A children's story that has delighted readers and travelers around the world is moving from the page to the stage, as the Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences (NTYA) presents "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley." The story follows the exploits of 10-year-old Stanley Lambchop, who is flattened after a bulletin board falls on him. Since he always wanted to travel, Stanley mails himself around the world in a large envelope in this charming production, directed by Andrew Weir.
"This is a fast-paced and high-energy show that will hold the attention of kids with great musical numbers and fun scenes, as Stanley travels from Kansas City to Hollywood, Paris and Hawaii," Weir explained. "All kids want to go on adventures, and Stanley gets a Hollywood agent, plays a surfboard in a movie, goes to the Louvre, talks to paintings and helps catch a thief."
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Turning an actor into a two-dimensional character and having him mailed to different locations presents a challenge that requires clever costuming, staging and directing. In addition, all of the actors except one take on multiple roles in the production. Weir has acted in 12 NTYA shows over the past 4 years and was ready to switch to the director's chair for Flat Stanley.
"I really enjoy problem solving, scenery and costume changes; now I get to do that for an entire show. There are a lot of fun, big special moments: We have paintings that come to life. Stanley bursts out of an envelope. He's smashed flat by a bulletin board. We have to find a fun and safe way for that to happen.
Performances are on Saturdays at 10am and 1pm from April 5 through May 10 and run approximately one hour. After every show, the audience can meet the professional cast. NTYA also offers weekday presentations for schools that can include curtain talks with the actors. A bus grant from Target can help qualifying schools with transportation to and from the theatre.
In The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, the young hero eventually returns home, because he misses his family. This production is designed for family audiences (ages 4 and older), who can share the joy of live theatre, along with colorful sets, lively songs, endearing characters and a strong cast.
Reserved seats are $12 and available online at nbparks.org, by phone and at the Box Office in the Leisure Center, 3323 Walters Avenue. Discounts are available for groups and on Fridays at the Box Office.
The Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences is produced in association with the League of Chicago Theatres and Actors' Equity and is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. For more information, call 847•291•2995.