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"Charlotte's Web" to be Performed at Northwestern April 10 to 13

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March 18, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- The multi-legged heroine of Northwestern University's spring 2008 family stage production of Joseph Robinette's interpretation of E. B. White's classic children's tale "Charlotte's Web" is a spider with an important message about what it means to be a friend.

"Charlotte's Web" will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10; 7 p.m. Friday, April 11; 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, April 12; and 2 p.m. Sunday, April 13, at the University's Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. The performances are open to the public.

Northwestern University's Theatre and Interpretation Center also has scheduled a
10 a.m. Friday, April 11, performance for local school groups at the Barber Theater. Tickets for the special April 11 performance must be reserved through the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282.

Following its Evanston campus run, the hour-long family play will tour Evanston-area schools this spring as part of the University's community outreach program. In-school performances may be reserved by calling (847) 491-5146.

"Charlotte's Web" is a story about a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte set on the Zuckerman farm. As the story unfolds, Charlotte teaches the audience the true meaning of friendship and acceptance. The tale also provides a glimpse of the cycles of life when Charlotte dies and her offspring are born and become friends with Wilber.

"'Charlotte's Web' is popular with children because it plays to their imaginations by using a world with animals and presenting the theme of friendship and loyalty, concerns that we all have throughout life," said Northwestern theatre faculty member Lynn Kelso, who is directing the production.

The stage production closely follows White's book and will feature a cast of 10 Northwestern student actors. One of the actors will be costumed as Charlotte the spider and another as Wilbur the pig. Others will be dressed as a goose, a gander, a sheep and Templeton the rat. The rest of the cast will wear clothing reminiscent of 1955 era Midwestern farm attire. The costumes were inspired by the illustrations in White's book that were done by Garth Williams. The stage sets will feature a barn and windmill to create a farm-like atmosphere. One scene that uses flag bunting and other props will transform the stage into a county fair.

"The play is delightful for people of all ages who have a vibrant imagination," added Kelso. "The language is enjoyable, and the themes of friendship and continuity of life are considerations we all have. It also is one of the first stories most young children will encounter that deals with death."

While the story has wide appeal, Kelso said the audience ages that are likely to most appreciate this world would be from kindergarten to 5th grade.

Single tickets for the April public performances are $20 for the general public; $18 for senior citizens and Northwestern faculty and staff; and $10 for full-time students and children.

For tickets, call (847) 491-7282. Online ticket sales for Mainstage productions are available through OvationTix at http://www.tic.northwestern.edu/tickets.php.

For more information or to order single or group tickets for upcoming productions by phone, call the Theatre and Interpretation Center Box Office at (847) 491-7282.