Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

Get set! GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL single tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Here are some interesting facts about the books written by author R. L. Stine.

Stine says his writing process is “backwards” compared to most authors. He thinks of the titles first, then he writes the book. “I never try to think of ideas, I only think about titles. I try to get a good title, and the title leads me to the story.”1

R. L. Stine came up with the name “Goosebumps” randomly, while reading a TV Guide. “At the bottom of the page, there was an ad, and it said, ‘It’s goosebumps week on channel 11.’ I just stared at it. I knew it was the perfect name.”

For many children, Stine’s mildly scary books are their first step up from picture books. Their language is accessible and they tend to sidestep real-world concerns, relying on fantastical creatures, ghosts and the occasional slow-moving zombie for their scares.4

 

Goosebumps is BIG. Since Welcome to Dead House, the first Goosebumps book, was published in July 1992, the 62-book series has sold over 350 million copies worldwide in 32 languages. It is the second best-selling children’s book series next to Harry Potter!3

There are four rare Goosebumps books: Legend of the Lost Legend, Werewolf Skin, I Live in Your Basement!, and Monster Blood IV. These only exist as first editions and are known to Goosebumps fans as ‘The Unreprinted’.3

R.L. Stine thinks the first book in the series, Welcome to Dead House, is too scary for kids. Stine said, “I didn’t have the formula then, to combine funny and scary. I hadn’t really figured it out yet, and if I were redoing Welcome to Dead House, I think I’d put in some funny stuff and make it a little less intense.”

THE FUN: Get a behind the scenes look at GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM! Take a tour of DCT’s catwalk and ride the elevator down to the basement! Plus we’ll have thrilling dance lessons (hint, hint) and some up-close and personal magic. Partygoers will be among the first to make purchases from DCT’s first ever costume shop sale. Of course, the dance party at the end is a must-attend. There’ll be great food and fantastical take-home treats to boot! This party is sure to be a scream, so wear your favorite costume and prepare for a spooktacular time!

THE CAUSE: The Party benefits DCT’s Student Matinee Performance Series (SMPS), an education program that gives students access to live theater at virtually no cost to them.  Integrating theater into education has proven to increase a child’s learning receptivity.  SMPS is presented throughout the school year and summer, and each year reaches as many as 50,000 students, most of whom qualify for free or reduced lunch.  Your support helps ensure that no child will miss the theater experience due to financial hardship.

To purchase tickets, visit dct.org/goosebumpsparty or call 214-740-0051

GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM
Based on the best-selling book series by R. L. Stine
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay
Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch 

September 22 – October 29, 2017

Recommended for ages 7 and up
The haphazard detective work of Scooby Doo meets the witty banter of Glee in this frighteningly fun musical based on the beloved Goosebumps series. Brooke and Zeke are starring in their school play…The Phantom. (Yep-it’s a spoof of the Broadway musical!) When strange things start to happen during rehearsals, no one is sure if it’s a practical joke or if the school’s theater is haunted. Wear your favorite costume and bring the entire family to this silly, and only a little spooky, adventure.

Single tickets go on sale August 1 

Tickets and more information www.dct.org

 

Sources:

1 13 things you never knew about the “goosebumps” book series from R.L. Stine Himself, BuzzFeed

2 Goosebumps Series (62 books), Goodreads

3 Goosebumps: 10 things you didn’t know about RL Stine – in pictures, The Guardian

4 Book Talk: R.L. Stine scares boys and girls, just a bit, Reuters

Book cover images from Wikipedia

 

Get ready! Find out why kids LOVE R. L. Stine and Goosebumps?

Author R. L. Stine is a storytelling genius.

R. L. Stine is an American novelist, short story writer, television producer, screenwriter, and executive editor. His Goosebumps series of books cast a spell upon children by transforming even the most reluctant students into avid readers. 

Staff from DCT had the honor of interviewing him when he was in Dallas for the North Texas Teen Book Festival where over 10,000 young people were abuzz about his books and his presence. 

Scary or Funny?
I think humor and horror are very closely entwined. When I go to a horror movie, it always makes me laugh; I just think it’s funny. And I think it’s a very similar emotion. If you go to a baby, or you sneak up on someone, and you go, “BOO!” they’ll gasp first, right? First they’ll gasp and then they’ll laugh. Always. It’s just that visceral reaction is very close. And I don’t really want to terrify kids. Really what I’m trying to do in the Goosebumps books, I mainly just want to get them to read. I think the best way to do that is to get that mix of horror and then funny stuff.

In the beginning…
I started when I was nine years old. I would sit in my room typing, typing all day. Why did I like it so much?! I don’t know. I’d be typing little joke books and funny magazines. I’d be typing stories, and my parents didn’t understand it at all. They’d say…Weird, what are you doing? Go outside and play, what’s wrong with you? Good thing I didn’t listen to them, right?

Parental Feedback?
My books are really easy to read, the chapters are real short; it’s all reading motivation. I never get tired when parents come up to me and say, “My kid never read a book in his life, but last night I caught him under the covers with a flashlight reading one of your books. I never get tired of hearing that. It’s a wonderful thing!

I would tell the parent that the best way to get a kid to read is let them pick their own stuff. My son never read a Goosebumps book. Isn’t that awful? He never read one, he read only Garfield comics, that’s all he read, his whole childhood. I said, “Fine, read Garfield. ” Then he went off to college, and he was an English major. It’s insane, right? So I would say the best thing, if you want to really motivate them, is let them pick out their own books.

or
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GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM
Based on the best-selling book series by R. L. Stine
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay
Music and Lyrics by Danny AboschSeptember 22 – October 29, 2017Recommended for ages 7 and up

The haphazard detective work of Scooby Doo meets the witty banter of Glee in this frighteningly fun musical based on the beloved Goosebumps series. Brooke and Zeke are starring in their school play…The Phantom. (Yep-it’s a spoof of the Broadway musical!) When strange things start to happen during rehearsals, no one is sure if it’s a practical joke or if the school’s theater is haunted. Wear your favorite costume and bring the entire family to this silly, and only a little spooky, adventure.

GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM – Produced by special arrangement with GURMAN AGENCY, LLC, New York, NY
™ & © Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Scholastic Inc. Based on Goosebumps® Phantom of the Auditorium. PHOTO BY: Craig Lynch

Page and Stage Storytelling: A Treasure Trove for Young Minds

Alexander T. Wolf is confronted by pigs in THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS.

The first question generally asked about a story is what happenedWho’s telling the story, however, can be just as important.

Take John Scieszka and Lane Smith’s The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, a book Dallas Children’s Theater performed in adaptation a few seasons ago.

“Wolf Blows It, Leaves Pigs Dead, Homeless” – The New Pork Times

This retelling of the classic tale is delivered by Alexander T. Wolf, a character you may know better as the Big Bad Wolf. From his own perspective, A. Wolf is a mild-mannered grandson attempting to make a birthday cake for his grandmother. After the pigs rudely refuse to lend him sugar for the cake, the wolf accidentally blows down their houses by sneezing (he had a cold, after all!). Obviously, the three little pigs perceived the story differently.

This retelling raises several questions related to the storyteller’s perspective: How does the choice of narrator/storyteller affect the impression given of each character? How does the narrative style impact the tone of the plot?

In addition to raising questions, narrative perspective can unlock a child’s imagination. For a young person, it can be exciting to see numerous styles of storytelling, particularly when the story is one they already know that is being told in an unfamiliar way.

At Dallas Children’s Theater, we are committed to developing young imaginations. After seeing a show in our theater, we’d love it if all families would talk about the storytellers and the plays in general. Here are just a few thoughts related to storytelling your family might consider on the ride home:

The storyteller involves others through music in MUFARO.

 

Point of View

You might remember this lesson from English class: a first-person point of view is presented from the “I” perspective (I went to the store); second person is from the “you” perspective (you went to the store); and third person is from the “they” perspective (they went to the store). In books, a third-person narrator is usually an omniscient voice – a voice separate from the story’s characters. In theater, on the other hand, things are likely not as obvious.

Our most recent production – MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS – features a storyteller who narrates the tale from a third-person perspective. This character reflects the importance of oral culture to African peoples. In most of Africa, stories have traditionally been passed down orally and involve communal participation. Traditional African storytelling can reflect not just the point of view of an individual storyteller, then, but of a whole community.

 

Page to Stage

MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS is based on John Steptoe’s book of the same name. The book has one narrator – a traditional third-person voice. Our stage adaptation, though, features a cast of people bringing the tale to life. In a book, it would be difficult to have multiple people tell a story at the same time.  In theater, it happens naturally. Helping young minds discover these differences can be beneficial as they grow in their appreciation of both books and live theater.

James and the critters encounter dangerous adventures together.

Instead of featuring only one voice in the role of storyteller, page-to-stage adaptations sometimes employ a team of narrators. DCT has explored this possibility in the past with JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and will revisit this style with THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW, which will open in January 2018 and feature multiple actor-puppeteers performing four Eric Carle stories. By reframing the narrative style of these stories, DCT offers children a chance to consider the tales through a new perspective.

It takes a village! The cast of THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW work together to tell four stories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Telling Your Story

Children learn to express themselves by being exposed to many perspectives and storytelling methods and uncovering the styles with which they best connect. We at DCT believe every child has something valuable and unique to contribute to society. Our stories on stage help them find their voice.

Grandmother and Granddaughter in YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET

Next season, we will proudly premiere a new show about a child finding her voice. YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET centers on a young girl who, after hearing an oral tale from her grandmother, begins connecting with her Coahuiltecan heritage. Audiences will witness the character learning the story, adapting the tale for her own school presentation, and applying the lessons of the story to her own life. We believe the play will serve as a great example of the power of storytelling to impact learning and life.

What are some of the first stories you heard and told? How might these experiences help you set in motion the stories your children will tell and remember?

DCT wants to help you cultivate your children’s relationships with storytelling.  We invite you to exercise these ideas at our shows next season. You can reserve your tickets to THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW, YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET, and next season’s other productions at dct.org.


Ryan Diller is a DCT Guest Writer. He is the former Web Editor of 1966: A JOURNAL OF CREATIVE NONFICTION, and his writing has appeared in MULTIBRIEFS and HOT PRESS. He will begin working towards his MFA in Playwriting this coming fall at the University of Calgary. 

If you’d like to know more about traditional African storytelling, visit here!

Photo Credits:

Mark Oristano – …THREE LITTLE PIGS; Karen Almond – MUFARO’S…, JAMES…; Ulises Garcia – YANA WANA’S…; …CATERPILLAR SHOW photos courtesy of Rockefeller Productions