Northwest NEWS

September 27, 1999


Literature comes to life with 'The Boxcar Children'

by Deborah Stone

   Seattle Children's Theatre opens with Barbara Field's world premiere adaptation of The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Warner.

   Literature comes alive with this captivating play of the Depression-era adventures of the Alden children, four siblings orphaned by tragedy who take to the road in fear of being separated and placed in foster homes.

   To add to their troubles, a mysterious stranger has offered a large reward to anyone who turns them in to the authorities. The children make their way along the railroad tracks, finally finding shelter in an abandoned boxcar where they begin to rebuild their lives. They discover the perils and rewards of living on their own, while experiencing great joy at being able to keep their family together.

   Each of the children possesses a special strength, which helps them to learn to work together amid hardship and loss. Henry, played by Alban Dennis, spins stories to keep his siblings' hearts and hopes alive. He is resourceful, bright, and equipped with a sense of humor which his brother and sisters have come to depend on to keep them going during the rough times. Dennis is one of SCT's "regulars" and always plays his characters with integrity and heartfelt emotion. He is full of energy and has a strong stage presence.

   Jessie, Henry's twin, is portrayed by Alexis Chamow. Chamow gives her role the spunk and determination necessary to earn her character's nickname of "Moxie." Jessie is fiercely protective of her siblings and doesn't take any guff from anyone. Jennifer Sue Johnson plays Violet, the sweet and nurturing younger sister who makes the boxcar a home. Benny, Jonathan Nielsen Kuhn, is the youngest of the family. He is the inventor and finds possibility in objects that others have discarded.

   A talented ensemble of supporting actors rounds out the cast, along with a clever set design and original music. The Boxcar Children offers high quality entertainment for families, and in addition, provides historical insight into the Great Depression of the 1930s. This production incorporates the look and feel of the era and helps audiences imagine the struggles of life for people during this time.

   The Boxcar Children runs through November 19th. For ticket information, call 206-441-3322.