Fern, Wilbur and Charlotte.
If you have been a child in the last 60 years these characters bring back familiar and beloved memories from the book, Charlotte’s Web.
The magic that takes place in the barn on the Zuckerman farm in the popular E.B. White book is coming to the stage at Market House Theatre in March.
Fern, played by Meg Kitchen (Magic Tree House-Dinosaurs Before Dark) saves Wilbur (H.G. Page, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever-The Musical) as a piglet, befriends him, and nurtures him to maturity, when he is sold to her uncle, Homer Zuckerman (Roy Hensel, Peter and the Starcatcher) for slaughter. Wilbur soon discovers a friendly spider named Charlotte (played by Amy Wilkins, in her MHT debut) living in his stall in the Zuckerman barn. When he tells her what is in his future, Charlotte attempts to intervene by weaving words into her web to describe his good qualities. Her first message- the words, “Some Pig!”-stuns the Zuckerman farm hand Lurvy (Bradfield Ross, Junie B. Jingle Bells, Batman Smells), who runs to fetch Homer and his wife, Edith (Kelsey Moxley, in her MHT debut), to witness what they determine to be a “miracle.”
Feeling inspired by the success of the first words in the web, Charlotte decides to weave another word, and turns to the barnyard animals to help. After discussing it with The Sheep (Laurel Swanz, Gooney Bird Green and Her True Life Adventures), The Goose (Jensen Knudsen, Junie B: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells) and The Gander (Corban Williams, Miss Nelson is Missing) and The Lamb (Skater Houser, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever-the Musical), the word “Terrific” is chosen. The barn rat, Templeton (Travis Hensel, Over The Tavern) reluctantly gets involved in the effort, and agrees to bring a scrap of paper from the dump to provide Charlotte with another word.
As the words appear in the web word spreads around the community about “Zuckerman’s Famous Pig” and crowds start to gather to witness the next miracle. Fern is thrilled that Wilbur’s life has been spared by the words, and visits with him every chance she gets. Her parents, John (Randy Hines, MHT debut) and Martha (René Dawson, Gooney Bird Green and Her True Life Adventures), as well as Fern’s brother, Avery, (Owen Krall, MHT debut) become regulars at the Zuckerman farm, all wanting to be part of the excitement.
The family decides to enter Wilbur in the county fair, where Wilbur-accompanied secretly by Templeton and Charlotte-becomes the crowd favorite and winner of a special award. But the journey comes at a cost to Charlotte, who realizes that her time is short, and she must take care to ensure that her egg sac is delivered to a safe place. The story comes to a sweet conclusion some weeks later, with the future looking bright for Wilbur, and Charlotte’s family.
Assisting in telling the story of the famous pig are narrators Kathryn Johnston (Mary Poppins), Natalie Shadrick and Hadley Pierce, both seen most recently in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever-the Musical.
Returning to the MHT stage to play the following roles are: Reporter, Patrick McHaney (A Christmas Story); Uncle, Anakin Womble (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever-The Musical); and playing spectators at the Zuckerman farm, and at the fair are Marliese Dawson (Ramona Quimby ), Sophia Hoffman (Charlotte’s Web - 2013 production), Olivia Larkin (Gooney Bird Greene and Her True Life Adventures), Cayla Oswald (The Stinky Cheese Man), Bryan Pont (Henry and Ramona), and Lindi True (Henry and Ramona).
Appearing on the MHT stage for the first time are Tekoa Jones (Photographer), Clara Stewart (Announcer); spectators at the Zuckerman farm, and at the fair Jack Hensel, Janette Hines, Lucy Knerr, Naarah White, and Sara Tabers. The baby spiders are played by Abbie Dawson, Chloe Jones and Riley Presser.
April Cochran directs, and Alexia Hines is assistant director.
Charlotte’s Web by Joseph Robinette
Adapted from the book by E.B. White