CHICAGO- Chicago Children’s Theatre (chicagochildrenstheatre.org), the largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to families in Chicago, has announced its 2017-18 season.
The company’s five-show line-up boasts three world premieres, a focus on wildly unique theatrical experiences to share with the whole family and perhaps most exciting, one convenient location with onsite parking!
Now settled in its new home, Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, 100 S. Racine St. in Chicago’s West Loop, the company is happily shedding its former itinerant status and looks forward to presenting all of its family-friendly performances, classes and camps in the same location starting next fall.
CCT’s twelfth season opens in The Station’s new, 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre with a celebration of the joyful energy that launched the company, a new take on the smash hit A Year with Frog and Toad. Children’s author and illustrator Arnold Lobel’s beloved characters hop from the page to the stage in this Tony-nominated musical based on his popular children’s book that follows two best friends – the cheerful, popular Frog and the rather grumpy Toad – through four fun-filled seasons, telling the story of friendship that endures, weathering all seasons. A Year with Frog and Toad will be directed and choreographed by Stuart Carden. Andra Velis Simon is music director. Book and lyrics are by Willie Reale. Music by Robert Reale. Performances are September 19-November 5. A Year with Frog and Toad is an all ages show.
Next, children of all ages are cordially invited to enjoy a spot of tea or hot cocoa with CCT’s friends from the English Lake District at the Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Spend the day with Peter Rabbit, Mr. Jeremy Fisher and Simpkin the cat as they delight audiences in this interactive trunk and puppet show. Enjoy an elegant tea party, create your own puppets and mini-puppet show and pose for photographs with the cast. This installment of CCT’s Potter series is directed by Will Bishop and designed by Grace Needlman. Performances are December 2-17. Recommended for ages 2 to 6.
After the new year, at a magical birthday party, in a room overflowing with beautifully wrapped presents, three children explore their friendship in My Wonderful Birthday Suit!, a world premiere written and directed by Gloria Bond Clunie. When hurtful words about skin color slip out, best friends discover how to appreciate outer beauty while learning to seek the remarkable gifts inside each of us. Music, surprise and the wisdom of the splendiferous Thinking Tree make My Wonderful Birthday Suit! a very special celebration, complete with hands-on pre and post show experiences to explore outward appearances and inside gifts. Performances are January 16-February 18. For ages 4 to 7.
In the spring, The Station itself transforms into an all-immersive, two-story theatrical environment, totally unique to Chicagoland, titled An Epic Tale of Scale, written and directed by Henry Wishcamper and Jo Cattell, collaboratively designed by CCT Community Programs Artistic Director Frank Maugeri, with original music by Gabriel Ruiz. Think The Magic School Bus meets Sleep No More, and you’re close for an encounter that surely defies description. Incorporating original music, science experiments, games, arts and craft projects and more, kids and adults alike embark on this world premiere, interactive theatrical experience spanning two levels of The Station. Kids will explore the wonders and mysteries of scale while journeying deep inside the human body and out to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. Performances are March 10-April 8. Recommended for ages 6 and up.
Talk about a finale! Chicago Children’s Theatre, in a co-commission with Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, will debut Last Stop on Market Street, a world premiere musical based on the award-winning book by author Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson, winner of the 2016 Newbery Medal, a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and a 2016 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. Acclaimed playwright Cheryl L. West is creating this first-ever stage adaptation of one of the most celebrated children’s books ever. Kids (and parents) love Peña’s tale about a city kid named CJ and his wise, loving grandmother who teaches him to find beauty in the routine and the mundane. Speaking of mundane, the music will be anything but, as CCT is welcoming Motown music legend Lamont Dozier and his son, Paris Ray Dozier, the duo behind the music in CCT’s 2015 smash hit Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, back to Chicago to create the show’s original score. Henry Godinez directs. Andra Velis Simon is music director. Last Stop on Market Street will receive a developmental reading this summer at the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University. The production will premiere April 24-June 3 at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station. This show is recommended for ages 6 and up.
“Our 2017-18 season promises to be our most adventurous season yet, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that everything’s happening at our beautiful new home, The Station,” said Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director, Chicago Children’s Theatre. “Children, parents, teachers and students can look forward to an exciting season of unique and interactive theatrical experiences as we reaffirm our commitment to giving Chicago the very best in family entertainment.”
A wide variety of Chicago Children’s Theatre 2017-18 multi-show Subscription Packages are on sale now at chicagochildrenstheatre.org. Younger Audience Packages, recommended for ages 2 to 6, include A Year with Frog and Toad, The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party and My Wonderful Birthday Suit! Older Audience Packages, recommended for ages 6 and up, include A Year with Frog and Toad, An Epic Tale of Scale and Last Stop on Market Street.
Book early and save with Early Bird Packages, available through June 19 for only $55. That’s up to 60% off single ticket prices. After June 19, package prices will increase to $75 and in August to $100. Benefits of subscription packages include flexible ticketing exchange, a 10% discount and no processing fees on additional tickets and discounts on CCT classes and camps. Single tickets to CCT productions will range from $33 to $45, and will go on sale in August. To subscribe, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555.
CCT also offers deeply discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting groups. CPS schools may be eligible for financial assistance. Email [email protected] or call (872) 222-9555 to learn more.
Focus on inclusion: Chicago Children’s Theatre’s
Red Kite Treasure Adventure and
year-round Access Services
In addition to its 2017-18 five-show line-up, Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Red Kite Project will present Red Kite Treasure Adventure, an interactive theatrical experience with live music and sensory moments created specifically for young people on the autism spectrum, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, February 2- March 4. Inspired by characters from Edith Nesbit’s The Story of the Treasure Seekers, this intimate production creates a safe and exciting theatrical environment for young people with autism and their families. Audiences will join the chivalrous Oswald and his precocious siblings as they attempt to replace a priceless family heirloom. Their journey to track down a rare Chinese vase leads them through a hole in the Earth to Chinatown where they arrive just in time for New Year’s festivities, dragon puppets, fireworks, lanterns and shadow play. After conquering their fears (and a sea serpent named Gong Gong) our heroes return home with a newfound appreciation for bravery, honesty and family tradition.
Performances are limited to an audience of 10 children, each accompanied by a parent or caregiver, with room for a limited number of additional observers (other parents, siblings, etc.) Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at chicagochildrenstheatre.org or by calling (872) 222-9555.
In addition, Chicago Children’s Theatre continues to grow its commitment to serving all Chicago children by expanding its array of services for all patrons with disabilities. Each 2017-18 production at The Station will include an Access Weekend, during which all performances are presented with access services for children on the autism spectrum, children who are blind or have low vision, or children who are deaf or hard of hearing. For Access Weekend dates and more information, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org/access.
Education at The Station
In addition to presenting engaging shows in the intimate 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre, Frank Maugeri, Community Programs Artistic Director, also continues to grow its enormously successful roster of camps and classes. The Station also continues building community and inspiring the artistic lives of families by providing “Open Builds,” where neighbors come together and make art that weaves to CCT events and productions.
This summer, enroll your kids in innovative, engaging camps taught by professional artists. From Musical Theatre and Spectacle to Filmmaking and the exclusive Drama Intensive for Youth, CCT has a summer camp for every child in Chicago. Some financial assistance is available. Learn more and enroll online for summer camp at chicagochildrenstheatre.org/summercamp.
Returning fall class favorites will include Hip Hop for Tots taught by Yuri “The Human Beat Box” Lane, Circus and Aerial Arts taught by Actors Gymnasium, Bubble Jams, Taking the Stage and more, all designed to let children unleash their creativity and bring their imagination to live both on and off the stage. The full roster of fall classes will be announced soon. Keep an eye on chicagochildrenstheatre.org/classes for more information and to enroll.
About Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station
Chicago Children’s Theatre has transformed the former 12th District Police Station, located in the heart of Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood at 100 S. Racine Avenue, at the intersection of Racine and Monroe Street, into its first permanent home.
The new Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Station, is a beautiful, mixed-use performing arts and education facility designed to serve all Chicago families. In addition to presenting shows in the 149-seat Pritzker Family Studio Theatre, The Station boasts five brand new classrooms for a diverse, year-round roster of classes and camps for toddlers to teens.
Additionally, CCT now has its own dedicated space at The Station for Red Kite programming for children with autism and other special needs. These children participate have opportunities to participate in Red Kite Adventures and CCT’s annual Camp Red Kite, the only summer arts camp of its kind in Chicago for children on the autism spectrum.
Visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org/campredkite to learn more and register.
About Chicago Children’s Theatre
Since its launch in 2005, Chicago Children’s Theatre has cemented its reputation as the city’s largest professional theater company devoted exclusively to children and young families.
The company evolved out of Chicago’s need for high-quality, professional year-round children’s programming to match the quality and significance of theatrical powerhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.
Likewise, CCT has always believed children should be treated as the sophisticated audiences that they are with high-profile and award-winning talent, inventive production values and compelling stories that challenge, educate and entertain.
Audiences have embraced Chicago Children’s Theatre since its inaugural production, A Year with Frog and Toad, at the Goodman Theatre in 2006. Since then, the company’s productions have featured everything from black-light scenery to live music to interactive four-dimensional sets to life-size puppets, with performances showcasing the heart of Motown to Vaudeville to contemporary, current and modern styles.
CCT has also built a national reputation due to its strong focus on new work, producing 16 world premieres in the last 11 years including The Selfish Giant, The Hundred Dresses, Jackie and Me, Dot and Ziggy, The Houdini Box, The Elephant and The Whale (in association with Redmoon), Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, Leo Lionni’s Frederick, Wonderland, Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, A Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter, Jabari Dreams of Freedom, Another Snowy Day with Beatrix Potter, The Magic City and The Year I Didn’t Go To School: A Homemade Circus. These enjoyed highly successful inaugural runs in Chicago, followed by new productions at family theaters across the U.S.
CCT has always honored a strong commitment to low-income families and children with special needs. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools, the company offers free tickets to more than 5,000 Chicago-area low-income students each season.
Led by Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell, Board Chair Todd Leland and Community Programs Artistic Director Frank Maugeri, Chicago Children’s Theatre is supported by a dynamic Board of Directors comprised of dedicated individuals from the fields of entertainment, philanthropy and business.
Chicago Children’s Theatre is sponsored in part by ComEd, Goldman Sachs Gives and JP Morgan Chase.
For more information visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org, or call (773) 227-0180.