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Theatre News Wire

Chicago Children's Theatre to present 2012-13 season at Ruth Page
Jun 6, 2012


Chicago Children's TheatreChicago Children's Theatre (CCT) and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell are delighted to announce the company has a new home and will be an Artist In-Residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago for the entire 2012-2013 season.

In addition to welcoming its audience to one convenient destination all season, Chicago's #1 presenter of top-quality professional children's theater is thrilled to confirm three wildly imaginative productions for 2012-2013 - the Chicago premiere of a new musical version of Harold and the Purple Crayon, directed by Sean Graney (Oct. 11-Nov. 4, 2012), an adaptation of the Newberry Medal winning novel Bud, Not Buddy, directed by Derrick Sanders (Jan. 12-Feb. 24, 2013), and the world premiere of The Elephant & The Whale, created by Frank Maugeri, co-directed by Maugeri and Leslie Buxbaum Danzig, with a script by Seth Bockley and music by Kevin O'Donnell, produced in association with Redmoon (Apr. 10-May 26, 2013).

"After seven years of being itinerant, we are so looking forward to our new residency at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts because it gives Chicagoland families one consistent location to experience a full season of exceptional theatrical programming," said Chicago Children's Theatre Artistic Director and Co-Founder Jacqueline Russell. "Ruth Page was home for our 2010 smash hit Jackie and Me so we can't wait to bring our audience back for three consecutive productions sure to delight children of all ages."

Also new for 2012-2013: The performance schedules for all three productions include family-friendly Thursday evening shows at 6:30 pm, proceeded by pizza parties in the Ruth Page Center's multi-purpose room starting at 5:30 pm. On Friday evenings, families are encouraged to kick off their weekend by wearing their PJs to the 6:30 pm show, and stay after for a fun post-show PJ Party with members of the cast.

In addition to its three-play season at the Ruth Page Center, Chicago Children's Theatre will take its season-opener Harold and the Purple Crayon on a regional tour after its downtown run, with performances November 7-11 at the Beverly Arts Center, 2401 W. 111th St. in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, and November 14-18 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 N. Skokie Blvd. in Skokie.

2012-2013 Family Membership Passes on sale now

Families that enjoy experiencing live theater together and also like to save money, take note: Chicago Children's Theatre announces the return of its popular Family Membership Pass. Today, CCT launched an Internet-only pre-sale for early bird Membership Passes via its website chicagochildrenstheatre.org offering admission to the company's 2012-2013 season for 30 percent off.

The early bird sale runs through July 15, when standard Family Membership Passes still offering a 20 percent discount on single tickets go on sale via internet and phone. Single ticket on-sale dates are to be announced.

More about Chicago Children's Theatre's 2012-2013 season

Harold and the Purple Crayon
A Chicago Children's Theatre Chicago premiere
Based on the books by Crockett Johnson
Text by Don Darryl Rivera, Lyrics by Robert Burgess, Music by Auston James
Directed by Sean Graney
October 11-November 4, 2012 Press opening: Friday, October 12, 6:30 pm
Recommended for ages 3 and up

Also touring to The Beverly Arts Center, 2401 W. 111th St., Chicago,
November 7-11

And the North Shore Centre for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, November 14-18

Harold and the Purple Crayon teaches young audiences that anything is possible with a crayon and a big imagination. Meet Harold, a curious four year old boy who, armed with his trusty purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. This imaginative musical uses breathtaking animation, inventive puppetry, and original music to bring Harold's purple-hued world to life; it is perfect for introducing young children to theatre while simultaneously captivating their older companions.

Harold and the Purple Crayon will be helmed by CCT Artistic Associate Sean Graney, who directed the company's productions of The Hundred Dresses, Honus and Me and Hana's Suitcase. Graney, Founding Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, is the recipient of a Career Development for Directors Program award from the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group, the winner of two non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards, and was named Chicago's Best Avant-Garde Director by Chicago Magazine and 2004's Chicagoan of the Year: Theater by the Chicago Tribune.

Bud, Not Buddy
Based on the Newberry winning novel by Christopher Paul Curtis
Adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson
Directed by Derrick Sanders
January 12-February 24, 2013 Press opening: Friday, January 18 at 7 pm
Recommended for ages 8 and up

Bud, Not Buddy follows the journey of a young African-American orphan as he searches for his father. Clues kept in a suitcase lead him to adventures in Depression-era Michigan, where he finds community among a group of jazz musicians and, ultimately, an unexpected sense of home.

Popular reading in the classroom, author Christopher Paul Curtis' Bud, Not Buddy was the winner of the 2000 Newberry Medal and the Coretta Scott King Award. In 2010, Jackson's stage adaptation won the Distinguished Play Award from The American Alliance for Theater and Education.

Award-winning director Derrick Sanders - Founding Artistic Director of Congo Square Theatre Company, a Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year in 2005, winner of multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards and Black Theater Alliance Awards, and director of CCT's 2010 world premiere Jackie and Me - has a national reputation, having directed at countless Chicago, regional and New York theaters. He is known for his many collaborations with the legendary August Wilson, including in Chicago his award-winning productions of Joe Turner's Come and Gone and Seven Guitars for Congo Square. His Off-Broadway directorial debut, Wilson's King Hedley II for Signature Theatre, received two Lucille Lortel and Audelco nominations. He was also a part of August Wilson's world premiere productions of Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean on Broadway and at the Huntington Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and the Goodman.

The Elephant & The Whale
A Chicago Children's Theatre world premiere, presented in association with Redmoon
Created by Frank Maugeri
Co-directed by Frank Maugeri and Leslie Buxbaum Danzig
Script by Seth Bockley
Music by Kevin O'Donnell
April 10 -May 26, 2013 Press opening Friday, April 12, 7 pm
Recommended for all ages

CCT's seventh season will conclude with a world premiere collaboration with Redmoon's Frank Maugeri to create The Elephant & The Whale, an all new family fable featuring sea shanties, wild mechanical objects, theatrical clowning, hand painted imagery, exquisite shadow puppets and an innovative sound design.

This new work is conceived by Maugeri with an original story and songs by Seth Bockley with composer Kevin O'Donnell. Co-directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (of 500 Clown), this epic tale invites audiences of all ages to discover the majesty of the largest animals on our planet, and a story of friendship conquering the sea itself.

The year is 1901. On the largest steamship in the world, a captive African Gray Elephant is bound for America. Mid-Atlantic, the boat encounters a massive blue whale. What happens next is a love story spanning species, time zones and many nautical miles. The performance will feature a live band and three performers who crank contraptions, pedal panoramic painting apparatuses, operate wild puppets and manipulate shadow sequences all while they sing shanty-like songs to weave this original and epic tale.

Redmoon Co-Artistic Director Frank Maugeri during his 15 year tenure with the company has created countless spectacle productions and events seen around Chicago. Highlights include serving as director, co-creator, and designer of the recent Astronaut's Birthday, a large-scale animated, graphic novel projected on the Museum of Contemporary Art's 80-foot fa├žade; co-creation and design of the critically acclaimed The Feast: an intimate Tempest at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; seven of the famed All Hallow's Eve ritual celebrations in Logan Square; over a dozen annual family-friendly Winter Pageant performances; Once Upon a Time (Jeff Award, After Dark Award) with its subsequent tour to France; Laika's Coffin and Cape and Squiggle for the Chicago Humanities Festival at MCA; Boneyard Prayer; and Redmoon's longest running production The Cabinet, its remount and tour of Brazil.

Seth Bockley, the critically-acclaimed writer and adapter, is a playwright in residence at the Goodman Theater and book writer for the new musical February House. He is also an artist in residence at the University of Chicago, and was a recipient of Theater Communications Group's New Generations Grant for which he spent two years with Redmoon as Directing Apprentice.

Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (co-director) co-created Lucky Plush Productions' The Better Half, which premiered at MCA Chicago and tours in 2012-2013 throughout the US. She was resident director with 500 Clown for 10 years, directed Redmoon's Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC), and is Program Curator for the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry at University of Chicago.

Kevin O'Donnell (composer) is a Chicago-based musician; he has worked in Chicago theater for the last 10 years, during which time he has been nominated for 19 Jeff Awards (receiving 8), and 2 consecutive After Dark Awards (Outstanding Season). He has worked around the country, both in theatre and as a musician, having recorded and toured with Andrew Bird, Kelly Hogan, Nickel Creek, and many others.


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