Evanston kids are acting up this month. All over town, the talent, perceptiveness and creativity of Evanston’s school-age children will be on stage.
Some of the topics these young thespians tackle are almost too serious to bear – the killing of kids by kids and bullying in schools. Some will showcase the joy of performing – bolstered by weeks of practice, rehearsal, study, and discipline. Some will demonstrate that humor can be wielded as both defense and offense against discouraging circumstances.
On Saturday at 3 p.m. at the Levy Center, students in the Nichols Middle School Drama Department and the Neri Project will present “The Ripple Effect,” a drama they created, based on the novel “Yummy” by G. Neri.
Peaceable Cities: Evanston describes “The Ripple Effect:” It is told through the eyes of a fictional boy from the neighborhood, and depicts Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, who as a pre-adolescent in the 1990s, shot and killed a teenage girl.
With his father in jail, an abusive mother who often uses drugs, and a family that was unable to provide a stable home environment, Yummy turned to the only group of people that ever showed him any interest – the Black Disciples Nation – whose members ultimately kills him.
The following two weekends, March 20-22 and 26-29, will see the fourth Mudpie, “Bullies Get Busted,” performed at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.
Director Michael Miro says, “A cast of 20 young actors will present this series of 23 short pieces, imaginatively interpreted for the stage with humor, honesty, and a touch of madness…. As the show’s subtitle suggests, bullying was a recurring theme for this year’s writers, and the show approaches it from several angles. “Warrior” is a serious piece about surviving bullying, while “Bully Busters” is a madcap spoof in which the title characters become victims of their own success.
Onstage at Northwestern University’s Josephine Louis Theatre, Dance Center Evanston premieres “The Music Moves” on March 13, with performances on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Dancers from the elite Evanston Dance Ensemble will perform to music by the Evanston Township Choral Ensemble, the Academy of the Music Institute of Chicago and the Steve Rashid Quartet.
Also combining music and dance, Briallianteen, the student-produced musical by the McGaw Y, finished its run of “Guys and Dolls,” its 63rd annual show, just last weekend.
The “Little Red Hen” comes to Fleetwood-Jourdain’s Tater Tot Theatre Company on March 21, also in the Noyes Cultural Arts Center. The “little sibling” to the Evanston Children’s Theatre, Tater Tot Theatre Company was created to allow young thespians ages 5-7 the opportunity to participate in the magic of live theatre.
Anyone with a spare couple of hours should have a look. Evanston’s got talent.