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Published: Thursday, 4/12/2007

Henry finds a friend, challenge in 'Mudge'


Several productions for or by youngsters open on area stages in the next week.

In Sylvania, the Theater Vision program at Lourdes College presents Henry and Mudge.

Using the books of Cynthia Rylant as inspiration, Theatreworks/USA, a professional troupe based in New York City, offers a musical romp through the life of Henry, a young boy who feels very lonely when his family moves from the city to a farm.

To help ease Henry's sadness over the distance between him and his best friend, cousin Annie, his parents present him with Mudge, a 180-pound furry canine pal. The pair quickly bond as Henry tries - not quite successfully - to train Mudge. They spend joyous days together romping through the fields and getting ready for cousin Annie's visit. But when Annie does arrive, she threatens to steal Mudge's heart.

Will Mudge remain loyal to Henry? Will Henry overcome his feelings of jealousy? Will Annie remain Henry's best (human) friend? Yes, to all.

The show by Kait Kerrigan, who wrote the book and lyrics, and Brian Lowdermilk, who wrote the music, runs about 60 minutes and is recommended for children in grades 1-4.

With Henry and Mudge, the Theater Vision program completes its 22nd season of presenting professional productions to young audiences. During the course of the year, the program has offered shows ranging from The Very Hungry Caterpillar for preschoolers to My Heart in a Suitcase for grades 5-10 to Othello for high school-age students. The program is targeted to school field trips, but if space is available, the public is welcome to attend.

"Henry and Mudge" is scheduled at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the Franciscan Theatre & Conference Center of Lourdes College, 6832 Convent Dr., Sylvania. Tickets are $7. Information: 419-824-3986.

•At Bowling Green State University, the Treehouse Troupe offers F. Scott Regan's Turto and the Hare: A Story about Sportsmanship. The troupe, composed of undergraduate BGSU students, each year presents a play and runs theater workshops in area schools, then offers public performances at the university.

Turto, a modern retelling of the fable about the turtle and the hare, is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Joe E. Brown theater in University Hall. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 11 and younger. Information: 419-372-2719.

•McDonald's Youth Theatre presents Alice in Wonderland at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Encore Theatre, 991 North Shore Dr., Lima, Ohio. Tickets are $6. Information: 800-944-1441.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com

or 419-724-6130.

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