A boy who runs off with pirates, two unlikely animal friends, and a town full of imaginative characters are the stars of the 2014-2015 season from the Northbrook Musical Theatre for Young Audiences (NTYA). Managed by the Northbrook Park District, the Theatre will present three entertaining musicals based on popular children's books: How I Became a Pirate, A Year with Frog and Toad, and Busytown.
"We have young groups of kids in our audience, and it works really well to have stories they can read at home or pick up in the library," said Erin Sweet, Assistant Manager of Performing Arts with the Northbrook Park District. "They all are nice friendship stories that kids can understand and relate to; both boys and girls like them. I'm looking forward to a fun family season that is very colorful and very vibrant with upbeat and fun musical productions."
In October, the curtain will rise on How I Became a Pirate, based on the best-selling book by Melinda Long. Young Jeremy Jacob is building a sand castle on the beach, when a band of singing, dancing and goofy pirates arrives and asks him to help bury their treasure. He sets sail with them on a fantastic musical excursion and swashbuckling adventure.
"Jeremy Jacob teaches the pirates about being a kid, and they teach him about being a pirate. It's about friendship and finding your place in the world," Sweet said.
This winter, Arnold Lobel's well-loved characters hop from the page to the stage in A Year with Frog and Toad. The charming production follows the adventures of two best friends – the cheerful Frog and worrywart Toad – through four seasons, celebrating their differences along the way. The intimate, five-actor piece was adapted from a Broadway hit that was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Child-friendly and hummable songs include "Cookies," "Getta Loada Toad," and "I'm Coming Out of My Shell."
Closing the season is Busytown, based on the wildly popular books by Richard Scarry. With imaginative music, fantastic movement and colorful puppetry, this zany musical shares a day in the life of Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm, Betsy Bear and other favorite characters. Huckle Cat takes audiences on a tour of his fascinating neighborhood, always buzzing with activity, and they learn how many people and jobs are needed to keep a city running smoothly.
Performances are on Saturdays at 10am and 1pm at the Northbrook Theatre, located inside the Leisure Center at 3323 Walters Avenue. The one-hour productions are designed for family audiences and children in preschool through grade school. After every show, the audience can meet the professional cast.
Ticket sales for the 2014-2015 season open on September 2. For more information, visit nbparks.org or call 847•291•2995. Reserved seats are $12 (online, by phone, and at the Box Office in the Leisure Center). Discounts are available on Fridays at the Box Office and for group sales.
2014-2015 NTYA Performances
How I Became a Pirate October 18-November 22
A Year with Frog and Toad January 24-February 28
Busytown March 28-May 2
NTYA is the North Shore's only professional theatre dedicated to child and family audiences, combining jokes and music to appeal to younger viewers with a high level of talent to entertain adults and kids. In addition to the Saturday shows, the ensemble offers weekday performances for schools that can include curtain talks with the actors. NTYA is a member of the League of Chicago Theaters and the Actors' Equity Association.