- White Plains, NY
- Travels up to 1500 miles
- Affordable. Ask for a quote
Let "The Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley," engage family audiences with theatrical storytelling. A master storyteller offers; Finger Fables - young children help tell tales in a "hands-on" experience. Story Theater - children step into classic fairy tales and help act them out. Medieval Troubadour - tells riddle tales and gets audiences into skits on knights, dragons, unicorns, with charm and simple costumes.
Ask for these NY Times acclaimed solo shows: "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," "Lore of the Hudson River" "Faerie Tales for Adults" and "A Christmas Carol." Jonathan portrays Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and other figures
Jonathan engages all as Master of Ceremonies!
Jonathan enraptured around 30 children at our party for an entire hour - a truly incredible skill. He is a gifted and magical story teller - a delight for all. Thank you Jonathan!
Jonathan came to Chick-fil-A Voorhees to be the main attraction for our Mother Son Date "Knight" (Medieval themed). He had every person in the restaurant enchanted by his fun, interactive stories. Both adults and children loved his performance. I wish that every one of our events had a medieval theme so that we could utilize him again and again. If you are on the fence for any reason, hire him! You won't regret it.
Response from Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller:
I appreciate Ms. Parent's review, adding only, I offer several other performance programs including my Medieval show. Finger Fables, Story Theater, Tall Tales, Myth and I'll tailor tales to your theme. Thank you for your hospitality too Jordan!
Jonathan truly did enchant and delight a room of 7 year old girls at my daughter's birthday party. Not only was his storytelling wonderful, fun and engaging, but his help was invaluable in entertaining and organizing the group of girls during the pizza and dessert that followed. He was a pleasure with which to work, kind and professional. My daughter already has asked me if we could have Jonathan come to her party next year! Highly recommend.
Mr. Kruk was a fantastic close to our blue and gold dinner. He really engaged our cub scouts with his interactive stories. Our parents were very impressed with his references to local areas that he had included in his stories for our kids. Thank you Mr. Kruk for a wonderful afternoon!
Pack 17 Stony Point, NY
Jonathan Kruk took 75 kids ages 6-18 back in time to the Middle Ages for the opening of our week of medieval-themed summer day camp. We couldn't have been more pleased with his imaginative, humorous, educational storytelling and the way he included our older kids as performers. He was thoroughly professional and a delight to work with. We will certainly look for opportunities to hire him again!
Our Cub Scout Pack just finished with our Blue and Gold ceremony, where Mr. Kruk provided the entertainment. All the boys and most of the parents were entranced by his performance! The boys (ages 7-10) were all engaged in the stories and were even included in the action!! Loved the background music too! Thanks
We hired Mr. Kruk for our 1st annual history day to portray Thomas Jefferson for our 5th and 6th graders and he did a great job. My students were amazed by him and felt like Thomas Jefferson was really in the classroom.
Response from Jonathan Kruk, Master Storyteller:
I felt inspired by the students at the Bronx Charter School for Excellence. They listened intently, and had insightful questions for "Thomas Jefferson." I'd be honored to return to offer this or another program!
What to Expect
Jonathan, like a pleasant pied piper, draws children in with Willy Wonka charm and attire. Relying on his melodic voice, he gets children to "catch stories in the air." There's no huge sound systems or phony sound tracks. It's simple, theater of the imagination. Children will listen, with their fingers, faces and hearts. Little hands will turn into racing rabbits. They'll giggle giving froggy croaks and dragon roars! They discover who is the mightiest, what makes a witch knot her nose and how a river flows both ways.
Older listeners enjoy the lively language, the imagery, and the intimacy of authentic oral tradition. Often performances are given in period garb, given with wit, offering timeless solutions to life's woes and wonder. They may meet the headless horseman, a heart lost giant, pirates, princesses and patriots. Adults often say, they 'felt like a wide eyed child listening to Jonathan the Storyteller.' Kids have exclaimed. "Jonathan's the best storyteller!" The Story Theater program, ideal for festivals, features simple costumes for kids, who are invited to help take part in the tale. The shows are notably theatrical, animated, never sing songy, stuffy, stilted.
Shows are usually about 50 minutes, highly interactive, lively, with a classic out of another time feel. Shows may be tailored to your theme. Audiences ranges from pre-k to school groups, spiritually inclined adults, ghost tale lovers, historians, and all.
Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk entertains, enchants and educates. Born an army brat in Texas, raised in Upper Westchester NY, he grew up on tall tales and day dreams. Earning degrees in English and educational theater from Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA and New York University, Kruk studied at drama at Bretton Hall College, England and at HB Studio in New York. He performed ritual urban theater with Gabrielle Roth & the Mirrors.
Jonathan started by telling his rambunctious kid brother (the Elvis Tribute Artist, King Kruk) bed time tales. Success entertaining at over 1000 children's parties, lead to a full time career storytelling at age 27. Now, he annually books around 250 engagements at schools, libraries, historic sites, festivals, summer camps and other venues.
Jonathan's passion is performing for children. His programs "Finger Fables for Squiggly Squirmers," "Story Theater" and "Medieval Manors and Manners" are funded by B.O.C.E.S. Here’s what a 6th grade teacher from Yorktown, NY wrote. “Jonathan is a fantastic storyteller who helps students really understand the Middle Ages. Students fully participated enthusiastically.” A PTA chair from Katonah NY noted. "The children were absolutely enthralled."
Kruk's CD's, engineered by Emmy winner Matt Noble, earned several Parents Choice and N.A.P.P.A. awards. Jonathan got selected "Best Storyteller in the Hudson Valley" in 2008, earned citations from many scouting groups, and received a citizenship medal from The Sons of the American Revolution.
Jonathan Kruk's dramatic retelling of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" for Historic Hudson Valley, began in 1996 and is now an October tradition. All 2011 forty shows sold out. Thirty December shows of his solo telling of "A Christmas Carol" also sold out. Now, venues like The Mark Twain House in Connecticut are booking this storyteller's unique popular events.
The History Press published Kruk's book "Legends and Lore of Sleepy Hollow and the Hudson Valley." Kruk developed a lively book talk program punctuated by spooky stories and historic fact, sought out by historic societies, libraries, civic clubs, colleges and the D.A.R.. Currently, The History Press accepted his proposal for a book on the Hudson Highlands. He is readying a book for children based on a 19th century Hudson River fairy tale poem.
Jonathan's storytelling style has been described as a 'delightful mix of Robin Williams and Viggo Mortensen.' Theatrical, and lively, he uses varied voices, dance movement, and silly sounding words, like "boombasity" "uglierific" and "squird-lump" to illuminate his tales and get giggles. One 7 year old exclaimed after a Jonathan show. "My imagination really works great!" A third grader declared. "Mr. Kruk was so good at telling tales that he made me feel I was watching them!" A Montclair NJ librarian wrote. "His enthusiasm, use of interactive call and response, his props - beautiful and intriguing felt masks for children, bring to mind a magical Willy Wonka style character come to life." Robert Kennedy, Jr. of the Hudson Riverkeeper wrote after a festival performance. “People were raving about you! You made the day for many little people and their parents!”
Storytelling appeals to all ages, and Kruk always tailors his programs to each audience, and venue. Here's a select list of shows Jonathan's created: Pirates! Summer Dragon Tails, Funny Foodie Fairy Tales, Animal and Acrobats, Stories for Marc Chagall's Circus paintings, Yankee Doodle's Story, Imps, Indians, Pirates and Patriots, Shiver Me Timber Tales, Aesop to Anansi, Grimm and Andersen, Spooky (but not Scary) Stories, Eagle Tales, Revolutionary Heroes, Around the World in Eight Tales, and many more.
Jonathan is a sought after Master of Ceremonies. He's chaired five Robert Burns nights. He's portrayed Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, Henry Laurens, Peter Kalm, Thomas Paine, Washington Irving, Henry Hudson & Robert Fulton. He's lead Harry Potter parades.
Some noteworthy venues and events include; Pete Seeger's Clearwater Great Hudson River Revival, Yonkers Riverfest, Norfolk Oyster Fest, Mamaroneck Harbor Fest, Eagle Fest Croton Point Park, Teddy Roosevelt National Homestead, New-York Historical Society, 225th anniversary of the American Revolution along the Hudson, the Hudson's Quadricentennial, Chief Daniel Nimham Monument in Putnam County NY, New York State Museum, Hudson River Museum, Albany Institute of History and Art, Arkell Museum Canajoharie NY, 1776 House Tappan NY, Fraunces Tavern NYC, Newark Museum, Earthday 1990 & 2000 NYC, California Center for the Arts Escondido CA, Scenic Hudson, Westchester Association for Retarded Adults, 100 Anniversary of the Boy Scouts, USA.
Keynote performances are as follows: Westchester Early Childhood Educator’s Councils 1990-96, Greenburgh School District Superintendent’s Conferences 1998, 1999, Parents as Reading Partners Conference, Albany 1996, New York State Reading Council Conference, Rye NY 2001, 2002 National Native Plants Gathering, Altoona, PA 2003, Archdiocese of New York Annual Teacher’s Conferences 2004, 2005
Jonathan served as storyteller in residence for Freeport NY schools from 1982 to 1992, and for the New Interdisciplinary School a pre-k for developmentally disabled children in Medford NY from 1985 to 1995. He was troubadour for the Huntington Long Island Renaissance Fair from 1987 to 2004, as M.C. for the Nassau County Museum Culture Kids programs from 1998 to 2006. Mr. Kruk has been Historic Hudson Valley's featured storyteller at many events since 1990. His "Magical Tour in Tales of Elfin Lands has been popular annual event at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation since 1981. He's also lead storytelling hikes on the mysterious wandering hermit known as The Leatherman, and for the Sierra Club.
He's appeared on The History, Food and Travel Channels, PBS, German TV ONE, and on New York radio stations WHUD, WAMC, WCBS, WBNR, WVKR.
He offers 8 varied CD's. "Barkface and Rootnose" "The Rainbow Dragon" offer children fables and fairy tales. "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle" are unabridged dramatic readings recorded officially for Historic Hudson Valley. "Revolution on the River" and "Once Upon the Hudson" are award winning Hudson River Ramblers (Jonathan and folk singer Rich Bala) recordings. "Halloween Tales" and "Santa-on-the-Hudson" are holiday collections for families.
Ask about Jonathan's story and song performances with Rich Bala as The Hudson River Ramblers. Jonathan is an Early Stages teaching artist in NYC.
Jonathan and his wife, actress/film-maker Andrea Sadler live in a cottage in the Hudson Highlands. His daughter, Zosia studies communications in California. He's past president of the Cold Spring Chamber of Commerce, on the boards of Desmond-Fish Library, the Putnam County Bicentennial Committee and an Eagle Scout. He does yoga, bikes, hikes and collects old bricks.
Additional Booking Notes
Able to project his voice like an opera singer, Jonathan has few technical requirements. A mic is only necessary in outdoor settings if there are unavoidable sources of noise, or with groups over 75. Indoors, a small stage clear well lite with a comfortable seating area is best. Children do best in a semi-circle, on mats, or small chairs. No audience dividing open center isle please! In private settings, snacks and nearby toys will distract from the performance.
On stage, a soft spotlight, the curtain drawn behind, a tall stool, are all that's needed. At festivals, please post the location time and name of performance. A sign stating the name of the show work best, like "Dragon Tales! Live, Here 3 & 4pm by Master Storyteller Jonathan Kruk."
Jonathan Kruk usually arrives about 30 minutes before each show, 45 minutes when there is a costume change, the need for microphones, or some special set up requirement.
Kruk carries liability insurance from Performer's USA.
Social Security number will not be given for payment unless the booking $600. or more. Then, it will only be mailed in on a W-9 requested two weeks before the engagement date.
Payment is expected on the day of the performance, unless another arrangement is made in advance. Generally, a confirmation invoice or contract is issued by Jonathan Kruk. The venue hiring may send their contract for confirmation.
Generally, two to three months notice is needed to secure booking date, but October bookings may require advanced notice.
Past Booked Events
|November 18, 2017 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm||House Party|
|May 27, 2017 • 3:00pm - 4:00pm||Religious Celebration|
|April 22, 2017 • 5:00pm - 6:00pm||Birthday (Child)|
|February 26, 2017 • 3:00pm - 3:30pm||Dinner Party|
|May 14, 2016||Fair|
|September 11, 2015||Fundraiser|
|July 13, 2015||School Assembly|
|July 07, 2015||Other|
|March 01, 2013||Other|
Each program is tailored to the venue theme and adapted to each audience. All tales are interactive. Here are a few possible set lists.
Finger Fables -
Mouse and Lion - Aesop's fable of a brave mouse helping a bully of a lion, showing children you are never too small to help.
Rabbit And Turtle - fingers turn into these two racers to show all how slow and steady wins the race with some humor too!
Barkface & Rootnose - a fine original fable of two fighting trees who show all the way to friendship, after some silly storming.
Why Spider Has Crooked Legs an Anansi tale of a show off spider, getting carrot soup in his legs.
The Talior's Tale- a delightful riddle of a tale turning nothing into something to take home and tell again.
Little Bear's Dancing Pants - they are lost! Listeners help little bear locate them after they get worn on Rabbit's ears, and Elephant's tusk. We learn the secret of how to stop losing things.
Story Theater - with caps and costumes and sometimes a colorful backdrop.
The Stonecutter - a Japanese skit with five children that everyone helps tell, showing who mighty are the humble.
The Magical Bul-Bul Bird - A quest to bring a mischief making bird to a lonely castle, with ten children helping to act out the tale.
Puss in Boots -a fairy tale from France with a dozen children helping create the magically helpful cat, the miller's son, a two headed ogre and a rollicky good tale.
Pigs, Thrice - A Shakespeare inspired version of the three pigs, with silly grandiose language.
The Froggy Prince- The pouty princess, over eager frog, and of course the sloppy kiss changing everything!
One Dragon, Three Children - a tale with eight children helping to enact with a dragon master teaching selfish kids how to share, with humor and more.
Medieval Manners and Manors -
Lucky John - an indentured servant receives a lump of gold after his service. He makes some shockingly bad trades but still lives happily ever after.
Who is the Mightiest - a clever princess, through a series of delightful tongue twisting ploys, gets her father to agree to let he marry the gardener!
How to Catch a Unicorn - A silly over the top, forsoothely spoken skit dramatizing with audience members how to apprendeth an enchanting creature.
Knighting a Knight- an accurate skit showing how a squire might enter the knighthood on a tournament field, with an arrogant black knight, a fawning purple knight and a couple of swag bellied, fopping puttock squires. Watch out for the kiss!
Hudson River Lore-
Mahicanituk - a native creation myth of the Hudson River
Minuet Buys Manhattan - a skit showing the true tale of the purchase of New York Island.
The Imp of Donderberg - Why skippers must tip their hats to river spirits in order to sail through the Highlands.
Anthony's Nose- The tale from Washington Irving of Peg-leg Peter Stuyvesant and how long nosed Anthony convinced the governor to appreciate this colony along the Hudson. Donder um blixsum!
Spuyten Duyvil - How this extraordinary feature in the Bronx got it's name.
Fulton's Folly - the story of how Robert Fulton fought to create the first successful steamboat in the world on the Hudson.
|Rich Bala||Folk Singer - Hudson River Ramblers|
|Andrea Sadler||Creative Dramatics|
Influences & Inspiration
Jim Henson's "The Storyteller" Jay O'Callahan, Brother Blue, Danny Kaye, Peter Sills Story Theater, Pete Seeger, Shari Lewis, Captain Kangaroo, Sandy Becker, Hans Christian Andersen, Burl Ives, My Grandfather Joseph Nowicki
Small chair, table.