Oregon Children Theatre’s got lots of songs and world premieres

The ambitious theater company combines old favorites and new musicals in 2014-15

Oregon Children's Theatre's "Gathering Blue." Photo: Owen Carey

Oregon Children’s Theatre’s “Gathering Blue.” Photo: Owen Carey

In case you missed it, there’s a TON of energy and creativity in Portland around theater for children, and it’s some of the best stuff you can see on stage, whether you’re a kid or an adult.

So, today I’m continuing the ArtsWatch look at upcoming theater seasons with Oregon Children’s Theatre, which has lots of public performances in addition to its school shows in the Antoinette Hatfield Hall at 1111 SW Broadway, in both the Newmark and Winningstad theaters. This year’s schedule combines world premieres and old favorites (Ramona Quimby!).

The 2014-15 season:

  • Ivy & Bean: The Musical, Oct. 25-Nov. 23, Newmark Theatre. This musical,based on the New York Times bestselling book series by Annie Barrows, is a “buddy play” starring to 7-year-old girls, who seem an unlikely pair at first, but then…
  • Skippyjon Jones, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 2015, Newmark Theatre. Dallas Children’s Theater and OCT co-commissioned this musical, based on the Judy Schachner book, about a Siamese cat who thinks he’s a bird and discovers that his real alter ego is a chihuahua. Magic closets figure! OCT artistic director Stan Foote directs this world premiere.
  • Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, Feb. 28–March 22, 2015, Winningstad Theatre. Another world premiere! Timmy Failure (his real name!) runs Total Failure, Inc., a detective agency, and he’s working on his first case. But there are so many obstacles. School! Mom! Corrina Corrina!
  • School House Rock Live!, March 28–April 26, 2015, Winningstad Theatre. Based on the 1970s-era children’s TV cartoon series with an educational bent, this musical may echo for adults at the same time it teaches their children about verbs and nouns, among other things. “Unpack Your Adjectives.”
  • Ramona Quimby, May 9–May 31, 2015, Newmark Theatre. This is about as old-school Portland as it gets. You KNOW you want to see it.

Young Professionals Company

The Young Professionals Company is made up of acting students aged 13-18 selected to participate in a year-long mentoring program. The three play season takes place in OCT’s Studio Theater.

  • The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, Dec. 5–14, 2014. This comic musical starts with Alexander T. Wolf as the defendant in a courtroom drama.
  • Impulse! OCT’s Improv Troupe, Jan. 23–Feb. 7, 2015. Maybe once we didn’t understand the crucial role improv plays in the culture? Like make us laugh?
  • columbinus,  April 10 – 19, 2015.  It’s not all little pigs and improv games: This one tackles the Columbine massacre of 1999 with both fact and fiction, and is intended for ages 15 and above: “disturbing subject matter and language.”

NOTES

The Portland Center Stage 2014-15 season.

The Artist Repertory Theatre  2014-15 season.

ArtsWatch theater critic Bob Hicks has written about several of this year’s OCT productions, including most recently Zombie in Love.

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