Children’s Theatre offers 2 world premieres and a new festival

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte had a successful production of “A Year with Frog and Toad” in the ’00s.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte had a successful production of “A Year with Frog and Toad” in the ’00s. Donna Bise

“A Christmas Carol” has been turned into a holiday musical, probably half a dozen times. So have “A Christmas Story,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” and the life of Jesus. So it was just a matter of time before someone turned “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” into a musical, too – and the time will be November.

It’ll be one of two world premieres in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s 2016-’17 season, along with the timely election drama “Grace for President.” Throw in CTC’s first mainstage theater festival, with three shows running simultaneously in January, and you have a season full of debuts. And each mainstage show comes with a sensory-friendly performance for kids or adults who can easily be overstimulated.

Subscriptions come in five-show packages costing $60 to $105, which save 20 percent off the regular price. Current subscribers can renew as of Monday. New subscribers can sign up as of April 1, and handling fees for tickets will be waived until April 11. Single tickets go on sale Aug. 2.

You’ll get details by calling 704-973-2828, stopping by the box office in ImaginOn at 300 E. Seventh St. or going to ctcharlotte.org. In the meantime, here’s the roster:


“A Year with Frog and Toad,” Sept. 30-Oct. 16: Robert and Willie Reale have musicalized Arnold Lobel’s books about two amphibian pals, friendly Frog and cranky Toad, who spend four seasons together.

“Grace for President,” Oct. 21-Nov. 6: Kelly S. DiPucchio’s book has been turned into a musical by Joan Cushing; it’s about Grace Campbell, who learns there has never been a female POTUS and decides to get on the right track by inspiring a school election. Then the most popular boy runs against her.

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical,” Nov. 25-Dec. 23: Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner adapted the book by Barbara Robinson about the Herdmans, school terrors who insist on joining the Christmas pageant – though they don’t know the story – because there are free snacks.


Theater festival, Jan. 14-29: A gentle version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” CarlosAlexis Cruz’s commedia dell’arte version of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” and Dennis Foon’s “New Kid,” about an immigrant boy overwhelmed by America. The gimmick? He and his family speak to us in English, while Americans speak a gibberish language. That lets the audience experience what it’s like to be an outsider overwhelmed by a new place.

“Junie B. Jones Is Not a Crook,” Feb. 3-19: Allison Gregory transformed Barbara Park’s book about the kindergartner of the title, who loses her brand-new mittens to a thief, then has a crisis of conscience when she comes across a fantastic pen she’s tempted to keep.

“Bud, Not Buddy,” March 24-April 9: Reginald André Jackson has adapted Christopher Paul Curtis’ book, which won the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award. It’s about a Depression-era orphan who sets off on his own to find the jazz musician he believes to be his father.

“Go, Dog. Go!,” April 14-30: Steven Dietz, Allison Gregory and Michael Korner have made a musical from P.D. Eastman’s book about dogs who like to zoom around – especially to parties.

In addition to these shows, PlayPlay! will offer three brief shows designed for kids up to 3 years old; dates have yet to be set.

Toppman: 704-358-5232