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Creative Theater Workshop to debut on Sanibel with ‘Flat Stanley’

By Staff | Oct 7, 2015

There are 35 cast members in the Creative Theater Workshop’s production of “Flat Stanley”, which will be the first children’s theater show from CTW inside the Strauss Theater on Sanibel. BRIAN WIERIMA

“He may be flat, but he’s a hero.”

That’s the life of Flat Stanley, as told in a popular children’s book series by Jeff Brown. But residents in Sanibel and the surrounding area now will be able to experience the live version of “Flat Stanley” in the Creative Theater Workshop’s production, which makes its debut inside the Strauss Theater Friday, Oct. 9.

“Flat Stanley” will run through Sunday, Oct. 11, with tickets being sold at the door for $15, unless it is sold out. Show times include 7:30 p.m. Oct. 9; 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10, and 3 p.m. Oct. 11. Strauss Theater is located at 2200 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel.

Ironically, the 10-year anniversary for the Creative Theater Workshop will be Oct. 9, so the first show in the Strauss Theater is a perfect birthday present for its founder, Michelle Hamstra.

It will be Hamstra’s 35th show in 10 years.

Michelle Hamstra

“I just love the Strauss Theater, it’s has a great intimate setting,” Hamstra said. “It’s going to be entertaining nights, with some of the most talented kids in Lee and Collier Counties. The audience will be blown away by the real-talented kids who are acting on a professional level.”

Flat Stanley’s – last name Lambchop – woke up one morning with his brother, Arthur yelling that a bulletin board fell on Stanley.

Stanley is now only a half an inch thick and that’s when his adventures started happening.

“This show is unique because it has a lot of roles for just actors who can’t sing and a lot of roles for actors who can sing,” Hamstra said. “In most musicals, you have to be able to sing to get a part.

“But it’s a very modern play, and it’s upbeat and fun, the kids get involved. There will be a lot big dance numbers and songs. It’s a touching story, but very upbeat and fast-paced.”

One of the cast members twirls her top hat during a break in rehearsal inside Strauss Theater. BRIAN WIERIMA

There are 35 cast members in the production – ages from seven to 16-years-old – with the lead character, Flat Stanley, being played by Henry Crater. There will be a full contingent of Sanibel actors and actresses in the musical, as well.

“He is a humble and very experienced actor,” Hamstra added. “We have a lot of kids from all different schools from around the area.”

Arthur, Flat Stanley’s brother, is being played by Benjamin Talmage, who started his acting roles in “The Addams Family” at Canterbury School last year.

“I never expected to get a big part here, but I was very happy getting Arthur,” Talmage said. “There is a lot of teamwork involved in theater, but there is also a lot of work done individually. ‘Flat Stanley’ is a fun show, there will be a lot of laughs and some serious parts. But it’s a great kids’ show and very family oriented.”

The cause of all of Flat Stanley’s adventures was the Bulletin Board, which is being played by Sophia Mallek of Fort Myers.

There will be fun, dancing and brilliant costumes for the “Flat Stanley” production, which opens Oct. 9 and runs through Oct. 11, at the Strauss Theater. BRIAN WIERIMA

“I really enjoy ‘Flat Stanley’ and people should expect to be laughing a lot,” Mallek said.

The children’s theater era is underway at the Strauss Theater, and it’s a flat character leading the way.

There is plenty of youthful talent which will be on the Strauss Theater Stage for the Creative Theater Workshop’s production of “Flat Stanley.” BRIAN WIERIMA