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 (Premieres July 2015)
Created and Conceived by Ryan Underbakke and Nick Ryan
Based on the novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
Directed by Ryan Underbakke
What secrets lie inside the Nautilus, the mythic submergible piloted by the mysterious Captain Nemo?
GO! Run through the hallways, backways, stairways and sneakyways of CTC on a unique, immersive adventure. SHHH! Don’t get caught—you’re on a thrilling, top-secret mission to infiltrate an enemy submarine and capture a deadly foe. DUCK! Keep ready to move and think fast, because your commander is on his last nerve. RUN! 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea is a performance you’ll never forget because you’re knee-deep in the action. HALT! The final twist: an ending you’d never expect and a difficult choice that only you can make.

Akeelah and the Bee (Premieres September 2015)
Adapted for the Stage by Cheryl L. West
Based on the Original Screenplay by Doug Atchison
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
Akeelah has a crazy passion for words: the more abstruse and labyrinthine, the better. But this gift is almost overwhelmed by the challenge of her daily life in a tough, dangerous Chicago neighborhood, and by Akeelah’s yearning for a different life. The first theatrical adaptation of the critically-acclaimed film is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright and captures all the hope and spirit of the original story in an inspiring tale of a community united behind one little girl’s dream. Akeelah and the Bee will travel to Arena Stage in Washington DC following its run at CTC.

The Jungle Book (Premieres September 2015)
Based on the Book by Rudyard Kipling
Adapted and Directed by Greg Banks
Mowgli is rambunctious and curious, scrappy and silly. Sound like a kid you know? This new adaptation of the beloved Rudyard Kipling story finds a child lost in the Indian jungle, where he is adopted by Baloo the Bear, Bagheera the panther, and all the beasts who call the mysterious wilderness home. Our fast-paced retelling keeps you perched on the edge of your seat as young Mowgli comes face-to-face with sneaky monkeys, noisy vultures and his mortal enemy: the tiger, Shere Khan.

The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats (Premieres February 2016)
By Jerome Hairston
Based on the Book by Ezra Jack Keats
Shadow puppetry by Fabrizio Montecchi
Directed by Peter C. Brosius
The wonder of a fresh snowfall, the delight of that first successful whistle, the awe in finding a special treasure: Ezra Jack Keats had a gift for capturing the rapturous joy in a child’s day-to-day life. In this new staging of Keats’ beloved works with puppet design by Italy’s renowned Fabrizio Montecchi, director Peter C. Brosius brings the little boy in the red coat to enthralling life. Revisit Keats’ treasured stories in this wholly original theatrical adaptation.

Animal Dance (Premieres March 2016)
Choreographed and Directed by Ann Carlson with Peter C. Brosius
What do kids (baby goats) and kids (not-so-baby people) have in common? World-renowned choreographer and performance artist Ann Carlson will dance her way to the answer with the help of some curious goats and their animal buddies in this brand-new piece developed specifically with preschoolers’ interests and attention spans in mind. It’s a story of the similarities we share with our animal friends in the quest for self-expression and ultimately, understanding. So stomp your hooves, clap your paws and expect the unexpected.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical (Premieres April 2016)
Based on the book by Jeff Kinney
Music and Lyrics by Joe Iconis
Book by Joe Tracz
Directed by Rachel Rockwell
Produced by special arrangement with Fox Stage Productions and Kevin McCollum
Greg Heffley is in survival mode. All. The. Time. From bullies to his big brother to his height-challenged stature, he’s the wimpy kid we can all relate to. The beloved series hits the stage in a brand-new musical with Rowley, Manny, and of course, Rodrick joining in the mayhem. A ridiculous amount of fun for anyone who has survived, is surviving, or hopes to survive middle school, inspired by the award-winning and bestselling book series.<

The Fre (Premieres Spring 2017)
By Taylor Mac
Directed by Niegel Smith
Pristine (or perhaps just prissy) Hero longs to escape to a cleaner, more elevated world where people read books and understand Voltaire.  But first, he must cross the Mud Pit—the hang-out of Frankie, a Dude-like guy who just likes to relax- and The Fre—Frankie’s posse of thoroughly modern American teens. When Hero slips and falls, Frankie rescues him and decides not to let him go.  Will Hero insist on leaving or discover that it’s better to change the world you’re in than to try to escape it?  Performance Artist Taylor Mac’s theatrical extravaganza for teen audiences is an exploration of Radical Empathy and a celebration of getting down and dirty.

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.

The Abominables: The Minnesota Hockey Musical
Book by Steve Cosson
Music and Lyrics by Michael Friedman
A production partnership between CTC and The Civilians
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.

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

Fancy Dancer
By Larissa FastHorse
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.

Samantha Rai and the Shogun of Fear
By Qui Nguyen
Music and lyrics by Shane Rettig
This post-modern mash-up of comic book heroes, kung-fu fights and zombie movie gore brings Kingdom of Darkness princess Samantha Rai and her earthling side-kick Feneris face to face with the five Shogun of Fear.  Can Sam and Feneris defeat them before they take over planet Earth?

The Last Firefly
By Naomi Iizuka
Inspired by Japanese folk tales and Kabuki theatre techniques, Iizuka crafts a brand new tale about Boom, the son of Thunder, whose search for his father leads him on an adventure that reveals the interconnectedness of the natural world and his place within it.

Corduroy
Based on the book by Don Freeman
Adapted by Barry Kornhauser
Discovering a missing button on his overalls, a curious little bear goes in search of a new one.  His tender, comic adventures eventually lead him into the arms of a little girl eager to give him a real home.

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