From Disney Villains to Buddy the Elf: the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati's 101st Season

Here's what TCT has in store for their MainStage shows at Taft Theatre

Mar 11, 2020 at 12:20 pm
click to enlarge James Jones as Buddy the Elf in a previous TCT production. - Mikki Schaffner Photography
Mikki Schaffner Photography
James Jones as Buddy the Elf in a previous TCT production.

The United States' oldest professional theatre for young audiences turns 101 this year. The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati's 2020-21 season embraces both recent and classic childhood favorites, from a doctor that can speak to animals to an overgrown elf that pours maple syrup on his spaghetti.

Here's what TCT has in store for their MainStage shows, which all take place at Taft Theatre: 

Disney's Descendants (Oct.10-19) — Disney Channel's 2015 original movie Descendants was a smash hit for the company, and so were the franchise's other two films in the trilogy. Released last July, the third musical movie scored 8.4 million viewers on its premiere night, according to Deadline

Now the original film will be brought to life on stage at TCT. The production will be choreographed by Brandon Kelly and directed by Roderick Justice, TCT's producing artistic director. 

Set in the kingdom of Auradon — aka home to all of Disney's heroes and villains — it follows the teenage son of Belle and King Adam, er, The Beast, who hopes to offer a chance at redemption for the offspring of the town's most wicked villains. The children of Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil and Jafar are therefore enrolled at Auradon Prep, where they attend high school with the kids of their parents' foes. But will they turn a new page or follow their parent's path? 

Elf the Musical Jr. (Dec.5-6, 11-13) — "Buddy the Elf, what's your favorite color?" Just in time for the holidays, TCT is bringing the story of Elf to Cincinnati. Based on the beloved Will Ferrell-starring movie, Buddy is human but was raised among Santa's elves. When he travels to New York City to meet his real father — and subsequently attempts to help him (and his family) rediscover the true meaning of Christmas — hijinks ensue. The film was adapted into a book by Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin with music by Matthew Sklar; TCT's production will be directed by Justice and choreographed by Eric Byrd. 

Doctor Dolittle Jr. (Feb. 13-14, 19-21, 2021) — Opening 2021 is this classic tale of a doctor who can speak to animals. Based on the 1967 film of the same name, it was adapted into a musical by Leslie Bricusse. Set in the English village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, Dr. Dolittle attempts to heal a seal named Sophie. Instead, he's accused of murder and must stand trial. Fantastical and zany, this production with be directed by Byrd. 

Princess & Frog (April 17-18, 23-25, 2021) — Rounding out TCT season is this age-old tale of a princess who encounters a frog prince, who is only able to return to his human form if he gets an invite to dinner… and be kissed on the nose by the princess. This world-premiere musical adaptation will be directed by Justice and choreographed by Maddie Burgoon, with a book/lyrics by Debra Clinton and music by Jason Marks. 

The TCT will also present several touring productions in the coming season, including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very Hairy Fairy Tale; Bah-Humbug! A One Man Christmas Carol; Nutcracker Rocks!; Me…Jane: The Dreams & Adventures of Young Jane Goodall; Jaqueline and the Beanstalk; Martin’s Dreamand Cinderella Wore Cowboy Boots. 

Season passes range from $43 to $123 for all four shows. Single tickets for all shows go on sale Aug. 24. For more info, visit