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Children’s Theatre to the ‘Max’ and a Hurricane Hit

by Mark Burger

It’s a new year, but two venerable theater companies in Winston-Salem are hitting the ground running for 2009. First up, the Youth Production Series at the Little Theatre of Winston-Salem will present The Katrina Project: Hell and High Water, beginning Wednesday (tomorrow night) at the Enrichment Center (1006 S. Marshall St., Winston- Salem).

This hard-hitting production takes a very different look into what the mainstream media portrayed about the effects of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when it laid waste to large sections of Louisiana — and sent the great city of New Orleans (and its citizens) reeling into an uncertain and unpromising future. Based on actual interviews, collected stories and recovered records, The Katrina Project offers a collective, yet individual, voice for those who endured one of this nation’s most punishing examples of nature gone berserk. Each character reflects a different emotion, be it anger, heartbreak or resilience — and in (undoubtedly) powerful fashion. Proceeds from ticket sales of this production will benefit hurricane relief charities. (Yes, believe it or not, the citizens of New Orleans are still feeling the financial pinch of the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina more than three years later.) Showtimes are 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and tickets are $10. If you’ve got questions, scope out www.littletheatreonline.com or dial 336.748.0857 x. 204. In either case, your questions will be answered and your fears assuaged.

The Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem is hitting the ground running for 2009 with its latest presentation, Max and Ruby, which opens Jan. 16. This merry, musical extravaganza, inspired on the popular animated Nickelodeon series that ran from 2002 through ’07 and based on Rosemary Wells’ best-selling series of children’s books, which follow the ongoing adventures of Ruby, a bossy bunny who’s also big sister to Max, whose curiosity always seems to get the better of him. In this production, Ruby has a brainstorm to celebrate their grandmother by putting on an elaborate musical stage show. To assist her in this ambitious endeavor, she enlists the help of brother Max, who has his own ideas about what kind of show they should present. In a last-ditch effort to save the show, Ruby turns to her Bunny Scout buddies to help her. The old adage “the show must go on” gets put to the test, as Max and Ruby learn a few lessons about cooperation and collaboration. Max and Ruby is a presentation of the award-winning, New York-based troupe, Theatreworks USA, which is a long-time favorite at the Children’s Theatre. Now in its 48 th year, Theatreworks tours through 49 of the 50 states and parts of Canada. Every season, they bring something special to Winston-Salem. Showtimes are 10 a.m., noon and 7 p.m. on Jan. 16; 11 a.m. on Jan. 17. All performances will be taking place in the newly refurbished Arts Council Theatre (610 Coliseum Drive., Winston-Salem). See how they’ve spruced the place up! Tickets are $8 (general admission) and $12 (reserved seating), and it’s always a smart idea to get them early. The Children’s Theatre is one of the region’s hot tickets — no kidding — and shows frequently sell out. For tickets or more information, including a full season schedule, visit www.childrenstheatrews.org or call 336.725.4531.

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