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Igniting Wonder

Plays for Preschoolers

2013
Author:

Children’s Theatre Company
Peter Brosius and Elissa Adams, Editors

Igniting Wonder

An anthology of four plays produced at the Children’s Theatre Company that will engage, challenge, and inspire preschool-aged children

Fueled by ongoing research into developmental psychology and theatre arts, the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis presents in this book four of its newly commissioned plays for preschoolers. These four distinct plays all help young children to develop a moral compass and critical-thinking skills—while also showing them the power of the theatre to amaze, delight, and inspire.

Congratulations to the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis on this book of wonderful plays for preschoolers. We applaud the CTC for their continual commitment to the arts, for inspiring young children, and for encouraging new adventures in theater for the entire family.

Peter van Roden, Vice President Themed Entertainment, Sesame Workshop

Young children love to explore their world through drama—characters, dialogue, story arcs, and props are all standard elements of a child’s play. It is no surprise then that professional theatre has long been regarded as a way to support children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and creative development. Increasingly, there is an international interest in theatre for very young audiences, and the Wall Street Journal reported on a “baby boom” in American theatre, with a marked upswing in the number of stage plays being written and produced for toddlers and preschoolers.

Fueled by ongoing research into developmental psychology and theatre arts, the Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) of Minneapolis presents in this book four of its newly commissioned plays for preschoolers. CTC is widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America; it received the 2003 Tony award for regional theatre, and Time magazine rated it the number one children’s theatre in the United States. These four plays encompass a broad range of styles and subjects: Bert and Ernie, Goodnight! is a musical about Bert and Ernie’s unlikely but true friendship, written by Barry Kornhauser and based on the original songs and scripts from Sesame Street. The Biggest Little House in the Forest is a toy-theatre play about a group of diverse animals trying to share a very tiny home, adapted by Rosanna Staffa from the book by Djemma Bider. The Cat’s Journey is a dazzling shadow-puppet play with a little girl who rides on a friendly cat, written by Fabrizio Montecchi. And Victoria Stewart’s Mercy Watson to the Rescue!, adapted from the Kate DiCamillo Mercy Watson series, is a comic romp featuring the inadvertent heroics of everyone’s favorite porcine wonder.

While these plays are as different as they could be, they all help young children to develop a moral compass and critical-thinking skills—while also showing them the power of the theatre to amaze, delight, and inspire.

Igniting Wonder

Children’s Theatre Company (CTC), located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is widely recognized as the leading theatre for young people and families in North America. Winner of the 2003 Tony® Award for regional theatre, CTC has received numerous honors, including awards from The Joyce Foundation and The Wallace Foundation. It participates in the National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Program, the Shakespeare for a New Generation program, the EmcArts Innovation Lab funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the New Voices/New Visions 2010 series presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. CTC serves more than 250,000 people annually through performances, new play development, theatre arts training, and community and education programs. For more information about Children’s Theatre Company, visit www.childrenstheatre.org.

Elissa Adams is the director of new play development at the Children’s Theatre Company.

Amy Susman-Stillman is codirector of the Center for Early Education and Development at the University of Minnesota.

Peter Brosius is the artistic director of the Children’s Theatre Company.

Igniting Wonder

Congratulations to the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis on this book of wonderful plays for preschoolers. We applaud the CTC for their continual commitment to the arts, for inspiring young children, and for encouraging new adventures in theater for the entire family.

Peter van Roden, Vice President Themed Entertainment, Sesame Workshop

Igniting Wonder

Contents


Preface
Amy Susman-Stillman

Introduction
Peter Brosius

Bert and Ernie, Goodnight!
Barry Kornhauser

The Biggest Little House in the Forest
Rosanna Staffa

The Cat’s Journey
Fabrizio Montecchi

Mercy Watson to the Rescue!
Victoria Stewart

Contributors