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Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

Girls Party a Chic Success!

Nancy Carlson's beautiful backyard

Nancy Carlson’s beautiful backyard

Last Thursday, Dallas’s best-dressed arts patronesses came together for the 2014“Girl’s Party” benefit. Decked out in their best “garden chic,” guests snacked on tasty hors d’oeuvres and sumptuous desserts, sipped hibiscus coolers, danced to a girl power soundtrack, and raised money for Dallas Children’s Theater! The party was held at DCT board member and longtime supporter Nancy Carlson’s beautiful Park Cities home. Her backyard, festooned in lovely decorations, was the perfect backdrop for a girl’s night out.

Tara Lewis, Maggie Kipp, Linda Gray, Nancy Carlson, Sharron Hunt

Dancing the night away!

Dancing the night away!

The theme of the evening was “Surprise! It’s Your Birthday,” a nod to DCT’s 30th anniversary season. The surprises kept coming! Nancy and event co-chairs Maggie Kipp and Tara Lewis truly outdid themselves. They were able to secure Linda Gray, the star of TNT’s “Dallas,” as a celebrity guest host! Linda, looking chic in a sheer blazer and sky-high heels, gamely posed for photos with guests.  Guests were also treated to a high-energy performance to Christina Aguilera’s “Glam” by the Dallas Youth Repertory Project. Next, guests were presented with leis and had a Hawaiian luau dance lesson. Another highlight of the evening was artist JD Miller’s live painting performance. Miller, a resident artist at Samuel Lynne Galleries, set up shop in Nancy Carlson’s backyard and painted the night away. The finished piece, inspired, as Miller said, by the “amazing energy” of the evening, is for sale at Samuel Lynne, with 50% of the proceeds going to DCT.

JD Miller

JD Miller drawing a raffle winner. His beautiful painting is in the background!

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Surprise, Kersten!

The evening came to a close with drawings for some spectacular raffle prizes! JD Miller donated another one of his paintings, and Gloria Tarpley was the lucky winner . Kersten Rettig donated a Highland Park Village shopping spree to the raffle. We invited her to draw a ticket, and in a funny, karmic coincidence, Kersten drew her own name! “Enjoy your shopping spree, Kersten- you deserve it!,” cried the crowd. Other raffle winners include Michelle Godo, who will enjoy a stay in a luxurious Santa Fe resort, and Nancy LaVerde. Nancy will have a meal catered by Mico Rodriguez, the master chef behind Mr. Mesero.

It was an amazing evening full of fun, laughter, and music. We were able to raise money and awareness about the great things happening at DCT. Thanks to all who attended!

It’s Ladies’ Night! DCT’s Girls Party to Dazzle with Exciting Raffle Items and A-List Guests!

Audience to be amazed by JD Miller’s LIVE Painting Performance

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Celebrity host Linda Gray

This year’s Girls Party fundraising event is right around the corner! Event Co-Chairs Maggie Kipp and Tara Lewis have been hard at work securing exciting raffle items, entertainment, and chic decorations. The party, scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd and starting at 7 pm will be hosted by longtime board member and major donor Nancy Carlson. Her beautiful Park Cities home will be the perfect setting for a glamorous evening. On the heels of announcing that TNT’s Dallas star Linda Gray (aka “Sue Ellen”) is going to be the honorary celebrity chair for the event, Tara, Maggie, and Nancy are thrilled to announce Reflectionist Artist JD Miller’s magnificent contribution to the festivities.

Reflectionist Artist J.D. Miller

Reflectionist Artist JD Miller

Thanks to Samuel Lynne Galleries, Artist JD Miller will be providing an exciting and engaging Live Painting Performance. In this one-of-a-kind intimate encounter, attendees will witness Miller transform a blank canvas into a masterpiece. Miller’s technique is based on a system of his artistic thought that abstractly emphasizes the mirroring of energy and human life in the universe. Through the development of this technique, Miller formed the school of thought that has come to be known as Reflectionism. This burgeoning school of artistic thought attempts to express and physically manifest these positive – and otherwise abstract or intangible – forces, which Miller refers to as the “three dimensional envelope of life” through his 3D oil paintings. Miller’s production of organic forms and natural tendency toward the capturing of light is the hallmark of this sculptural oil technique.

JD Miller during a Live Painting session

Partygoers will have the opportunity to bid live on JD Miller’s painting at the end of the evening with a portion of the proceeds going directly to Dallas Children’s Theater. Another one of Miller’s paintings is being raffled off along with many other spectacular prizes! Some great items that have been secured to date include a fabulous private event catered by star chef Mico Rodriguez, a relaxing Santa Fe getaway, and a shopping spree at Highland Park Village. For more information about raffle, go to dct.org/girlsparty/raffle! Raffle tickets are $25 each, 5 for $100 or 20 for $200.

Funds raised will help DCT continue to provide over 250,000 children and families annually with Broadway-like shows based on children’s literature and beloved stories; free and reduced tickets for students to attend shows as part of a field trip; summer acting camps and so much more. Ladies: do something good for yourself and for the community! Share an evening of fun with the girls and help DCT continue to train the arts patrons and professionals of tomorrow. Tickets start at $150. Go to dct.org/girlsparty for more information!

 

 

Mariachi Girl – From Seed To Fruition

DCT MARIACHI press 2/24/14This new and exciting bilingual musical explores how one girl challenges her identity in a modern society while embracing her rich heritage. Young Carmencita dreams of singing alongside her father as a proud mariachi, but her father insists that mariachi should only include men. When Cita becomes inspired by a book about a famous female mariachi, it expands her world and ideas of what is possible.

Director, Robyn Flatt, wants people to get excited about the story and see how the family overcomes their challenges. “Bursting with live, vibrant and original music, MARIACHI GIRL rings with rhythms and songs performed by live mariachi. It is not only the story of a young girl following her dreams, it is the story of a family struggling between allegiance to their own cultural traditions and the pressure to assimilate,” she said.

Cita’s conflict is both personal as well as uniquely universal. Young people around the globe often experience conflict between generations.  Young girls often observe their brothers favored by opportunity while they can only dream.

Luis and Cita - Alberto JimenezRoxanne Schroeder-Arce, the playwright for the production, has received a lot of positive feedback about how people of all cultures are finding connections with this story. Roxanne is also hopeful that Latino families in Dallas in particular will get to experience this story. “I couldn’t ask for a more supportive artistic community. The cast is fantastic. The musicians are great. The designs are beautiful and the director’s vision is lovely. I can’t wait to experience this play in Dallas!”

David Lozano, co-founder and artistic director of Cara Mía Theatre of Dallas and the consulting director for MARIACHI GIRL, has been impressed with Robyn’s commitment to this musical throughout the last three years. “She knew that this story of a young Mexican girl with a dream to become a Mariachi is important for our entire community to see and she’s bringing a powerful story to the Latino community,” he said.

Robyn has spent a lot of time involving the community in the process of this musical. “Thanks to Robyn’s commitment to the development of this work,” David said, “I believe that MARIACHI GIRL can become a classic in the Chicano / US Latino canon of theater for young audiences.”

fiesta-day

 March 22 – 3 pm to 6 pm.

 

 

 

 

DCT is delighted that The Honorable Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Mónica R. Alonzo is serving as our host for the day and invites everyone to join her in seeing the play and enjoying the Fiesta!  Don’t miss the opportunity to see for yourself what Cita loves most about being a mariachi girl!

Before the show, the fabulous Anita Martinez Ballet Folklorico will entertain the audiences with their usual array of great performances and our friends from FC Dallas Soccer Tour will delight families with fun games and great giveaways.

After the show, the following entertainment will be provided for the free community event from 3 to 6pm.

Featuring:
OIL AND COTTON, ALEGRE BALLET FOLKLORICO, BALLOON ARTIST, WILL RICHEY & ALEJANDRO PEREZ, JR., AND ROSAS DIVINAS

And DCT’s Fiesta will also feature one of Dallas’ newest food trucks…
La Casa Azul Dallas

 

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES:

Friday – March 21 – 7:30 pm

Saturday – March 22 – 1:30 pm

Saturday – March 29 – 1:30 & 4:30 pm

Sunday – March 23 – 1:30 pm & 4:30 pm

Sunday – March 30 – 1:30 pm

Ticket Prices: $15 – $40 (Subject to change)

Box Office: 214-740-0051

Tickets also available on-line at www.dct.org

 

Dallas Children’s Theater brings theater to life for ALL children!

First Sensory Friendly Production is well received.

For many children with autism, sensory integration challenges, or developmental differences, going to the theater is overwhelming. The bright lights and loud music that excite typically developing children can be unbearable to their peers with special needs. Over the past few months, DCT has been working with families and healthcare providers to produce a performance that gives these kids the chance to comfortably experience live theater, and on March 1st, we proudly staged our very first sensory- friendly performance. Small adaptations to our production of “Go, Dog. Go!” made a big difference to the families in the audience.

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With input from parents,  experts who work with a range of special needs children, and partners from Orlando Repertory and Nashville Children’s Theater, we implemented small (but effective) changes to the performance. We reduced sound levels, removed loud effects, and kept the house lights on at a higher level than normal. A “quiet room” was provided for children who needed to take a break, and a social story posted on our website helped familiarize kids with DCT and prepare them for their outing. The show itself remained largely unchanged, giving patrons the same critically-acclaimed performance that other audiences enjoyed.

Perhaps most significantly, the sensory-friendly show was a judgment-free zone. Parent Jill Rowlett remarked that, “for those with disabilities and their parents, this is a dream. A place to take our children where they will fit in or at least be understood and accepted is rare… Parents can actually share family time out of their homes, without constant tension and worrying how their child will react…or how the public will react.” If a child vocalized or had a meltdown, parents knew that the other audience members understood. Michelle Rice Dooley, another mother who attended the March 1st performance of “Go, Dog. Go!,” noted that “parents were relaxed, because no matter what, we were amongst a people with compassion and understanding. It truly allows the parents to relax and feel free to enjoy with their child. Thanks- we can’t wait for the next one!!!”DSCN0572

We can’t wait for the next sensory-friendly show, either! March 1st was an exciting and informative day for Dallas Children’s Theater, and we were touched by the positive reactions from the families who came to see the show. Many thanks to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Theater Communications Group, Autism Speaks, UNT, and UT Southwestern, and all of our community partners for making our first sensory-friendly show such a success.

Mark Your Calendars! Our next sensory friendly performance will be…

Stuart Little

July 12 at 4:30pm

Tickets are $5 per person. Call the Box Office at (214) 740-0051 to get yours today

JOIN US FOR DCT’S FIRST PARTY & PLAY OF THE SEASON

270x150_party&playPARTY & PLAY EVENT ON SATURDAY, JANUARY 25

You’re invited to DCT’s GO, DOG. GO! Party and Play event on Saturday, January 25 starting at 1:30 pm at DCT’s Rosewood Center.  Watch the show followed by food, fun, crafts, show-related activities, and much more!

$30 per person

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Fun! Fun! Fun!

Seats Still Available…

• Each child gets whiskers and a nose (facepainting of course)…

• Each child gets to be on stage with actors from the show…

• Parents will be able to take their own photos of kids on the DCT stage!

• Get behind-the-scenes tips from the show’s director, Ms Nancy, and learn how the show was created!

• Get a backstage tour to see where the dogs hang out after they leave the stage.

• Learn to sing one of the awesome songs from the show!

• Get a free dog hat and DCT dog tag for each guest…

• Enjoy a private autograph session with the actors…

• Be a part of the door prize drawings

• AND everyone gets Cici’s Pizza!

Call 214-740-0051

Monday – Friday between 9am and 5pm

Show tickets range from $15 – $28 and party tickets are $30 per person.  Seating is limited so make your reservation today by calling 214-978-0110 ext. 174.

Dallas Children’s Theater offers first Sensory Friendly Performance for Special Needs Audiences

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Have you passed up family theater because your child has different sensory needs? No more! Dallas Children’s Theater is working to make theater accessible for children with developmental challenges and special needs.

Specifically designed for children with autism, Asperger’s, Down’s syndrome and other sensory processing disorders and special needs, local community members and two partner theaters with experience in developmental challenges are working with us to make Dallas Children’s Theater a safe and welcoming place for children with sensory differences and other disabilities.

On March 1, 2014 at 1:30 pm, we will offer our first sensory friendly production. We invite you to bring your whole family to see the play for only $5 per person. There will be some fun and engaging activities presented before the play, so plan to come as early as 12:30.

After January 30, there will be a “Social Story,” available for you to download from our website at www.dct.org/sensory.  A Social Story is a pictorial guide with simple language explaining what children can expect when they come to the theater. Friendly, supportive staff and community volunteers will minimize stress and offer whatever help you may need to facilitate your theater experience.

General production adaptations we are planning so that the play is sensory friendly include leaving the house lights up a few levels higher than for a standard performance and reducing the sound level.  We will also offer a “Quiet Room” for children who may need a break from what may be overwhelming sensory input for them.

Because we want to remove all of the barriers to these families getting a taste of such an experience, we are offering a “first show introductory special” ticket price of $5 per person.  DCT’s regular prices range from $13-$28.

P.D. Eastman’s book, “Go, Dog. Go!” is a family favorite that uses single-syllable words in rhythmic repetition for beginning readers, and honors the simplicity of the world around us.  The playwrights of the stage adaptation intended to celebrate and explore the few existing words and pictures in the same way that a child (and parent) can read through the book night after night and find something new and remarkable with every turn of the page.  It’s a classic book turned into a unique stage adaptation filled with music, physical comedy and wondrously loopy anarchy. So, join the party – a big dog party! Guaranteed to be a hit for ages 4 and up.

Reservations for this show can be made by call 214-978-0110.  The performance will take place at The Rosewood Center for Family Arts, 5938 Skillman St., Dallas, 75231.

If you have questions, we are ready to take your call. If you would like to visit the theater in advance, please do. Please make a reservation today by calling 214-978-0110.

Dallas Children’s Theater is a participant in the Audience (R)Evolution Program, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the professional not-for-profit American theater.

Autism Speaks is also providing a grant to DCT so that it can document this year’s experience. Other local community partners include Autism Speaks, the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at UT Southwestern, University of North Texas Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and the Health Science Center and the Autism Center, Children’s Medical Center and the Dallas Museum of Art.

We truly look forward to having you as our guest at the theater.

She did it for the children: DCT pays homage to Mrs. Orien Woolf

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Mrs. Orien Woolf

Mrs. Orien Woolf was a wife, mother, grandmother, a valued community volunteer, and a generous hands-on philanthropist.  She attended Texas Woman’s University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree followed by a Masters Degree in Social Work from New York University. Orien was a founder of the Dallas Home for Jewish Aged (Golden Acres). She was named recipient of the Golden Achievement Award by Friends of Golden Acres in 1994. The Texas Association of Homes and Services for the Aging named her Trustee of the Year in 1996. She was President of the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services in 1950. In 2003, she was inducted into the Sisterhood Hall of Fame at Temple Emanu-El.  Because she believed so passionately in exposing children to the arts, Dallas Children’s Theater can also claim her as a dear friend and donor.  Below is a heartfelt account from the folks at her Foundation explaining why she supported theater for young people.  Thank you, Mrs. Woolf, for many years of loyalty, friendship and generosity. We will sorely miss you!

Mrs. Woolf enjoyed going to DCT to see the kids perform.  Often she would take her grandchildren, when they were young.  Sometimes they were in the performances.  When her friends had grandchildren around she would always recommend that they visit DCT.

Mrs. Woolf with graduates from third grade at East Dallas Community School
Mrs. Woolf with graduates from third grade at East Dallas Community School

Mrs. Woolf continued to go back to DCT time and time again for a simple reason – she loved kids.  She loved watching them.  Also, she thought that DCT was doing great work that was important to the Dallas community.

Because of the school trips to DCT through the Student Matinee Performance Series, Mrs. Woolf believed that DCT was giving kids that might not otherwise have the chance the opportunity to see or experience theater.  And, this was very true.  You never know what might go differently for a child because of a visit to DCT.  Their interest in theater may be sparked and talent revealed.  These were her thoughts. Mrs. Woolf’s major gift to DCT during a large fundraising effort was to help make the facility operational for the staff and the children.   But, what was a great facility without the kids?   So, her giving also involved funds needed to bring kids in from the schools to see a performance.  We would often go to one of these performances and she was wide eyed looking at the kids in the audience.  She was thrilled to see them so excited to be there. She also provided funds for kids to attend classes who could not afford to be there otherwise.  And again, what would this do for them?  Here was this great organization and she wanted to help get kids exposed to it.

Mrs. Woolf contributed to DCT because she believed it was a good place for kids.  The work being done there was valuable to young people.   Her sense of the “folks” running the “show” was positive.

Mrs. Woolf would tell folks to visit DCT because the performances are well done.  She would say it is important to support DCT either by donation, volunteering, or purchasing a ticket because DCT is a benefit to our community.

The trustees of the Orien Levy Woolf & Dr. Jack Woolf Charitable Foundation are proud to continue her support to DCT thru the Foundation.

In this season of giving, please consider making a meaningful gift to the children whose lives are affected by their experiences at DCT! You also can help us impact lives. Make a difference and donate today!

 

Making An Impact – Children Experiencing Live Theater

Bonham Elementary students show DCT Education Director Nancy Schaeffer how they can roar like the wolf in “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”

Bonham Elementary students show DCT Education Director Nancy Schaeffer how they can roar like the wolf in “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs”

Dallas Children’s Theater believes that every child should have the chance to experience the magic of live theater. Donors who give above and beyond the ticket price or class fee are necessary for us to continue this important work. Here’s just one example of the impact your donations have on DCT’s audiences in need.

Did you know that DCT professionals work with school teachers to enhance core curriculum for their students by using the multisensory power of theater?

Anna, the principal of DISD’s Rosemont Elementary, told us about her school’s 20-year partnership with DCT through the “Curtains up on Reading” program. “Karl [a DCT Academy teacher] comes in and meets with the grade level teams and they talk about what the kids are struggling with,” she said. “Then he makes [the concepts] come alive with theater—singing, dancing, and acting. You don’t forget the ABC’s because you sing them. When the kids learn a concept through acting and singing, it solidifies the concept or skill that they need to learn.”

Rosemont Elementary students perform a song about converting fractions into decimals in their CUOR show “Rosemont Renaissance: Parodies from Portable Ten.”

“Curtains Up On Reading” is an in-school and summer program integrating theater techniques in the learning of literature, language arts, social studies, history, science, math, and other subjects. DCT artists-in-residence collaborate with educators in DISD elementary schools to incorporate the arts into areas where it can help children more readily grasp the concepts. More than 3,500 students are currently served by CUOR annually.

Theater can be an especially effective teaching tool for children who struggle in school. A student doesn’t need to speak English or read well to get something out of theater education. “You have to get out and learn and move and feel and experience,” said Kimberly, a former DCT Academy student who has a learning difference. “And I think the theater is definitely the place to do that.” Curtains Up On Reading’s interdisciplinary units are designed and taught using a hands-on approach to enhance students’ understanding, enthusiasm for learning, and self-confidence.

CUOR yields results. In a review of 2012 state test scores from the Texas Education Agency, the National Math and Science Initiative found that schools that fully participated in DCT’s drama residencies outperformed like schools in as much as 90% of the math, science and English exams analyzed. DCT is spreading the power of interdisciplinary arts education by making the CUOR curriculum book available to schools around the country. Your donations to DCT make it possible for us to continue to provide exciting, effective programming to students and teachers!

Josh Groban puts Dallas Children’s Theater Centerstage!

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Several of DCT’s Academy students got to attend Josh Groban’s In the Round Tour at the American Airlines Center.  Everyone loved watching this phenomenal artist shine.   And, like DCT, he understands the power the arts have on shaping the lives of our youth.  DCT was selected to receive a generous gift from his Find Your Light Foundation.  And he even mentioned DCT on stage during the concert to an audience of thousands!  We got a chance to ask Josh a few questions before the concert about the impact DCT and the arts can have on your family.  Here’s what he said…

What would you say to encourage families to take children to a live show such as what Dallas Children’s Theater offers?  Why would you tell them that such experiences are important?

I would say that the single best thing my parents did for my brother and I growing up (other than love, food, and shelter!) is to expose us to the arts. It opened an entire world of possibilities for me. I would say that the exposure and not necessarily a pushiness is what’s important. Let kids know that this world exists. Many times that can be enough to change an entire outlook growing up and going forward. I know it did for me.

How do you think the arts benefits children who may not be pursuing a career in that field?

The arts provide, in my opinion, a foundation for so many core important qualities. The ability to explore, to wonder, to connect and express without judgment. To see the world as diverse but not divided and see cultural blockades broken down through the universal languages of artistic expression. It is the great uniter. I think on a basic level, it teaches young people core values that lend themselves to countless endeavors, artistic or not.

Can you talk about any theater experiences you recall in your upbringing and what impact they had on you?

I remember my first musical in 7th grade. It was Anything Goes. I was the newbie so I got a nameless chorus role. But I took that role and I loved it. I supported the cast, watched from the side of the stage and enjoyed every moment when I was on it. I was given the “most promising newcomer” award with that chorus role and it’s my favorite trophy ever!

Thank you, Josh, and Find Your Light, for your generosity and for helping DCT’s After School Drama program continue to reach 4th and 5th graders at DISD’s Moseley Elementary!

Moseley students goofing around while working on acting skills and theatrical presentation in preparation for scene work and Shakespeare.

And what a special moment it was for our Academy students who got to meet such a talented and kindhearted role model before his incredible show.  It was definitely an evening none of us will ever forget!

Meeting Josh before the show!

Meeting Josh before the show!

Poem Contest Winner Announced!

 

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She gave it a whirl

With paper and pen,
She wrote an Ode to the Cat
And to DCT, turned it in!

Drumroll please….

 

Eva Lyn

EVA won the prize!

And right off the bat,
She gets to pose with
Dr. Seuss’s The Cat!

In addition to the thrill of seeing the play, DCT continues to do its part to extend the theater experience by providing creative engagement opportunities around the show itself.  In early October, during the run of DCT’s Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat, we put out a call for Dr. Seuss style poems to be submitted for the chance to win a prize.  A panel of Sussians read the lot, and picked Miss Eva from the entries we got!  She will receive up to 5 free tickets to a show in DCT’s 30th Anniversary Season, and a framed photo with DCT’s Cat.

So now, enjoy this darling submission by 2nd grader Eva, whose poem was inspired by loosing a front tooth!

My Tooth
Now this is the truth
My tooth’s become loose
When did this happen?
I tell you it’s loose
You may not wiggle it
You may not tickle it
Please do not wobble it
And don’t think you can bobble it
I don’t want to shake it
I don’t want to bake it
This tooth is mine
I’ve had it some time
Mom cannot look at it
Dad cannot push at it
Aubrey! Don’t grab at it
And I WILL not pull it!
I love my little tooth
I’ve had it some time
It’s there when I need it
And I think it’s just fine
Mom said “If you pull it, you might get a prize”
Dad said “Let me pull it, it’s just the right size”
No, No, No, NO!!!
I want no one to touch it.
Now, what’s all the fuss about?
My tooth just fell out!