This year, the goal is to raise $87,000 to go toward programs for children ranging in age from 18 months to teens.
“One thing that makes us unique nationally as a regional theatre is that we produce children’s theatre with the same eye towards excellence as other programming,” said Chris Moses, theatre director of education. “It’s the same expertise of actors and designers.”
The March 2 event will have a “Charlotte’s Web” theme, in conjunction with the theatre’s production, which starts Saturday and runs through March 10.
“It’s a chance for kids to come interact with actors on stage,” Moses said. “There will be some participatory arts experiences and quick workshops with some teaching artists.”
Plus, there will be a “circus element,” he said, with circus performers in the lobby, because the production of “Charlotte’s Web” has an acrobatic spin this year.“I wanted to reinvent it a little bit,” said director Rosemary Newcott. “I’ve always been fascinated by the young girl, Fern, who can talk to animals and has a relationship with them. That’s kind of a fantasy. I thought I’d expand the fantasy.”
She said all of the animal characters are actors, as well as circus performers. For example, actress Danielle Deadwyler, who plays Charlotte, is a silk aerlist. Other cast members will be performing other circus acts during the show, like juggling, unicycling and gymnastics.
Newcott said musician Rob Lawhon composed original music to be the backdrop, and plays the guitar and the banjo, performing country music and jazz. Plus, he is the narrator of the show.
“He’s sort of like E.B. White, the author,” she said.The set, designed by Kat Conley, is essentially a “barn morphed with a three-ring circus, Newcott said.
Newcott said she decided to direct “Charlotte’s Web” again because of the story’s beauty.
“It teaches great values and brings in such important issues. It’s worth returning to,” she said. “The lesson is the value of friendship, which is something any age, especially children, are so connected to. It’s about changes and passages. … It’s a very gentle story.”
Confirmed participants for the fundraiser include the Center for Puppetry Arts, Zoo Atlanta and Milton High School’s Cirque Program.
Tickets for Families Center Stage include admission to either the 1 p.m. or 4 p.m. performance of “Charlotte’s Web,” with the festival happening from 2 to 4 p.m.
If you go:
o What: Families Center Stage fundraiser and “Charlotte’s Web”
o When: March 2 from 2 to 4 p.m.
o Where: Alliance Theatre, 1280 Peachtree St., Midtown
o Tickets: $35 for adults, $25 for children
o Information: www.alliance.org