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Art&Seek Jr: A Guide to Local Children’s Theater

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Last Sunday, as I played outside  in the beautiful 70 degree weather with Rose and her friends, I thought to myself, “Gee, we’re really lucky we live in a place that has spring-like weather at the beginning of February!” Of course, I quickly backtracked when I thought about the surface temperature of Klyde Warren Park come July.  On second thought, maybe it’s all relative.

Bet you can’t guess which play we saw. Photo: Therese Powell

One thing we North Texans can thank our lucky stars about is the boatload of excellent children’s theater we have in our area. Between local companies and touring performances, I’m not exaggerating when I say excellent.

I still remember the first time I took Rose to a play. She was 2, and we saw Goodnight Moon at the Dallas Children’s Theater. Initially, I had serious reservations about whether she would sit still for the entire performance. I even picked an aisle seat for an easy escape should the situation call for it. But as soon as the curtain went up,  and she saw that iconic green and orange storybook nursery come to life, any doubts I had vanished. The girl was hooked then and there and has been ever since.

I wonder if Jerome Weeks started like this. Here are a few literary picks that will come to life on stage this weekend:

You can’t go wrong with a a good princess story, and Casa Mañana has hit another home run with Rapunzel, Rapunzel, A Very Hairy Fairy Tale . Kids will love the characters, including an evil enchantress and a witty spell-bound dragon. Adults will love the twist on the classic tale and the prince searching for a purpose in life. You can catch Rapunzel letting down her hair at Casa through Feb. 24.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a good underdog story. The classic tale of one underdog – or in this case, an underpig, comes to life in Allen Community Theatre’s production of  Charlotte’s Web. To me, this is a friendship tale like no other. Rose and I read it together over the summer, and I cried at the end just like I did when I was 8. If you’d like to see Wilbur and Charlotte come to life on stage, you’d better get a move on. There are just two more performances this weekend.

….there were two little kittens…and a pair of mittens. Photo: Dallas Children’s Theater

There’s probably not a kid alive that doesn’t relate to author Beverly Cleary’s character Ramona. Yes, she gets into trouble from time to time, but her antics are completely believable to the average 7-year-old. I still remember my teacher reading Ramona the Pest to our 3rd grade class and our reaction when Ramona asks her teacher when Mike Mulligan (of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel fame) had time to go to the bathroom if he was busy digging from sun up to sun down. My teacher was embarrassed, and the class erupted in laughter. But to my 8-year-old self, it was a perfectly legitimate question. Catch the exasperating but lovable third-grader Ramona Quimby for one performance only this Sunday at the Eisemman Center.

Lastly, take your baby to the very first play my baby ever saw. Goodnight Moon, the  whimsical poem of goodnight wishes and goodnight kisses, is on stage at the Dallas Children’s Theater through March 3. This play is the perfect introduction to the theater for the wee ones. Not too long, not too loud, not too complicated, it’s just right for young theatergoers. Keep an eye out for my favorite part – the cow jumping over the moon.

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org.