The Chicago Children's Theatre, currently presenting "The Elephant and the Whale" in a joint production with Redmoon, has announced its three shows for the 2013-2014. They include:
± "A Year With Frog and Toad" (Oct. 9-Nov. 24), the frequently requested remount of the show that launched the company eight years ago. Based on the books by Arnold Lobel, this musical adaption by brothers Robert Reale (music) and Willie Reale (book and lyrics), will again be directed by Henry Godinez. The Tony-nominated musical follows the adventures of two best friends - the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad - through four, fun-filled seasons. A whimsical, charming vaudeville, it follows the pair as they wake from hibernation in the spring, plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons. (Recommended for ages 4 and up.)
± "Mr. Chickee's Funny Money" (Jan. 21-March 2, 2014), a world premiere rhythm and blues musical, written by David Ingber from the best-selling young adult book by Christopher Paul Curtis ("Bud, Not Buddy"), and featuring music and lyrics by Motown legend Lamont Dozier ("Stop in the Name of Love"), as well as his son, Paris Dozier. Derrick Sanders will direct this tale about 9-year-old Steven, a self-proclaimed spy and president of the "Flint Future Detectives Club." At the heart of the story is a highly intelligent, out-of-the-box thinker, and entrepreneurial boy, who discovers that family, friends, imagination and determination are the true keys to success, and that sharing the spotlight with others can make one even richer. (Recommended for ages 7 and up.)
± "The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favorites" (opening at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie April 25 - 26, 2014, and then moving to The Ruth Page Center for the Arts April 29 - June 1, 2014): This production by the acclaimed Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is based on the children's books by award-winning illustrator and writer Eric Carle.
Adapted, directed and designed by Jim Morrow, with music by Steven Naylor, and narration by Gordon Pinsent, it will explore three of Carle's most treasured stories through music, innovative puppetry, and ingenious black light visual effects. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" follows the adventures of a very tiny, very hungry caterpillar that eats his way through an amazing variety of foods towards his eventual metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. Also on the bill will be "Little Cloud" and "The Mixed-Up Chameleon." (Recomended for ages 3 and up.)
All three shows will be presented at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, where the Chicago Children's Theatre (CCT) will be returning for its second season as an Artist In-Residence.
NOTE: On April 22, CCT will launch an early bird pre-sale for Family Membership Passes offering a 30 percent discount on all three plays for next season. The early bird sale runs through June 15, when standard Family Membership Passes, offering 20 percent off, go on sale. For tickets and more information call (872) 222-9555 or visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org.
In additional CCT news:
± CCT will continue its special programming for children with autism --the Red Kite Project -- with the U.S. premiere of "Red Kite, Blue Sky," created by Jacqueline Russell and to be presented (dates tba) at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion Choral Rehearsal Room in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph. Specially trained actors will create a multi-sensory, fully interactive adventure that encourages children with autism to move, laugh, talk and sing as they follow Hawk on a journey to the sky. To better tailor each performance to the special needs of each child attending, the number of tickets sold for each show is limited to 10 children with accompanying adults, plus 10 observers. Applications will be made available starting in November. Call (773) 227-0189, x. 15 or visit theredkiteproject.org.
± In Spring 2014, CCT will launch Later Stages, adding four evening performances featuring work for older children (8 and up) being created by smaller, cutting-edge companies like Theatre Unspeakable and Manual Cinema, as well as more established companies like Blair Thomas & Company. More details will be announced later.