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'Flat Stanley' Encourages Kids to Pursue Their Dreams

Imagine U family musical on Northwestern’s Evanston campus Feb. 8 to 17

EVANSTON, Ill. --- “The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” -- about a little boy whose world is changed overnight after wishing on a star -- will be staged on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus. The production explores what happens when our big dreams come true but we’ve no one to share them with.

Based on Jeff Brown’s popular “Flat Stanley” children’s book series and directed by Lookingglass Theatre Company ensemble member and Northwestern faculty member David Catlin, the musical is the second production in the 2012-13 Imagine U Family Series at the Theatre and Interpretation Center (TIC) at Northwestern University. 

“Two-D or not 2-D, what adventure would you take if you were completely flat like a pancake?” asks Catlin.

“The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley” will be staged at the Mussetter-Struble Theater, 1949 Campus Drive. Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10; 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16; 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17; 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22; 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. The production will include workshops after all three 10 a.m. Saturday performances. Space is limited and advance registration is recommended. Register online at

Adapted for the stage by playwright and educator Timothy Allen McDonald, the production features lyrics by McDonald and Jonathan K. Waller; and music by David Weinstein, Waller, McDonald and Stephen Gabriel.

In this musical adaptation, Stanley dreams of doing great things but resigns himself to playing with his little brother, until the morning he wakes up completely flattened. Suddenly Stanley can fold up into an envelope, hide in paintings, use his body as a surfboard and travel wherever he wants. He is finally having the adventures of his dreams, but something is missing. 

The musical’s lively songs and lyrics encourage young audience members to connect with their peers and pursue their dreams. “There’s a great song called ‘Wish I Were,’ in which Stanley and his brother dream about doing amazing things,” Catlin said. “Just about everybody can identify with Stanley’s desire to do something special.” 

Imagine U Family Series productions are recommended for children aged 5 to10 and their families. Each performance provides an opportunity for children to meet members of the Northwestern undergraduate student cast. Audience members are encouraged to bring their “Flat Stanley” books to be signed by the performers after the show. Take-home programs filled with activities, art projects, fun facts and games will be given to all children in the audience. 

Single tickets are $5 to $10; $5 tickets are available exclusively to Northwestern students with valid IDs on advance ticket purchases only. Discounts for groups of eight or more, call the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282. Tickets can be purchased through the TIC Box Office at (847) 491-7282 or online at


A three-year construction project underway on the southeast end of the Northwestern University campus has closed Arts Circle Drive to traffic. Free parking for evening and weekend events remains available, but the project impacts handicapped parking and patrons requiring special access to Evanston campus theaters, as the parking structure is not accessible to patrons unable to climb stairs. UPDATE: From Feb. 11 to March 15, 2013, the northwest stairwell in the parking structure across from the Theatre and Interpretation Center will be closed. All visitors and audience members must exit the garage from the north-central stairwell and take the stairs leading up to the Louis and Barber theaters. For audiences attending performances in the Struble or Wallis theaters, starting at one hour prior to curtain, signs will be posted at the top of the stairwell to guide them to the performance venues. For the most current information on the construction project and drop-off locations for patrons requiring special access to our theaters, visit

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