Plays in Development

Even as audiences are enjoying the productions currently onstage, CTC is working with playwrights across the country and around the world to create brand new plays that will premiere on our stages in upcoming seasons. A major developer of new plays for young audiences, CTC has commissioned and produced over 35 new plays in the last 15 years. How do we do it? We search the globe for playwrights whose work thrills and excites us. We hire them to write an original play or to adapt a classic story or contemporary children’s book. We hold readings and workshops to test the plays and, finally, we produce them in the beautiful, adventurous style that CTC is known for!

Plays developed and premiered at CTC include: A Year with Frog and Toad, Cinderella, Esperanza Rising, Robin Hood , Buccaneers!, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Iqbal, Iron Ring and The Biggest Little House in the Forest.

Special thanks to The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting new play development at Children’s Theatre Company.

Artists Under Commission:
Greg Banks, Jocelyn Clark, Steve Cosson and Michael Friedman, Philip Dawkins, Larissa Fasthorse, Paul Fleischman, Madeleine George, Jerome Hairston, Jeffrey Hatcher, Naomi Iizuka, Kevin Kling, Barry Kornhauser, Taylor Mac, David Mallamud, Qui Nguyen, Shane Rettig, Lloyd Suh, Ryan Underbakke and Nick Ryan, Cheryl West

Plays in Development:

20, 000 Leagues Under the Sea
Conceived and Directed by Ryan Underbakke
Based on the novel by Jules Verne

What secrets lie inside the Nautilus, the mythic submergible piloted by the mysterious Captain Nemo? In this interactive, participatory new version of the classic adventure story, audiences will “suit up” as part of an exploratory SWAT team sent to explore the underwater secrets of the Nautilus and capture Captain Nemo. Picture a live-action videogame or the coolest laser tag game ever and you’ll have a sense of what this show will be like. No sitting down for this one! CTC’s Cargill theatre will be transformed into the dark halls and magic rooms of the Nautilus and you’ll be in role and in the middle of the action!

The Abominables: The Minnesota Hockey Musical
Book by Steve Cosson
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman

Rink Rats and Hockey Moms, pond hockey, tournament weekends and the quest to play your best—the Great State of Hockey deserves a great hockey….musical!! It’s tryouts for the Bantam Boy’s Hockey A Team. Mitch has always played on the A Team—these are his guys—they’ve played together forever. But he hasn’t had his growth spurt yet and he’s worried this could be the year he gets sent down to the B team. When a new kid appears at try-outs, things go from bad to worse—wait until you get a load of what this kid can do on the ice!

Akeelah and the Bee
Based on the film written and directed by Doug Atchison
Adapted by Cheryl L. West

Akeelah Anderson is a precocious eleven-year-old girl from south Los Angeles with a gift for words. Against the objections of her mother, Akeelah enters various spelling contests, for which she is tutored by the forthright Dr. Larabee and by the proud residents of her neighborhood. When Akeelah advances to the final in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, her neighborhood unites to witness the courage and inspiration of one amazing little girl.

The Arrival
Based on the graphic novel by Shaun Tan
Conceived and Created by Peter C. Brosius and Jocelyn Clarke

Shaun Tan’s lauded graphic novel is the inspiration for this potent, poetic exploration of the immigrant experience. Told entirely through movement, music and visual projections, the story follows a man who leaves his family to build a new life for them in a new world.

The Best Summer Ever!
By Kevin Kling
Music by Victor Zupanc

It’s summertime in Minnesota! Head up North! Stay up late! Ride your bike, swim in the lake, build a fort, eat ice cream until you’re ready to burst! Who cares if there’s mosquitoes in the outhouse, your dad burns the burgers, the girl you have a crush on won’t give you the time of day and you’re not sure you’ll ever make it off the end of the high dive? Even when things go wrong, if it’s summer in Minnesota, it’s gonna be the best summer ever! Storyteller Kevin Kling brings his whacky, whimsical, totally hometown style to a new musical sure to charm Minnesotans young and old.

Dr Seuss’ The Sneetches
Based on the book by Dr. Seuss
Book and Lyrics by Philip Dawkins
Music and Lyrics by David Mallamud

The Star Belly Sneetches believe themselves to be superior to the Plain Belly Sneetches, until Sylverster McMonkey McBean, a charlatan with a Star On/Star Off machine comes to town and suddenly no one can tell who is who and what is what. This beloved, whimsical tale is also Seuss’ crie de couer against the absurdity and danger of discrimination. Like The 500 Hats of Bartholmew Cubbins and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Seuss Estate had entrusted CTC to create the first live, theatrical version of this story

Fancy Dancer
By Larissa FastHorse

It’s not like 7-year-old Lara wants to take ballet, she’d rather but climbing a tree or sliding down a muddy hill, but when a doctor prescribes ballet as a cure for her mal-formed foot, the thought of saying good-bye to clunky orthopedic shoes is enough to get her in the door at Miss Monica’s School of Dance. Once inside, Lara discovers the sheer, physical thrill of ballet and the power that comes from overcoming your own limitations. But can a girl like Lara, born on the Rosebud Reservation and growing up in Pierre, South Dakota ever succeed in the cutthroat world of professional ballet?

Based on the life experiences of playwright and professional ballerina, Larissa FastHorse, this extraordinary story will strike a chord with anyone who has dreamed an impossible dream and found the will to achieve it.

The Jungle Book
Based on the stories by Rudyard Kipling
Adapted and Directed by Greg Banks

When his parents are driven off by Shere Khan, the Tiger, young Mowgli is left alone in the jungle. Embraced by a wolf pack and raised as one of their own, he learns the Laws of the Jungle from creatures great and small, including Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the Panther. Mowgli lives happily among his jungle friends until, in order to save the jungle from Shere Khan, Mowgli must face the fact that he is a man.

Based on the novel by Paul Fleishman

The folks who live in the apartment buildings surrounding a vacant lot in an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland think they know just what that lot is good for—nothing! Trash, drugs, crime—things you don’t want in your neighborhood but can’t seem to get rid of—that’s what the lot is for. But, when a young Korean girl plants three small beans, the lot is transformed into a place of possibility and connection. Old people are reminded of the farms and gardens left behind when they moved to America. Young people discover the thrill of dirt between their fingers and the pride of tending something and watching it grow.

This inspiring book has been selected by Community Reads programs across the country, including Read One Wisconsin, and was NPR’s Backseat Book Club selection in April, 2012.

The Snowy Day
Based on the work of Ezra Jack Keats
Adapted by Jerome Hairston

Ezra Jack Keats’ Caldecott Medal-winning classic story of Peter, who wakes up one morning to find that snow had fallen and transformed his urban neighborhood into a magical landscape. Donning his red snow suit, Peter ventures outside to battle bullies, build snowmen and see if he can bring just a little bit of winter home in his pocket.

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