Washougal Art & Music Festival

Stage & Studio: The moon, a thief, and telling tales for kids

As Oregon Children's Theatre prepares a dual opening of "Goodnight Moon" and "The Lightning Thief," Dmae Lo Roberts talks in her newest podcast with company Artistic Director Jenn Hartman Luck.

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Jenn Hartman Luck, artistic director of Oregon Children's Theatre.
Jenn Hartman Luck, artistic director of Oregon Children’s Theatre.

Oregon Children’s Theatre is set to open two shows at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts after delays from recent snow and ice storms that have shut down most productions. Dmae Lo Roberts got a chance to speak with Jenn Hartman Luck, OCT’s artistic director, about opening Goodnight Moon (based on the classic book by Margaret Wise Brown) in the Winningstad Theater and The Lightning Thief (of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan) in the Newmark Theater on the weekend of January 20.

Subscribe and listen to Stage & Studio on: AppleGoogleSpotify, Android and Sticher. Hear past shows on Stage & Studio websiteTheme music: Clark Salisbury.

Featured in this podcast episode: Luck talks about how she’s acclimated to Portland since moving here from Austin, Texas, the differences in funding in Oregon compared with other states in the country, and her plans for OCT, as well as:

The two opening shows…

“The music (in The Lightning Thief) is so incredible and exciting and young people and adults alike are in love with Percy Jackson, in love with this story. And it really has this amazing narrative and … theme around resilience and stepping into what challenges are in front of you and taking them by the horns … and Goodnight Moon allows us to cuddle up with our our littles and just love on them and focus on what’s important.”

Her passion for theater for youth…

“I was a kid who had a lot of big feelings I had a lot of challenges both in my own little world but also in my family and the arts. My immediate family were not participants in the arts and yet here I was, this kid who somehow the arts just spoke to me from the minute I was born. I would put on little solo shows to myself and for myself in my room, I mean, and they did everything that they could to support me.”

"Goodnight Moon," from left: Brandy Schnaars, Troy Sawyer, Madeleine Tran, and AC Campbell. Photo: Lee McNeely.
Goodnight Moon,” from left: Brandy Schnaars, Troy Sawyer, Madeleine Tran, and AC Campbell. Photo: Lee McNeely.

Goodnight Moon

  • Book, Music, and Lyrics by Chad Henry.
  • Adapted from the book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd.
  • Recommended for ages 3 and up.
  • Runtime: approximately 60 minutes. Continues through Feb. 11, 2024.

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Rehearsal photo of "The Lightning Thief" with Tyson Thames as Percy.
Rehearsal photo of “The Lightning Thief” with Tyson Thames as Percy.

The Lightning Thief

  • Book by Joe Tracz.
  • Music, Lyrics, and Orchestrations by Rob Rokicki.
  • Adapted from the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.
  • Recommended for ages 8–12.
  • Runtime: approximately 60 minutes. Continues through Feb. 18, 2024

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More about Jenn Hartmann Luck: She is a multi-hyphenate theater artist, educator, director, producer, songwriter/composer, and arts leader who has been working in arts education and theater for young audiences sace for 25 years. From Phoenix, to New York City, Los Angeles, and most recently, Austin, Texas, she has spent her entire career serving communities of young people and their families though the performing arts.

As Director of Partnerships and Programming for Education at the Paramount Theatre in Austin for almost a decade, Jenn presented full seasons of live performing arts programming for young audiences and built an education department that served over 22,000 students a year. She was on the board of directors for the International Association of Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY), is a Lecturer in the Department of Theatre & Dance at the University of Texas at Austin, is a proud member of TYA/USA, AATE, and The Dramatist Guild, and sits on the SXSW EDU Advisory Board. She holds a BA in Theatre Performance from Arizona State University and an MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from The University of Texas. Prior to her time in Austin, she was part of P.L.A.Y (Performing for Los Angeles Youth); the award-winning Education Department at Center Theatre Group.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Dmae Roberts is a two-time Peabody winning radio producer, writer and theatre artist. Her work is often autobiographical and cross-cultural and informed by her biracial identity. Her Peabody award-winning documentary Mei Mei, a Daughter’s Song is a harrowing account of her mother’s childhood in Taiwan during WWII. She adapted this radio documentary into a film. She won a second Peabody-award for her eight-hour Crossing East documentary, the first Asian American history series on public radio. She received the Dr. Suzanne Ahn Civil Rights and Social Justice award from the Asian American Journalists Association and was selected as a United States Artists (USA) Fellow. Her stage plays and essays have been published in numerous publications. She published her memoir The Letting Go Trilogies: Stories of a Mixed-Race Family in 2016. As a theatre artist, she has won two Drammys, one for her acting and one for her play Picasso In The Back Seat which also won the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been produced in Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, NYC and Florida. Roberts is the executive producer of MediaRites, a nonprofit multicultural production organization and co-founder of Theatre Diaspora, an Asian American/Pacific Islander non-profit theatre that started as a project of MediaRites. She created the Crossing East Archive of more than 200 hours of broadcast-quality, pan-AAPI interviews and oral histories. For 23 years, Roberts volunteered to host and produce Stage & Studio live on KBOO radio. In 2009, she started the podcast on StagenStudio.com, which continues at ArtsWatch.

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