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May 2 - June 15, 2023

Best enjoyed by Grades 2 - 12

Student Matinees

RESERVE YOUR FIELD TRIP 

A Children’s Theatre Company Commissioned World Premiere Production in association with Universal Theatrical Group

An army of cats forces young Fievel Mousekewitz and his family to escape from Russia by boat. When a storm at sea separates them, Fievel arrives alone in the vast city of New York. In this riveting new musical based on the beloved animated film, the steadfastly optimistic Fievel makes his way as a new immigrant, encountering friends and foes (including a few scene-stealing cockroaches!). Despite everything stacked against him, Fievel clings to his dreams of a better life and reuniting with his family. Are they Somewhere Out There? 

Book and lyrics by Itamar Moses
Music and lyrics by Michael Mahler and Alan Schmuckler
Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment animated film
Directed by Taibi Magar

  • Run time

    2 hours including intermission

  • Best enjoyed by

    Grades 2 - 12

  • Stage

    UnitedHealth Group Stage

  • EDUCATOR GUIDE COMING SOON

About the Show


  • An American Tailthe Musical is a large-scale musical performed by a large cast of adults and students.
  • Based on the 1986 movie by the same name, the musical includes favorite songs including Somewhere Out There and There are No Cats in America, while adding new songs we can’t wait for you to hear!
  • This production takes place on our UnitedHealth Group Stage, which seats up to 745 people per performance.
  • We know that teachers are the best judge to determine the right fit for their unique group of students. We recommend An American Tail for students in Grade 2+ due to themes of persecution, loss, and potential peril that may scare younger audiences.

Content Advisories


Language: 1 out of 5 stars

A cat tells another cat to “shut up.” The mice sing Hannukah songs in Hebrew.

Themes and Situations: 2 out of 5 stars
Fievel falls into the ocean and is thought to be dead. Fievel is sold into indentured servitude and is chained to his work station. The city erupts in chaos and riots over a political argument. Warren T. Rat smokes a cigar.

Violence & Scariness: 3 out of 5 stars
Fievel and his family live in fear of the cats who threaten to eat them. Fievel and his family lose their house and village to a fire and must leave Russia due to persecution from the cats. Fievel falls overboard into the ocean and becomes separated from his family. Fievel is chained to a worktable and forced to earn his freedom. Fievel is imprisoned by the cats who threaten to eat him.

Sensory Advisories: 1 out of 5 stars
Music and sound effects may be loud and jarring. We will update this section once we know more about production elements.

Potentially Anxious Moments: 3 out of 5 stars
Fievel is separated from his family. Fievel faces many moments of peril, including falling into the ocean, facing a cat who wants to eat him, and escaping from a house fire. Fievel’s family must flee Russia as refugees. Fievel and his family are renamed when they arrive in America. A police officer threatens Bridget with a baton. Mice attend the funeral of a mouse who was killed by a cat.

Plot Synopsis

THIS IS A COMPLETE SYNOPSIS OF THE PLAY, SO IT IS FULL OF SPOILERS. THIS PLAY IS STILL IN DEVELOPMENT. CONTENT IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE UNTIL SCRIPT IS FINALIZED.  


The play opens with the Mousekowitz family celebrating Hannukah around their family menorah in Russia. They sing traditional Jewish songs which fade into a lively Hannukah party with all the people in the village celebrating. We hear the story of Judah Mousecabee who saved the mice from Antiocat the Greek through song as the adults explain traditions to the kids.

Mama and Papa Mousekowitz say goodbye to their party guests and they all begin cleaning up. Mama insists it is time for bed for young Tanya and Fievel. The kids begin chanting for presents, as they know the Haunnukah tradition well. Papa reveals a new babushka for Tanya and a new hat for Fievel. We learn that the hat has been in the Mousekowitz family for three generations. It is too big for Fievel and covers his eyes but Mama insists he will grow into it. The kids climb into bed while Papa tells the story of the Great Mouse of Minsk who protects the mice from danger. But Mama cuts Papa off before he is able to finish the story as she insists the kids are still too young. They begin to daydream as a family about America and all the grand things they have heard about it. Mama insists all the dreams are nonsense but Papa encourages the kids to dream of a better life in America. Fievel begins to sing “Somewhere Out There.”

Suddenly, Mama hears something in the distance. Outside the house, we hear mice screaming “The Cossacks!” Mama insists that everyone needs to hide. We see cat-shaped shadows across the walls. Fievel puts on his hat and charges to the door to defend his family. Papa tries to stop him but isn’t fast enough. Fievel stands facing a giant cat hissing and raising his claws to attack Fievel. Mama throws things at the cat which distracts him long enough for Papa to grab Fievel and pull him back into the house. The Cossack cat disappears but Tanya notices that the house is on fire. The cats are trying to burn the mice out of the village. The flames multiply and we see cat-shaped shadows chasing mice across the stage.

The smoke begins to fade leaving the Mousekowitz family standing among the ruins of their village and home.

We hear a boat horn in the distance as we shift to the Mousekowitz family boarding the boat along with other refugee mice from different countries fleeing the violence of the Cossack cats for a better life in America. Papa solemnly plays the violin as the mice board the boat. Tanya worries that they should just stay at their home in Russia but Papa insists that everything will be okay as long as they stay together. Fievel explores the boat. Papa comments on his curiosity, but Mama is protective and wants her kids to stay close. Fievel wants to keep exploring.

The mice in the lower deck begin to tell stories. Papa tells about how his parents were eaten by cats, leaving him an orphan. They sing that there are “No Cats in America.” Mice from around the world compare and compete for who had a worse situation dealing with cats.

A storm brews tossing the mice back and forth across the boat. They all run for cover while Fievel seizes his chance to see the ocean and runs up to the deck. Fish are being tossed back and forth across the deck as the storm rages. Fievel is in awe of the ocean and fish, something he has never seen before! The wind whips Fievel’s hat off his head and Papa catches it while chasing after his son. Another strong gust of wind throws Fievel off balance and he falls overboard into the darkness of the ocean.

The Mousekowitz family (minus Fievel) are in line at Ellis Island after finally reaching America. We hear other families go through the process of checking in and have their names changed. The Mousekowitzes finally reach the front of the line and learn that their new last name in America will be “Moss.” Tanya protests the name change and feels saddened that Fievel is not there.

In the distance, we see a glass bottle wash ashore with a tiny mouse inside. Fievel climbs out of the bottle to safety on the shore of Ellis Island and is greeted by a pigeon named Henri. Henri gives Fievel a quick run-down of America and promises to help Fievel find his family. The pigeon flies Fievel to mainland America and waves goodbye.

At the harbor, crowds rush everywhere and Fievel is confused about where to start. He begins to ask anyone he can find if they have seen his family. Warren T. Rat is smoking a cigar and watching his underling, a cockroach named Digit, count the earnings for the day. Digit asks Warren to quit blowing cigar smoke in his face but Warren reminds him that there are a million cockroaches who want his job if he isn’t willing to do it. Warren bemoans decreasing sales for the day when his cigar smoke reaches Fievel, causing him to cough. Warren greets Fievel and Fievel tells Warren of his missing family. Warren promises to help him earn money so he can find his family and serenades him with thoughts of all the luxury things he will be able to buy for his family. Warren leads Fievel down a dark hallway, and suddenly Fievel realizes what is happening, but it is too late. A large rat named Moe grabs Fievel and chains him to a worktable. Moe and Warren negotiate a finder’s fee for Fievel, which they decide is 90% of his earned salary.

In New York, the newly named Moss family are settling into a new apartment. Mama comments that the space is a bit smaller than she anticipated and there are a lot of stairs. The landmouse comments that they are lucky to not have to share with another family or two and the stairs allow them to have a window with natural light. Papa asks Mama to stop complaining and encourages her to be grateful that they will never live in fear of the cats again. Just then, Tanya notices a catface in the window which causes them all to scream. The landmouse assures them that the cat will not bother them because of the Great Compromouse and encourages the family to visit the Myceum to learn about the agreement between mice and cats.

At the sweatshop, Fievel is in a line of young mice sewing, including Tony who encourages Fievel to work quickly in order to pay off his debts. Fievel is confused how he already has debt when he just arrives but Tony explains that they need to pay off the costs of housing and feeding them before they are allowed to leave. The workers begin to sing a working song while Fievel wishes to see his family.

As the sun sets, the worker mice are unchained from their work stations and thrown into a room of bunkbeds. Tony assures Fievel that everything will be okay. Fievel asks how long it will take to work enough to be released but no one knows; they have all been there so long they have lost track. Fievel begins to panic that he can’t wait years to find his family. The mice begin to laugh and exclaim that Fievel doesn’t have a family anymore or he wouldn’t be there. Fievel tries to explain but everyone is falling asleep. Tony assures Fievel that he believes him and decides to rename him Philly.

Just then, Fievel has an idea, remembering one of Papa’s stories about a maiden with long hair at the top of a tower. He runs around the bunkroom stealing everyone’s blankets tying them together end-to-end to make a long rope. Tony encourages him to wait until morning to try to escape but it is too late; Fievel is already out the window.

Papa is hurrying the family to see the show about the Great Compromouse and just misses Fievel as he climbs out the window. Fievel begins to call for his family when he bumps into a human. The human grabs a giant broom and chases him. Tony saves the day by springing the mousetrap and grabbing Fievel. The two decide to stick together from them on.

A young Irish mouse enters with a soapbox and some pamphlets. She begins to preach about the great oppression and encourages mice to unionize against unfair labor practices. Most mice pass by without much consideration for Bridget’s speech but Tony is infatuated. Tony falls deeper in love with Bridget, while other mice challenge Bridget’s views, arguing that a union will only cause them to be unemployed. Bridget is discouraged as she packs up her pamphlets. Tony runs over to introduce himself before she leaves. Bridget rants that she has heard rumors of a mouse sweatshop which Tony and Fievel confirm. Tony introduces Fievel as his new name “Philly” and Fievel recants his epic adventure thus far. Bridget decides that Fievel has just the heartstring-pulling story that her cause has been looking for and whisks everyone off to Mouseany Hall.

At the theatre, the Moss family watch the Myceum Players retell the story of the Great Compromouse. We learn that the American mice have promised to pay a percent of their profits to the cats in perpetuity and in exchange the cats have promised to not harm any mouse who is employed. This news shocks Papa who argues that mice should not bargain with cats and begins to shout at the actors. He is chastised for his behavior and escorted out with his family, where they see cats also watching the show.

Bridget finally arrives at Mouseany Hall with Tony and Fievel in tow. Mice are standing in wake to mourn the loss of their friend, Mickey. Honest John, a local politician, recants Mickey’s life which was cut short when he tried to take time off of work to write a novel- a decision that made him fair game for the cats who caught him 2 days later. The mice toast to Mickey as Honest John notices his visitors. Fievel recants his story to Honest John, who promises to help. Fievel is hesitant to trust him explaining that adults have let him down before. Honest John vows that he has the right intentions, which is how he has been elected for nine terms. All the mice chime in to vouch for Honest John and tell stories of how he has helped them. Honest John asks if he can count on Fievel’s vote in the upcoming election. Fievel explains that he is too young to vote but Honest John tells him to vote anyway and encourages him to vote twice if he can find a fake mustache. Honest John calls over the police officer who runs through the names of all the recent immigrant family citing the Moss family but Fievel is discouraged to not hear Mousekowitz on the list.

Bridget brings the attention back to her unionization campaign, which prompts an eye roll from Honest John. She proposes a rally where Fievel can tell his heartbreaking story of enslavement and family separation. That will bring awareness and sympathy to her cause and maybe Fievel’s family will hear his story. Honest John is not convinced and worries that it will cause upset with his Aristocratic supporters.

Suddenly, Gussie Mouseheimer, the richest mouse in town, bursts through the door and demands to speak with Honest John. Gussie is upset that Bridget is calling for unionization. Honest John acts as if this is the first time he is hearing of the union. Gussie insists that it is Honest John’s responsibility to shut it down as a union could jeopardize profits. Honest John promises to put an end to union talks in order to get Gussie to leave but Bridget is not happy. She steps forward and argues that while Gussie sits in his giant mousehold uptown, his workers suffer. She suggests that Gussie pay his workers a fair wage so they wouldn’t need to unionize. Gussie encourages Bridget to see the bigger picture and realize he is helping his workers by negotiating with the cats. He suddenly realizes there is a dead mouse in the room and Honest John explains they were in the midst of a funeral and Bridget explodes in anger stating the Gussie killed Mickey by making a horrible agreement with the cats. Gussie has had enough and storms out the door, promising that the mice of uptown will no longer support Honest John in his reelection efforts.

At the Moss apartment, Papa is still ranting about the atrocities of making a deal with cats. Mama encourages him to calm down but Papa insists that moving to America was not worth losing Feivel and still being haunted by cats. Tanya yells for her parents to stop fighting.

Bridget brings Tony and Fievel back to her apartment. Fievel notices a picture on the wall. We learn that her parents were killed by a gang of cats after they were too exhausted from work to run away. She assures Fievel that she will work to find his family. Fievel worries that he isn’t brave enough to face the cats. Bridget comforts him by saying that no mouse can face a cat. She tucks him into bed and assures him that tomorrow will be better.

Back at the Moss apartment, Tanya and Mama remember Fievel by setting up a small memorial. Tanya asks if there is any chance that Fievel could be alive and if she could go looking for her brother. Mama has a hard time finding the words to say that Fievel is likely not coming back and kisses Tanya goodnight.

From separate apartments, Tanya and Fievel sing “Somewhere Out There.” Fievel rolls over to go to sleep but Tanya has an idea. She writes a note to her parents, slips Fievel’s photo into her coat pocket, and escapes out the door to look for Fievel. A cat face looms in the window, looking at Fievel as he sleeps.

During intermission, Bridget practices her speech. Tony joins her and asks to talk to her but Bridget is busy. After some pleading from Tony, she agrees to listen. He explains that he has always been a mouse living solo without a care in the world but now he is in love with her. Bridget argues that she needs to focus on her campaign but Tony is insistent. Bridget insists that Tony needs a passion outside of their relationship. By the end of the song, Bridget is just as in love with Tony as he is with her.

In the town square, Bridget is back on her soapbox with Fievel by her side dressed in rags and covered in dirt. Tony is passing out flyers to folks as they pass by. She encourages onlookers to come to the rally to hear the sad tale of Philly Mousekowitz. As the three rush off to pass out more flyers, Mama and Papa enter in frantic search for Tanya. They rush off and Tanya enters asking the crowd if they have seen her brother. Everyone is just missing each other.

At the gated entrance of Mouseheimer Square, Bridget rubs more dirt onto Fievel while Tony worries that Fievel is so dirty that not even his family will recognize him. Honest John enters with police officers. Bridget greets Honest John with a smile but he is not happy. Honest John demands that Bridget dismantle the rally. Tony joins in to defend Bridget which causes the police officers to raise their sticks threatening to hit him. Bridget begins to panic that all her effort is wasted but Fievel jumps in to draw attention. He addresses the crowd and tells a fabricated story about how Honest John saved him. Honest John has no choice but to agree with the story and allow Fievel to continue to tell it. The crowd heads to Mouseheimer Square to hear the rest of the story.

Tanya’s search for Fievel brings her to the city dump. She asks the garbage mouse if he has seen her brother but he encourages her to leave the dump as it isn’t safe. Suddenly, the trash pile starts to move. Tanya greets the mysterious creature and shows it the picture of Fievel. As the creature begins to claw its way out of the trash pile, Tanya turns to run and we fear she is about to be eaten by a cat. Just then, Henri the pigeon pokes his head out of the trash recognizing Fievel’s name. Henri stops Tanya to explain how he met Fievel on the beach and offers to fly Tanya to where he dropped off Fievel so she can follow the trail. They fly off towards the rally.

Back at Mouseheimer Square, Bridget is finishing up her heated speech before handing the podium over to Fievel to tell his tragic tale. Fievel is nervous but Bridget encourages him. Just then, Warren T. Rat emerges from the crowd. Fievel finds his courage and yells to the crowd that Warren once chained him to a worktable. Warren insists that young Fievel was free to quit at any time if he didn’t like the work and challenges that, if Fievel was in fact trapped and enchained, how did he get here? Warren begins a song about how working is hard and if you don’t want to do hard work, no one is forcing you. He challenges that the “freedom” Bridget is fighting for is actually taking freedoms away. Bridget challenges his declaration but Warren insists he is just exercising his freedom of speech. The crowd is starting to learn towards Warren but Bridget fights harder to regain their support. She reminds the crowd that freedom is not only about freedom to do what you want but also is freedom from oppression. She argues that they need freedom from before freedom to. The crowd begins to chant “Stop the steal!” as Warren officially wins over the crowd and yells that if anyone doesn’t like America, they can go back to where they came from. The crowd becomes rowdy and the three friends get separated; Bridget and Tony flee from the crowd one way while Fievel runs another.

Tony and Bridget stop running and debate whether they are safe. Bridget feels guilty for pushing her agenda instead of just helping Philly. She begins to lose hope in her cause and asks to be alone. Tony is left alone on the stage.

Fievel runs into the same alley where he was once taken by Warren T. Rat and finds all of his sweatshop friends. They tell him that the city has started rioting. They make fun of him for not being able to find his parents. Fievel begins to believe them that his parents don’t actually want to find him and decides to just stay at the sweatshop when he starts to hear a violin. He thinks it is his father so he follows the sound. When Fievel is out of sight, the sweatshop mice look up to see Tanya riding Henri. They just missed each other again.

Fievel follows the sound all the way to the sewer where he emerges from a tunnel to find cats playing poker around a large table. Cats argue about the game when Warren steps out of the shadows with his violin. If this wasn’t surprising enough, Warren pulls off his fake nose and ears to reveal he is actually a cat! Unable to contain himself, Fievel rushes forward to confront Warren. Everyone stops to look at Fievel, who realizes he is in trouble. The cats seize him and lock him up in a cage hanging above the poker table. With Fievel locked up, Warren discloses his whole plan to the little mouse including that he created the whole plot for the mice to pay the cats for protection as well as skimming part of the mice’s income. Warren puts his disguise back on and promises the cats that they can eat Fievel for dinner that night. They all exit leaving Fievel locked up and Digit counting the earnings. Fievel cries which distracts Digit from his counting. Digit encourages Fievel to keep his head down and follow directions in order to stay alive. Fievel remembers his life in Russia and remembers the community he had with his fellow villagers. Digit remembers a time he was hopeful for the future and sings with a chorus of cockroaches. Digit decides to free Fievel just as the cats return. The roach chorus lifts Fievel onto their shoulders to carry him out of the sewer and free from the cats.

Papa and Mama return to their apartment feeling defeated that they were unable to find their daughter. Papa bemoans his decision to immigrate the family to America. He throws the window open to find Henri the pigeon at the window. This scares the little mice but Henri assures them that he comes with the gift of Tanya. Tanya shares the good news that she knows where Fievel is and that he might be the Philly that everyone is talking about. Mama and Papa are unsure but Tanya insists, and the family boards Henri to head back to the rally location.

Bridget arrives to the docks to meet with Honest John and Gussie. Bridget is reluctant to be there but circumstances gave her no choice. Gussie shares that the city is burning from riots and chaos rules the streets. Gussie fears that the cats will consider the chaos a breaking of their agreement. Honest John begs Gussie to speak with the cats and assure them that everything is under control but Gussie will only do it if Bridget gives up her labor reform fight. Bridget weighs her decision just as Tony bursts onto the scene. Tony professes his love for Bridget but it isn’t really the right time. Tony declares that he now understands Bridget’s fight. Tony whistles and reveals that he brought the whole city of workers with him. They all declare that they no longer believe in Warren’s plan. Bridget asks how he was successful in winning over the working class and Tony shares that he said exactly what she has been saying all along…but as a man. Bridget is not amused but grateful for the help.

Fievel comes running in, pursued by cats. Bridget and Tony are thrilled to see Fievel and Fievel reveals that he was taken prisoner by Warren T. Rat, who is actually a cat! Digit sneaks up behind Warren and pulls off his disguise to everyone’s shock. Warren retaliates by calling the cats to an early dinner. The mice begin to panic as the cats pick them off to eat them. But Fievel has a plan! Fievel leads all of the mice into the museum behind them. Warren pulls out a match and threatens to chase the mice out with fire. All the mice join together to make one giant mouse, just like the Great Mouse of Minsk, and chase the cats away.

All the mice begin to celebrate the eradication of cats in America when they realize that Fievel is missing. The Moss family lands with Henri and everyone comes to the conclusion that Fievel is Philly. Amongst the debris, they find Fievels hat and begin to panic the worst happened. Papa pulls out his violin to play and Fievel digs his way out of the rubble. The family is reunited at last! Fievel re-dons his hat to realize that it finally fits perfectly.

Fievel and Tanya visit Henri at the now completed statue of liberty. We see a human family standing at the base of the statue looking hopeful for the future.

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Flipgrid is an asynchronous education engagement tool that allows students to access specific media or curriculum-based resources while interacting with classmates and educators via video. CTC’s Flipgrid topics explore technical theatre, mindfulness, songwriting, playwriting, and more. Copy the topics directly to your Flipgrid classroom to get the creativity started!

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American Tail Student Matinee

May 2 - June 15, 2023

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Saturday

Jun 17

10:30am

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