Performance Network to Bring Five Free Shows to Ann Arbor Public Schools in 2013-14
The Ann Arbor arts scene is vibrant and full of opportunities for children, including the children's theater arm of Performance Network, Ann Arbor's award-winning professional theater. The Children's Theatre Network brings educational shows directly to students, performed on-site in school auditoriums from September through May. Thanks to the generosity of Linda Sprankle and an anonymous Ann Arbor donor, Performance Network and the Ann Arbor Public schools announce a collaboration that will bring one free performance to each of the 21 AAPS elementary schools.
Associate Artistic Director Carla Milarch, head of Enrichment Programs at Performance Network, said "Ann Arbor is an incredibly generous town, and an incredibly arts-loving town. We are committed to keeping the arts in schools and this new collaboration will enable us to bring theater performances right to the children. We couldn't be more grateful to the generous souls making this possible, and I have no doubt that our children, and our community, will be deeply enriched as a result of their gift."
All CTN shows are original works, using music, laughter, and a range of teaching modalities to reinforce Common Core Standards on the topics of Science, Healthy Lifestyles, Bullying, and Michigan History. Commissioned by Performance Network, and featuring a variety of beloved Michigan artists like Phil Powers, Emily Rogers, and Aral Gribble, they are written exclusively by Michigan playwrights Kim Carney, Carla Milarch, James Ingagiola, and Aral Gribble. These fun and engaging shows include interactivity and a talkback with students after the show. Workshops are available to accompany each performance, using arts-integrated learning to reinforce the Common Core.
Each Ann Arbor Public Elementary school will be able to choose one of four productions to visit their school for free. Schools can book by contacting Performance Network at 734-663-0681. The shows consist of "Big Bully - A Rock Musical," "Wolverine Will," "Jamie and Jordan Get Healthy," and "EllaMentry and the Case of the Missing Scientist." All shows are listed below.
WOLVERINE WILL by Carla Milarch
From lumberjacks to lug nuts, Wolverine Will takes you on a whirlwind tour of Michigan History. Developed by a 1st grade teacher, a theater educator, and a professional theater director, this show is specifically geared to augment your curriculum. It is pure Michigan! Award-winning Michigan actor Phil Powers stars as the bumbling and lovable Will. Grades K-6.
JAMIE AND JORDAN
Book and lyrics by Kim Carney, Music by Gene Gaunt
This hilarious musical tale teaches children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and healthy friendships. Born in the same hospital on the same day, neighbors Jamie and Jordan are lifelong best friends until a twist of fate (and ankle!) separates them, they learn that healthy choices are worth the extra effort. Grades K-8.
BIG BULLY - A ROCK MUSICAL (pictured)
Book and lyrics by Aral Gribble and Carla Milarch, Music by Jim Wheeler
Bullying is everywhere - at school, on the bus, even online. But how should kids react to bullying behavior, and how can they avoid getting sucked in? This engaging musical follows Biff, a reformed bully, on a musical journey to teach kids the four important steps: "Set a good example, help them get away, tell a trusted grownup, and be a friend today!" Grades K-8
ELLA MENTRY AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING SCIENTIST
Book and Lyrics by James Ingagiola, Music by Gene Gaunt
Archimedes, the famous Greek scientist, disappears just as he is about to reveal his latest discovery. Luckily, detective Ella Mentry is on hand to crack the case, using the four steps of the scientific method! Featuring a combination of music, comedy, and catchy songs, this show is positively entertaining! Grades K-6.
Founded in 1981, Performance Network Theatre has grown from a fledgling company to Ann Arbor's resident professional theatre. The Network reaches 40,000 theatre patrons and children each year through the year-round Professional Series and the Children's Theatre Network. Performance Network also presents the Fireside New Play Festival and a series of classes on theatre-related topics. The Network provides uncompromising artistic leadership in the region and produces works that engage, challenge and inspire audiences and artists.