Excellent Children's Theater: Ramona Quimby at CTC

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The world's most loveable third-grader, Ramona has captured the hearts and sympathies of two generations of children.

Ramona's life is a mess! Her teacher hates her, her older sister Beezus is a pain, it looks like her favorite Aunt Bea could marry a DORK, and now Dad just lost his job. Growing up is NOT easy.  But you'll laugh and cheer Ramona and the Quimbys on as they stick together through it all.

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

 

The Children's Theatre Company, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, presents Ramona Quimby, the world's most loveable third-grader, on stage until June 7th.  Directed by Clinton Turner Davis, this 2-hour production is a fun look at a family from one of our favorite children's books, Ramona Quimby. Based on the beloved Newbery-Award winning series of books by author Beverly Cleary (and adapted by Len Jenkin), this play showcases more than 25 actors as well as 125 local Girl and Boy Scouts making their acting debuts!

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

 

The production moves right along in Ramona's  (Scarlett Thompson, who is an extraordinary young actor) life - a tiresome teacher, her older sister Beezus (played by Maeve Coeen Moynihan, who shines as the narrator), her family going through rough times, her best friend Howie (Naveh Shavit-Lonstein), and more. The cast is such fun to watch, from the fantastic Marvette Knight (who has several roles, and is fun to see in each one), to Uncle Hobart (Daniel Joeck), who makes us laugh.  The set (Eduardo Sicangco) was well-designed and simple enough for kids to move the pieces in and out - with a fantastic background of Klickitat Street grounding us in the location. The lighting (Nancy Schertler) was perfect, especially during the Bridal scenes. The music (Victor Zupanc) was fresh and fun.

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

 

Our 6-year old daughter loved this production, from the sassiness of the two sisters to the fast-moving plot.

She loved it because "it was fun, and it helps you learn something (you'll have to see it to find out!). It also shows how a family can have fun and grow together."  She was entranced with the funny show, and talked about it for days afterwards. We've since checked the Ramona Quimby books out again from the library, and are enjoying reading of her life and exploits!  Our favorite part of the play was the Halloween Dance, which still makes us laugh, remembering the great costumes and creativity.

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

One of the most important things about this production is that it focuses on a family going through change - kids growing, unemployment, new jobs, new people in life, difficulties with a teacher and classmates, and more. I really feel that the upbeat tone of the production shows kids that even though change WILL occur, families can weather it together. It is also a great way to show kids that everyone goes through good times and bad, and how so sail through these times smoothly. Books can always soothe and help readers through life experiences - this production of Ramona Quimby is true to the book, in that it is timeless and can make audiences laugh and feel along with Ramona and Beezus.

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

 

"Generations of families relate to 'Ramona Quimby.' Beverly Cleary's characters are so authentic, fresh and contemporary," says CTC artistic Director Peter Brosius. "The struggles Ramona's family faces are the same struggles families are experiencing today. And, we are thrilled to have Clinton Turner Davis direct.  His work with 'The Watsons go to Birmingham - 1963,' overflowed with humanity, humor and heart. We knew we had to have him return to bring this wonderful Quimby family to life."

Located near Eat Street in Minneapolis, right next to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Children's Theatre Company has plenty of free parking, is handicap accessible, and has an excellent theater space with great acoustics. The kids in the audience were well-behaved, as well as enthusiastic about funny parts of the story. For our production, there were posters of Ramona Quimby handed out at the end in the lobby, as well as a mystery coupon to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America!

 

 

 

The Children's Theatre Company (CTC) is the first theatre for young people to win the coveted Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater (2003). Founded in 1965, CTC serves more than 300,000 people annually and is one of the 20 largest theater companies in the nation.  The company is noted for defining worldwide standards for youth theater with an innovative mix of classic tales, celebrated international productions, and challenging new work. 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more at www.childrenstheatre.org

 

Ramona Quimby - Children's Theatre Company

 

What's up next for the Children's Theater Company?

Bert & Ernie, Goodnight!
September 8 - October 25, 2009
UnitedHealth Group Stage • all ages

It's Bert and Ernie as you've never seen them before – as humans! Bradley Greenwald and Reed Sigmund are Bert and Ernie in this CTC world premiere. Poor Bert just wants to sleep but Ernie's wildly inventive antics unleash bedlam in this laugh-a-minute, song-filled show. Based on the original series, script, and music for Sesame Street.

The Mayhem Poets  
October 13 - November 7, 2009
Cargill Stage • ages 11+

Hip-hop rhythms lead the way. Spoken word tells the tales. Audience participation keeps it real. Energetic, spontaneous, fun, and in your face. This is new.

This is poetry: This is The Mayhem Poets. Featuring the internationally acclaimed slam poetry masters. "...an amazing ride." –The New York Times

 

Cinderella    
Holiday show, November 10, 2009 - January 2, 2010
UnitedHealth Group Stage • all ages

A Cinderella like you've never seen. Jam-packed with a wacky, wondrous mix of dance, physical comedy, spectacular sets, and outrageous costumes. A treat for the holidays.

 

Mr. McGee & The Biting Flea  

January 12 - February 21, 2010
UnitedHealth Group Stage • ages 4+

What happens when a wayward duckling doesn't listen to his mother? Meet a king made out of dough. Dine with Mary Elizabeth and the monster that lives in her house. Australia's celebrated Patch Theatre brings to life a delightful collection of stories, told in gorgeous, witty harmonies.

 

According to Coyote    
February 9 - March 21, 2010
Cargill Stage • ages 7+

Part superhero, part comic, the legendary trickster from native American lore plays tricks on the rocks, dances with the stars, and brings fire to the world
in this amazing and hilarious feat of storytelling.

 

Iron Ring  
March 9 - April 10, 2010
UnitedHealth Group Stage • ages 9+

A thrilling Indian epic of daring adventure and deep humanity, told through the dazzling dance of Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Take an incredible
journey with King Tamar and his sidekicks – a brave and beautiful milkmaid, a cowardly eagle, and a wily monkey – as they try to win back his kingdom.

 

Disney's Mulan Jr.   
April 27 - June 13, 2010
UnitedHealth Group Stage • ages 6+

Travel to the legendary days of ancient China in this action-packed stage adaptation of one of China's greatest stories. Mulan joins forces with a
diminutive, troublemaking dragon, risking everything to save her country. A musical celebration of honor, the fighting spirit, and the power of one young
girl.

 

The Biggest Little House in the Forest   
April 27 - June 13, 2010
Cargill Stage • preschool

When Bernice the Butterfly finds an abandoned house in the woods, she sets out to make it her home. Soon she is joined by Millie the Mouse, Fred the Frog, Richie the Rabbit, and Bartholomew the Bear. Everyone is welcome and there's always enough room for a new friend in this heartwarming tale, told by one amazing actor with delightful puppets.

You can find out more at www.childrenstheatre.org

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of the Children's Theatre Company. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

Interested in Exploring Minnesota? It's easy - head to ExploreMinnesota and you'll find a plethora of activities, ideas, places to stay, and more.  We thank ExploreMinnesota for their great help on our recent trip. 

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