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The first "W" goes on the road

WASHINGTON, D.C. - "Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure", co-produced and co-commissioned by the Kennedy Center and the White House Historical Association, began a national tour in October as part of the center's 17th Theater for Young Audiences on Tour series for young people and their families. The production stars Middlebury actor Sasha Olinick.

The six-month tour of school and public performances will travel to 34 cities in 25 states through March 5. The musical features book and lyrics by Karen Zacar as, music by Deborah Wicks La Puma, and is directed by John Vreeke. This musical production is recommended for ages nine and up.

In a premise worthy of "The Twilight Zone", Elementary students Dee Dee, Jos , and Annie accidentally knock George Washington out of his portrait and into real life during their field trip to the White House. As they try to get the nation's first President back into his painting, they encounter other famous White House residents, including Abraham Lincoln, Dolley Madison, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

"Chasing George Washington..." was originally directed in the Kennedy Center Family Theater by John Vreeke. He has been associated with Theater for Young Audiences productions since 1981. Nominated for three Helen Hayes awards including Outstanding Director, his work has appeared at regional theaters across the country as well as metro D.C. companies such as Theater J, Metro Stage, Theater Alliance, Everyman, Olney Theater, Washington Shakespeare Company, and Woolly Mammoth.

The cast, headlined by Middlebury's Sasha Olinick as Washington, includes Brittany Rose Baratz (Annie), Jonathan Juarbe (Jos ), Mary Millben (Dee), with William Diggle and Jennifer Timberlake in various roles.

Written by Ronald Kidd with illustrations by Ard Hoyt, the book based on the musical "Chasing George Washington" was published last month. The book appears in time with the the the new road show.

The tour for "Chasing George Washington: A White House Adventure" gives performances for public and school audiences. No Vermont performances are planned.

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