Nashville Children's Theatre unveils 80th anniverary season

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Celebrating its 80th year of presenting theatre, inspiration and delight to Nashville and Middle Tennessee children and their families, Nashville Children's Theatre (NCT) has announced its 80th anniversary season offerings. During its 80 years of service and creativity, NCT has played to more than two million people and is the oldest professional children's theatre in the United States.

"The basic, underlying value that NCT brings to every issue and situation is that children are more important," says Kathryn Colegrove, NCT managing director. "As long as we never lose sight of this, and of course continue to find innovative ways to stretch every dollar into ten...or twenty, NCT will certainly remain a Nashville fixture for another 80 years."

NCT's 2011-12 season of shows holds three titles that are new to NCT, and two previously produced classics that will encourage and inspire a new young audience. New productions include: Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! - one of literature's favorite precocious girls balances her uncontainable Christmas cheer with a classroom nuisance; The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963 - based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis (author of Bud, Not Buddy, one of last season's hit plays), we travel south with a young family to see the damage of America's civil rights war first hand; and Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type - the cows think Farmer Brown is giving them the short end of the stick, and they let him know it.

Productions from years past that NCT is proud to remount and make new include Holes - the story of young man who finds himself in a mystery to which he unknowingly holds the key; and La Belle et la Bête - NCT's adaptation of the original French fairy tale, The Beauty and the Beast takes the audience to a world where true love leads to salvation.

Subscriptions for 2011-12 are currently on sale. A Flex Pass provides the freedom of single tickets while still offering subscriber benefits. For $72, a Flex Pass is redeemable for 6 tickets to use anytime in the season - for a child or an adult. Flex Pass Subscriptions are only on sale until August 8th, 2011, but once bought, Flex Pass subscribers may purchase additional tickets all season long at the $12 price.

For patrons who know what they want and when they want it, NCT continues to offer standard NCT Announces 80th Anniversary Season subscriptions consisting of three or more shows. New this year, patrons can choose how many tickets they want for each individual show in their subscription, giving families the freedom to customize their ticket needs based on the ages and interests of their children.

Subscriptions can be purchased online at nashvillechildrenstheatre.org or by calling the box
office at (615) 252-4675.

Upcoming 80th Season offerings include:

Holes - Sept 20 - Oct 16, 2011 - recommended for Age 8 and up
By Louis Sachar from his young adult novel
When young Stanley Yelnats is sentenced (despite his innocence) to the wasteland of Camp Green Lake, he and his fellow juvenile detainees are forced to dig holes in the hot desert sun day after day after day. What is the Warden looking for? What has it all to do with Stanley's "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather" or with a long-dead outlaw named Kissing Kate Barlow? The wheels of justice grind slowly, but when past and present overlap, the truth will be revealed. Exhilarating adventure, twists and turns, peril and promise - all this and buried treasure, too, can be found in...Holes.

Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! - Nov 1 - Dec 18, 2011 - recommended for Age 4 and up
By Allison Gregory; Adapted from the book series by Barbara Park
Junie B. Jones is back at Nashville Children's Theatre just in time for the holidays! Room One has lots of fun plans to celebrate the season, like Secret Santa, elf costumes and singing joyous songs. However, Junie B.'s nemesis, Tattletale May, is ruining her holiday glee. To make matters worse, Junie B. draws Tattletale May's name for Secret Santa! Disaster! Except maybe - just maybe - Junie B. Jones will give Tattletale May exactly what she deserves.

The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963 - Jan 17 - Feb 12, 2012 - recommended for Age 8 and up
Adapted for the stage by Reginald André Jackson from the Newbery Medal-winning first novel by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watson's, an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan, are taking a road trip. Fourth grader Kenny's older brother Byron has been hanging with a tough crowd and getting into trouble, so his parents decide to take him to live for a time with his grandmother down south. Soon, the whole family is crowded into the Brown Bomber, heading back to Alabama - and straight into one of the most shocking moments in American history!

La Belle et la Bête (The Beauty and the Beast) - Feb 28 - March 18, 2012 - recommended for age 7 and up
Adapted by Scot Copeland from the fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont NCT's own stunningly theatrical version of this classic fairy tale set in 18th Century France dances a thin line between dream and reality to tell a timeless story of sacrifice and redemption. Inside an exotic, forbidding palace a mysterious beast awaits, imprisoned by his own selfishness. A ruined merchant plucks a flower from the palace garden, and unwittingly binds his daughter in servitude to the beast. Only her kindness can save him, only her love can redeem him. Join us for this rich, romantic adventure and discover beauty...in the heartof the beast.

Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type - April 3 - May 13, 2012 - recommended for all ages
Adapted from the book by Doreen Cronin; Illustrations by Betsy Lewin ; Adapted by James E. Grote; Music by George Howe; and Lyrics by George Howe and James E. Grote
Farmer Brown's cows find an old typewriter in the barn, and next thing you know, click-clack-moo, clickety-clack-moo, Farmer Brown gets a typewritten note: "Dear Farmer Brown, The barn is very cold at night. We'd like some electric blankets. Sincerely, The Cows" When Farmer Brown refuses to comply, he gets another typed note: "Sorry. We're closed. No milk today." The cows are on strike, but with the help of a rabble-rousing duck, everything gets back on track...kind of. If you loved NCT's productions of GO, DOG. GO! and GOODNIGHT MOON, then you'll love this hilarious musical romp, ripped from the pages of one of America's most popular picture books.

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


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