First Stage expands with diverse shows for the wee set
The nationally acclaimed First Stage Children’s Theater, housed at the Milwaukee Youth Arts building (it also puts on mainstage plays at the Todd Wehr Theatre at The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts), is poised to offer some genuinely exciting productions this season. Among them are:
First Steps Series: If You Give A Mouse A Cookie
Based on the wildly popular book by Laura Joffe Numeroff, this stage adaptation by Jody Davidson is a return engagement from the successful 2007 run. It’s billed as “mishaps and mayhem that begin when Mouse comes to visit. The well-meaning-but-harried rodent simply asks for a treat.” Then things get chaotic.
Crazy mouse shenanigans comes to life thanks to Jordan Ahnquist while a child actor counteracts the comic mayhem. The atmosphere for this performance hopes to engulf the attention of children, ages 3-6, and provide them with a nice primer for live theatre.
Note: The sequel, If You Take a Mouse to School, will open here March 2010.
Jan. 22 – Feb. 10
First Stage’s world premiere of The Thief Lord showcases a modernized script adapted by local actor and stage writer James DeVita. The adapted script is based on the book written by Cornelia Funke, author of Inkheart. While the cast is colorful, the intended star of this show is actually the setting: Venice, Italy. The canal-laced city becomes the new home for two orphaned boys who become a part of a secretive, mass-thieving family. At first, the boys enjoy being a part of the leader’s colorful life; however, it leads o strange circumstances, followed by a “fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.” Following last season’s successful How I Became a Pirate, the scale and specialization in this production may prove epic.
Mar. 5 – 28
This adaptation from The Wiz, the 1975 Best Musical (and later cult film starring Diana Ross and Michael Jackson) based on L. Frank Baum’s famous tale, came to First Stage after the Susan Gurman Agency approached the company about putting on the African-American adaptation and re-telling of the Wizard of Oz. From there, First Stage greatly enhanced the play. The groundbreaking premiere includes re-orchestrated songs and a new script by Gurman’s Theater for Young Audiences program to attract a new demographic. Expect the production quality to be top-notch, too. Also, be on the lookout for a performance by Uprooted co-founder Tiffany Cox.
Visit the First Stage Children’s Theater site or call 414-267-2929 for more information about its productions.