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KCs' sunshine brand: The Brand New Kid 

Kennedy Center interprets the uplifting work of Katie Couric

click to enlarge Let Imagination Celebration help teach your kids that - being different aint always such a bad thing.
  • Let Imagination Celebration help teach your kids that being different aint always such a bad thing.
Imagination Celebration wants your kids to be creative.

And accepting. And collaborative.

And, yeah, to have fun.

As part of its mission, the local nonprofit exposes children to art. Tonight, Imagination Celebration is bringing in the DC-based Kennedy Center's touring musical, The Brand New Kid, based on a children's book of the same name, written by CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Katie Couric.

In the book, a little boy named Lazlo moves to Delasky, a small, conformist town. Lazlo is different and none of the kids like him; one of the meaner snot-noses even trips him in the lunchroom. Then a girl named Ellie befriends Lazlo and tells the rest of the kids how great he is.

Mary Beth Burichin, Imagination Celebration's event manager, says children take away a message of acceptance. She adds that seeing theater also teaches them about collaboration, that there are plenty of artists that contribute to creating a theater production.

One of those artists is writer Melanie Marnich, who adapted the musical from the book. Marnich says she enjoyed envisioning the story as a theater production and bringing it to fruition.

"There are moments in the story that lent themselves naturally to the magnitude and motion that a musical can bring to a story," she says.

For example, she says, there's the part when Lazlo meets the children and they all stare, realizing that he's different and his hair sticks "every which way."

Marnich, who also writes for the HBO series Big Love, says coming up with an original idea in her own work usually means dealing with an issue she's been pondering. But the challenges in reworking Couric's book, she says, included creating scenes that lived up to the whimsical illustrations and crafting dialogue that reflected the style of the writing.

Marnich's creative skills are exactly what Burichin hopes children develop so they can problem-solve, lead the future and, for now, have a heck of a good time.

The Brand New Kid

Pikes Peak Center, 190 S. Cascade Ave.

Thursday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m.; hands-on activities start at 6 p.m.

Tickets: $6-$13; call 520-7469 or visit pikespeakcenter.org.

  • Imagination Celebration wants your kids to be creative. And accepting. And collaborative.

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