Arts and Entertainment

Penn State Centre Stage Off-Centre presents Kirsten Childs' 'The Lucky Boy'

Cast members Elexa Hanner, left, Dan Teixeira, and Kate Fahey work through a scene during rehearsal for the Penn State (Off) Centre presentation of 'The Lucky Boy' at the Penn State Downtown Theatre. Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Centre Stage Off-Centre presents "The Lucky Boy," Feb. 18–22, at the Penn State Downtown Theatre, with book, music and lyrics by Kirsten Childs. John Simpkins directs, with musical direction by Jennifer Peacock, and choreography by Dario Natarelli.

Kirsten Childs, 2019 commissioned writer for the Penn State New Musicals Initiative, penned the latest project, "The Lucky Boy," based on an adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale “The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs.”

Driven by a need to be eternally revered, King Ambrose tortures and kills citizens who don’t proclaim him adorable. When it’s predicted that an illegal alien baby will grow up to surpass him in adorability, Ambrose finds the child and throws him into a nuclear waste bin. Rogue scientists, defunded by royal order, rescue the baby and name him Lucky. Because of particles of adorabilium in the nuclear waste, he’s now not only immune to radiation poisoning, but he’s ten times more adorable than the King. Eighteen years pass and Lucky has fallen in love with Ambrose’s daughter Vocal Fry. Ambrose consents to the nauseatingly-in-love pair’s marriage — if Lucky can bring Ambrose three golden hairs from the devil’s head!

"The Lucky Boy" commission was made possible by a generous contribution from Peter and Ann Tombros.

Kirsten Childs is the award-winning writer of the musicals "The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin," "Miracle Brothers," "Fly" (with Rajiv Joseph and Bill Sherman), "Funked Up Fairy Tales," and "Bella: An American Tall Tale" (directed by Robert O’Hara). "Bella: An American Tall Tale" received its world premiere in the 2016-17 season at Dallas Theater Center, with a co-production at Playwrights Horizons, NYC. "Bubbly Black Girl" was recently produced at Theatre Royal Stratford East in the United Kingdom and at City Centers Encores! Off-Broadway. For her work Kirsten has received Obie, Kleban, Larson, Richard Rodgers, Audelco, and Gilman/Gonzalez-Falla awards, as well as Lortel and Drama Desk nominations. She’s currently working on a commissioned project for The New Group with writer/director Gordon Greenberg. Kirsten has written for Disney Theatricals, the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center, the New Electric Company, City Center Encores!, Works and Process @ Guggenheim Museum, and Premieres/Inner Voices under the producership of Paulette Haupt, artistic director of the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference. She’s an adjunct professor in NYU’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program, and a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.

Each year, Penn State Musical Theatre commissions writers to visit the junior class to meet, share work, and dis