Curtain Up!

Young Amaya is auditioning for a role in a professional play. Although she longs to perform, she is about to learn how much team effort and hard work is involved.As the reader follows her progress from a nervous hopeful at an audition through the fittings for costumes, the rehearsals, the memory work, and even stage fright, Dirk McLean introduces the many people and jobs involved in staging a play. A glossary provides descriptions of terms like casting, choreography, and blocking. Written by an author with extensive firsthand theater experience, this is a must-have resource for young children who are performers. And for those who only dream of a career on stage, it is entertaining to share Amaya’s journey and to feel the thrill of a peek behind the scenes.

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard

A comic romp through Shakespeare’s London featuring an intrepid little boy, a friendly bear, and-in the role of dastardly villain-the Bard himself. What happens when a boy bursts through the curtain of a deserted theatre and onto the world’s most famous stage? He lands on the Bard himself and the chase is on-through the streets of Shakespeare’s London. This is a rare and inventive visual feast-a runaway story about a curious boy, a magic cloak, a grumpy bard, a captive bear and a baron bound for the chopping block. It is also a richly illustrated, dramatic and very funny tale of adventure and friendship.

Alamo Wars

alamoJosephine “Miss Mac” McKeever had taught English and Theatre Arts at Rosemont Middle School for so long that her colleagues sometimes joked that she would die in the classroom. So when she does just that, students, teachers, and administrators are stunned. After getting over the initial shock of losing their colleague, the staff agrees that they need to do something very special to acknowledge Miss Mac’s fifty-one years of dedication to the students at Rosemont and suggest naming the school’s auditorium after her. When Mrs. Frymire, her long-time colleague and friend, discovers a play written by Miss Mac years before, she knows that it would be the perfect memorial to present the play, Thirteen Days to Glory: The Battle of the Alamo, in the school’s auditorium named after her friend. But the teachers quickly learn that presenting a play isn’t as easy as Miss Mac had always made it seem, and soon the entire school community is in an uproar as conflicts related to the play emerge. Seventh-grader and Golden Gloves boxer Marco Diaz is, at first, excited to be chosen to play Jim Bowie, the brave Texan who defended the Alamo against Santa Anna’s Mexican Army. But his friend Raquel, an undocumented immigrant, calls him a sell-out because she believes the play makes heroes out of the people who stole her ancestors’ land. And Sandy Martinez, Miss Mac’s much younger replacement, finds the Mexican characters’ dialogue not only politically incorrect but downright offensive. Miss Mac’s friends, though, are adamantly opposed to making changes. Ms. Martinez also tries to convince them that giving certain students plum roles in exchange for their parents’ contributions is wrong, but ends up leaving the production in frustration. Meanwhile, rehearsals only serve to increase the tension between Marco’s friend Izzy Pena and the school bully Billy Ray Cansler. And it’s only a matter of time before Billy Ray corners Izzy when Marco isn’t around to protect him. Weary from struggling with disruptive kids, teachers and kids dropping out of the play, and parents with unreasonable expectations, everyone begins to wonder if they should just give up and cancel the production. Is it too much to expect everyone to work together to pay homage to a long-time friend and teacher?

Wicked Will: A Mystery of Young William Shakespeare

To the outside world, Tom Pryne is an orphan traveling Elizabethan England with his uncle-s theater troupe. In actuality, -Tom- is Viola, in disguise because her parents- Catholic sympathies have put them at odds with the law and forced them into hiding. When the troupe arrives in the sleepy little town of Stratford-on-Avon, Viola-s uncle is arrested for murder, and she joins forces with young Will Shakespeare, a local boy with a penchant for trouble and a smart turn of phrase, to uncover the real culprit.