Latest Press Release - Busytown

Richard Scarry's

March 17 - April 1, 2012

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Busytown is buzzing with activity. But what do people do all day? Take a tour of Huckle Cat’s lively neighborhood to see! Meet Sergeant Murphy, Farmer Alfalfa, Dr. Lion, Grocer Cat and more as Richard Scarry’s intricate Busytown books come to life!

Huckle Cat (Henry Martin in his third NWCT Mainstage performance) is on a mission to help his friend Betsy Bear (Kate Thresher in her first leading role) plan the perfect birthday for her Grandma. Together, with best friend Lowly Worm (a delightful, flexible puppet created and operated by John Ellingson) they set about exploring their Busytown in search of experts who can help them on their way. Birthday cake? That would be Able-Baker Charlie. Writing a letter to Grandma? Time to meet Postman! Favorite automobile? A pickle-car of course!

Richard Scarry’s Busytown picture books have been delighting children the world round for over three decades. This exciting, upbeat script, adapted by Kevin Kling, draws heavily on the book, What Do People Do All Day? Pulling characters and locations from multiple Busytown stories, and adding a sunny set of 50s doo-wop songs (by Michael Koerner with lyrics by Kling), Busytown creates a birthday adventure that takes us from Farmer Alfalfa’s farm to the deck of Captain Salty’s pirate ship!

Echoing the themes of community in the book, Busytown incorporates the distinct abilities of each of its three directors. Elizabeth Gibbs, Lucas Welsh, and Resident Artist John Ellingson (who also co-directed last year’s hit remount Go, Dog. Go!) split the directing duties (choreography, musical performance and physical comedy) evenly. All three are long-time NWCT collaborators, who began their theatrical journeys as NWCT students over fifteen years ago. Having gone off to study and develop their professional careers, they each found their way back to NWCT where they teach, direct, create and perform.

Building the world of Richard Scarry’s Busytown is no easy task, made more complicated when the entire town is performed by a cast of 11 actors. An ensemble made up of NWCT veterans Kevin-Michael Moore (a Drammy award-winner) and Sam Burns (last season’s Robin Hood), Claire Aldridge, Emily Bryan, and Kyle Heiner, split over thirty characters between them with Alyssa Haning, Sophie MacKay and Sophie Shely rounding out the cast as a doo-wop trio.

“We have such a physically talented cast, that it was easy to create a town full of different characters, each a different animal with a different job,” says Gibbs. “Using only very simple costume changes one actor can transform from Dig Pig, the construction worker to Sergeant Murphy, the traffic cop.”

Huckle’s town comes to life through the bright colors and simple lines of an imaginative set by Jeff Seats and playful lighting design by Kristeen Crosser. Colorful, flexible costumes by Shana Targosz help the ensemble leap from character to character with ease and clarity as they create the many inhabitants of Busytown, who move through a bustling soundscape created live, on-stage by the actors and four-piece band, led by Tracy Ross. Drammy-award winner sound designer Rody Ortega worked with the cast to create the live sound effect score, transforming their voices into a traffic jam, construction site and even create a full passenger train with the help of the audience.

Busytown is presented through special arrangement with Plays for Young Audiences. It is produced in part through the support of the Collins Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council and Work for Art, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, The Nob Hill Business Association and NWCT Donor Circle Members. Over 5,000 school children will join Huckle on his adventure through Busytown during 12 student matinee performances.

WHEN: March 17 - April 1, 2012, Shows at 12 & 3pm, Special Spring Break Matinees! Tues.-Fri., March 27-30, at 12 & 3pm 

WHERE: NW Neighborhood Cultural Center • 1819 NW Everett Street, Portland

TICKETS: 503-222-4480 or NWCTS.ORG

AGE RANGE: Most enjoyed by ages 4 and up

PRICES: $18-22 adults • $13-18 youth (14 & under)

INFO: 503-222-4480 or NWCTS.ORG


Release Date: February 24, 2012

Kill Date: April 1, 2012

Media Contact: To set up interviews or discuss other possibilities for feature stories, please contact: Marri-Beth Serritella, Sucha Production, Inc. at 503-528-1370 or

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