Children’s theater brings back favorites
The South Carolina Children’s Theatre kicks off a new season this month, and families can expect the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre’s stage to come alive once again with many past favorites.
“We are so excited about this season,” said Debbie Bell, the theater’s executive director. “We feel like we’ve got some great shows that will appeal to almost any age group this year.”
The children’s theater’s 30th season will begin Sept. 10 with Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which will feature the classic fairytale and songs from the popular movie in which a young woman teaches a beast — who is really a prince trapped under a spell — how to love. The production will run through Sept. 25.
“We last did that show in September of 2007,” Bell said. “It was one of the biggest shows and most well-received shows we’ve ever done.”
That will be followed by “A Charlie Brown Christmas” Dec. 2 – 11, based on the animated TV classic. In it, Charlie Brown sets out to direct his friends in a holiday play, and all learn the real meaning of Christmas. It will be the first time the theater has presented the show, which only recently became available as a stage production.
“Everyone seems really excited about that one,” she said.
“Charlotte’s Web” will also return to the children’s theater Jan. 27 – Feb. 5, bringing the characters and story from the classic novel by E.B. White to life. The play features the unlikely friendship between a lovable pig and a gentle spider. Bell said it has always been one of the theater’s most popular productions.
“It’s always well-received by our audiences,” she said. “We try to perform it every three or four years because the book is so beloved by many people. The book is known as the best American children’s book of the last 200 years, and parents enjoy it as much as their children do.”
Another popular production, “Seussical,” will return April 29 – May 7, giving the mischievous Cat in the Hat the chance to delight audiences of all ages with his silly rhymes, dancing and songs.
“That’s a real extravaganza and probably the best-of-the-best of Dr. Seuss,” Bell said.
“Miss Nelson is Missing!” will finish out the main stage’s season June 17 – 25, Bell said, bringing back the show which was last as a Second Stage production in 2010. When a classroom of misbehaving students find that their teacher is missing, they learn to be careful what you wish for. Second Stage productions are smaller performances usually performed at the children’s theater headquarters at at 153 Augusta St. in Greenville, but the show was so well-received, it will be expanded to the larger stage.
“This is a hilarious musical, and kids and adults both really love it,” she said.
Bell said “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Charlotte’s Web” and “Seussical” will include daytime educational shows on Friday mornings for teachers to bring students at reduced rates.
The theater’s Second Stage productions opened in August with “Wake Up, Brother Bear!” as part of its Weeplay Theatre interactive shows. Performances of this show will continue at the SCCT headquarters through November.
“These are our performances for the very youngest children,” Bell said. “It’s a very interactive show, and children can enjoy and participate in all four seasons of the year along with Brother and Sister Bear.”
“Glow Tales: A Black Light Puppetry Extravaganza” will hit the Second Stage Oct. 14 – 30, featuring three short tales told through black light puppetry. “Two Dancing Princesses” will also be performed Feb. 17 – March 26, 2017, on the Second Stage, offering a swing version of the Grimm Fairytale.
For tickets to South Carolina Children’s Theatre S.C. Children’s Theatre’s shows, call the Peace Center at 864-467-3000 or visit the website www.peacecenter.org.
“We feel like this is our most exciting season yet,” Bell said. “We feel like we have something for everyone and we promise a very special time if you come out with your children.”
You can go
For tickets to South Carolina Children’s Theatre shows, call the Peace Center at 864-467-3000 or visit the website www.peacecenter.org. For more information about SCCT, visit www.scchildrenstheatre.org.
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