DALLAS CHILDREN’S THEATER CELEBRATES 35TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON
AND A UNIQUE HISTORY OF HEARTFELT STORYTELLING
(DALLAS, TX) – Since 1984, more than five million children, students, and families have been inspired and delighted by the live theater performances of Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT). To celebrate 35 years of unmatched service to North Texas and beyond, DCT is announcing a season lineup comprised of large-scale world premieres and timeless throwbacks.
In general, the 35th season’s slate of productions will take audiences on land and sea adventures and excursions through space and time. Among the season lineup are iconic DCT shows from the archives including THE ISLAND OF THE SKOG, DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY, and TUCK EVERLASTING. And - the popular A GHOST TALE FOR MR. DICKENS (based on Magic Tree House Merlin Mission #16: A Ghost Tale for Christmas Time) will make its world premiere debut. DCT is also remounting THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS, which launched DCT’s internationally-praised teen issue series. Finally, Lone Star Circus is back with another end-of-year spectacular called FOREVER that celebrates the birth of the modern circus.
DCT is also honored to be presenting THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES BY EZRA JACK KEATS in the winter. Based on award-winning children’s books written and illustrated by Polish Jewish American Ezra Jack Keats, these multiracial characters became an inspiration for Sesame Street. Keats wanted all children to feel included in the celebration of childhood discovery and this production, based on four of his books, illustrates childhood innocence in all four seasons of the year. In January, DCT presents the ultimate story of girl power with ELLA ENCHANTED. Ella of Frell turns the traditional Cinderella story upside down in this super colossal musical extravaganza. Rounding out the season, the DCT Teen Scene Players will bring the recent major motion picture A WRINKLE IN TIME to the stage.
“This is the 35th time I’ve had the enormous privilege to announce DCT’s season of plays! What a thrill. And this one sets sail with one of the biggest adventures we’ve ever undertaken. TREASURE ISLAND Reimagined! opens the season with swashbuckling adventure followed by other thrilling productions brand new to our stages including A GHOST TALE FOR MR. DICKENS,” said Robyn Flatt, Executive Artistic Director and Founder of DCT. “And of course, there will be a sprinkling of theatrical treasures from earlier seasons including TUCK EVERLASTING and DIARY OF A WORM, SPIDER, & A FLY, and two of our brilliant Linda Daugherty’s triumphs, THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS and an enchanting adaptation of Steven Kellogg’s THE ISLAND OF THE SKOG.”
Flatt reflected, “This marks a significant point in the life of our organization. I am proud to say that DCT is known nationally for its great productions, thought-provoking perspectives, and a host of new scripts developed for the field that are performed around the world.”
As the only major organization in Dallas focusing solely on youth and family theater, DCT builds bridges of understanding between generations and cultures, instilling an early appreciation of literature, art, and the performing arts in tomorrow’s artists and patrons. Over the span of three decades the theater has launched a national touring company that travels to 26 states and 52 cities each year; an Academy for children ages 3-18 that serves 2,500 annually; a Student Matinee Performance Series serving 50,000 children annually from every North Texas county; and sensory-friendly performances and academy classes for the over 100,000 children in North Texas with varying sensory challenges.
Despite obstacles throughout the years, Artie Olaisen, Associate Artistic Director, said the theater grew and survived by sticking to an artistic point of view that was always child-centric. “We’ve always been committed to telling good, substantive stories; but in the beginning, we didn’t have two sticks to rub together! As we and the field of TYA have grown, our storytelling has become more sophisticated and the canon of good material that was not condescending to our youth audiences has expanded,” said Olaisen. “This theater and the field have certainly matured together.”
Nancy Schaeffer, Associate Artistic Director, Education Director, and staff member since the beginning, has been a driving force behind the expansion of programming. Schaeffer oversees the DCT Academy and the Sensory-Friendly Programming Initiative among other responsibilities. Schaeffer was one of the theater’s first teaching artists in the 1980s and has continually introduced children to live theater through new programs like the sensory-friendly initiative that launched in 2014. “There are lots of options for child- and family-friendly entertainment, but I love the parents who happily choose to make time to see live theater with their family. It’s our passion to help children see themselves, their story, on stage; and to share our love of theater with everyone. It really is like nothing else you can experience, especially as a child.”
Flatt, Olaisen and Schaeffer attribute the bulk of their success to the community of artists that they have nurtured and created over the years. Local artists and designers have been the backbone of the theater’s creation, development, and growth through a united commitment to excellence, artistry, and dedication to bringing the best possible quality to the stage and into classrooms. According to Olaisen, DCT may have the longest serving core staff of any arts group in the country. Olaisen explained that DCT provides the opportunity to have a life in the theater and work with artists committed to building a cultural institution that impacts both the Dallas community and the field of TYA.
“Here, children have discovered their inner genius and have been inspired to use their gifts to better the world around them. And none of this would be possible were it not for great artists, thought leaders, board members, and advisors who have all been powerful partners in the growth and direction,” said Flatt.
Season Ticket Pricing
By signing up for a Play Package, patrons generate substantial savings over individual ticket purchases. Play Packages have as few as four plays or as many as seven; the more plays, the greater the savings.Season subscribers may also purchase individual tickets to any show at a discounted rate.
Play Package Pricing (per person)
Single tickets for the 18-2019 season will range from $15 to $30 for adults, and $15 to $28 for youth. Tickets for all shows go on sale September 3, 2018.
Announcing the 18-19 Season
Storytelling comes in many different forms. Children think up imaginary friends and situations in the quiet of their rooms. They tell loved ones tall tales from their imagination through pictures and gestures. What’s happening in their brains is incredible. For adults it can be hard to remember the flurry of activity that takes place during the discovery years; how everything was bigger, brighter, and more spectacular. For 35 years, DCT has had the privilege to delight and entertain children, grandchildren and you, for that matter, through the magic of live theater. Join us for another exceptional year of storytelling and lifechanging moments. Shared moments of wonder and surprise begin with DCT’s 35th Anniversary Season.
ELLA ENCHANTED: THE MUSICAL
By Karen Zacarías
Music by Deborah Wicks La Puma
Adapted from the book by Gail Carson Levine
By special arrangement with Miramax
January 25 – February 24, 2019
Recommended for ages 6 and up
Ella of Frell is turning the traditional Cinderella story upside down! At birth, she was given the "gift" of obedience which forces her to do anything people command: whether that's hopping on one foot all day or telling her best friend to just go away! As a teenager, strong-willed Ella chooses to reject this lifestyle as her fate and embarks on a quest to break the curse forever. Along the way, feisty Ella must outwit her evil stepsisters, escape hungry ogres, and save the prince before she can claim her real voice. In this fun and spirited musical extravaganza that stays true to the Newbery Honor book, children will discover the power of words while laughing, singing, and dancing out loud.
THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS
By Linda Daugherty
February 15 – February 24, 2019
Not suitable for children under 12
Bullying in every form – from open tactics like gossiping and keeping secrets, to using friendship as a weapon – can become the prelude to dangerous behaviors like depression, cutting, and eating disorders. This show takes an unflinching look into the world of mean girls and exposes the consequences that bullying creates. Because that girl everyone is spreading rumors about…the one who just can’t seem to fit in…chances are, you know who she is. This production by award-winning playwright Linda Daugherty generated massive buzz when it debuted in 2007 and subsequently launched DCT’s internationally-praised teen issue series. In DCT tradition, teens and those who love them are invited to see a performance, and then stay after for a conversation with local experts.
Script by Mark J. Frattaroli
Based on the book Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
March 22 – 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.
THE ISLAND OF THE SKOG
Script by Linda Daugherty
Based on the book The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg
May 3 – May 25, 2019
Recommended for ages 3 and up
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.
DCT’s NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION
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, 2019
Recommended for ages 3 and up
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.
About Dallas Children’s Theater
Dallas Children’s Theater features professional actors performing for an annual audience of 250,000 young people and their families through mainstage productions (10 in the 2018-19 season), a national -touring company, and an arts-in-education program. As the only major organization in Dallas focusing solely on youth and family theater, DCT builds bridges of understanding between generations and cultures, instilling an early appreciation of literature, art, and the performing arts in tomorrow’s artists and patrons