Milwaukee First Stage and Ko-Thi Dance Company will present THE DANCING GRANNY

Next up for the 2021/22 season of First Stage will be THE DANCING GRANNY, a play by Mansa Ra adapted from the children’s book by beloved author/illustrator Ashley Bryan. The production is part of First Stage’s First Steps series which introduces younger audiences to live theatre. Based on an African folk tale, the piece is a joyful celebration of storytelling, song, movement, community and the beauty of everyday life.

Samantha D. Montgomery, Stage One Director of Inclusion and Community Engagement, will direct this production and Ko-Thi Dance Company Artistic Director DeMar Walker will provide choreography and perform the roles of Old Man and Ananse the Spider. The production will also include live percussion with Kameron “Keon” Sykes. Kids and adults alike will dance in their seats as Ananse, the clever spider from African folklore, tries to trick Granny into dancing away from her garden so he can get his vegetables. But his plan backfires when he himself is dragged into the dance. “Shake it east, shake it west, shake it to the one you love the most!” Sponsored by PNC.

The duration of the show is approximately 45 minutes, without intermission. Recommended for families with youngsters ages 3-7+.

THE DANCING GRANNY runs from February 12 to March 6, 2022 at Goodman Mainstage Hall at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $15. Tickets are available online at firststage.org or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961.

Director Samantha D. Montgomery had this to say about THE DANCING GRANNY: “I am thrilled that First Stage and Ko-Thi are collaborating and working together to share Mansa Ra’s adaptation of Ashley Bryan’s THE DANCING GRANNY with the community. It’s a wonderful opportunity for families to share, laugh, strengthen their bond and have fun while listening to the voice and moving to the rhythm of this African folklore.”

Ko-Thi Choreographer/Artistic Director DeMar Walker also commented, “THE DANCING GRANNY will bring together two Milwaukee artistic forces celebrating the incredible cultural heritage of oral tradition and storytelling in the black theater experience. I believe that this production goes hand-in-hand with the conceptual works that Ko-Thi Dance Company has performed in recent years for audiences of varying ages and backgrounds. We are more than excited to show off our versatility and virtuosity during this unprecedented time. with the incomparable First Stage children’s theatre.

Jeff Frank, Artistic Director of First Stage, added, “We are honored to work with our friends at the Ko-Thi Dance Company to bring this adaptation of beloved author/illustrator Ashley Bryan to life. This show will give you want to get up and move!”

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