Kings, Cows and Bears to Take JMU Children's Playshop Stage

From: Public Affairs

July 6, 2009

HARRISONBURG – Musicals and a well-known work of children’s literature are in store for family audiences during the James Madison University Children’s Playshop 16th summer season of quality entertainment.

Artistic Director William Buck has selected "Penny and the Magic Medallion," "Cows Don't Fly and other known facts" and "The Berenstain Bears on Stage" to delight family members of all ages.

May 28-June 7
"Penny and the Magic Medallion" by Joseph Robinette with music by James R. Shaw

The musical is the tale of King Reginald the Righteous who can never admit he is wrong. King Reginald’s staff has become inefficient so he uses a magic medallion to make his servants accomplish their tasks to perfection; but something goes wrong for now his staff spends all their time working. This irritates King Reginald because he misses his old friends, but he hates admitting he is wrong. To restore his servants to their loveable selves, he must solve a puzzle to break the spell and learn a lesson about himself as well.

June 18-28
"Cows Don't Fly and other known facts" by Vivian and Larry Snipes based on the stories of Paul Brett Johnson

Johnson’s "Cows Don't Fly" is based on his popular children’s book series, "The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down," "The Pig Who Ran a Red Light" and "The Goose Who Went Off in a Huff." "Cows Don't Fly" is a world where extraordinary things happen on a regular basis. Gertrude the Cow dreams of flying, George the Pig dreams of driving a tractor and Miss Rosemary dreams of joining the circus. Can Gertrude also play the piano? Can a lost baby elephant find happiness with a runaway goose? Anything is possible in "Cows Don't Fly and other know facts."

July 9-19
"The Berenstain Bears on Stage," based on the book and lyrics by Stan and Jan Berenstain, music by Elliot Lawrence and Jamie Broza

This musical play for the whole family weaves the adventures of five of the most beloved Berenstain Bears books – "The Messy Room," "The Double Dare," "New Baby," "Get Stage Fright" and "The Truth" – into one exciting show. Cast members are JMU students Ben Wolfred (Papa Bear) of Virginia Beach, Lauren Ramsey (Mama Bear) of Phoenix, Kevin Collins (Brother Bear) of Arlington, Kelly Wetherald (Sister Bear) of Paoli, Pa., Andrew Darnell (Too Tall) of Richmond, Valerie Gibbs (Vinnie/Cousin Fred) of Virginia Beach, Elissa Taylor (Scuzz/Teacher Jane) of Fredericksburg, Dylan Morris (Farmer Ben) of Staunton and Sarah Miles (Cowboy Joe) of Galax.

Children’s Playshop is an annual project of the JMU School of Theatre and Dance. Since the Playshop's inception in 1993, Directors William Buck and Pam Johnson have maintained a commitment to quality that keeps audiences coming back year after year.

The sets, lights and costumes are designed with great care and creativity, and this season's productions continue the tradition. Theater and dance students in the company spend their mornings building and decorating the sets and their afternoons rehearsing their performances.

Performances are in JMU's Theatre II (the little gray building) next to FedEx Kinko's on South Main Street in Harrisonburg, and run Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. with Saturday matinees at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and with a Sunday matinee at 3:30 p.m.

All seats are $5.50. Patrons can visit the box office in the Theatre II Annex weekdays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Patrons can also reserve and pay for tickets by phone at 540-568-7836. Reservations are recommended as shows are often sold out.

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