Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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

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