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Traci Allen Shannon in "Cinderella" at Children's Theatre Company. (Photo by Dan Norman)

Children’s Theatre Company Announces Tuneful 2016–17 Season

A new Dr. Seuss adaptation and a new play by Naomi Iizuka are part of the theatre’s musical-heavy season.

MINNEAPOLIS: Children’s Theatre Company has announced an eight-show lineup for the 2016–17 season, its 51st, which will feature musicals, returning favorites, and world premieres.

“I am so proud we are able to bring four musicals, three of which were developed here at CTC, to our stage in one single season for this audience,” said artistic director Peter C. Brosius in a statement. “I’m equally excited we are able to produce world premiere productions by nationally celebrated artists Philip Dawkins, David Mallamud, and Naomi Iizuka, who bring their talent, creativity, and inspiration to create challenging work for multigenerational audiences.”

The season will launch with in July with the return of Pinocchio (July 15–Aug. 14), adapted by Greg Banks from Carlo Collodi’s book. The show is targeted at children of kindergarten age and older. Banks will also direct.

Next up will be Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play (Sept. 13–Oct. 13), presented by the Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour. Based on the book by Mo Willems, with book and lyrics by Willems and music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, the show teaches children of preschool age and older how to be good friends. Jerry Whiddon will direct and Jessica Hartman will choreograph.

The world premiere of Naomi Iizuka’s The Last Firefly (Sept. 27–Nov. 13) will be onstage next. The story follows Boom, the son of Thunder, as he goes on a quest to find his father. The show is best enjoyed by children in third grade or above and will be directed by Brosius.

“The Japanese folktales weaved into this play make you see the natural world in entirely new ways,” Iizuka said in a statement. “I’ve loved these tales since I was little—stories like the Tongue-Cut Sparrow and the Good Thunder. These are amazing stories. They’re funny, fantastical, terrifying, and wondrous. They’re also unlike Western fairy tales that may be more familiar. It’s very exciting to be able to share them with a new generation.”

Cinderella (Nov. 8–Jan. 8, 2017) is next, in a return engagement. Adapted by John B. Davidson from the tale by Charles Perrault, with original music by Victor Zupanc, the show is for all ages and will be directed by Brosius.

Then comes the world premiere of Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches (Feb. 7–March 26, 2017). Based on Seuss’s classic, with book and lyrics by Philip Dawkins and music by David Mallamud, the musical is set on Sneetch Beach, where the Star Bellies and Plain Bellies are divided by a line in the sand, and explores the differences that often divide us and bring us together. Supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the show is for all ages.

“What really struck me about this story is how topical the allegory is today,” Dawkins said in a statement. “Every time I turn on the news, I hear a report about different groups of people all over the world who could learn a lot from the Sneetches’ mistakes. It only proves the necessity of this story at this time.”

The return of A Year With Frog and Toad (April 18–June 18, 2017) will be next. Based on Arnold Lobel’s books, with music by Robert Reale and lyrics and book by Willie Reale, the show is for all ages and will be directed by Peter Rothstein, based on original direction by David Petrarca.

Founded in 1965, Children’s Theatre Company programs work for multigenerational audiences and has created more than 200 new works targeted at young audiences.

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