Book, music, and lyrics by Joan Cushing. Adapted from the Diary of a Worm series by Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss, © 2001 Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss. Produced by special arrangement with Pippin Properties, Inc. and The Susan Gurman Agency, LLC. World premiere commissioned by Oregon Children’s Theatre, Jan. 2011; Stan Foote, Artistic Director.
Director: Rob Urbinati
Musical Director: Jerry Brabec
Choreography: Sue Gillespie Booton
Costume Design: Sherri Geerdes
Scenic Design: Jeff R. Stander
Lighting Design: Carson Gross
Stage Manager: Dani Taylor
Worm: Austin Learned
Spider: Brandon Shostak
Fly: Rochelle Pickett
Butterfly: Lauren Krupski
Ant: Walter Shatley
Bee: Sue Gillespie Booton
From the Director
When James Larson asked me to direct “Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly”, I was a little nervous. I had never directed a show with “anthropomorphic” characters, which is to say, non-human characters – such as animals or insects or sponges – that take on human characteristics. All of the shows I’ve directed at The Rose Theater, and years ago at the Emmy Gifford Children’s Theater, had real people as characters. James Larson encouraged me, saying, “Once you go anthropomorphic, you never go back!” And gradually, I became very excited.
For this production, I needed actors who are physically fit – and then some! As you’ll see, there’s a lot of jumping, bouncing, rolling, crawling and flying – everything that insects do – so I sought out a cast that was up to the near-Olympic physical challenges the production presents. Not to mention that they also had to sing and dance! I think we have an amazing cast, and it’s been a blast exploring the insect world with them.
To create that world, we needed brilliant designers. I met Jeff Stander last year, when I directed “The 39 Steps” at Nebraska Repertory Theatre in Lincoln. I wanted the set for Worm to look like a cross between the board game I used to play as a kid, “Chutes and Ladders,” and a Rube Goldberg Machine, with many opportunities for movement. Jeff’s set for Worm, accurately to scale from an insect’s perspective, is a giant playground for Worm, Spider, Fly, Ant, Butterfly and Bee to enjoy.
Sherri Geerdes’ costumes are stunning as always, and I relied on her vast experience with bringing crawling and flying creatures to life. There are no “human” props – they are all items that the insects borrowed from the human world, and adapted to their purposes. And the lighting designer also has a few tricks up his sleeve. While Diary of Worm, a Spider, and a Fly offers an important message about the environment, mostly, it is sheer fun, and an exciting ride into an exotic new world. I dedicate this production to James Larson, who taught me to love children’s theater.
Show Director Rob Urbinati
There is no video for this show.
Read the Omaha World-Herald’s review.
Read Momaha.com’s “Diary of a Worm” blog post.
Read about the cool set for Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly!
This show will be interpreted for the hearing impaired on Saturday, Sept. 15th at 2 pm.
Going to The Rose Guide
“Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly” opens soon! We’ve assembled some special information to help you and your family to get ready. Before you go to the show, you might want to take a few moments to review this guide so everyone will know what to expect from the performance.
The Story You Will See
This is the story of several insect friends and the adventures they have during a year in their lives. They go to school, have play dates, and share big dreams and serious worries about their future, just like human kids. But they also fly and spin webs and eat garbage, which is very different than us! You’ll learn some interesting (and somewhat icky) facts about insects, and, as you listen to their story, you might even think these creepy crawlers are a lot like you!
The Characters You Will Meet
• Worm – a sensitive, loyal, sincere, funny guy who just wants to matter
• Spider – a cocky, sometimes whiny techno wizard who can’t wait to molt
• Fly – an energetic girl who wants to be a superhero
• Ant – a friend and classmate to Worm, Spider, and Fly
• Butterfly – a friend and classmate to Worm, Spider, and Fly
• Ms. McBee – the insects’ teacher
• Aunt Rita – Fly’s Aunt
• Mrs. Fly – Fly’s Mom
• Mrs. Spider – Spider’s Mom
• Grampa Worm – Worm’s Granddad
Things To Know Before You Go
• Because the characters in this musical are insects, they have some discussions about gross things, including various “buggy” bodily functions.
• This is a story about learning to become friends and getting along. At the beginning of the musical some of the characters kind of gang up on Worm, and he gets very down on himself. You may want to talk to your child about why he feels that way and why the other characters actions weren’t so nice.
• With any story dealing with science, your child may encounter some new vocabulary words – such as chrysalis, arachnid, and hermaphrodite. You may want to be prepared to explaion to your child what they mean. It’s a great opportunity for your family to explore more about the world of insects!
Topics for Dinnertime Discussion
One of the best ways to enjoy a show is to talk about the story and the characters with others who attended. Below are some topics you may want to discuss.
Before the Show
• The characters in “Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly” are all insects. If you could be any insect, which would you be? Are there any insects you would not want to be? What would be fun or scary about being a bug?
• The musical begins on the first day of school. Do you remember your first day at school? What was it like? What are your favorite and least favorite things about going to school. If you haven’t been to school yet, are you nervous or scared about going?
• Worm, Spider, and Fly each keep a diary. A diary is a book in which you can write down what happens each day and what you think. What sorts of things do you think a bug might write in its diary? If you had a diary, what would you write about your daily adventures and your dreams and concerns about the future?
After the Show
• Fly wants to be a superhero. If you were a superhero, what super powers would you have? How would you use your superpowers to help the people around you?
• Worm is a very shy character, and he doesn’t think there is anything interesting or special about him. Have you ever felt that way? What are some things that make YOU special? What can you do to help a friend who feels bad about himself or herself?
• Worm feels bad that his friends have legs and he doesn’t. However, Worm learns that he doesn’t need legs to be important. Often, friends have things that are different about them. How are you different from your friends? How do your differences make each of you special?
• The students in Mrs. McBee’s class all share what they want to be when they grow up. Fly wants to be a superhero, Ant wants to be a worker ant, and Butterfly wants to migrate to Mexico. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Awesome Aftershow Activities
• Create Your Own Diary – Gather some paper, bind it together with a hole puncher and some string, and decorate the cover. You can start writing about your own daily adventures or pretend you are an insect!
• Make an All About Me Song – The characters in the musical create tunes with their own special beats and lyrics about themselves. Try writing a song about you! Create music using an instrument or computer and make up your own words about you!
• Superhero Adventure – You can create a superhero story like Fly does! Decide on a character and draw a comic strip of her or his story. You can also make a costume from things around the house, and act out your story, just like Fly and her friends do!
While at The Rose
• Stay for the Post-Show Q&A – Our actors end each performance with a 5-10 minute Q&A session conducted from the stage. The Q&A offers a wonderful opportunity for children to ask questions and learn more about the scenery, costumes, special effects, and more!
• Meet The Cast & Get an Autograph – Select actors from the show will be available after the show to sign autographs. Meet them on the mezzanine outside the entrance to the balcony level seats.
• Take Home a Souvenir – The Rose Guild presents a souvenir stand before and after each performance offering a variety of fun and inexpensive show-related mementos.
• Grab a Class Brochure – If you like what you saw on the stage and think you would like to be a part of it, try taking a class at The Rose Theater. The Rose offers a wide variety of classes for every interest and experience level.