Stories and music drawn from children’s books by Ogden Nash, Roald Dahl and Kevin Henkes are included in the latest round of “Imagine U Storytime” videos. The series, presented by the Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University, continues through Aug. 9.
Linda Gates, senior lecturer and head of voice in the department of theatre, shares “Custard the Dragon,” by Ogden Nash on July 26. Gates is joined by Riley Nelson (’21), appearing as Lady Emerald to guide viewers through an imagination exercise with dragons.
“Imagine U Storytime” launched April 16 on the Wirtz Center YouTube channel. New videos, each lasting 15 minutes, are posted at 6 p.m. on Sundays, and remain online for streaming.
Rives Collins, chair of the theatre department at Northwestern’s School of Communication, said the series provides engaging content for families during this time of social distancing, as well as highlights the talented students in the department’s Theatre for Young Audiences training program.
“In the midst of the unknown, it is important to remember the power of the arts to connect us as a community,” said Lynn Kelso, Imagine U founder and creative mentor. “We are very excited to give this gift to our families in these challenging times. We don’t want to forget the children as creative artists. They are our most open and joyful audience.”
The lineup of stories and storytellers includes:
Sunday, July 26, 6 p.m. CDT
“Custard the Dragon,” by Ogden Nash read by Linda Gates and joined by Riley Nelson (’21) as Lady Emerald. Families can download a guide for a dragon-themed imagination exercise on the Wirtz Center website.
Sunday, Aug. 2, 6 p.m. CDT
“James and the Giant Peach,” a musical based on the book by Roald Dahl, features music by Justin Paul and lyrics by Benj Pasek. Rives Collins directs Northwestern University alumni Hannah Shealy (’15), Meghan McCandless (’16), Casey Reed (’16), Justin Tepper (’17), Rosie Jo Neddy (’17), Myrna Conn (’16), Sarah Cartwright (’15), Noah Teplin (’17) and Quinn Kelch (’18).
Sunday, Aug. 9, 6 p.m. CDT
“Chrysanthemum,” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes, is a funny and honest school story about teasing, self-esteem and acceptance presented by Carly Mazer (’20).
“Imagine U Storytime” will pause for the remainder of August and resume in the fall. Previous installments can be viewed on the Wirtz Center YouTube channel.
“Imagine U Storytime” is inspired by the popular “Imagine U” performance series geared toward families with young children. The frequently sold-out productions take well-known children’s classics and adapt them for the stage.
The program is part of Wirtz Center’s ongoing #sharethearts effort, as well as Northwestern Arts at Home, a digital roundup of high-quality music, art and theatre offerings available for audiences to stream at home while Northwestern’s arts venues remain closed.