The acclaimed children’s book series by Sharon Burch teaches music with adventure stories and singalong songs geared toward young elementary school-aged students.
Millions of children in Kindergarten through third grade know Freddie and Eli, the adventurous amphibian and his elephant pal featured in Sharon Burch’s Freddie theFrog® music education books. Now, for the first time, Freddie the Frog® comes to the stage in a new interactive musical presented by the acclaimed Niles West High School Theatre Department in Skokie. The show premieres on December 6 at the Robert L. Johnson Auditorium with a free 10 a.m. community show; public performances will be presented on Friday, December 7 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m.
Author and educator Sharon Burch combines children’s fantasy with music education to create the popular Freddie the Frog® book and CD sets, with titles such as Freddie the Frog® and the Flying Jazz Kitten, Freddie the Frog® and the Bass Clef Monster, and Freddie the Frog® and the Thump in the Night. Set on the fictional Treble Clef Island, the stories and songs teach children about aspects of music such as notes, rhythm and tempo. With the books already in many Chicago area classrooms, the series was a natural choice to adapt to the stage, and Burch was enthusiastic about writing a stage musical based on her books.
“I was thrilled to receive a request for an onstage adaptation of the first five Freddie the Frog® books,” says Burch. “The Director, Andrew Sinclair, and the Niles West High School Theater Department have a reputation of producing top quality shows year after year. It's a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a talented group of theater staff, directors, and students, all passionate about their craft. I'm looking forward to seeing this state-of-the-art group create to bring Freddie the Frog® to life on the stage.”
"Working with Sharon to bring Freddie to life on the Niles West stage is a dream for me as a theatre director,” says Sinclair. “Great theatre is born from great writing and I know that we are in good hands with Sharon's magical world of Freddie the Frog. It is so great for our students and staff to be able to premiere a stage production and this will be an experience that audiences will want to see."
Niles West High School’s Fine Arts program was rated the top program of its kind in the nation in 2007 by The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/National School Boards Association. In addition to Burch and Sinclair, Freddie the Frog® will be brought to the stage by Arranger/Composer Bryce Inman, Musical Director Mary Jo Papich, Set Designer and Technical Director Steven George, Lighting Designer Charlotte Rathke, and Sound Designer Adam Rosenthal, with original compositions by Grant Wood and Jonathan White. Award-winning Costume Designer Kimberly Morris was brought on board to bring the whimsical characters to life on stage, making Freddie the Frog® both educational and visually exciting.
Niles West High School will invite Chicago-area lower elementary students to a free show on Thursday, December 6 at 10 a.m.; public performances will be presented on Friday, December 7 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Saturday, December 8 at 2 p.m. $10 – Adults; $7 - Students, Senior Citizens and Children. Sharon Burch will be available for book signings of the original Freddie the Frog® books at the premiere. The Robert L. Johnson Auditorium is located at 5701 Oakton Street in Skokie, Illinois. For ticket information, go to www.nileswesttheatre.com/ticket-information.html or call 847-626-2633.
About Freddie the Frog®
The Freddie the Frog® book series is a national best seller in music education. 4 million K-3 students per year, fall in love with Freddie in their music classrooms across the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Kids learn music through Freddie's interactive storybooks, online games, and his iPad App, "Freddie The Frog®." Now, with the premier production of this onstage production, Chicago-area children and parents will be entertained and learn music through this interactive play with music. For more information, see sharonburch.com and freddiethefrog.com