DCTC's Dusty and the Big Bad World

This world premiere production, directed by DCTC Artistic Director Kent Thompson, was selected from the 2008 Colorado New Play Summit readings. It is a story about bigotry and the censorship of "Dusty," a public television children's series about a dust ball. Playwright Cusi Cram writes for the PBS animated series "Arthur" and was inspired by a spin- off of that show called "Postcards from Buster." Part documentary, part animation the episode dealt with a girl with two gay moms in Vermont. The head of PBS and the Secretary of the US Department of Education became involved and eventually the funding was pulled for the program. It became known as "Buster-gate" and affected Cusi and her husband (also a writer for "Arthur") directly.

"Buster-gate" happened in 2005. Although most stations did not air the episode, KBDI Channel 12 PBS Denver did opt to show the episode. The announcement of the airing can be found on their website at www.kbdi.org in the newsroom section.

The members of the DCTC's production design team are Scenic Designer William Bloodgood (You Can't Take It With You), Costume Designer Bill Black (Doubt, Mrs. Warren's Profession, All My Sons), Lighting Designer Charles R. MacLeod (The Miracle Worker, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Lydia) and Sound Designer Jason Ducat (Glengarry Glen Ross). Dramaturgy is by Paul Walsh (Denver Center debut - Associate Professor at the Yale School of Drama, Artistic Director of the New Harmony Project) and the voice and dialect coach is Kathryn G. Maes (The Diary of Anne Frank, You Can't Take It With You, 1001).

The world premiere cast includes Kelly McAndrew (Denver Center debut - Broadway's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Old Globe) as Jessica, Jeanine Serralles (1001) as Karen, Charlotte Booker (The Clean House, Season's Greetings) as Marianne, Sam Gregory (Noises Off, Doubt) as Nathan and Chloe Nosan (White Christmas) as Lizzie Goldberg-Jones.
In Dusty and the Big Bad World the little girl has two daddies. After their daughter Lizzie enters and wins a national contest, for her little brother, to have the most popular PBS animated character visit and film the family at home, the big bad world brings the hammer down.

The episode has been filmed, but the incoming Secretary of Education has a problem with it. As the story unfolds, some of the characters talk about their pasts, most amusingly Jeanine Serralles as Karen in a very funny scene at an Au Bon Pain. Kelly McAndrew and Sam Gregory work very well together as the Producer and Writer of "Dusty" and Cloe Nosan, though she can tend to rush her lines a tad bit at times, reels you in with her portrayal of the young girl with two daddies who is frighteningly intelligent , sarcastic at times, but very wise for a girl her age. Also along the way some secrets are revealed. Ms. Booker's Marianne oozes with a southern charm that can also be laced with what feels like a bit of venom. Spiced with humor, the play also has something to say about politics and people's beliefs. If it was Ms. Cram's goal to have the audience discussing the play while leaving, she has succeeded. After the laughter and the revelations, this play should have you talking about Life, Politics, religion and maybe even how Sesame Street may have saved your life!

The DCTC has decided to have fun with this production and has designed a Dusty and the Big Bad World website. I suggest you check it out. It is a lot of fun! You can visit the site at www.dustyandthebigbadworld.com. And watch out for that broom!

Dusty and the Big Bad World is playing in the Space Theater now through February 28th.

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From This Author Greg Rice

Greg was born and raised in Pennsylvania, where he was a student at the Society Hill Playhouse in his senior year, and has been a (read more...)