Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre

Now through March 2, thousands of Chicago-area kids, parents and teachers are going to be grooving to Mr. Chickee's Funny Money, Chicago Children's Theatre's all-new, R&B family musical based on the popular children's book by Newbery Award-winner Christopher Paul Curtis. BroadwayWorld has a first look at the cast onstage below!

Original songs by Motown legend Lamont Dozier, and additional music and lyrics by his son Paris are turned out by a four-piece live band on stage. Kids won't even know (but parents will appreciate) that they're being treated to a live medley of popular musical genres ranging from Motown, disco, rap, rock, jazz and hip hop.

The story follows 10-year-old Steven, a self-proclaimed spy and president of the "Flint Future Detectives."At the heart of this whimsical journey is an intelligent, entrepreneurial boy who must discover the secret to a mysterious dollar bill that appears to be legal tender but has way too many zeroes and an unexpected face. With his pals and their giant dog Zoopy, Steven discovers that family, friends, imagination and determination are the true keys to success; and sharing the spotlight with others can make one even richer.

Mr. Chickee's Funny Money runs now through March 2, 2014 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn, Chicago. Press openings are Friday, January 24 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, January 25 at 11 a.m. Single tickets start at $25. To purchase, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555. For information on discounted group rates for schools, playgroups, birthday parties and scouting organizations, visit GroupTix.net or call (773) 327-3778. Mr. Chickee's Funny Money is recommended for ages 6 and up. Running time is 75 minutes with no intermission.

Photo Credit: Charles Osgood

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Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Yaw Agyeman plays the title role in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s new R&B family musical Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Elmwood (Bear Bellinger, back to camera) catches his son Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) with Steven’s fellow Flint Future Detectives Russell (Travis Turner), Richelle (Ashley Elizabeth Honore) and Zoopy the dog (puppeteer Sam Deutsch) searching his classic record collection for clues about a mysterious dollar bill with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Flint Future Detective Richelle (Ashley Elizabeth Honore), Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) and Russell (Travis Turner) think Zoopy the dog (puppeteer Sam Deutsch) may have a clue about a mysterious dollar bill they’ve found with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Mr. Chickee (Yaw Agyeman) entrusts 10-year-old Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) and Zoopy the dog (puppeteer Sam Deutsch) to solve a mystery about a dollar bill with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
In Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Madame Director (Alexis J. Rogers) berates Field Agent Fondoo (BrIan Grey) via live video while Flint Future Detective Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) listens in.

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Russell (Travis Turner) and Zoopy the dog (puppeteer Sam Deutsch) enjoy a thrilling spy adventure after finding a mysterious dollar bill with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
Elmwood (Bear Bellinger, center) show his son Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis, left) why JAmes Brown was called 'The Godfather of Soul'

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
(foreground, from left) Mr. Chickee (Yaw Agyeman) entrusts 10-year-old Steven (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis) to solve a mystery about a dollar bill with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
(foreground) Jonathan Butler-Duplessis plays Steven, president of the Flint Future Detectives and on a mission to solve a mystery about a dollar bill with too many zeroes and an unexpected face

Photo Flash: First Look at MR. CHICKEE'S FUNNY MONEY at Chicago Children's Theatre
(foreground) Jonathan Butler-Duplessis plays Steven, president of the Flint Future Detectives, grooving out here with (background, from left) fellow junior detectives Richelle (Ashley Elizabeth Honore) and Russell (Travis Turner)

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