A. D. Players Children's Theater Opens THUMBELINA World Premiere Today

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A. D. Players Children's Theater will continue its season today, January 15 with the World Premiere of Thumbelina, a new musical adaption of the classic fairy tale, written by former A. D. Players' company member Will Ledesma with music by current company member Braden Hunt.

"This delightful story has brought smiles to children for over one hundred and fifty years," said Kevin Dean, Director of Children's Theater at A. D. Players. "Will Ledesma's adaptation and Braden Hunt's music capture a stunning fantasy world and is sure to evoke the imagination of everyone who sees it."

An imaginative new musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale, Thumbelina tells the tale of a girl no bigger than her mother's thumb. When Thumbelina is kidnapped by a frog, she is thrust into a world full of fantastic creatures where she doesn't fit in. Through her experiences, Thumbelina discovers that while everyone is unique, they each have value, and that there is a place where she belongs.

Thumbelina is the first musical collaboration for composer Braden Hunt and playwright Will Ledesma, who has previously premiered six plays at A. D. Players for both the Children's Theater and the Touring Company.

Ledesma graduated with a B.A. in Theatre from Oklahoma Baptist University and spent six years with A. D. Players as a playwright, performer, teacher, and director. His original fairy tale The Girl Who Wore Golden Clothes was selected for CATS Playhouses' first annual Cordell Green New Plays Festival in 2009 and later won the 2010 First Place Award for Drama at the IWA! Texas Christian Writer's Convention. Five of his plays are published: Why the Bells Chimed; The Pass-It-On Christmas, The Hero Squad vs. The Princess Snatchers; Secret Identity: An Adventure in Peer Pressure; and Pinocchio and His Father.

Composer Braden Hunt received his training at the University of Houston, the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, and the Stephanie Bradow Voice Studio. Although his most famous work is in Japanese animation, his background is in Musical Theater, and he is also a certified theater teacher.

The cast of Thumbelina includes A. D. Players resident actors Sarah Cooksey (Sanders Family Christmas, The Beams Are Creaking, Emma) as Mother and Mouse, Craig Griffin (Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure, The Beams are Creaking, Bunnicula) as Main Maybug and Mole, and Linford Herschberger (Charley's Aunt, Pinnochio and His Father, Faces), as Assistant #1 and Maybug, A. D. Players interns Kelsey Cratty (Four Maps to Bethlehem) as Thumbelina and Jesse Merrill (The Littleboro Valley Story) as Prince and Maybug, and A. D. Players company member L. Louise Jackson as Mama Frog and Butterfly.

A. D. Players' Mainstage is located at 2710 W. Alabama. Thumbelina runs today, January 15 - February 2, 2013. Performances are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 10:30am with a 1:00pm performance on 1/26. Thumbelina previews on January 15 at 7:00pm.

Tickets are $10 for individuals and $6 for groups of 10 or more, $5 for Title 1 schools. Tickets may be purchased online at www.adplayers.org, at the A. D. Players Box Office, 2710 W. Alabama, or by calling 713-526-2721. *$2 Convenience fee applies to tickets purchased online.

Founded in 1967 by Jeannette Clift George, A. D. Players pioneered a unique style of theater committed to producing plays and programs that uphold human value, offer creativity, and promote literacy and education. The company is one of Houston's largest resident theater companies, impacting more than nine million people. Annually, the company produces five Mainstage shows and four Children's Theater performances, fields a National Touring Unit, and maintains a year-round Theater Arts Academy. A. D. Players is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. We share our mission with volunteers, community associates, and those who make our work possible through their support. For additional information, visit www.adplayers.org or call 713-526-2721.

Pictured: Kelsey Cratty as Thumbelina. Courtesy Bara Photography.

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