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Published: Wednesday, 10/22/2008

Weekend productions speak to children, teens


Children s literature and teen problems inspire local and area productions for young people this week.

TheatreworksUSA, the professional troupe based in New York City, will present a one-hour musical adaptation of C.S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe Saturday in the Valentine Theatre.

Part of the Valentine s children s series, the musical is the tale of four children who accidentally discover the land of Narnia by climbing through a magic wardrobe in a British manor house during World War II. They learn that Narnia is in thrall to a witch who makes winter last all year long. With the help of a great lion king, the children defeat the witch and bring sunshine and warmth back to the world.

Directed by John Henry Davis, the cast comprises David Murgittroyd as Aslan, Evan Jay Newman as Edmund, Courtney Brown as Lucy, Jeffrey Parker as Peter, and Jenna Dallacco in dual roles: Susan and the White Witch.

The show is recommended for youngsters age 6 and older. Young theatergoers are invited to wear their Halloween costumes to the performance.

The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Valentine Theatre, 400 North Superior St. Tickets are $8 and $12 for children and $12 and $16 for adults. Information: 419-242-2787.

The musical Grease and the television show Happy Days made the high school years of the 1950s look like a never-ending round of dances, dating, and hanging out at the soda shop.

Children s Theatre Workshop looks at a different side of that era when it presents Teach Me How to Cry.

Written by Patricia Joudry, Teach Me How to Cry is the story of Will Henderson, a newcomer to a small-town high school, where the cliques rule and friendships form early. Melinda Grant, who has lived in the town all her life, is also an outcast, because the behavior of her painfully shy mother has painted the entire family as odd. Latching onto each other out of desperation, Melinda and Will discover their worth as people.

For the CTW production, Jodie Barnes plays Melinda, the introverted loner, and Thomas Dysard is Will, the son of a salesman who has moved his family 17 times in 17 years. The rest of the cast and the technical crew are composed of youths ages 12-17 from communities in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

Performances of Teach Me How to Cry will be at 8 p.m. tomorrow and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday in the Chapel Theatre of the Collingwood Arts Center, 2413 Collingwood Blvd. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. Information: 419-244-5061.

The books of Monroe author Elizabeth Upham McWebb come to life this weekend as the River Raisin Center for the Arts Youth Theatre presents The Adventures of Little Brown Bear.

Adapted by Vicki Maxwell, who also directs the production, Brown Bear follows the title character as his curiosity gets him into a series of adventures.

The all-youth cast is headed by Michaela Foulkrod as Little Brown Bear, Kyle Polak as Alex, Jessica Colton as Katie, and Lindsay Navarre as Grandmother.

Also performing will be Rebecca Colton, Jacob Foulkrod, Reid Heiser, Drew Hoffman, Katie LaBell, Morgan Lemanski, Nadia Link, Kameron O Leary, Joseph Pilgrim, Keagan Pilgrim, and Katie Tayler.

The Adventures of Little Brown Bear is scheduled at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the River Raisin Centre for the Arts, 114 South Monroe St., Monroe. Tickets are $8. Information: 734-242-7722.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.

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