The late Bob Dorough, Arkansan and musical genius, named a 2019 NEA Jazz Master

Earlier this week, the National Endowment for the Arts announced the 2019 Jazz Masters.  Among them was the late Bob Dorough, who died on April 23 of this year.  The other three recipients are big band leader Maria Schneider, pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and writer Stanley Crouch.

Dorough’s career spanned more than 70 years in jazz as a singer, pianist, composer, and arranger. His distinctive vocals, clever lyrics, and strong melodies were well-known in the jazz world even before his compositions and vocals for the animation series “Schoolhouse Rock!.”

Born in Arkansas and raised in Texas, hepivoted toward jazz after hearing Benny Goodman and Harry James recordings. During a three-year-stint in the U.S. Army from 1943-45, he worked as an arranger and musician in a Special Services band, then earned a bachelor’s degree in composition at North Texas State Teachers College (now known as the University of North Texas) in 1949.

Dorough relocated to New York City to continue his studies at Columbia University and immersed himself in the vibrant local jazz scene.  After spending six months working at the famed Mars Club in Paris, France, he returned to the U.S. and settled in Los Angeles, performing as pianist-vocalist in clubs and as supporting act between sets for comedian Lenny Bruce. Dorough’s first album, Devil May Care, was released in 1956.

In 1962, Dorough was working on the East Coast when he received a call from Miles Davis who he had met several years before in Los Angeles, asking him to write a Christmas song for him to record. Dorough composed “Blue Xmas (To Whom It May Concern)” and sang it with Davis as well as another track, “Nothing Like You,” used as the closing track of Davis’ album Sorcerer in 1967.

In 1972, Dorough was hired by a New York advertising firm to set the multiplication tables to music to make them easier to learn. It was decided that the songs would make good animation, and Tom Yohe put artwork with the music to create Schoolhouse Rock! Dorough became the musical director of the television series, enlisting other well-known jazz musicians to help write and perform the songs. The animated educational series became a staple of the ABC network’s children’s programming for more than two decades.

In 1998, he was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.  The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre has performed the stage adaptation of “School House Rock Live!” (which was created by Arkansan and AAC alum Scott Ferguson and performed all over the country).

On April 15, 2019, the NEA will host a free concert celebrating the Jazz Masters at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Beginning in 1982, NEA has bestowed the Jazz Master honor on more than 150 people connected to the jazz genre, including Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Dianne Reeves and George Wein. Individuals first are nominated by the public, with an NEA-convened panel assessing the nominations before the National Council on the Arts reviews the recommendations and forwards them along to the NEA chairman, who makes the final decision.

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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.

Arts Center Children’s Theatre Main Stage Season for 2015-2016

aac_logo_childrens_theatreRecognized by The Drama League as one of the best regional theatre companies in America, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is the only professional company in Arkansas that produces children’s literary works for the stage. Since 1979, Children’s Theatre has been creating exceptional theatre for family audiences. Well-loved contemporary stories and classic tales come to life with fantastic characters, brilliant lighting, colorful costumes and a little magic in our fully-staged productions.

The 2015-2016 season, presented by Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield, will feature six Main Stage shows: Puss in Boots; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; The Gingerbread Man; The 13 Clocks; Schoolhouse Rock Live! and The Adventures of Peter Rabbit.

 

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is dedicated to the creation and presentation of high quality adaptations and original plays for young people and their families. Inspired by classic and contemporary sources, these works provide an honest, relevant and challenging artistic experience for our audiences throughout the state. It is our purpose to cultivate a nurturing and educational environment where performing artists and audience members alike can discover, learn and grow.

“Pay What You Can” tickets are available for the 7 p.m. Thursday preview performance of each Main Stage production. Tickets must be purchased in person at the Arkansas Arts Center (501 E. 9th St.) from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Stephens Inc. Visitors Center, Atrium Level, or from 6-6:45 p.m. at the Children’s Theatre Box Office, Lower Lobby Level. The minimum ticket price is $1.00 per ticket, with a maximum ticket purchase of six tickets per person. Additional tickets can always be purchased in person, online or by phone at regular ticket pricing.

Theatre doors open 30 minutes prior to show for seating.

The 2015/2016 season of the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is sponsored by: Presenting Sponsor, Arkansas BlueCross Blue Shield; Fall Season Sponsor, Centennial Bank; Spring Season Sponsors, The Fine Arts Club of Arkansas and Dr. Loren Bartole, ‘Family Foot Care’; Additional Support Provided by The Morris Foundation and Media Sponsor, Little Rock Family Magazine.

 

MAIN STAGE SHOWS

 Puss in Boots

 September 18 – October 4, 2015

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 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 (Children 2 years of age and under are free, however the child must remain in an adult’s lap at all times.)

 Best enjoyed by all ages.

Based on Charlie Perrault’s world famous feline fun-time fairytale, Puss in Boots is an electric story set in song and dance. Be amazed as swashbuckling Puss the Cat raises his master, Claude, from a down-and-out miller’s son to the heights of happiness. Enjoy all the madcap fun as Puss brandishes, not his sword, but his superior feline intellect to conquer kings and ogres (and even a few rabbits along the way). It’s all about brain over brawn. Oh, and you’ll just love his shoes. Adapted by Keith Smith from the fable by Charles Perrault.

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

 

 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

 October 23 – November 8, 2015

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 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 third grade and up.

Ichabod Crane is the newly-hired schoolmaster of Sleepy Hollow, a superstitious little community in New York’s Hudson Valley, 1790. He persistently professes his disbelief in all things supernatural—until the night of Katrina Van Tassel’s Halloween Frolic, that is. Riding home that evening, Ichabod comes face to face—so to speak—with Sleepy Hollow’s most feared and famous ghost.

Be swept along on this wild midnight ride of a story with the gremlins, ghosts and galloping headless horsemen which haunt this American Halloween classic—Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Adapted by Frederick Gaines from the story by Washington Irving.

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

 

 The Gingerbread Man

 December 4-20, 2015

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

Grandma Tic and Grandpa Toc couldn’t be more surprised (or pleased) when the Gingerbread Man springs to life and dances around their little clock shop. He’s a happy little cookie man made of ginger and molasses. But when the sly, hungry Fox comes along, playtime is over and the race is on!

You won’t want to miss this wild, wacky holiday adventure, so strap on your sleigh-bell-Nikes and run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch him! He’s the Gingerbread Man! By Keith Smith.

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

 

 The 13 Clocks

 January 29 – February 14, 2016

 Show times: Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 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 third grade and up.

Enjoy this whimsically impossible fantasy quest from the ever-surprising, always entertaining imagination of James Thurber. Prince Zorn attempts to rescue Princess Saralinda from her uncle, the Duke of Coffin Castle. To do so he must complete an impossible task: He must deliver 1,000 jewels to the Duke just as the 13 castle clocks strike five o’clock. There’s just one problem: the clocks in Coffin Castle haven’t worked in seven years. Adapted by Keith Smith from the book by James Thurber.

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

 

 Schoolhouse Rock Live!

 March 4-25, 2016

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

 Spring Break matinees: March 22-25 at 2:00 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.

“Just a Bill,” “Conjunction Junction,” “Zero, My Hero,” “Interplanet Janet,” “Three is a Magic Number,” —and the beat goes on! Every song in this live musical performance of the classic, Emmy Award-winning cartoon series Schoolhouse Rock is sure to please.

Packing plenty of giggles, gasps, and outright laughs, this show makes grammar, science, math, history, and citizenship a delight to learn. And while the cartoon may be decades old now, 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. It may be a fun-filled romp of color, comedy, music and movement, but the word of the day is still learning.Originally adapted and produced for the stage by Theatre Bam; From the series created by George Newall and Tom Yohe and 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 Live! is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. 421 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 Phone: 212-541-4684 Fax: 212-397-4684 www.MTIShows.com

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

 

 The Adventures of Peter Rabbit

 April 22 – May 8, 2016

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

Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter Rabbit are bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and ready to romp. But before sending them off to explore the wide-wide world, Mother Rabbit gives each of her little ones a kiss and a pinch and a stern word of warning: “My dears, you may run and play in the fields or by the brook or down the lane, but whatever you do, don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden.” And so begins a day of mischief and adventure for one naughty little bunny—Peter Rabbit.

Featuring the charming and memorable songs of company composer, Lori Isner, this sweet little musical is a garden feast for eyes and ears of any size! Adapted by Keith Smith from the stories of Beatrix Potter.

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

(Posters for the MainStage shows created by David Hohn, with the exception of Schoolhouse Rock Live!)

PINKALICIOUS opens tonight at Ark Arts Center Children’s Theatre

aacctpinkThe Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre kicks off its 2013-2014 season with Pinkalicious the Musical.  The production will run from September 20 – October 6.

Pinkalicious is a contrary little girl who can’t stop eating pink cupcakes despite warnings from her parents. Her indulgence lands her at the doctor’s office with pinkititis, an affliction that turns her pink from head to toe which sounds like a dream come true for a pink enthusiast, but she soon realizes that she may have gone too far.

“Children who love the original book will recognize all their favorite characters in this delightful tale that reminds us all of the importance of moderation,” said Arkansas Arts Center executive director Todd Herman. “The talented cast will capture the young audience’s attention while also proving enjoyable for the adult chaperones.”

The cast for Pinkalicious the Musical includes:
Veronica Lowry, of Charlottesville, Va., as Pinkalicious
Jeremy Matthey, of Little Rock, Ark., as Peter/Bird
Aleigha Morton, of Little Rock, Ark., as Alison/Dr. Wink/Butterfly 2
Sissy Anne Quaranta, of Denver, Colo., as Mrs. Pinkerton/Butterfly 1
Dennis Glasscock, of Little Rock, Ark., as Mr. Pinkerton/Bee
Abby Bannerman, of Little Rock, Ark., as Cupcake Girl/Swarm of bees
Gretchen Bush, of Little Rock, Ark., as Cupcake Girl/Swarm of bees
Riley Melton, of Little Rock, Ark., as Cupcake Girl/Swarm of bees
Tasha Snyder, of Little Rock, Ark., Cupcake Girl/Swarm of bees
Madison Stolzer, of Little Rock, Ark., Cupcake Girl/Swarm of bees

Bradley D. Anderson is the artistic director for the production. Direction and choreography by Scott Ferguson, costumes are designed by Erin Larkin, technical direction by Drew Posey, lighting design by Penelope Poppers, scenic design and properties by Miranda Young and Rivka Kuperman is the production stage manager.

Pinkalicious  is written by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann and is based on their book with the same title. Music is by John Gregor and lyrics by John Gregor, Elizabeth Kann and Victoria Kann.

Presenting sponsors for the event are Landers Fiat and Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The production is also sponsored by Centennial Bank, JPMS Cox, PLLC with in-kind support provided by Boulevard Bread Company.

Pinkalicious the Musical is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized performance materials are supplied by Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), 570 Seventh Avenue, Suite 2100, New York, NY 10018. For more information, visit www.theatricalrights.com  or call (866) 378-9758.

Recognized by The Drama League as one of the best regional theatre companies in America, the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre is the only professional company in Arkansas that produces children’s literary works for the stage. Since 1979, Children’s Theatre has been creating unique experiences for family audiences. During the 2012-13 season, nearly 43,000 children and families enjoyed Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre productions which included more than 200 schools across Arkansas.

For more information, visit arkansasartscenter.org or call (501)372-4000. “Like” the Arkansas Arts Center on Facebook for the most up-to-date information on exhibitions, events and educational offerings.

On Stage at Children’s Theatre: A Frog and a Toad

The charming Tony nominated musical A Year with Frog and Toad returns to the Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre for the 2011 holiday season.  It continues through this Sunday, December 18. 

Based on Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad stories, it was written by brothers Willie and Robert Reale.  One of the show’s original producers was Lobel’s daughter Adrienne.  Lobel’s son-in-law Mark-Linn Baker was one of the original actors.  The production premiered at the Children’s  Theatre Company in Minneapolis and then played Off Broadway before transferring to Broadway.  The Broadway production received three Tony nominations: Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score.

The cast is led by Mark Hansen and Dennis Glasscock as the title characters respectively.  The other parts are played by Paige Herschell, Vanessa Sterling and Chris Straw.  The set design is by Miranda Young, costume design by Erin Larkin, lighting design by Adam Britt and Lori Isner is the musical director.

Children’s Theatre alum Scott Ferguson is the guest director of this production.  He was a fixture on the Children’s Theatre stage in the 1980s as a teen. Since then he has received recognition as a director and author.  His work Schoolhouse Rock Live!has been performed Off Broadway, nationwide and on the Arts Center stage.  Based in Chicago, he is Artistic Director, Theatrebam Chicago; Collective Member/Director of Project Development, Bailiwick Chicago; a director and teacher at the National High School Institute of Northwestern University; Artistic Associate, About Face Theatre and a residency artist and teacher for Urban Gateways: Center for Arts In Education.