Friday, January 25, 2013

ACT OUT REVIEW: Bud, Not Buddy #Authorvideo #Review #photofeature

Author, Christopher Paul Curtis, & Chicago Children's Theatre Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell

Bud, Not Buddy is a compelling period piece that gives families a feel for the desperation of the great depression and being orphaned at a young age, without being heavy handed.  The fabulously flawed characters are genuine and real, and it's magical to see them spring to life, off the page.  Bud, Not Buddy is full of wit and wisdom, and truly funny moments.   It was simultaneously chilling and heart warming to see how much Bud's dead mother still influenced him through her words, actions and love, even from beyond the grave.   

We highly recommend seeing the production.   Bud, Not Buddy is a stunningly well done piece with a poignant and piercing script.   I see a LOT of theatre and it's rare that something actually brings me to tears, and this show did.  Everyone should have a "family" as creative and caring as the jazz band surrogates who take Bud in and teach him what it means to be truly home, even while on the road.   The set design, backdrop projections, costumes, and acting are truly impressive.

We're looking forward to playing the "same different game" with the book and the stage adaptation.   We'll be reading the book together and comparing and contrasting the different ways to tell the same story using different medium.   It's a family game we all enjoy, and so much fun, the kids hardly notice they're learning. 

It was ChiIL Mama and Sagezilla's great pleasure to meet award winning author, Christopher Paul Curtis at the opening of Bud, Not Buddy at Chicago Children's Theatre.  This gifted author went from hanging Buick doors to winning multiple Newbery Awards and Coretta Scott King Awards!   

We do a number of author interviews and frequently cover book signings.   I'm always impressed when authors are genuine and personable, even after hours of autographs!  Christopher Paul Curtis was was down to earth, friendly, and truly a joy to meet.  Even at the tail end of a sizable book signing line, he took time to chat with each child.

This week, Sagezilla came home from school all excited and she exclaimed "Our class just started reading about the wacky Watsons out loud with the whole class (The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963).   And I got to share that I just met the author and got that book signed and saw Bud, Not Buddy!"   It's those moments that make me LOVE being a mom.  Her enthusiasm was contagious. 

At Bud, Not Buddy, we splurged on the 4 book/bookbag combo from Chicago Children's Theatre, as we're always more than happy to support the arts, and we dig getting books signed by their authors.   

CCT is also selling retro candy and kids games as well as individual books at the shows.

ChiIL out with ChiIL Mama's opening night photo filled recap right here

Look for show specials like different high school jazz musicians playing before the Friday shows, and pizza party nights!

School and public performances of Bud, Not Buddy run Jan. 12-Feb. 24, 2013 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago.  Single tickets start at $20. To purchase, visit or call (872) 222-9555. For group rates, visit or call (773) 327-3778.   
 Recommended for ages 8+ to adult.

Curtis was visiting Chicago for the opening weekend of Chicago Children's Theatre's newest production, a live stage adaptation of his book Bud, Not Buddy. The production is directed by Derrick Sanders, director of CCT's 2011 smash hit Jackie and Me

About Christopher Paul Curtis

Born in Flint, Michigan, Christopher Paul Curtis was always a great reader, but as a youth he could not find books "that were about me." He spent his first 13 years after high school on the assembly line of Flint's historic Fisher Body Plant #1, hanging 80-pound car doors on Buicks. He wrote during his breaks to escape the noise of the factory, while attending college at night. Curtis made an outstanding debut in children's s literature with The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963. His second novel, Bud, Not Buddy, is the first book ever to receive both the Newbery Medal and the Coretta Scott King Author Award. 

Curtis' writing - and his dedication to it - has been greatly influenced by his family members. He modeled characters in Bud, Not Buddy after his two amazing grandfathers - Earl "Lefty" Lewis, a Negro Baseball League pitcher, and 1930s bandleader Herman E. Curtis, Sr., of Herman Curtis and the Dusky Devastators of the Depression.  For more information, visit his website

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