If both you and your kids start to feel a bit hyperactive during the 2015-2016 season you might want to blame it on the Chicago Children’s Theater (CCT). The company plans to produce seven different shows (as opposed to the four of this season), with three consecutive presentations with shorter runs in the middle of the season embracing the theme of “snow.”
As previously announced, Jessie Fisher (who recently starred in the Broadway production of “Once”) will to head up the Chicago premiere of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” (to be directed by Stuart Carden). And now it has been revealed that playwright Nambi E. Kelley (who also is a formidable actress, as confirmed by her work in the recent Goodman production of “Two Trains Running”), will be writing a new play about the Civil Rights Movement, with a title to be announced. The show, to be directed by Lili-Anne Brown, will receive its CCT debut next spring.
Here’s the complete lineup:
± The Chicago premiere of “Goodnight Moon” & “he Runaway Bunny” (Sept. 29-Oct. 11, 2015): This Mermaid Theater of Nova Scotia production (for ages 3 and up), inspired by two family favorites by Margaret Wise Brown, will feature Mermaid’s signature innovative puppetry, striking special effects and evocative original music.
± The Chicago premiere of “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” (Oct. 23-Nov. 15, 2015): Adapted by Dwayne Hartford
from the book by Newbery Award-winner Kate DiCamillo, and directed by Stuart Carden, this show (for ages 7 and up), will feature Jessie Fisher in the story of a very dapper china rabbit named Edward Tulane who gets lost at sea, and bounces from person to person, and decade to decade until the the audience is shown a true miracle, and Edward discovers the transformative power of love.
± “A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter & Friends” (Nov. 28, Dec. 5, 12 and 19): Devised by Will Bishop, and presented at a special location TBA, this show (for ages 3 and up) is inspired by the stories of Helen Beatrix Potter that feature iconic animal characters like Peter Rabbit, and celebrate British country life. The stories are told through a series of mechanical suitcase sculptures, which invite visitors to pull levers and turn cranks as surprising images are revealed in this interactive, four-dimensional winter fairy tale.
± The Chicago premiere of “Snowflake” (Jan. 27-Feb. 14, 2016): Devised and performed by Gale LaJoye , this piece (for all ages) comes to the city following a successful run at Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis. As Snowflake, Lajoye sings a tale of a kindhearted soul who, with little more than imagination and hope, breathes life into what others regard as useless, transforming the simplest of objects into comedic treasures.
± The Chicago premiere of “Snow Angel” (Feb. 16-21, 2016): Devised by Quest Theatre in Calgary, Canada, this show (for ages 3 and up), makes it clear that there is no fighting a Chicago winter, so lit might be better to celebrate winter here instead. Angel is a wordless piece that cleverly uses movement, masks and music to tell the story of a brother and sister who discover a magical winter wonderland in a new snowfall.
± The Chicago premiere of “Seedfolks” (April 6-17, 2016: The work of Paul Fleischman, this Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis production, directed by Peter C. Brosius (for ages 7 and up), features one woman playing 14 characters to tell the story of the founding and first year of a community garden in a gritty, immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Each character is from a different ethnic group, and describes the transformation of the empty lot into a vibrant garden. While doing so, each experiences his or her own transformation.
± A world premiere by Nambi E. Kelley (April 26-May 22, 2016): With a title TBA, and direction of Bailiwick Chicago artistic director Lili-Anne Brown, this show (for ages 7 an up), will look at the Civil Rights Movement as seen through the eyes of a child.
Chicago Children’s Theatre 2015-16 membership passes range from a 2 Show Pass for $57 per person, to a 6 Show Pass for $126 per person. Renewing CCT members can save up to 50% off. Benefits include reserved section seating, flexible ticketing dates, discounts on CCT classes and camps, no processing fees and exclusive member invitations to CCT special events. In addition, all 2015-16 CCT members get the first opportunity to select the seventh show, “A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter & Friends” as a holiday add-on for $15 a ticket.
Single tickets are $10-$38, and go on sale Monday, August 3. Chicago Children’s Theater also offers deeply discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups. Email GroupSales@chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (773) 227-0180 x 13 to learn more.
All shows, except “A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter & Friends,” will be presented at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn. Membership passes offering deep discounts over single tickets go on sale April 27 at 10 a.m., either online at chicagochildrenstheatre.org, or by phone at (872) 222-9555.