Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

What is it about THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR?

Ryan Diller with CaterpillarCaterpillar pops out of egg. Caterpillar eats a lot. Caterpillar gets a stomachache. Caterpillar builds a cocoon around himself. Caterpillar becomes a butterfly. Caterpillar sells the second highest number of picture books of all time (and keeps inching towards Peter Rabbit’s 67-year head start).

But there’s more: this hungry little caterpillar has appeared in the form of paper plates, hand shovels, cupcake wrappers, binoculars, key chains, stuffed animals (one of which is proudly owned by this blogger), and too many other products to name.

Why? How has such a basic story left such a deep imprint on our hearts and imaginations? What is it about The Very Hungry Caterpillar?

Personally, the book reminds me of the joy and discovery that seems to go hand in hand with childhood. But is that just nostalgia talking? Surely there has to be more than that. I may cherish the other books of my youth, but I have this particular sense of wonder towards that little caterpillar and his big appetite.

So let’s start there: the hunger.

Children don’t lack for hungry characters. Winnie the Pooh, Cookie Monster, and Garfield have happily stuffed their faces for decades, to the delight of young people everywhere. The satisfaction of good food is a basic thrill, and the hunger for more is a universal drive.

Eric Carle evokes these elemental feelings simply yet viscerally. Who can forget the excitement of feeling those small holes in the book’s pages, the gradual escalation of the foods, and the soft humor when the caterpillar overdoes itself and munches through cake, pickle, salami, and beyond?

That playfulness resonates with children and the inner child of adults, and it brings out the best in Carle’s artwork. Anything is possible in his illustrations; you never know if you’ll encounter a purple cat or a blue horse, or a caterpillar with wide, infant-like eyes.

And Carle presents all of it through that beloved childhood form, brightly colored collage. In a video celebrating Caterpillar’s 45th anniversary, Carle happily remarks while recreating his signature character, “Just like in kindergarten.” He may possess the attention to detail of a seasoned professional, but Carle’s artwork shows that any child – with practice – can become an artist like him.

“Many children have done collages at home or in their classrooms,” says Carle. “In fact, some children have said to me, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ I consider that the highest compliment.”

Indeed, Carle believes that both Caterpillar’s pictures and words alike serve to show children that they are capable of doing wonderful things.

DCT's THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW“I think what it is is it’s a book of hope,” he explains. “You little, ugly, little [sic], insignificant bug: you, too, can grow up to be a beautiful, big butterfly and fly into the world and unfold your talents.”

That rings true to me, though I’ve never consciously thought of it all these years, nor did Carle when he wrote the book. But that’s part of the book’s beauty: it never preaches to the child, never moralizes nor embellishes. It presents, simply, one of nature’s tiny miracles through the eyes of an adult’s loving wisdom and a child’s colorful imagination. To a child, it shows that transformation is possible, that exciting changes await them. To adults, it preserves that magic of childhood, of innocently crawling along the ground driven by simple needs, discovering the world along the way.

While THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW is being performed on the DCT stage, I encourage those who know the book to bring their loved ones and relive their memories, and I hope unfamiliar audiences will treat themselves to Eric Carle’s world. I’m willing to bet each of these groups will leave inspired, empowered, and treasuring the experience for a lifetime.

To learn more about THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW and to purchase tickets, visit dct.org or call the DCT Box Office at 214-740-0051.

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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 is currently working towards an MFA in Playwriting at the University of Calgary.

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Photo Credits: Courtesy of Ryan Diller, and Eric Carle; Photo by Linda Blase

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Image Credits:

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Eric Carle LLC, © &™

Paper Dessert Plate source: orientaltrading.com

Cupcake Wrappers source: walmart.com

Plush Stuffed Animal source: amazon.com

Hand Shovel source: shop.carlemuseum.org/caterpillar-hand-shovel

Binoculars source: shop.carlemuseum.org/caterpillar-binoculars

Caterpillar and Sun Keychain source: shop.carlemuseum.org/category/clothing-accessories/accessories/key-chains

The Magic of Eric Carle: A Brief Introduction

For many of us, it’s hard not to smile when we think of Eric Carle. Carle’s imaginative books have probably touched you in some way – perhaps through the thrill of a brown bear looking at you, or maybe through the memory of a loved one reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar aloud.

How did Eric Carle become Eric Carle?

Behind those magical worlds, there’s a son of immigrant parents who endured extreme hardship; a man who paid his dues at an ad agency before becoming a children’s book author seemingly overnight; and – thanks to an editor’s casual suggestion – a writer who discovered his most famous character in a sudden flash of inspiration. Here’s how those experiences informed the stories we love today.

The Carle family immigrated to America just in time for the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It didn’t take long, however, for Mrs. Carle to get homesick and move the family – now including an American-born son, Eric – back to her native Germany. Unfortunately, this move came shortly after the Nazis had gained power, leaving the Carles stranded in one of world history’s most repressive regimes. In the face of fear and hatred, just how did the future author develop the sense of curiosity and joy that has defined his books?

Fortunately for all of us, a teacher noticed Carle’s talent for art and introduced him to geniuses such as Matisse, Picasso, and Paul Klee, who were all banned by the Nazis. He recalls seeing one piece in particular that has stayed with him for decades: a painting of a blue horse by German Expressionist Franz Marc.

Blue Horse I by Franz Marc

To Carle, this painting proved that there is no such thing as a wrong color, a message he passed on at the age of 82 with his 2011 book, The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse. The freedom and creativity of the mind have always been important to him, and these values are apparent in his work and life. Growing up in Nazi-controlled Germany, he longed for the freedom he felt in America, where he was entranced by Mickey Mouse and Flash Gordon.

After finishing art school, Carle moved to New York City and worked for many years at an ad agency. It wasn’t until he met a man named Bill Martin Jr. that he became involved in children’s literature. Because Martin was drawn to Carle’s artwork, he asked him to illustrate a book he had written. Illiterate until he was twenty, Martin learned to read by observing the rhythms of language. His experience learning to read through rhythm influenced his collaborative book with Eric Carle, which was published under the name Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Book Cover for Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book reflects not only Martin’s discovery of language but also Carle’s love of animals. When Carle was a child, his father often took him on nature walks. These walks are among his most cherished childhood memories. He was so taken with nature that for a time he considered becoming a forester.

This love of nature, combined with his active imagination, has kept Carle flush with creative ideas for decades. While using a hole punch one day, for example, the holes looked to Carle like a bookworm had eaten its way through the paper. Inspired, he wrote a book called A Week with Willi Worm.

His editor believed the book had potential, but she thought a worm would not make an appealing protagonist. After discussing some animals together, she suggested replacing Willi with a caterpillar, prompting Carle to exclaim, “Butterfly!”

And so The Very Hungry Caterpillar was born.

The journey begins!

Make plans to see THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW, which runs at DCT now through February 25, 2018. To purchase tickets, visit dct.org, or call the DCT Box Office at 214-740-0051.

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Ryan Diller with CaterpillarRyan 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 is currently working towards an MFA in Playwriting at the University of Calgary.

 

 

 

Research Sources:

  1. http://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/carle/transcript
  2. http://www.npr.org/2011/10/08/141057271/the-blue-horse-that-inspired-a-childrens-book
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/mar/14/eric-carle-author
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpSIOSv1bI8
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAeC2IFMSiY
  6. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvRcCKP5v6Q
  7. http://www.eric-carle.com/q-fireman.html
  8. http://www.newsweek.com/books-eric-carles-very-hungry-caterpillar-76541

Photo Sources:

  1. http://www.eric-carle.com/faqs.newsletters.downloads.games.html (Eric Carle pic)
  2. http://www.franzmarc.org/Blue-Horse.jsp (Blue Horse pic)
  3. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brown-bear-brown-bear-what-do-you-see-bill-martin-jr/1111575063 (Brown Bear Pic)
  4. https://www.amazon.com/Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-Eric-Carle/dp/0399226907 (Caterpillar Pic)

Additional Photo: Courtesy of Ryan Diller 

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Eric Carle LLC, © &™.

SCREEN PLAY – A Powerful Shared Experience (An endorsement from Dr. Kathy Koch)

Late in the fall, a friend surveyed about 100 high schoolers who attended her church’s youth group. Every single student knew at least one peer who committed suicide. Every. Single. One.

Looking at statistics about depression, anxiety, and suicide is not for the faint of heart. Sadly, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10-24 year-olds. In addition, more young people survive suicide attempts than actually die. These teens will most likely be emotionally fragile for quite a while.

SCREEN PLAY

Screen use, including cyber bullying, prevalent lies, and resulting superficial relationships, contribute to suicidal tendencies. And being emotionally vulnerable amplifies all the negativity of screen use. These are real problems, and it’s why I’m grateful Dallas Children’s Theater chose to produce SCREEN PLAY.

Are you concerned about young people you know? You can do more than you might realize.

First, feel their pain. Try to get in touch with what today’s preteens and teens are feeling. If you dismiss their feelings, it’s like dismissing them. They know we can’t solve all their problems for them. That’s okay. Recognizing they’re having problems, without making them feel like they are the problem, is key. It’s honoring and will make it more likely they’ll come to you to talk when they’re ready.

DCT Teen ShowSecond, notice behaviors that concern you, but look beyond them. Because beliefs cause behaviors, changing behaviors requires us to discern underlying beliefs and their causes. When we help youth change those, their behaviors will more likely change permanently.

For these two reasons, I encourage you to attend SCREEN PLAY with children, grandchildren, and students who are 12 and older. The play will give you many discussion starters related to concerns you have. Many! Adults can certainly attend alone to learn a lot about how technology influences young people’s feelings and beliefs. You’ll have much to ponder and ask teens about. But, if you attend together, you’ll have a shared experience to reflect back upon. I absolutely believe this might be one of the best experiences to bond you and to cause conversations and not interrogations. Teens will be open to talking with you because you’ll have empathy for what they’re going through. This will allow them to listen to your questions and ideas. Solutions may occur.

Smiling young man and his friends using mobile phone togetherScreen time – all technology – is at the root of much of the pain our teens are feeling or trying to avoid. I’m pro technology, but I’m not pro what technology is doing to us and our teens. Neither is Dallas Children’s Theater which is why they produced SCREEN PLAY for you. Yes, it’s for you.

As I explain in my book, Screens and Teens: Connecting with Our Kids in a Wireless World, when we allow teens to spend lots of time on screens, they can believe five big lies that negatively influence attitudes and beliefs:

Lie #1: I am the center of my own universe.

Lie #2: I deserve to be happy all the time.

Lie #3: I must have choices.

Lie #4: I am my own authority.

Lie #5: Information is all I need so I don’t need teachers.

These lies come alive in SCREEN PLAY so you’ll be empowered to talk with teens about how these beliefs are contributing to their anxiety, their choice to isolate, their stress, their bullying tendencies, and their suicidal thoughts. Staying connected is essential if we’re ever going to be able to influence young people. This play will help you do that. I highly recommend it!

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Dr. Kathy Koch is a career advocate for teens. In November 2017, she participated as a panelist during DCT’s SCREEN PLAY Play-Reading and Panel Discussion, which gave parents, teens, and educators a sneak peek of DCT’s upcoming show, as well as an opportunity to candidly discuss the timely, relevant topics highlighted in the play. To learn more about SCREEN PLAY and to purchase tickets for the show, visit dct.org, or call the Box Office at 214-740-0051.

 

KathyKoch CelebrateKidsDr. Kathy Koch (“cook”), the Founder and President of Celebrate Kids, Inc., based in Fort Worth, TX, has influenced thousands of parents, teachers, teens, and children in 30 countries through keynote messages, seminars, chapels, and other events.

Dr. Kathy is a regular presenter at many homeschool conventions, Care Net conventions, and for pregnancy resource centers, churches, and schools. She is also a popular guest on Focus on the Family radio and other radio talk-shows. She has authored six books including four published by Moody Publishers. Her two most recent are Screens and Teens and 8 Great Smarts.

Dr. Kathy earned a Ph.D. in reading and educational psychology from Purdue University. She was a tenured associate professor of education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, a teacher of second graders, a middle school coach, and a school board member prior to becoming a full-time conference and keynote speaker in 1991.

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GENERAL SPONSORS: The Hersh Foundation, Diana and Thomas Klein

Photo Credits: Karen Almond, and courtesy of Dr. Kathy Koch and stock imagery

Meet the Cast of THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW

Celebrating Eric Carle’s beautiful artistry, moment by moment…

Charli Armstrong**
(Ensemble)
Charli has previously been seen in DCT’s National Touring productions of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley and Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. She has also appeared in several productions throughout the Dallas area including The Three Musketeers with Theatre Britain, Jack The Ripper with Pocket Sandwich Theatre, and Marianela with MBS Productions.

Dustin Curry**
(Ensemble)
Dustin Curry is an actor, clown, mime, magician, and street performer. Local credits include Theatre Three, WaterTower Theatre, Cara Mía Theatre Co., Proper Hijinx Productions, Hip Pocket Theatre, and more. His solo clown performance Fiddler’s Cave was featured in the 2017 Festival of Independent Theatres. He has also performed at the Smithsonian Institute and the Kansas City Fringe Festival. www.dustincurry.com.

Steph Garrett*
(Ensemble)
Steph was most recently seen in A Charlie Brown Christmas (Snoopy). Other DCT credits include: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane; Seussical™; James and the Giant Peach; The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts); Charlotte’s Web; Go, Dog. Go!; A Wrinkle in Time; Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat; and Goodnight Moon. Additional credits include: Pride and Prejudice at WaterTower Theatre, Avenue Q at CityRep OKC, Faust at The Drama Club, The Great Dictator at FIT Fest, and Waiting for Lefty and Year of the Rooster at Upstart Productions. For upcoming projects and more information, visit: www.StephGarrett.com.

Teddy Warren*
(Ensemble)
Teddy Warren is an Equity actor from Milwaukee, WI. He graduated from SMU with a BFA in Theatre Studies and is happy to be back in Dallas to play with DCT. Locally, Teddy has worked with Shakespeare Dallas in Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet. Special thanks to the McPhersons!

 

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW runs from January 19 – February 25. Tickets are on sale now at dct.org.

 

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Eric Carle LLC, © &™

Photos courtesy of the actors

*INDICATES A MEMBER OF ACTORS’ EQUITY ASSOCIATION – THE UNION OF PROFESSIONAL ACTORS AND STAGE MANAGERS IN THE USA

**INDICATES EQUITY MEMBERSHIP CANDIDATE

Finding Your Way Home: “If I knew then what I know now…” – Part 3 of 3

How many times have you thought to yourself, “If I knew then what I know now…”? If only we could know certain rules to live by when we were kids! Unfortunately that’s not how we’re designed; it’s not how life is designed. We should’ve listened to our folks, right, or all the grownups who tried to give us advice. Why didn’t we believe them? Because that is easier said than done, too.

DCT’s staff went through exercises in which we channeled our younger selves.  Using some of the characters from this season, here’s a kid-friendly list of some of the things we’d say to our four-year old self today.  Can you relate?

  1. When you feel goosebumps coming on, chill out and let it happen. It usually means something exciting is around the corner!
  2. Speaking of chilling out, if your attitude gets frosty remember to be your silly self and laugh it out.
  3. It’s okay if you always miss the football when you try to kick it like Charlie Brown, just remember not everyone is good at games and be a good sport.
  4. It’s weird to eat a cupcake, a sausage, and a slice of watermelon in one meal like the Hungry Caterpillar, but no one will think you’re weird when you fly away as a butterfly!
  5. When you find out you have ancestral connection to the bluebonnet, be proud and uninhibited about your heritage.
  6. Your friends at school all have favorite colors, from yellow to purple to blue, but the things that are most important are all the same.
  7. In scouts, we learn to always be prepared for phantoms, pirates, and even ice-skating snowmen!
  8. When you’re faced with something weird like a rebel dog pilot, a jungle of talking animals, or a grandmother with no WiFi, sometimes you have to suck it up and deal.
  9. You might think sending 100 text messages a day makes you bubbly and personable, but it just keeps people from knowing the real you.
  10. If you find yourself on a pirate ship, in a Christmas pageant, or swinging from the trees, always remember home is never far away and all will be okay.

At the end of the day, we all want to end up safe in our beds at home.  Still, there is a lot of adventure to be found outside your house, right here at DCT. Through our plays, there are great escapes, adventures on land and sea, and lessons to be learned from even little critters.  We look forward to seeing you at the theater in 2018!

 

Sherry Ward is a mother, actor, and writer based in D-FW.

 

 

 

 

To learn more about DCT shows or to purchase tickets, go to dct.org/plays


Great shows still to come…

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW

Created by Jonathan Rockefeller

Produced in association with Rockefeller Productions

Based on four Eric Carle books

 

January 19 – February 25, 2018

Enjoyed by all ages

The illustrations of beloved children’s author Eric Carle leap from the page to the stage in a display of color and artistry like you’ve never seen before in this Southwest premiere. Visit the worlds of The Artist Who Painted a Blue HorseMister SeahorseThe Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. DCT audiences are among the first to experience the larger-than-life world of 75 loveable puppets that will delight and captivate people of all ages. An Off-Broadway and London hit!

 

SEASON SPECIAL

TEEN SCENE PLAYERS PRESENT

SCREEN PLAY

By Linda Daugherty

 

 

February 9 – February 18, 2018

Not suitable for children under 12

Fact: More than 50% of teens admit that they are addicted to their phones. They’re plugged in and often tuned out. In her new play, Linda Daugherty, DCT’s award-winning playwright-in-residence, explores the blurry lines between real life and life online. Cyber-bullying, explicit content and screen addiction impact the lives of a group of teens, leading to tragic consequences.

 

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET

By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha

Music by Héctor Martinez Morales

Co-Produced with Cara Mía Theatre Company

 

March 23 – April 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 6 and up

Ten-year-old María is having trouble in school, so her mom sends her to stay with her Coahuiltecan grandmother in distant Laredo for discipline and perspective. There, María is told an ancient story of young Yana Wana who followed a revered deer to find water to save her people. Yana Wana’s story exposes ​an amazing and unknown ancestral connection to the bluebonnet that gives María a renewed sense of self and family pride. You may have read one version in school; now we invite you to come see the legend through the eyes of Yana Wana in this world premiere. A beautiful, original play that illustrates the power of heritage and the value of one’s own story – especially one as ancient as the petroglyphs of Texas.

 

SEASON SPECIAL

BLUE

By Annie Cusick Wood

 

 

 

April 21 – May 6, 2018

Recommended for squirmy toddlers and their families

Dallas Children’s Theater is proud to be part of the national effort to introduce more toddler-friendly theater experiences. A growing body of research speaks to the benefits of theater for the very young. BLUE is returning as part of this initiative while additional new works for these audiences continue to be developed.

Pale Blue and Inky Blue are very happy in their blueness. When a red sock enters their kitchen, Pale and Inky AND the audience are surprised by the way their world is turned upside down. This play introduces the idea of acceptance in an age-appropriate, soft-hearted theatrical experience. It is filled with fun, humor, and whimsy—and at the end of the show, you will be too!

 

JUNGALBOOK

An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories

By Edward Mast

 

May 4 – May 26, 2018

Recommended for ages 5 and up

See Kipling’s original 1894 coming of age tale brought to the stage, and join Mowgli in learning the moral lessons of home, betrayal, life and death, and loyalty. Mowgli lives in the jungle surrounded by panthers, bears, wolves, snakes, and tigers. They are his protectors, and he believes he is one of them. When Mowgli comes face to face with a fearsome tiger, he is forced to choose between his bond with the jungle and the reality of his humanness. This classic story of the struggle for survival and a place that feels like home will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

 

DCT’s NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE

Book, Music & Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman

Based on the book by Melinda Long

Illustrations by David Shannon

June 15 – July 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 4 and up

Ahoy matey! It’s time to sail off on a swashbuckling musical excursion with Jeremy Jacobs and his new pirate friends. On board the ship, Jeremy travels to new worlds while learning the rules of pirate life, and searches for a place to bury their treasure. But it isn’t long before he misses his family and yearns for someone to tuck him in at night back home. A story of adventure and finding one’s own heart—a path that can’t be found on any map!

Finding The Way Home: What We Remember Most – Part 2 of 3

We’ve already admitted it’s sometimes really hard and sometimes remarkably fun to be a kid. When the DCT team was asked what they remembered most about their childhood, there was a wide variety of responses, but we’re guessing they are not too different from what you remember, or what your kids may be experiencing now.

Do you remember your first phone number? Yeah, we all did too. But you’re still special.

In looking over the notes from what we remember, many of the responses were about our first taste of independence: walking to school by ourselves, going to kindergarten, and buying our own ice cream from the ice cream man. There was even one that remembered a ditch with alligators – and he wasn’t even a pirate like Jeremy and his pirate friends!

We have lots of plays that include that taste of independence, from a boy swinging from the trees in JUNGALBOOK to a caterpillar making its way to becoming a butterfly in THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW.

Many remembered their love of reading, and we have several plays that originated as books like HOW I BECAME A PIRATE. Lots of us mentioned family vacations, grandparents, and even getting in trouble. Each of these could apply to María in YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET, who reluctantly had to spend time without WiFi and learn about her family’s heritage, ultimately giving her a sense of herself and family pride.

Of course, there were some more lighthearted memories like sleepovers, catching lightning bugs, and getting gold stars for a job well-done.  There were also memories of moving, changing schools, losing friends, and some of the more tainted memories from our childhoods. All kids face challenges, and DCT doesn’t shy away from those. We like to choose shows that make all of those connections with you and your kids. After all, part of finding your way home includes encountering problems and overcoming mistakes with the help of family and friends.

In 2018, we hope you’ll resolve to experience one or two of these wonderful plays at DCT, and that the outing will strike a chord with one of your memories. Even more so, we hope to create a lasting memory for your kids as they seek out what home means to them.

Our final idea to share was one we’ve all thought about: “If I knew then what I know now….” Don’t miss it, coming soon!

 

Sherry Ward is a mother, actor, and writer based in D-FW.

 

 

 

 

To learn more about DCT shows or to purchase tickets, go to dct.org/plays


Great shows still to come…

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW

Created by Jonathan Rockefeller

Produced in association with Rockefeller Productions

Based on four Eric Carle books

 

January 19 – February 25, 2018

Enjoyed by all ages

The illustrations of beloved children’s author Eric Carle leap from the page to the stage in a display of color and artistry like you’ve never seen before in this Southwest premiere. Visit the worlds of The Artist Who Painted a Blue HorseMister SeahorseThe Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. DCT audiences are among the first to experience the larger-than-life world of 75 loveable puppets that will delight and captivate people of all ages. An Off-Broadway and London hit!

 

SEASON SPECIAL

TEEN SCENE PLAYERS PRESENT

SCREEN PLAY

By Linda Daugherty

 

 

February 9 – February 18, 2018

Not suitable for children under 12

Fact: More than 50% of teens admit that they are addicted to their phones. They’re plugged in and often tuned out. In her new play, Linda Daugherty, DCT’s award-winning playwright-in-residence, explores the blurry lines between real life and life online. Cyber-bullying, explicit content and screen addiction impact the lives of a group of teens, leading to tragic consequences.

 

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET

By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha

Music by Héctor Martinez Morales

Co-Produced with Cara Mía Theatre Company

 

March 23 – April 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 6 and up

Ten-year-old María is having trouble in school, so her mom sends her to stay with her Coahuiltecan grandmother in distant Laredo for discipline and perspective. There, María is told an ancient story of young Yana Wana who followed a revered deer to find water to save her people. Yana Wana’s story exposes ​an amazing and unknown ancestral connection to the bluebonnet that gives María a renewed sense of self and family pride. You may have read one version in school; now we invite you to come see the legend through the eyes of Yana Wana in this world premiere. A beautiful, original play that illustrates the power of heritage and the value of one’s own story – especially one as ancient as the petroglyphs of Texas.

 

SEASON SPECIAL

BLUE

By Annie Cusick Wood

 

 

 

April 21 – May 6, 2018

Recommended for squirmy toddlers and their families

Dallas Children’s Theater is proud to be part of the national effort to introduce more toddler-friendly theater experiences. A growing body of research speaks to the benefits of theater for the very young. BLUE is returning as part of this initiative while additional new works for these audiences continue to be developed.

Pale Blue and Inky Blue are very happy in their blueness. When a red sock enters their kitchen, Pale and Inky AND the audience are surprised by the way their world is turned upside down. This play introduces the idea of acceptance in an age-appropriate, soft-hearted theatrical experience. It is filled with fun, humor, and whimsy—and at the end of the show, you will be too!

 

JUNGALBOOK

An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories

By Edward Mast

 

May 4 – May 26, 2018

Recommended for ages 5 and up

See Kipling’s original 1894 coming of age tale brought to the stage, and join Mowgli in learning the moral lessons of home, betrayal, life and death, and loyalty. Mowgli lives in the jungle surrounded by panthers, bears, wolves, snakes, and tigers. They are his protectors, and he believes he is one of them. When Mowgli comes face to face with a fearsome tiger, he is forced to choose between his bond with the jungle and the reality of his humanness. This classic story of the struggle for survival and a place that feels like home will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

 

DCT’s NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE

Book, Music & Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman

Based on the book by Melinda Long

Illustrations by David Shannon

June 15 – July 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 4 and up

Ahoy matey! It’s time to sail off on a swashbuckling musical excursion with Jeremy Jacobs and his new pirate friends. On board the ship, Jeremy travels to new worlds while learning the rules of pirate life, and searches for a place to bury their treasure. But it isn’t long before he misses his family and yearns for someone to tuck him in at night back home. A story of adventure and finding one’s own heart—a path that can’t be found on any map!

Finding The Way Home: Remembering Our Young Selves – A Three-Part Series

Whenever my kids are having a hard time at school or even while we’re out shopping, I get the same plea: “I wanna go home!” As annoying as that can be sometimes, it’s reassuring to know that home is a safe place, a place to go when they’re weary or sad. In choosing our theme for this season, we wanted to communicate that DCT is a place where kids and their families can feel at home.   It is also a place that nurtures children as they seek to discover things about themselves.  These wonderful plays and class experiences really spark something in young people in a way nothing else can.

It’s hard being a kid. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone who knows a kid, or for that matter, for anyone who has ever been a kid. We don’t have all the answers to every kid problem here at DCT, but our staff is dedicated to maintaining our connection to what it’s like to be a kid. In fact, this year as we were discussing our 2017-18 season, we spent a lot of time talking about our childhoods – our memories, how we would describe ourselves, and even the things that made our lives stink.  Yeah, that’s seriously part of our jobs. And I’m going to share what we talked about.

Our first challenge was to remember our 4-8 year-old selves. Whoa, that was a long time ago! We always talk about that being an impressionable time for kids, but you really experience how impressionable it is when you see how quickly a group of adults are hit with vivid feelings and memories.

For some of us, it immediately ignited our imaginations as we remembered a high-spirited, rambunctious kid with good friends and bubbly personalities. But some of us reluctantly shared memories of an awkward, high-strung kid.

We talked about characters we relate to from our season of shows. You know, some of us are Charlie Browns and some of us are obviously Lucys. Some of us are swashbucklers like the characters in HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, and some of us build a cocoon like the hungry caterpillar.

Of course, some of us learn our life lessons at a young age like María in YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET who was struggling with her identity until she had an unexpected visit that changed her world.  Then there is Mowgli in JUNGALBOOK who literally has to choose between the wild boy he had become with his animal friends and the reality of his humanness. Which was his true home?

One of our staff members mentioned having to move many times and having to change homes. This is stressful for a kid. We all want home to be a place where we feel settled and safe, and we realize that is not always feasible. We found that our plays represent that challenge to find home – not just the house but the feeling of security with our family, and who we really are as people.

It’s this discussion that led us to our theme of Finding the Way Home, and we hope that your family will join us in 2018 to further explore what home is for you.  We know that experiencing a play with a young child can provide some of the best bonding  time available, and we’re just betting that your kids would love to hear about what YOU were like in those young years!   So tell us, Lucy or Charlie Brown?

Our next question was “What I Remember Most,” so I’ll share those secrets soon. It turns out we were pretty interesting kids, just like yours.

 

Sherry Ward is a mother, actor, and writer based in D-FW.

 

 

 

 

To learn more about DCT shows or to purchase tickets, go to dct.org/plays.


Great shows still to come…

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR SHOW

Created by Jonathan Rockefeller

Produced in association with Rockefeller Productions

Based on four Eric Carle books

 

January 19 – February 25, 2018

Enjoyed by all ages

The illustrations of beloved children’s author Eric Carle leap from the page to the stage in a display of color and artistry like you’ve never seen before in this Southwest premiere. Visit the worlds of The Artist Who Painted a Blue HorseMister SeahorseThe Very Lonely Firefly and of course, the star of the show – The Very Hungry Caterpillar. DCT audiences are among the first to experience the larger-than-life world of 75 loveable puppets that will delight and captivate people of all ages. An Off-Broadway and London hit!

 

SEASON SPECIAL

TEEN SCENE PLAYERS PRESENT

SCREEN PLAY

By Linda Daugherty

 

 

February 9 – February 18, 2018

Not suitable for children under 12

Fact: More than 50% of teens admit that they are addicted to their phones. They’re plugged in and often tuned out. In her new play, Linda Daugherty, DCT’s award-winning playwright-in-residence, explores the blurry lines between real life and life online. Cyber-bullying, explicit content and screen addiction impact the lives of a group of teens, leading to tragic consequences.

 

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET

By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha

Music by Héctor Martinez Morales

Co-Produced with Cara Mía Theatre Company

 

March 23 – April 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 6 and up

Ten-year-old María is having trouble in school, so her mom sends her to stay with her Coahuiltecan grandmother in distant Laredo for discipline and perspective. There, María is told an ancient story of young Yana Wana who followed a revered deer to find water to save her people. Yana Wana’s story exposes ​an amazing and unknown ancestral connection to the bluebonnet that gives María a renewed sense of self and family pride. You may have read one version in school; now we invite you to come see the legend through the eyes of Yana Wana in this world premiere. A beautiful, original play that illustrates the power of heritage and the value of one’s own story – especially one as ancient as the petroglyphs of Texas.

 

SEASON SPECIAL

BLUE

By Annie Cusick Wood

 

 

 

April 21 – May 6, 2018

Recommended for squirmy toddlers and their families

Dallas Children’s Theater is proud to be part of the national effort to introduce more toddler-friendly theater experiences. A growing body of research speaks to the benefits of theater for the very young. BLUE is returning as part of this initiative while additional new works for these audiences continue to be developed.

Pale Blue and Inky Blue are very happy in their blueness. When a red sock enters their kitchen, Pale and Inky AND the audience are surprised by the way their world is turned upside down. This play introduces the idea of acceptance in an age-appropriate, soft-hearted theatrical experience. It is filled with fun, humor, and whimsy—and at the end of the show, you will be too!

 

JUNGALBOOK

An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories

By Edward Mast

 

May 4 – May 26, 2018

Recommended for ages 5 and up

See Kipling’s original 1894 coming of age tale brought to the stage, and join Mowgli in learning the moral lessons of home, betrayal, life and death, and loyalty. Mowgli lives in the jungle surrounded by panthers, bears, wolves, snakes, and tigers. They are his protectors, and he believes he is one of them. When Mowgli comes face to face with a fearsome tiger, he is forced to choose between his bond with the jungle and the reality of his humanness. This classic story of the struggle for survival and a place that feels like home will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

 

DCT’s NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE

Book, Music & Lyrics by Janet Yates Vogt & Mark Friedman

Based on the book by Melinda Long

Illustrations by David Shannon

June 15 – July 8, 2018

Recommended for ages 4 and up

Ahoy matey! It’s time to sail off on a swashbuckling musical excursion with Jeremy Jacobs and his new pirate friends. On board the ship, Jeremy travels to new worlds while learning the rules of pirate life, and searches for a place to bury their treasure. But it isn’t long before he misses his family and yearns for someone to tuck him in at night back home. A story of adventure and finding one’s own heart—a path that can’t be found on any map!