NEWSIES, POLKADOTS, MADAGASCAR and More Set for Orlando REP's 15th Season

NEWSIES, POLKADOTS, MADAGASCAR and More Set for Orlando REP's 15th Season Orlando Repertory Theatre (Orlando REP), in partnership with UCF, has announced its 2017 - 2018 Season! Orlando REP is Florida's only professional theatre for families and young audiences, and has staged recent box-office hits such as Harry Connick, Jr.'s The Happy Elf and Curious George: The Golden Meatball!

The fall kicks off with Disney's Newsies The Musical (September 4 - October 22, 2017). The whole world finds out what happens when "the little guys" stand up and seize the day. This story of Jack Kelly and his gang is based on the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City, where the powerless found the courage to challenge the powerful. This smash-hit musical is an explosion of song and dance with music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman, and a book by Harvey Fierstein; Newsies won the Tony Award for Best Original Score and Best Choreography! Presenting sponsors: Disney and Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs and Supporting sponsor: Lean Green DAD.

Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical (October 23 - November 19, 2017) is inspired by Civil Rights pioneers Ruby Bridges and The Little Rock Nine. Polkadots follows Lily Polkadot who just moved to the "Squares Only" small town of Rockaway. As the first Polkadot to attend the all-Square school, Lily faces an almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers. From daily bullying, to segregated drinking fountains, Lily's quest seems hopeless until she meets a shy Square boy whose curiosity blooms into an unexpected friendship. This brand new musical features a book by Melvin Tunstall III, lyrics by Douglas Lyons, and music by Greg Borowsky and Douglas Lyons. Presenting sponsor: Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical (November 13 - December 30, 2017) rings in the holiday season. Beware The Herdmans; the worst kids in the history of the world! When they crash Sunday school and demand parts in the Christmas pageant, the whole town panics. In this buoyant new musical adaptation of the funny and touching holiday classic, will it be a silent night? Not a chance. But sometimes, a little joyful noise is just right for Christmas. Jahnna Beecham and Malcolm Hillgartner adapted this musical from the classic book by Barbara Robinson. Presenting sponsor: Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs.

The New Year begins with Flora & Ulysses (January 29 - February 25, 2018). Flora loves comic books, so it's no surprise when an unassuming squirrel named Ulysses gets sucked up in the vacuum cleaner and pops out as a superhero - who can fly - and write poetry. Doubting adults have lots to learn from Flora, Ulysses, and their new friend, William, as they navigate matters of the heart in this 2014 Newbery Medal-winning eccentric adventure from Kate DiCamillo, adapted for the stage by John Glore. Ms. DiCamillo is also the author of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The Tale of Despereaux, and Because of Winn-Dixie.

Orlando REP is ready to "Move it! Move it!" with Madagascar - A Musical Adventure (February 26 - April 8, 2018). Join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the hip Hippo, four pampered animals from New York's Central Park Zoo, as they accidentally find themselves shipwrecked on the exotic island of Madagascar. They discover it really IS a jungle out there! Throw in mischievous penguins and legions of lemurs, and you are in for a roaring good time in this musical adventure! Based on the blockbuster Dreamworks film, Kevin Del Aguila wrote the book with original music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan. Supporting sponsor: Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

Avast, ye scum buckets and scallywags! Judy Moody & Stink The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Treasure Hunt is setting sail for Orlando (April 9 - May 13, 2018)! Judy Moody often has flights of fancy, but a real-life adventure on a treasure island just might be top them all! As soon as the Moody family drops anchor on "Artichoke" Island, they are greeted by Scurvy Sam, a pirate who sends Judy Moody and Stink on a swashbuckling adventure, involving cryptic clues, secret codes, and tricky puzzles. The siblings team up to race against the clock and other treasure-hunters. Will this adventure help Judy Moody complete her Me Collage? Aaarrr! Orlando REP has teamed up with six other Theatres for Young Audiences around the country to co-commission this play by Alllison Gregory, based on the books by Megan McDonald. The partner theatres are Bay Area Children's Theatre in Berkeley, CA; First Stage in Milwaukee, WI; Oregon Children's Theatre in Portland, OR; The Rose Theatre in Omaha, NE; Children's Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC, and Adventure Theatre MTC in Glen Echo, MD.

But that's not all... Orlando REP's 2017 - 2018 season also includes limited engagements! Orlando's favorite rock band for children and families takes the stage for A Mr. Richard & The Pound Hounds Halloween Concert on October 27 & 28, 2017. With sing-along tunes about fish, skunks, cool snakes, and Halloween fun, Mr. Richard & The Pound Hounds play great music for hip kids, who can preview their costumes by wearing them to the concert before the big night! Award-winning magician and comedian Tony Brent returns with Pip-Squeak: An Anti-Bullying Magic Show (January 16 - 20, 2018). Because of his small size as a child, Tony was bullied in the cafeteria, in the gymnasium, on the playground, and generally anywhere there were no adults present. Now using comedy, amazing magic tricks, juggling, and a coat-rack loaded with costumes, Tony gently and humorously teaches children how to cope with being bullied. In addition, children learn to recognize the signs of bullying and whether or not they themselves might be guilty of bullying. Tony portrays various people from his childhood and role-plays with children about various ways they could respond if they or a friend are bullied. The REP will participate in the 4rd Annual UCF Celebrates The Arts at The Dr. Phillips Center in spring of 2018.

Orlando REP is proud to announce Perspectives: A Series of Staged Readings for its 2017 - 2018 season. These one-night-only readings of four different plays cover a variety of challenging topics such as immigration, child refugees, urban crime, and the life of a Muslim student in an American high school. Dates and locations for these readings will be announced later in the year.

The season also includes productions by students of the Orlando REP Youth Academy, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on July 14 - 30, 2017 (Presenting sponsor: Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs) and the 15th Annual Writes of Spring production, comprised of winning entries from Central Florida's school children. This year's show is entitled Writes of Spring 2018: From My Perspective and takes place on February 2, 2018. Additional Youth Academy productions are forthcoming. The REP continues its successful community engagement programs with such groups as Edgewood Children's Ranch, Girl Scouts of America, and the Orlando Union Rescue Mission. Orlando REP also continues its ELTA program, in partnership with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Orange County Public Schools, focused on training teaching artists for school residencies.

A VIP Benefit performance of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang features an exclusive catered reception and a chance drawing for baskets of fabulous goodies before watching a private of performance of the show on July 27. Afterwards, mingle with the cast during a dessert meet-and-greet. Tickets are available now at olandorep.com. Orlando REP's 5th Annual Holiday Family Gala is the only holiday gala created specifically for families and features a private holiday dinner, themed photo booth, visits with Santa, and opportunities to win gift baskets before an exclusive performance of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: The Musical in December. Detailed ticketing information is forthcoming.

Orlando REP also provides ASL-interpreted shows and Sensory-Friendly performances, specially designed for children with autism, Asperger's, or other sensory processing disorders and special needs. Orlando REP's Sensory-Friendly series is sponsored by Massey Services, Inc. Backstage tours are held on select dates, for which tickets will soon be available.

Public performances of Orlando REP's season productions are Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00pm and 5:30pm, with tickets starting at $15. School matinee performances are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Subscriptions are available for renewal beginning May 30, 2017 and single tickets go on sale July 21, 2017. For more information about Season Subscriptions, Field Trip Reservations, or Orlando REP's 2017 - 2018 season, please call 407.896.7365 or visit www.orlandorep.com. Auditions for Orlando REP's professional shows are taking place in June. Information can be found at www.orlandorep.com.

Orlando REP is a professional theatre with a mission to create experiences that enlighten, entertain, and enrich families and young audiences. In addition to productions, The REP conducts community engagement initiatives. The award-winning REP Youth Academy provides classes and workshops for children, along with professional development opportunities to classroom teachers. Housed in a three theatre complex in Orlando's Loch Haven Park, The REP is also home to the University of Central Florida's MFA in Theatre for young Audiences graduate program. Orlando REP is Florida's only professional Theatre for Young Audiences.

Photo Credit: Michael Cairns

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