Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

A Man With Many Talents – Brian Hathaway




Brian Hathaway is a well-known DFW actor and DCT has had the pleasure of having Brian on our stages several times. He really knows how to embody animals. Here are some of the animal roles in which you may have seen Brian’s face poking through:


Rowdy Mouse #3 – The Island of the Skog

Yellow Dog – Go Dog GO! (2004 & 2014)brian1

Bunny – Goodnight Moon (2008 & 2013)

Duck – Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type

Duck – Giggle Giggle Quack

Toad – A Year With Frog & Toad (2008 & 2016)

That’s right, folks, two totally different ducks. That takes skills.

Brian is back to reprise his role as Toad in A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD ,running through February 28th, and he took some time to talk to us about how it feels to hop into the play again.

I feel like Toad and I have quite a bit in common. Like him, I’m definitely not a morning person. I also am not so sure about scary stories, and have a brian2fondness for cookies. But more than anything, it was the chance to get to revisit the show, and the role. I’ve been fortunate enough be able to reprise roles in multiple shows at Dallas Children’s Theater, but I remember when we were closing the show the first time, all I could think was that this was a show I would jump at the chance to do again. It holds a special place in my heart. 

The show has a wonderful message of friendship and acceptance. Frog and Toad balance each other out so well. Toad is more than a bit of a worrywart (pun intended), but is quite devoted to his best friend, Frog. Whereas Frog hovers in a bit more of a zen-state, and is frequently amused by all those things that make Toad, Toad. On the whole, it is just a very sweet show. And there’s a whole song devoted to cookies! What’s not to love about that?!

It is a very relatable show. Everyone in the audience will see a bit DCT FROG and TOADof themselves in either Frog or Toad (or more likely both), because their successes and failures, and the feelings that go along with them, are universal. When I’ve done subsequent shows at DCT, parents will first tell me they remember seeing me with their kids in a past show, which is humbling, and also reminds me how fast time flies. Then they will commonly ask when we’re going to do A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD again. That tells me how much the show speaks to the whole family. 

Frog&Toad2015Check out Brian Hathaway and the rest of the loveable cast of characters in A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD running through February 28th. Be sure to bring your friends!



DCT Helps Neighborhood Friends Discover Creativity

Kind Friends, Good Neighbors, HCC kids1

Having friends in your neighborhood is a comforting feeling. Frog and Toad are a great example; they live down the road from each other, and instead of hopping in the car, they can simply walk down the street if they want to hang out with each other.

Activities like playing outside on a warm summer day or baking cookies on a Friday night, or even spending the night at a friend’s house is always exciting. But for some of our neighbors here in Dallas, those activities are harder to do because they may not have a stable home to go to each night.

Housing Crisis Center (HCC) is aiming to change that for hundreds of Dallas families. HCC’s purpose is empowering people to transition out of homelessness and into a secure household. “We don’t just house our clients—we actually work with them to help them develop the life skills they need to keep from ever being homeless again,” said Sue Latham, Development Associate for HCC.

As part of HCC’s goal to provide a holistic approach to help their kids heal from the trauma of not having a stable home to return to each night, they’re using art projects and cultural experiences to help them imagine their futures and to HCC kids2teach them how to make their dreams come true. Latham says HCC wants to reach the potential ballerinas, budding musicians, or would-be actors, but knows that kids can’t dream about things they haven’t been exposed to.

Access to new experiences, like attending opening night of A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, helps to broaden the children’s definition of success. When you aren’t sure where you’ll be sleeping each night, the first priority is always finding food and shelter. But with HCC taking care of the shelter aspect, the kids who participate in their housing programs can focus on other things, like this fun, new experience.

Join DCT in supporting our neighborhood friends at HCC during the run of A HCC1-1YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD by bringing in blankets or books, recommended for ages 3 through 12. True friends can communicate with each other through facial expressions, just like the actors on our stage. DCT is proud to put smiles on the faces of our neighborhood friends.



Frog&Toad2015Music by Robert Reale
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Based on the books by Arnold Lobel
Originally presented on Broadway by
Bob Boyett, Adrianne Lobel, Michael Gardner, Lawrence Horowitz and Roy Furman
World Premiere at The Children’s Theatre Company Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 29 – February 28, 2016

Recommended for ages 4 and up

Get your tickets today at www.dct.org

An Open Letter to the Parents of Young Men:

doctor-bobo-headshotI have been asked to share my thoughts as a male on the issue of dating violence. Much of what has been written in the past (in this forum and others) has directly addressed the victims or perpetrators of these violent acts. I would like to address another audience.



Dear Parents of Young Men,

You and your son may not know this, but in the next romantic relationship he is in, he is (statistically speaking) more likely to be a perpetrator of violence than the victim. How could your sweet young man—school president, star varsity athlete, honor student—commit an act of violence (physical, emotional) against his partner? He probably didn’t begin his relationship with those intentions. But let’s be honest— who is he modeling his relationship from? His father who yells at his mother or sometimes sometimes loses control? His friends that brag about violence against women using dehumanizing language? Or maybe it’s just the general culture around him (TV, movies, sports, music, pornography) that floods his psyche with images of aggression towards women?

Let’s be honest, those are just excuses. Influences, possibly. But still excuses. Your young man must take personal responsibility for his own actions. But as a parent, you can play a role. No, you must play a role. Your influence can make it easier for your son to make the right choices.

  • Model loving behavior. Show your teenage son how men and women in relationship should treat each other. When you fall short of your standard, point out to your son what you and your spouse could have done better. Easier said than done, I know. But even if you struggle modeling the right behavior, perhaps you could surround your son with other people who do? That might include pruning away some his “friends” who are already in unhealthy dating relationships.
  • Observe his behavior. How do you know what to correct if you don’t know how your son acts? How does he talk to the women he is closest to in his life, his mother, his sisters? Is there behavior that can be corrected at home? When he does eventually bring that young woman home (and you should be meeting the young women your teenager is dating), please watch his behavior. Take mental notes on the way he treats his date.
  • Don’t just talk—teach. If he’s in a relationship, ask him privately how things are going. Instruct him on how to handle certain situations. Discuss appropriate boundaries and how to adhere to them. Teach him that it’s not ok to ask a girl to send pictures of her naked body. And then to send those pictures out when she refuses to have sex. Warn him about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Teach him that it does matter if she or he is drunk or under the influence. Teach him that it doesn’t matter what she’s wearing. Teach him that no ALWAYS means no.
  • Get help. If you’re not sure how to manage your son or if he’s already been a perpetrator, find help. Talk to his doctor. Find him a therapist. Connect with online resources. Your son may not be the only one who needs help. Mom and Dad, do your own intimate relationships need a hard look in the mirror? Helping your son may mean helping yourself first. Be courageous.

Though your son is ultimately responsible for his actions, you are responsible for how you raise him. Have you given him the tools to be the type of young man who treats women with respect?

I am writing this letter as a man. As a man with three daughters. Who may someday date your young man. You love your son, and I love my daughters. And I love all the young men who come through the doors of my clinic. I love them like sons. During my visit with these young men, when I talk to them about their romantic relationships, I make a point to discuss the very issues I mention above, because I want them to be men of character, men of honor. So I implore you—don’t take my letter as an affront. We have the same goal. Together, let’s raise a generation of young men who honor women.

Please share this letter with those in your life who you think it would benefit most. A spouse? Your son? Even your daughters. Your daughters should know that they deserve to be loved and respected. That violence has NO place in any intimate relationship.

Dr. Blankson is a part of Girls to Women Health and Wellness in Dallas and launched Young Men’s Health and Wellness in 2015.  He will be participating as one of the volunteer experts as part of DCT’s talkbacks after the show.


dontuluvme2016Teen Scene Players Present

dont u luv me?

By Linda Daugherty

February 12 – February 21, 2016

Recommended for ages 13 and up – NOT suitable for children under 13-contains strong situations and language

Tickets and More information – www.dct.org

Meet DCT’S returning director of A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD, Cheryl Denson

Cheryl DensoCheryl Denson Headshotn is one of the most in-demand directors in Dallas, and we are thrilled that she is back to direct A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD again after having directed DCT’s first production in 2008. Cheryl has the reputation for being a director that actors want to work with, which is evidenced by the fact that a few of the cast members from the original production are also returning. We wanted to know her thoughts on putting this wonderful play about friends and weathering life together on stage again at DCT. This is what she had to say:

I’m so excited to have a second chance to bring this magical musical to a new generation of Dallas Children’s Theater audiences. A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD has an imaginative score with clever lyrics, bringing to life these enchanting characters that are so dear to every child’s heart.  What an amazing theater experience to introduce DCT audiences to musical theater.  

Families and friendships often come to us in unconventional places from unexpected beings-both two- and four-legged.  This musical takes us into the friendship that exists between Frog and Toad; two very different personalities who care so deeply for each other that their differences are little more than bumps in the road.  Making the most of the friendships that are put in our path is the core of this tale. 

Check out what she had to say in this cool video preview!

We can’t wait to see Cheryl’s work as well as this cast of friends in A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD which runs January 29 – February 28.


A Year with FFrog&Toad2015rog and Toad

Music by Robert Reael
Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale
Based on the books by Arnold Lobel
Originally presented on Broadway by
Bob Boyett, Adrianne Lobel, Michael Gardner, Lawrence Horowitz and Roy Furman
World Premiere at The Children’s Theatre Company Minneapolis, Minnesota

January 29 – February 28, 2016

Recommended for ages 4 and up

Get your tickets today at www.dct.org

Thixton Mother/Daughter duo talk about the role of Angela in dont u luv me?

_KA17028The role of Angela in dont u luv me? by Linda Daugherty is a tough one for any actress to tackle. It demands both an emotional complexity as well as a willingness to handle an intense attack scene. The character of Angela is a young high school student, and in past productions, the role has been portrayed by a young adult actor who could pass for a high school student. This season, DCT has made another choice.

Bailey Thixton has performed in Teen Scene productions for DCT previously, and the 18-year-old high school senior was selected to play the role of Angela. Director Nancy Schaeffer carefully considers putting young people in such roles, but at the auditions and subsequently in rehearsals, Bailey’s handling of the character has been spot on.

We were curious about how Bailey and her mother felt about this opportunity/experience, and why they felt it was important for her to take part.

We first asked Bailey to share her feelings and motivation. Here’s what she said.

I’m honored to be a playing Angela in dont u luv me? because it is such an important and powerful play. The emotional arc of Angela has been my _KA17095biggest challenge, because she changes so much as the play progresses. Although I’ve never been in a dangerous situation like Angela’s, I identify with her throughout the play, and I think most teenagers will, as she tries to navigate high school and her first real relationship.

Finding the internal momentum to approach the most dramatic moments of the play has come with rehearsal, as I’ve gotten to know Angela and sympathize with her. Angela’s situation escalates as the play progresses, so I really try to stay in character backstage and focus on the emotions as they naturally happen in the scene. Haulston is great (he’s actually a really nice guy) and his intensity as C.J. helps me find the emotion I need for the dramatic moments in their relationship. It’s also amazing to have the playwright, Linda Daugherty, present in rehearsals to give us all insight into our characters. 

Haulston Mann is a young theater and film actor in DFW who is playing the _KA17081
role of C.J., the charming high school basketball star who surprises Angela with how much attention he shows her at the beginning of their relationship, but then gradually becomes jealous and violent after he has won her over.

To hear Bailey, she sounds like a seasoned performer, and it makes sense why she was the obvious choice to play Angela. She goes on to talk more specifically about the primary issue in the play.

Being a part of dont u luv me? brought up the topic of dating violence, an issue that my mom and I hadn’t thought to discuss before reading the script together. With me going to college in the fall, my mom and I talked a lot about safety plans and what to do in dangerous situations. I’ve always been able to talk to my mom about anything, but dont u luv me? really emphasized the importance of communication between teenagers and their parents and their community.  

Nancy (director) and Linda (playwright) made sure that we read statistics during the first rehearsal, so I’ve learned a lot about dating violence and the warning signs. I encourage everyone to see it, not just mothers and daughters, because dating violence is a prevalent issue that can affect anyone, regardless of gender. I hope that dont u luv me? will open communication between other teenagers and their parents about the important and previously quiet topic of dating violence. Linda Daugherty, Nancy Schaeffer, and Dallas Children’s Theater are wonderful for bringing light to such an important issue! 

We appreciate Bailey for her candor in discussing the play with us, but we also wanted to hear from her mother Joanna, because she was obviously a big part of making the decision for Bailey to play this role.

I feel the role of Angela is a great learning opportunity for my daughter, Bailey. This role is challenging and focuses on the issue of physical and IMG_8350emotional abuse which is very difficult to handle, especially for teens. As a mother and teacher, I am grateful to Dallas Children’s Theater for producing plays like dont u luv me? that promote awareness and encourage communication. I hope parents and teens in our community will see dont u luv me? and be encouraged to discuss this important issue like I have with Bailey. 

You’ve heard from both parent and teen about why dont u luv me? is such an important play to share. We hope you and the teens and young adults you love will join us and our team of expert consultants for this very important and timely play. dont u luv me? runs February 12-21.



dontuluvme2016Teen Scene Players Present

dont u luv me?

By Linda Daugherty

February 12 – February 21, 2016

Recommended for ages 13 and up – NOT suitable for children under 13-contains strong situations and language


Why you should make time to see DCT’s dont u luv me?

dulm heart


  • In Texas, a man kills his current partner or a female former intimate partner every 2.7 days, with victims ranging in age from 16-90.
  • One in three teenagers experiences physical violence in a dating relationship.
  • Dallas and Tarrant counties tied as the 2nd highest county in all 254 counties in Texas in 2014.
  • Of 120 witnesses who saw these murders take place, 43 of them were children and 10 other people were caught in the violence and lost their lives.
  •  The majority of victims were 29 and younger.
  • 132 women died in 2014 due to domestic violence in the State of Texas.

In 2013, the Dallas Police Department Family Violence Unit reported 13,007 family violence calls resulting in 1,215 aggravated assaults, 23 murders, 10,812 reported offenses, 91 sexual assault offenses, 180 violations of protective orders, and 5,782 arrests.

DCT’s Teen Scene Players are tackling a difficult play with Linda Daugherty’s dont u luv me? It is a hard play to digest whether or not you’ve been affected by _KA17028domestic violence. It is approached in a very realistic manner from the first flirtation to a life-threatening assault. We’ve created this play in hopes that it is a part of the overall community solution to keeping a young woman or young man from being a statistic the next time Texas counts victims. We’ve created the play so parents or friends of someone in a dangerous relationship will be motivated to have that uncomfortable encounter that could help save a life. We’ve created the play so that a grown child who may have witnessed a violent encounter will know they are not alone and their pain can be helped.

Of course producing a play cannot solve every issue, but theater is a powerful medium. It provides a non-threatening, yet in-your-face way, to look at tough topics. It provides a way to call attention to the world around us, right here in our neighborhood. Our hope is that teens, young adults, old adults, parents, grandparents, all of our neighbors will see this show and talk about it to anyone they trust.

On opening night, Dallas City Council Member Tiffinni Young will speak briefly before the show about the City of Dallas’ focus on reducing its abnormally high rate of domestic abuse. Each performance of dont u luv me? will be immediately followed by a post-show discussion from a team of experts who will be available to meet with audience members that might have questions. dont u luv me? runs from February 12-21 in DCT’s Studio Theater. Seating is limited, and tickets are only $14. The play is only suitable for ages 13 and up. Please come, and bring those you love.


dontuluvme2016Teen Scene Players Present

dont u luv me?

By Linda Daugherty

February 12 – February 21, 2016

Recommended for ages 13 and up – NOT suitable for children under 13-contains strong situations and language

Tickets and more information at www.dct.org