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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Become a kid with Children's Theatre's ‘The Snowy Day’
Stage production through Nov. 12
 
Published Thursday, November 2, 2017 9:23 am
by Ashley Mahoney

“The Snowy Day” teaches you how to be a kid again.


Running at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte through Nov. 12, Ezra Jack Keats’ classic children’s books come to life for “The Snowy Day and Other Stories.”

“This is my first time working with Children’s Theatre of Charlotte,” said Lydia Williamson, who plays the protagonist, Peter. “I really didn’t know what to expect coming in. It was really fun. Working with Mark [Sutton, the director], it was almost like he taught me how to be a kid again. Him coming into rehearsals every day, it was something new. He came with this live, vibrant energy. It was like ‘Lydia that’s what you need! You need this energy!’ It was great. It helped settle a lot of the uneasiness that I had with being the newbie in town. It was a fun process to be a kid again.”

Said Sutton: “No matter what funny hat I walk into the room with, some actors won’t go there. She’s crediting me with helping her rediscover her childhood, but she brought that into the room. It was just under the surface.”

Published in 1962, “The Snowy Day” is the first picture book featuring a child of color as the main character. Keats’ work earned him the Caldecott Medal. Other stories included in the production (approximately 50 minutes run time) include “Whistle for Willie,” “Goggles!” and “A Letter to Amy.”

“We selected it for this season, because the books have such a great history,” Sutton said. “‘The Snowy Day’ is the community-read book right now for all of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, so kids are reading it all over the place. It’s a great tie-in that way.”

Peter embodies courage—an attribute for young audiences to aspire toward.

“He really has a strong sense of who he is,” Sutton said. “With each book he discovers new things, and growing a little bit more. It makes for an episodic play. Fortunately it’s all tied together with the brilliant artists we work with, and the scenic designers and the costume designers who really did a great job of serving the art—really bringing that art to life, and then the jazz music was a really nice tie-in to 1960s Harlem where the books are set.”

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