Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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DCT Celebrates Grand Prize Designers!


DCT’s season opener FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL reminds us that we don’t always get to be the star, but that everyone still gets a chance to shine when they do their best. The Fancy Nancy Costume Contest celebrates young artists of all skill levels who put their creative ideas on paper. DCT received 90 entries for the Mermaid and the Shark from the Mermaid Ballet.


Mermaid Entry Winner by Alyssa Morales

Designing costumes is hard work, for artists of any level, especially whenhaving to think of such abstract ideas as a mermaid and a dancing shark. It might not be difficult for an imaginative kid to draw a mermaid or dancing shark, but a costume design requires that a human be able to wear the design and move around on stage with it, and in the case of the Shark, actually dance!  It’s amazing what these young designers were able to put together, and I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like on stage.  As we learned from the Superbowl, a dancing shark always steals the show!




Shark Entry Winner by Claire Spigel


The Grand Prize winners will enjoy an exclusive workshop with DCT Costume Designer Lyle Huchton who was one of the judges that selected the winning designs!  With 90 designs to choose from, this was not an easy task. Even more exciting is the fact that these designs will be used as the actual basis for the costume we will eventually see on stage. This is an amazing opportunity for young aspiring artists! Now let’s meet the winners!



Mermaid Winner Alyssa Morales

Alyssa Morales (Mermaid) is a 7th grader at Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School. Alyssa says she has always enjoyed art and design and also loves to be challenged.



Shark Winner Claire SpigelClaire Spigel (Shark) is an 11th grader at Booker T. Washington High School for Performing and Visual Arts. Claire says in addition to practicing her rendering skills, she enjoyed the opportunity to design for one of her favorite books.


Of course with 90 designers, there are always going to be a few, aside from the grand prize winners, who catch the attention of the judges, so a few Honorable Mentions were selected in different age categories. We are celebrating them as well:

K-3 MERMAID: Cici Averitt

K-3 SHARK: Matthew Johnson

4-8 MERMAID: Laurel Mora

4-8 SHARK: Adam Roth

9-12 MERMAID: Anneke Davis

9-12 SHARK: Scout Villareal

Most Creative MERMAID: Gaetana Johnson

Most Creative SHARK: Rachel Browning

Fancy Nanciest: Marlowe Martensen

It’s always inspiring to look at the submissions from young designers, especially when they’ve been charged with a specific task.  Young minds’ wheels turn with a unique variety of imagination. We can all learn from their free-spirited approach to such tasks.  If we took this path, I dare say we would be less inclined to lose that spark when we become adults; all too often relying on logic and the confines of “reality.” I hope these designs inspire you to get your own set of colored pencils and markers and draw something…on paper.  If you can’t think of what to draw, try a mermaid and a dancing shark and make it fancy!

Fancy Nancy - The Musical

Fancy Nancy – The Musical

FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL runs September 18 – October 25 and will be fanciful fun for boys and girls ages 5 and up.  All the design entries will be on display throughout the run of FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL,September 18 – October 25, 2015.Season tickets are available now and single tickets for FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL are on sale now at www.dct.ortg .

Mermaids,Sharks, and brilliant Kid Designers!


Being a costume designer for a professional theater company is a big job, and DCT is fortunate to have award-winning maestro Lyle Huchton as our designer. During his time at DCT, he has designed and created hundreds of costumes, and this summer, his work is especially fancy, so we’ve issued a call for young designers to provide him with some inspiration.

Stuart Little Kerry

2013 Hats Off Contest Entry


2014 Believe Contest Entry

For the past few seasons, DCT has asked its patrons age five to seventeen to share their creativity with us through design contests. We are always amazed by the entries. They are so uninhibited by whether or not they are “doing it right.” As we grow older, we discover a nagging inner voice that warns us against taking bold choices. It’s the same voice that tells us that our clothes need to be coordinated and weather-appropriate, while the five-year-old doesn’t think twice about pairing polka dots with stripes and then putting on their rain boots to go to the beach!

This summer, we asked young designers to help with two particularly important costumes appearing in our season opener, FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL. These are the Mermaid and the Shark, both important elements in the climactic Mermaid Ballet. They were given only three guidelines:

1)     The best designs incorporate a variety of colors, textures, and materials.

2)     Costumes have to fit on human bodies and allow them to move safely on stage.

3)     Details are important, and they must be large enough to be seen from stage.

DSCN2098It’s going to be a challenge to choose the grand prize winners who will actually get to join Lyle Huchton in the costume shop during the design process.  This is not something we take lightly.  According to Lyle, ”I always get really excited to see what creative ideas come from the design contest. I, at times, tend to over think when I am designing a costume so when I see some of the creative ways they approach the challenge. I wonder why did I not think of that? It is important to seek out and encourage young talent. I am proud of DCT’s commitment to this type of outreach.”

Overthinking? That’s one of the most powerful tools of that nagging inner voice.

The contest winners will be announced on July 31, but all of the entries will be on display throughout the run of FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL. Hopefully when you see them, it will remind you of the dangers of over-thinking, and inspire you to color outside the lines sometimes.

unnamedFANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL runs September 18 – October 25 and will be fanciful fun for boys and girls ages 5 and up.  Season tickets are available now and single tickets for FANCY NANCY: THE MUSICAL will go on sale July 31.

Supporting Hope

DSCN2058After meeting the family of Ryan Goldblatt, it became clear to me how important it is for children with terminal illnesses and their families to have a few hours of pure enjoyment together, and it has become even clearer that for many families, Dallas Children’s Theater is that special, happy place.

HopeKids is an organization that provides ongoing events & activities and a powerful, unique support community for families who have a child with cancer or some other life-threatening medical condition.

HopeKids describes their work as an ongoing program of highly-anticipated DSCN2056events and activities to which all the children and their families in our program are invited. This helps restore fun, excitement and hope to what can be a difficult and uncertain future.  Believing that the power of a wish is in the anticipation, we have created a program where there is constant anticipation of what is coming next, strengthening a child’s ability and willingness to fight.

The North Texas chapter of HopeKids has been working with Dallas Children’s Theater throughout this season, and has been bringing families to preview performances since DCT’s season opener RAPUNZEL! RAPUNZEL! A VERY HAIRY FAIRY TALE. After each performance, I have received handwritten thank you notes or drawings from children that attended, and each time, it warms my heart. The experience was not just a show for these families, it served as an escape from the realities of their illness, which is why HopeKids exists, and it has been our pleasure to work with them.

The Executive Director of the North Texas Chapter of HopeKids, Heather DSCN2051Weathers works directly with the families,and she says, “HopeKids is thankful to partner with Dallas Children’s Theater to help support children who have a life-threatening medical condition and their families.  The performances each month are exciting and provide a unique experience for families who would not normally have the chance to attend live performances.  Thank you for supporting more than 350 HopeKids North Texas families with such a fabulous program.”

HopeKids surrounds these remarkable children and their families with the message that hope can be a powerful medicine. DCT has enjoyed being an active part of their work, and look forward to continuing the partnership next season.  For more information about HopeKids, visit hopekids.org.