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“Miss Bindergarten” live at Smith Opera House

How cool is the alphabet? Super cool when you learn it from a dog. Omaha Theater Company presents “Miss Bindergarten,” the zany tale of everyone’s favorite teaching dog at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on March 11 at the Smith Opera House, 82 Seneca St. This hilarious, quick-tempo production is the first professional stage adaptation of the award-winning “Miss Bindergarten” children’s book series written by Joseph Slate and illustrated by Ashley Wolff. This delightful performance features the loveable Miss Bindergarten and her class of 26 adorable animal students. From Adam the Alligator to Zach the Zebra, each student has a name that starts with a different letter of the alphabet. The show combines laughter with learning and features three favorite tales from the “Miss Bindergarten” books: “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten,” ‘Miss Bindergarten Plans a Circus with Kindergarten” and “Miss Bindergarten Has a Wild Day in Kindergarten.” Brian Guehring, Omaha Theater Company’s Playwright-in-Residence, adapted the script for the stage version of “Miss Bindergarten.” For the adaptation, he included the stories, characters, and curriculum ties from the books and added an introduction that teaches children about the performing arts.Set Designer Will Davis, working with Director Kevin Ernhart, created a bright and colorful kindergarten classroom for Miss Bindergarten and her students that also has a realistic feel to help children identify with the characters on stage and engage them in the story.Bright costumes inspired by the colorful illustrations in the books created by Sherri Geerdes add to the drama of the set designs and the action on stage. The book’s illustrator paid special attention to the clothing patterns that all the animals wear and the costumers found fabrics with vibrant patterns similar to those on the page.Omaha Theater Company is one of the nation’s premier touring companies for children’s theater. It serves more than 250,000 people each year touring to more than 60 different venues coast-to-coast.Tickets are $4.50. This hour-long show is open to all school audiences and the general public. The play is intended for children ages three and up.This performance is the next in The Smith’s 2008/09 “ArtSmart Theatre for Young People Series.” Remaining shows in the series are: “Goodnight Moon” and “The Runaway Bunny” (Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia) on March 18; “Stellaluna” (Kids Entertainment) on April 8; and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” (ArtsPower) on May 11.For reservations or more information, call The Smith office at 315-781-LIVE (5483), toll-free 1-866-355-LIVE (5483), or visit www.TheSmith.org.Funding for this production was made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, the Lyons National Bank, and the Delavan Foundation.

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