by Chris Davis
I've got to admit, this year's lineup is especially interesting to me and I should probably plow right through this next bit of bragging disguised as "ethical disclosure."
Having grown up going to every installment of the Children's Theatre Festival, my own twin daughters make their theatrical debut this weekend with Voices' first junior company. The girls befriend the oldest daughter of Voices' most musical member, Virginia Matthews, at Rock & Romp camp in 2011. The three girls have been playing, and playing music together since. So they were absorbed, and are now playing (and playing music) with all the other Voices of the South kids who are all unsurprisingly talented.
This isn't why I'm plugging the event, of course, but a father/blogger's got to disclose what he's got to disclose. I get excited about this festival every year. It's grown into a reliably fun pay-what-you-can way for a family to kick off summer vacation. And this shorter iteration of the Voices of the South company (that looks a lot like the older, taller iteration of the Voices of the South company) is something brand new and pretty nifty, if I do say so myself. The junior troupe performs a revised version of The Old Forest Fairy Tale, a mighty quirky, mighty Midtown musical about Overton Park, and how it was once saved by a bunch of "old ladies in tennis shoes."
A bit of video from the original production starring grownups? Of course.
Voices is also rebooting The New Adventures of Hansel & Gretel, adapted by Jerre Dye who has made quite a splash in Chicago recently with Cicada, a rewrite of the play he originally opened at TheatreWorks.
The Children's Theatre Festival is a two-day event with workshops and crafts and three stages from which audiences may sample a work by a range of Memphis-area companies like the bilingual theater troupe Cazateatro, Chatterbox Audio Theatre, DeltaARTS, Germantown Community Theatre, Music for Aardvarks, Playhouse on the Square, Theatre Memphis ShoWagon, St. Luke’s Boys Choir, and, of course, Voices of the South.
FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014
5:45 pm — Bring your own picnic and enjoy performances on the grounds.
6:30 pm — Performances by the THE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARD NOMINEES
7:00 pm — Voices of the South presents THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HANSEL & GRETEL
8:00 pm — Performances by the THE HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARD NOMINEES
8:30 pm — Dance Party Onstage
SATURDAY, MAY 24, 2014
9:30am-5:00pm — Features a full day of outdoor activities, workshops, strolling performances and a different show on the hour, every hour!