Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cat in the Hat launches the 30th Anniversary of the Dallas Children's Theater

Cat in the Hat 
Dr. Suess launches the 30th Anniversary of the Dallas Children's Theater
by Jayne Chobot Herring

The Dallas Children's Theater is celebrating its 30th season this year, opening this past weekend with the North Texas professional premier of Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat at the Rosewood Center for Family Arts on Skillman.

A few lifetimes ago I used to love performing theater for children. Because they just buy right into it. They haven't been hardened yet; the skeptical adult mind hasn't formed. If the set in front of them looks like the world of Dr. Seuss that they've come to know from bedtime stories, and a man looking like a mischievous cat in a red and white striped hat jumps onto the stage, then that IS The Cat in the Hat.

Sitting next to a child as they excitedly point to the stage and exclaim "I KNOW HIM! THAT'S THE CAT FROM MY BOOK!" fills even the most cynical adult heart with joy. I attended on Saturday with my 5-year old "Inara from New York" (as she's been introducing herself lately) and it was a positively delightful afternoon. The DCT always does a fantastic job of entertaining both the little kids and the big ones (like me). The set was impressive, the performances energetic and fun, and it's always exactly the right length.

At the end of the play, the performers invite the audience to interact with them as they explained how they did the special effects, giving kids the opportunity to become The Fish or the lighting director. This part impressed me the most as a parent, because we don't need our children coming home and trying to balance a fishbowl, book, umbrella, tea cup, etc. while standing on a ball, thinking that it was real. Do we? The DCT really brings the whole theater alive for all participants, and is such a gift to the Dallas community. As is tradition, any children with birthdays this month were invited to the stage to hear the entire audience sing to them, and all cast members gathered in the lobby for to give autographs as their characters to their little fans. Inara now has a program with the autographs "Fish," "Boy," "Sally," "Thing 1" and "Thing 2." It's ridiculously cute.

After the performance on Saturday, we attended the anniversary celebration for the DCT, which included tours of the theater, performances by the Lone Star Circus, Becky Burks Keenan, and Willy "Mr. Willy" Welch, Hula dance lessons (for which we were joined by Rangers Captain) carnival games, crafts, raffle prize drawings, and complimentary goodies from Ruthie's Rolling Cafe, Cici's Pizza of Timbercreek Crossing, Big D Kona Ice, and Sprinkles Cupcakes.

Our raffle ticket investments scored us family passes to the Dallas Arboretum, a gift certificate for The Spa at the Crescent, a birthday party for 10 kids at the DCT, and (Inara's favorite): an autographed poster of The Cat In the Hat for her room. It was a beautiful afternoon celebrating a beautiful theater, and we had a fantastic Mommy-daughter day.

Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat is directed by Nancy Schaeffer and stars Steph Garrett, Zak Reynolds, Douglass Burks, Karl Schaeffer, Lindsay Longacre, and Brendan Cyrus as The Cat, and plays through October 27th at The Rosewood Center for Family Arts.

About the author: Jayne Chobot Herring

Jayne is an executive liaison from New York City who fell in love with a Texan and is now embracing everything about her new life in Dallas.  A passionate traveler, hostess, and mom to a sassy little girl, she is often over-caffeinated and always on the hunt for new & interesting. You can follow her adventures online @jayniemarie,and on her blog A Moveable Appentency.