Quote of the Day: Field trips to live theater enhance literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy among students, according to a study. The research team found that reading and watching movies of Hamlet and A Christmas Carol could not account for the increase in knowledge experienced by students who attended live performances of the plays. Students who attended live performances of the play also scored higher on the study’s tolerance measure than the control group by a moderately large margin and were better able to recognize and appreciate what other people think and feel. from an article at Science Daily.com titled Major Benefits for Students who attend live theater.
The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Dan Norman.
The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, MN has announced it’s 2015-2016 season, and it’s fabulous. CTC has been the leading children’s theatre in the nation, and they are the first theatre to produce many shows, including Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, a play they commissioned playwright Cheryl West to write for the stage, from the book by Gary D. Schmidt. I’m so excited to see a mix of new plays and cherished classics. Here is their press release:
An Innovative 2015 – 2016 50th Anniversary Season Including Five Premieres
The 2015- 2016 Anniversary Season encompasses a blend of reimagined classic stories and inspiring new works. Adapted from the critically-lauded film, Akeelah and the Bee has Broadway director Charles Randolph-Wright making his CTC debut in this tale about a young girl harnessing her talent for spelling in order to overcome adversity in a tough neighborhood. Followed by a new Jungle Book brought to stunning life through director Greg Banks’ unique style which emphasizes the sheer virtuosity of the actors. Next, experience the power of finding your place in the world with the return of the much-celebrated and critically-acclaimed Wizard of Oz. Direct from New York, multimedia, music and a classic tale with a modern twist collide in The Frog Bride, an enthralling performance by award-winning master storyteller David Gonzalez.The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keatscaptures the epic struggles and profound victories of a child’s life in vivid color and shadow through the unparalleled design of Italy’s puppetry master Fabrizio Montecchi. Animal Dance engages preschoolers in their own language, one of gesture and movement, all conceived and performed by nationally-acclaimed dancer and performance artist Ann Carlson. Finishing the season is the highly-anticipated musical adaptation of Jeff Kinney’s beloved series Diary of a Wimpy Kid, from acclaimed Chicago director Rachel Rockwell.
Peter C. Brosius continues, “This season, we bring nationally and internationally celebrated artists to the theatre, some of whom have never made work for this audience, to lend their creativity and passion. Whether it’s through the director’s vision, the actors’ craft, or redefining the language of theatre through dance or puppetry, we shaped this season to be alive, powerful, contemporary, and filled with theatrical surprises.”
Akeelah and the Bee – Premiere
Adapted for the Stage by Cheryl L. West
Based on the Original Screenplay by Doug Atchison
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
September 1 – October 11, 2015
UnitedHealth Group Stage
Akeelah has a crazy passion for words: the more abstruse and labyrinthine, the better. But this gift is almost overwhelmed by the challenge of her daily life in a tough, dangerous Chicago neighborhood, and by Akeelah’s yearning for a different life. The first theatrical adaptation of the critically-acclaimed film is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and captures all the hope and spirit of the original story in an inspiring tale of a community united behind one little girl’s dream. Akeelah and the Bee will also be featured in La Jolla Playhouse’s DNA New Work Series and will travel to a major regional theatre following its run at CTC.
“I am thrilled to be directing Akeelah and the Bee for CTC’s 50th Anniversary Season – it is a compelling, lively, and important story that resonates right now. I love this play, I love this theatre, and I am excited for Minneapolis to take Akeelah’s journey.” – Charles Randolph-Wright
The Jungle Book – Premiere
Based on the Book by Rudyard Kipling
Adapted and directed by Greg Banks
September 29 – December 6, 2015
Mowgli is rambunctious and curious, scrappy and silly. Sound like a kid you know? This new adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling story finds a child lost in the Indian jungle, where he is adopted by Baloo the Bear, Bagheera the panther, and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home. Our fast-paced retelling keeps you perched on the edge of your seat as young Mowgli comes face-to-face with sneaky monkeys, noisy vultures and his mortal enemy: the tiger, Shere Kahn.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be working on The Jungle Book at CTC and especially as part of the 50th Anniversary Season. I’ve had the privilege of working with CTC on some of my favorite projects and I can’t wait to see what we can do with this timeless story about finding out where you truly belong.” –Greg Banks
The Wizard of Oz
By L. Frank Baum
With Music and Lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Background Music by Herbert Stothart
Dance and Vocal Arrangements by Peter Howard
Orchestration by Larry Wilcox
Adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Based upon the Classic Motion Picture owned by Turner Entertainment Co.
and distributed in all media by Warner Bros.
Directed by Peter C. Brosius
November 3, 2015 – January 3, 2016
UnitedHealth Group Stage
And… we’re off! The songs, the costumes, the wonder of it all – together again in a holiday extravaganza that nobody can resist. Our production pulls out all the stops to take the beloved L. Frank Baum story to dizzying heights, with a cast of munchkins, monkeys and four friends in the pursuit of courage, a brain, a heart and a home. Take the whole family on a fairytale musical trip over the rainbow – and yes, Toto too.
“This is a piece that touches all of our hearts as it dives so deeply into what the idea of home truly means. I love this powerful story of a young Dorothy as she faces extraordinary obstacles, makes incredible allies and finds new strengths along the way. This is my first time directing this show and I simply can’t wait to get started.”
– Peter C. Brosius
The Frog Bride
Written, Conceived, and Performed by David Gonzalez
Directed by Lenard Petit
Music by Sergei Prokofiev and Daniel Kelly
Video Design by Matyas Keleman
Lighting Design by David Lander
January 12 – February 28, 2016
When a king sends his three sons to find their brides, two return with fair ladies but the youngest returns with…A FROG?! Acclaimed storyteller David Gonzalez masterfully weaves this classic Russian folk tale with a rich, multimedia experience using video projections, live musicians and an original jazz-funk score. The Frog Bride has everything you need for a rousing tale – a royal ball, a curse, a broken heart and the search for true love – performed with an energetic and skillful modern twist in what The New York Times calls “absorbing, funny and suspenseful, it is, in the great tradition of storytelling, enchanting.”
“I am thrilled to be included in Children’s Theatre Company’s 50th Anniversary Season. The Frog Bride has everything I love in stories; great characters and settings, a truly troublesome problem, a quest, and the unearthing of wisdom. I feel is a perfect fit for CTC audiences.” –David Gonzalez
The Snowy Day
And Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats –Premiere
By Jerome Hairston
Based on the Books by Ezra Jack Keats
Directed by Peter C. Brosius
February 9 – March 20, 2016
UnitedHealth Group Stage
The wonder of a fresh snowfall, the delight of that first successful whistle, the awe in finding a special treasure: Ezra Jack Keats had a gift for capturing the rapturous joy in a child’s day-to-day life. In this new staging of Keats’ beloved works with puppet design by Italy’s renowned Teatro Gioco Vita, director Peter C. Brosius brings the little boy in the red coat to enthralling life. Revisit Keats’ treasured stories in this wholly original theatrical adaptation.
“Ezra Jack Keats was a master at capturing the tiny details of a child’s life, the epic struggles and the glorious little victories that mean so much. He made the urban landscape of his childhood a vibrant and enchanting world as only a child could see it. His brilliant images remind us all what it is like to be a child with open eyes and huge hearts.” – Peter C. Brosius
Animal Dance –Premiere
Choreographed and Directed by Ann Carlson with Peter C. Brosius
March 22 – May 1, 2016
What do kids (baby goats) and kids (not-so-baby people) have in common? World-renowned choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson will dance her way to the answer with the help of some curious goats and their animal buddies in this brand-new piece developed specifically with preschoolers’ interests and attention spans in mind. It’s a story of the similarities we share with our animal friends in the quest for self-expression and ultimately, understanding. So stomp your hooves, clap your paws and expect the unexpected.
“I’m so honored to be working with CTC during their 50th Anniversary Season to develop this work for our most important audiences. This piece aims to look inside that wonderful connection of humans to the animal world. It’s sure to surprise!” – Ann Carlson
Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical –Premiere
Based on the book by Jeff Kinney
Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Book by Joe Tracz
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Produced by special arrangement with Fox Stage Productions and Kevin McCollum
April 12 – June 5, 2016
UnitedHealth Group Stage
Greg Heffley is in survival mode. All. The. Time. From bullies to his big brother to his height-challenged stature, he’s the wimpy kid we can all relate to. The beloved series hits the stage in a brand-new musical with Rowley, Manny, and of course, Rodrick joining in the mayhem. A ridiculous amount of fun for anyone who has survived, is surviving, or hopes to survive middle school, inspired by the award-winning and bestselling book series.
“I am thrilled to be collaborating with Children’s Theatre Company on a musical stage adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. To see my stories and characters come to life and set to music is exciting and I can’t wait to see Greg Heffley and his family take the stage.” – Jeff Kinney
The 50th Anniversary Season is sponsored by 3M, Ameriprise Financial, Target, KNOCK, inc. and United Health Foundation.
Three Key Celebratory Events Planned Throughout the Anniversary Season to Celebrate the Community
Three key events associated with the Anniversary Season have been planned to honor and celebrate the community that has supported and sustained CTC over the last 50 years. Peter C. Brosius adds, “Our 50th Anniversary Season is an opportunity to give back to our community. We wanted to ensure that the events within this landmark season also provided a time for reflection and a renewed dedication to serving and engaging our community.”
Free “Season Opener” at Target Field on August 9, 2015
50th Anniversary themed Curtain Call Ball and Backstage Bash on September 12, 2015
Free Open House at CTC on February 15, 2016
The 50th Anniversary “Season Opener” will commence with a free “grand-slam” event at Target Field on August 9, 2015. This commemorative event will feature a jumbotron screening of the filmed theatrical production of A Year with Frog and Toad, based on the Arnold Lobel stories with the original Broadway cast in high definition.
A perennial audience favorite, A Year with Frog and Toad, produced by Bob Boyette, premiered at CTC in 2002, played on Broadway in 2003 and was nominated for three Tony® Awards including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Additional programing surrounding the event and special guest appearances will be announced at a later date. Further information on obtaining tickets can be found on CTC’s website. This event is sponsored by Target and made possible through a partnership with the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club.
Tickets to the event at Target Field are complimentary and will be guaranteed to all 2015-2016 classic 6 PLAY Subscribers and current donors of $250 or more. A lottery system will be used to distribute all remaining tickets to the event. The lottery sign up period will be Tuesday, June 2 – Tuesday, June 30 at 5PM. All lottery winners will be contacted by Monday, July 13.
The celebrations continue over the course of the season, including a 50ththemed Curtain Call Ball and Backstage Bash on September 12, 2015 and a free Open House at Children’s Theatre Company on February 15, 2016. The Open House will be an opportunity for the public to experience exclusive, behind-the-scenes activities on how theatre is made, as well as further connect with the artists and staff of CTC.
Additional details on the 50th Anniversary Season and events, including information on obtaining tickets to the “Season Opener,” can be found atchildrenstheatre.org/50.
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Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the first theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony® Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003) and has welcomed more than 11 million people to performances and education programs over the last five decades. As one of the 20 largest theatre companies in the nation, CTC has created over 200 new works, dramatically changing the canon of work for young audiences.
CTC educational programs reach tens of thousands of young people of all ages, ranging from early learners to young adults. CTC’s Theatre Arts Training (TAT) program is designed to mold the next generation of theatre professionals in a guided, dynamic, studio-style program that is tailored to the needs of each individual student.
Steeped in our nationally-recognized Neighborhood Bridges philosophy, the CTC Community Engagement team creates models that arts organizations, schools and educators utilize to animate teaching and learning and develop critical thinking through creative writing, storytelling and theatre arts. Our three core programs include Neighborhood Bridges (currently serving grades 2-8), Building Bridges (serving Kindergartners) and Early Bridges (serving ages 3- 5). Our programming exists to promote accessibility and to deepen engagement with teachers and students locally and nation-wide.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: What children’s story would you like to see performed on stage?