Your Ideas for Children’s Theatre – Part 1

May 25, 2010

By Matt Ocks, Manager of Institutional Giving

We had great response to the post about “bed-time” stories to adapt a few weeks ago.  Having conducted some research into the titles suggested, I can now report the following:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs:  Though this classic picture book about edible precipitation has recently been adapted into both a CGI film and a video game for PlayStation, it does not appear to have been adapted for the stage just yet.  Hmm.  Has the potential to be really fun for the person whose job it is to drop things from the catwalks.

Caps for Sale: According to a Google search, this play was adapted for something called Toddler Theatre at a place called Wild Horse Children’s Theatre in Carson City, Nevada.  I cannot find any info on the rights to performing this adaptation, and as this is theatre for toddlers, it might not have been a full production anyway.  I think this is a great idea, and I have a lot of actor friends who born to play monkeys.

The Boxcar Children:  Done!  Arden Children’s Theatre performed an adaptation of this book in our 2002/03 season.  It received 2 Barrymore nominations.

Go, Dog.  Go!:  This book was also already done for Arden Children’s Theatre in 2008, and it was nominated for 3 Barrymores.

Amelia Bedelia:  Various writers seem to have attempted musical versions of this series over the years but nothing recent.  Books are still being written (the most recent title came out in 2009), so the literal-minded maid is probably still known to kids.  If someone with a flair for comedy took a stab at this, it might provide a real showcase role for a talented comedienne.

A Wrinkle in Time:  This one’s a favorite of mine – and apparently a lot of other theatre folk too. An adaptation by John Glore was just recently produced at South Coast Rep.  (Glore’s other adaptations include The Stinky Cheese Man that we did in 2006).  Check out this link for more info on this production.

And that’s all I’ve got for now.  I’ll report back next week on some of the other titles suggested.  A few of them were new to me, so I am eager to learn more about them.  If anything, I’ve got some titles to add to my own personal reading list.

On a related note, members of our staff spent the weekend in DC at the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival, where The Flea and the Professor, an Arden commission for Children’s Theatre, was workshopped alongside other new plays for kids.  This show is based on a story by the late, great Hans Christian Andersen, and it makes me think of another question for you all, even as I am still working on answering the first:

If you could adapt any FAIRY TALE, FOLK TALE, or FABLE into a kids’ play, which would it be?

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