Bud, Not Buddy Presented by the Chicago Children’s Theatre

Photo credit: Charles Osgood

I love the Chicago Children’s Theatre. We’ve seen all the shows they’ve presented in the past couple years. With a brand new baby we haven’t had an opportunity to see Bud, Not Buddy, but the information below has been provided by the Chicago Children’s Theatre.

Based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, Bud, Not Buddy – the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award – is a favorite with kids 8 and up and, at many schools, required reading for February, Black History Month.

Bud, Not Buddy follows the heartwarming, unforgettable journey of a young African-American orphan as he searches for his father. Clues kept in a suitcase lead him to adventures in Depression-era Michigan, where he finds community among a group of jazz musicians and, ultimately, an unexpected sense of home. Full of laugh-out-loud humor and wonderful characters, Bud, Not Buddy hits the high notes of jazz and sounds the deeper tones of the Great Depression.

Photo credit: Charles Osgood

CCT’s Bud, Not Buddy is adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson, and won the Distinguished Play Award from The American Alliance for Theater and Education. Bud, Not Buddy is directed by Derrick Sanders, who staged the company’s 2010 smash hit world premiere Jackie and Me about baseball legend Jackie Robinson. The Bud, Not Buddy cast features Travis Turner as Bud, with Tim Blewitt, Kamal Angelo Bolden (familiar to CCT audiences in the title role in Jackie and Me), MyKele Callicut, McKenzie Chinn, Brian Grey, Cedric Mays, Andre Teamer, Genevieve VenJohnson and Cedric Young.  Designers are Courtney O’Neill (scenic design); William Kirkham (lighting design); Rick Simms (sound design); Christine Pascual (costume design) and Nick Heggestad (prop design).

Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis was always a great reader, but as a youth he could not find books “that were about me.” He spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint’s historic Fisher Body Plant #1, hanging 80-pound car doors on Buicks. He wrote during his breaks to escape the noise of the factory, while attending college at night. Curtis made an outstanding debut in children’s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award. Curtis’ writing – and his dedication to it – has been greatly influenced by his family members. He modeled characters in Bud, Not Buddy after his two amazing grandfathers – Earl “Lefty” Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.

Photo credit: Charles Osgood

Award-winning director Derrick Sanders – Founding Artistic Director of Congo Square Theatre Company, a Chicago Tribune Chicagoan of the Year in 2005, and winner of multiple Joseph Jefferson Awards and Black Theater Alliance Awards – has a national reputation, having directed at countless Chicago, regional and New York theaters.

His most recent collaboration with Chicago Children’s Theater, the 2011 world premiere of Jackie and Me, written by Steven Dietz, based on the book by Dan Gutman, enjoyed a nearly sold-out run at the Ruth Page. One of CCT’s biggest hits ever, Jackie and Me has since received productions in Seattle, Houston, St. Louis and at New York’s Atlantic Theatre Company. Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis will produce Jackie and Me next March, and the script will be published later this year by Dramatists Play Service.

Sanders is also well known for his many collaborations with the legendary August Wilson, including in Chicago his award-winning productions of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Seven Guitars for Congo Square. His Off-Broadway directorial debut, Wilson’s King Hedley II for Signature Theatre, received two Lucille Lortel and Audelco nominations.  He was also a part of August Wilson’s world premiere productions of Radio Golf and Gem of the Ocean on Broadway and at the Huntington Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and the Goodman.

Photo credit: Charles Osgood

The complete performance schedule for Bud, Not Buddy, Jan. 12-Feb. 24, 2013, is:  Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m.; Thursday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. (including pre-show pizza party at 5:30 p.m.); Friday at 10 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. (including post-show party); Saturday at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and Sunday at 11 a.m.  No 10 a.m. performance Saturday, Feb. 2.

Single tickets are $26 for children, $36 for adults.  Thursday evenings are $20 for dinner and show. Friday evening are $25 for show and party. To purchase, visit chicagochildrenstheatre.org or call (872) 222-9555. For discounted school, scout, playgroup, extended family and other group rates, visit GroupTix.net or call (773) 327-3778.

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