New Pittsburgh children's theater debuts with 'Amazing Lemonade Girl'
Pittsburgh has a new children’s theater, courtesy of a familiar name.
Prime Stage Theatre, which adapts classic literature for the stage for adolescent audiences, has launched Sprouts, aimed at children ages 5 to 11.
“We’re looking at this and saying, ‘Kids needs to be exposed to theater, as well,’” said Wayne Brinda, Prime Stage's producing artistic director. “They need to have the experience of coming to live theater, and they need to have the experience of connecting to literature, as well.”
Sprout's shows, too, will be based on books. The first production is “The Amazing Lemonade Girl,” a 2022 play by James DeVita, based on the true story of Alexandra Flynn Scott, a Connecticut girl with cancer whose lemonade stand raised funds to help other sick children. The show is scheduled for seven performances, including four matinees, Thursday, June 16, through Sunday, June 19, at the New Hazlett Theater.
“It’s a very hopeful play,” said Brinda. “It’s bringing to life someone that kids can relate to. They can see hey, wow, look what one kid did, what I can do.”
The play is based on “Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand,” a book by Alex’s parents, Jay and Liz Scott. It was published in 2004, the year Alex died, at age 8 – but not before she had raised $1 million for her cause. The Scotts now run the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which has raised $200 million for children's health projects.
The show, which runs about an hour, features a cast of six local teenage actors, led by Rayna Akin as Alex. Allison Weakland directs.
Brinda is a former director of Pittsburgh Playhouse Jr., the now-defunct children’s theater at Point Park University. He said Sprouts plans to do two shows a year, in January and June. While the January 2023 title is still to be determined, he said an adaptation of “The Boxcar Children” is set for next June.