Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

Bringing a holiday classic to Dallas: Meet the Cast of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS

Fans of all ages will enjoy Christmastime with the Peanuts Gang: Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Sally, Pig Pen, and more! Discover the true reason for the season at a performance of A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

And now, meet the cast bringing you memories all throughout the holidays.


Sarah Faye Beard is thrilled to be reprising her role of Sally Brown at DCT in A Charlie Brown Christmas for the second year in a row! National Tour: Pinkalicious The Musical (Pinkalicious) at Vital Theatre Company. Favorite Regional Credits: Mamma Mia! (Ali) with Ogunquit Playhouse & Gateway Playhouse, Heathers The Musical (Young Republicanette) with TUTS, A Christmas Carol (Ghost, Belle u/s) with ZACH Theatre, Legally Blonde The Musical (Elle Woods) with Baylor Theatre, and Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Mersister, Ariel u/s) with La Comedia. All the thanks in the world to my parents, siblings, BB, & Jesus. Follow me: @sayfaybeard.


Rachel Clo is thrilled to reprise her role of Violet this Christmas! Other DCT credits include Miracle on 34th Street (2014/2015), James and the Giant Peach, and most recently, Goosebumps The Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium (Anna). She has also worked with L.I.P. Service, MainStage Irving-Las Colinas, and Plano Children’s Theatre. When she isn’t acting, Rachel teaches at Rockwall Dance Academy.


(Charlie Brown)
Christopher is very happy to return to Dallas Children’s Theater this year to reprise the role of Charlie Brown! DCT audiences might also remember him in Seussical™ (Horton the Elephant) or from A Year With Frog and Toad (Frog). Other recent work in the DFW area includes roles in La Cage Aux Folles, Titanic, End of the Rainbow, and Catch Me If You Can all at Uptown Players; as well as numerous other productions at Shakespeare Dallas, Circle Theatre, Theatre Three, Pegasus Theatre, and Lyric Stage.


Peter is grateful to be making his debut at DCT and to be working with such a wonderful creative team. Credits include: Anything Goes (Steward) at Lyric Stage, Merton of the Movies (Merton) at MainStreet Musicals, Facing East (Andrew) in the Dallas Premier & London Concerts, A Flea In Her Ear (Camille) and How to Succeed… (Bud Frump) at MainStage Irving-Las Colinas, Urinetown (Mr. McQueen) at Theatre Arlington, She Loves Me (The Waiter) at Stage West, Hello Again (Young Thing) and The Producers (Carmen Ghia) at Uptown Players. Peter is a proud graduate of Texas Christian University.


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 Theatre, 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 Nose Reindeer: The Musical. He is a member of the Board of Directors at Theatre Arlington and a company member of Upstart Productions.


Steph is thrilled to reprise her role as Snoopy this holiday season! Other DCT credits include: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane; Seussical™; The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts), Charlotte’s Web; Go, Dog. Go!; A Wrinkle in Time; Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat; and Goodnight Moon. Additional credits include: Pride and Prejudice at WaterTower Theatre, Avenue Q at CityRep OKC, Faust at The Drama Club, The Great Dictator at the FIT Fest, and Waiting for Lefty and Year of the Rooster at Upstart Productions. For upcoming projects and more information visit: www.StephGarrett.com.


Jori is a native of Shreveport, Louisiana and a graduate of Northwestern State University of LA with a BS in Musical Theatre and Performance & Directing. She is thrilled to return to DCT for her third Christmas! Her most recent stage work with DCT has been Goosebumps The Musical: Phantom of the Auditorium (Cami), James and the Giant Peach (Miss Spider), and Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook (That Grace). Her other DCT performance credits include: Miracle on 34th Street (Finley), Fancy Nancy: The Musical (Bree), and Jackie & Me (Rachel). Additional performance credits include: The Soul Rep Theatre’s New Play Festival: Southside Stories, Kitchen Dog Theater’s 3rd and 4th annual One Minute Play Festival and 2016 New Works Play Festival, Memphis (dance ensemble) at Theatre Three, Where Earth Meets The Sky (Born at Dawn) at Cara Mía Theatre Co., and Aida (dance ensemble) at Uptown Players. Much love to my family and friends. Xoxo.


Johnny is glad to be back for his ninth show with DCT! He is an actor – singer – composer and has performed all over the USA, Canada and Europe, but happily calls Dallas, Texas his home. Recent credits include NATIONAL TOUR: The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley (Stanley). REGIONAL: (TX) The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Edward/The Musician) at Dallas Children’s Theater, The Human Comedy (Homer Macaulay) and Titanic (Frederick Fleet) at Lyric Stage, The Cotton Patch Gospel (Rock) at Theatre Three, and Big River (ensemble) at (OK) Lyric Theater. To keep up with and see more of Johnny’s work, visit his website (www.johnnylee.me). Proud member of Actors’ Equity. Instagram: @johnnyleeisme.


(Pig Pen)
Caddo is thrilled to be making his debut with Dallas Children’s Theater. He recently debuted with Shakespeare Dallas in their production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (Rugby). Caddo is a graduate of the University of North Texas where he earned his BA in Theatre Performance.



Brett most recently appeared at DCT in Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook, A Charlie Brown Christmas (2016; Lucy), and Seussical™ (Mayzie LaBird). Other regional appearances include Seussical Jr., The Three Little Pigs, Frosty the Snowman, and Pinkalicious at Casa Mañana; The Nance, The Boy From Oz, and Soho Cinders at Uptown Players; Fix Me, Jesus and Hot Mikado at Theatre Three; The Human Comedy at Lyric Stage; Fellowship! at Circle Theatre; and The Rivals at Stage West. Brett and her three Snoopy wannabes live in Fort Worth.


A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS runs now through Dec. 23. Tickets on sale at dct.org.


Dallas Tourism Public Improvement District is the Title Sponsor for A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.

A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS is presented by arrangement with Tams Witmark Music Library, Inc. 560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022. Artwork Peanuts(c) 2015 Peanuts Worldwide LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of the actors.



Spirited Actors for a Spirited Musical: Meet the Cast of FROSTY & FRIENDS

Kathy Burks’ celebrated troupe melts hearts with FROSTY & FRIENDS. In this endearing tale, a lonely frozen figure named Frosty hopes to make a difference during the season of giving. While searching for his own ways to help Santa, Frosty meets a kind snowy owl and a friendly reindeer who are happy to spend their cold winter days with his gentle soul.

Now, meet the puppeteers and voice actors behind the magic!


(Voice Characterization)
Kathy is a native Dallasite who has been involved continuously in the Metroplex arts scene as a musician, actress and theatrical producer. In 1976, she established the Haymarket Theatre in Olla Podrida, where she produced numerous plays and puppet presentations through 1982. She first brought her acclaimed production of The Nutcracker to DCT in 1996 and followed that the next season with Not a Creature Was Stirring. Later, she added Hoot Owl Hootenanny, The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin, Winnie the Pooh, Carnival of the Animals, and The House at Pooh Corner to her DCT repertoire. Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts, founded in 1973, continues to be a dynamic and beloved force in the artistic community of the Metroplex, and a valued member of the DCT Family. You may also remember Kathy Burks World of Puppets, which produced shows at Six Flags Over Texas.


(Puppeteer / Voice Characterization)
A veteran of Dallas area theater, Mr. Burks has worked with Dallas Children’s Theater for many years as an actor, stage manager, sound designer, and director. He is a founding member of the nationally acclaimed Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts (KBTPA) and has earned the distinction of Master Puppeteer. His directing credits for KBTPA are numerous and include Carnival of the Animals, The House at Pooh Corner, Hansel and Gretel, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Snow Queen, Frosty & Friends, and Hoot Owl Hootenanny. Other directing credits include The Hound of the Baskervilles for Eastfield College and DCT’s national tour of Young King Arthur. A popular actor with DCT audiences, Doug will be remembered for his many appearances 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, and The Canterville Ghost. In the 2015-2016 season, he directed DCT’s National Touring Production of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). 


(Puppeteer / Voice Characterization)
Sally joined the artistic staff of Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts in 1973. Since then, she has earned the distinction of Master Puppeteer and serves as the company’s technical director and senior production designer. Her credits as a puppeteer, character voice and designer are numerous and include The Nutcracker, Not a Creature was Stirring, The Frog Prince, Carnival of the Animals, Hansel and Gretel, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Snow Queen, Young King Arthur, Beauty and the Beast, and Frosty & Friends. Sally has also appeared in other DCT productions including The Miracle Worker (Aunt Ev); Bless Cricket, Crest Toothpaste & Tommy Tune (Gran); The Velveteen Rabbit (Mistress, the Monkey); The Neverending Story (Urgl); and hard 2 spel dad (Mrs. Donahue). Her other professional credits include production designs for numerous local theater companies and lighting for the off Broadway touring production of Patio/Porch. When not onstage, she proudly serves as Producing Director of National Tours for DCT. Ms. Fiorello is a recipient of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum Award.


(Puppeteer / Voice Characterization)
Becky is a founding member of the original troupe of Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts. At 10 years of age, she began to learn the skills of puppetry, and later earned the status of Master Puppeteer. A mother of four and now proud grandmother of one, she continues creating voice characterizations and performing as a puppeteer for numerous Kathy Burks productions seen at DCT. Among her many puppet roles, Becky has created voices in The Snow Queen(The Princess), The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Peter), Hansel and Gretel (the Ginger Witch), The House at Pooh Corner (Piglet), Young King Arthur (the Dragon), and Beauty and the Beast (Joy). She has also performed at Six Flags Over Texas with Kathy Burks World of Puppets in Sara Jane Armadillo Superstar and Santa’s Wonderland.


In 1981 Trish joined the staff of Kathy Burks Marionettes and the Haymarket Theatre Company. She is a Master Puppeteer, an actor, and a designer. At DCT she has created voice characterizations in The Snow Queen (Kay), The Nutcracker (Fritz), The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Cotton-tail), and Beauty and the Beast (Hope). She has puppeteered productions of The Snow Queen, The Nutcracker, Not a Creature Was Stirring, The Frog Prince, Rumpelstiltskin, Hoot Owl Hootenanny, Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, Carnival of the Animals (2007), Santa’s Holiday for Strings, and Frosty & Friends. She has also appeared as an actress, sans puppets, in DCT’s Babe, the Sheep Pigand The Velveteen Rabbit. Trish is DCT’s Marketing Director.


(Voice Characterization)
Seth is pleased to be reprising his voice characterization of Frosty the Snowman. Other memorable roles at DCT include Pinkalicious, The Musical (Mr. Pinkerton); The Secret Garden(Archibald Craven); Treasure Island (Billy Bones/Israel Hands); and Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts’  Winnie the Pooh (Winnie). He was last seen on the local stage in Shakespeare Dallas’ production of She Stoops To Conquer (Marlow), and he most recently performed as Chase Spacegrove in an On The Eve staged reading at Joe’s Pub, NYC. His other local productions included roles with Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theater, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Seth is a co-writer of the new musical On The Eve, which is working towards its first New York production, in cooperation with Theatre C and Tony nominated director Sam Buntrock.


This season marks Ziggy’s 12th year of puppeteering and working with Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts. Other productions include The Snow Queen, Young King Arthur, Beauty and the Beast, Carnival of the Animals, The House at Pooh Corner, The Nutcracker, The Tale of Peter Rabbit and Jack and the Beanstalk. He was also a featured puppeteer with Kathy Burks World of Puppets at Six Flags Over Texas. A Dallas native and veteran technician with Dallas Children’s Theater, Ziggy also lived for two years in St. Paul, MN where he worked with such prestigious organizations as the Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Stages Theatre Company, and Off-Leash Area. During the 2015-16 season, he traveled the country as the audio engineer and Assistant Technical Director for DCT’s national tour of The BFG (Big Friendly Giant), and he most recently served as the Technical Director for A.C.E.’s national tour of Girls Only, The Secret Comedy of Women. Ziggy has also worked extensively with Shakespeare Dallas, Lone Star Circus, and Dallas Theater Center.


Jeff is a puppeteer and performer who graduated with a BFA from Texas Christian University. You may have seen him under the open sky at Fort Worth’s Hip Pocket Theatre, appearing in such works as The Land of Oz, In Watermelon Sugar, The Lake Worth Monster, Don Quixote and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He is very pleased to return to Kathy Burks Theatre of Puppetry Arts, where he previously performed in productions of Beauty and the Beast, Not a Creature was Stirring, Hansel and Gretel and The Tale of Peter Rabbit. At home both on stage and behind the scenes, Jeff is the Assistant Technical Director for Dallas Children’s Theater.


(Voice Characterization)
Jād thanks Kathy Burks for including her voice in this cool show! She was last seen at WaterTower Theatre in Parade (Mary Phagan). Other credits include Dallas Children’s Theater’s national tour of Stuart Little(Margalo), Trainspotting(Lizzie) for L.I.P Service, The Nether (Iris) for Stage West, Fiddler on the Roof (Chava) for Lyric Stage, and Hearts Like Fists (Nina) for Outcry Theatre. Jād is also an ADR Director for FUNimation Productions and voice actor who’s voice can be heard in the anime Wolf Children, Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, Michiko & Hatchin, Dimension W, Fairy Tail, and Space Dandy; and video games Smite, Paladins and Dragon Ball Xenoverse. She has 200-plus voice-over credits for FUNimation Productions, Sentai Filmworks, and Okratron 5000.


FROSTY AND FRIENDS runs now thru December 23. Tickets available at dct.org.

Meet the winner of our Super Scary 6 Sentence Storytelling Contest!

Mary Anne (back row center) pictured with her granddaughters, husband, and daughter (the girls’ aunt).

In 2015, Mary Anne Doom saw MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET with her granddaughters. When she visits her family in Texas for Thanksgiving each year, she makes it a point to check out the DCT holiday lineup.

Mary Anne is a former English teacher who loves making up stories to tell her granddaughters. Her love of language and storytelling paid off, as she is now the winner of our Super Scary 6 Storytelling Contest!

Here is her story…

One day, after identical twin witch sisters Wendy, who was kind, and Wanda, who was mean, decided to attend the town Halloween party which required that everyone wear a costume, the two witches conspired to switch places and go as each other.

Then Wendy dirtied her face, blackened her teeth, tangled her hair, put on Wanda’s shabby, soiled black dress and crooked hat and scrunched her face into the scowl she’d practiced for weeks.

Next, after some coaxing from her sister, Wanda scrubbed her face, painted her teeth pearly white, brushed and curled her hair, put on Wendy’s clean, pressed black dress and starched hat and applied spider glue to pull the corners of her mouth into a permanent smile.

The townspeople, who knew the witch sisters well, created havoc when they cautioned each other to warmly welcome Wendy, the kind sister, but keep eyes on Wanda, the mean and unkempt witch, as she would definitely attempt to cause chaos, scare the children and steal their treats.

Ever since then, the townspeople stopped judging others on appearance because at the party the adults kept close watch on Wendy, whom they thought was Wanda, which freed Wanda, whom everyone was convinced was Wendy, to put toads in the apple cider, rotten apples in the bobbing tub and spiders in the children’s hair, which made them shriek and drop their treats for Wanda to grab.

The moral of the story is “It is always a good idea to know which witch is which.”


Round up your favorite witches for a fun, frightful performance this Halloween weekend.

GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM must close this Sunday, October 29! Tickets on sale at dct.org.

Sat., Oct. 28 at 1:30 PM
Sat., Oct. 28 at 4:30 PM
Sun., Oct. 29 at 1:30 PM
Sun., Oct. 29 at 4:30 PM

Artists at Work: How Lighting and Sound Enhance the Fun Mystery of GOOSEBUMPS

Many actors and designers say that the theater is like a second home; they love spending time and making memories with dear friends and family while working on a project. As part of our Finding the Way Home season, DCT wants you to feel comfortable when you’re here creating memories with family, too. To help you feel more connected to the theater, we’re featuring some of the artists who create the beautiful work you see on stage. In this feature, meet Aaron and Marco, our GOOSEBUMPS Artists at Work!

Lighting Designer Aaron Johansen (AJ) has designed five shows and counting for DCT, and has also designed many shows for the Dallas Theater Center, Kitchen Dog Theater and Cara Mía Theatre Company. Sound Designer Marco Salinas (MS) has designed many shows for DCT over the last 18 years. He has also designed for shows as far away as New York City and Ireland!

Aaron and Marco recently sat down with us to explain what special effects are; scenes in the show that wouldn’t be the same without their effects; and much more.


DCT: Were you a Goosebumps fan before working on the show?

MS: I’m a little too old to have been a Goosebumps fan, but they sound like a lot of fun.

AJ: I was a huge Goosebumps fan when I was a child. I read all the books, I saw the TV show. I did everything, so when I found out I was doing this show I was thrilled. I went back and watched the original episode, “The Phantom,” which is terribly cheesy; it’s so funny. I think it’s so appealing because this is the type of scary that’s okay for children. It’s not gory; it’s just pop-out scary and mysterious.


DCT: What is a special effect?

MS: A special effect is something in a movie or a play that creates an illusion of something that isn’t really there. It usually does that through lighting or sound effects, and it helps the actors and audience believe something is happening that may not actually be happening.

AJ: Exactly. Special effects are the use of lighting and sound combined together to create a specific situation, a special effect on stage – like making it snow or making it look like winter.


DCT: What is your process for designing a special effect?

AJ: My process of creating lighting effects is usually reading a script, seeing what the script calls for, and then adding my own artistic opinion to that. So, in this show, there were a lot of specific effects that needed to happen with the lights flickering when the phantom comes in and disappears, the lighting helps with that. We also go to a spooky basement, so I had to figure out how the lighting helps create that environment.

MS: My process would be talking to the director, reading the script and coming up with sound cues myself. The publishers for this particular musical provided a lot of the music tracks that underscore the show and that the actors sing to. But I’ve also provided a lot of additional sound effects that did not come with the packaged sound cues. In this case, I did speak with the director, and we decided on the augmentations we wanted to kind of bring GOOSEBUMPS to life.


DCT: What’s an example of a scene in the show that wouldn’t be the same without your effects?

MS: The elevator sequence where the two main characters are in the audience. They idea is that they’re in this spooky basement then they hear a noise, and they look over and see the phantom briefly appear and then he runs off. Through the use of lighting and sound, we feel that we’re being immersed in the world of this spooky basement. It might seem like kind of ordinary without those cues to give the audience a sense of mood and place.

AJ: I would have to say the moment for me is making the phantom disappear and appear. There’s certain places where if we didn’t have lights and sound, and we were in full lights, we couldn’t create those magical moments of the phantom being there one second and gone the next second.


DCT: What would you say to someone who wants to become a lighting or sound designer?

AJ: I think if you’re interested in getting into theater work, contact a theater to see if there are internships or volunteer opportunities available. That’s how I got started in theater, I volunteered at community theater and found what I loved, and I continued the passion.


Whether it’s the creepy sounds or the ominous lights, let yourself feel the good kind of goosebumps.

GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM is open now through      October 29.

Ticket on sale at dct.org.

Get GOOSEBUMPS! It’s a musical! Imagine that!

The play is just that awesome! Check out these deets.

John Maclay, co-writer of the play NANCY DREW AND HER BIGGEST CASE EVER, delivers a show full of quick-witted humor and just a little spookiness.


Danny Abosch, the man behind the music of FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL, puts his composing talents on full display with ten infectious new songs that will “fill your soul with fright and give you goosebumps in the night!”


Together, Maclay and Abosch, bring you an exhilarating mystery with a surprising twist.



Our story centers on two best friends starring in their school’s play – The Phantom.



The Phantom has the show’s main character, Zeke, raving, “That is so meta, man!”



The script used in the school production is supposedly cursed. What on earth could go wrong?!



A quirky theater teacher, a creepy janitor, and a jealous understudy round out GOOSEBUMPS’ endearing cast.



The experience will be frighteningly fun for all!




Based on the best-selling book series by R. L. Stine
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay
Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch 

September 22 – October 29, 2017

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


Time to buy your tickets.  Click here now…


™ & © Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Scholastic Inc. Based on Goosebumps® Phantom of the Auditorium.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Based on the best-selling book series by R. L. Stine
Book and Lyrics by John Maclay
Music and Lyrics by Danny Abosch 

September 22 – October 29, 2017

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

Single tickets go on sale August 1 

Tickets and more information www.dct.org



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

2 Goosebumps Series (62 books), Goodreads

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

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

Book cover images from Wikipedia


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

Author R. L. Stine is a storytelling genius.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

™ & © Scholastic Inc. SCHOLASTIC, GOOSEBUMPS and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered marks of Scholastic Inc. Based on Goosebumps® Phantom of the Auditorium. PHOTO BY: Craig Lynch

Page and Stage Storytelling: A Treasure Trove for Young Minds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The storyteller involves others through music in MUFARO.


Point of View

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

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


Page to Stage

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

James and the critters encounter dangerous adventures together.

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

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













Telling Your Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credits:

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


What can be learned from a play like MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS?

In the throes of day-to-day life, it can seem impossible to keep a handle on our values. Worse yet, daily encounters with defeatist messages and the mundane can make us question if our ideals make a difference at all. Theater can help offset this negative, narrow view of life by providing a warmer, large-scale lens.

Daughters and father together

Children particularly can benefit from this perspective. In the early stages of their development, children need a place not only to be entertained, but also to see the effects different types of behavior can have. The theater is a place where outlooks are cultivated, and shows like MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS give parents a chance to begin conversations about values with their children.

MUFARO relates what initially seems to be a simple story. Two sisters – one kind (Nyasha) and one selfish (Manyara) – are invited to meet the king as potential brides. Each takes a journey through a forest on her way to meet the king, encountering needy people along the way. Manyara treats these people cruelly, while Nyasha offers what little she has to them. It is revealed that the king was present in each of these people, and ultimately Nyasha is chosen for his bride, while Manyara becomes a servant in their household.

This plot teaches a clear lesson: be compassionate to everyone, for we reap what we sow. The show, however, is not a dull morality lesson. With its infectious percussion and playful humor, MUFARO exudes joy, reflecting the benefits of Nyasha’s openhearted outlook. It is this outlook that allows Nyasha to succeed in the forest. In the face of the unknown, Nyasha reacts with curiosity and compassion, embracing the new and looking for chances to help others.  Manyara, on the other hand, reacts with fear and treats other with hostile distrust.

A moment of tension between the sisters

Nyasha demonstrates how to approach day-to-day life with one’s values intact, but what of her sister? Is she merely a demonstration of how not to act? I would argue that Manyara, like so many people, has much more to her than is noticed at first glance. After all, she is ambitious, bold, imaginative, and – in her spirit of sibling competition and desire to get out of work – even relatable. Her refusal to be docile just because she is female, moreover, is an important lesson for growing women. If her energy was directed towards giving rather than the acquisition of power, she could be as admirable as her sister.

MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS is not only a fun show but also a great launching pad for conversations with your kids about values. Ask them what they thought of each daughter; what they liked and disliked about each of them; what they thought of the play’s message; how can they help people in their day-to-day interactions; and – most importantly – what did they enjoy about the show.

Nyasha finds the good in everything – even snakes!

DCT is committed to being a resource for parents teaching their children how to live in the world with others. This year, it has been our pleasure to offer a series of resources in our bookstore specifically focused on stories about practicing kindness. Below is a list of some of our available titles. Pick one or two of them up when you come see MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS on the DCT stage. Tickets at dct.org.


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

All photos credited to Karen Almond 


The following is a list of books that are available for sale in the DCT Store. These support materials are provided as a service to our patrons and as part of our commitment to promoting kindness.

Books about living in the world with others.

each-kindnessEach Kindness
By Jacqueline Woodson

A young girl learns the cost of bullying when she loses the opportunity to make a new friend.


the_giving_treeThe Giving Tree
By Shel Silverstein

A tale of a tree that gives everything for a boy, and the spiritual peace brought to both through its generosity.


filled-a-bucketHave You Filled a Bucket Today?
By Carol McCloud

A book encouraging positive behavior via the metaphor of filling buckets.

the_hundred_dressesThe Hundred Dresses

By Eleanor Estes

A young girl is bullied because of her clothes. Her classmates learn the repercussions of their bullying when she suddenly switches schools.


invisible-stringThe Invisible String

By Patrice Karst

A mother’s lesson to her children about the invisible string of love connecting us all together.


missingpiece-big-oThe Missing Piece
Meets the Big O

By Shel Silverstein

A simple story about a character who wants to become something different.


one-loveOne Love

By Cedella Marley

Based on the Bob Marley classic, a young girl brings her community together to create a better neighborhood.

peaceThe Peace Book

By Todd Parr

A book about the importance of tolerance, designed for children just learning to read.


enemy-pieEnemy Pie

By Derek Munson

How do you get rid of your worst enemy? Become best friends! An endearing story about a boy learning to like someone once he gets to know him.


book_thethreequestionsThe Three Questions

By Jon J. Muth

A boy is resolved to be the best person he can be, but is not sure how.


smileThe Smile That Went Around the World

By Patrice Karst

A fun story about how one act of kindness can spark a chain reaction of smiles.


way-i-feelThe Way I Feel

By Janan Cain

A fun, colorful book of expressive illustrations that help developing kids describe their emotions.


Song and Dance…A Celebration of Culture

Uplifting and joyful…that’s how the play was described by someone who had the benefit of seeing DCT’s National Touring Company present MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE in Colorado a couple of months ago. I recently had the pleasure of hearing the composer, S’ankh Rasa, and the choreographer, Michelle Gibson, discuss the role theyplayed in bringing this magical production to life. Talk about a celebration of culture!

Both S-ankh and Michelle spoke about Africa in great detail; from the musical instruments to the traditional dances, to the spiritual elements, and so many of the details present in the story of Mufaro’s daughters, Manyara and Nyasha. Both S-ankh and Michelle are such large personalities that just hearing them speak had an infectious rhythm, and as they spoke of Africa, they both used the term “magical” several times, and by the end I was ready to go. At the very least, I was ready to get up and dance.

Each of them has a very specific background that ties in well to the show. S-ankh has a direct West African ancestry and travels to Africa pretty often. He knows all the traditional instruments in addition to being a prolific musician in general. When director Robyn Flatt asked him if he could create music for MUFARO, he shared that he had been reading that book to his own daughters for years and was excited to do something “truly African.”

I had the best time listening to him talk about a story so familiar to him. When I, as a blue-eyed white woman see a poster for a play like MUFARO, I’m often quick to jump to thinking it’s not for me; that I can “sit this one out.” But as I heard S-ankh talk about the relationship between the sisters and also the way he worked with the actors to ingrain the traditional instruments into their characters and their bodies, I related on so many levels – both as a parent and an actress. The story of the family is true to life with just the right amount of fantasy, and hearing about the process of preparing the actors revealed their blood, sweat, and tears devotion to this project. S-ankh even told one of his actors to sleep with his instrument. I must see this show.

Then, of course after watching Michelle, I was transfixed and quite smitten. She is a preacher’s daughter from New Orleans who moved to Dallas after Hurricane Katrina, so she has her own story to tell. She shared that she connected on such a spiritual level with MUFARO. I am not a dancer, but as she spoke, it was immediately apparent that dancing runs through her veins, and has been a part of her entire life (despite her father’s plan for her to play piano). Her friend, S-ankh, is the one who asked her to choreograph the production; she read the story of MUFARO and immediately loved it.

Both of these passionate artists spoke of the tradition of storytelling, and how important it is to humankind, and specifically how important it is in the African tradition. Then they both talked at length about the story and its lessons, as each character explores their identity and learns to support each other. They also made note of the “authentic-ness” of the story, and then of course talked about their excitement to bring this story to the stage.

I grew up in the southern United States, where women sitting on the front porch with their iced tea gossiping was a very common thing. Michelle made a comparison of that to the way women in Africa build a community around the events of the day, knowing each neighbor and sharing communal experiences similar to those she experienced in church as a preacher’s daughter.

The more they talked, the more I felt like this was a community that I could be a part of, and one that I definitely want to share with my family by bringing them to this production. Michelle talked about the “bantaba” moment. She described it as the moment when everyone enters a sacred space, and everyone is embraced, and there’s no right or wrong because everyone is a welcomed participant. That is the way acting professionals like to think of the theater.

This is a show for every family, specifically families with young children, brothers and sisters. The music will be new to most of our ears, but I’m imagining a lot of little bottoms bouncing in their seats, and I think that’s okay. It’s going to be hard not to feel this show in our bones. Those drums alone are going to penetrate our spirits, all while telling this beautiful story of a family. I can’t wait to see it.

We’re inclined to go to plays where the characters look like us, regardless of the quality of the professionals attached to the production. That’s a mistake. It’s time to look past the routine and look into the heart of the story, which honestly was hard for me to do before hearing these charming, passionate artists talking about the play, and their experience in creating this play.

See S-ankh and Michelle in action! Click their names to see a video profile.



Sherry Ward is a

DCT Contributing Writer





June 23 – July 9.

Get your tickets at dct.org .