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.

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Have Fun and Learn as SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! takes stage at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

AAC CT SchoolhouseThe Schoolhouse Rock cartoon may be decades old now, but this fresh, live-theatre adaptation will spark the wide-eyed wonder of new discovery in our youngest generation while inviting smiles of toe-tapping, lip-synching nostalgia from the rest of us. Get ready to relive those fun-filled afternoons in front of the TV; Schoolhouse Rock Live! is coming to the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre March 4-25.

From “Just a Bill,” “Conjunction Junction,”  “Interplanet Janet” and more, every song in this live musical performance of the classic, Emmy Award-winning cartoon series “Schoolhouse Rock” is sure to please.  With performances Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., March 4-25, and 2 p.m. matinee performances March 22-25, there are plenty of opportunities to see this show which makes learning grammar, science, math and history a delight!

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre performance of Schoolhouse Rock Live! is directed by Katie Campbell. Costumes are designed by Erin Larkin, lighting design by Mike Stacks, scenic design by Miranda Young, choreography by Erin Fowler and Rivka Kupperman is the stage manager. Nicole Jovanovic and Cathleen Gleason are part of the run crew.

The cast includes:

  • Nick Spencer of Nashville TN. as Tom;
  • Jeremy Matthey of North Little Rock as George;
  • Samantha Harrington of Little Rock as Shulie;
  • Aleigha Morton of Beebe as Dori;
  • Geoffrey Eggleston of Sioux Falls, SD as Joe and
  • Paige Carpenter of Little Rock as Dina.

Schoolhouse Rock Live! was originally adapted and produced for the stage by Theatre BAM, from the series created by George Newall and Tom Yohe, based on an idea by David McCall; book by Scott Ferguson, George Keating and Kyle Hall. Music and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Bob Dorough, Dave Frishberg, Kathy Mandry, George Newall and Tom Yohe.

Schoolhouse Rock and the accompany play have strong ties to Arkansas. Robert Dorough, born in Cherry Hill, Ark., wrote and performed many of the original songs for the cartoon and the play. Scott Ferguson is the original director and author of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Not only is he a native of Sherwood,, but he is also an alumnus of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre.

Get ready for the ultimate Throwback Thursday event with Schoolhouse on the Rocks—an adults-only singalong performance of Schoolhouse Rock Live! on Thursday, March 10. Before the play, enjoy a reception at 6 p.m. featuring themed cocktails, a cereal and Hiland Dairy milk bar with some of your favorite breakfast treats and a grownup spin on other classic childhood snacks. Tickets are $10 for members, $20 for non-members and include the reception and ticket to the show.

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre will once again offer “Pay What You Can” preview performances. “Pay What You Can” tickets are available for the 7 p.m. Thursday preview performance of each Main Stage production. Tickets for the Schoolhouse Rock Live! preview on Thursday, March 3 must be purchased in person at the Arkansas Arts Center (501 East 9th Street) from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center, or from 6-6:45 p.m. at the Children’s Theatre Box Office, Lower Lobby Level. The maximum ticket purchase of six tickets per person. Additional tickets can always be purchased in person, online or by phone at regular ticket pricing.

Schoolhouse Rock Live!

March 4-25, 2016

Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Spring Break Matinee Performances:  March 22-25, 2016 at 2 p.m.

Ticket prices: $12.50 General admission, $10 for Arkansas Arts Center members, $10 per person for groups of 10 or more

Best enjoyed by all ages.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ArkansasArtsCenter.org/theatre.

13 CLOCKS next at Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre

AAC CT ClocksThe Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre invites you to join the brave Prince Zorn on a whimsically impossible fantasy quest from the ever-surprising, always entertaining imagination of James Thurber. The 13 Clocks will run January 29 – February 14.

In The 13 Clocks, Thurber tells the story of Princess Saralinda and her evil uncle, the Duke, who holds her prisoner in a tower, refusing to let her marry. That is until Prince Zorn arrives to rescue her. But first, he must complete an impossible task: deliver 1,000 jewels to the Duke just as the 13 castle clocks strike five o’clock.

The cast is led by Samantha Harrington and Geoffrey Eggleston.  Adapted for the stage by Keith Smith from the story by James Thurber, it is directed by Bradley D. Anderson, AACCT artistic director. Costumes are designed by Nikki Webster, technical direction and set design by Drew Posey, lighting design by Mike Stacks, properties design by Miranda Young and Sarah Gasser is the stage manager.

Performances are Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m.

 $12.50 General admission, $10 for Arkansas Arts Center members

 

A Sparklejollytwinklejingley Show!

THEREP_ELF (no credits)-page-001The holidays are here. And if you need to get into the Christmas spirit, I suggest you buy, beg or bargain to get a ticket to see Buddy the Elf and his friends in the musical Elf which is playing at the Arkansas Rep through January 4.

This frothy, fun, friendly show has but one aim – to entertain.  And how it does succeed.

With a smart, witty, heart-filled book by Tony winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone, TV’s “Slings & Arrows”), the story works on several different levels. (Incidentally, Meehan takes a swipe at his other Christmas-NYC set musical Annie with a joke, while Martin seems to be aping The Drowsy Chaperone by having the story open with a man in a chair). The score by Tony nominees Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar (The Wedding Singer) ranges from toe-tapping to heartstring-pulling.

Elf is, of course, based upon the eponymously named film.  Disclaimer – I’ve not seen the movie.  I do not get Will Ferrell’s appeal, so steer clear of most movies starring him.  But love of the movie is not necessary to enjoy the stage musical. The book, score, cast and production values take the audience on a wild sleigh ride of holiday fun regardless of familiarity with the source material.

As Buddy the Elf, Ethan Paulini is a chief reason for the show’s appeal. He is rarely off stage, and somehow manages to keep a high level of energy throughout. His ebullient Buddy is both naïve and knowing. Whether singing, dancing or acting, he never overplays the part or goes for cheap laughs.  Through his performance, one believes that he really does charm his way into everyone’s hearts regardless of their age or gender.

As the object of Buddy’s affection, it is a joy to watch Alyssa Gorgone’s Jovie transform from guarded to glowing.  She deftly handled her songs and dances.  Gorgone and Paulini have a nice chemistry together as the court each other.

David Hess moves from blustery to boasting in his portrayal of Buddy’s dad.  Anna Lise Jensen is a delight as his long-suffering wife whose struggle to find her own place mirror’s Buddy’s quest.  As Buddy’s younger half-brother Price Clark is a joy to watch. He is neither precocious nor cloying. Instead, he is a believable kid who is concerned about his parents and is thrilled to have a new brother.

Tessa Faye stops the show as Deb the secretary as she comically aids Buddy and leads the office in a rousing production number. Kyron Turner and Tanner Wilson make the most of their scenes as harried employees hoping for a holiday miracle. J. B. Adams bookends the show as an avuncular, folksy Santa Claus.

From beleaguered New Yorkers to bored Macy’s elves to depressed Santas, the ensemble fill the stage with delightful characters. Hannah Eakin, Allison Stearns, Jason Samuel, Jimmy Kieffer, Anthony Bryant, Chris McNiff, Jack Doyle, Samantha Harrington, Tatiana H. Green, Marisa Kirby, Eric Mann, Kennedy Sample and Mary Katelin Ward have enough vigor, vim and verve to make the cast seem much larger than it actually is.

The elves are played by the younger members of the cast. These kids are having fun – and why not? They get to spend the show in two of the most magical settings imaginable: The North Pole and New York City at Christmas.  They very ably perform their production numbers and create memorable characters without stealing focus from Buddy and Santa.  Addison Dowdy, Gunner Gardner, Reagan Hodson, Anna Beth Jeane, Ethan Marbaise, Max McCurdy, Danny Phillips, Grace Pitts, Corbin Pitts, Niall Prochazka, Marisol Sela, and Madison Stolzer were welcome additions to the production.  Most of these performers are seasoned veterans of the Rep’s Summer Musical Theatre Intensive. They show that their talent works in the wintertime too.

Nicole Capri directed Elf with a light, comic touch. She neither glosses over nor smothers the audience with the heart in the show, she trusted her performers and the story to bring it out.  She keeps the show moving at a brisk pace while allowing for enough quiet moments that it does not seem frantic.  Marisa Kirby’s creative, crowd-pleasing choreography put the actors through their paces.  Together Capri and Kirby fashioned production numbers which allowed each performer to stand out as an individual character while still part of a seamless ensemble.

Elf’s magical world was ably served by Shelly Hall’s colorful costumes, Dan Kimble’s lighting, Allan Branson’s sound and Lynda J. Kwallek’s props.  One of the joys of the show is undoubtedly the songs. Credit for that goes largely to Mark Binns, the show’s musical director.  He leads the orchestra as they play the peppy, tuneful score. He also deserves credit for helping the actors maximize their sounds as they perform the songs while executing Kirby’s inventive choreography.

Though based on a 2000s movie, Elf is really a throwback to 1950s and 1960s workplace musicals. There are the buffoonly bullying boss, the comic-relief secretary, the dancing office boys and office girls, the disconnected wife and kids, and, of course, the outsider hero who saves the day and wins the heart of the leading lady. The show also offers dancing Santas, prancing elves, and a travelogue’s worth of New York City settings.

Elf doesn’t ask the audience to think too hard or to get wrapped up in cloying sentimentality. It merely wants to entertain as it allows the audience an escape from daily strife.

No matter your holiday of choice at this time of the year, the Rep is giving audiences a present with Elf!