Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

Weigh anchor and set sail with an adventurous cast

Meet the Cast of TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined!

Douglass Burks*
(Blind Pew / Captain Flint / Puppeteer)
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.

Alyssa Cavazos**
(Kid / Morgan / Ensemble)
Alyssa Cavazos is elated to be making her DCT debut with this all-star cast and crew! Regional credits include: Perfect Arrangement (Millie) and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Ensemble & Diva/ Marion US) at Uptown Players; The Grown-Up (Rosie) at Flexible Grey Theatre Company; in the reading of Our Space (Facebook) at Pegasus Theatre; in the reading of Another Set of Issues (Harriet) at IMPRINT Theatreworks; The Final Battle (Taylor) at Camp Death Productions; Cymbeline (Helen/Ensemble) at Martinit Theatre NYC; and Miss Saigon (Yvette) and The Music Man (Ensemble/Dance Captain) at Western Playhouse Theatre. She received a BFA in Musical Theatre from Abilene Christian University. Alyssa would like to thank Dallas Children’s Theater for this wonderful experience, Drew for his undeniable support, and God for His many blessings.

Bwalya Chisanga**
(George / Ensemble)
Bwalya is delighted to be making her debut at DCT! Credits include: Heathers (Heather Duke) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Marcy Park) at Collin Theatre Center. She has also worked with The Firehouse Theatre and Greater Lewisville Community Theatre. She would like to thank her parents, friends and family for their constant love, acceptance and support; and the cast, crew and production team for this lovely experience and opportunity!

Jeffrey Colangelo
(Billy Bones / Israel / Ensemble / Fight Choreographer)
Jeffrey is a writer, director, actor, fight director, co-founder of Prism Movement Theatre, and ensemble member of Cara Mía Theatre Co. He has been working in the DFW area for the last four years for theater companies like Cara Mía Theatre Co., Undermain Theatre, Trinity Shakespeare, WaterTower Theatre, Shakespeare Dallas, and Dallas Theater Center. With Prism Movement Theatre, he has helped a number of original productions come to life like Galatea, Animal vs. Machine, Gog and Magog, and BruNO and lOUIe. He has also written a number of original plays like Pun: A Play on Words and Renaissance Fighters. Jeffrey is also a graduate of the Southern Methodist University theater program and earned his B.F.A. in Theatre in 2013.

Sally Fiorello
(Puppeteer / Pirate / Ensemble / Puppetry Design)
Sally is a Master Puppeteer, director, and senior designer with the critically acclaimed Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts. Since 1973, she has designed over 40 original puppet productions and continues to perform annually with the troupe. She also served as Art Director for Kathy Burks’ award-winning television pilot DISCOVERY OUTPOST. Sally began her association with Dallas Children’s Theater in 1984 where she has served as a director, designer, actor, and consultant for numerous DCT productions. In 1998, she joined the staff as Producing Director of National Tours, overseeing the growing demand for DCT performances throughout the USA and abroad. Active with many arts organizations including The Haymarket Theatre, The Dallas Opera, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pegasus Theatre, and several major touring companies, Sally has been a recipient of the Dallas Theatre Critics Forum Award.

Aaron Jay Green*
(Ben Gunn)
Aaron is thrilled to be returning to Dallas Children’s Theater! Previously spotted here in Jungalbook (Bagheera), other area 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 his cast, crew, and DCT for making this experience such a…wait for it…… treasure!

Matt Holmes*
(O’Brien / Ensemble)
Matt Holmes is very excited to be returning to Dallas Children’s Theater this fall! Matt is an actor, cellist, and filmmaker in the Dallas area. He was last seen in Jungalbook here at Dallas Children’s Theater. Local and regional work: Perfect Arrangement and It’s Only A Play at Uptown Players; Day Light at Theatre Three; Red at Theatre Arlington; Who Am I This Time? at Circle Theatre; Suckers with IMPRINT Theatreworks at the FIT Festival; The Merry Wives of Windsor at Shakespeare Dallas; Becoming Santa Claus at The Dallas Opera; Blink at Ochre House Theater; and The Adventures of Flo and Greg at Echo Theatre. TV/Film/Commercial: Blueberry Hall; Scandal Made Me Famous; Price to Fame; Dr. Pepper commercial; Pizza Hut commercial; Under Armour print; Vindication television series; and Saving Harper Ross television series. He is proudly represented by The Campbell Agency. @holmesmattholmes.

Michael Isaac*
(Squire Trelawney / Ensemble)
Michael has been blessed to perform all over the globe with some favorites including The Full Monty (four times!); Jekyll & Hyde; 1776; Songs for a New World; Honk; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; and just finished Kiss Me, Kate. He wants to thank his family and friends for the endless love and support; and of course his baby boy, Chewbacca. You can follow Michael at @weperformfit.

Ivan Jasso*
(Captain Smollett / Ensemble)
Ivan Jasso is excited to return to the DCT stage after last being seen in Jungalbook (Sherakhan). Ivan is a multidisciplinary artist and has worked with several theater companies in the DFW area including Cara Mía Theatre Co., 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
(Mother Hawkins / Ensemble / Chad)
Stephanie was previously seen in DCT’s production of Jungalbook. She has worked with local theater companies including Undermain Theatre where she is a company member; Ochre House Theater; 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; Theatre Three; and Teatro Dallas. In 2015, for her work in Lydia, Stephanie received recognition for Outstanding Acting Performance by the DFW Theater Critics Forum and Best Actress by TheaterJones.

Karl Schaeffer*
(Dr. Livesey / Black Dog / Ensemble)
Karl has appeared in many DCT productions including last season’s Blue. Additional credits include Skippyjon Jones; Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat; Night of the Living Dead; Pinkerton!!!; The Emperor’s New Clothes; Babe, the Sheep-Pig; Holes; The Mummy’s Claw; Pecos Bill; The Island of the Skog; Frankenstein; The Stinky Cheeseman…; Honus & Me; Junie B. Jones & a Little Monkey Business; The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; The Pied Piper’s Magic; Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!; Go, Dog. Go!; Charlotte’s Web; Balloonacy; Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook; and Goosebumps the Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium. He also performed with Dallas Theater Center, Shakespeare Dallas, and Theatre Three. Karl is an Artist-in-Residence at DCT and teaches video acting classes for the DCT Academy.

Marcus Stimac
(Long John Silver / Fight Captain)
Marcus is absolutely thrilled to be making his debut at Dallas Children’s Theater in one of his favorite stories: Treasure Island. You may have seen Marcus performing on many of Dallas’ local stages with: Shakespeare Dallas, Undermain Theatre, Dallas Theater Center, Upstart Productions, Theatre Three, Shakespeare in the Bar, and others. Marcus also provides the voice for many different characters for Funimation. He is very thankful to have this wonderful opportunity and hopes you enjoy the show! Arrrgh!!

Katy Tye
(Jim Hawkins / Movement Director)
Katy is a theater artist in the Dallas area. She has performed locally at multiple theaters, worked with Pilobolus Dance Theater, and has written original plays such as I’m A Girl But My Favorite Color is Blue. Katy co-founded Prism Movement Theatre in 2014 and also helps run Shakespeare in the Bar; two Dallas-based theater groups. Katy received her BFA in Theater Studies from Southern Methodist University in 2015.

Asaf Mor
(Pirate / Ensemble)
Asaf is a multi-disciplinary circus performer trained under Evgeni Baranok of the Moscow State Circus. He has been a regular cast member of Lone Star Circus® with notable solo performances on Aerial Rope in Oh là là (2014), Cyr Wheel in Zingari (2015), and Hula Hoops in Cirque Joyeux (2018). He was also a featured Straps performer in the 84th Hadi Shrine Circus (2017) and a special guest performer at the 69th Intl Jugglers Association Convention (2016).

Josh Porter
(Pirate / Ensemble)
Josh Porter helped with the original workshop for TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined!, and is now excited to be making his official debut with Dallas Children’s Theater in the full production. He received his BFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University in 2014. He has worked with Dallas Theater Center and as an actor and director for Prism Movement Theatre.

 

 

TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined! is NOW PLAYING! Get your tickets today for the cruise of a lifetime.

 

Photos courtesy of the actors.

Celebrating 35 years of storytelling that captures the imagination…

Storytelling comes in many different forms. Children venture into it almost before they can fully talk. They think up imaginary friends and situations in the quiet of their rooms.

They tell loved ones tall tales from their imagination through pictures and gestures. What’s happening in their little brains is incredible. For most of us, it is hard to remember the flurry of activity that takes place in those discovery years; how everything is bigger and brighter and just more spectacular.

This is not a hard concept for the team at Dallas Children’s Theater. For 35 years, we’ve been right there with the young ones as the mouse tried to get in the giant cup; when they saw the giant dinosaur bones; when Charlotte spun her web; or when everything on stage came to life under the moon, to name a few.

It has truly been our privilege to delight and entertain your children, grandchildren and you, for that matter, through the magic of live theater. We know how life-changing a moment in a class or seeing one of these extraordinary plays can be. We see it every day.

We hope all of you will join us for another exceptional year of storytelling as only DCT can provide. Your shared family moments of wonder and surprise begin now with your ticket order for DCT’s 35th Anniversary Season.

Our 2018-2019 season will highlight many of the most memorable characters coming to life on stage. There will be a magical treehouse; travelling through time and space; a hilarious journey to a remote island; a little romance, a hip-hopping musical and an exciting world premiere.


You and I are most likely familiar with many of the titles and stories that are in our upcoming season. We’ve read the books or even seen the films, but to see our kids’ faces when those stories come to life, live right in front of us… is one of the magical moments that we get to experience as grownups. You won’t want to miss it, and your children will always remember it.

There’s no better place than DCT to create fond, family memories!

Choose four titles from our regular offerings and just like that, you’re a DCT season ticket holder. Season ticket holders enjoy the best benefits including the lowest prices offered all year long!

 

PHOTO CREDITS:
istockphoto[dot]com, Patty Bates-Ballard, Lawrence Jenkins, Linda Blase, Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre, courtesy of Adventure Theatre MTC. Photography by Sarah Straub, Karen Almond, and DCT staff.

DCT Celebrates Talk Like a Pirate Day on September 19th!

To celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, DCT produced six videos with Captain BJ along with activity sheets to get you familiar with the lingo. Check them out, mateys!

 

Video #1:

Doubloon, Blimey, Daft, Crow’s nest, Bellowed

Download activity sheet #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #2:

Yonder, Heave, Husky, Affy-davy or Davy, Marooned

Download activity sheet #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #3:

Shiver me timbers, Batten, Hash, Scoundrel, Jove

Download activity sheet #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #4:

Eyeglass, Mast, Vessel, Farthing, Rogue

Download activity sheet #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #5:

Shirking, Lubber, Belay, Port, Berth

Download activity sheet #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #6:

Starboard, Galley, Crackie, Huzza, Naught

Download activity sheet #6

 

 

 

 

 


 

TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined!
Adapted for the stage by Katy Tye, Jeffrey Colangelo, and Robyn Flatt
Based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson

September 23 – October 21, 2018

Recommended for ages 7 and up

Friendship, betrayal, and adventure are front and center in this bold world premiere! And Jim Hawkins, Ben Gunn, and Long John Silver will do just about anything to be the first to claim the buried treasure. From the moment you enter the theater, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the action. Step into a world of dramatic sword fights, thrilling acrobatics, and magical shadow puppetry as Dallas Children’s Theater, Prism Movement Theatre, Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts, and Lone Star Circus® come together to present a wildly original version of this iconic tale. Grab your costume and come aboard our ship. Your help is needed to decide who gets to take home the gold!

 

Show Dates:

  • Sunday, September 23, 1:30 PM – Opening Day
  • Sunday, September 23, 4:30 PM
  • Friday, September 28, 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, September 29, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, September 30, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, September 30, 4:30 (ASL)
  • Saturday, October 6, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 7, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 7, 4:30 PM
  • Saturday, October 13, 1:30 PM (Sensory-Friendly)(Phone orders only. See dct.org/sensory for details)
  • Saturday, October 13, 4:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 14, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 14, 4:30 PM
  • Saturday, October 20, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 21, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 21, 4:30 PM

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

TITLE SPONSORS: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Half Price Books

Photo by: Linda Blase

TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined! What’s it all about?

Dallas librarian Jonathan Carr describes the classic tale Treasure Island and shares why he is excited to see DCT’s reimagined version on stage this fall.

 

 

#1: Read the book. On sale in the DCT store, one is rated for ages 8 – 12 and up; the other is perfect for ages 4 to 6.

 

 

 

 

#2: Check out DCT’s TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined! Study Guide. Did you know that we create this resource for every show? Find it here.

 

 

 

 

#3: Read this article about why DCT was inspired to tell this story.

This production will appeal to a wide range of ages because of all of the movement and audience interaction.

 

#4: Practice your pirate! DCT produced six videos with Captain BJ along with activity sheets to get you familiar with the lingo. Check them out.

 

 

 

 

Video #1:

Doubloon, Blimey, Daft, Crow’s nest, Bellowed

Download activity sheet #1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #2:

Yonder, Heave, Husky, Affy-davy or Davy, Marooned

Download activity sheet #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #3:

Shiver me timbers, Batten, Hash, Scoundrel, Jove

Download activity sheet #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #4:

Eyeglass, Mast, Vessel, Farthing, Rogue

Download activity sheet #4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #5:

Shirking, Lubber, Belay, Port, Berth

Download activity sheet #5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video #6:

Starboard, Galley, Crackie, Huzza, Naught

Download activity sheet #6

 

 

 

 

 

TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined!
Adapted for the stage by Katy Tye, Jeffrey Colangelo, and Robyn Flatt
Based on the book by Robert Louis Stevenson

September 23 – October 21, 2018

Recommended for ages 7 and up

Friendship, betrayal, and adventure are front and center in this bold world premiere! And Jim Hawkins, Ben Gunn, and Long John Silver will do just about anything to be the first to claim the buried treasure. From the moment you enter the theater, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the action. Step into a world of dramatic sword fights, thrilling acrobatics, and magical shadow puppetry as Dallas Children’s Theater, Prism Movement Theatre, Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts, and Lone Star Circus® come together to present a wildly original version of this iconic tale. Grab your costume and come aboard our ship. Your help is needed to decide who gets to take home the gold!

 

Show Dates:

  • Sunday, September 23, 1:30 PM – Opening Day
  • Sunday, September 23, 4:30 PM
  • Friday, September 28, 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, September 29, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, September 30, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, September 30, 4:30 (ASL)
  • Saturday, October 6, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 7, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 7, 4:30 PM
  • Saturday, October 13, 1:30 PM (Sensory-Friendly)(Phone orders only. See dct.org/sensory for details)
  • Saturday, October 13, 4:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 14, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 14, 4:30 PM
  • Saturday, October 20, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 21, 1:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 21, 4:30 PM

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

TITLE SPONSORS: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Half Price Books

Photo by: Linda Blase

Artist at Work: An Interview with DCT Technical Director Josh Smith

It takes a village to make a play happen. Though the actors are the face of the operation, there is a body of artists making our work at Dallas Children’s Theater possible. From artists in charge of lighting the stage to those responsible for every moment of sounds, to those actually constructing the set, there are dozens of people thinking through every single detail to ensure your experience as an audience member is nothing less than extraordinary.

DCT Technical Director Josh Smith took time out of his busy schedule to talk about the process of assembling the touring set of HOW I BECAME A PIRATE. The show literally traveled to 60 cities and performed for 113,791 audience members before returning to Dallas for a four-week run on the DCT mainstage this June. Over the course of our interview, Josh let us in on the steps involved in building a set, the challenges of creating a transportable pirate ship, and how young people can work towards a career in technical theater.

How did you get into theater?
I kind of stumbled into theater. My older sister was in theater when I was in college, and I’d go see their final performances. For fun, I’d help them strike. Later, when I went to the same college, the teachers already knew me. And they said, “If you want to work in theater, we’ll give you scholarship money.” I thought, “Hey, get paid to play around and build stuff: my kind of deal.”

What did you do when you first started out there? What were your jobs?
I did some set construction. As I got good at it, they had me do more and more set construction, but I was in a theater program where there were never enough guys, so I always ended up on stage. Even though I never auditioned for anything, I’d be cast. And I’d say, “Just let me run sound or lights or the flyline,” but I was always on stage.

What’s the first step in getting ready to design a set, and what was your experience like getting ready for PIRATE?
When you’re designing a set, the first step is obviously reading the script. You read the script; you do research on the subject – for this case, our designer did research on pirates and studied the [How I Became a Pirate] books. My job comes in usually after the designers come up with their design and talk to the director to make sure they’re on the same page. I get to see the plan and the drawings, and then I have to figure out how to build what they want, even if it defies physics. We have to make sure we’re in budget and on time, so there are a lot of steps involved, and one of the biggest things is making sure the actors are safe.

How did knowing that your set would have to be boxed up after each performance to tour the country affect your process?
One of the big things about tours is you can’t build a big, heavy, unit set. Everything has to fit into a box truck, so everything needs to break apart, be as light as possible, and be as durable as possible because it’s going to get thrown around and slammed around. It’s a big challenge balancing all that while also making a set that can be put together within a two-hour time span. For the touring group to build it, the set has to be light enough to allow them to move everything.

What was your work schedule for building this set, and what was the team process?
Here, we try really hard to keep a 9 to 5 schedule as much as possible and not work on weekends during the building stage, so a lot of it comes down to planning ahead of time, knowing your crew and what their strengths are – making sure people who are good at welding do welding; people who are good at finish work do finish work; and people that are good at artsy, decorative stuff do artsy, decorative stuff.

What do you enjoy about your job, and what’s difficult about it?
I really enjoy the challenges. No two sets are the same. You have curved stair railings; you have crow’s nests that have to be supported with minimal amount of structure showing. There are always different and interesting challenges. That’s my favorite part of the job, but that can also be the most stressful part of the job because you can do anything with the right amount of money and time. In theater, though, those are two things that you usually don’t have a whole lot of.

What advice do you have for kids who are interested in technical theater and design?
Just jump in there and do it. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. A mistake is a good thing to make as long as you learn from it. If you really care about it, go out there, read books on it, do research, and get involved in internship programs. The more people you work with, the more different experiences you have and the better you’re going to be.

 

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE runs June 15th through July 8th at DCT. For tickets and more info, visit dct.org.

__________________________________________________

Photos by: Karen Almond, and courtesy of Josh Smith and Ryan Diller

__________________________________________________

Ryan Diller with CaterpillarRyan Diller is a DCT Guest Writer, pictured here with one of his favorite childhood memories. 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.

Remembering Ryan Goldblatt: Seeing Ryan’s Show for the First Time (part 3 of 3)

One of theater’s most profound aspects is the fact that any one performance can leave a deep, permanent impact on an audience member. Such was the case when Ryan Goldblatt saw HOW I BECAME A PIRATE with his grandparents in 2010. His mother, Joanne, remembers Ryan as bouncing off the walls with excitement when he came home, so thrilled was he by seeing his favorite book brought to life. The performance—the only theater performance he ever attended—was a highlight of Ryan’s all too short life. On September 15, 2010, Ryan died just a few weeks shy of his fourth birthday after a brave and difficult fight with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor, a rare type of cancer that usually strikes children under the age of three.

Shortly thereafter, Joanne and her husband, Andy, welcomed another child into the world, a daughter whom Ryan had chosen a name for: Emily. The three continue to keep Ryan’s memory alive through the work of the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, which is dedicated to raising funds for the organizations and medical institutions that served Ryan during his lifetime.

In this three-part series, Joanne—with input from family members—discusses her son, the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, and DCT’s production of HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, which is dedicated in Ryan’s memory.

 

Seeing Ryan’s Show for the First Time
(part 3 of 3)

Is Emily excited to see HOW I BECAME A PIRATE? 
Emily is definitely excited to see the show. She loves ALL Dallas Children’s Theater plays, but knowing this is the only show Ryan saw is very special to her.

Do you see shows with Emily now? What does she think of the theater?
Of course we see shows with Emily now! We are season members of Dallas Children’s Theater. She sees about four or five plays a year. She LOVES Dallas Children’s Theater and the whole experience.

Why do you and Emily enjoy coming to Dallas Children’s Theater specifically?
I love coming to the theater because there is something to be said about seeing a performance “live.” The scenery and backdrops are always stunning. There is no question how much time and dedication and passion are poured into each one of the plays at Dallas Children’s Theater. I love watching Emily’s face during the play. She is so mesmerized and is taken to another place and time. It’s truly amazing. She loves seeing her favorite characters come to life in shows such as PINKALICIOUS; FANCY NANCY; and GO, DOG. GO!

How did you react when you found out DCT would be producing PIRATE again?
I cried. That was my first reaction. It was a happy cry, though! I was so touched beyond words that Dallas Children’s Theater wanted to bring back the play because of Ryan. As a mother, I can’t think of a higher compliment. All of the hard work and effort we have put into this foundation has led to this: Ryan’s memory is living on. I couldn’t be more proud. As mentioned before, Andy and I never saw the play. His grandparents took him. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to see the play that Ryan loved so much. I’m sure it will be emotional for me, no doubt. I’ll cry rivers, but it will be perfect.

What do you hope will occur as a result of DCT dedicating the production to Ryan?
My hope is that more people will get to know Ryan. I hope that his memory continues to touch people in positive ways. I also hope that families with young children choose to take their kids to plays more often. Going to the theater is such an amazing experience for a child. I hope more children get exposed to theater and benefit from it the way Ryan did and the way Emily does.

Any thoughts from Andy?
I’m very excited that this show is being brought to life again and that our story somehow inspired it. HOW I BECAME A PIRATE is a story about a young boy who uses his imagination to create wonderful places and characters. It’s a great message and one that is very near and dear to our hearts as we remember our son, Ryan.

 

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE runs from June 15th to July 8th. For more information, go to dct.org.

_____________________________________________________

Contributors: Joanne Goldblatt (Ryan’s Mom), Andy Goldblatt (Ryan’s Dad), Emily Goldblatt (Ryan’s Sister), Neil and Lois Goldblatt (Ryan’s grandparents), and Jack and Barbara Wilpon (Ryan’s grandparents)

Photos: Courtesy of the Goldblatt Family and Ryan Diller

_____________________________________________________

Ryan Diller with CaterpillarCompiled by Ryan Diller, a DCT Guest Writer who is pictured here with one of his favorite childhood memories. 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.

Dallas Children’s Theater takes the magic of live theater to Dallas Public Libraries for summer fun

During summer 2018, Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) is taking its love of stories on the road to Dallas Public Libraries (DPL) through the DCT STORYTIME initiative. At 25 different library locations, DCT-trained interns will lead an interactive drama workshop that merges reading and acting. Attendees will have the book How I Became a Pirate, on stage at DCT from June 15 – July 8, 2018, read to them and then act out a scene from the story. DCT STORYTIME events are best suited for children ages 5-12.

For over 16 years, Dallas Children’s Theater has been going to public libraries in the summer to present the DCT STORYTIME program. Graduate-level theater students who are interning at the theater give participants a chance to learn about the page-to-stage process. This summer, students will read from the How I Became a Pirate storybook and then have their own chance to act out the story. Costume pieces are provided and area librarians look forward to weaving this offering into their already-existing programming each summer.

This community program increases access to theatrical arts to a broader range of Dallas children and families, as they experience live theater in a joyful, dynamic way at a location easily accessible to them. “Participation in the arts is key to inspiring learning in all other areas of life. Through this outreach, we are doing our part to ensure children are introduced to the soft skills, like sharing emotions in different ways and being able to focus for long periods of time—skills that will ultimately predict their success in life,” said Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director of DCT.

In the face of Dallas’ educational inequities and reports on the lack of middle-skills workers in Texas, DCT’s years of experience teaching social-emotional skills and use of teaching artists are essential tools to preparing children to be college- and career- ready. DCT programs instill such skills as cooperation, empathy, team building, decision-making and others, all skills that employers say are in the greatest demand. As research supports, children love interacting with professional actors who are both inspiring and knowledgeable about their craft.

“Working with Dallas Public Libraries and our other community partners is a natural pathway to extend our unique service during the summer,” said Flatt. “We want all young citizens of Dallas to have equitable access to experiences only DCT can provide, and this use of our unique and enriching theater experience really allows us to do that in a special way.” Rated one of the country’s top five children’s theaters by TIME magazine, Dallas Children’s Theater is the largest performing arts venue in the Southwest focused solely on productions, classes and other programming for children and families.

 

The following are the confirmed workshops. Regular updates to the schedule will be posted here.

Dates Time Location Address
Mon. June 11 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Skyline Library 6006 Everglade Rd.  75227
Tues. June 12 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Forest Green Library 9015 Forest Ln.  75243
Tues. June 12 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Audelia Road Library 10045 Audelia Rd.  75238
Wed. June 13 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Hampton-Illinois Library 2951 S. Hampton Rd.  75224
Wed. June 13 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Highland Hills Library 6200 Bonnie View Rd.  75241
Thurs. June 14 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Fretz Park Library 6990 Belt Line Rd.   75254
Thurs. June 14 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Polk-Wisdom Library 7151 Library Ln.  75232
Mon. June 18 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Skillman Southwestern Library 5707 Skillman St.   75206
Tues. June 19 1:00 pm  – 2:00pm Dallas West Library 2332 Singleton Blvd.   75212
Wed. June 20 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Lochwood Library 11221 Lochwood Blvd.   75218
Wed. June 20 1:30 pm  – 2:30 pm Mountain Creek Library 6102 Mountain Creek Pkwy 75249
Thurs. June 21 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Timberglen Library 18505 Midway Rd. 75287
Thurs. June 21 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Renner Frankford Library 6400 Frankford Rd.  75252
Fri. June 22 10:00 am – 11:00 pm Highland Park Library (in the park) 4500 Drexel Dr.   75205
Fri. June 22 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Prairie Creek Library 9609 Lake June Rd.  75217
Mon. June 25 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Timberglen Library 18505 Midway Rd. 75287
Tues. June 26 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Martin Luther King Library 2922 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Bldg C 75215
Tues. June 26 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Bachman Lake Library 9480 Webb Chapel Rd.  75220
Wed. June 27 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm University Park Library 8383 Preston Center Plaza, Ste 200 75225
Thurs. June 28 11:00 am – 12:00 pm Park Forest Library 3421 Forest Ln.   75234
Thurs. June 28 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm J.Erik Jonsson Central Library 2nd Floor, 1515 Young Street 75201
Mon. July 2 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Grauwyler Park Library 2146 Gilford St.   75235
Tues. July 3 10:30 am – 11:30 am White Rock Hills Library 9150 Ferguson Rd.  75228
Tues. July 3 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm Arcadia Park Library 1402 N. Justin Ave.  75211
Thurs. July 5 11:00 am – 12:00 pm North Oak Cliff Library 302 W. 10th St.  75208
Thurs. July 5 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Lakewood Library 6121 Worth St.   75214

 

 

Photo credits: Craig Lynch; Courtesy of Dallas Children’s Theater.

They’ve sailed the US sharing this musical story of adventure!

Meet the cast of DCT’s National Touring Production of HOW I BECAME A PIRATE.

ALEX ALTSHULER
(Jeremy Jacob / Dance Captain)

Alex is thrilled to be making her DCT debut in How I Became a Pirate! A graduate from the University of Central Oklahoma, her acting credits include Saturday Night Fever (Annette), A Chorus Line (Kristine), and West Side Story (Graziella). Thanks to Doug, Sally, my parents, and the DCT team.

 

 

LLOYD HARVEY II
(Swill the Pirate / Company Manager)
Lloyd Harvey is a professional theater, commercial, and print artist. This is his first tour and he couldn’t be happier! As an actor, he has worked throughout the D-FW area with numerous theaters including Casa Mañana, Jubilee Theatre, Uptown Players, WaterTower Theatre, OhLook Performing Arts Center, Artisan Center Theater, Fort Worth Theatre, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, and Dallas Children’s Theater. He is represented by The Kim Dawson Agency.

 

JOHN KELLEY
(Max the Pirate)
John is pleased to be touring with Dallas Children’s Theater again after an 11 year hiatus. Last seen as The Stinky Cheese Man in the international touring production The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fair(l)y (Stoopid) Tales, How I Became a Pirate marks his fifth tour. John holds a Master’s Degree in Playwriting, and is a Marine Corps veteran of Desert Storm.

 

STEVEN MILLER
(Captain Braid Beard)
Steven is thrilled to be making his debut with Dallas Children’s Theater as Captain Braid Beard. Steven attended the University of Southern California and graduated with a major in Theatre Arts and a double minor in Cinematic Arts and Musical Theatre. Since returning to Dallas, he has appeared in several productions including Bye Bye Birdie (Albert Peterson) at The Firehouse Theatre, A Man of No Importance (Rasher Flynn) at Brick Road Theatre, and The Producers (Franz Liebkind) at Garland Summer Musicals. Steven would like to thank his mom Susan, his grandparents Gerald and Virginia, and his girlfriend Lindsey for their love and support.

 

NOLAN SPINKS
(Pierre the Pirate)
Nolan is excited to be working with Dallas Children’s Theater for the first time and to be part of this amazing cast and crew. A native of Evansville, IN, he graduated with a degree in acting from the University of Southern Indiana where he acted in Godspell (Jesus), Spring Awakening (Hanschen), and In The Next Room (Leo Irving). Since moving to the D-FW area, he has worked with Winspear Opera House and Brick Road Theatre. Most recently, he performed the roles of Jason in Bare and Ram’s dad in Heathers at OhLook Performing Arts Center in Grapevine, TX. Nolan would like to thank you all for coming, and hopes you enjoy this show as much as he and his crew have enjoyed putting it together.

 

MICHAEL STIMAC
(Sharktooth the Pirate)
Michael is delighted to be part of the cast of How I Became a Pirate and is excited to be working in his first show with Dallas Children’s Theater. He received a BFA in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, earning a Kennedy Center commendation for acting. His credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Clybourne Park, and The Seafarer. Since moving to Dallas, he has appeared in productions at Shakespeare Dallas, and Shakespeare In The Bar.

HOW I BECAME A PIRATE runs from June 15 – July 8, 2018. Tickets on sale at dct.org.

 


 

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
Ages 4 and up

Ahoy matey! It’s time to sail off on a swashbuckling musical excursion with Jeremy Jacob 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!

 

Photos courtesy of the actors.

 

 

Remembering Ryan Goldblatt: Life with a Sick Child (part 2 of 3)

What advice do you have for parents whose child has a serious illness? Whose child has died?
My advice for parents who have a child with a serious illness is to make memories and take lots of pictures and videos. You can never have enough pictures and videos of your child. I would encourage them to try and do something fun with their child. Go to the park; go to the circus; do something you normally wouldn’t do because those are the moments you are going to remember the most. You might think “we have so many bills—we just can’t afford tickets to a play or a drive to the beach for the weekend.” But it’s something you won’t regret. Seeing the joy on your child’s face is worth it. Remember they are kids—kids just want to have fun with their parents. It really doesn’t matter what you do—just spend time together and make memories.

My advice for parents who have lost a child is to talk about your child often. Keep their memory alive by talking about them. Don’t worry if it makes others uncomfortable. Your child lived and left a mark in this world. Don’t forget that.

How has all of this changed you?
Losing a child is so hard. Of course it has changed me. I am much more compassionate. I think I was compassionate before losing Ryan, but since losing him, I feel like I need to really help those who are going through the unthinkable. I know what it’s like to watch your child struggle and fight for his life. And I know what it’s like to lose a child. Of course I wish nobody had to endure this pain and heartache, but if there are people who have to endure this, I would like to think I could offer them some compassion and help in any way I can. I don’t think I would have known what to do before. I am much more emotional. I was a very emotional person before Ryan died. I always cried at sad movies. Andy jokes that I used to cry at an Applebee’s commercial because a young neighbor brought dinner to her elderly neighbor, and it would make me bawl. Now, since Ryan’s death, I might hear a song on the radio that reminds me of him and just cry uncontrollably in the car. Oftentimes, I’m at Dallas Children’s Theater with Emily and I think about Ryan because I know he loved seeing HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, and I start crying during the middle of the play. Lastly, I appreciate the positive things in my life much more. I don’t take anything for granted anymore.

What does Emily know about her brother?
Andy and I talk about Ryan to Emily all the time. We have Ryan’s pictures displayed in our home, and we openly talk about him. She knows he was a happy boy whose favorite color was turquoise. She knows his favorite TV show was The Wiggles. She knows he loved sorting pompoms and pencils and crayons and anything he could get his hands on. She also knows he was very sick and was very brave and strong. She knows he picked out her name, “Emily.” She knows he loves her very much and is in heaven looking down on her with so much pride and love.

Has Emily been involved with anything Foundation-related?
Every Halloween, the foundation puts together goodie/treat bags for the kids receiving chemo at Children’s Medical Center – Dallas. We personally deliver these bags to the kids on October 17th (Ryan’s birthday). Emily has been involved in this activity since she was about three years old. She helps me pick out what toys and treats we put in the bags, and once we receive everything at the house, we set up an assembly line on the dining room table and put one of each toy in about 50-60 Halloween bags. This is something she always looks forward to doing. Andy, Emily, and I take the bags and hand them to the kids every year. Emily loves being involved in this because it makes her feel closer to her brother. I love doing this as a family every year and think it’s important to expose Emily to this life her brother lived.

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Coming Up Next: In part 3 of this three-part series, the family talks about their excitement of seeing the show HOW I BECAME A PIRATE for the very first time.

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Contributors: Joanne Goldblatt (Ryan’s Mom), Andy Goldblatt (Ryan’s Dad), Emily Goldblatt (Ryan’s Sister), Neil and Lois Goldblatt (Ryan’s grandparents), and Jack and Barbara Wilpon (Ryan’s grandparents)

Photos: Courtesy of the Goldblatt Family, and Ryan Diller

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Ryan Diller with CaterpillarCompiled by Ryan Diller, a DCT Guest Writer who is pictured here with one of his favorite childhood memories. 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.

Remembering Ryan Goldblatt: Larger Than Life (part 1 of 3)

One of theater’s most profound aspects is the fact that any one performance can leave a deep, permanent impact on an audience member. Such was the case when Ryan Goldblatt saw HOW I BECAME A PIRATE with his grandparents in 2010. His mother, Joanne, remembers Ryan as bouncing off the walls with excitement when he came home, so thrilled was he by seeing his favorite book brought to life. The performance—the only theater performance he ever attended—was a highlight of Ryan’s all too short life. On September 15, 2010, Ryan died just a few weeks shy of his fourth birthday after a brave and difficult fight with Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor, a rare type of cancer that usually strikes children under the age of three.

Shortly thereafter, Joanne and her husband, Andy, welcomed another child into the world, a daughter whom Ryan had chosen a name for: Emily. The three continue to keep Ryan’s memory alive through the work of the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, which is dedicated to raising funds for the organizations and medical institutions that served Ryan during his lifetime.

In this three-part series, Joanne—with input from family members—discusses her son, the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation, and DCT’s upcoming production of HOW I BECAME A PIRATE, which is being dedicated in Ryan’s memory.

 

Ryan: Larger Than Life…(part 1 of 3)

What do you want people to know about Ryan?
Ryan was such a happy boy and always eager to please. He never let cancer get in the way of living a happy life. He loved people, especially grownups. Ryan always preferred adult company over kid company. He had a way with adults that made them feel comfortable around him. Even adults who didn’t have kids of their own and didn’t like being around kids loved hanging out with Ryan. He was an old soul who could capture the hearts of everyone he met.

Tell me a little about Ryan’s love of pirates and the book/play How I Became a Pirate.
Ryan had a huge library of books. Huge. Ryan had a year-long chemotherapy protocol. He was receiving chemo every three weeks for a year. Because of this very rigorous treatment plan, we had to be very careful with him as far as exposing him to others and exposing him to activities and events outside of the hospital or our home. He had very low blood counts most of the time and was very susceptible to getting sick or infections. Because of this, we had to spend most of the year at our home and entertain him with toys, games, TV, and books. Ryan loved reading books. We had a hundred books in his bookcase. I have no idea who gave us the book How I Became a Pirate. We had visitors come over to our home and the hospital all the time. Visitors never came empty-handed. Someone gave us the How I Became a Pirate book, and Ryan loved it after the first time we read it to him. He wanted us to read it again and again. We read that book at least three or four times a week. He loved when the pirates were talking about eating “THE MEAT!!” Ryan would always say, “THE MEAT!!” That was his favorite part.

Tell us about Ryan seeing the show. How did he react?
We were not familiar with Dallas Children’s Theater prior to Ryan’s cancer diagnosis. A friend of ours mentioned to us that DCT was putting on a production of HOW I BECAME A PIRATE and that we should take Ryan to see it. I couldn’t believe it! I never considered taking Ryan to a play before. We knew we had to take him to see this play. Ryan’s grandparents offered to take him. They were excited to spend the day with Ryan, and they knew Andy and I could use a few hours to ourselves. We chose a performance where we knew Ryan’s counts would be high enough to leave the house for a few hours. When we told Ryan he was going to see the HOW I BECAME A PIRATE play, he was over the moon! He had never seen a play before. I’m not sure he really understood what a play was, but he knew it was something special and it was about Braid Beard, so how could it be bad? I remember when the grandparents came and picked him up—he was so happy and excited! He had a smile on his face from ear to ear. When he returned from the play, he came running to us and was eager to tell us all about it. He loved it! The story came alive right before his eyes, and it was nothing short of amazing for him. It was the first and only book he read that turned into a live-action play.

How did the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation come about?
After Ryan passed away, Andy and I knew we needed to form a foundation in Ryan’s memory. Eleven months after Ryan died, we received notification that our foundation had been approved and was officially a non-profit organization. In the beginning, our focus was to give back to Children’s Medical Center – Dallas and also to give back to all of the worthy organizations that helped us during Ryan’s illness, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Heroes for Children, and Wipe Out Kids’ Cancer, just to name a few. About four months after Ryan died, our daughter Emily was born. When Emily was two or three years old, we started taking her to plays at Dallas Children’s Theater. It was then that it dawned on us that we should partner with Dallas Children’s Theater and expand our focus. Our new focus was to provide theater entertainment to kids fighting cancer. We saw firsthand the effect it had on Ryan, and we wanted to give that experience to other kids fighting cancer. With this inspiration, DCT is now making 3 – 4 promotional appearances per year at the hospital for all the children to see. It gives the kids a much-needed distraction from their difficult days in the hospital. We are extremely proud of this partnership between our foundation, Dallas Children’s Theater, and Children’s Medical Center – Dallas.

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Coming Up Next: In part 2 of this three-part series, mom Joanne shares candid thoughts on what it’s like to lose a child.

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Contributors: Joanne Goldblatt (Ryan’s Mom), Andy Goldblatt (Ryan’s Dad), Emily Goldblatt (Ryan’s Sister), Neil and Lois Goldblatt (Ryan’s grandparents), and Jack and Barbara Wilpon (Ryan’s grandparents)

Photos: Courtesy of the Goldblatt Family, Ryan Diller, and DCT staff

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Ryan Diller with CaterpillarCompiled by Ryan Diller, a DCT Guest Writer who is pictured here with one of his favorite childhood memories. 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.