A working father, stay-at-home mother and 9-year-old daughter live in a 1980’s Brooklyn cobblestone apartment. The father and daughter have a nightly ritual of creating a bedtime tale drawn from their mutual imaginings. One winter, the mother turns into a bear and goes down under the city to hibernate. The father begins a journey through the streets to find her. There he meets an old homeless man, Papushko, and his sidekick, a tap-dancing girl named Little Yip, who become his guides. They bring him to an abandoned subway tunnel, where there is a beerhall populated with characters who perform on a vaudeville stage. One of the performers is a bear.
Papushko received a workshop production by Music Theater Works at the Collonades Theater in NYC in 1983. It won that year’s Richard Rodgers Award.