Chicago Children's Theatre Opens HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, 10/11

Chicago Children's Theatre Opens HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, 10/11

Itinerant no longer, Chicago Children's Theatre (CCT) and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell are looking forward to welcoming family audiences this fall to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago - CCT's first permanent home in the company's seven-year history.

In addition to inviting families to one convenient, consistent destination for three consecutive shows in 2012-2013, Chicago's #1 presenter of top-quality professional children's theater is equally thrilled to open its season with the Chicago premiere of a new musical version of Harold and the Purple Crayon, based on the beloved children's books by Crockett Johnson, directed by top Chicago director Sean Graney. Performances are October 11-November 4, 2012. Press opening is Friday, October 12 at 6:30 pm.

Immediately following the Ruth Page run, Harold and the Purple Crayon will also go on a regional "mini-tour" with performances November 7-11 at the Beverly Arts Center, and November 14-18 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie.

Meet Harold, a curious four year old boy who, armed with his trusty purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it. When Harold wants to go on a walk in the moonlight, he finds there is no moon. So Harold draws one. When he has nowhere to walk, Harold draws his own path. Along the way he encounters dangerous dragons, embarks on a perilous sea voyage in a trim little boat, takes a hot air balloon ride, and enjoys a nine-pie picnic, just a few of his many adventures as Harold tries to draw himself back to his own bedroom. This imaginative musical uses breathtaking animation, inventive puppetry, video projections and live, original music to bring Harold's purple-hued world to life. Perfect for introducing young children to theatre, while simultaneously captivating their older companions, Harold and the Purple Crayon will amaze, delight and entertain, while teaching youngsters that anything is possible with a crayon and a big imagination.

CCT's Chicago premiere of Harold and the Purple Crayon features a script by Don Darryl Rivera, lyrics by Robert Burgess, and music by Auston James. As always, Chicago Children's Theatre has assembled a design team for Harold that reads like a who's who of Chicago's top professional theater artists: Sean Graney (director); Nick Davio (music direction); Geoffrey Curley (scenic design); Heather Gilbert (lighting design); Alison Siple (costume design); Tommy Rapley (choreography); Liviu Pasare (animation/video design); and Joanna Iwanicka (puppet and prop design). The cast is TBA.

Sean Graney (director), widely regarded for creating productions that "invariably are accessible, welcoming and really great fun" (Chicago Tribune), is a long-time Artistic Associate at Chicago Children's Theatre. His passion for creating immediate, exciting theater and passing that on to the next generation of live theater fans was wholly evident in his previous CCT productions, The Hundred Dresses, Honus and Me and Hana's Suitcase. Graney is also the Founding Artistic Director of The Hypocrites, where his most recent production, Romeo and Juliet, just finished playing to unanimous critical acclaim and box office success. He was named Chicago's Best Avant-Garde Director by Chicago Magazine and 2004's Chicagoan of the Year: Theater by the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of a Career Development for Directors Program award from the National Endowment for the Arts and Theatre Communications Group, and the winner of two non-Equity Joseph Jefferson Awards. This fall Graney will also stage Victory Gardens' 2012-13 season opener, Equivocation by Bill Cain.

New in 2012-2013:

Chicago Children's Theatre strives to make every show a full-fledged family "experience" with interactive lobby displays and special value-added events. For instance, for Harold and the Purple Crayon, the Ruth Page lobby will be outfitted with blackboards and purple chalk so kids can doodle just like Harold pre- and post-show. As for special events, please note the performance schedule for Harold and the Purple Crayon introduces new, family-friendly 6:30 pm shows on Thursday evenings, preceeded by pizza parties in the Ruth Page Center's multi-purpose room starting at 5:30 pm. On Friday evenings, families are encouraged to kick off their weekend by wearing their PJs to the 6:30 pm show, then stay after for a fun post-show PJ Party with members of the cast.

Complete Performance Schedule:

Performances are October 11-November 4, 2012 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago. Press opening is Friday, October 12 at 6:30 pm. Show times are Tuesday at 10 am; Wednesday at 10 am and Noon; Thursday at 10 am and 6:30 pm (come early for a 5:30 pm pre-show pizza party!); Friday at 10 am and 6:30 pm (stay after for a Friday night pajama party with milk and cookies from 7:30 to 8:30 pm); Saturday at 11 am and 6 pm; and Sunday at 11 am.

Exceptions: No 6:30 pm show on Thursday, October 11. No performances Saturday, October 13.

Single tickets are $20-$36. Purchase tickets online at chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call 773.227.0180. For discounted school, scout and group rates, contact GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visit GroupTix.net. The production is recommended for ages 3 and up.

The Ruth Page Center for Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., is located just steps from Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile. The historic 1927 building in which The Center resides sits on a lovely tree-lined street in the heart of Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, near the CTA Red Line and the Clark, Broadway and Division bus lines. For more information, visit ruthpage.org.

Immediately following the run at Ruth Page Center, Harold and the Purple Crayon will transfer to the Beverly Arts Center, 2401 W. 111th St., Chicago, for performances November 7-11. Show times are Wednesday and Thursday at 10 am; Friday at 10 am and Noon; Saturday and Sunday at 11 am and 1 pm. Tickets are $18-$41. For tickets and information, go to chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call the Beverly Arts Center box office, 773.445.3838x200. For discounted school, scout and group rates, contact GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visit GroupTix.net.

The next week, Harold and the Purple Crayon will travel to the North Shore Centre for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, for performances November 14-18. Show times are Wednesday at 10 am and Noon; Friday at 10 am, Noon, and 6:30 pm; and Sunday at 11 am and 2 pm (no shows Thursday, November 15 or Saturday, November 17). Tickets are $15-$41. For tickets and information, go to chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call the North Shore Center box office, 847.673.6300. For discounted school, scout and group rates, contact GroupTix at 773.327.3778 or visit GroupTix.net.

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