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SHOW GUIDE: The Little Engine That Could

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ALL ABOARD for our next First Stage production, The Little Engine That Could.

This new production for our youngest theatergoers being presented on our Hitchcock Stage brings Watty Piper’s timeless tale of perseverance and positivity to fresh new life for contemporary children!

We’ve assembled some special information to help you and your family to get ready for the upcoming performance. Before you go to the show, you might want to take a few moments to review this “Know Before You Go” Guide so everyone
will know what to expect from the performance.



The Story You Will See

The Little Engine That Could is a stage adaptation of the classic book by Watty Piper. The story is a story-within-a-story: audiences are first introduced to the station master as they prepare for a trip on a train. While waiting for the train, the meet fun-loving Piper and serious Watty. When the train is delayed, Watty and Piper — along with helpers from the audience — use the objects around them to tell the story of The Little Engine That Could.

Stage productions like The Little Engine That Could are ideal for:

  • children ages 2 and up
  • first-time theatergoers
  • families who want to see if the theater is for them
  • children on the autism spectrum
  • children with sensory or other special needs

At The Little Engine
That Could
, you can expect:

  • interactions with performers
  • a smaller theater space
  • flexible seating on chairs, on the floor, on
    cushions and more
  • a “shush-free” environment
  • minimal darkness or loud sounds.


Sponsored by:
OCT 13 – NOV 4, 2018 | 30 minutes without an intermission | Participatory Pretending for AGES 2+
Know Before You Go
Here are some things your family might like to “Know Before You Go”:
  • This production takes place on The Rose’s Hitchcock Stage, a smaller theater space located on our 4th floor. You can take the stairs to the theater and go through our newly-painted “forest.” An elevator is also available for those who need it.

  • Please use the
    restrooms on the mezzanine as you make your way to the 4th floor. Facilities are available in the backstage space of the theater (behind the black curtain on the left), but we ask that you use these only in an emergency.

  • The smaller performance space allows children to become completely absorbed in the theatrical experience. We encourage their interaction with the performers. Audience members might even be asked to become a part of the performance, if they want to.


From Story to Stage

The story of the brave little engine who comes to the rescue has been a part of American folklore since the early 1900s. A number of authors developed versions of the story, but the most popular edition of the story was written by Watty Piper, a pseudonym for Arnold Munk. Munk’s retelling of the beloved children’s tale has sold millions of copies since its 1930 publication and inspired generations to believe they can. Munk was the owner of the publishing firm Platt & Munk. He was born in Hungary, and as a child, moved with his family to the United States, settling in Chicago. Later he moved to New York. Arnold Munk used the name Watty Piper as both an author of children’s books and as the editor of many of the books that Platt & Munk published.

In 2007, the National Education Association named The Little Engine That Could one of its “Teachers’ Top
100 Books for Children.”
The Little Engine That Could was adapted by The Rose’s artistic director, Matthew Gutschick. Matthew also wrote Van Gogh & Me that made its world premiere on The Rose stage last season. In addition, Matthew directed The Meaning of Maggie, Prancer, Mary Poppins and A Christmas Story at The Rose. Matthew received his Bachelor of Arts in Theater from Wake Forest University and his Masters of Fine Arts in Theater Management from the Yale School of Drama. He has written many plays that have been workshopped and produced across the country, and he has won numerous awards for his work. Before coming to The rose, he was the artistic director of the Children’s Theatre of Winston-Salem, and he also completed a fellowship with the Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis. As the Managing Director of the Yale Cabaret, Matthew produced more than 14 world premieres.


Theater Location
The Rose is located in downtown Omaha at 2001 Farnam Street on the southwest corner of 20th & Farnam Streets.


From west Omaha, take I-80 East to 1-480 North and exit onto 20th Street. The Rose is located on Farnam Street, approximately three blocks south of the 20th Street exit.


Convenient Parking
The closest and most convenient parking is available in the garage at 19th & Harney, courtesy of the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission (1910 Harney St., Omaha, NE 68102). Parking meters surrounding the theater are active from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Saturday, with free parking available on Sundays and holidays. A variety of parking lots are available around the theater, as well, ranging in cost from $2-$5.


We know Rose Kids who love musical theater to death…but would you really DIE to be on stage? Best friends Brooke and Zeke could not be more excited to tackle the next big Drama Club production—this year they just know they are going to be the leads. But what’s up with that spooky script the theater director has chosen—never performed because of mysterious mayhem plaguing rehearsals? And what about that creepy trap door that leads to tunnels below the stage? And what about the strange voices that echo in the theater? With such super-scary goings-on, will the show go on? Join the fright-filled fun—just in time for Halloween!—as the cast of “The Phantom of
the Auditorium” tries to survive until Opening Night in this terrifying tale of musical mayhem from the mind of R.L. Stine. We’ve heard of “Stage Fright!” but—SERIOUSLY, guys—this is ridiculous!
Oct 26 – Nov 11, 2018

While at The Rose

Renew Your Membership!
2018-19 Rose memberships are now on sale. Rose members receive 4 free tickets to each of our
seven regular season shows. That’s 28 FREE TICKETS! For information, click here or visit The Rose Box Office.
Grab a Theater Class Brochure!

If you like what you saw on the stage and think you’d like to be a part of it, try taking a theater class here at The Rose Theater. We offer a wide range of arts classes for every interest and experience level.

Please visit our website to read director’s notes and view production photos.

Box Office Assistance

The Rose Box Office is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm at (402) 345-4849. Information and ticketing is also available online at


The Rose Theater
2001 Farnam Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102



The Rose Theater, 2001 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE 68102, United States


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