Kids respond to music — so it’s no wonder that many plays for young audiences weave song and dance into their narratives.

And it’s why many of the plays from Children’s Theater of Madison this year will include music to entertain and help tell a good story.

The season starts with “Madagascar,” the lively musical that CTM brings to the Overture Center’s Playhouse stage Oct. 6-22. Musically, “Madagascar” offers “everything from rap and hip hop to contemporary,” said CTM artistic director Roseann Sheridan. And it’s a story about a journey and friendship – another theme in CTM’s 2017-18 season.

“Madagascar” follows the antics of animals who escape from the Central Park Zoo to explore their roots in the wild.

Next CTM will return to its roots with its signature “A Christmas Carol,” performed in the elegant Capitol Theater from Dec. 9-23. Based on the classic Dickens tale and adapted by American Players Theatre’s Colleen Madden, this year’s “A Christmas Carol” will star APT veteran David Daniel as Scrooge and showcase many new costumes and design elements. The classic tale, with its lush staging and memorable scenes, is a holiday tradition for many area families.

The recently released Broadway musical “Tuck Everlasting” is CTM’s next offering on Feb. 16-25.

“It’s a beautiful musical about a young girl who discovers a secret in the woods, and that secret is a fountain of youth,” Sheridan said. The girl must decide whether to drink from it and be suspended in time forever, or go back home and live a mortal life.

“It’s all couched in a young person’s point of view, with sweeping, beautiful music” played by a live orchestra on stage, Sheridan said.

“Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly,” which CTM will present March 10-24, is an adaptation of the books for very young children written by Doreen Cronin. “It’s very fun, whimsical, again very contemporary. There’s a lot of rap in it, some jitterbug – and it’s educational (about bugs) at the same time,” Sheridan said.

CTM ends its season with “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,” based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo. Touching, funny and profound, the story is about a china rabbit learning to be loved.

The script “is probably one of the best theatrical adaptations of a book of that nature that I’ve seen,” Sheridan said.


Gayle Worland is an arts and features reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.