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Ivoryton Playhouse Presents Children's Classic that Rings True Today - The Hundred Dresses

IVORYTON, CT: The Hundred Dresses remains as relevant for children today as it was when it was written in 1944. The timeless story by Connecticut author Eleanor Estes, about a young immigrant who gets bullied at school, comes to the stage at the Ivoryton Playhouse on April 8 at 2 p.m.

Estes, a Newbery Medal-winning author who lived in West Haven, Connecticut, tells the story of Wanda Petronski, a second-grader from Poland. Wanda lives way up in a shabby house in Boggins Heights, and she doesn't have any friends. Every day she wears a faded blue dress, but she tells her classmates that she has a hundred dresses at home — all silk, all colors, velvet, too.

The children at Franklin Elementary don't know what to make of this peculiar new girl with the strange accent. Soon they make a game of teasing Wanda about her hundred dresses until one day she disappears from school, leaving just an empty seat where she once sat. As feelings of guilt overtake the children, they decide that they must find out what happened to Wanda and make amends for the way they treated her. But is it too late? And how is it that Wanda left behind one hundred dresses?

Based on the beloved Newbery Honor Book by Estes, this acclaimed musical adaptation masterfully handles such topics as bullying, friendship and forgiveness. Packed with humor and filled with colorful characters and memorable songs such as "Bright Blue Day," "Penny Paddywhack" and "Never Do Nothing," The Hundred Dresses is a time-honored tale that explores the bonds of friendship, the willingness to be yourself and the courage that it takes to stand up to others — even when you're standing alone.

The Ivoryton Playhouse production will be directed by Daniel Nischan. The cast includes Anna Fagan, Gina Salvatore, Amy Buckley, Erik Bloomquist, Michael Hotkowski, Amy Forbes, Olivia Welch and Jim Hile.

The Hundred Dresses is part of this year’s Ivoryton Playhouse education program for elementary schools, entitled Plays with Purpose. The program teaches social development lessons while exposing children to the art of live theater, many of them attending a live performance for the first time. This year, 1,500 students and teachers will attend with their schools throughout the week of April 3.

The one-time public performance will be held on Saturday, April 8, at 2 p.m., and is best for ages 12 and under. All tickets are $14 and are available by calling the Playhouse box office at 860-767-7318 or by visiting www.ivorytonplayhouse.org (Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more.) The Playhouse is located at 103 Main Street in Ivoryton.

Plays with Purpose is supported by The Bauman Family Foundation, the Essex Community Fund and The Community Foundation of Middlesex County’s Council of Business Partners Fund as part of its ongoing Campaign for Bully-Free Communities. It is sponsored by Katrina A. Wall, Essex Dentist.

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