Born an army brat in El Paso Texas, raised in Katonah, Jonathan Kruk grew up on tall tales and day dreams. He began telling tales to soothe his rambunctious brother at bedtime. Now, he considers it a blessing to give hundreds of performances and workshops each year. Jonathan’s noted for engaging children with theatrical fairy tales, colonial history, and curricular based school performances. Varying his voice, he creates characters from ogres, to grandmothers and even fish! When Jonathan turns his hands into animals, children follow. His performances feature finger fables, Revolutionary heroes, galloping ghosts, medieval skits, talking trees, rainbow dragons, plus witches who knot their noses to stop them from running.
Jonathan graduated from Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA with a degree in English, without career plans. Driving a Volkswagen beetle, he saw the USA. Then, he worked as a shoe clerk, camp counselor, mason tender, and as Henry Kissinger's office plant waterer. Following the muse, Kruk traveled to London studying educational drama, performed ritual theater with Gabrielle Roth, started his own horticulture business, and earned a Masters in Education at NYU in 1983. His first professional performance, Legends and Lore of the Little People at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, has been given every year since 1981.
Jonathan’s performed for most of the school districts and major historic sites in metropolitan New York. He’s created programs for preschools, libraries, medieval fairs, and even a Madison Avenue Ad campaign. Kruk gave keynote performances for New York State Reading Association, Parents As Reading Partners, and the Native Plants Conference in PA. Jonathan emceed the Nassau Museum of Arts Culture Kids program, including the recent Red Grooms exhibit. He is Historic Hudson Valley’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow storyteller.
He began his career as storyteller in residence for Freeport Schools, and The New Interdisciplinary Special Education Preschool, Medford on L.I. He became an artist educator in 1985 with the Westchester Arts Council, and 1986 with BOCES. Further, Jonathan’s performed at over 1000 children's birthday parties!
The New York Times proclaimed Kruk as “Westchester’s intrepid storyteller” for all his varied appearances.
The Wall Street Journal described his performances of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as “thrilling” !
Jonathan’s Storytelling Programs: All are tailored to each audience.
Finger Fables for Squiggly Squirmers - with fingers turned into animals, young children listen.
Olde Faery Tale Theater, - Interactive tales & skits from Grimm, Anansi, and round the world
New York's Local Lore - Historic fiction of Native, Colonial, Revolutionary, 19th century times
Revolution on the River with folk singer Rich Bala - authentic songs & stories of Revolutionary Hudson
Medieval Manners & Manors - Troubadour Jonathan offers stories, skits, a song, vocabulary Medieval
True Myth - Middle & High School muse inspired Greek and related mythology
Holiday Tales - HALLOWEEN haunts and history. December’s Traditions of Light & Gifts.
Shakespeare is Elementary - unadulterated scenes selected for grades 4-8, guided by actor/educators.
CURRENT WORK - Over 250 bookings annually, more than any other storyteller in East.
Acclaimed The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Storyteller for Historic Hudson Valley’s Legend Weekend at Philipsburg Manor, enchanting thousands every year.
Teaching artist for Early Stages, Inc. giving performances workshops on colonial New York City.
The Hudson River Ramblers, Jonathan & folk singer Rich Bala created an original show; The Life & Times in Story & Song of Alexander Hamilton for The New-York Historical Society. They received an $8,000. grant from the Catskill Watershed Corporation to bring together city and country kids to understand the building of the NYC water supply system.
Will present at the NYS Reading Association conference “Learning through Literacy”
Will release two CD’s The Rainbow Dragon and Barkface & Rootnose on Berger Platters
AWARDS & PUBLICATIONS
Filmed stories for the "Parables of Jesus" a Silver Burnett Ginn Religious CD series
CD Revolution on the River with Rich Bala won “Best of The Valley” by Hudson Magazine.
The Sons of the American Revolution Bronze Citizenship Medal.
Published an article in The Hudson a book by The Poughkeepsie Journal,
“Anne Hutchinson’s Story" Millennium Pub. book; Many Voices Anthology -
Westchester Art Council National Foundation for the Humanities Grant
He has appeared on PBS, the Food, History, Outdoor and National Geographic Channels., and WAMC, WHUD, WBNR, WCBS, and WVAR.
Jonathan lives with his daughter Zosia, and wife Andrea in a cozy cottage in Cold Spring on Hudson, where he bikes about the Highlands, practices yoga, and collects old bricks. He serves as a trustee for the Desmond/Fish Library, volunteers with the Boy Scouts and is Past President of the Cold Spring Area Chamber of Commerce.