Newmark Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway
When Goodall was just a year old, her father gave her Jubilee, a stuffed monkey that became her favorite toy and sidekick. Together in Jane’s daydreams the duo would eat breakfast on the Sahara, feel the ground shake during the Great Migration on the Serengeti, and smell the air on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Defying expectations of what girls “should” do, Jane’s natural curiosity leads her (and Jubilee) all the way to the land of her dreams: living amongst the chimpanzees in the jungles of Africa. Originally commissioned in 2017 by the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, childhood imagination leads the way in this musical portrayal of Jane’s lifelong love of animals; starting with backyard chickens, hungry squirrels, and neighborhood dogs.
This empowering story, paired with catchy and memorable musical numbers, is the perfect selection to open OCT’s 2019-2020 season, keeping in line with the organization’s commitment to diverse storytelling, equity and inclusion. “We chose Me...Jane because it’s a great piece of theatre: a brilliant, funny, and moving script with amazing music,” Director Marcella Crowson explains. “The story holds inspiration for all of us, young and old, to be better caretakers of the animals and the environment.”
This musical is based on the beautiful children’s book Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell, who brilliantly captures Jane’s joyous, adventurous spirit. Adapted for the stage by McDonnell and Oregon-born playwright Aaron Posner, the production not only entertains but also teaches children the importance of curiosity and discovery, as well as achieving goals with perseverance. It encourages young children to pursue their ambitions and strive to accomplish their dreams in the face of adversity.
“The relationship in this show between Jane and her mother is very important,” Crowson says. “At the center of the story is a curious, compassionate young girl who found her love of animals and the natural world at an early age; she was encouraged, unfailingly, by her mother to follow her dreams and achieve whatever she set her heart on. It’s fantastic to find a book and a play where girls and women are portrayed as strong, smart, creative, and resilient.”
Explore the playbill online, thanks to our friends at Artslandia!
About the Cast
About the Creative Team
Marcella Crowson (Director)
Marcella is the Interim Artistic Director at OCT. She was fortunate to be steeped in theater from a young age, growing up in Ashland, Oregon. She played a variety of aliens, old ladies and narrators in her early years—an auspicious beginning to what would become a career in theater spanning 30 years. For OCT, she has directed The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show (Drammy Award Winner for Outstanding Achievement in Puppetry), Flora & Ulysses, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Timmy Failure, Zombie in Love (Drammy Award Winner for Best Director of a Musical), The Stinky Cheese Man, The Storm in the Barn, A Wrinkle in Time, On the Eve of Friday Morning, Dis/Troy, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. She has had the great privilege of working for such theaters as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Portland Center Stage, CoHo Productions, Live on Stage, Oregon Repertory Theatre, and Eugene Festival of Musical Theatre, among others. She is on the board of Theatre for Young Audiences/USA.
Mak Kastelic (Musical Director)
Mak is a hyper-active keyboardist, music coach, and environmentalist living in Portland, Music Directing for Stumptown Stages, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Staged!, Mt. Hood & Portland Community Colleges. In between music-makings, Mak spends time learning about the natural world and how to better protect our shared, sacred environment. “The least we can do is to speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves.” —Jane Goodall
Megan Smith (Choreographer)
Megan Smith is excited to be returning to Oregon Children’s Theatre after previously working on Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and Pete the Cat. A graduate of Central Washington University with a BFA in Musical Theatre Cum Laude, Megan has been working as a professional director, choreographer, performer and teaching artist. Upon graduation, she was hired as the resident choreographer and dance instructor for the Central BFA Musical Theatre Program. Megan has since worked across the Northwest including Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, Village Theatre KIDSTAGE, Broadway Rose Theatre Company, Pixie Dust Productions, Seattle Musical Theatre and Walt Disney World.
Val Landrum (Dialect Coach)
Me...Jane marks Val's 5th time dialect coaching for an OCT Production. She has taught classes for this amazing theater for the last 15 years and has directed two Young Professionals Company productions (Antigone Now! and Orphans). As an actor, Val has worked internationally, regionally and locally for several theaters including Portland Center Stage, NWCT, Profile, CoHo, Third Rail, Portland Playhouse and Artists Repertory Theatre, where she is also a current member of their Resident Artists Company. She is very grateful to Marci for this opportunity.
James Mapes (Lighting Designer)
James Mapes is a freelance designer for theater and dance, a writer, and a board-game maker who was born, raised, and still resides in Portland. This year, he's taking a new step and joining the Portland State University faculty as an interim instructor in technical theater. He is very happy to be working at Oregon Children's Theatre again, and is very excited to take his daughter to see this one.
Allison Johnson (Costume Designer)
Allison is a designer and costumer who is very excited to be working on her first show with Oregon Children's Theatre. Some recent projects include The Harder Courage, Bethany Sees the Stars, and Burst (Theatre 33), Comedy of Errors (Experience Theatre Project), Evolve, Cop Out (Red Door Project),Pontypool, and Witch Hunt (CoHo). Allison grew up in Beaverton and has returned to the area after earning her BA in Theatre Design from Willamette University, where she also spent considerable time abroad in London studying art history. You can see more of her work on her website at www.allisonjcreates.com
Rory Stitt (Sound Designer)
Active primarily as a sound designer and composer, Rory has also worked extensively as an actor, orchestrator, and music director. Favorite OCT projects include The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Ramona Quimby. He has performed his solo work at the Kennedy Center (D.C.) and Joe's Pub at the Public Theatre (NYC). He is currently arranging 80's B-sides for a local rock orchestra.