JMU Children's Playshop: 20 years and counting

Children’s Playshop has taken audiences on an inspiring ride for the past 20 years, and is marking this milestone with performances of “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” and “Charlotte’s Web” at the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts at James Madison University.

“The Mouse and the Motorcycle” runs from June 13-23 (June 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.; June 15 and 22 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and June 16 and 23 at 4 p.m.). “Charlotte’s Web” runs from July 18-28 (July 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m.; July 20 and 27 at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.; and July 21 and 28 at 4 p.m.). Both shows take place in the Forbes Center Studio Theatre.

Based on the book by Beverly Cleary and adapted by James Larson, “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” follows the adventures of Ralph, a reckless, young mouse that ventures out from the knothole of his motel room to find a toy motorcycle. Ralph decides to take the bike for a spin, but the ride doesn’t last long. Fortunately, a young boy named Keith comes to the rescue, taking Ralph on a journey of friendship and motorcycling that he won’t soon forget.

The best-selling children’s paperback of all time, “Charlotte’s Web” tells the story of Wilbur, the irresistible young pig that desperately wants to avoid the butcher, and Charlotte, the extraordinary spider on a campaign to save him. Based on the book by E.B. White, this adaptation by Joseph Robinette comes to life in a thrilling theatrical presentation.

Since its inception in 1993, the Children’s Playshop has been entertaining families from across the Shenandoah Valley with quality family theater. It became a summer tradition for families to fill Theatre II to watch fairy tales, small children’s musicals and children’s literature magically come to life. That tradition carried over to the Forbes Center for the Performing Arts, where performers and audiences have the opportunity to come together in the state-of-the-art Studio Theatre.

Children’s Playshop is an annual project of the JMU School of Theatre and Dance. Students spend their mornings building and decorating the sets and their afternoons rehearsing. Playshop Directors William Buck and Pam Johnson have maintained a commitment to quality: the sets, lights and costumes are designed with great care and creativity. Audiences respond by coming back summer after summer.

The goal of Children’s Playshop is to serve as many children and families as possible — regardless of socioeconomic background — while maintaining a level of excellence Playshop audiences have come to expect. Company members understand the importance of wonder and inspiration in a child’s life and are dedicated to keeping professional, high-quality children’s theater in the Shenandoah Valley affordable and accessible.

For tickets, visit or call the Forbes Center Box Office at (540) 568-7000. Contact Jen Kulju, public relations coordinator at the Forbes Center, at (540) 568-4394 or by email at for further information.

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 May 22, 2013

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