South Coast Repertoire Brings ‘Last Stop on Market Street’ from Page to Stage
“Last Stop on Market Street” is the charming children’s book by Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson which won a Newbury Prize and a Caldecott Prize. The story revolves around CJ, a young boy from the suburbs who visits his Nana in a bustling city that is becoming almost too much for him. He wants to stay indoors with his electronic gadgets, but Nana wants CJ to see the world around her so she takes him on a bus where CJ learns lessons of kindness, gratitude and appreciation for the good of others. .
It’s a tale that calls for stage production, but South Coast Repertory took it a step further and adapted the book into a musical play which premieres Jan. 7-23 on the Julianne Argyros stage as part of the series. Theater for Young Audiences from SCR.
“This is our first in-person theater offering for young audiences and families in almost two years and we look forward to welcoming our youngest audiences once again,” said SCR Managing Director Paula Tomei. . “They represent our future, not only as potential audience members, but as artists and fellow theatergoers. We are committed to involving them in stories and productions that give meaning to their world and stimulate their imaginations. And we know adults like them too.
“Last Stop on Market Street is a truly special theatrical experience, full of discovery, heart and joyful music,” said SCR Artistic Director David Ivers. “The story is particularly relevant to people of all ages at this time. In CJ, we see a boy who chooses to exist in his own bubble, isolating himself from the world around him. It takes the love and patience of a grandmother for him to realize that everything and everyone around him can be interesting, exciting and beautiful in his own way.
In a video posted to the South Coast Repertory website, H. Adam Harris, SCR’s artistic and public engagement associate, notes that “the book doesn’t specifically tell us where Grandma lived, but our production places it. in Santa Ana. When you come to see the show, you will see the beauty, the color and the streets of Santa Ana right here on stage, including a bus.
In the play, Harris explains that while Nana and CJ have their differences – she speaks Spanish, he doesn’t, he’s a vegetarian, and she eats meat – they learn to communicate and trust each other.
“We see CJ learning the power of community from her grandmother,” Harris said. “She teaches him what it means to be of service to others and she helps him find joy and laughter. It’s also a musical, with songs from many styles: Motown, hip hop, R&B, soul, gospel, jazz. We guarantee that you will hum and sing these songs long after the curtain goes down. it’s a game for the whole family.
The play is adapted by Cheryl L. West. This is West’s first SCR production since “Jar the Floor” in 1994. Two years later, West won a National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Award. An accomplished adaptation screenwriter, West’s play “Before It Hits Home” was chosen by Spike Lee, and West was asked to write the screenplay.
Lamont Dozier and his son, Paris Dozier, wrote the music and the lyrics. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, Lamont Dozier is one of the most prolific songwriters and composers of the late 20th century. As a member of the Holland-Dozier-Holland composition and production team, he was instrumental in creating the sounds of artists such as The Supremes, The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas and The Isley Brothers. . Lamont Dozier co-wrote and produced 14 No. 1 Billboard hits in the United States
Paris Dozier has written songs for Disney Music Group’s Hollywood Records, as well as Above Average Productions, creator of Saturday Night Live, Lorne Michaels, among others.
Oanh Nguyen returns to SCR to direct. Founding Artistic Director of Chance Theater in Anaheim, Nguyen was an associate producer with SCR for three years and was associate director of SCR’s productions of “The Happy Ones”, “Misalliance”, “Chinglish” and “Abundance”. He directed the production of the Theater for young audiences of “La fée de la nuit”.
For tickets and more information call (714) 708-5555 or visit www.scr.org.