Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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October 23, 2013

Arts Council brings ‘Little Engine’ to stage

Corsicana — Believing that anything is possible, believing that magic can be found anywhere, and above all believing in oneself are all lessons to be found in ArtsPower National Touring Theatre’s new musical version of the beloved children’s classic “The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle.” The Little Blue Engine, against all odds, finds a way to conquer her fears and demonstrate the extraordinary strength of “I think I can!”

This original production is being presented by The Navarro Council of the Arts on Thursday, Oct. 24, and Friday, Oct. 25 at The Palace Theatre.

At the Piney Vale Train Station, the overbearing the Silver Engine keeps things running efficiently and always on time. Silver has no patience for the Little Blue, who — to everyone but dependable old Rusty — seems far too small to pull the Piney Vale Express. Little Blue, not to be discouraged, expresses her desire to see the exciting world outside the train yard in the song “All Aboard!”

When Silver forces Rusty to retire, however, Little Blue’s dreams start to look like they may never be realized. Even her erstwhile “best friend” Little Red, promoted to pull the Piney Vale Express in Rusty’s place, begins to question Little Blue’s resolve.

Little Red hurts her wheel and can’t pull the Piney Vale Express after all. Suddenly, everything depends on Little Blue. Rusty’s unflagging encouragement gives her even more confidence, and she tackles her challenging mission in “The Big Journey.” At the show’s joyful conclusion, Little Blue completes the route successfully and can finally say “I thought I could!”

The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle features a dynamic, Broadway-style score and colorful, inventive sets and costumes. The production was adapted and directed by ArtsPower’s artistic director Greg Gunning; Greg also wrote the lyrics, while Richard DeRosa created and orchestrated the musical score.

Mark Blackman and Gary Blackman founded ArtsPower in 1985 and have been steering its course ever since. ArtsPower has grown into one of America’s premiere producers of professional theatre for young and family audiences. Its 27 professional touring musicals and dramas have been seen by 12 million people in 48 states — from Alaska to Florida — in hundreds of the nation’s top cultural centers, including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and Lincoln Center in New York.   

“For many children, The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle may be the first stage production they ever see,” says executive producer Gary Blackman. “Our goal is not only to teach them valuable lessons about self-reliance, but also to instill in them a genuine love of theatre.”

All Pre K through 2nd graders in Navarro County will have the opportunity to see this program at the Palace Theatre on Oct. 24th and 25.

For more information on the Navarro Council of the Arts programming for school children, call the box office at 903-872-5411. This program is brought to the children of Navarro County by generous help from Texas Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Annie Lee Robbins Foundation, The Rena Fleming Foundation for Youth, The J. Tom Eady Charitable Trust, The Pearl Thornell Foundation, The Navarro County Co-op Operation Round Up, and many local donors.

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