Adult night for Arkansas Arts Center production of THE HOBBIT

The HobbitBack by popular demand!

Join the Arkansas Arts Center in the Lower Lobby before the 7 p.m. performance tonight (May 9) of The Hobbit™. Guests will adventure “there and back again” with specialty drinks and snacks before the show. 21+ event

The 2018–2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre closes this spring with The Hobbit. The show runs through May 12, 2019.

Performances of The Hobbit are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 each or $10 for members of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Bilbo Baggins is swept away – a reluctant hero on the adventure of his lifetime. In the company of thirteen rough and tumble dwarves and one cryptic wizard, Bilbo braves danger at every turn on this exciting quest for dragon’s gold. Mister Bilbo Baggins cordially invites you to travel with him “There and Back Again” in this new adaptation of Tolkien’s classic tale. So come and join the quest. There’s a partner’s share of treasure waiting just for you.

The play is based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises. It was adapted for the stage by Keith Smith. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre’s production of The Hobbit is directed by John Isner. Bradley D. Anderson is the Artistic Director. The set was designed by Keith Smith, costume design by Nikki Gray, properties design by Cathleen Brignac, and lighting design by Mike Stacks. Liz McMath is the stage manager. The Hobbit is a trademark of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.

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Plans for 2019-2020 season of Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre announced

While the Children’s Theatre at the Arkansas Arts Center undergoes a much-needed renovation, Children’s Theatre Restaged will bring the magic of live theatre to stages across Arkansas.  

In this reimagined format, the Children’s Theatre will expand its touring capacity while the Arts Center’s MacArthur Park facility undergoes its major renovation and expansion project. The Hobbit, on stage April 26 – May 12, will be the last Main Stage production in the current MacArthur Park building. Main Stage shows will resume in the Arkansas Arts Center’s renovated theater in fall 2022.

Children’s Theatre on Tour, part of the Arts Center’s Statewide ArtsReach program, currently serves more than 35,000 students and families in communities across Arkansas with three traveling productions every year. In this expanded format, Children’s Theatre Restaged will allow the Arts Center to reach even more students and families across the state with professional, educational live theatre experiences.

Through this expanded program, literary-based theatre productions will continue to travel to schools, community centers and libraries across Arkansas. The 2019–2020 Children’s Theatre on Tour season will include Wynken, Blynken and Nod: A Play for the Very Young (September 24 – November 1), A Christmas Carol (November 12 – December 20), The Arkansas Story Porch (January 14 – February 28), and The Wind in the Willows (April 7 – May 15).

Children’s Theatre Restaged will also include additional public productions and performances at the Arkansas Arts Center’s temporary location in Riverdale and at other community locations. Details about additional programming will continue to be announced throughout 2019.

Children’s Theatre Restaged is yet another piece of the Arts Center’s commitment to remaining accessible to the community while its MacArthur Park building is under construction. The Arts Center is committed to working with cultural partners across the region to expand access to performing and visual art programming while increasing programming reach.

“Children’s Theatre Restaged will continue and grow our mission by inviting more families and more communities to discover creativity on stage,” said Laine Harber, Interim Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer. “The Arkansas Arts Center was imagined as a hub for the arts in Arkansas. As we build our new home in MacArthur Park, we’re excited to take this interlude to build our reach across the state.”

Theatre classes will also continue while the Arts Center undergoes renovation. The 2019 Junior Arts Academy and Summer Theatre Academy will be held at the MacArthur Park facility this summer. While the Arts Center’s MacArthur Park building is under construction, those programs will continue at other community locations.

Children’s Theatre staff will work out of the Arkansas Arts Center’s temporary Riverdale space during the renovation and expansion project along with the rest of the Arts Center staff. In the Children’s Theatre’s 14,200 square-foot workshop, theatre staff will create sets, sew costumes, and build props for the Arts Center’s touring productions and programs.

“Children’s Theatre Restaged is the next chapter in the Children’s Theatre’s long history of bringing magic and joy to the stage,” said Bradley Anderson, Children’s Theatre Artistic Director. “We are excited to have this opportunity to expand our traveling programs and we can’t wait for families across the state to delight in the productions we’re creating.”

2019–2020 Children’s Theatre on Tour Season:

Wynken, Blynken, and Nod: A Play for the Very Young
September 24 – November 1, 2019
Toddlers and preschoolers will delight in the enchanting and whimsical journey of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod as they sail away one magical night and meet the mystical Moon! Inspired by Eugene Field’s poem, this interactive musical for early-childhood audiences explores the fantasy world of dreams. The Moon asks, “where are you going, and what do you wish?” And the night sky becomes the sea and stars become fish as audience members see, touch, and participate throughout the play. Join Wynken, Blynken, Nod, and the Moon on this 45-minute multi-sensory adventure for the very young.

A Christmas Carol
November 12 – December 20, 2019
Clever, comedic, and kid-friendly, this holiday play breathes new life into Dickens’ heart-warming classic. Schooled by a team of magical Christmas Eve visitors, Ebenezer Scrooge, the most miserable of all misers, rediscovers the true spirit of the season—one of love, generosity, and family. With these touchstones of happiness revived in him, he wakes Christmas morning to find himself “light as a feather, happy as an angel, and merry as a schoolboy!”

The Arkansas Story Porch
January 14 – February 28, 2020
Old Winnie and Monroe Jones are the fun-lovin’est pair of Ozark hill folk you’ll ever hope to meet. Nothing tickles them more than sitting on their plank-board porch with friends and neighbors spinning yarns and singing songs of Arkansas lore and Arkansas history. And guess what? You’re invited! So pull up a seat and get ready to laugh and sing. It’s Arkansas story time, y’all!

The Wind in the Willows
April 7 – May 15, 2020
For Mole, Rat, and Badger, springtime is a time for new life, new friendships, and enjoying the simple pleasures—that is, until Mr. Toad of Toad Hall careens onto the scene. After a madcap spree of weasel clashes and motorcar crashes, it is up to the three friends to take the prodigal toad in hand and rescue him from his most dangerous enemy—himself.

THE HOBBIT closes 2018-2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre season

The HobbitThe 2018–2019 Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre closes this spring with The Hobbit. The show runs April 26 – May 12, 2019.

Performances of The Hobbit are Fridays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 each or $10 for members of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Bilbo Baggins is swept away – a reluctant hero on the adventure of his lifetime. In the company of thirteen rough and tumble dwarves and one cryptic wizard, Bilbo braves danger at every turn on this exciting quest for dragon’s gold. Mister Bilbo Baggins cordially invites you to travel with him “There and Back Again” in this new adaptation of Tolkien’s classic tale. So come and join the quest. There’s a partner’s share of treasure waiting just for you.

The play is based on The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and licensed by Middle-earth Enterprises. It was adapted for the stage by Keith Smith. The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre’s production of The Hobbit is directed by John Isner. Bradley D. Anderson is the Artistic Director. The set was designed by Keith Smith, costume design by Nikki Gray, properties design by Cathleen Brignac, and lighting design by Mike Stacks. Liz McMath is the stage manager. The Hobbit is a trademark of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.

The cast includes:

  • Mike Stacks of Conway as Balin and Great Goblin
  • Bethany Post of Austintown, Ohio as Bard
  • Anthony McBride of Benton as Bilbo
  • Anna Mammarelli of Little Rock as Elf Guard
  • Paige Carpenter of Lonsdale as Elf King and Bolg
  • Jared Gibson of San Antonio, Texas as Elrond
  • Mark Hansen of Little Rock as Gandalf
  • Stephen Jones of Little Rock as Thorin
  • Grace Stacks of Conway as Thursh

Angelina Bearden, Paige Carpenter, Jared Gibson, Matthew Cantone, Simon Gess, Sophia Gonzales, Isabella Gonzales, Mackenzie Holtzclaw, Bella Kerby, Rachel Lara, Stephanie Lyle, Anna Mammarelli, Bethany Post, Taliah Pulley, Madelin Reyes, Grace Stacks, and Madison Stolzer are the ensemble.

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

Friday, April 26, 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 The Hobbit! 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, April 26, 2019
Opening Night Celebration: The Hobbit – 7 p.m.
After the show, enjoy a meet and greet with the cast, snacks and punch to celebrate the opening night of The Hobbit.

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Adult Night at The Hobbit – 6 p.m.
Back by popular demand! Join us in the Lower Lobby before the 7 p.m. performance of The Hobbit. We’ll adventure “there and back again” with specialty drinks and snacks. 21+ event. $20 or $10 for members of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Friday, May 3, 2019
Pajama Night at The Hobbit – 7 p.m.
Toss on those cute pajamas and join us at the Children’s Theatre for the 7 p.m. performance of The Hobbit. Stickers are available at the Box Office before the show for children (and parents!) wearing pajamas.

Saturday, May 4, 2019
ASL Interpreted Performance – 2 p.m.
There will be American Sign Language interpreters at the 2 p.m. performance of The Hobbit. Visit the Box Office before the performance for seating assistance.

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.

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.