Children’s Theatre’s “Surviving the Applewhites” Opens US Airways New Plays Festival for Families  

From March 7-22, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte presents “Surviving the Applewhites”, a coming-of-age story set in North Carolina and based on the Newbury Honor Book by Stephanie S. Tolan. Adapted for the stage by Tolan and award-winning author Katherine Paterson, this show is the opening production of Imagination Begins With US - The US Airways New Plays Festival for Families, a three-city festival promoting innovation and excellence in theatre for young audiences.  

“Surviving the Applewhites” tells the story of Jake Semple, a young teen seemingly destined for juvenile delinquency who finds himself living in rural North Carolina with the eccentric Applewhite clan. After being kicked out of every school in his state, Jake’s last hope is a homeschool run by this family of creative and chaotic artists. Although he clashes with daughter E.D., the organized “non-artist” of the family, Jake finds unexpected friends as well, and he begins to realize his own potential when he gets cast in patriarch Randolph Applewhite’s production of “The Sound of Music”. Simultaneously hilarious and touching, “Surviving the Applewhites” is a family tale of love and transformation.  

Stephanie S. Tolan and Katherine Paterson have collaborated on several plays, including a musical adaptation of “Bridge to Terabithia”, based on Paterson ’s acclaimed novel of the same name. Tolan and Paterson will participate in a talkback after the March 7 opening performance.  

The professional cast includes Nikki Adkins, Steven Ivey, Barbi VanSchaick, Caroline Bower, Nicia Carla, Michael Mattison, John Wray, Mark Sutton and Mary Eva Gibson, with student Stephen Friedrich playing the role of Jake Semple. Children’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Alan Poindexter will direct “Surviving the Applewhites.”  

Imagination Begins With US - The US Airways New Plays Festival for Families

“Surviving the Applewhites” is presented as part of Imagination Begins With US - The US Airways New Plays Festival for Families. This three-city festival is supported by a major $300,000 grant from US Airways to promote new plays for young theatre audiences. This season, each world-premiere production is a “page-to-stage” adaptation for young people aged 8 to 18 and their families: Surviving The Applewhites at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in Charlotte , North Carolina ; A Tale of Two Cities at Childsplay in Tempe , Arizona ; and Getting Near to Baby at People’s Light & Theatre near Philadelphia , Pennsylvania  

“We are extremely proud to be spearheading such an innovative festival. This is the first time that three theatre companies in three different cities are collaborating to produce new plays for young audiences. These plays promote literacy, creativity and ultimately academic success for students,” said C.A. Howlett, Senior Vice President Public Affairs of US Airways. “The festival is a triple-header for us, for our three partner theatres, and for young audiences in our hub cities.”  

For more information about Imagination Begins With US - The US Airways New Plays Festival for Families, contact Pam Hait or Martha Hunter (602) 952-0040 or email  

Performance times and dates are:

Friday, March 7                              7:30 pm

Saturday, March 8                          4:00 pm

Sunday, March 9                            2:00 pm

Saturday, March 15                        7:30 pm

Sunday, March 16                          2:00 pm

Friday, March 21                            7:30 pm (SOLD OUT)

Saturday, March 22                        4:00 pm  

Performances will be held in the McColl Family Theatre at ImaginOn, 300 East 7th Street . Front Orchestra tickets are $21.00; General Admission tickets are $16.00. For tickets to the production, call the Children’s Theatre Box Office at 704-973-2828 (10 am-5 pm, Mon.-Fri.) or visit our website:  Recommended for ages 8 and up.  

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is supported by the Annual Fund Drive of the Arts & Science Council, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Inc., ArtsTeach, and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of North Carolina and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The media sponsor for the 2007-08 season is WCNC-TV.

US Airways: the 2007-08 Official Airline of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte.

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