A Children’s Theatre Company Original Production
Oh no, Corduroy’s button has gone missing, and he can’t go home with kindhearted Lisa without it! Join the beloved teddy bear as he takes a rollicking ride up the escalator and begins a delightfully destructive romp through every section of the department store. Will he find his button at the top of a teetering store display? Will Lisa ever get to bring him home, or will the bumbling security guard catch him first? Where, oh where, is Corduroy’s BUTTON?
Based on the Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy books by Don Freeman
Adapted for the stage by Barry Kornhauser
Directed by Peter C. Brosius
About the Show
- Corduroy is a play featuring a small group of adult and student actors and based on the books by Don Freeman.
- This production was first performed at Children’s Theatre Company in 2018.
- We know that teachers are the best judge to determine the right fit for their unique group of students. We recommend Corduroy for students in grades Preschool – 2nd grade. Check out the synopsis and content advisories for full information.
Language: 0 out of 5 stars
Corduroy has a limited vocabulary and predominantly communicates non-verbally.
Themes and Situations: 1 out of 5 stars
Lisa feels sad when she believes that she will not be able to purchase Corduroy. Lisa’s mother feels angry when Lisa makes a mess.
Violence & Scariness: 1 out of 5 stars
The Night Watchman gets hurt many times. Corduroy and the Night Watchman are chased throughout the department store by a giant vacuum cleaner.
Sensory Advisories: 1 out of 5 stars
Corduroy falls down which causes loud crashes. Flashlights are used in the dark theatre. A short strobe-light sequence is used when the vacuum cleaner explodes.
Potentially Anxious Moments: 1 out of 5 stars
Corduroy gets lost. The Night Watchman gets hurt. Lisa is sad when she thinks she will never earn enough money to buy Corduroy.
This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers.
While shopping in a department store with her mother, a little girl named Lisa spots a stuffed teddy bear on a shelf. She asks her mother if she can buy him and take him home. Her mother, rushed and having spent all she planned to that day, tells Lisa no and points out that the bear is missing a button on his overalls. Lisa promises the bear that she’ll come back for him, and she and her mother leave just as the store is closing. The Night Watchman locks up the department store and turns off the lights for the night.
That evening after the store has closed, the bear, Corduroy, decides that he should go in search of his missing button in the hopes that, if he can repair his overalls, perhaps someone will want to buy him.
Back at home, Lisa is still begging her mother to let her buy the stuffed bear. Lisa offers to do a few extra chores to earn an advance on her allowance. Her mother promises to think about it and asks Lisa if she has made any new friends at school. Lisa denies any new friends but says instead that Corduroy would be a fine new friend. Her mother is still convinced that this broken toy is not worth the trouble, but Lisa is relentless.
Corduroy continues his search throughout the department store. He finds himself on an escalator and is perplexed by how it works. After stumbling and tumbling a few times, the escalator takes Corduroy to the second floor.
In Lisa’s bedroom, she is counting all the money in her piggy bank. Her mother tells her that she should do some extra chores to earn the money and Lisa informs her mother that she already made the bed (even though it clearly is not made). Her mother tells Lisa that she could start to do her own laundry in order to earn some extra money and Lisa is excited to try.
In the furniture department, Corduroy is still on the search for his button. He stumbles upon a mop and bucket, which confuses him for a bit. Soon he spies a button sewn onto a mattress and, thinking that it’s his button, tries to remove it. But the button is relentlessly stuck to the mattress until…finally! The button pops off, but it rolls away.
The Night Watchman, tasked with keeping the store safe and secure, hears strange sounds and goes to the furniture department thinking that there might be a burglar loose in the store. Instead, he finds only…a stuffed teddy bear. He is convinced that someone is on the loose in the department store and playing tricks on him by moving the bear around. He returns Corduroy to the toy shelf and continues his rounds.
Lisa eagerly washes and dries the laundry and even surprises her mother by showing her that she did her mother’s laundry as well. However, she didn’t follow her mother’s directions about water temperature and accidentally shrunk her mother’s favorite sweater. Her mother is dismayed, but Lisa points out that the shrunken sweater now has a new purpose—it would make a perfect outfit for the stuffed bear! Lisa vows to try harder to make it up to her mother.
Back in the department store, Corduroy once again slips off the toy shelf and continues his search for his button. He ends up in the appliances section where he inadvertently turns on a fan and then a vacuum cleaner, which chases him around the store and sucks up a button! Corduroy wrestles the button free from the grasp of the vacuum cleaner, but it slips out of his hand and rolls away.
His attempt to get the button out of the vacuum cleaner is interrupted when he hears a noise—the Night Watchman! Corduroy hides inside a clothes dryer but the Night Watchman, now truly confounded by who could be wreaking havoc in his store, takes a break by sitting on the oven which burns his behind. In pain and on fire, he sits on the washing machine to extinguish the blaze. He finds the stuffed bear in the dryer in the hamper and, once again, returns him to the toy shelf.
At Lisa’s house, Lisa is cleaning the bathroom to earn extra chore money. Her mother asks Lisa if she would run a bath for her. Lisa, eager to do something nice for her mother after ruining her sweater, happily does so but, drops the cap to the bubbles down the drain. Lisa problem solves by shoving dental floss and band-aids down the drain to retrieve the cap. When her mother comes in and sees the mess Lisa has made, she reprimands her for making such a mess and wasting the floss. Lisa tells her mother the floss won’t go to waste—it will make a fine thread for sewing a new button on the teddy bear’s overalls. She promises to take all the trash out to make up for her mistakes…then accidentally pushes her mother into the bathtub with her clothes still on.
Meanwhile, back at the store, Corduroy searches the toiletries department for his button. He spots the button on top of a giant toilet paper tower. He is determined to climb this toiletry Mt. Everest, but slips and slides all over. Soon, there is shaving cream, baby powder, bubbles, and toilet paper everywhere! From atop the tower, Corduroy finds his button, but the baby powder makes him sneeze and he throws the button off-stage. He climbs down and runs after the button, trailing toilet paper behind him.
The Night Watchman, entering, is certain that this time he has found the perpetrator of the mess and follows the toilet paper trail but all he finds is…the stuffed bear.
At Lisa’s house, Lisa is trying to take out all the trash but is having a hard time carrying everything. She tries to put everything down on the table but accidentally dumps her mother’s favorite flowers into the trash can instead of the trash. She tries to save the flowers by digging them out of the trash but they look sad. She vows to do an extra good job taking the trash out and tries to step into the can to fit more but ends up breaking the bottom of the can, spewing the trash everywhere on the clean floor. Lisa tries to glue the trashcan back together but makes a mess with the glue. Soon, the trash is stuck all over her. Her mother enters and is angry when she sees the mess. Her mother tells Lisa that she lost her chance at earning Corduroy and sends her to bed.
Back at the store, we see the chase between Corduroy, the Night Watchman, and the dreaded vacuum cleaner as they travel through every department. The Night Watchman becomes increasingly messier, while the vacuum cleaner becomes increasingly larger as it sucks up more dirt from the chaos! The Night Watchman collapses and finds the stuffed bear riding the vacuum.
That night, Lisa is getting ready for bed and saying her prayers. She asks for help making friends at school. Her mother is moved when she hears Lisa add the teddy bear to her list of loved ones to bless. Lisa begins to cry.
Having decided that there must be some link between the stuffed bear and the criminal he’s pursuing, the Night Watchman takes Corduroy down to the store’s shipping department. His plan: nail the bear into a box so that he can’t be retrieved, then watch for the mysterious criminal to come in search of him. But, when the Night Watchman exits to get a hammer and nail, Corduroy climbs out and begins searching through the many boxes around him for his button, causing the Night Watchman to nail up the wrong box. The two chase around the different boxes in a “whack-a-mole” style before the Night Watchman falls on a box of nails. He tells the intruder to come out of the box but when Corduroy opens the box, it hits the Night Watchman in the head causing him to fall into a trash can. Corduroy runs away and is chased by the Night Watchman who is still stuck in the Box.
Early the next morning, Lisa’s mother surprises her daughter by suggesting that they return to the department store and buy the teddy bear. She has realized just how much the bear means to Lisa and offers her an advance on her allowance so that she can have him. Lisa and her mother prepare to head back to the store as soon as it opens.
As night turns to day, the Night Watchman and Corduroy, having continued their perspective searches through the store, are exhausted and the Night Watchman has clearly had a rough night. His clothing is ripped to shreds and his voice recorder is waterlogged. Corduroy flips the switch for the lights, bathing them both in darkness. The Night Watchman uses his flashlight to survey the space until the batteries die. Everyone is now in the dark and we hear the Night Watchman crashing into everything. He turns the lights back on just in time to see the vacuum drive through larger than ever. The giant vacuum tries to suck up Corduroy but the little bear fights him off. The vacuum cleaner explodes all over the Night Watchman. In the rubble, the Night Watchman finds the stuffed bear just as the department store opens.
In a fit of frustration, the Night Watchman picks up Corduroy and returns him to the shelf. As he does, he steps on the mattress button Corduroy has been in pursuit of all night. The button is destroyed. Devastated, Corduroy is now convinced that he will never have a button and no one will ever want him. He decides to throw himself into the trash can.
Just then, Lisa runs into the store. She doesn’t see Corduroy on the shelf so she asks the Night Watchman for help locating him. She shows him a picture she drew of Corduroy but the Night Watchman rips up her drawing and runs away. She picks up the pieces of her drawing and takes them to the trash can. Suddenly, she sees the strap of Corduroy’s overalls peeking out of the can! She rescues him and takes him home with her.
In her room, Lisa sews a new button on her new friend—not because she didn’t love him just the way he was, but because a new button will make him much more comfortable in his new home. Lisa’s mother suggests that she could invite a new friend over to the apartment to introduce them to Corduroy. Lisa loves this idea.
Extend the Experience
virtual activities on the
Flipgrid Discovery Library
Flipgrid is an asynchronous education engagement tool that allows students to access specific media or curriculum-based resources while interacting with classmates and educators via video. CTC’s Flipgrid topics explore technical theatre, mindfulness, songwriting, playwriting, and more. Copy the topics directly to your Flipgrid classroom to get the creativity started!
in person or virtual
Workshops & Residencies
CTC transforms the classroom through multi-disciplined interactive workshops that spark creativity, encourage collaboration, and inspire action. Professional teaching artists facilitate engaging and inclusive learning opportunities for students while personalizing each experience to the needs and interests of your students and the learning goals of your classroom.