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Bay Area Children's Theatre's ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY! to Open Next Month

A party invitation?! Piggie is thrilled! But when she remembers she has never been to a party, she asks her best friend Gerald, the elephant, to accompany her. Good thing Gerald knows how to party!

Families should expect happy high jinks galore -- and a wonderful time, with music and rhyme -- as Mo Willems' two most unlikely pals sing and dance (well, Gerald tries to dance) through the joys and trials of friendship in the Bay Area Children's Theatre (BACT) production of ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY!

ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY! opens Saturday, April 9, at the Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94703, and will be presented weekends at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. through Sunday, May 1.

The Freight & Salvage is just steps away from the downtown Berkeley BART station. BART is a BACT community partner. Tickets $22 adults, $20 seniors, $18 children, $13 groups (minimum 15). Contact the Box office online at www.bactheatre.org or call (510) 296-4433.

Directed by Hannah Dworkin, with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma and script and lyrics by children's author and illustrator Mo Willems, based on his wildly popular Elephant & Piggie series, ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY is recommended for all ages.

Performed in old time musical theatre style, the production reunites BACT favorites Derek Collard, as Gerald, and Ally Johnson, as Piggie. Fans will recall Collard and Johnson as the father-toddler team in BACT's 2013 production of another story by Mo Willems: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.

San Ramon: After its Berkeley run, ELEPHANT & PIGGIE'S WE ARE IN A PLAY bounces to the Dougherty Performing Arts Center, 10550 Albion Road, San Ramon 94582, for Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

San Francisco: From San Ramon, the production zips across the Bay to the Children's Creativity Museum Theater, 221 4th Street, San Francisco CA 94103, where it will run weekends Saturday, May 14, through Sunday, June 12, with performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

ARTISTS:

Hannah Dworkin, director/choreographer, is a Bay Area based director, choreographer, performer and arts educator. Her recent credits include Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang (Choreographer, BACT), James and the Giant Peach (Director Shanghai Tour, BACT), Fancy Nancy (Choreographer, BACT), A Year With Frog and Toad (Choreographer, BACT), Willy Wonka (Berkeley Playhouse, Aerial Choreographer) and Aladdin (Berkeley Playhouse, Aerial Choreography). Dworkin holds an MA in Music and Music Education from Columbia University, a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential with a Dance Certification from the University of California, Berkeley, Extension and a BA in Dance and Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, she is a classically trained vocalist, dancer and aerialist. She recently sang the role of The Sorceress in Dido and Aeneas (Opera Non Troppo), and she performs regularly as a company member of Upswing Aerial Dance.

Aly Casas (Squirelle 3/Dog) makes her BACT debut in this production. An East Bay native currently on the Peninsula, Casas' previous credits include Eponine in Les Miserables and Gertie in Oklahoma (Portola Valley Theatre Conservatory), June in Chicago (Woodside Community Theatre) and Donna/Oolie in City of Angels (Studio ACT). A working voice actor in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, Casas has voiced multiple projects for Leap Frog, Crayola, PBS Kids and Disney. Outside of performing, Casas works in the cosmetics industry as an education content development manager for KENDO brands.

Kailah Cayou (Squirelle 1/Penguin understudy) recently understudied Mouse in BACT's Bad Kitty on Stage. She appeared in BACT's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, TYA, and is currently performing in The Day the Crayons Quit Experience.

Derek Travis Collard (Gerald) has performed in many BACT productions, including James and the Giant Peach, A Year With Frog and Toad and Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. He was recently seen as Durdles in Town Hall's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other Bay Area credits include: Company (Shellie Award Nominee), Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors (Shellie Award Winner), Hairspray, Into the Woods, Beauty & the Beast, The Full Monty, A Christmas Carol, She Loves Me and many others. Regional: Angels (Pre-Broadway Tour), Nunsense A-Men, Bye Bye Birdie (National Tour), Oliver (National Tour), The Gold Wuthakee (Lincoln Center), You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Funny (Old GlobeTheatre), Pageant, and Sweeney Todd.

Debra Harvey (Squirelle 2) was last seen at BACT in Three Little Birds. Recent credits include: Nunsense (Sister Hubert) at Altarena Playhouse, Song For A New World Concert (Ensemble) at Masquer's Playhouse, A Trip Down Broadway (Effie/Gary Coleman/Ensemble) at Clayton Theatre Company, Dreamgirls (Joann/Geraldine(Jerry)) at Broadway By the Bay, The Color Purple (Church Lady) at HillBarn Theatre, A Little Princess (Widow Zuma). She was the 2012 winner of the SFBATCC Award for Principal Female in a Musical for Nunsense (Sister Hubert) at Novato Theatre Company.

Ally Johnson (Piggie) co-hosts the morning show, Kevin Klein Live, on LIVE105.3. Born and raised in San Jose, she ventured to the East Coast and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory. She studied and performed improv and sketch comedy with The Groundlings School in Los Angeles and Killing My Lobster sketch group in San Francisco. Johnson rejoins BACT after playing Trixie in the company's production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale in 2013.

Anna Smith (Squirelle 1/Penguin; Piggie understudy) has previously been seen at BACT in Pinkalicious, the Musical; Lyle the Crocodile, A Year with Frog and Toad, and The Day the Crayons Quit. She has also been seen with Berkeley Playhouse, New Conservatory Theatre Center, and Ray of Light Theatre. When not onstage, Anna runs The Quinan Street Project, which provides theatre education programs with a social justice lens to the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Chelsea Wellott (Squirelle 2/3 understudy) appeared earlier this season as the understudy for Miss Dee/Chatty Kitty in BACT's Bad Kitty On Stage and in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Established in 2004, the Bay Area Children's Theatre, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, serves more than 90,000 children and adults throughout the Bay Area, with main stage performances in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco and San Ramon; selected productions in local schools; and classes and summer camps in more than 10 East Bay communities.

Our Mission: To inspire young audiences with imaginative productions, introduce children of all backgrounds to the excitement of live theatre, and create an engaging, entertaining, and educational environment in which children and their families can explore and enjoy the arts.



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