CTC embarks on flavorful, fanciful year

Can you cook with salt and pepper, salsa and cumin, sugar and cinnamon at the same meal? Indeed you can - if you space out the courses. Children's Theatre of Charlotte's globe-trotting 2011-12 season offers all of these ingredients.

The new season travels from the sweet musings of Dr. Seuss (in the musical "Seussical") to the saucy outbursts of first-grader Junie B. Jones in "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells."

Many an old friend adds spice to the lineup of visiting artists, from body-bending Omimeo to the body-percussive group Step Afrika! (Get the full scoop at www.ctcharlotte.org or 704-973-2828.)

Artistic director Alan Poindexter thinks "Seussical" and "The Borrowers" may test skills and resources the most.

The former "presents us with the challenge of living up to the brilliant illustrations of Theodore Geisel, while giving our audience a unique perspective on those familiar images. The team I am assembling is very interested in playing off original character shapes and landscapes....

"Both 'The Borrowers' and 'Seussical' offer the unique challenge of having a full perspective of 'miniature' worlds, while maintaining a perspective of the 'full-sized' world."

He's excited to present PlayPlay! Theatre, a troupe aimed at kids up to the age of 3 and co-founded by CTC stalwart Mark Sutton, for its first show at ImaginOn. And he'll break ground with "Salt and Pepper," which he believes could surprise many people.

"It's an unvarnished look at illiteracy and how it echoes across the generations of one family," he says. "(That) could be a new side of Children's Theatre for someone who believes that we only do plays about crocodiles and mice - and we do both very well."