I acted as Freeport Schools, NY, storyteller-in-residence for ten years, and worked for thirteen years with Early Stages, in inner-city elementary schools. I've been an educational storyteller offering programs approved for funding through BOCES for twenty-five years. Also, I served for eight years as storyteller-in-residence for a special education pre-school. Thousands of students listened to tales I've performed, and found guidance in my workshops to craft their own stories. Described "a cross between Robin Williams and Viggo Mortensen" I've performed at countless schools, parks, libraries, historic sites, and festivals. A brief list includes; the New-York Historical Society, Queens Central Library, Mark Twain House, Pete Seeger's Clearwater Festival, the Huntington Renaissance Faire lead performer, California Center for the Arts, Hamilton-Burr Duel, Fraunces Tavern, and World Cup Nursery School. I've been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, Good Morning America, The National Geographic Channel, Al-Jazeera America and the O'Reilly Factor.
Every year since the early 1990's I've visited about one hundred schools offering a lively theatrical performance of finger fables, a world of fairy tales, myth and tall tales. Sometimes, I appear as a troubadour, guiding students in skits on knights, guilds and feasting. Garbed in 1776 attire, I'll tell of the real Tea Party, how Washington made a spectacle of himself to save the nation and of the girl who outrode Paul Revere. wearing a flowing robe, I am the bard presenting ancient mythology. I'm best known for performing "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "A Christmas Carol" for Historic Hudson Valley and many other venues. My childrens' recordings, like "Barkface & Rootnose" a fable of fighting and friendly trees, have garnered three Parent's Choice and other awards. The New York State Reading Teachers Association, Parents as Reading Partners, National Native Plants Conference, and the Catholic School Association of New York all have had me give keynote performances. Currently, I am the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum's storyteller-in-residence, featured on WAMC radio's Listen with the Lights On. My books, Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley and Legends and Lore of the Hudson Highlands are available through The History Press.

Testimonials: “Jonathan Kruk has a way with the spoken word, the telling gesture, the sprinkling of humor and the appropriate costume for a smorgasbord of stories.” The New York Times Jonathan Kruk is an incredible one-man show without the bells and whistles, no big sound systems or lights, no pomp. That said, Mr. Kruk’s performance is so colorful and stimulating, it makes you come alive. Juani Tantillo, Tuscan School PTA, Maplewood NJ Both assemblies (K-2 and 3-5) were an enormous success. Some of the adjectives used by teachers to describe your storytelling were: “riveting,” “fabulous,” “wonderful,” and “fun”. You have a tremendous talent in the way you interact with the children, pique their imaginations and captivate them with your tales. Karen S. Friedman Co-Chair, Cultural Arts Program Fox Meadow School, Scarsdale “Students on the PBS show New York Crossroads all appreciated your preparation, enthusiasm and creative skill. Performing for a group of High School students and a television crew is not easy and you certainly handled the stress with ease and good humor. Dee Warner, Director, Capital Area School Development Association
Additional Information:

For twenty years, I've performed "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" for Historic Hudson Valley. Please visit this website for program ideas and information.