TV Cartoon Caught in Gay Controversy in Fact-Inspired Dusty, Premiering in CO

News   TV Cartoon Caught in Gay Controversy in Fact-Inspired Dusty, Premiering in CO Dusty and the Big Bad World, Cusi Cram's satiric comedy about an animated TV character — a magic dustball — caught between conservative and liberal forces, begins a world-premiere run Jan. 23 by Denver Center Theatre Company.

DCTC artistic director Kent Thompson directs Dusty and the Big Bad World, opening Jan. 29 and playing to Feb. 28 at The Space Theatre in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, the home of the Tony Award-winning resident DCTC.

According to DCTC, Dusty and the Big Bad World "is a wildly humorous story about bigotry and the censorship of 'Dusty,' a public television children's series about a dust ball."

Playwright Cram writes for the PBS animated series "Arthur" and was inspired to write the play after a national controversy erupted from a segment of an "Arthur" spinoff called "Postcards from Buster." Part documentary, part animation, the "Postcards" episode dealt with a girl with two gay moms in Vermont. The head of PBS and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education became involved, and eventually the funding was pulled for the program.

The so-called "Buster"-gate directly affected Cram and her husband, also a writer for "Arthur."

The cast includes Kelly McAndrew as Jessica, Jeanine Serralles as Karen, Charlotte Booker as Marianne, Sam Gregory as Nathan and Chloe Nosan as Lizzie Goldberg-Jones. *

Thompson selected the comedy to be read at the 2008 Colorado New Play Summit, and for this world premiere production, because he "loved the way the play deals with the way we teach our children, Children's TV, and gay marriage — taking the audience to surprising places, politically."

Designing a children's animated show that is set in the suburbs are scenic designer William Bloodgood, costume designer Bill Black, lighting designer Charles R. MacLeod and sound designer Jason Ducat.

Dramaturgy is by Paul Walsh. Voice and dialect coach is Kathryn G. Maes.

Dusty and Michele Lowe's commissioned drama Inana are the centerpiece full-production premieres in DCTC's Colorado New Play Summit.

Audience members are invited to explore the world of "Dusty" — "everyone's favorite magic dust ball" — by visiting a special website created for the show www.DustyandtheBigBadWorld.com. The site includes information about the fictional TV series, the animated "Dusty" theme song, "Dusty" merchandise, and reviews of the series by some of Denver and the nation's top TV critics.

For tickets and more information, call (303) 893-4100 or (800) 641-1222 or visit www.denvercenter.org.

Kelly McAndrew and Chloe Nosan in <i>Dusty and the Big Bad World</i>
Kelly McAndrew and Chloe Nosan in Dusty and the Big Bad World Photo by Terry Shapiro
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