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"Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz Age Musical," by Shirley Hughes and Joan Cushing, at Children's Theatre of Charlotte in 2015. (Photo by John Merrick)

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte Announces 71st Season

The lineup features five world premieres and a collaboration with Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C.: Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has announced their 2018-19 slate, which will feature five world premiere productions. 

The season will kick off with The Lion and the Little Red Bird (Aug. 23-Sept. 2), adapted for the stage by Nicole B. Adkins from the book by Elisa Kleven, about an unlikely friendship between a lion and a curious bird. The story is told using a mix of actors and puppets and is intended for preschool-age children.

Following will be Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical (Sept. 28-Oct. 21), with book by Dennis Kelly and music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, based on the classic novel about a precocious girl with magical powers who must overcome her evil headmistress to create a better life for herself. The theatre says the musical is best suited for children ages 6 and up.

Next onstage will be the world premiere of Last Stop on Market Street (Nov. 2-18), adapted for the stage by Gloria Bond Clunie from Matt de la Pena’s Newbery Medal-winning book, about the new perspective Nana gives CJ on their weekly bus trip. This play is presented as part of the Kindness Project, the company’s initiative to commission plays with a central theme of kindness, and is recommended for children six and up.

Following will be the return of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical (Nov. 23-Dec. 23), by Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner and adapted from the comedic book by Barbara Robinson, about what happens when the “worst kids in the history of the world” decide to audition for the annual Christmas pageant. In this production, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte casts age-appropriate roles, many of whom are from its School of Theatre Training. The organization says this show is suitable for all ages. 

The theatre will next present Spelling 2-5-5 (Dec. 7-16), by Jennifer Overton, about a sibling rivalry between a star speller who has the chance to appear on a televised spelling bee  and his autistic brother. This show is recommended for ages 8 and up.

Following will be the world premiere of Judy Moody and Stink: The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt (Jan. 18-Feb. 10, 2019), adapted by Allison Gregory from the books by Megan McDonald, about Judy and her brother, Stink, who set sail to find Scurvy Sam’s secret pirate treasure. The piece is a shared commission with Adventure Theatre MTC in Glen Echo, Md.; Bay Area Children’s Theatre in Oakland, Calif.; First Stage in Milwaukee; Oregon Children’s Theatre in Portland, Ore.; Orlando Repertory Theatre in Orlando, Fla.; and the Rose Theater in Omaha, Neb.

Next will be Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (Feb. 8-Feb. 24), based on a story by Cedella Marley and adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt, about three little birds who share their songs with a scared child named Ziggy on the island of Jamaica. The musical features the music of Bob Marley, with additional music, arrangements, and orchestrations by John L. Cornelius II is recommended for children 6 and up.

Following will be Step Afrika! (March 8-9), by African-American dance company Step Afrika!, which blends percussive dance styles practiced by historically African-American fraternities and sororities, African traditional dance, and influences from a variety of other dance and art forms. Their performances, recommended for children ages 6 and up, integrate songs, storytelling, humor, and audience participation.

Next up will be the world premiere of The Ghost of Splinter Cove (March 22-Apr. 7) by Steven Dietz, about Nate and Cora who are transported on the adventure of their lives after they discover a mysterious family secret while playing in the basement. The play was co-commissioned as part of Second Story Project, a collaboration between the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte which commissions two plays by the same playwright with an interwoven theme.

Following will be the musical Pete the Cat (Apr. 12-May 5), with music by Will Aronson and music and lyrics by Sarah Hammond, based on the series by Kimberly and James Dean, about a musically talented blue cat who takes second grader Jimmy on the road trip of a lifetime. This show is recommended for children ages 4 and up.

Next onstage will be the world premiere of Picaro (April 27-28), by CarlosAlexis Cruz, a solo show about a boy who flees Guatemala in search of  better life in the United States. The play, recommended for children ages 6 and up, combines physical theatre, aerial arts, and clown theatre.

Finishing up the season will be the world premiere of A Sick Day for Amos McGee (May 29-June 9), adapted by Nicole B. Adkins from the book by Philip C. Stead, about zoo animal friends who miss their daily visits from their sick friend Amos. This play, recommended for children ages 2-5, is part of the Kindness Project.

Founded in 1948, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte creates theatre experiences designed to inspire generations to explore the wonder of their world.

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