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The Garden Theatre Presents Original Musical About The Holocaust, WHILE CHILDHOOD SLEPT, In Partnership With Holocaust Museum Houston

While Childhood Slept will run for five performances only from September 2-4, 2022 at MATCH.

The Garden Theatre Presents Original Musical About The Holocaust, WHILE CHILDHOOD SLEPT, In Partnership With Holocaust Museum Houston

One of Houston's newest theatre companies, The Garden Theatre, has announced its plans to bring a staged reading of While Childhood Slept by Sharon Sheppard and Jo Ellen Hubert to the MATCH and Holocaust Museum Houston. The original musical will run September 2-4, 2022 at Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (3400 Main St.) in the heart of midtown, and September 7 at Holocaust Museum Houston (5401 Caroline St.) in the Museum District.

While Childhood Slept is a heart-wrenching original musical based on the true story of the boys of Home Number One in the Nazi concentration camp, Terezin. The children create a secret republic within the camp, publishing their own magazine of art, poetry, and short stories called Vedem. A visit from The International Red Cross presents the opportunity to disguise their magazine as a secret message and a means of escape. While Childhood Slept is a story of bravery, determination, and hope with a promise that we will never forget the past and will never allow history to repeat itself.

While Childhood Slept was written and first performed in 1999 at Houston's Applause Theatrical School and Theatre Company, which ceased operations in 2014. With book and lyrics by Sharon Sheppard and music and additional lyrics by Jo Ellen Hubert, the pair wrote the piece for the students of Applause with the knowledge that there was not a wealth of age-appropriate dramas to perform. After the 1999 production, the show was revised and performed in 2005, once again by Applause Theatre Company. The finale song, "We Will Not Forget", was featured in the educational documentary Paperclips. The Garden Theatre will present the musical for the first time in 17 years as a staged reading first, and then as a full production in the 2023-2024 season.

"I truly cannot contain how full my heart is that we are getting to produce this beautiful show," says Founding Artistic Director Logan Vaden, who is also directing the production. "First, the story is outright inspiring. The work that Sharon Sheppard and Jo Ellen Hubert took to accurately portray the real lives of people like Petr Ginz, Valtr Eisinger, Vera Sommerova, Leo Lowy, and so many others is incredible. In researching the events that transpired at Terezen, it is staggering to see that so many little moments in our show actually happened. It is beautiful to see these moments represented in this musical for all time, promising that we truly will never forget. Second, I trained for a large part of my life at Applause Theatre Company, where this show was originally produced. I was part of the 2005 production at the age of 14, and it has stuck with me all of this time. The resilience of these children through art touched my soul in a way that no other story had. It's a story that must be told for generations to come."

The staged reading production of While Childhood Slept is being produced in partnership with Holocaust Museum Houston. The museum is working with The Garden Theatre on additional research for the show, as well as providing access to the museum itself for cast members. The partnership will culminate in 4 performances at MATCH September 2-4, and 1 performance at Holocaust Museum Houston on September 7 at 6pm. To ensure that all will be able to hear and see this beautiful story, the performance at Holocaust Musuem Houston will be presented free of charge. Performances at both locations will conclude with an audience talkback with varying members of the production staff, writers, cast, and HMH staff speaking at each.

The Garden Theatre's cast of While Childhood Slept features both professional adult actors, as well as children actors. Liam Norton, Tyler Galindo, and Taylor Moessinger lead the cast as Petr Ginz, Valtr Eisinger, and Vera Sommerova respectively, with Ivanna Martinez as Ruth, Chad Fontenot as Walter Roth, Jonathan Robinson as Herr Gruber, Emily Buesing as Frau Hilda, Faith Taylor as Grandma Gonzova, and Casey Radle as Miss Van Der Meer. Rounding out the children's ensemble are Annie Blitz, Tristan Davis, Ellery Dibowitz, Santos Duran, Conner Ferrell, Joshua Gutierrez, Samantha Kerne, Eliran Masti, Gerardo Mendez, Riley Neal, Ashley Pribble, and Donna Taylor. Logan Vaden directs, with William Michael Luyties as music director, Daniel Edwards as stage manager, and Colleen Morgan as lighting designer.

While Childhood Slept will run for five performances only from September 2-4, 2022 at MATCH (Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston; 3400 Main St. Houston, TX 77002) and September 7 at Holocaust Museum Houston (5401 Caroline St. Houston, TX 77004). Adult tickets are $25, and student and senior tickets are $20 for the MATCH run. Tickets are free for the performance at Holocaust Museum Houston. Tickets are available on the theatre's website at www.thegardentheatre.org or by calling the MATCH box office at 713-521-4533.

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