Nashville Children's Theatre Reveals First Season Under Nolan's Direction
Nashville Children's Theatre (NCT) yesterday revealed its 2017-18 Season - its 86th season and its first under new executive artistic director Ernie Nolan - featuring three regional premieres and the return of a holiday season favorite by the late Scot Copeland, NCT's longtime producing artistic director, who led the company's rise to national prominence during his tenure.
In an interview with BroadwayWorld in March, Nolan was anticipating his first season at NCT and said: "I don't want to give all my surprises away, but I think you'll see that I'm really excited about Nashville audiences seeing themselves on stage.
"Whereas everyone has a story about NCT, I hope everyone feels like they see their story AT NCT," he explained, words that might have been prophetic if he wasn't already aware of what was planned for the 2017-18 season, one in which the theme is "Everyone Has a Story."
Since 1931, NCT has been leading the way in providing professional theatre to young audiences and Nolan says the new season will feature "stories with strong, resilient characters who find their own way of belonging."
An award-winning director and playwright himself - his Dragons Love Tacos will close out the 2017-18 season - Nolan joined NCT this past January, moving from Chicago where he was assistant professor of theater studies at The Theatre School at DePaul University and past artistic director of Emerald City Theatre, Chicago's most-attended Theatre for Young Audiences.
"I feel so lucky to be able to call an organization with such talented artists, top notch staff, and dedicated board my new home," said Nolan. "I look forward to serving the children, families, and teachers of Nashville with programming that reflects Nashville's evolving community and bring stories to life that both inspire emotional discovery and ignite a fierce passion for the arts."
As director, Nolan will helm his first NCT production with the season-opening The Hundred Dresses - "a classic, yet extremely timely story about finding the courage to stand up for others, even if you are standing alone." That show will be followed by his take on Mr. Popper's Penguins, "a flipper-flapping musical tale that will make you believe in the power of ingenuity and determination." Nolan next will direct an adaptation of the 2010 National Book Award winner, Mockingbird. He will end the season with his own adaptation of the New York Times best seller Dragons Love Tacos.
NCT Director of Education Alicia Fuss, who directed last season's Afflicted: Daughters of Salem, will direct the January production of The Snowy Day and Other Stories, based on the 1963 Caldecott Medal-winning book by the acclaimed author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats. The December return of NCT's popular holiday production of Scot Copeland's Cinderella will be remounted by NCT's company stage manager Daniel Brewer.
"NCT is a cultural touchstone for over five generations of children who have grown up in Middle Tennessee'" said Nolan. "As I've begun to meet people in the community, it seems like everyone has a story about NCT's impact on their lives. I am really excited about Nashville audiences seeing themselves in the stories we tell on stage. I want everyone to leave our theatre feeling like they saw their story at NCT."
NCT's 2017-2018 Season will include:
The Hundred Dresses
September 14 - October 1, 2017
By William Kent Williams.
Adapted from the book by Eleanor Estes.
Directed by Ernie Nolan with Set Design by Mitch Massaro, Lighting Design by Bill Rios, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber.
Wanda Petronski, the new girl in Room 13, speaks with an accent, has a funny last name, lives in the wrong part of town, and wears the same faded blue dress to school every day. Who would believe she has a hundred bright, shiny new ones at home. As Wanda's story unfolds, her classmates learn the secret of the hundred dresses and with it, a lesson in tolerance, in taking responsibility, and in living with the consequences of one's actions.
Based on the Newberry Award-winning novel, The Hundred Dresses takes audiences of all ages on a heartwarming journey about finding the courage to stand up for others, even if you are standing alone.
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Southeast Regional Premiere
Oct. 26 - Dec. 3, 2017
Book by Robert Kauzlaric, Music and Lyrics by George Howe.
Based on the novel by Richard and Florence Atwater.
Directed by Ernie Nolan with puppets designed by Brian Hull. Set Design by Scott Leathers, Lighting Design by Timothy Cobb, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber.
Money is tight and times are tough in the town of Stillwater. With no houses to paint till next spring, Mr. Popper is stuck at home daydreaming of Arctic adventures, while Mrs. Popper must scrimp and save just to put beans on the table. But with the unexpected arrival of a spirited penguin named Captain Cook, a new horizon opens before them and before long the Poppers have a snowdrift in the living room and a dozen delightful penguins living in the house. With an ever-increasing bill for canned shrimp, what can the wonderfully imaginative Poppers do but train the penguins and take the show on the road!
Based on the Newberry Award-winning book, Mr. Popper's Penguins is a flipper-flapping musical tale that will make you believe in the power of ingenuity and determination.
The Snowy Day & Other Stories
Jan. 18 - Feb. 1, 2018
Adapted for the stage by Jerome Hairston.
Based on the books by Ezra Jack Keats.
Directed by Alicia Fuss with Scenery and Lighting Design by Scott Leathers, Projection Design by Colin Peterson, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber.
Oh, the magic of a snowy day! Follow Peter and his friends as they romp and play, starting snowball fights and making snow angels in this imaginative ode to childhood joys and the challenges of growing up. Packed with humor and fun, this production uses wonderfully innovative shadow puppetry and live action to celebrate Keats' treasured characters.
An adaptation of Whistle for Willie, Goggles!, A Letter to Amy, and groundbreaking Caldecott Winner The Snowy Day, this uplifting story collection encourage us to play and live life to the fullest each day.
Southeast Regional Premiere
Mar. 1 - 18, 2018
Adapted for the stage by Julie Jensen.
Based on the 2010 National Book Award Winner by Kathryn Erskine
Directed by Ernie Nolan with Set Design by Court Watson, Lighting Design by Scott Leathers, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber.
In Caitlin's world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That's the stuff Caitlin's older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon is gone and she's all on her own. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome, she doesn't know how. When she reads the definition of "closure" in the dictionary, she realizes that is what she and her father need. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white--the world is full of colors--messy and beautiful.
Soaring with heart and humor, discover how the perseverance of one girl can change a community - and how black and white can always be complemented by a kaleidoscope of colors.
Dragons Love Tacos
Southeast Regional Premiere
Apr. 12 - May 13, 2018
By Ernie Nolan.
Based on the book by Adam Rubin.
Directed by Ernie Nolan with music composed by Chris LaPorte, Set Design by Scott Leathers and Rachael Silverman, Lighting Design by Scott Leathers, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber.
Dragons love tacos. They love chicken tacos, beef tacos, great big tacos, and teeny tiny tacos. So if you want a bunch of dragons at your party, you should definitely serve tacos. Buckets and buckets of tacos. But save the spicy salsa. When dragons eat spicy salsa... oh boy. You'll discover the results can be explosive.
Adapted from the New York Times best seller, Dragons Love Tacos is a deliciously funny tale full of fiery fun for your entire family. It's an unforgettable tale of new friends and the perfect snack!
Special Holiday Event
Dec. 14 - 21, 2017
Dramatized by Scot Copeland.
Originally conceived and directed by Scot Copeland with Scenic Design by Scott Boyd, Lighting Design by Scott Leathers, and Costume Design by Patricia Taber. Remounted by NCT Company Stage Manager Daniel Brewer.
Nashville Children's Theatre's breathtaking production of Cinderella is back by popular demand for the third year! As colorful as a Victorian pop-up book and as lush as a Viennese Waltz, this sparkling holiday confection brims with humor, romance, and spectacular theatrical effects. All the iconic elements one would hope to see are here: hilarious stepsisters, wise fairy godmother, amazing transformations, delicate pumpkin coach, beautiful ball gown, a handsome Prince, the striking clock, a desperate flight and, of course, a delicate glass slipper left behind in the snow - all lovingly designed, carefully crafted, and beautifully played by the extraordinary artists of Nashville Children's Theatre.
2017-18 Season Memberships
NCT Diamond Membership
Season Memberships provide the most opportunity for families to enjoy NCT. Each $200 Diamond Membership includes 10 tickets to use anytime in the season - for youth or an adult - plus, four tickets to NCT's special holiday presentation of Cinderella.
NCT Sapphire Membership
Similar to the Diamond Membership, the Sapphire Membership is $150 and includes 10 tickets to use anytime in the season - for youth or an adult. (Does not include tickets to Cinderella.)
Among benefits to both membership levels include additional tickets at $15 throughout the 2017-18 season - a $5 discount per adult ticket, 10% savings on all NCT drama camps and classes, discount tickets to Cinderella, free ticket exchange, and special offers available throughout the season.
Thanks to funding from the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Memorial Foundation, the Shubert Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the support of many local individuals and organizations, NCT will continue to ensure that all audiences can experience the theatre through physical accessibility, sensory friendly and sign-interpreted performances, and a financial assistance program for students and families.
NCT Season Sneak Peek and Open House - Saturday, August 12, 2017
A fun, FREE event featuring scenes and songs from our 2017-2018 season! Open House at noon, with Sneak Peek at 2 pm.
Grand Day - Sunday, April 22, 2018
A celebration of the generations of families who have supported NCT, Grand Day begins with a 2 pm performance of Dragons Love Tacos and is followed by a carnival of games, rides, food, and fun for the whole family!
About Nashville Children's Theatre
Nashville Children's Theatre is a professional theatre company providing the children, families and educators of Middle Tennessee with extraordinary shared theatrical experiences that inspire imagination, develop creativity, and build community. NCT was founded in 1931 by the Junior League of Nashville and is recognized as the oldest professional children's theater in the country. A national leader in professional theater arts and education programs for young people, NCT was ranked by TIME magazine as one of the top five children's theaters in the country.