Learn about Arkansas Rep’s production of WILLY WONKA JR. at noon today at the Clinton School

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The new Arkansas Repertory Theatre production of Willy Wonka Jr. will be the focus of a noontime Clinton School program today (June 20).

The scrumdidilyumptious adventures of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory light up the stage this summer at The Rep. Featuring many of the enchanting songs from the 1971 film, generations of candy lovers will delight in this devilishly delicious adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic tale, brought to life by a company of young artists. Grab your golden ticket to see Willy Wonka Jr.!

The Rep’s Director of Education Anna Kimmell says, “We’re thrilled to showcase the amazing talent of our local young artists and offer both performance and training opportunities for generations to come here at The Rep.”

The production runs June 21 to June 30.

All Clinton School Speaker Series events are free and open to the public. Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or by calling (501) 683-5239

The Studio Theatre offers six musicals in 2015-2016; one show still remains in current season

studioThe Studio Theatre has announced the shows for their second season.

Up first, however, is Dogfight which will close out the first season.  Adapted from the 1991 movie of the same name, Dogfight is a story of compassion, heartbreak and redemption. Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical in 2013, Dogfight runs August 20- August 23 at The Studio Theatre located at 320 West 7th Street in downtown.

The 2015-2016 season includes six musicals.  Four of them will be making their Little Rock premieres. One of the other musicals will have its first non-touring production in Little Rock.

The new season kicks off on October 22 with a show filled with scary tales about the evils of doing bad. It is the satire Reefer Madness based on the non-satirical but unintentionally hilarious 1936 movie of the same name.

This musical, written by Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney, premiered in Los Angeles in 1998 and Off Broadway in 2001.  The Studio Theatre production will be directed by Ryan Whitfield.  The show will run from October 22 until October 31.

The Studio Theatre had a hit in 2015 with Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years.  In January 2016, they will present his first musical Songs for a New World.  This song cycle premiered Off Broadway in 1995 and has become a popular show throughout the US.  The musical style of the score varies broadly. The thing that unites the songs is the concept of making a choice or taking a stand.

The production will be directed by Monica Clark Robinson.  Songs for a New World will run January 21 to 24.

Once upon a time, Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine wrote a musical based on the Grimm Brothers’ folk tales.  Into the Woods will be the third show next season.  Opening on Broadway in 1987, it may have lost the Tony for Best Musical to The Phantom of the Opera, but it has not suffered as a popular musical.

This production of Into the Woods will run from March 10 to 26.  It will be directed by Rafael Castanera, who beautifully directed Nine earlier this year.

Based on the Alice Walker novel and the Steven Spielberg movie, The Color Purple will be the fourth musical of the season.  Running from May 12 to 22, it will be directed by Crystal Mercer.

After it premiered in Atlanta in 2004, it made it to Broadway the following year.  The show has a book by Pulitzer winner Marsha Norman. The songs are by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray.  The show was nominated for 11 Tonys and won one.

The 1980s hair bands will be honored by the 5th show as Rock of Ages takes the stage. Directed by Justin A. Pike, it will run from July 14 to 24. With a book by Chris D’Arienzo, the musical features songs from Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, Twisted Sister, Steve Perry, Poison and Europe.

Rock of Ages first played Off Broadway before transferring to Broadway.  It closed in January 2015 after playing more than 2300 performances on Broadway.

The final musical of the 2015-2016 season is James and the Giant Peach. Based on the Roald Dahl book, this musical features a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul.  The pair were nominated for a Tony for their score of the musical version of A Christmas Story.

This show will run from August 11 to 21.  It will be directed by Mark Burbank.  He is also directing Dogfight which features a score by Pasek and Paul.

(This is not connected to the production offered by the Arkansas Arts Center a few seasons back.)

FANTASTIC MR FOX today at the CALS Ron Robinson Theater

Fantastic_mr_foxToday at 2pm at the Ron Robinson Theatre, the animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox will be shown on the big screen. Admission is $5.

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 American stop-motion animated film based on the Roald Dahl novel. The film is about a fox who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers. They are fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft and try to kill him, so they dig their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground.

Development on the film started in 2004, but it was released in autumn 2009.  It features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Owen Wilson and Adrien Brody.  The film’s director, Wes Anderson, also voiced one of the characters.  This was Anderson’s first animated film.

The film was nominated for two Oscars: Best Animated Film and Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat).

 

Arts Center Children’s Theatre geared for Adults Tonight

jamesgiantadultThe Arkansas Arts Center is hosting an event tonight featuring the Children’s Theatre production of James and the Giant Peach.  The twist is that this event is for adults 21 and over.

Billed as “Giant Peaches and Fuzzy Navels” the event starts at 7pm with a reception.  It will feature refreshments (including adult beverages which use peaches as ingredients) and a musical performance by Paul Morphis.

At 8pm, the production of James and the Giant Peach will start.

The title character is played by Jeffrey Oakley.  Mark Hansen and Aleigha Morton play his horrible aunts.  Others in the cast are Garrett Flood as Old Green Grasshopper, Anna Tess Frost as Spider, Jeremy Matthey as Centipede, Jhonika Wright as Ladybird and Cassandra Nary as Earthworm.David Wood has adapted Dahl’s story for the stage.  The production is directed and designed by Alan Keith Smith.  Erin Larkin designed the costumes, and Penelope Poppers is the lighting designer.

James and the Giant Peach opens tonight and runs through May 12.  Public performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Bradley Anderson is the artistic director of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. Dr. Todd Herman is the executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center.

James and the Giant Peach at AAC

aac_childrens_theatre_james_peach_lgA magical peach! An incredible journey! Young orphan James escapes the clutches of his horrible Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker when he finds an enormous peach growing in his yard containing talking insects. James, the wise Old-Green-Grasshopper and the pessimistic Earthworm begin a wild adventure to an unknown destination.

This magical tale comes to life at the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.

Broadway audiences are paying a small fortune to see a stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.  But Little Rock audiences can see Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach for $12.

The title character is played by Jeffrey Oakley.  Mark Hansen and Aleigha Morton play his horrible aunts.  Others in the cast are Garrett Flood as Old Green Grasshopper, Anna Tess Frost as Spider, Jeremy Matthey as Centipede, Jhonika Wright as Ladybird and Cassandra Nary as Earthworm.

David Wood has adapted Dahl’s story for the stage.  The production is directed and designed by Alan Keith Smith.  Erin Larkin designed the costumes, and Penelope Poppers is the lighting designer.

James and the Giant Peach opens tonight and runs through May 12.  Public performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Bradley Anderson is the artistic director of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre. Dr. Todd Herman is the executive director of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Ark Arts Childrens Theatre 2012-13 Season

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre has announced the 2012-2013 season.

The season will kick off with Madeline and the Gypsies from September 21 through October 7.  In this adaptation of Ludwig Bemelmans classic children’s story, the irrepressible Madeline and her friend Pepito are stranded during an outing at the rousing gypsy circus.

Bunnicula will be on stage October 26 – November 11, 2012. Bunnicula by James Howe has been a hit with kids and their parents since the book was published in 1979.

The season continues with the holiday show City Mouse, Country Mouse, Christmas House on stage November 30 – December 16, 2012. A Children’s Theatre premiere, this musical is based on Aesop’s fable about a country mouse who is invited to visit her cousin in the city for Christmas.

The Three Little Pigs and Three Billy Goats Gruff will be on stage January 25 – February 10, 2013. The Children’s Theatre will present these classic stories back to back in a witty musical production.

The Princess and the Pea, a Children’s Theatre premiere, will come to life on stage March 8 – 24, 2013. This classic tale of royal courtship is told in a fresh new way.

The 2012-13 season will end with Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, on stage April 26 – May 12, 2013.

Performances are held Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. City Mouse, Country Mouse, Christmas House will have an additional performance on Saturdays at 1 p.m. as well as 3 p.m. The Princess and the Pea will have special Spring Break matinees in addition to the normal performance times.

Tickets are $12 for children and adults. Season ticket packages are available. The season is sponsored by Landers Fiat and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield. Bradley Anderson is the Artistic Director of the Children’s Theatre; Todd Herman is the Executive Director of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Call 501-372-4000 for more information.