What’s Playing at Children’s Theater in Minneapolis

Cookin' Promotional Photo: Three chefs blowing and juggling fire

Want to know what shows are coming to the Children’s Theatre Company? We provide parental reviews and kid-friendly guidance for current and upcoming plays and musicals at the most popular children’s theater in Minneapolis. The 2023-2024 CTC brings several exciting new productions, a Grinchy holiday favorite and a classic adventure down a rabbit hole.

Featured Image: Cookin’ – September 12-October 22, 2023. Image credit Broadway Asia Company LLC

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    Now Playing

    Cookin’ - Review and Parents Guide

    Cookin’ was so much more than anything I expected!  I did not expect to laugh so hard or be so engaged with the use of kitchen tools.  But I couldn’t stop watching.  And my face hurt from laughing so much. 

    -Gianna Kordatzky, FFTC

    Cookin‘ at Children’s Theatre Company is NOT a story based on a fairy tale or children’s book. This makes it harder to decide if the show is right for your family. So let me give you an idea of who would enjoy Cookin‘:

    • Families who love funny cooking competition shows.
    • Families who love physical comedy.
    • Families who love loud, percussion-driven music.
    • Families with kids with short attention spans who prefer audience-participation type shows.
    • Families who love choreographed martial arts.

    Cookin‘ (Nanta)

    This show, which originated in Seoul, South Korea, and has traveled all over the world to rave reviews, uses very few words to tell the story of a kitchen staff who has one hour to prepare a wedding feast with the “help” of the Head Chef’s goofy nephew. The chefs spend a great deal of that time, goofing around, playing tricks on each other, and beginning a budding romance. Can they finish the feast on time?

    I had the perfect kid to take as my date to this show. He loves watching cooking competitions, he laughs loudly at slapstick, he just started in the percussion section of his band, and he has never, NOT EVER (until this show) made it through a performance without LOUDLY whispering, “Is this almost done?”

    I did not expect that to change when we went to Cookin‘, but it did. Even though the show is an hour and a half without an intermission, the show was over before we knew it. At one point, my son was laughing so hard he couldn’t breathe.

    I really would LOVE to go back with my whole family before the show ends. It was so good.

    Know Before You Go:

    There are a few things parents will want to be aware of before heading to see Cookin

    1. It is VERY loud.  CTC offers ear plus, and if I had been more prepared, I would have taken advantage. If your child is particularly sensitive to sound, consider bringing their noise-reducing headphones.
    2. There is audience participation! If this appeals to you try for front and/or aisle seats near the front. If it doesn’t, look for inner seats.
    3. Eat before going. We decided to go out for Korean food beforehand. That was a good idea, because sometimes the actors were cooking real food and smelled delicious.
    4. Bring a recipe to share. There is a box in the lobby where families can share favorite recipes and take another family’s favorite recipe to try. It would be nice to have one picked out to share.
    5. Remind your kids to use the restroom before entering the theatre. On hour and a half is a long time to sit if you need to go.

    Personal Age Recommendation

    CTC recommends this show for all ages. I did see plenty of younger kids in the audience. They all seemed to be having a good time. However, there are moments of total darkness during the show and it is loud (as I mentioned above). Some younger kids may have a hard time doing 90 minutes without an intermission. My date was a 6th grade tween. I felt he was the perfect age. I think grade school through grandparents would love this show.

    How to Dress for Cookin

    You can buy chef hats at the gift shop in CTC’s lobby, but they might be a visual barrier for people behind you.  I would highly recommend choosing clothes that look cool under a black light – whites and/or fluorescents. Your kids will get a kick out of glowing in the dark during certain portions.

    How to Take Cookin’ Beyond the Theatre

    Definitely grab the program to take home.  You can try the recipe for Japchae at home. Maybe you can explore South Korean culture and learn some of the vocabulary included in the program, too.

    About Cookin

    Get ready for a hilarious, percussion-heavy story of a Korean chef and his kitchen staff racing to finish a wedding feast on time.

    “This dynamic and hilarious show has delighted audiences around the world with its virtuosic percussion, incredible comedy and amazing physicality. We cannot wait for you to experience the joy and exuberance of Cookin’!”

    CTC Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius.

    Details and Information:

    Cookin‘ runs September 12-October 22, 2023 on the United Health Group Stage

    • Opening Night: Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 7:00pm
    • Produced by PMC Production Co. and Broadway Asia Company
    • Directed by Seung-Whan Song
    • Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400.

    Upcoming Events - Children's Theatre Company 2023-2024 Season

    Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress

    October 10-November 19, 2023

    Age Recommendations: Ages 4+
    Stage: Cargill Stage
    Read the Book: Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress. Written by Christine Baldacchino and Illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant 

    A Children’s Theatre Company World Premiere Production

    By juliany taveras
    Directed by Heidi Stillman

    Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

    Cast of How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota 2022
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children's Theatre Company. Sunday, November 6, 2022 Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Childrens Theatre Company

    November 7, 2023-January 7, 2024

    Age Recommendations: All Ages
    Stage: Cargill Stage
    Read the Book:  How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss 

    A miserly and miserable, ever-so-cantankerous Grinch has observed the despicable Christmas joy of the Whos with disdain, from a distance, for decades. Enough! In this favorite holiday story, filled with music and Seussian rhymes, he conceives a dastardly plot to destroy the holiday they love. It’s the smallest of the Whos, tiny Cindy Lou, who extends a hand. Through the combination of kindness and community, we witness not only a change in the course of Who-History, but the size and capacity of the cantankerous Grinch’s heart.

    “Since the moment I applied that first dab of green makeup, ten years ago, The Grinch has been my absolute favorite role to portray,” said Reed Sigmund. “It’s a character that’s endlessly rich with opportunities to dynamically explore the full spectrum of human emotions. And I love stories of transformation. This story reminds us that fear and hate are easy, but difficult growth and change are more rewarding for ourselves and our communities. Plus, it comes at a time of year when I get to pound gallons of Christmas cookies. This is a show I can’t wait to celebrate once more.”

    Book and lyrics by Timothy Mason 
    Music by Mel Marvin 
    Choreography by Linda Talcott Lee
    Directed by Peter C. Brosius

    Read Our 2022 Review of the Grinch:

    Children’s Theatre Company rotates the Grinch with other fan favorites as its Holiday show, bringing it back every few years. The most recent production was Christmas 2022.

    The musical follows and expands on the storyline of the original Dr. Seuss book with both original music and some music from the animated classic. The musical and lyrics were created by playwright  “You’re a mean One, Mr. Grinch,” which was originally written by Seuss and composer Albert Hague for the 1966 TV special.Timothy Mason with music by Mel Marvin and adapted from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. You’ll recognize

    The whole cast was amazing. We love Reed Sigmund’s portrayal of the Grinch and the puppy Young Max was perfectly performed by Audrey Mojica to contrast Dean Holt’s Old Max. Although my daughter loved Cindy Lou Who (played by Elsa Dungan-Hawks) the best.

    I’m so glad we had a chance to finally see this family favorite at CTC. It was worth the wait. We laughed at Grandpa Who’s misheard statements, got a bit teary when The Who’s candle-lit singing and belted along with Deck the Halls at the end.

    The Carp Who Would Not Quit and Other Animal Stories

    January 16-February 18, 2024

    Age Recommendations: Ages 4+
    Stage: Cargill Stage
    Read Ahead: Japanese Folktales: Classic Stories from Japan’s Enchanted Past compiled by Yei Theodora Ozaki

    Retellings of traditional fables and folktales from Japan and Okinawa teach important lessons of persistence, respect and kindness.

    By Reiko Ho and the Honolulu Theatre for Youth Ensemble
    Directed by Reiko Ho

    Alice in Wonderland

    February 13-March 31, 2024

    Age Recommendations: Ages 6+
    Stage: UnitedHealth Group Stage
    Read the Book: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 

    Down the Rabbit-Hole
    Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice “without pictures or conversations?”

    So she was considering in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a White Rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her…

    Adapted for the stage by Sharon Holland 
    Music by Victor Zupanc 
    Directed by Peter C. Brosius 

    Babble Lab

    March 9-April 14, 2024

    Age Recommendations: Created for PreK, Enjoyed by Everyone.
    Stage: Cargill Stage

    A Children’s Theatre Company Commissioned World Premiere Production
    By CTC Company Member Autumn Ness 
    Directed by Sarah Agnew 

    A Year With Frog and Toad

    April 23-June 16, 2024 

    Age Recommendations: All Ages
    Stage: United Health Group Stage 
    Read the Book Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

    Originally presented on Broadway by Bob Boyett, Adrianne Lobel, Michael Gardner, Lawrence Horowitz and Roy Furman.
    Music by Robert Reale 
    Book and Lyrics by Willie Reale 
    Directed by Peter C. Brosius 

    A Parent's Guide to Children's Theatre Company

    Age Appropriateness

    CTC researches well and does an excellent job of rating their shows appropriately. There have been very few times I have disagreed with their age recommendations. Some shows will be perfect for first time audience members while others will be geared toward tweens & teens. All ages are welcome at any shows and there is a “Quiet Room” at the back of theater on the left side of the main theater. If you the brighter lights and space, the lobby usually projects the show on screens so you can watch while a smaller child works out the wiggles. When our youngest was a toddler, I would book family shows for times with the Minneapolis Institute of Art was open, so we would have access to the museum’s family room to play with blocks.

    Discounts and Coupons to CTC Performances

    Shows start at $15 in Price Level C. This is close to the prices of other children’s theatre’s around the Twin Cities. However, when you are making it a family outing, this pricing can still be out of reach for some families. We have never seen a legitimate coupon for any main stage performance at Children’s Theatre Company. However, there are several ways to get discounted tickets.

    CTC’s ACT Pass Program is a needs-based scholarship program for tickets, classes, and camps. You can read more about Joy’s experience with the ACT Pass Program here. In short, if you qualify for any type of assistance, school lunches, WIC, MA, etc., it is worth applying for this program.

    Besides the ACT Pass program, CTC suggests other special offers and ways to save on tickets. These include:

    1. Military ID discount: For adults with military IDs and partners of employed military.
    2. Plan Ahead with Preview performances: Tickets for the first Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday performances of each show can be purchased in advance and are substantially discounted.
    3. Be Spontaneous with Rush Tickets: Starting 2 hours you can show up at CTC and purchase unsold seats for $15 each at the ticket office. While this is the same price as the C Level tickets, the seats will be better.
    4. Check reciprocal benefits. We recently saw a 10% off discount through AAA.
    5. Season Tickets. If you plan to see several or all the shows, than season tickets will net you the best prices.

    Family-Friendly Amenities

    CTC is built for families and offers several family-friendly amenities, including:

    • A Private Nursing Room.  Just ask the staff if you want to use this space (but remember in Minnesota you have a legal right to nurse your child anywhere and CTC will support this right). You can also use the room for prayer or other private needs.
    • Sensory Tools. The concierge desks will loan ear plugs, noise cancelling headphones and fidget toys as well as listening devices and other basic necessities.

    Theater Arts Training (TATS) Helps Kids Discovery the Artistic Process

    The ACT Pass Scholarship Program Makes All Patrons’ Theatre Experiences Possible

    Past Productions

    Some shows come back around on a regular basis. These are some shows we have reviewed in the past. Children’s Theatre Company provided our tickets to facilitate our reviews.


    Dean Holt (Corduroy) and Autumn Ness (Nighttime Security Guard) in the Children’s Theatre Company production of “Corduroy.” Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography
    Dean Holt (Corduroy) and Autumn Ness (Nighttime Security Guard) in the Children’s Theatre Company production of “Corduroy.” Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography

    Corduroy, the story of a small teddy bear and his search for a friend and a button, has always been one of my favorite books. Don Freeman was able to tell a timeless children’s story while also making contemporary social statements without ever feeling preachy or forced. I never noticed that as a kid though; I just loved the idea of Corduroy wandering the department store at night and finding Lisa to love him at the end. It seems fitting that Don Freeman’s classic character should be made into a stage production because Don Freeman reportedly loved the theater.1 Join Corduroy, the night-time security guard, Lisa and her mother, and two silly mannequins for one of Children’s Theatre Company’s best laugh-out-loud, physical comedies.

    Corduroy, The Book

    One of the things that makes me LOVE the Corduroy book is the characters. Corduroy is both curious and full of wonder as he wanders the store at night. The night watchman is kindly and protective in the way he returns Corduroy to his place on the department store shelf when he finds him. Although probably located in New York City, this story could be about any little girl in any city in the United States. Lisa seems mature and compassionate in her choice to spend her savings on Corduroy above all the other toys in the store. Lisa’s mom, who readers only get to know through one drawing and one sentence, seems sophisticated, sensible and competent. For such a short book, it really does endear the reader to the characters.

    While preparing for this play, I learned several interesting things about Don Freeman and Corduroy.

    When Freeman decided to write Corduroy, it was with the idea of writing about someone who explores a department store at night2. I don’t know if it was his intention to ease childhood fears, but that was the effect for me. As an anxious child, the idea that I might accidentally end up somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be was something that worried me. It now worries my anxious children. The story plays on that fear, but ultimately leaves the reader reassured. The kindly night watchmen simply put Corduroy back where he belonged. Lost children should know that they can go to someone in charge to help them find there way back to mom and dad.

    Another goal of the author was to highlight the vast difference between the luxury we see in department stores and the simpler life most people live.

    While I find no official biography regarding Freeman’s inspiration for Lisa, writer Lisa Roseburg states Lisa was based on her as a child.3 A 1967 letter from the publisher to Freeman corroborates that statement. The character of Lisa is discussed, suggesting that Freeman use a real “negro” child to base his drawings of Lisa on “[t]o avoid  the slightest suggestion of caricature”.4 A couple years before the publication of Corduroy, Nancy Larrick published the now infamous article, The All-White World of Children’s Books5. It would appear that Freeman rose to Larrick’s challenge when creating the character of Lisa. Lisa may even be the reason his publisher changed its mind after it (and several other publishers) originally rejected the book2. Although, The Snowy Day was published in 1962 and won the Caldecott award in 19636, according to Larrick’s research, there were very few children’s books up through the late 60s that portrayed minority children at all and fewer still that portrayed them as normal, modern children. For the 1960s, these books were trailblazing.

    Don Freeman seems to have had a gift for taking big issues and making them appropriate for children. Based on the number of Corduroy bears in the audience, I wonder if his book is more popular today than when it came out? In my own books, it definitely has a place on my keep shelf.

    Corduroy, At The Children’s Theatre Company

    So here’s the thing about the play: It is NOT the book as I read it. It follows the same plot. It has the same characters, but most of what I described above as my reasons for loving the book are not in the play. You would think this would mean that I disliked the play, but I didn’t have time to reflect on the differences because I was laughing through the whole thing right through the final bow. Dean Holt is at his best in this production, performing stunts that obviously require a great deal of strength and agility without ever losing character. He absolutely delighted children and adults alike with his portrayal of Corduroy.

    Children’s Theatre’s adaptation of Corduroy adds a silly slapstick quality to the story. One that was, for the most part, always hidden in the story, but that I never saw. How would an otherwise sane nighttime security guard react to a commotion in the store with only a stuffed bear to be found? In the play, the night shift security guard is depicted as a bit of a blowhard who suffers the unlucky fallout of the inadvertent pandemonium caused by Corduroy’s single-minded quest for a BUTTON as she embarks on a chase around the department store. Autumn Ness, as the night-time security guard, reminds me of one of Kate DiCamillo’s Deckawoo Drive characters – a bit over-the-top, but endearing.

    Corduroy’s friend Lisa lost a bit of her maturity in exchange for more slapstick moments; and I identified with her mother, acting as the straight man to Lisa’s blundering attempts to help around the house, more than I did with the sophisticated drawing in the book. I think kids will identify with Lisa when it comes to trying to complete chores to their parents standards.

    Personal age recommendation:

    CTC recommends this show for ages 4+ and offers lap passes for tots 3 and under. Things to be aware of with younger kids are:

    • The length. The show is 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission. Even my 8-year-old found it long, but that, again was probably the lateness factor. I recommend having an intermission plan based on your child’s needs. Pre-purchase snacks if an hour and half is a long time to go without food; plan to get to the restroom immediately if you think they’ll need it (otherwise they are likely to realize they have to go just as you are getting back to your seats), or find a quiet place where your child can dance the sillies out during the break.
    • Suspense. Sensitive kids might be affected by the comedy situations. They may start to feel very sad for the Nighttime Security Guard by the end, be a little fearful of the vacuum cleaner or distraught over the button or Lisa’s mishaps. This is a slapstick comedy and all comes out happy at the end, so they won’t be left upset.
    • The lights go out in one part. This was a little bit scary for some kids.

    About “Corduroy

    “Corduroy, with its title character’s quest for his missing button, is the story of a little toy bear’s very real need to find a ‘Friend’ and a place to call home, along with that of a little girl’s corresponding need to bring that bear home—as a Friend,” says Playwright Barry Kornhauser. “I’m absolutely delighted that this little adaptation of that story has found a home once again with all of its ‘Friends’ at Children’s Theatre Company where the play was first nurtured and produced. It is always a gift and a joy to work with Peter [Brosius] and his brilliant and passionate team as they bring classic children’s literature to life so vividly, so imaginatively, and so lovingly. Corduroy may have lost a button, but Corduroy has found its way back to the CTC stage, and for that I am ‘beary’ grateful.”

    “It is such a joy to bring Corduroy to our stage,” said Corduroy Director and CTC Artistic Director Peter C. Brosius. “This is a story that touches our hearts and has us rolling in laughter. Barry Kornhauser has brought his brilliant comic mind to this adaptation and created a truly delightful play of friendship, persistence and determination and what it means to never give up on your dreams . Corduroy inspires us all with his heart and his hope and we can’t wait to share it with you.”

    1 Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on Don Freeman and his Children’s Books edited by Roy Freeman. (Page 8, Question 6).
    6 Association of Library Services to Children 1963 Caldecott Medal Winner.


    Junie Edwards (Lonnie) in _Locomotion_ at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota - photo by Glen Stubbe Photography

    I really wanted to take my 11-year-old to see Locomotion at Children’s Theatre Company, but he had a cold, so I took his dad instead. As I watched, I kept thinking how much Mr. Eleven would have connected with the character of Lonnie as he found his poetic voice. However the play also made a great date night. The audience was made up of at least half adults without kids, So, while it was based on a children’s book, it appealed to adults as much as children.

    Notes: FFTC was provided complimentary tickets for the show.  All thoughts are my own. Banner Image: Junie Edwards  as Lonnie  in Locomotion at Children’s Theatre Company – photo by Glen Stubbe Photography.


    I did not pre-read Jacqueline Woodson’s novel, Locomotion prior to seeing this play, but I really want to now. The story reminds me of Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, another book in which a child works through and begins to heal from Trauma through classroom poetry assignments. Both books are written for tween readers and the play is recommended for ages 9+, so this could be a fun way to explore poetry with middle grade students, culminating in a trip to Children’s Theatre.

    The cast is made of 5 actors with the two adults playing multiple characters. It may take a moment for kids to catch on that the student actors are portraying much younger children. The actors are all in their teens. Lonnie’s age varies between 3 and 11 as much of the story is told through 11-year-old Lonnie’s memories. His sister is three year’s younger than Lonnie, so her age also varies through flashbacks. Lonnie’s best friend, Enrique, is always eleven.  It would probably help in their understanding and enjoyment if kids are given a heads up.

    These Are Some of our Favorite Scenes from Locomotion:

    Know Before You Go

    Note: Some of these numbered paragraphs contain spoilers, but nothing that wasn’t foreshadowed from the beginning of the play.

    1. This show is recommended for ages 9+. It is one hour long with no intermission in the slightly less comfortable Cargill stage. Younger or more squirrelly kids may have a hard time sitting through the show. It touches on frightening subjects like loss of parents and bullying and may be a little too mature for sensitive kids.
    2. I recommend reading the book, but if you go in cold, you’ll still follow the story. As I mentioned above, this would be a fun culmination to a poetry study with school age kids. It wouldn’t hurt to read some Langston Hughes as part of your preparation – particularly Dream Variations, which is a favorite of Lonnie & Enrique.
    3. There is no intermission, but snacks are available before the show.
    4. The ride home is a great time to talk about not judging others from the outside. Lonnie chose not to share his parents’ deaths with Enrique, and Enrique chose not to share his illness. Maybe our school friends don’t share their own difficulties. We can’t always know what is happening to others, so we should choose kindness and acceptance.
    5. The show demonstrates sibling love. As a parent of four fighting kids, I love stories that honor brothers and sisters who care about each other. Lonnie often sacrifices for his younger sister. These instances may be somewhat subtle. Parents may want to point out some ways Lonnie gave up his own interests to put Lili first and ask if the kids noticed any others? What would you do if you were split apart from your siblings?
    6. Costumes are important in this production as they help the audience keep track of time shifts. Lonnie always puts on a hoodie during his flashbacks to age 8 and younger.
    Personal age recommendation:

    I wouldn’t hesitate to take a child over the age of 10 and this show also made a nice date night.

    How to Dress for This Show:

    It’s wintery in Minnesota. Dress in layers you can peal off. Its fun to dress up, but if you’re going to walk from your parking spot to the theater, winter gear is totally appropriate. However, theaters get hot, thus, the removable layers. There is a coat rack at the entrance of the theater, as seating is close, you may want to plan to leave winter gear in the lobby.

    Masks are encouraged, but not required, in the theater . Note that the Cargill stage is a much smaller and more intimate stage than the UnitedHealth Group Stage.

    About “Locomotion

    The book, Locomotion by author Jaqueline Woodson was a finalist for the National Book Award. The stage adaptation was also written by the author.

    Locomotion takes the audience into the life of 11-year-old Lonnie Motion, as he finds new tools – the result of a school poetry assignment – which help him to process the tumult of life in foster care. As Lonnie discovers the power of poetry, he experiences deeper connections to his new foster mother, his school friend Enrique, his teacher Ms. Marcus, and his beloved younger sister Lili.
    Uprooted from his family,
    surrounded by the unfamiliar,
    Lonnie couldn’t feel more alone. 

    But this year, his class is learning to write poetry.

    Lonnie’s verses take him
    from his foster home
    to the classroom,
    into the streets,
    and back to a time when
    his family was all together.

    As Lonnie finds his voice,
    you’ll discover how poetry can bring you
    closer to others and to yourself.”

    Details and Information

    Locomotion runs January 24, 2023 through March 5, 2023 on the Cargill Stage

    • Based on the book of the same name, it was written and adapted for stage by Jacqueline Woodson.
    • Directed by Talvin Wilks
    • Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400.
    • Best enjoyed by ages 9+ Lap passes are not available for this show.
    • Runtime: 1 hour with no intermission.

    Circus Abyssnia

    acrobats from Ethiopia balancing and
    Circus Abyssnia is packed with high-flying acrobatics, hand balancing and unbelievable

    This brand new season begins with a show that was delayed from January 2022 to September 2022, and it has been worth the wait: Circus Abyssinia Tulu.

    I brought my 17-year-old daughter to the show.  I wrote about my education in motherhood of teens in our newsletter.  If you are interested in learning more about what happened in the audience, you can sign up for our weekly mailing list and learn hear some of the behind-the-scenes stories. Otherwise, check out what we thought of the show!

    Circus Abyssinia Tulu

    The story of Circus Abyssinia began long before it arrived at CTC. It wasn’t designed specifically for young audiences, but while watching kids of all ages will be in awe.  The little girl I was sitting next to kept hiding her face while at the same time not being to look away at the children’s theater stage.

    “We’re seriously over the moon to be coming back to Children’s Theatre Company,” state the creators, Bibi Tesfamariam and Bichu Shimellis. “With our new show, Tulu, we’ll be pulling out all the stops to celebrate the story of Ethiopian icon and Olympic legend, Derartu Tulu, the first African woman to win Olympic gold. After a delay of so many months, we’re more excited than ever to perform with the wonderful audiences of Minnesota again!”

    Derartu Tulu grew up in a small village where she tended cattle and lived to run up and down steep valleys, and over dusty plains where hyenas prowled. With breathtaking displays of circus virtuosity, Circus Abyssinia celebrates the ferocious skill and tenacity of young Derartu: how, unmatched in speed and guile, she chased her dreams all the way to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and won gold in the 10,000m with a heart-racing sprint to the finish.

    The Lorax

    Meghan Kreidler and Rick Miller and H Adam Harris puppeting The Lorax in Dr. Seuss's The Lorax at Children's Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Dan Norman.
    Photo by Dan Norman

    The Lorax, a classic Dr. Seuss story, introduces our responsibility to the environment. In its usual exciting Children’s Theatre Co. fashion, we are transported into the colorful world of Truffula Trees, Brown Bar-ba-loots, Swomee Swans, and Humming Fish.  Giant puppets, a dazzling set, eye-popping costumes and props, lively music, and Seusstastical rhyme all convey the message of The Lorax.

    This musical  is based on Dr. Seuss’s story and expounds on the story of the Onceler. It fills in the details that picture book glosses over.

    Surrounded by a family that digs Miff Muffer Moof for a living, they frown on his creativity and ingenuity. “Just keep digging.” But his heart isn’t in it, and his family sends him packing.

    The Onceler hits the road in search of his fortune and comes upon a Paradise where the Truffula Trees grow. Everything lives in perfect harmony. That’s just the beginning of the story.

    The Lorax and the Onceler start off as friends and work together.  But they end up facing off in a war, a battle for their ideals.

    Age Recommendation:  Age 8+, but there was a five year old there who loved it.

    We are thrilled to bring our audiences the U.S. premiere of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, a powerful, witty and important story for all generations. We are excited to welcome the London production’s creative team to Minneapolis, and delighted that after our production the fabulous cast of Minnesota actors will all travel to The Old Globe in San Diego. Our partnership with The Old Globe and The Old Vic further advances our mission of reaching multigenerational audiences both in our state and across this country with extraordinary theatrical productions.

    Children’s Theatre Company Artistic Director, Peter C. Brosius


    Bina's Six Apples

    Cast of Bina's Six Apples in The Children's Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples. Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children's Theatre Company, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn.
    The Children's Theatre Company production of Bina’s Six Apples. Photographed by Glen Stubbe Photography for Children's Theatre Company, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Minneapolis, Minn.

    Bina’s Six Apples is a story about a young girl, Bina, and her family as they journey from their home to a hopefully safer place during the Korean War. While the play is fiction, it is based on Playwright Lloyd Suh’s own family lore. Suh’s father was given apples to carry as his own family fled the fighting in 1950.

    Bina’s Six Apples was an emotionally exhausting but ultimately gratifying experience. Stories like this always are. While I hope to never have to experience war or displacement first hand, I believe it is important to experience hardship through fiction and stories so we can gain some understanding. Bring your older kids to this and, if they don’t talk much about it, that is okay, sometimes it takes time to process.

    Bina’s family grows the finest apples in all of Korea. But when war forces her to flee her home, Bina is alone in the world with just six precious apples to her name. Can these meager possessions help her find her family? Join Bina on her adventure that ranges from the heartbreaking to the humorous. Encountering new challenges at every turn, Bina is forced to rely upon her apples and their meaningful legacy as she begins to discover the power of her own resilience. Often mesmerizing, always heartwarming, Bina realizes she’s not the only one on a difficult quest for a place to call home.

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Diary of Wimpy Kid Set at Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN
    Set of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    I brought my ten year old  to Diary of a Wimpy Kid because he was currently reading the Wimpy Kid books. I’m honestly not sure which of us enjoyed the show more. It was non-stop funny, but still managed to pull at our heartstrings and make us think a little. I came away with a little more of an understanding of the world that my tween boys navigate. I would definitely say you don’t need to be familiar with the books or movie to enjoy the musical, but I do have the audio version of the first book on order from the library now, and I’m looking forward to listening to it.

    If you love theater that is just pure fun, then Diary of a Wimpy Kid is your show. You don’t need to know the Diary of the Wimpy Kid book series to enjoy this middle school comedy. The music is amazingly catchy and the characters are endearing and funny. You’ll break out in laughter over the dreaded cheese touch, connect with Jeff Kinney’s popular character, Greg Heffley and his best friends.

    Something Happened in Our Town

    Something Happened in our Town at Children's Theatre Company, Minneapolis Lola Ronning - Dean Holt - Kevin West - De'Anthony Jacksom, Zimmerman - Rajane Katurah,
    Photos by Glen Stubbe Photography courtesy of Children's Theatre Company

    In their world premiere production of Something Happened in Our Town, Children’s Theatre Company doesn’t try to minimize the difficulty we face as a nation confronting racism. It doesn’t offer easy answers, and it attempts to offer unbiased portrayals of the people navigating a difficult experience because these characters represent the people of our town. 

    Something Happened in Our Town is the play based on the book of the same name by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard and illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. 

    While the play does not offer easy solutions for adults, both the book and play offer children something they can do to make the world better: be kind to everyone, be inclusive, and don’t make assumptions about people without getting to know them. Simple, but not easy. We adults need to do our best to model this behavior. Really not always easy.

    A Dramatic Reading of the Book

    If you don’t have access to the book and want to read it before or after seeing the play, you can watch a dramatic reading of it by CTC here:

    About Something Happened in Our Town

    Friendships challenged, a world changed, and two young people struggling to make sense of it together. Follow friends and neighbors, Josh and Emma, as they navigate their way through an experience beyond their control and understanding.

    Josh and Emma have many questions about the tragic killing of a Black man by a White police officer. Real questions that deserve real answers. But during conversations over dinner, at bedtime, before and after school, their families (one Black and one White) find such answers don’t come easily. Layered with compassion and humor, this show invites you to walk alongside Josh and Emma as they confront uncertainty within their town and between themselves. More than just a “must see,” this play will help families more fully understand how their neighbors’ experiences might be different than their own.

    Featured Image Credit: Something Happened in our Town at Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis. Actors Lola Ronning, Dean Holt, Kevin West, De’Anthony Jackson, Calvin Zimmerman, Rajane Katurah. Photo by Glen Stubbe Photography courtesy of Children’s Theatre Company.

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    An American Tail - The Musical

    Matthew Woody (Fievel) in the World Premiere of An American Tail the Musical at Children's Theatre Company. Photo: Glen Stubbe Photography.
    Matthew Woody (Fievel) in the World Premiere of An American Tail the Musical at Children’s Theatre Company. Photo: Glen Stubbe Photography.

    An American Tail is the final show in Children’s Theatre Company’s 2022-23 season. This world premiere musical adventure tells the story of Fievel Mousekewitz, a young mouse, who goes in search of his family when they are separated while immigrating to New York from Russia.

    Cover Photo: Matthew Woody (Fievel) in the World Premiere of An American Tail the Musical at Children’s Theatre Company. Photo: Glen Stubbe Photography.

    An American Tail Musical at Children’s Theatre Company

    While the story focuses on Fievel’s search for his family, it is also the story of his sister, Tanya, who never gives up hope of finding her big brother; of Tony, whose discovery of his love interest ultimately leads him to discover his purpose; and of Bridget whose drive to make the world a better place brings together diverse voices of mice from different economic backgrounds and cultural groups to overcome oppression. There is a lot of social commentary embedded into this fun, energetic musical.

    One of the things I love about Children’s Theatre Company is that it offers true family entertainment. Kids will enjoy this musical as much as their parents loved the film, because it is a great story. But, parents and grandparents will also find much to love – great choreography, thoughtful commentary on our world and the cross-generational entertainment we have come to expect from CTC.  

    Know Before You Go 

    • The army of cats are scary. If you have a sensitive child, you may want to prepare them for some short, but intense scenes or skip this show.
    • The music and choreography are so much fun in this show. You’re going to leave singing.

    Personal Age Recommendation

    Some of the cat scenes in this show are intense and a bit scary. Also, it is a two-hour show. For these reasons, I would recommend the musical for ages 8+.  CTC recommends this show for all ages.

    How to Dress for This Show

    There is no need to dress up for this show, but if you have some mouse ears left from a Disney trip, you would fit right in.

    Get Excited for the Show with An American Tail Family Night

    Dinner and a Movie

    American Tail the movie by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment is now considered an animated film classic of the 1980s. If you want to watch the film before seeing the musical, the only place I found it streaming is Amazon Prime and it is NOT free to Prime members. A $3.99 family movie night is still a pretty good bargain. You can get the DVD from the library, but used children’s DVDs are hit or miss.

    The blog Reel Fancy Dinners has created a dinner menu to go with An American Tail. Or you could plan an appropriate dinner together. The story is set in 1885 and the Mousekewitz family are Russian Jewish immigrants. What foods do your kids think would be appropriate for this meal?

    Play the Songs During Dinner

    Many of the songs from the American Tail album would make nice dinner background music. A few are sing-along worthy.

    Somewhere out There is, perhaps, the most famous song from the musical. It was nominated for an Academy Award and won two Grammy Awards the year the movie was released and had regular radio play (sung by Linda Ronstadt). Other fun songs on the album are There are No Cats in America and Never Say Never.

    The song Give Me Your Tire, Your Poor, quotes The New Collossus by Poet Emma Lazarus. This would be a great time to learn this short, but iconic poem. 

    All of these songs are available on Spotify and YouTube and are sung during the musical.

    Read the Book?

    This is not one of the CTC Productions based on a book. However, there was a short chapter book made in conjunction with the film in 1986. It is a relatively short chapter book with black and white illustrations. It could be read in one sitting prior to watching the movie and may add some descriptive background for kids. e of the libraries in the MELSA system carry the book, but I was able to get a copy through interlibrary loan. There are also used copies available online for under $10. It is definitely not necessary to read the book to enjoy the musical.

    The story in both the book and the musical starts in Russia in December as the Mousekewitz family celebrates Chanukah. Then follows the family to New York via an ocean voyage, where Fievel and his family get separated.

    About An American Tail

    An army of cats forces young Fievel Mousekewitz and his family to escape from Russia by boat. When a storm at sea separates them, Fievel arrives alone in the vast city of New York. In this riveting new musical based on the beloved animated film, the steadfastly optimistic Fievel makes his way as a new immigrant, encountering friends and foes (including a few scene-stealing cockroaches!). Despite everything stacked against him, Fievel clings to his dreams of a better life and reuniting with his family. Are they Somewhere Out There?

    “A lot of people, and maybe especially people of my generation, remember An American Tail as one of the animated film classics of the 1980s, so getting to work on adapting it has been thrilling, first of all, on that level. But looking at this material again through the lens of 2022 reveals the urgent timeliness—and indeed timelessness—of a story about America’s fundamental origins as a place people, or in this case mice, came from all over the world seeking a better life, the imperfect place they found when they got here, but the potential for that place to be the beacon it’s meant to be if only we can all work together. And, of course, it’s also just the story of a small, but very resourceful mouse, who gets separated from his family and tries to find them again.” – Itamar Moses.”

    Details and Information

    The World Premiere An American Tail runs April 25 – June 18, 2023, on the UnitedHealth Group Stage

    • Based on the The Movie of the same name In association with Universal Theatrical Group
    • Directed by Taibi Magar
    • Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the ticket office at 612.874.0400.
    • Best enjoyed by ages All Ages Lap passes available for ages 3 and under.
    • Runtime: 2 hours with one intermission.

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