Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Drive-Home Moments" and a Farewell (for now)

We have decided to close down this old Blogspot-hosted blog. As you can see, it has been very quite around these parts of late. So, instead of trying to restart this blog, we’re going to take a step back and launch a new blog hosted on our website this summer.

Until then, check out our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter. But, for now, one last blog post to tide you over until the summer.

If you have ever listened to an NPR station during pledge week, you have probably heard them talk about “driveway moments.” You have NPR on in the car, and get so wrapped up in a story that when you get home you sit in the driveway to listen until the end. I’ve had a driveway moment or two myself.

But, at SCT, we like to talk about the “drive-home moments,” because we hear stories from our patrons year after year about the great conversations they have with their children on the way home from seeing a play at SCT. There is just something about live theatre in general, and the plays that SCT chooses to produce in particular, that inspires conversations between parents and kids that go way beyond the usual, “fine.”

This isn’t a concept we made up (though we did name it). We are fortunate enough to talk with our patrons on a regular basis, and this is what they have told us:

This show is as much for the parents as it is for the kids. We discussed the show in depth all the way home!

As always, it stimulated much conversation amongst the four of us with each of us.

This was a great example to our kids that anything can happen in "live" theater! Made for a great conversation piece.

My kids are still talking about the play and processing things that were important to them in it.

There were so many good messages in this play, and it initiated good conversation on the way home about the different messages it presented.

One of the things that we provide to families (other than enriching entertainment, a child-centered and safe zone, professional actors and production design) is the opportunity to have great conversations and a shared experience on which to build stronger relationships. We give families a drive home where there kids will answer their questions with more than “fine” and will have more to say that “I liked it.”

And I can’t imagine a better gift from us to you.

See you in the summer at our new blog home!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Teacher Talks About "Perô"

It has been far, far too long since we posted to this blog (we blame the holiday season and multiple show openings). But, thankfully, we received a letter from a teacher this weekend we had to share (with her permission, of course), which brought us back here once again. We promise, our absence will not be so lengthy again.

Dear SCT Staff,

I would like to express my great appreciation of your production of Perô. I took my 1st-3rd grade class to see it this past Thursday morning, and we were all absolutely thrilled with the experience.

The actors were clearly enjoying themselves, and put forth a beautiful and moving performance. There were quite a number of positive themes in the play which provided great lead-ins to teaching moments. One of the children brought up her surprise at seeing a divorce in a children's play (while not explicit, that a divorce had occurred was appropriately assumed by her.) I pointed out that while we don't mean to teach that divorce is necessarily good, we wouldn't want them to stay with someone who was really mean to them - look at how Paletino even threw a napkin at Columbina. Another child chimed in with my favorite comment - [it's teaching us] "we should think before we act." "Yes," I said, "especially when getting married."

Jennifer Sue Johnson and Matt Wolfe in Perô. Photo by Chris Bennion.

On your website it says that the set is not flashy. I think this comment does a disservice to your production - the set was incredible. In our present world of colorful chaos, it showed the power of pure black, grey and white. The set and costumes were elegant, intricate, cunningly constructed and beautiful. In reaching to the ceiling and behind the back curtain it enveloped the audience in experience. It's true that it acheived this without "flashy" sets, but I found that a strength. Perhaps you could say something like "the quiet elegance of the set of Perô highlights the beauty of its puppetry and focuses attention on the emotions of the characters in its approachable story"

Each year our school rents a theater for an evening so that our children can perform their own play on a real stage. We are a small school without the time or budget to construct a "flashy" or enormous set. Additionally, I feel that the focus of a children's drama production should be on the strength of the children's efforts, which can be easily upstaged by flashy sets. The set of Perô was amazing, yet comprehensible in its construction. A fitting inspiration for our own productions.

Lastly, thank you for the question and answer session at the end. Our children love that. Even more than the questions, they (and we) appreciate the opportunity for them to see the actors "out of character." It gives them a chance to observe how much the actors change their voice and mannerisms to create the character they play.

Thank you for a beautiful, memorable, and highly "teachable" performance.

Clary Lucero
Elementary Teacher, 1st - 3rd Grade

We may blush. Come and see "Perô" while you still can - the show closes on February 14. Tickets and info at

Monday, December 14, 2009

SCT Review Crew takes on "Peter Pan"

Another excellent review of "Peter Pan," this one from Meg D. and family of the SCT Review Crew.

The Holidays are upon us and what better a gift than a night at The Seattle Children's Theatre! This classic story is brought to life with an amazing and talented cast.

Linda Hartzell celebrates her 25th year as Artistic Director of Seattle Children's Theatre. She is truly the best gift ever to the Seattle Children's Theatre and her direction of this show is one of her best yet!

Newcomer Eric Ankrim is wonderful as Peter Pan. His energy is contagious and he carries the show like a pro. David Pichette as Captain Hook is deliciously evil and very funny. I think the adults had an even better time as Hook quotes Shakespeare and demands his gang to play various tunes of music for him. The Pirates were my favorite characters. Auston James as Smee is perfect, funny and always fun to see on stage. The gang of pirates don't let the audience down a moment with their songs and fight scenes.

David Pichette as Capt. Hook with his gang of pirates (clockwise from left) Auston James, Hugh Hastings,
Maggie Stenson, Dane Stokinger, Peter Crook and Geoffrey Alm. Photo by Chris Bennion.

My two boys though LOVED Nana played by Jadd Davis and the Crocodile played by Eric Brotherson. The animal costumes designed by Scott R. Gray make these two fine actors able to crawl, slither and climb easily about the stage.

The set is breathtaking and cheers go to Carey Wong for all the details done in the hildren's nursery. Music Direction by Mark Rabe is wonderful and you can even catch two of the pirates as back-up drummers in the Ugg-a-Wugg song.

The age recommendation for this show is 6+/Grades 1+.. We had little ones all around us and I was a bit concerned at the start, but the wonderful Cry/Family Room is available in case a quick exit is needed!

Get your tickets now and treat your family to a one of a kind live theatre experience!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Activity: Have You Another Voice?

Photo by Chris Bennion.

In Peter Pan, Peter likes to fool Captain Hook by disguising his voice. This activity from our Drama School's curriculum invites participants to explore using different voices, starting with a vocal warm-up.

Have you another voice?

Have players sit in a circle. Discuss ways that they could change their voice so that no one would know it was them. Some examples include using an accent, or speaking with a deep, high, or raspy voice.

As a group, practice saying the line from Peter Pan, “Have you another voice?” using different voices.

Once players are comfortable with using their voices in a variety of ways, choose one player to be Captain Hook. Captain Hook will close his or her eyes.

Choose one student to be Peter Pan and disguise his voice saying the sentence: “Have you another voice?"

All players should put on their most innocent looking faces – like it could have been any of them.

Have all players say to Captain Hook: “Open your eyes!” Captain Hook uses his power of observation and power of listening to determine who said the line “Have you another voice?” Captain Hook has three tries to figure out who played Peter Pan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

"Twilight" Fans - Win tickets to "Peter Pan"!

Every once in a while, a production company will contact us about using SCT posters in a movie or television show. Fans of Grey's Anatomy may have noticed that SCT posters are all over the walls of Seattle Grace, for example.

It so happens that we got one such call last spring from the production company working on the new movie in the Twilight saga, New Moon, and SCT is actually represented in the film. There is a poster on the wall in Bella's room, visible several times, from a Seattle Children's Theatre production.

If you see the poster or think you know what it is, mail the name of the play to by 5pm Monday, November 23rd, and you'll be entered into a drawing for two ticket's to SCT's musical Peter Pan!

One entry per email address. Winner will be selected randomly from among all correct entries.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SCT's Staff Contest: Mash-Up the Croc!

A few months back, while in a mild fever delirium, SCT Head of Crafts Scott R. Gray had a great idea - what if we took some pictures of the incredible Crocodile costume he was working on for Peter Pan, and mashed-up the Croc's head with different photos, like some kind of contest. He emailed off the idea and slipped back into semi-coma.

Then, a donor gave us a couple of airline vouchers that had to be used by the end of the year, and Scott's contest idea floated up and reared its Croccy head. And, so SCT staff and artists were given one week to mash-up one of two pics of Croc with the image of their choice.

The winner was selected through a rigorous evaluation process by our judges, the kids from C.A.S.T (or Creative Arts for Young Thespians). And the winner is...

Submitted by Individual Giving Manager Brooke O'Neal (who, it happens, doesn't fly and is terrified of flying, but who promised, if she won, to fly).

The rest of the very fine contest entries:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Every Mouse is different! or, What Mom said.

This counts as the inside scoop, because the only way anyone in the audience would ever know this to be the case is if they watched this show over and over and very closely.

You see, every time we perform If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, it's a little different.

Take a look at the scene below, in which MJ Sieber, playing Boy, is imitating his mother right after she's done her nails. It's one of the funnier moments of the play, and it is never the same twice, because MJ has been given the green light to ad lib the line.

Photo by Chris Bennion.

So, every day, when we get the show reports, there's a little box that says "What Mom said today..."

Some of our favorites so far:

Wha, Wha, Wha…(Charlie brown’steacher)

I can’t go outside until my nails are dry because I might get bugs on them.

I’m making smoothies for everyone.

Don’t forget to eat your brussel sprouts.

Did I ever tell you about my four episode arc on Falcon Crest?

It’s french toast day. Everyone want french toast?

Now be quiet. It’s time for me to watch my stories.

I wrote your name in all your underwear in case you lose it.

But, this has got to be our top, top favorite:

Did anyone see Antiques Road Show last night?? I’ve got a neti pot…

Come and see the show, and then stop back here tell us what Mom said!