Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

The New Season is upon us – Come along on the Magnificent Journey!

journey-header

Everything is special when you’re on a trip – the food you eat, the bed you sleep in; you wear your favorite outfits, and each moment is photo-worthy because you will want to re-live the experience over and over again.  The journey holds a special place in your memory, from the anticipation to the time you spend traveling together to the moment you finally arrive at your destination.

DCT has crafted a season that has all of this – anticipation, time together, and epic performances that will live in the collective memory of your family forever. Take your family by the hand and start planning your journey today.  Here’s what you can anticipate:

275x275_nancy

 

FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL reminds us to be happy for our friends and stay true to ourselves – complete with a Mermaid Ballet and scene-stealing dancing shark!

 

275x275_sleepy

 

THE GHOST OF SLEEPY HOLLOW brings the fantastically frightening tales of Washington Irving to the Studio Theater for big kids and teens!

 

 

275x275_miracle

 

MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET is back by popular demand as families found Santa alive and well on the DCT stage.

 

 

 

275x275_creature

Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts’ production of NOT A CREATURE WAS STIRRING is a harrowing journey of a mouse family’s struggle to decorate for the holidays that will make you want to snuggle up with your family.

 

275x275_zingari

 

Lone Star Circus will bring in the New Year with their joyous Gypsy extravaganza ZINGARI!

 

275x275_frog

 

 

A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD is a bog-side musical journey that weathers all the seasons with two irresistible best friends.

 

 

275x275_luv

TEEN SCENE PLAYERS present dont u luv me? which thoughtfully illustrates how small choices can quickly escalate into aggression. It is an important journey that may change a life. This one is for older teens and the adults that love them.

 

275x275_hansel

 

Kathy Burks brings her enchanting (and less “grim”) adaptation of HANSEL AND GRETEL which shows how everyday kids can be heroes when they work together.

 

 

275x275_tulaneTHE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE is the play you haven’t heard of, but the one that you’ll be talking about all year.  This play is the must-see attraction on this amazing journey. On his pilgrimage to find his owner, the beautiful toy rabbit Edward finds that his breakable heart can learn to love, lose, and love again.

 

275x275_bfg

 

THE BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is Roald Dahl’s unforgettable odyssey of two tender-hearted misfits who are on a quest to save England from “gizzard-gulpers.”

 

 

275x275_pink

 

Finally, PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL brings the most beloved book to the stage with glee-ful energy showing all kids how to find their true colors.

 

 

That’s right!  Start packing for a year-long journey with music, dancing, miracles, puppet magic and life lessons that will leave you and your family with so many invigorating conversations and lifelong memories.  Trust us, the anticipation is not the best part of this family trip.  I can’t wait for the 2015-2016 season, and it won’t be the same without you!

Karl Schaeffer’s Place to Play

 

DSCN1552

Karl Schaeffer and mother Barbara Schaeffer

Every mom wants to create a place for her kids to play safely, and explore the worlds that exist only in their minds.  Karl Schaeffer’s mother Barbara is no different, and now that her son is grown up, she is still making sure he has a creative space for play.

IMG_3351 (2)Barbara Schaeffer knew her son Karl was destined to be an actor when he was in junior high.  He was always talented, determined, and full of ingenuity.  It’s no wonder he has made his professional artistic home at DCT, which has proven to be the perfect incubator for his unique creative mind to flourish, allowing Karl to create some of DCT’s most memorable performances.  His mother couldn’t be more proud.

Barbara Schaeffer explains, My husband and I have always been very proud of him and his accomplishments.  When Karl said he was going to college to major in theater, my husband with his European background said, ‘How is he going to make a living? As an actor?’ Well he has, and he’s done it very well.”

As a DCT teaching artist, Karl has created a video production program, works with Eagle Scouts, and takes his talent out into the schools to work with kids allDCT  student performance at Notre Dame School 3/3/2011 over Dallas.  He always puts his work with children above all of the accolades he has received as an actor. Barbara recalls, “He loves to tell me about when he works with the making movies class or when he works with the young people.  That’s what he really enjoys.  And of course, he really enjoys after the show when he goes out and interacts and meets with the kids; he really values that.”

To honor her son and his thirty years as a company member at Dallas Children’s Theater and the first employee, Barbara has made a generous donation to create a permanent memorial for future generations.  The Karl Schaeffer Office of Creativity now reminds everyone of the mark Karl has made at Dallas Children’s Theater. It is the perfect way to celebrate his lifelong place to play.

Barbara constantly praises Karl’s determination and claims that while she and Karl’s father provided him with materials and drove him to the places he needed to go while he was growing up, she is certain that Karl achieved his success on his own. When she sees Karl perform, however, she is immediately transported back to his childhood.  Barbara smiles as she says, “I just see the little kid that he always was, clowning around, acting silly, and just doing and loving what he does.”

Karl’s one man performance in BALLOONACY is an example of what he does best.  It is Karl and his co-star, a tenacious red balloon that insists on becoming his friend.  It is directed by Dick Monday and features physical comedy, no spoken words and a tender spirit.  It was created for squirmy toddlers who love to play, but is also perfect for the young at heart who might need a friendly reminder of how to play.

Barbara, like every proud mom, also shared some family photos with us:

Karl-2

 

That’s Karl. He’s got a little hat on and of course his pacifier and that’s the first car we owned. it was a Opel Rekord that we brought to the states when we came from Germany. He’s sitting in the parking lot of the commissary doing his first driving lesson.

Karl-0

 

 

That dapper dude…my husband was in the hospital. This was on Father’s Day when we went to the hospital to visit his dad.  He got all dressed up in his little suit and off we went to the hospital.

 

 

Karl-1

 

 

This is one of my favorite pictures, that was taken when he was in Kindergarten.  Five years old.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balloonacy and Dick Monday: Bringing out the clown in all of us

I had the pleasure of seeing the world premiere of BALLOONACY at Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis with Robert Dorfman who had started his career as a clown with the Ringling Brothers.  So when I heard that Dick DCT_344Monday, one half of the renowned clown team Slappy and Monday, was going to be directing DCT’s production of BALLOONACY, it made so much sense.

BALLOONACY is a special play.  Tender, hilarious, and while it was specifically created for squirmy toddlers, there is something in it for everyone.  It’s for everyone who has had and lost a friend, everyone who had a disappointing birthday party, everyone who has felt lonely, and everyone who loves to play or has forgotten how to play.  Dick Monday visited with us about BALLOONACY, and I think his thoughts speak for themselves.  Here’s what Dick had to say:

“Saying that clowning and physical comedy is just for kids is like saying that adults don’t know how to play. They try to act mature and logical until they get sucked into the wonderfully ridiculous world of the theater. We all yearn to play. The problem is giving yourself permission to drop your armor and dive in. Kids don’t seem to have that problem. Adults often do. ‘I can’t take the chance of looking silly. What would people think?’ Can you imagine a kid saying that? Physical comedy is for everyone. It is storytelling for everyone, using the face and body, the heart and soul, with no words to get in the way.

Physical Comedy is a Universal Language

DCT Tour-015

Dick Monday interacting with kids at a DCT performance.

BALLOONACY is a story that is told without words. When film emerged over a century ago, there were no words spoken. They were silent films. They told stories by using pictures, moving pictures. Then there was radio, and we listened to stories with no pictures whatsoever. Now we are very used to having both words and pictures. The broad comedy of clowning breaks down the story as simply as possible and lets the character shine bright as he does his intricate dance of action, emotion and surprise.

It Takes Two 

All comedy has one thing in common, and that is truth. BALLOONACY features a man who has gotten out of the habit of playing because there hasn’t been anyone around to play with. We have all felt the emptiness of being by ourselves. But when you do it for a while, it becomes the world you are used to. So when the chance to play comes along, you may not be ready. Luckily, in our story, the friend that comes into our character’s life will not take no for an answer.

Through this persistence, our Man discovers the joy one can have when relating to another. And the truth is, even a balloon can be a friend.

Youre Never too Old to Play – Seriously! 

DCT_254In our story, a man interacts with a balloon and discovers how to play again which brings him great joy and ultimately friendship. Age is certainly relative. I’ve encountered young people who had difficulty playing and old people who could jump into the fun in an instant. Anyone can play, and age is by no means the common denominator. The willingness to interact seems to me to be the key issue. The man in our story fights against interacting at first, not because he is old, but because he is set in his ways and doesn’t want to interact. There is an honest discovery in the fun that can be had through interacting with a friend and I know this can happen to anyone at any time in their lives.

Hey, Grownups, Its Okay to Laugh 

I’ve been performing for family audiences as a clown for forty years, and I’m always surprised when an adult comes up to me after a show and says, “I think I liked it as much as my kids”.  I’m not surprised that they enjoyed the show as much as their kids, I’m surprised that they thought they wouldn’t. I think we decide at some moment in our life that certain things are for kids. Things like: ice cream, cookies, riding bikes, amusement parks, swimming holes, sand castles, circuses, clowns, a balloon. As an adult, I still love all these things and I see no reason why anyone else wouldn’t feel the same way.”

Dick Monday will be directing DCT’s own physical comedy genius, Karl Schaeffer in BALLOONACY. In addition to the performance, families will be invited to join in age-appropriate activities accompanied by a DCT teaching artist that will exercise your imagination, your body, and your powers of observation.  It’s going to be unlike any play you’ve ever been to, and is going to be the perfect first exposure to live theater, or a great reminder of why we call it a “play.”

Get tickets to Balloonacy

Remember, this is a limited engagement with limited seating, so act fast!

PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES:

Friday – Apr 10 – 7:30 pm
Saturdays – Apr 11, 18, – 1:30 pm & 4:30 pm
Sunday – Apr 19 – 1:30 pm & 4:30 pm
Sunday – Apr 12 – 1:30 pm
Sunday – Apr 12 – 4:30 pm

 

diclkmondy

Dick Monday

Dick Monday – Director of Balloonacy

Dick was the Director of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College from 1994-1997. During this time, he created and directed all the clowning for the Greatest Show on Earth. Dick is one of the featured clowns with Lone Star Circus and serves as that show’s Director of Clowning. Dick was recently one of the subjects of the acclaimed book, Guiding Lights, about great mentors and teachers. Dick and his partner Tiffany founded the New York Goofs in 1998, a theatrical clown troupe that has produced four off-off Broadway shows and been featured in every major festival in the NY/ DC area. In 2004, Dick created Slappy’s Playhouse in Dallas, TX, writing and producing all kinds of family entertainment.

Special thanks to Dick for sharing his thoughts with us.  To learn more about Slappy and Monday’s services, go here.

The most inspirational family you will ever meet

The story of Ryan Goldblatt has really touched me. Ryan passed away from a rare brain tumor just shy of his fourth birthday, and his family has established 7.6.08 RJG fthe Ryan Goldblatt Foundation in his memory to help other families just like theirs. The foundation was established to give back to all the organizations that helped Ryan’s family during his illness, including Dallas Children’s Theater, and DCT is proud to work with them and Children’s Health Center to provide live theater to brave kids and their families.

When you’re a parent, you hear all about how important fun and play is, and how it’s essential if you want your kids to hit all the developmental milestones, and how basically playing is your kid’s job. Joanne and Andy Goldblatt, Ryan’s parents, helped me to understand that when you have a child who is critically ill in the hospital, often you can’t think past the next moment, and the idea of taking your kid out just to have fun doesn’t necessarily cross your mind.  But then when time is something that no longer feels like a sure thing, fun suddenly becomes more important.

Andy explains, “It’s one of those things, when we were in the hospital, you don’t think about doing things, you’re all concerned with your kid’s health and the procedures and learning all the jargon, and then when you’re at home, you’re so exhausted you don’t really have any energy to do anything else. Even though there were some times that were not fun, you know, we just made sure we had as much fun as possible.”

Ryan loved pirates, so when DCT was producing HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, a friend of the family told Joanne that Ryan had to see it.  Joanne knew Ryan had always loved the book and his response to the experience was so satisfying.  “I was a little nervous,” she says, “He didn’t get out a lot, but he came home just bouncing off the walls.  He had so much fun, he loved it! He loved the characters that went with the book.”

After Ryan’s unforgettable experience, we just knew. Kids just love to be here, and we thought, you know there are so many kids in the hospital who just aren’t able to come. There’s just so much that goes on in a cancer family’s world, where they’re just thinking about chemo and when’s the next radiation. If this is something we can do to put their mind off of that, just for an hour, for two hours, and really let them enjoy this experience then it’s completely worth it.”

DSCN1666Davinique Roberson and her family recently attended a production of SKIPPYJON JONES with tickets they received through the RGF, and she couldn’t have been more excited. Davinique, like Ryan, has a brain tumor and is at Children’s Health every other week for chemotherapy. Her mother Quatia explains, “I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for my kids to get some kind of culture in their lives, and to get a break from the pressure and the stress we have every other day.

In addition to offering families tickets to come to DCT, the RGF has also decided to underwrite several promotional appearances by Dallas Children’s DSCN1635Theater this year. Joanne Goldblatt recalls, “Dallas Children’s Theater recently brought some actors from SKIPPYJON JONES to meet the kids at Children’s Health and to promote the show’s run to the greater Children’s Health audience. It was an amazing success! The kids loved it! Some of the oncology kids got to come down during filming and watch the actors.” All of the kids in the hospital could tune their TVs to the hospital network and watch the characters in their rooms live as well and it appeared that doctors and other employees equally enjoyed the chance to learn about the DCT treasure that is right in their backyard.”

There are so many things that you just can’t understand until you’ve lived through it, and hearing these families share their experiences, there are so many common struggles.  These are not unlike what all parents deal with in that they have to balance the most immediate needs of their kids with what their kids want and will enjoy.  But for these families, the entire family, including the siblings, grandparents, and the young patients themselves, the weight of the stress is heavy.  DCT, with the help of the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, is working hard to lighten the load just a little.

Joanne Goldblatt concluded, “We couldn’t be more proud. To see the smiles and hear the laughter from these beautiful kids who are fighting for their lives is truly such a gift. These are the bravest most courageous kids you’ll ever know.”

When he was asked what Ryan would think of the Goldblatt Foundation program, his father Andy was certain.  He says, “You know, these parents aren’t going to come to the theater on their own. They need someone to stick tickets in their hand and push them out the door and say “Go!” Do this, have an afternoon of fun.” I think he would be thrilled because I know we had a lot of fun doing it.”

There is nothing that comes close to seeing your kids happy.  When you find that thing that makes them smile and forget the things that are troubling them, even momentarily, you can’t put a price on it. Parents have a special appreciation for how quickly time goes by, and hearing Joanne and Andy Goldblatt talk about their son, Ryan, is the greatest reminder to treasure every second. Ryan’s little sister, Emily, never met her big brother, but when she saw his picture in the program for THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT she said, “That’s Ryan!”  His memory is precious and is undoubtedly living on through his family, and now through countless other children who owe at least one fun experience to this new friend they’ll never meet.

For more information on the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, visit http://www.theryangoldblattfoundation.org.