“Narnia,” a musical based on C.S. Lewis' “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” and a stage adaptation of Disney's animated film “Tarzan” headline the Rose Theater's 2013-14 season for children and families as special events.
The Rose will present two world premieres in its regular season: “Leo Lionni's Frederick,” a musical based on the 1968 children's book; and “The Grocer's Goblin & The Little Mermaid,” based on Hans Christian Andersen tales and written by the Rose's own Brian Guehring and Stephanie Jacobson.
Filling out the regular season: “Knuffle Bunny,” “Robin Hood,” “Big Nate,” “Jackie & Me” and “Ramona Quimby.”
This is the first season formed with the input of Matthew Gutschick, the Rose's new artistic director. Gutschick said his goal was to make sure the shows speak to children at a high level, appeal to a broad age range and represent a variety of storytelling styles.
“No two shows look alike, feel alike or tell the same story,” Gutschick said. Themes of family, responsibility, justice and courage are universal, he said. All the shows get young people asking meaningful questons about the world and how they can make it a little better by their presence in it.
New to the Rose this year: Backstage tours will be offered for $5 after some performances of “Knuffle Bunny” and the Hans Christian Andersen show. Free preshow and post-show Insight activities in the lobby will highlight themes or other aspects of the shows, as will show-themed family classes.
Saturday regular-season shows will shift to a more family-friendly 5 p.m. rather than 7 p.m. Ticket and membership prices remain the same.
The season lineup:
• “Knuffle Bunny: a Cautionary Musical,” Sept. 6 to 22. Toddler Trixie's bunny gets lost. Mom is away, and Trixie needs to get her dad to understand. A musical based on a Caldecott-honored book by Mo Willems.
• “Robin Hood,” Oct. 11 to 27. A fast-paced, interactive show finds Robin Hood helping others while cleverly evading the relentless Sheriff of Nottingham. Gutschick will direct.
• “Big Nate,” Nov. 8 to 14. Lincoln Peirce's popular comic strip comes to life, starring the kid with the highest detention record at school. Nate's focused on a battle of the bands.
• “Narnia,” Dec. 6 to 29. Four children journey through an enchanted wardrobe to fulfill their destinies in a magical land in this two-hour musical. An epic battle between good and evil.
• “The Grocer's Goblin & The Little Mermaid,” Jan. 31 to Feb. 16. Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales are retold using original puppetry and projections. Director Stephanie Jacobson worked at Jim Henson Studios.
• “Jackie & Me,” Feb. 28 to March 16. A boy who loves baseball magically travels back in time to 1947 and meets Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in the majors.
• “Leo Lionni's Frederick,” March 28 to April 13. Frederick isn't like the other field mice in his family. While they prepare for winter, he dreams the summer away. The theme is how a family learns to value each of its members.
• “Ramona Quimby,” April 25, 2014, to May 11, 2014. Dad's out of work, Aunt Bea might move away and Ramona is having a tough time growing up. Author Beverly Cleary's young heroine learns about change and hardship.
• “Tarzan,” June 6-22, 2014. Alone and orphaned in the jungle, Tarzan is adopted by a family of apes. When humans appear, he's torn between two worlds. A two-hour musical based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs book, with music and lyrics by Phil Collins.
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