You cannot spell Pulitzer without LIT

The 2019 Pulitzer Prizes are announced later today.  Over the years, there have been several Pulitzer winners with connections to Little Rock.

In 1939,  Little Rock native John Gould Fletcher, a scion of a politically prominent family, won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for his work Selected Poems.  He appears to be the first Pulitzer Prize winner with Little Rock connections.

The 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama went to South Pacific. With a leading lady who is from Little Rock, this Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Joshua Logan musical explores race against the backdrop of World War II.  It is based on James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific, which won the 1948 Pulitzer for Fiction. (Because it was a collection of interrelated short stories, the category was changed from Novel to Fiction from that year onward.)  But in the Michener book, Forbush is not from Little Rock.

The Arkansas Gazette made Pulitzer history in 1958 by winning both the Public Service and Editorial prizes in the same year. This was the first time that one organization had received both awards in the same year.  These were for the coverage of and response to the 1957 integration of Central High School by the Little Rock Nine.  J. N. Heiskell was the paper’s owner and editor, while Harry Ashmore led the editorial page.  Relman Morin of the Associated Press received the Pulitzer for National Reporting for his coverage of the events at Central.  Apparently Will Counts of the Arkansas Democrat was the jurors’ choice to receive the Pulitzer for Photography. But the Board opted to give the prize to another photographer.  Some speculate that the Pulitzer Board did not want to give four prizes in the same year for the same story.

Current Little Rock resident Paul Greenberg won the 1969 Pulitzer for Editorial Writing.  at the time, he worked for the Pine Bluff Commercial.   In 1986, he was a finalist in the same category.  Greenberg moved to Little Rock to join the staff of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 1992.  While no longer the Editorial Page Editor, Greenberg continues to write columns for the newspaper.

Former Little Rock resident Richard Ford received the 1996 Pulitzer for Fiction for his novel Independence Day.  As a young boy of eight, and for several years after, Ford spent much time at Little Rock’s Marion Hotel with his grandparents.  In making the presentation, the Pulitzer Board noted it was, “A visionary account of American life, Independence Day reveals a man and country with unflinching comedy and the specter of hope and even permanence…”

The Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2001 went to David Auburn.  A 1987 graduate of Hall High School, Auburn was recognized for his play Proof.  The Pulitzer Board described Proof thus: “This poignant drama about love and reconciliation unfolds on the back porch of a house settled in a suburban university town, that is, like David Auburn’s writing, both simple and elegant.”  Auburn also served as a 2014 juror for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  While a student in Little Rock, Auburn participated in theatre at the Arkansas Arts Center.

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G-O-N-E. Final weekend for CHARLOTTE’S WEBB at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

Charlotte's WebThe 2018–2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre continues this spring with Charlotte’s Web. The closes on Sunday, March 31, 2019. Performances of Charlotte’s Web are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 each for Arkansas Arts Center members or $12.50 for non-members.

Wilbur the piglet is the runt of his litter. But under the loving care of eight-year-old Fern Arable—and due in no small part to the delicious and plentiful slops on her Uncle Homer’s farm—Wilbur grows up into a fine specimen of a pig. Pink and plump and so polite.

Yep. Wilbur is no ordinary pig, and thanks to the acrobatic web-writing of his friend Charlotte, a kindly barn spider, the world soon learns just how “terrific” and “radiant” he is. But Charlotte’s greatest gift to Wilbur goes beyond just flattering words spun in a web. Through this gentle creature, he experiences the true meaning of responsibility, friendship, and loyalty. Come join in this heart-warming barnyard adventure and marvel at the wonder of Charlotte’s web.

Charlotte’s Web is based on the book by E. B. White. It was adapted by Joseph Robinette. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre’s production of Charlotte’s Webis directed by Katie Campbell. Bradley D. Anderson is the Artistic Director. Original music was composed by Lori Isner, set design by Vandy Scoates, costume design by Erin Larkin, properties design by Cathleen Brignac, and lighting design by Mike Stacks. Rivka Kuperman is the stage manager. Charlotte’s Web is produced with special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois

The cast includes:

  • Harper Keith of Alexander as Fern Arable
  • Jared Thomas Kneip Gibson of St. Louis as John Arable and Gander
  • Beck Hudelson of Little Rock as Avery Arable
  • Paige Carpenter of Little Rock as Mrs. Arable and President of the Fair
  • Braxton Johnson of Texarkana as Homer Zuckerman
  • Stephen Jones of Little Rock as Lurvy and Judge at the Fair
  • Walt Wenger of North Little Rock as Young Wilbur
  • Anthony McBride of Benton as Adult Wilbur
  • Mark Hansen of Little Rock as Templeton
  • Verda Davenport of Little Rock as Charlotte
  • Mackenzie Holtzclaw of North Little Rock as Goose and Judge at the Fair
  • Georgeann Burbank of Benton as Sheep and Judge at the Fair
  • Bethany Post of Austintown, Ohio as Uncle Pig, Reporter and Mrs. Carter
  • John Isner of Little Rock as Narrator

Darby Haddock, Kennedy Laster, and Reese von Storch are Baby Spiders. Via Benjamine Gahi, Isabelle Marchese, and Dylan Sykes are the ensemble.

Cultural Spring Break in Little Rock

Image result for spring break kids

It is Spring Break week! Several Little Rock museums have special activities planned.

Museum of Discovery
March 18 – March 22 • 10 am to 4 pm
Monday, March 18 – Meet and have your photo taken with Jet Propulsion from “Ready Jet Go!”  Enjoy hands-on activities that teach about space and more.
Tuesday, March 19 – Meet and have your photo taken with Nature Cat, the star o PBS Kids’ “Nature Cat”!  Enjoy hands-on activities about the wonderful outdoors and meet some of nature’s coolest animals!
All Days
Tesla Shows: 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Awesome Science Demos: 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 2:30 p.m.
Meet Museum Animals: 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.

Historic Arkansas Museum
Spring Break 2019: Settling in Arkansas
March 18 – March 22 • 10 am to 4 pm
In celebration of Arkansas’s Territorial Bicentennial, our Spring Break activities will focus on settling this state. The museum’s historic block has countless stories of making a life in early Arkansas, from just after becoming a territory to a decade after Statehood. Visitors can spend each day learning about a different person’s path to Arkansas. We will cook Pioneer food, make hands-on crafts, and share a few pioneer skills.

Little Rock Zoo

March 18 – March 22 • 9:30am to 4:00pm
See daily feedings of the penguins, interact with education exhibits, attend a meet and greet with animals, go to the Party in the Plaza, have a special meet and greet at the Arkansas Heritage Farm, and chat with animal keepers.

Clinton Presidential Center
March 18 – March 22 • 10:00am to 2:00pm
The Clinton Presidential Center invites children of all ages to enjoy FREE Spring Break activities on March 18 – 22, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Join us for FREE craft activities for the entire family! We’ll offer an instructional glass fusion project, led by Little Rock School District art specialist Sharon Boyd-Struthers, in conjunction with our White House Collection of American Crafts: 25th Anniversary Exhibit. Spring Break activities are FREE; however, admission fees to tour the Museum apply.


Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

March 19 – March 22 • 2:00pm
Special Spring Break matinee performances of Charlotte’s Web on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week.

Wilbur the piglet is the runt of his litter. But under the loving care of eight-year-old Fern Arable—and due in no small part to the delicious and plentiful slops on her Uncle Homer’s farm—Wilbur grows up into a fine specimen of a pig.  Wilbur is no ordinary pig, and thanks to the acrobatic web-writing of his friend Charlotte, a kindly barn spider, the world soon learns just how “terrific” and “radiant” he is. Come join in this heart-warming barnyard adventure and marvel at the wonder of Charlotte’s web.

CHARLOTTE’S WEB up next at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

Charlotte's WebThe 2018–2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre continues this spring with Charlotte’s Web. The show runs March 8–31, 2019 with a special Pay-What-You-Can preview performance on Thursday, March 7. Performances of Charlotte’s Web are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., with spring break matinees March 19–22 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 each for Arkansas Arts Center members or $12.50 for non-members.

Wilbur the piglet is the runt of his litter. But under the loving care of eight-year-old Fern Arable—and due in no small part to the delicious and plentiful slops on her Uncle Homer’s farm—Wilbur grows up into a fine specimen of a pig. Pink and plump and so polite. Yep. Wilbur is no ordinary pig, and thanks to the acrobatic web-writing of his friend Charlotte, a kindly barn spider, the world soon learns just how “terrific” and “radiant” he is. But Charlotte’s greatest gift to Wilbur goes beyond just flattering words spun in a web. Through this gentle creature, he experiences the true meaning of responsibility, friendship, and loyalty. Come join in this heart-warming barnyard adventure and marvel at the wonder of Charlotte’s web.

Charlotte’s Web is based on the book by E. B. White. It was adapted by Joseph Robinette. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre’s production of Charlotte’s Web is directed by Katie Campbell. Bradley D. Anderson is the Artistic Director. Original music was composed by Lori Isner, set design by Vandy Scoates, costume design by Erin Larkin, properties design by Cathleen Brignac, and lighting design by Mike Stacks. Rivka Kuperman is the stage manager. Charlotte’s Web is produced with special arrangement with DRAMATIC PUBLISHING, Woodstock, Illinois

The cast includes:

  • Harper Keith of Alexander as Fern Arable
  • Jared Thomas Kneip Gibson of St. Louis as John Arable and Gander
  • Beck Hudelson of Little Rock as Avery Arable
  • Paige Carpenter of Little Rock as Mrs. Arable and President of the Fair
  • Braxton Johnson of Texarkana as Homer Zuckerman
  • Stephen Jones of Little Rock as Lurvy and Judge at the Fair
  • Walt Wenger of North Little Rock as Young Wilbur
  • Anthony McBride of Benton as Adult Wilbur
  • Mark Hansen of Little Rock as Templeton
  • Verda Davenport of Little Rock as Charlotte
  • Mackenzie Holtzclaw of North Little Rock as Goose and Judge at the Fair
  • Georgeann Burbank of Benton as Sheep and Judge at the Fair
  • Bethany Post of Austintown, Ohio as Uncle Pig, Reporter and Mrs. Carter
  • John Isner of Little Rock as Narrator

Darby Haddock, Kennedy Laster, and Reese von Storch are Baby Spiders. Via Benjamine Gahi, Isabelle Marchese, and Dylan Sykes are the ensemble.

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will offer several events in conjunction with Charlotte’s Web, including a Pay-What-You-Can preview, opening night celebration and a pajama party. Full programming details can be found below.

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Pay What You Can Preview: Charlotte’s Web – 7 p.m.
“Pay What You Can” tickets are available for the 7 p.m. preview performance of Charlotte’s Web. Tickets are available for purchase in person, at the Arkansas Arts Center, 501 East 9th Street from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center. The maximum ticket purchase is six tickets per person and ticket sales are based on availability. PWYC SHOWS CAN AND DO SELL OUT. We recommend arriving early for the best chance at “Pay What You Can” tickets. Additional tickets can always be purchased in person, online or by phone at regular ticket pricing: $10 for AAC members; $12.50 for non-members.

For more information, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre or call 501-372-4000.

Friday, March 8, 2019
Opening Night Dinner at Watercolor in the Park – 5 p.m.
Join us for dinner at Watercolor in the Park before the 7 p.m. opening night performance of Charlotte’s Web! Creative coloring placemats featuring activities and artwork from the show will be available for children to enjoy. Seatings at 5 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Reservations recommended. Call 501-396-0390 for reservations

Friday, March 8, 2019
Opening Night Celebration: Charlotte’s Web – 7 p.m.
After the show, enjoy a meet and greet with the cast, snacks and punch to celebrate the opening night of Charlotte’s Web.

For more information, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre or call 501-372-4000.

Friday, March 15, 2019
Pajama Night at Charlotte’s Web – 7 p.m.
Toss on those cute pajamas and join us at the Children’s Theatre for the 7 p.m. performance of Charlotte’s Web. Stickers are available at the Box Office before the show for children (and parents!) wearing pajamas.

For more information, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre or call 501-372-4000.

Saturday, March 16, 2019
ASL Interpreted Performance – 2 p.m.
There will be American Sign Language interpreters at the 2 p.m. performance of Charlotte’s Web. Visit the Box Office before the performance for seating assistance.

For more information, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre or call 501-372-4000.

The 2018–2019 Children’s Theatre Season is presented by Arkansas BlueCross and BlueShield. Spring Season Sponsors are Dr. Loren Bartole, Family Foot Care and Centennial Bank. Show Sponsors are Cindy and Greg Feltus and the Junior League of Little Rock. Media Sponsor is Little Rock Family Magazine. Pay What You Can previews are presented by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Additional support is provided by Morris Foundation, Inc. For more information about the Children’s Theatre, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/childrenstheatre.

Little Rock Look Back: Arkansas Arts Center celebrates with week of Grand Reopening activities in February 2000

On February 17, 2000, over three thousand people attended the Arkansas Arts Center members preview of the new and renovated galleries as part of a week long celebration. It culminated in Big Art Weekend in which the building was open for 72 hours with around the clock programming.

Donors to the project, media, and Arkansas museum professionals had each received sneak peeks of the new facility earlier in the week. On Friday, February 18, the Big Art Weekend got underway with a gallery tour of a variety of Little Rock galleries. (This was before 2nd Friday Art Night.)  Lectures, tours, and other special events populated the building on Saturday and Sunday the 19th and 20th.  In addition, the Children’s Theatre was performing Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp..

The renovation had taken over 18 months and cost $12 million.  It added 30,000 square feet of gallery space.  The expanded gallery space featured these exhibits: Paul Signac Watercolors and Drawings: Selections from the James T. Dyke Collection; Without Parameters: Selections from the Permanent Collection; Recent Acquisitions; Prophets, Parables and Paradoxes: Recent Drawings by David Bailin; Artistic Processes: Drawing; Living with Form: The Horn Collection of Contemporary Crafts; and European Paintings and Drawings.

The latter exhibit included eight pieces that were promised gifts from the Jackson T. Stephens collection.  They were Edgar Degas’ Dance in Blue (Before the Class, Three Dancers (c. late 1880s), Pablo Picasso’s Still Life with Red Bull’s Head (1938), Claude Monet’s Apple Trees Near Vetheuil (1878), Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Three Partridges (c. 1888-1890), Alfred Sisley’s Road on the Edge of the Loing (1891), Camille Pissarro’s The Raised Terrace of the Pont-Neuf, Place Henri IV in Morning Rain (1902), Berthe Morisot’s The Flute Player (1890) and Bertrand Redon’s Vase of Flowers (c. 1890).

THIS LITTLE PIGGY WENT TO MARKET comes to Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre stage

This Little Piggy Went to MarketThe 2018–2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre continues this winter with This Little Piggy Went to Market. The show runs February 1– 17, 2019. Performances of This Little Piggy Went to Market are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Hooray! Hooray! It’s Cajun market day! Little Piggy loves Cajun market day. So many good things to eat! So many good games to play! When Mama Piggy sends her precious piglet off to Boudreaux’s Bayou Market for flour and sugar and eggs – wearing the pretty little dress her grandma made – she reminds her of three things: Be kind to others; obey all the rules; and never stray from the market road.

Fairly squealing with excitement, Little Piggy trots off to town, promising to be good. But can such a fun-loving little pig keep her promise? Especially when her two best friends, Skinny Piggy and Curly Piggy, join the adventure? They are the two “rowdiest boys in the bayou,” after all.

This Little Piggy Went to Market was written by Keith Smith. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre’s production of This Little Piggy Went to Market is directed by John Isner. Bradley D. Anderson is the Artistic Director. Original music was composed by Lori Isner, set design and technical direction by Frank Mott, costume design by Nikki Gray, properties design by Cathleen Brignac, and lighting design by Mike Stacks. Liz McMath is the stage manager.

The cast includes: Mark Hansen (Boudreaux), Anthony McBride (Thibodeaux and Curly Piggy); Stephen Jones (Fontenot and Skinny Piggy); Morgan Jones (Charmaine); Samantha Harrington (Little Piggy); Georgeann Burbank (Momma Piggy); and Hazel Ragsdell (Market Girl).

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will offer several events in conjunction with This Little Piggy Went to Market including a Pay-What-You-Can preview, opening night celebration and a pajama party. Full programming details can be found below.

Friday, February 1, 2019
Opening Night Dinner at Watercolor in the Park – 5 p.m.
Join us for dinner at Watercolor in the Park before the 7 p.m. opening night performance of This Little Piggy Went to Market! Make memories while enjoying a Cajun Buffet Dinner, with favorites like Cajun Spiced Pork Loin, Veggie Gumbo, PK Mac and Cheese, Hand Breaded Chicken Tenders, Strawberry Shortcake and more. Creative coloring placemats featuring activities and artwork from the show will be available for children to enjoy. Seatings at 5 p.m., 5:15 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m., and 6 p.m.

Reservations recommended. Call 501-396-0390 for reservations

Friday, February 1, 2019
Opening Night Celebration: This Little Piggy Went to Market – 7 p.m.
After the show, enjoy a meet and greet with the cast, snacks and punch to celebrate the opening night of This Little Piggy Went to Market.

Friday, February 8, 2019
Pajama Night at This Little Piggy Went to Market – 7 p.m.
Toss on those cute pajamas and join us at the Children’s Theatre for the 7 p.m. performance of This Little Piggy Went to Market. Stickers are available at the Box Office before the show for children (and parents!) wearing pajamas.

Saturday, February 9, 2019
ASL Interpreted Performance – 2 p.m.
There will be American Sign Language interpreters at the 2 p.m. performance of This Little Piggy Went to Market. Visit the Box Office before the performance for seating assistance.

For more information, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre or call 501-372-4000.

Happy Birthday to Pulitzer & Tony winner David Auburn, an alum of Hall High and Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

November 30 is the birthday of Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning playwright David Auburn. A 1987 graduate of Hall High School, he participated in the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre while he spent his teen years in Little Rock.

Born in Chicago, he grew up in Ohio. He moved to Arkansas when his parents took jobs here, first in Jonesboro then Little Rock. After graduating from Hall, he returned to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where he graduated with a degree in English literature.  While there he was involved with a performance group and also wrote theatre reviews.

In 1992, he went to New York to take part in Julliard’s playwriting program.  In 1997, his first Off Broadway play was produced, Skyscraper.  In May 2000, Manhattan Theatre Club produced his play Proof at one of its Off Broadway theatres. Following the success of that run, it transferred to Broadway in the autumn of 2000.

In 2001, Proof won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Tony Award for Best Play, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best American Play, and Best Play awards from the Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle, and Drama League.

That spring he also served as a script consultant for tick…tick…BOOM! a musical written by the late Jonathan Larson. He was asked by Larson’s family to write the book based on the several different drafts Larson had written prior to his 1996 death.

Subsequently, Auburn has moved between writing plays and movies as well as directing. He has also served as a teacher and playwright in residence. His plays include The New York Idea, The Columnist, and Lost Lake.

He is currently one of the screenwriters on the upcoming new Charlie’s Angels movie.