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Chicago Children's Theatre's BOING! Summer Festival Drops Online June 20

Chicago Children's Theatre's BOING! Summer Festival Drops Online June 20

Tune into BOING! 2020, a free webcast debuting on Chicago Children's Theatre's new YouTube channel, CCTv, dropping Saturday, June 20 at 10 a.m. CST.

For four years, hundreds of friends and neighbors joined at Chicago Children's Theatre's West Loop home for BOING!, the city's most imaginative and interactive community unification event for children and families.

This year, BOING! is a Big Online Indoor Neighborhood Gathering, ready to experience at home, in your pajamas, with your favorite bowl of cereal.

Chicago Children's Theatre is working with theater artists and musicians from around the country to make BOING! 2020, a one-of-a-kind online event, all in under one hour.

The world debut of Chicago Children's Theatre's newest virtual puppet show, Doll Face Has a Party!, directed by Brian Selznick, writer and illustrator of "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" and "The Houdini Box," and a "Harry Potter" illustrator, headlines this Saturday Morning Must-See CCTv webcast.

Chicago Children's Theatre's BOING! 2020 virtual festival, premiering on CCTv on Saturday, June 20 at 10 a.m., will boast the debut of Doll Face Has a Party!, i??the company's new virtual puppet show with Brian Selznick.

Based on the picture book written by Pam Conrad and illustrated by Selznick, CCT's new virtual puppet version is designed and performed by Chicago theater artists Will Bishop and Grace Needleman, features music by Tuba Skinny and voice talent by James Lecesne.

Other artists bouncing in and out of BOING! (at press time) include GQ of the Q Brothers performing a new Javid Music Party solo song, Christian Robinson, 2016 Caldecott Honoree and winner of a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his art in "Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña leading a craft activity for kids, actors from CCT's 2019 production of Leo Lionni's Frederick performing a high-energy song from the musical, reimagined from home, and online drop-ins by Chicago theater wunderkinds Ariana Burks (Alice in CCT's world premiere Wonderland: Alice's Rock and Roll Adventure) and Cameron Goode (Jabari in CCT's world premiere Jabari Dreams of Freedom).

Virtual festivalgoers will also learn epic dance moves, solve a mysterious puzzle, and sing-along with Mr. Nick Davio as he leads the world's longest birthday song honoring everyone who have had to celebrate theirs while sheltering-in-place.

Right after its BOING! debut, Doll Face Has a Party! will be posted on CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children's Theatre, where it joins Frederick: A Virtual Puppet Performance, voiced by film, TV and stage star Michael Shannon. Frederick, CCT's first free online production, debuted in April and already has had more than 8,500 views on YouTube alone.

i??CCTv's line-up also is frequently updated with "how to" videos on theater crafts like costume design, prop making, puppetry and coloring book activities. CCTv also hosts a growing "best of" playlist of fun short plays created, videotaped and submitted by families while sheltering in place to Chicago Children's Theatre's Ralla Klepak Foundation Play@Home Contest.

BOING! 2020 proceeds benefit The Red Kite Project, Chicago's original, internationally-known theatrical and educational experiences for youth on the autism spectrum. Each year, Red Kite serves hundreds of children through classes, camps, productions, and school residencies, providing financial aid to over 50 percent of participants.

Pivoting quickly when quarantine began, Red Kite transitioned online with Fly@Home programming, continuing to serve families affected by autism through live classes via zoom, and pre-recorded content. Red Kite Fly@Home has been embraced by these families who can be hit especially hard by disruptions in routines and the new rules of social distancing.

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