Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

Welcome to the jungle!

These actors definitely have what it takes….

 

Marla Acevedo**
(Perchy, a monkey / Water God)
Marla is thrilled to make her debut at DCT with such a talented cast! She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington where she studied musical theater. She is also an alumna from Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. TV credits: Queen of The South (Maya). She would like to thank everyone who made this production possible!

 

 

Kia Nicole Boyer*
(Kaa, a python / Water God)
Kia is absolutely thrilled to be making her DCT debut with Jungalbook! Notable Dallas credits include Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (Hyde/Poole) at Theatre Three; HAIR (Jeanie) at Dallas Theater Center; and The Big Meal (Nicole) and Sweet Charity (Nikki) at WaterTower Theatre. Kia Boyer is represented by The Mary Collins Agency.

 

 

Phillip Brown**
(Hathi, an elephant / Water God)
Queensbury Theatre: Unlock’d the Musical and Whistle Down the Wind. Main Street Theater for Youth: How I Became A Pirate (tour), Shrek the Musical, and The Magic Tree House (tour). The Encore Theatre: A Lesson Before Dying, The Poison Tree, and Behind Closed Doors. Lone Star College: Hairspray the Musical, Little Shop of Horrors, and Cinderella. Kirtwood Music Service: Titanic the Musical. Playhouse 1960: Rocky Horror Show, Sister Act the Musical, and The Addams Family the Musical. Film/TV: My Brothers Keeper and Lone Star Deception.

 

Douglass Burks*
(Baloo, a bear)
A veteran of Dallas area theater, Mr. Burks has worked with Dallas Children’s Theater for many years as an Equity actor, stage manager, sound designer, and director. He is a founding member of the nationally acclaimed Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts and has earned the distinction of Master Puppeteer. A popular actor with DCT audiences, Doug will be remembered for his many roles on the DCT stage, which include The Giver (The Giver), Goodnight Moon (Larry the Tooth Fairy), James and the Giant Peach (Old Grasshopper), Peter Pan (Captain Hook), Young King Arthur (Merlin), The Emperor’s New Clothes (the Emperor), The Mummy’s Claw (Sir Nevil Blore), Jungalbook (Baloo), Holes (Mr. Sir), and Treasure Island (Long John Silver). He also portrayed the title characters in Frankenstein, The Reluctant Dragon, The Canterville Ghost, and the 2001 production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Mr. Burks was a member of the first graduating class of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas.

 

Parker Fitzgerald
(Grey, a young wolf)
Noted roles include Seussical™ (Wickersham brother) at Dallas Children’s Theater, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Kev) at Theatre Three, Big River (Huck Finn) at Theatre Arlington, Waiting for Lefty (Sid) with Upstart Productions, Beautiful Thing (STE) with Uptown Players, Miss Evers Boys (Dr. Douglas) with African American Repertory Theater, Two Rooms (Walker) at Runway Theatre, and Cabaret (the Emcee) at Texas Wesleyan University. He has toured twice with Casa Mañana’s Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells Batman Smells, and twice with Wishing Star Production’s Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Theatre Arlington and a company member of Upstart Productions.

 

Aaron Jay Green*
(Bagheera, a panther / Fight Captain)
Aaron is thrilled to be making his debut at Dallas Children’s Theater! Previous credits include She Kills Monsters at Theatre Three; I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change at Theatre Too; The Grown-Up at Flexible Grey Theatre Company; and The Full Monty at Uptown Players. He thanks Artie, Katy, his castmates, and the crew for a wonderful time in the jungal!

 

 

Matt Holmes*
(Grab, a young wolf)
Matt is so excited to be working with Dallas Children’s Theater. Matt is an actor, cellist, and filmmaker in Dallas. When not on stage or making movies, you can find him slinging eggs and pancakes at Yolk. He has worked all over Dallas and Fort Worth at Circle Theatre, Theatre Three, Kitchen Dog Theater, Uptown Players, Shakespeare Dallas, The Dallas Opera, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, Ochre House Theater, and Cara Mía Theatre Co. He is represented by The Campbell Agency and has done various TV shows, commercials, and print ads including Scandal Made Me Famous, Blueberry Hall, Pizza Hut, Dr. Pepper, and Price to Fame. Follow him on Instagram! @holmesmattholmes

 

Ivan Jasso*
(Sherakhan, a tiger)
Ivan Jasso is excited to return to the DCT stage; he was last seen in 2015’s Skippyjon Jones. Ivan is an Artistic Ensemble Member with Cara Mía Theatre Co. and has also worked with several other theater companies in the D-FW area including Shakespeare Dallas, Kitchen Dog Theater, Undermain Theatre, Ochre House Theater, Amphibian Stage Productions, and Dallas Theater Center. He is signed with the Mary Collins Agency.

 

Stephanie Cleghorn Jasso
(Chil, a vulture / Water God)
Stephanie has worked with local theater companies, including Undermain Theatre where she is a company member; WaterTower Theatre; Amphibian Stage Productions; DGDG; Shakespeare Dallas; Dallas Theater Center; Cara Mía Theatre Co.; The Tribe; Shakespeare in the Bar; Anita N. Martinez Ballet Folklorico; Dead White Zombies; and Teatro Dallas. In 2015, for her work in Lydia, she received recognition for Outstanding Acting Performance by the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum and Best Actress by TheaterJones.

 

Christopher Lew**
(Mowgli, a man cub)
Clew is delighted to go wild with his DCT debut. Previous credits include Cymbeline with Shakespeare in the Bar; She Kills Monsters with Theatre Three; The Three Musketeers with Theatre Britain; The Royal Society of Antarctica with Stage West; Macbeth with LIP Service; as well as developing work with DCT and The Drama Club. He is represented by The Callidus Agency. Shout out to Artie, the cast and crew, Nicci, Q, and his friends for their support. Every orphan needs a wolfpack. One blood, yoo and me.

 

Doak Rapp
(Hyena / Water God)
Doak is appearing in his first Dallas Children’s Theater production. He has worked professionally as a stage actor in D-FW for five years at Kitchen Dog Theater, Shakespeare Dallas, Uptown Players, WaterTower Theatre, and Fun House Theatre and Film. He is the Artistic Director of The Basement and has both produced and directed productions for the company. He would like to thank his acting teacher Jeff Swearingen.

 

Brandon Whitlock**
(Akela, leader of the wolf pack)
Brandon is returning to the Dallas Children’s Theater stage where he first worked as a child actor. He has more recently appeared in several productions in the Dallas area, including The Three Musketeers with Theatre Britain, Hit the Wall with WaterTower Theatre, Medea Myth: Love’s Beginning with Prism Movement Theatre, and The Tempest with Shakespeare Dallas.

 

Get your tickets now to meet this crew of jungle animals.

 

JUNGALBOOK

An adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories
By Edward Mast

May 4 – 26, 2018
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.

 

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

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET cast makes history!

Bringing the story of first American Indians in Texas to life on stage…

Edwin Aguilar

(Tcakei / Ancestor)
Edwin is delighted to return once more to Dallas Children’s Theater where he performed in Tomás and the Library Lady (Tomás) last season. He works with Cara Mía Theatre Co. as a technician and performer for the Dallas Independent School District and recently toured with Deferred Action as a crew member. He’s done voice-over work with Funimation for One Piece and Kino’s Journey. He is an alumnus of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he interned his senior year with the Dallas Theater Center. He stays busy working overnights at the Omni in downtown Dallas and taking courses to open up a business in Social Media and E-mail Marketing.

Adolfo Becerra**

(Ancestor / Lead Singer)
Adolfo Becerra appeared in DCT’s production of Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium (Steve) and Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook (Ricardo/Principal). He is a graduate from Sam Houston State University’s Musical Theatre Program where he appeared in the world premiere of Ruffled Flourishes (Quad Sands), Cabaret (ensemble), and directed a show as part of the Student Director’s Debut.

Joey Castorena**

(Chief / Ancestor)
Joey is making his DCT debut. Joey is originally from the D-FW area, but moved to Houston when he was 13. Production credits include Hairspray (Edna), The Producers (Roger De Bris), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (William Barfee), How I Became a Pirate (Swill), The Little Mermaid (Chef Louis), Les Misérables (Thenardier), and Greater Tuna (Sears). Joey thanks everyone at DCT for a great homecoming.

Kitty Coderre

(Matzán / Asawan)
Kitty is very excited to be part of Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet. Kitty is trained in acting for film, commercials, musicals, and theater; she is also trained in dance, modeling, singing, and several instruments. She has appeared in several films, commercials, musicals, and theater productions. Kitty was part of the cast of Pinkalicious, The Musical in 2016 at DCT. She is represented by the Campbell Agency. She would like to thank everyone who is part of this production and her family for the love and support. Enjoy the show!

Tiffany Solano DeSena*

(Consuelo / Ancestor)
Tiffany is a Los Angeles native and recent Dallas transplant who is thrilled to be making her Dallas theater debut in this co-production between Dallas Children’s Theater and Cara Mía Theatre Co. Notable theater credits include her eight-year run in La Posada Magica at South Coast Repertory; the regional premiere of Sonia Flew at San Jose Rep; originating the role of Victoria in the world premiere of Plainsong at Denver Center Theatre; Nine Armenians at The Mark Taper Forum; The Pajama Game (Babe) at Mixed Blood Theatre; The Tempest (Miranda) with Will and Co.; Cesar and Ruben: The Musical, written and directed by Ed Begley Jr.; and flying on a magic carpet in Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular (Princess Jasmine). Though she has performed around the world and appeared in numerous commercials, television, and film productions, her proudest accomplishments to date are her precious children Sofia and Nolan.

Cecilia Flores*

(Abuela)
Broadway, Off-Broadway, Regional, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Theatre Three, Circle Theatre, WaterTower Theatre, Actor, Director, Educator, Arts Advocacy: National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts, Actors’ Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, MFA, disciple of Paul Baker!

 

Evelio Flores

(Cultural Advisor / Musician)
J. Evelio Chichilticoatl Flores, Jr. is the eldest of five children born to Evelio and Rosa Flores, Danzante Capitan, of Coahuiltecan / Mexican descent. Evelio is a tribal singer / dancer since 1997 and currently leads Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli (Heart of the Warrior) Aztec Dance group with his wife Azucena and their four children. Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli has been on the roster of the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, Community Arts Program (CAP) since 2006. Evelio co-founded Kalpulli Tonalpilli (Temple of Precious Sun) Native American Church in 2005 as a means of practicing and preserving the cultural traditions of the Indigenous Ancestors. Flores is a pipe carrier and Sundancer since 1999. He is also a member of the Advisory Council with the Indigenous Institute of the Americas (IIA) and a cultural consultant with the Indigenous Cultures Institute (ICI) in San Marcos, TX. Currently he is a realtor after working 20 years throughout school districts in D-FW as a social worker and substance abuse counselor.

Gazelle Garcia

(Ancestor / Yana Wana’s Mother / Lead Singer)
Gazelle is proud to be sharing indigenous stories in their DCT debut! Regional credits: Junie B. Jones The Musical (Junie B.) at Magik Theatre, Wazir of Oz (premiere) at Austin Scottish Rite, and Flat Stanley at Georgetown Palace. Others include: Shrek (Pinocchio), Seussical (Cat in the Hat), You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown (Sally), Xanadu (Melpomene), Dog Sees God (CB’s Sis) in NYC, and In the Heights (Vanessa) (Best Supporting, ATAC Globe Award). See them in Madagascar at Magik Theatre this summer!

Karla Gonzalez

(Ancestor / Kis)
Karla is excited to return to DCT after appearing in Maggie Magalita (Maggie). She was last seen in De Troya, Flores y Calaveras, and Novenas Narrativas with Cara Mía Theatre Co. Previous credits with Teatro Dallas include Feather and the Tempest, The Holy Inquiry, Octopus’s Garden, The Feast of All Souls, and Little Mexico to name a few. She has participated in various international theater festivals and workshops, and works as a voice-over talent. Karla received her BA in Theater and Broadcast Management from UT Arlington. She is represented by the Horne Agency.

Eva Harris

(Matzán / Asawan)
Eva Harris is absolutely ecstatic to be making her debut with Dallas Children’s Theater. Recent credits include performing in The Merry Wives of Windsor with Bare Bones Shakespeare, directing Into the Woods Jr. with Artsvision Performing and Visual Arts Camp, and performing in Blood Wedding with Dallas ISD.

 

Fernando Hernandez*

(The Deer / Dance Captain)
Fernando earned his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Universidad Regiomontana in Monterrey, Mexico. At the age of six, he discovered his love for dance and later was accepted by CEDART “Alfonso Reyes” for the performance and visual arts high school in Monterrey, Mexico. It was here that he discovered other branches of dance: classical ballet, contemporary, and flamenco. At Escuela Superior de Musica y Danza he studied classical ballet as a professional dancer and performed with the Ballet of Monterrey under assistant direction of Fernando Bujones. In 1999 he was invited to become the Director and Choreographer for LunaSol Folklorico Ballet at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where he currently serves as their special guest choreographer for the World Dance Ensemble.

Rosalinda Olivares**

(María)
Rosalinda is an actor & puppeteer residing in Dallas, TX and is thrilled to be making her debut with Dallas Children’s Theater. A graduate from The University of Texas at Arlington, Rosalinda has performed in various theaters around the D-FW Metroplex. Her favorite roles include Linda in La Linda by Diana Burbano, Marisol in Marisol by Jose Rivera, and Sister James in Doubt by John Patrick Shanley. She gives thanks to her family, friends, and Eduardo for supporting her artistic goals. She dedicates this performance to her niece and nephew, Mercedes and Shaylon! Rosalinda is DCT’s Education Associate.

Omar Padilla

(Ancestor / The Deer alternate)
Omar is delighted to be making his DCT debut! He was recently seen in Stand-Up Tragedy (Lee Cortez), produced by the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. Other selected theater credits include Yemaya’s Belly with Cara Mía Theatre Co., The Invaders with Teatro Dallas, Donkey Beach with Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, and the world premiere of Gracefully Ending with Theatre Arlington. Omar has also worked as a voice actor for Funimation and for the AT&T Performing Arts Center’s live-dubbing of Jersey Boys as part of the Broadway En Español series. He has been a teaching artist for four years where he has worked with organizations such as The Flame Foundation, WaterTower Theatre, Teatro Dallas, and Cara Mía Theatre Co. Omar works in the film and TV industry, and is represented by the Kim Dawson Agency.

Priscilla Rice

(Ancestor Alternate / Abuela Understudy)
Priscilla is excited to be in her first show at DCT. She is a Dallas-based poet, storyteller, and actor. She has had the honor to work with Cara Mía Theatre Co., appearing in plays such as Crystal City 1969, The House on Mango Street, Milagritos, Dreamers Part 1: A Bloodline, Nuestra Pastorela, and Zoot Suit.

 

Mark Quach**

(Teacher / Ancestor / Librarian)
Mark is thrilled for his DCT debut with this show. Regional credits include: Spring Awakening (Georg) at Runway Theatre, The Wedding Singer (Imelda Marcos) at Theatre Three, Ripcord (Scotty) at Circle Theatre, and Rudolph The Rednosed Reindeer National Tour (Aviator Elf). Enjoy the show!

 

Jennifer Reyna

(Yana Wana / Ancestor)
Jennifer’s past credits include The House on Mango Street, Oklahoma!, Once Upon A Mattress, Little Shop of Horrors, The Thorn, Queen of the South (USA Network), and Vanities. She is a junior at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Jennifer would like to thank her supportive family and school for allowing her to pursue her dreams.

Mindamora Rocha*

(María’s Mother / Ancestor)
Mindamora is thrilled to be back at DCT after appearing in last season’s production of Tomás and the Library Lady (Josefa). She graduated from Southeastern Oklahoma State University with a B.A. in Musical Theatre and thereafter toured the country with Missoula Children’s Theatre’s production of The Jungle Book. Mindamora has since had the pleasure of performing with awesome regional theater companies like Undermain Theatre, Lyric Stage, Amphibian Stage Productions, Oklahoma Shakespearean Festival, Artes de la Rosa, Granbury Opera House, and Stolen Shakespeare Guild. Some of her favorite productions she has performed in include Legally Blonde, Chicago, So Go the Ghosts of Mexico: Part Two, Dog Sees God, Much Ado About Nothing, Grease, and Xanadu.

Remi Swan

(Yana Wana / Ancestor)
Remi is thrilled to be making her debut at DCT. She previously acted as an “AnchorKid” for The True Story of the Three Little Pigs at DCT. She is a student at Canterbury Episcopal School in DeSoto, Texas. She has been taking classes at Dallas Children’s Theater since she was first eligible to do so. She studies dance at DeSoto Dance Academy and has had voice lessons and other performance-related training.

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

TITLE SPONSORS:
TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund
and Diana and Thomas Klein

Commissioned by Dallas Children’s Theater, Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
in partnership with Cara Mía Theatre Co., David Lozano, Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
with contributions by Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Danza Azteca, Evelio Flores, Director, Dallas, TX
and the Indigenous Cultures Institute of San Marcos, TX

Proclamation: Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet Day in Dallas County

An Historic Theatrical Partnership Celebrating the First People of Texas Receives Accolade From Dallas County Officials

Front Row (left to right): Robyn Flatt (DCT Executive Artistic Director), Evelio Flores (Director of Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Danza Azteca) and his grandmother; Jennifer Reyna (cast roles: Yana Wana / Ancestor), Tiffany DeSena (cast roles: Consuelo / Ancestor), Linda Cantu (Cara Mía Theatre Co. board president), and Daniel Casillas (Cara Mía Theatre Co. board member). Back Row (Dallas County Commissioners)(left to right): Dr. Theresa Daniel (District 1), Mike Cantrell (District 2), Clay Jenkins (Dallas County Judge), John Wiley Price (District 3), and Dr. Elba Garcia (District 4).

This week, the Dallas County Commissioners Court gave special public recognition to co-producers Dallas Children’s Theater and Cara Mía Theatre Company for creating YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET.  This landmark play puts front and center the contributions and legacy of the Coahuiltecans who originated in Texas more than 14,000 years ago.

_____________________________

Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet

Dallas County Resolution

Presented March 20, 2018 starting at 9 a.m.

 

Title

Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet

Dallas Children’s Theater and Cara Mía Theatre Company, co-producers of Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet, encourage all citizens to focus on the key message of the Coahuiltecan’s Legend of the Bluebonnet – Identity. Responsibility. Community.

Resolution

Whereas, Dallas Children’s Theater under the direction of Robyn Flatt and Cara Mía Theatre Company under the direction of David Lozano collaborated to bring the Coahuiltecan’s legend to life with a world premiere production of Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet; and

 

Whereas, Dallas Children’s Theater commissioned the play and worked throughout the state of Texas and beyond with Roxanne Schroeder-Arce, Austin playwright, Dr. Mario Garza and María Rocha of the Indigenous Cultures Institute in San Marcos, Héctor Martínez Morales of Sonora Mexico, Fernando Hernandez and Evelio Flores of Dallas to bring authenticity and relevance to Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet; and

 

Whereas, co-producer Cara Mía Theatre Company and David Lozano served as Dramaturg and devoted valuable cultural expertise and resources to the project including the costume design created by Frida Espinosa-Müller; and

 

Whereas, it is important to preserve the heritage and value of everyone’s cultures including stories, customs and traditions such as found in Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet; and

 

Whereas, Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet demonstrates how powerful it is in finding your identity and, how important it is to own it and to be proud of it; and

 

Whereas; Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet demonstrates how every individual has to have a sense of responsibility to always do the right thing for family, friends, neighbors and our Earth’s resources; and

Whereas; Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet demonstrates how each of us is an important and integral part of our community and how together with identity and responsibility, we look out for our community and strive to make it better;

 

Now, therefore, I, Dr. Elba Garcia, County Commissioner of Dallas County, and on behalf of the Dallas County Commissioners, do hereby proclaim March 23, 2018* as Yana Wana’s Legend of the Bluebonnet Day in Dallas County, Texas.

_____________________________

Wonder who might have discovered the first bluebonnets in Texas? Don’t miss this world premiere!

A Dallas Children’s Theater/
Cara Mía Theatre Company Co-Production
YANA WANA’S LEGEND
OF THE BLUEBONNET
By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha
Music by Héctor Martínez Morales

March 23 – April 8, 2018
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.

 

TITLE SPONSORS:
TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and Diana and Thomas Klein

To purchase tickets and obtain additional information about the show, visit dct.org, or call the Box Office at 214-740-0051.

_____________________________

Commissioned by Dallas Children’s Theater, Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
in partnership with Cara Mía Theatre Co., David Lozano, Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
with contributions by Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Danza Azteca, Evelio Flores, Director, Dallas, TX
and the Indigenous Cultures Institute of San Marcos, TX

_____________________________

Photos by: Sandra Session-Robertson and Karen Almond (third photo)

Celebrate Water as a Sacred Resource

Today is World Water Day, and our production of YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET highlights water in a unique way.

Stop jiggling, start fixing. That’s one of the taglines from the City of Dallas officials in their efforts to promote water preservation. This phrase is referring to a toilet handle, and its annoying owners that suggest that just “jiggling the handle” when the water won’t stop running is the solution.

As we take a moment to think about the importance of water in our lives today, I am thinking about all the things I am learning about the historic significance of water through DCT’s upcoming production of YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET. We have interviewed so many of the artistic staff of the production, and they have talked about how the story expresses the importance of ritual and ceremony, and the many seeds, both literally and figuratively, planted by our ancestors. The story that Maria’s Abuela shares with her is about her roots as a Coahuiltecan, which is an indigenous band of tribes that dwelled in what is now the border between Mexico and the United States thousands of years ago. The story also reminds me of how vital water remains to all of us through the ages.

The story of this tribe involves a deer, as many indigenous peoples have a representative deer in their lineage. The deer leads a family member to the sacred water resource because her people, the Coahuiltecans, have run out of water, and in turn are running out of food. The discovery of water turns out to be directly connected to the discovery of the bluebonnet. After hearing from our scenic designer, I cannot wait to see how the bluebonnets magically appear on the stage, as instructed in the script. It will be breathtaking.

The world decided that water is important enough to dedicate a whole day to it. When we have it, we often take it for granted. When we don’t have it, we understand just how important it is.

The land once occupied by the Coahuiltecans is referred to as the colonias (Spanish for neighborhood), which is the area on both sides of the border. The residents of this land are still dealing with the centuries-old issue of clean water, as this area lacks basic sewage and water services. These colonias are low-cost plots of land, with 90% being in Texas, on which many Mexican immigrants have settled in search of the American dream, only to find that they are outside city limits and without essentials for survival. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of residents living on this land trying everything from building wells to connecting to nearby subdivisions to pleading with local officials just to gain access to clean water.

The need for water connects us through the centuries. It’s something every human needs, regardless of their ancestry, and it’s something we share with every living thing. YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNETS celebrates nature and water with reverence. The theme the United Nations set for 2018 World Water Day is “The Answer is Nature.” It’s a day to learn about how we can use our resources responsibly and learn from what nature has already provided. In this way it seems like we are not that different from ancient indigenous cultures that relied on the elements of water, fire, air and earth to guide them.

DCT’s YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET, co-produced with Cara Mía Theatre Co., is going to be unlike anything our audiences have experienced. When asked what they hoped the audience would gain from the production, the unanimous answer from the artistic staff had to do with being united, and connecting with each other. Clearly, water is one of those precious resources that binds generations, races and species.

Celebrate World Water Day, and then come watch the sacredness of water brought to life through theater. We hope it will inspire you to think about water preservation and your responsibility to your neighbor in a whole new way.

There are only a few options to see this production, so pick a date and time from the list below and get your tickets today.

Friday, March 23 at 7:30PM
Sunday, March 25 at 1:30PM
Saturday, April 7 at 1:30PM
Sunday, April 8 at 1:30PM
Sunday, April 8 at 4:30P (ASL)

A Dallas Children’s Theater/Cara Mía Theatre Co. Co-Production

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET

By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha
Music by Héctor Martínez Morales

March 23 – April 8, 2018
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.

 

TITLE SPONSORS:

TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and Diana and Thomas Klein

Written by Sherry Ward. Sherry is a mother, actor, and writer based in Dallas, TX.

If you would like to use one of DCT’s Assistive Listening Devices during the show, or ifyou have your own device thatyou would like to plug into DCT’s system, please make every effort to visit the Box Office at least 30 minutes in advance before the show.

If you need accessible seating (wheelchair seating, visual impaired, etc.), please enter the information in the notes section of your order and/or call 214-740-0051. Please call if performance time is within the next three days. Thank you.

Commissioned by Dallas Children’s Theater, Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
in partnership with Cara Mía Theatre Co., David Lozano, Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
with contributions by Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Danza Azteca, Evelio Flores, Director, Dallas, TX
and the Indigenous Cultures Institute of San Marcos, TX

What’s so great about DCT…

All children and families are welcome at DCT!  Just ask our sensory-friendly families!

Drama helps children with autism and other developmental disabilities build social interaction skills and become more self-aware. Dallas Children’s Theater welcomes children with developmental disabilities and their families! Our sensory-friendly performances and classes are designed to be easy on the senses and meet children and families where they are.

Sensory-friendly performances

Our sensory-friendly performances feature house lights up slightly and sound down slightly. Repetitive flashing lights are eliminated. We offer social stories, quiet rooms, and helpers trained to understand children with sensory sensitivities.

Blue Pegasus Players Classes

Blue Pegasus Players classes are tailored for children with developmental disabilities and sensory needs. Offered throughout the year, the sessions help students better identify emotions, support one another, and take initiative. Some classes feature opportunities for typically developing children to support, make friends with, and learn from children with developmental disabilities.

Sensory-Friendly Performances and Classes at DCT

Making the magic of live theater available to all!

Learn more about sensory-friendly shows here.

Learn more about sensory-friendly classes here.

_______________

Photo Credits: Elizabeth Showalter, Patty Bates-Ballard, DCT Staff

Facts you should know about Bluebonnets…

In 2014, KERA’s Eric Aasen shared 15 amazing things about Texas Bluebonnets.  Here are a few excerpts:

 

  1. The bluebonnet is our state flower. In 1901, the Texas Legislature named the bluebonnet, a legume, the state flower. Many say it got its name because it resembles a sunbonnet. It’s also been called buffalo clover, wolf flower and el conejo, or rabbit in Spanish. Five species of bluebonnet grow in Texas: Lupinus subcarnosus, L. havardii, L. concinnus, L. perennis, and L. plattensis.

 

  1. Bluebonnets help to beautify the roads. In 1932, the department hired Jac Gubbels, its first landscape architect, to maintain, preserve and encourage wildflowers and other native plants along rights of way.

 

 

 

  1. We create family memories in the bluebonnet fields. Snapping pictures of the family in a field of bluebonnets: It’s an iconic springtime image in Texas. And Texans have done it for generations.

 

 

 

  1. We get poetic about our bluebonnets. Historian Jack Maguire once wrote: “It’s not only the state flower but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat.” He also said: “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.”

 

 

  1. We sing songs about bluebonnets. Did you know Texas has a state flower song? It’s “Bluebonnets.” In 1933, the Texas Legislature adopted the song, which was written by Laura D. Booth and Lora C. Crockett. Some lyrics: When the pastures are green in the springtime, And the birds are singing their sonnets, You may look to the hills and the valleys, And they’re covered with lovely bluebonnets.

 

  1. In North Texas, Ennis is Bluebonnet Central. In 1997, the Texas Legislature named Ennis the Texas Bluebonnet Trail and the official bluebonnet city of Texas. Every April, up to 100,000 people flock to the Ellis County town.

 

 

 

Wonder who might have discovered the first bluebonnets in Texas? Don’t miss this world premiere!

A Dallas Children’s Theater/
Cara Mía Theatre Company Co-Production
YANA WANA’S LEGEND
OF THE BLUEBONNET
By Roxanne Schroeder-Arce and María F. Rocha
Music by Héctor Martínez Morales

March 23 – April 8, 2018
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.

 

TITLE SPONSORS:
TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund and Diana and Thomas Klein

To purchase tickets and obtain additional information about the show, visit dct.org, or call the Box Office at 214-740-0051.

_____________________________

Commissioned by Dallas Children’s Theater, Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
in partnership with Cara Mía Theatre Co., David Lozano, Artistic Director, Dallas, TX
with contributions by Mitotiliztli Yaoyollohtli Danza Azteca, Evelio Flores, Director, Dallas, TX
and the Indigenous Cultures Institute of San Marcos, TX

_____________________________

Read the complete article at: http://keranews.org/post/15-amazing-things-you-should-know-about-texas-bluebonnets

_____________________________

First photo by: Joe Jungmann via Creative Commons. Third photo by: Steve Harbula via Creative Commons. Fourth photo by: David via Creative Commons. Second, fifth, and sixth photos via istockphoto.

What do Bluebonnets mean to Texas?

Celebrate World Wildlife Day as Dallas Children’s Theater and Cara Mía Theatre Co. prepare to share the history of Texas bluebonnets and the state’s first inhabitants!

 

Today, March 3, is World Wildlife Day, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about our upcoming production of YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET. Of course the obvious connection is that the bluebonnet is the Texas state flower which grows wild in fields and along freeways during the spring. They are protected in that you aren’t supposed to pick them, although I’m sure there have been a few lost to Texas toddlers having their photos taken in the midst of them. But there’s a deeper relevance to this day and the bluebonnet worth your knowing about.

Each year the UN chooses a theme for World Wildlife Day. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres says this day is a time to focus on the role the planet’s animals and plant life play in our cultures and the sustainability of our societies. In our upcoming production, you will definitely have a better appreciation for the connection between the bluebonnet and the first people of Texas. We’re proud to be making history with our world premiere production that both celebrates the Coahuiltecans (kwah-wheel-tek-kuhns) – the first people to originate in Texas 14,000 years ago – and introduces to everyone their contribution to our history, their relationship to the plants and animals that roamed our grounds, and their impact on our current existence.

In addition to these reasons for seeing YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET, I think we’d all agree that pre-teens are their own form of wildlife. As a mom with my own burgeoning set of teens, I feel comfortable saying that. In our show, ten-year-old Maria is taken out of her normal habitat (which includes having a screen in her hand 24/7) and is transported to her grandmother’s home in Laredo for discipline and perspective. There, away from the normal distractions, Maria eventually commits fully to a world in which wildlife is both sacred and essential to living. In doing so, she learns of her unknown ancestral connection to the bluebonnet. It is a beautiful tale that illustrates the power of ancestry, the value of one’s own story and the importance of precious natural resources such as water, and yes, bluebonnets.

As a non-Texas native, the bluebonnet was new to me, and I was amazed by how Texans still revere the beautiful spring bloom. But the more I’ve learned about the bluebonnet and its significance to the original people of Texas, the more I wish I had spent the time other parents invest in permanently capturing the young kids amid a full field of bluebonnets. There really isn’t anything quite as beautiful as the purplish little towers that blossom so perfectly. They’re unlike any flower I’ve ever seen. It is fitting that they are so significant in Texas, today, and in our history.

You’ll find out more when you join us for YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET. Even if you read a book by the same name in school like most Texas students, you’ll want to check out this story. Historic in a number of
ways, we’re just willing to bet that you’ll walk away with a newfound appreciation of water, bluebonnets, your ancestors and a whole lot more.

 

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

YANA WANA’S LEGEND OF THE BLUEBONNET runs March 23 – April 8. There are only a few public performances, so please don’t miss the opportunity to share this important part of our collective history with your family.

Fri., Mar. 23 at 7:30PM
Sun., Mar. 25 at 1:30PM
Sat., Apr. 7 at 1:30PM
Sun., Apr. 8 at 1:30PM
Sun., Apr. 8 at 4:30PM (ASL)

 

CREDITS: 

First photo sourced from stock photography. The photos of the beautiful families posing among the bluebonnets were sourced from the following personal websites: lcahouston.com and cherish365.com. Final photo by Ulises Garcia.

A Parent’s Perspective on DCT’s teen show SCREEN PLAY

Sherry Ward, DCT Mom Blogger

Sherry Ward, DCT Mom Blogger

Dear Friends,

We all do it…so let’s talk about it…

As the mother of two tween boys, let me first assure you that SCREEN PLAY by Linda Daugherty premiering this Friday at DCT is NOT an admonishment to parents for letting their kids play with screens. Now relax, and please keep reading.

DCT’s Playwright-in-Residence Linda Daugherty has written many highly-acclaimed teen issue plays. These range in subject matter from eating disorders to bullying to dating violence to learning differences and teen brain decision-making. Each performance is anchored by an interactive post-show discussion with DCT’s Teen Advisory Council, which includes social, medical and psychological experts from all over North Texas. Some amazing, eye-opening conversations take place.

This year, Linda has written a new play called SCREEN PLAY about the impact of habitual screen use. In her research, Linda discovered that more than 50% of teens admit they are addicted to their phones; meaning they are plugged in and tuned out. This may or may not be a surprise to you, but either way, if you know a teen or a child old enough to have their own digital device, this is a play and a discussion created with you in mind.

Like I said, the play does not shake a finger at parents, or teens for that matter. But it is a frank exploration of the blurry lines between real life and life online. In the show, cyberbullying, the use of explicit content and screen addiction lead to irreversible consequences for a group of teens.

 

What Parents and Teens are Saying about the Play

In November 2017, DCT hosted a SCREEN PLAY Play-Reading and Panel Discussion which gave parents, teens and educators a sneak peek at the show, as well as an opportunity to talk candidly with experts about the timely, relevant topics in the play. Here’s what audiences who attended the event told us about their experience.

“Very well-rehearsed, clear, well-paced, insightful” – Neha Mamtani

“My daughter who is in the 7th grade attended with me and we talked the entire way home.” – Madeline Patrick

The show will premiere at DCT February 9-18, and we really hope you will mark your calendars. To learn more about SCREEN PLAY and to purchase tickets for the show, visit dct.org/screenplay, or call the DCT Box Office at 214-740-0051.

———————

GENERAL SPONSORS: The Hersh Foundation, Diana and Thomas Klein

Photo Credits: Linda Blase; and courtesy of Sherry Ward

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.

———————

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.

———————

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

———————

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.

———————

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, © &™.