Imagination Stage Announces 2012-13 Season

May 25, 2012
Imagination Stage

Dancing birds. Flying peaches. Magical pixie dust. Bullying ogres. Not so clever pirates.  Imagination Stage, the region's leading theatre dedicated to children, will be flying high during its 2012-2013 season of professional theatre. The upcoming season features the world premiere of Roald Dahl's The Magic Finger, and the East Coast premiere of the action-packed Anime Momotaro.

The 2012-13 Season, beginning late September and running through August 2013, starts with a remounted production of P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical, followed by Seussical; Anime Momotaro; James and the Giant Peach; The Magic Finger; and Peter Pan and Wendy. Imagination Stage's Artistic Director Janet Stanford describes this new season as "upbeat and uplifting. As always at Imagination Stage, our shows reflect our mantra of 'serious fun.' The plays have important themes that relate to growing up, making good choices, and showing courage in the face of adversity. We love to make our audiences laugh and cheer. And we promise fine performances from the best Washington area actors, beautiful stage designs and costumes, and lots of music and movement."

Imagination Stage will "hit repeat" to open its season with the popular P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical. This super-fly show, written by and starring Psalmayene 24, was Helen Hayes recommended during the 2011-12 season and also enjoyed a successful tour to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The Washington Post called this updated retelling of Pinocchio "inspired and quirky."

The next show, Seussical, is an enchanting musical that transports audiences to a world where "a person's a person, no matter how small." The beloved characters of Dr. Seuss, including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, and the Cat in the Hat, embark on an adventure as they learn that anything is possible. This show will feature actors Matt Anderson, Shayna Blass, Kirstin Riegler, and Ayanna Hardy, and will be directed by Janet Stanford.

Anime Momotaro will have its energetic East Coast premiere at Imagination Stage after originating at Honolulu Theatre for Youth. This innovative "anime-style" staging of Japan's most famous folktale, Peach Boy, teaches powerful lessons about inner strength and how creativity, kindness, and cooperation win out over brute force. Eric Johnson, Artistic Director at Honolulu Theater for Youth, will direct.

In the spring, Roald Dahl's stories come to the stage as James and the Giant Peach and the world premiere of The Magic Finger play in repertory, featuring Imagination Stage favorites Megan Graves, Phillip Reid, Matthew Schleigh, and Joe Brack. Stanford explains the thinking behind commissioning and developing The Magic Finger for the stage: "Over the last forty years, the work of Roald Dahl has grown in popularity worldwide and spawned multiple movie and musical theatre versions. Simply put, kids everywhere love Roald Dahl's stories. But why?! Dahl said in an interview once that he exaggerated his evil characters as a means of making them funny for children. I also think that he understood from traditional fairy tales that children welcome stories where the moral landscape is black and white. I believe children begin to sense at an early age that life is complicated."

Directed by Stanford, James and the Giant Peach explores the adventures of young, orphaned James Trotter, who finds himself aboard a trans-Atlantic flying peach, along with some unusual new friends. Dahl's lesser known The Magic Finger is Imagination Stage's latest of more than two dozen world premieres, and will be directed by Associate Artistic Director Kathryn Chase Bryer. Lucy, an eight-year old girl with a passion for what's right, has a "magic" index finger that doles out justice. When Lucy sees something she thinks is unfair, she simply points her finger at the problem and waits for the zany results.

In the summer, audiences will be taken on a journey to Neverland with Peter Pan and Wendy.
In this swashbuckling adventure, which allows the audience to participate in the action, our heroes must decide if growing up is really all that bad. This show will be directed by Bryer, with musical direction by Chris Youstra.

The 2011-2012 Professional Season in the Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Theatre:

P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical
Sept. 29-Oct. 18, 2012
By Psalmayene 24 with music by Nick Hernandez
Directed by Psalmayene 24

Resident of the enchanted land of Hip-Hopia, G. Petto is a designer of computer games who magically finds himself with a "son" when his character, P.Nokio, comes to life. G.Petto sends his son to the Old School to become a real boy by mastering style, originality, and swagger. Unfortunately, P.Nokio is tempted by the path to "Fun" and "The Land of Fools." At last P.Nokio realizes he must wise up, keep it real, and learn that words and truth are the mightiest weapons of all.
Best for Ages 5-12

Nov. 14, 2012-Jan. 6, 2013
Based on the works of Dr. Seuss
Lyrics and Book by Lynn Ahrens
Music and Book by Stephen Flaherty
Directed by Janet Stanford

Our story begins in the land of Nool, where we find Horton the Elephant, alone by the pool.
All of a sudden, a small speck floats on by. Horton can't see a thing but hears a small cry. Upon that small speck is the home of the Whos and one boy named JoJo who breaks all the rules. "This speck is a World!" Horton proclaims. But no one believes him, they all call him names. Gertrude McFuzz follows behind without fail, in hopes he'll notice her and her one feathered tail. Back on our planet, the size of a bubble, JoJo's "thoughts" get him in trouble. The peak of our tale is when the Whos must be heard! Their fate lies with JoJo and one brand new word. This enchanting musical adventure will transport you to a world where "a person's a person, no matter how small" and most importantly, anything's possible.
Best for Ages 4-12

Anime Momotaro
Jan. 30-Mar. 10, 2013
Adapted from the traditional Japanese folktale Peach Boy
By Alvin Chan, Eric Johnson, and Honolulu Theatre for Youth
Directed by Eric Johnson

An old couple in ancient Japan long for a child. They have their wish granted when a huge peach floats down the river and breaks open to reveal a baby boy. They name him Momotaro, and he grows up to be the strongest young man in all of Japan. But Momotaro's village has a tiny problem...giant ogres! Ogres have been bullying the villagers for years, and Momotaro decides he must make a stand. With the help of friends-the dog Inu, the monkey Saru, and the bird Kiji-Momotaro meets his foes face-to-face. Performed in the style of popular anime cartoons with traditional Japanese influences, this action-packed staging of Japan's most famous folktale teaches powerful lessons about inner strength and how creativity, kindness, and cooperation win out over brute force.
Best for Ages 5-10

James and the Giant Peach (in repertory with The Magic Finger)
April 3-May 26, 2013
By Roald Dahl
Adapted by David Wood
Directed by Janet Stanford

Young, orphaned James Trotter is sent to live with his two wicked aunts on a hillside by the sea. Life with Aunts Sponge and Spiker-who make James wait on them hand and foot-is lonely and sad . . . it's the pits. James's luck begins to change when he is gifted a mysterious bag of crocodile tongues believed to bring marvelous and magical things. And do they ever! One giant peach, five oversized (and talking!) bugs, and many seagulls later, James and his new friends are off on an exciting adventure across the Atlantic. High over the ocean, destination unknown, this unlikely crew sails to new and fantastical heights, proving that courage and ingenuity can overcome all odds.
Best for Ages 4-10

The Magic Finger (in repertory with James and the Giant Peach)
April 12-May 24, 2013
By Roald Dahl
Adapted by David Wood
Directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer

Lucy is an influential eight-year-old with a passion for righting wrongs and a "magic" index finger that doles out justice. When Lucy sees something she thinks is unfair, she points her magic finger at the problem, and it causes all sorts of mischief! One day, when visiting her friend William Gregg on his family's farm, Lucy discovers the Gregg family enjoys hunting ducks. Horrified, she points her magic finger at the family and oh, boy that little finger makes things topsy turvey! Overnight the tables are turned. The Gregg family is transformed into miniature people with duck wings while the members of the hunted duck family become human sized and sprout arms. The ducks are adjusting to TV, telephones, and even the bathtub while the Greggs must nest in a tree and learn to survive in the air. Can Lucy make things right?
Best for Ages 5-10

Peter Pan and Wendy
June 26-Aug. 11, 2013
By Alan Cardarelli and Steven Goers
Directed by Kathryn Chase Bryer

In this musical, Peter Pan's not the only one who won't grow up. Wendy is having trouble coming to terms with moving out of her childhood room and putting on adult clothes. She wants to play! Wendy's life gets sprinkled with a little pixie dust when the daring Peter Pan comes along to whisk her away to the magical island of Neverland where children never grow up. With the help of Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, Tiger Lilly, some mermaids, and a rather dedicated crocodile, Peter and Wendy battle the dreaded, but extremely funny pirate, Captain Hook! In this swashbuckling adventure, which includes opportunities for audience participation, our heroes must decide if growing up is really all that bad.
Best for Ages 4-10

Imagination Stage's current season wraps up with Rapunzel through May 26, and the world premiere of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe-a fusion of theatre, dance, and puppetry-in collaboration with The Washington Ballet, which runs June 20 through August 12.

Subscriptions to Imagination Stage's 2012-2013 Season are now on sale. Priced $40-$85, a savings of up to 32%, subscribers can pick between three-, four-, or five-show packages and can also add on P.Nokio: A Hip-Hop Musical at a discounted rate. Subscribe through the Box Office at 301-280-1660 or Single tickets, priced $12-25, go on sale August 20.