Coterie Theatre Producing Artistic Director Jeff Church announced today the youth and family theater’s 2017-2018 season.
Opening the season in September is the civil rights drama WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED: THE STUDENT SIT-INS OF 1960 “that continues the civil rights conversation [the Coterie has] encouraged over the past several seasons,” Church explains. Opening in November for the holiday season is A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS.
In January, the Coterie will produce the world premiere of IMAGINARY FRIENDS: LEGEND OF SINNISSIPPI PARK. “We’re excited to debut this new drama adapted from a short story by popular fantasy author, Terry Brooks, who wrote ‘The Shanara Chronicles,'” said Church “In Imaginary Friends, Brooks sends a sick teen on a hero’s journey that leads from the park next to his house to a new understanding of strength and courage.”
February brings Mark J. Frattaroli’s adaptation of TUCK EVERLASTING, about a family with endless life. In April, audiences can experience the bilingual and interactive telling of Jack and the Beanstalk in JACK AND THE BEAN MÁGICO!. The season at the Coterie’s Crown Center theater concludes with the July production of GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM. In July, the company will work with the White Theatre at The J on the previously announced co-production of Disney’s NEWSIES.
The Coterie’s 2017/2018 Season (from the press release):
WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED: THE STUDENT SIT-INS OF 1960
September 19 – October 22, 2017
By Ed Simpson
Directed by Jeff Church
By simply taking a seat at a whites-only lunch counter, four freshmen from A&T College in North Carolina launched a youth-led movement seeking equal service for African Americans. Their non-violent demonstration in Greensboro gained such momentum that it quickly inspired a new generation to stand up for their Civil Rights. This is the story of ordinary citizens who witnessed a movement forming right before their eyes.
For families with AGES 11+ | Approximate running time: 75 minutes
A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
November 7 – December 31, 2017
By Charles M. Schulz
Directed by William J. Christie
The animated classic comes to life on stage – with a live jazz trio playing the original Vince Guaraldi arrangements! In their letters to Santa, everyone seems way too materialistic, so Charlie Brown tries to restore the holiday spirit by directing the school Christmas pageant. But after ending up with only a ragged little fir tree, Charlie Brown turns to his best friend, Linus, to learn the season’s real meaning.
For ALL AGES | Approximate running time: 55 minutes
IMAGINARY FRIENDS: LEGEND OF SINNISSIPPI PARK
January 23 – February 11, 2018
A co-production with UMKC Theatre
From the short story by Terry Brooks | Adapted by Laurie Brooks
Directed by Graham Whitehead
A hero’s journey filled with magic and wonderment, the story begins as 13-year-old Jack McCall learns some very bad news about his health. As the seriousness of the news sets in, reality begins blending with fantasy and Jack is drawn back to the magical park and imaginary friends of his childhood. He soon finds himself, along with an elf, an owl, a troll, and a ghost, on an adventure to save the park from an evil imprisoned in a massive tree. But when Jack begins to question whether the adventure is real or imagined, he quickly learns how facing this adversary may be the key to facing his illness.
For families with AGES 11+ | Approximate running time: 70 minutes
February 27 – March 31, 2018
By Natalie Babbitt | Adapted by Mark J. Frattaroli
Directed by Jeff Church
Over a century ago, the Tucks – Ma, Pa, and their sons Miles and Jesse – drank from a forest spring and no one in the family has aged a bit since. They’ve had to live separately to avoid suspicion as to why they never age, seeing each other only when they reunite every ten years. Now, young Winnie Foster is out exploring the woods, and accidentally discovers the Tuck family secret… leading her to the question: Is living outside the rules of time a blessing or a curse?
For families with AGES 9+ | Approximate running time: 65 minutes
JACK AND THE BEAN MÁGICO!
April 17 – May 20, 2018
By Linda A. Carson
Directed by Kim Selody, Presentation House Theatre, Vancouver
This delightful production is both bi-lingual and interactive! The classic fairytale, “Jack and the Beanstalk,” is told with the audience’s help, who assist Jack as he climbs the beanstalk and emerges on the giant’s land. In the giant’s rich and fertile garden – where young audiences become tiny bugs to help keep the soil healthy – Jack uncovers the source of troubles with his own farmland and learns how to make it fertile again by understanding and balancing the life cycle.
For families with AGES 4-8 | Approximate running time: 60 minutes
GOOSEBUMPS THE MUSICAL: PHANTOM OF THE AUDITORIUM
June 19 – August 5, 2018
Adapted for the stage with book and lyrics by John Maclay | Music and lyrics by Danny Abosch | Orchestrations & Arrangements by Danny Abosch
Directed by Jeff Church
A cartoony musical based on the beloved series from R.L. Stine. (Not too scary for the little ones.) Brooke and Zeke have been cast as the leads in the school’s new production of an old play about a phantom. Mysterious things start interrupting rehearsals and they have to wonder: is this someone’s idea of a joke or is the Phantom real? A musical adventure ensues that will bring out your inner sleuth and keep everyone in suspense until the final curtain.
For ALL AGES | Approximate running time: 60 minutes
A co-production with and performed at the White Theatre at The J
July 7 – 29, 2018
Music by Alan Menken | Lyrics by Jack Feldman | Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the Disney Film written by Bob Tzudiker & Noni White
Originally Produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions
Directed by Jerry Jay Cranford
For the very first time, The Coterie and the White Theatre at The J join forces to create Kansas City’s first locally-produced production of the Broadway smash hit. Set in New York City at the turn of the century, Newsies tells the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies from across the city to strike for what’s right.
Visit thecoterie.org for more info.