Dallas Children's Theater Blog

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The Importance of Being Inclusive

How a mischief of mice and a class filled with bugs can help start the conversation of inclusiveness in your family…

When I was in the midst of my teen years, I met a young boy, Sam, who forever changed my perspective on life. At the time I was regularly volunteering for a childhood cancer support organization (an organization I was involved in because of my own sister’s struggle with a brain tumor), but I was also very much wrapped up in all of the feelings, drama, and self-centeredness that often goes hand-in-hand with transitioning from a child to a young adult. Sam was an eight-year-old…and oh so joyful. He had a huge personality, told the funniest jokes, and was literally the friendliest person I had ever met. Sam also had Down syndrome and was fighting leukemia. During parent support group meetings, while I babysat all the kids, I would just be in awe of Sam’s spirit. Despite overwhelming pain and discomfort, Sam was a light. His positive perspective on life changed mine. Although I was volunteering to “make a difference,” Sam was the one who truly made a difference in me.

Years later, I attended Sam’s funeral. At that point, I had only been to somber funerals where people dressed in dark colors and talked in hushed tones. But, Sam’s was a celebration of a life that had impacted hundreds of people. Everyone wore bright clothing, so many people shared stories about how Sam had brought joy to the world, and his smiling face shone down on all of us from a poster by the pulpit. Sam’s time on earth was short, but his impact was profound!

Every person we come in to contact with, with special needs or not, similar to us or different, has a story to tell, a perspective to share, and a voice to be heard. We all benefit when we are all a part of this story called life. I learned more from Sam, a little boy who in so many ways was different from me, than I ever taught him while I was trying to “make a difference” volunteering. What would my life be like without Sam’s impact?

The last two shows of Dallas Children’s Theater’s 2018-19 season really speak to this importance of inclusion. In THE ISLAND OF THE SKOG, the mice learn a vital lesson about assuming the worst of someone different while in DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY, the bugs learn to value and celebrate each other’s differences. Although both of these shows will be quite entertaining (imagine, dancing and singing bugs!), the insight about inclusion our kids can gain from these stories might just be the most important reason to attend. And, hopefully, the shows will inspire conversations with our kids about including everyone, from the child with a physical disability who may need a game adapted to play on the playground to choosing to sit next to the nonverbal classmate who is alone at the lunch table, that lasts longer than just the car ride home from the theater!

Come celebrate and appreciate all our differences at Dallas Children’s Theater. THE ISLAND OF THE SKOG plays May 3 through 25th. DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY runs June 14 through July 7. For tickets, go to dct.org. And, to learn more about DCT’s efforts to include those with sensory-sensitivities at the theater, check out dct.org/sensory.



Written by Guest Mom Blogger, Jessica Colaw.




Adapted for the stage by Linda Daugherty
Music and lyrics by Nick Martin
Based on the book The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg

Copyright @1973 by Steven Kellogg

May 3 – May 25
Ages 3 and up
Sensory-Friendly Performance:
Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 1:30 pm – ($5 per ticket, Phone orders only, 214-740-0051)

The best laid plans of mice and well, Skog, are upended in this lively musical adventure that navigates land and sea. When Jenny and her mice friends grow weary of ravenous cats, noisy humans, and peril on the streets, they decide a new island paradise is the order of the day. Led by the surly Captain Bouncer, the Rough-riding Rowdies think they’ve hit the jackpot until they discover that a “giant” already has dibs on their newfound home. The Rowdies and Skog each devise a survival of the fittest plan that, in the end, only points out the flaws that come with assuming the worst and refusing to compromise. A delightfully charming and gentle story that brings to life the author’s beloved illustrations and characters.




Book, Music & Lyrics by Joan Cushing
Based on the three books by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss

© 2011 Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss. By special arrangement with Pippin Properties, Inc. and Gurman Agency LLC.

June 14 – July 7

Ages 3 and up
Sensory-Friendly Performance: 
Saturday, June 22, 2019 at 1:30 pm – ($5 per ticket, Phone orders only, 214-740-0051)

The coolest ever rock-n-roll romp through a bug’s world commands center stage in this hip-hoppin’ musical that promotes eco-consciousness, earth science, and tolerance of others. The popular characters from the bestselling books are not so unusual: Worm eats his homework and has no legs. Fly has 327 siblings and wants to be a superhero. And Spider can’t wait to grow up and molt. When Fly’s Aunt Rita needs help getting out of a tight spot, the squad must combine their talents and work as a team on the rescue mission of a lifetime. While there’s no pop quiz, you might just learn that a bug’s life isn’t that different from your own.

The Power of Choices in TUCK EVERLASTING

“I’m not exactly sure what I’d do, you know, but something interesting – something that’s all mine. Something that would make some kind of difference in the world.”  –Winnie Foster

Ten-year-old Winnie Foster is curious, and she longs for adventure beyond home. But does she get more than she bargained for when she ventures into unknown territory? While exploring her family’s land one summer morning, she accidentally discovers something life-altering: a source of immortality, which sets off a whirlwind chain of events with big moral dilemmas and important life choices that have everlasting consequences.

After meeting the immortal Tuck family, Winnie learns about the natural order of life, which patriarch Angus Tuck explains to her in the famous rowboat scene. “Know what that is, all around us, Winnie? Life. Moving, growing, changing, never the same two minutes together,” says Tuck.

As Winnie spends time with and befriends the Tuck family, she appreciates their kindness towards her, and she begins to understand their perspective on why getting “stuck” in immortality is not desirable.

When the mysterious Stranger in the Yellow Suit shows up and announces that he intends to expose the source of immortality and sell the spring water for profit, the Tuck family make efforts to stop him, which results in the Stranger’s accidental death.

Winnie decides to help the Tuck family escape imprisonment even if it could get her in a lot of trouble. Why does she do it? Because she feels it is the right thing to do to help her friends and to protect their secret of immortality from falling into the wrong hands. And that’s not the only big decision young Winnie Foster must make in TUCK EVERLASTING.

She also faces the dilemma of whether to remain mortal, or to drink the enchanted spring water in order to live forever with the boy who she admires, Jesse Tuck. Winnie cares deeply for the Tuck family, but she also remembers the advice from Angus Tuck — that the cycle of life is important, even if it includes death as part of that process of growth and change. Two big choices — both with their own pros & cons and far-reaching consequences.

As the book Tuck Everlasting beautifully describes, Winnie realizes throughout her whirlwind experiences with the Tuck family that she has to think about her personal values and then make some tough life choices. From Chapter 21, “…she was different. Things had happened to her that were hers alone…And no amount of telling about it could help them understand or share what she felt. It was satisfying and lonely, both at once.”

How does Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) portray on stage the conclusion of Winnie’s story and the choices that she makes? Come see for yourself. Only three shows left: Saturday, April 6th at 1:30 PM; and Sunday, April 7th at 1:30 PM and 4:30 PM.




Script by Mark J. Frattaroli

Based on the book Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

NOW – April 7, 2019

Recommended for ages 10 and up

What if you could live forever? What if you were asked to keep a shocking secret? Young Winnie Foster suddenly finds herself faced with these dilemmas when she ventures from her routine one single summer morning. What she encounters at the foot of a magnificent tree in the woods on her family’s land brings her face to face with monumental life choices. A romance, a new family, perhaps eternal life? What follows is a whirlwind of events and a life-affirming adventure that The New York Times called “fearsome and beautifully written.”  Considered one of the classics of modern children’s literature, this poetic story comes intensely to life on the DCT stage.

Photos by: Karen Almond