Performer Profile - Flying Ship Productions

Ben FranklinRosaFlying Ship ProductionsWinter

musical theatre for young audiences

Flying Ship Productions brings original musical theatre to young audiences in an accessible, educational and thoroughly enjoyable format. Shows are based on folklore, literature or historical figures, and feature creative costumes, colorful scenery, inventive staging, dynamic choreography, and original songs and humorous scripts by Jonathan Luks.

The company is headed by husband and wife team of Jonathan Luks and JoAnna Schnoll-Luks. Both have extensive backgrounds in directing, producing, performing, and teaching throughout the US, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. They use Broadway caliber actor/singer/dancers in all of their productions to fulfill their commitment to excellence in children's theatre.

Ben FranklinfireIn addition to performances, workshops and residencies are available to give children a hands-on experience in singing, dancing, acting, and producing their own shows.



Current performance repertoire of Flying Ship Productions includes:


  • ROSA'S RIDE: The story of Rosa Parks (best suited for grades 2-8, but can accommodate younger children if they are well-prepared)
  • WINTER WONDERLAND (grades K-6)
  • THE COURAGE TO DREAM: The amazing life of Ben Franklin (grades K-8)
  • DOUBLE V (best suited for grades 2-8, but can accommodate younger children if they are well-prepared)
  • PUSS IN HIGHTOPS (grades K-6)

The Hero Withinnew

History, Fantasy, and Destiny

Join multi-talented performer Jonathan Luks for an inter-active tour de force, as he entertains, and challenges his audience to find "The Hero Within.” Sing along and learn about myths, legends, and real life heroes. Create your own hero in the build a hero workshop with original music, costumes, props, and plenty of FUN.     (Grades K-6)


HareThe Tortoise and the Hare  The Results Show 

This classic tale is brought to life by two professional Actor, Singer, Dancers. But wait the real story is the aftermath of the race. Crushed and demoralized our Hare loses his sense of identity and self worth. “It’s time to retire,” he sighs. “It’s time to inspire,” counters the Tortoise, taking on the role of life coach. Rockabilly, Rhythm and Blues, and Jazz punctuate this uplifting come-back story. The Tortoise must train the Hare for a winner take all race to save the farm from outside predators. (Grades K-6)


ROSA'S RIDE   A musical dramatization of the life of Rosa Parks

Four professional actor/singer/dancers, inventive staging, and anrosa inspiring score by Jonathan Luks—using jazz, blues and gospel styles—create a powerful theatrical experience for young audiences. We follow the struggles of a young girl through the indignities of prejudice to discover her strength of conviction, as a simple act of civil disobedience gives birth to the civil rights movement. An intriguing backdrop which evolves from black and white to an intricate mosaic enables us to take “Rosa’s Ride” to a new dawn.

rosa2For Rosa Parks, life’s inequities were apparent by the age of six. Starting school in the one room wooden schoolhouse her mother had attended, and watching the white children get off the bus at the new brick school house, placed an indelible question mark at the end of the policy “separate but equal?” Endowed with an inquisitive nature and strong sense of fair play, Rosa takes with determination the uphill climb that faces her. As a child, Rosa once wondered whether the water from the “colored” water fountain tasted different from the water from the “white” fountain. As an adult, she married Raymond Parks, an early activist, and she went on to become the secretary for the NAACP. This moving production traces how Rosa handled various experiences of discrimination, culminating with the famous Montgomery, Alabama bus incident which sparked the modern civil rights movement. 

In Rosa’s Ride, Flying Ship Productions humanizes the important developments in rosa3race relations that touched and were influenced by events in Rosa’s life. Using original songs composed by Jonathan Luks, with musical styles from the period, plus authentic costumes, inspirational scenes, exciting dances, and top professional actors, Rosa’s incredible story comes alive. The backdrop is a metaphorical and literal puzzle, which is built upon throughout the show. It metamorphoses from black and white to vibrant color, and the hope for yet more understanding.


FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN  Celebrate African Folklore and Black History

FireJourney with Alemayu, a young shepherd boy, through the vast mountains as he searches for his sister and learns life’s lessons of character, honesty, courage and love. Award winning children’s author Jane Kurtz first brought this venerable tale to American readers after hearing it while growing up in Ethiopia. The rich cultural heritage of this African region influences the music, staging, costuming and scenery in this wonderful, uplifting new musical. 


Winter Wonderland A multicultural musical holiday adventureWinter

inspired by Lewis Carroll; script, music & lyrics by Jonathan Luks 

Join our modern-day Alice as she searches for the realmeaning of the winter holiday season. Alice journeys to the beloved Wonderland, and meets all the diverse and zany characters. Through her adventures, she awakens with a new sense of charity and acceptance. Four professional actor/singer/dancers present an elaborate, fully staged production (geared for grades K-6), complete with lavish scenery, colorful costumes, exuberant dancing, and a joyful score.

Alice is a contemporary girl. Her life is full of designer jeans, MTV, and video games. But, in an increasingly diverse society, Alice still clings to what is familiar and comfortable. The winter holiday break approaches, and Alice is reluctant to accept the holiday celebrations of some of her friends. As Alice's teacher hastily leaves for last minute holiday preparations, he plants the seeds of tolerance and acceptance.

In a dream, Alice travels to Wonderland. Her teacher is now the White Rabbit, and her friends have become the beloved characters of Lewis Carroll's famous Wonderland. Follow Alice as she discovers that the strange and unusual characters she encounters enrich her life, and that embracing differences truly is the holiday spirit.

WINTER WONDERLAND is a treat for the eyes, ears and hearts, with a multicultural message that cuts to the essence of peace on earth.


The Courage To Dream The Amazing Life of Ben Franklin

BenTwo multitalented actor/singer/dancers bring the charm, wit, and wisdom of Ben Franklin to life, including the perspective of key women in his life. With original songs, clever script, and creative choreography, this entertaining and inspirational production delves into the inquisitive spirit that powered his dreams into reality. Using musical styles of the 1700’s, period costumes, beautiful scenery, and some of Ben Franklin’s own words, we are immersed in the life and times of the most celebrated man of his era!

This engaging musical theatre performance will entertain and enlighten children in grades K-8, and their families. Ben Franklin was America’s first true Renaissance man: printer, writer, inventor, scientist, diplomat and statesman. Despite his humble beginnings and only two years of formal schooling, Ben Franklin changed the world. From his personal writings, we find the tenacity, self-confidence, and imagination that brought his dreams to life.

Franklin’s life and times are brought to life with a creative script by Jonathan Luks. Colorful scenery and authentic costumes transport the audience to the formative years of this country. Mr. Luks uses the musical influences of the eighteenth century to create a rich, yet joyful original score, which will further humanize this American icon, and captivate the audience in his story.

Don’t miss this mesmerizing salute to one of the fathers of our nation!


 DOUBLE V  (Victory abroad and Victory at home) vv

The Holocaust and the American Civil Rights Movement intersect in an inspiring new musical

This Broadway-style musical follows the parallel lives of a Jewish Family in Poland and a Black family in America during the turbulent years from 1939-1964. Though living in different parts of the world, their lives are amazingly alike. When the Black soldier helps liberate the Jewish youth from the concentration camp, a connection is made that resonates years later during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Four actor/singer/dancers bring to life this uplifting story of hope, healing, and gratitude. 

Inspired by a quote from the Pittsburg Courier, and based on historical events, this new musical theatre production presents an historical fiction which will inspire, enlighten and educate. Four professional actor/singer/dancers weave this intriguing story, with original songs and script by Jonathan Luks, incorporating music and dance styles of jazz, klezmer, the jitterbug and the hora. Starting in 1939, we observe the similarities in the home life-styles of two seemingly different families. As African Americans, the Hollis family faces life-threatening prejudice in the rural south, while the Lederman family struggles for survival in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. Their lives intersect as Trevor Hollis’ elite "negro" tank battalion liberates Buchenwald concentration camp. A debt of gratitude is repaid years later when the families meet again during the inflammatory days of the American Civil Rights Movement in 1964. Together these families discover the affirmation of hope and life over unimaginable adversity, commencing a healing process that continues today.


The Fool and the Flying Ship      A warm and imaginative Russian Fable

flying shipTwo versatile performers use jazz, tap, ballads, and even rock-n-roll to create many zany characters in this timeless Russian tale. Embark on a fascinating journey, while discovering the virtues of kindness, sharing and believing in oneself. Original songs, clever choreography, imaginative costuming, and colorful scenery provide a total theatrical experience. 

Follow the adventures of three brothers competing on a quest to find a flying shipfool and win the hand of the princess. On their separate journeys, they encounter an old man in the woods, whose magical charms bring them each what they deserve. Only Tom, "the fool," is kind and sharing. As a result, he acquires many magical friends, with powers to help him accomplish each of the King's impossible taks. 

THE FOOL AND THE FLYING SHIP will mesmerize children ages 4-12, and their families. Don't miss this uplifting tale of love and dreams, hope and triumph! 


Puss In Hightops  A classic French tale with a contemporary twist

Two multi-talented performers present a full theatrical production with original upbeat music, dynamic dance routines, superb scenery, and clever dialogue. Follow the adventures of a hip, street-wise cat, whose smooth talking wins favor with the King and outwits a treacherous ogre. Discover how loyalty, intellect, and friendship can conquer evil and selfishness.

Puss in HightopsThe traditional tale of "Puss In Boots" by Charles Perrault is lovingly adapted by Jonathan Luks, and is even highlighted with some simple French vocabulary. This clever talking cat makes a poor and hungry miller's son appear to be the Marquis of Carabas. She gains access to the palace, acquires food and gifts, conquers the evil ogre, obtains the ogre's castle, and helps her master to win the hand of the princess. All this is accomplished with her wit, knowledge, intellect, and powers of negotiation, rather than with any physical force. 

PUSS IN HIGHTOPS will captivate children ages 4-13, and their families. It is a sure hit with children, teachers, and parents alike!


Flying Ship Productions can custom create a musical theatre performance designed to tour with your

promotional/ educational/ public relations message.

“It is this kind of excellent musical theatre that gets kids excited about history.”—Newark Public Schools, Newark, NJ

“It was like having Broadway at our school! The best program we’ve ever had.”—D. H. Robbins Elem., St. Johnsville, NY

“The show was packed with storytelling, quality, and high standards of positive ideas (virtues).”—Pine Run School, New Britain, PA

“An outstanding theatrical production. My school was enthralled with the storyline and the excellent talent of the performers.”—Woodward Parkway School, Farmingdale, NY

“Rarely do we see children so captivated by a live performance from start to finish. The performers seemed to cast a magic spell on their audience.”—PS 192, Brooklyn, NY

“It was a smooth, well danced, sung, and acted show—top entertainers!”—Sullivan Performing Arts, Loch Sheldrake, NY

For further information about availability, fees, or booking this program into your facility, contact:
Encore Performing Arts, Inc.
P.O. Box 630
Melville, NY 11747
631-423-0747  •  Outside area, call toll-free 800-669-9850
fax: 631-423-1795