RAPA Family Theatre, a professional troupe of adult actors, brings classic stories and literature to life on stage for children and their families. Eric Vaughn Johnson, program director, announced the 2018-19 RAPA Family Theatre Season will have a theme of being unique and different.
The season kicks off with “The Emperor’s New Clothes” from the story by Hans Christian Andersen on Oct. 13-21. Audiences will follow a mother and son as they plead with the emperor for funds to bring the arts back to town. The emperor sends them away, as he is caught up in his own self-absorbed vanity. The two peasants disguise themselves as weavers, and return to the palace with the offer of a remarkable outfit for the highest price. The duo craft a theatrical tale, fabling the clothes to be invisible to those who are unfit for their positions or incompetent. In reality, though, the peasants make no clothes at all.
“Mr. Popper’s Penguins: The Musical” will run Dec. 8-31. It is hard enough for Mr. Popper, a simple painter, to support himself and his family, but the addition of 12 penguins makes it impossible to make ends meet. Until, one day, Mr. Popper has an idea — he will turn the talented penguins into a traveling vaudeville act.
A curious reporter starts to unearth the mysteries surrounding one of America’s most captivating heroines in “Amelia Earhart” on Feb. 1-10, 2019. Audiences will follow Earhart’s journey through newspaper headlines, personal accounts and flashbacks. Discover the styles and politics of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as the events leading up to her sudden disappearance.
RAPA will host the regional premiere of “The Adventures of Peter Rabbit and His Friends,” based on the life and stories of Beatrix Potter, on March 16-24. The play set in Victorian England explores Potter’s life and the tales she created. She overcomes a lonely, strict childhood to become one of the most widely read children’s authors of all time. Audiences will view five tales: “Peter Rabbit,” “The Tailor of Gloucester,” “Two Bad Mice,” “Mr. Jeremy Fisher” and “Jemima Puddle-Duck.”
“HONK! The Musical” closes the season on May 4-19, 2019, by celebrating what makes people special. Ugly looks quite a bit different from his brothers and sisters, and the other animals on the farm are quick to notice despite his mother’s protective sheltering. Feeling rather foul about himself, the little Ugly Duckling embarks on an adventure of self-discovery, all the while unknowingly outwitting a very hungry cat.
“Our hope is that at least one child or more will discover, through theater, that it is OK to be unique and different,” Johnson said. “Our differences are what make us special.”
Season tickets are available for the five-production series as a flexible package. Audience members can select three, four or all five shows and receive a 20 percent discount. Tickets are by reserved seating in the Studio Theatre at Kodak Center, 200 W. Ridge Road, Rochester. Single tickets go on sale June 15.
Summer families can escape to the land of make-believe with two classic plays. “The Frog Prince” on July 14-29 follows the famous bewitched prince. It pokes fun at pomposity and brings a fairy godmother on the scene, as well as a young princess who decides to adopt a most unusual pet — a large frog. “Charlotte’s Web” returns for its third annual year on July 29-Aug. 19. The story opens the door to a magical barnyard world, where a young girl named Fern spends her free time with Wilbur the pig. Charlotte, the spider, befriends Wilbur and helps him deal with the shocking news that his life will soon end as bacon on someone’s plate. Charlotte goes as far as coming up with an interesting plan that puts the entire farm on the map.
All performances are approximately one hour in length, plus a short intermission. Children can meet the cast after each performance, with photo opportunities, autographs and a new activity center.
Community organizations and schools can book daytime performances throughout the week. Organizations have the option to take a field trip to the Kodak Center, bring a RAPA Family Theatre show to a school and/or have an educational talk-back or backstage tour after the show.
RAPA Family Theatre will continue its sensory-friendly performance program geared toward audience members with autism and special needs. Both summer shows and all five 2018-19 productions feature a sensory-friendly performance developed by RAPA and Monroe BOCES-2.
Season tickets for the RAPA Family Theatre 2018-19 season, as well as tickets to both summer productions, can be purchased at rapatheatre.org or by calling (585) 254-0073. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors and $10 for ages 12 and younger.