This story was corrected on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. An explanation follows the story.
This year, the WonderWorks children’s theater program at Bowie State University will be partnering with Adventure Theatre MTC in Glen Echo to get two of Adventure’s shows ready for the road.
One show, “Three Little Birds,” is based on Cedella Marley’s children’s book and her father Bob Marley’s song of the same name.
It is about a little boy who confronts his fears of the outside world.
Written and choreographed by Michael Bobbitt, producing artistic director of Adventure Theatre MTC, the show is headed for a three-week run at the New Victory theater in New York City after trial runs in January 2014 at the new Fine and Performing Arts Center at BSU.
“It gives us a chance to rehearse and tech it and iron out the kinks,” Bobbitt said.
Bobbitt got permission from Marley’s family to incorporate 15 of Marley’s songs in the show, which Adventure presented with a professional cast in March 2013 at Glen Echo.
“We’re taking it to the campus, and it’s a big undertaking for us,” said Bob Bartlett, assistant professor of theater at BSU. “We haven’t done anything like this in the building yet. It’s going to be one of the highlights of our year.”
The larger space at BSU will enable Bobbitt to do some restaging and rechoreographing and also add three live instruments to the recorded score before the show opens in New York on Feb. 7.
Adventure Theatre MTC will also present Bobbitt’s other new show “Five Little Monkeys,” based on the children’s by Eileen Christelow, at the BSU center in January before it goes on a 30-city tour to cities east of the Mississippi.
“It’s our first national tour,” said Bobbitt. “We’re testing the waters and expanding.”
Also expanding is Bowie State University’s WonderWorks program, which premiered in March with “The Big Bad Bullysaurus,” a show that gave students a chance to act on stage.
Bartlett is hosting cattle call auditions for the theater department’s 2013-2014 season on Sept. 4 and 5 in the art center’s Main Stage Theater.
“Anyone can come,” said Bartlett about chances for students, staff and the public to contribute on-stage and backstage.
The focus this season on children’s theater is to meet a demand for them in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, said Bartlett.
“It also provides outreach to the community,” said Bartlett about shows that help introduce young children to the college campus.
WonderWorks will be doing four productions this year.
It kicks off the season with “A Mile in My Shoes,” a new play by regional producer and director Jennifer L. Nelson on Sept. 19-20. The production uses a variety of shoes to illuminate the lives of people from different backgrounds.
“Shoes” will be followed on Oct. 17- 9 , by “Secret Life Under the Stairs” by Kris Knutsen, in November. The play is about a new kid in town who disturbs the secret hideout of a group of friends.
From March 6-8, WonderWorks will also present the “The Drummer,” an adaptation by Bartlett of the Grimm’s fairy tale about a young drummer who rescues a princess.
There will also be four children’s shows during the season created by Bowie State students and staff inspired by the Theatre for the Very Young, which is associated with the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta.
But there will also be adult fare on the Bowie State arts menu for the 2013-14 season, including a production of Aristophanes’ anti-war comedy “Lysistrata,” following one woman’s attempt to end the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, from Nov. 14-17.
“The women get tired of their men not being around and they withhold sex until the war ends; hilarity ensues,” said Bartlett, who is directing the play.
“It’s ribald, and there are some huge phalluses in a few scenes … but there’s no foul language,” he said.
Audiences can also celebrate the winter season by attending “A Holiday Bistro,” an evening of theater, song and dance running Dec. 5-7.
On Feb. 13 and 14, the university will host its first Ten-Minute Play Festival for student-written works.
On Feb. 17-28 students will also perform scenes from the play “The Colored Museum” by George C. Wolfe, which premiered in 1986 and satirizes aspects of African-American life. Scheduled for Feb. 17-28, the play will also be performed April 17-20 as part of the university’s Spring Arts Festival.
Correction: The story incorrectly stated that the Theatre for the Very Young will visit the campus to present four plays. Bowie State students and staff will create and present the plays.