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"Frederick teaches that people do not live by nuts and berries alone, but need cultural warmth."

Chicago Tribune

  • Full Length Musical
  • Comedy
  • 70 minutes

  • Time Period: Fantasy
  • Target Audience: Children (Age 6 - 10), Appropriate for all audiences
  • Set Requirements: Unit Set/Multiple Settings

  • Performance Group:
  • Community Theatre, Jr High/Primary, College Theatre / Student, High School/Secondary
It's summertime in the meadow, and Frederick and his other friends in the mouse commune -- Ernest, Nellie, Sunny and Baby -- gather to enjoy the start of another glorious day: the buzzing of the bees, the fluttering of butterflies and the warmth of the glowing sun. Together they sing and plays games without a care in the world.

As summer quickly turns to fall, they each set about collecting supplies for the cold winter that lies ahead. All except Frederick, or so it would appear. For as Ernest, Nellie, Sunny and Baby gather nuts, seeds and berries to store in their winter hideaway, Frederick seemingly has had his head in the clouds, thoughtfully observing the world around him (much to the charmed delight of some and the envy and frustration of others). 

But when the darkest days of winter finally arrive and the mice have exhausted their supply and worn thin their stories and games, it is Frederick who has stored up something special to help save the day.

Featuring a roots-flavored country and folk-infused score, Frederick is an "enchanting" (Chicago Reader), "charming and poignant" (Chicago Tribune) new musical for youth and family audiences about friendship, community and the restorative power of the arts.


"Frederick teaches that people do not live by nuts and berries alone, but need cultural warmth."

 Chicago Tribune

"Reminds us of the importance of finding your own path, even when others may doubt the worth of such dreams... Playful, engaging adaptation highlights the importance of creativity."

 Chicago Critic

"The show also adds something subtle and remarkable, establishing a tranquil sense of the inevitability of change in a way young audiences can understand."

 Chicago Reader

"Captures all the warmth, beauty and imagination of Lionni's magical tale of an artist."

 Chicago Theatre Review

Premiere Production: Frederick received its world premier production at Chicago Children's Theatre (Jacqueline Russell, Artistic Director), at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago on October 17th, 2014.
  • Casting: 2M, 2F, 1M or F

  • FREDERICK (m): A productive dreamer, Frederick is youthful in spirit and appearance. He revels in life's small pleasures, sees possibilities everywhere and is constantly observing. Instability imaginative, he takes time for solitude to simply allow his mind to wander. Constantly curious, he looks around the world and wants to know why, and how, it is the way it is.
  • ERNEST (m): Kindly, wise and a bit of an eccentric with a penchant for gadgets and systems, Ernest is older than the others, and he's never afraid to share his wisdom.
  • NELLIE (f): Sweet and sensitive, our "nervous Nellie" is preoccupied with the coming of winter and tends to overreact to the smallest of wintry signs. Despite her nervousness, she's a grounding force within the mouse commune, and she works hard to gently keep her mouse friends on task. Beneath the surface, she's envious of Frederick.
  • SUNNY (f): Warm, cooperative and considerate, with seemingly infinite patience, Sunny is eternally optimistic and accepting. She is always on the lookout for fun and adventure.
  • BABY (m or f, ideally a diminutive female or Baby Huey-like male): The object of the mouse commune's affection, Baby is completely in tune with the moment. He/she is also really cute and funny, with a healthy dose of moxie. Note: For simplicity's sake, Baby is referred to as a female throughout the script.