Upon the publication of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web in 1952, famed author Eudora Welty wrote in The New York Times, “As a piece of work it is just about perfect, and just about magical in the way it is done.” In the intervening decades, generations of readers have shared that assessment of this delightful story of a little gray spider named Charlotte who befriends Wilbur the pig, but which is really about much more than daily events in the lives of farm animals. The beloved tale will come to life on stage at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall in Greenville on Sunday, February 22 when Darke County Center for the Arts presents Theatreworks USA’s production of Charlotte’s Web; the show begins at 2 p.m.
E.B. White drew upon the animals that he viewed as his closest friends while growing up on his family’s property in Mount Vernon, New York to create the beloved characters of this timeless tale; the barns of his childhood housed chickens, rabbits, horses and other creatures, as well as various spiders that captivated the boy’s attention. He came to realize that animals were not merely background characters in his life’s drama, but were themselves living their own busy lives. Much scientific research went into the writing of Charlotte’s Web; however, neither that fact nor the plot’s themes of love, bravery, life and death, friendship, and new beginnings provide an adequate explanation for the book’s staying power and continuing popularity.
What one heard when the story was first read to you may be quite different from what one understands upon reading the book to one’s grandchildren, but both reactions, reached from different perspectives, are valid and true. Charlotte’s Web sustains its worth throughout a lifetime not just because it is a good story well told, but also due to the fact that E. B. White’s masterpiece provides universal insight and eternal truth that can be appreciated at many different levels, all the while remaining a sweet, charming and appealing tale that never grows old. All of that probably provides the reason that this musical play has been one of Theatreworks most popular productions ever since it was introduced in 1993, playing a wide range of venues from Broadway to major metropolitan cities to rural and small town school cafeterias to Greenville’s St. Clair Memorial Hall.
Whether you are already familiar with this much-loved tale and can’t wait to see it come to life on stage or don’t know much about the perennially popular book and would like to learn more, you should act fast to secure your tickets for Theatrework’s Charlotte’s Web, as more than half the seats are already sold a month before the production. Tickets for Charlotte’s Web cost $5, and can be obtained by contacting DCCA at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 937-547-0908. Tickets are also available online at www.CenterForArts.net and may also be purchased at Greenville Public Library, Readmore’s Hallmark, and Darke County Visitors Center in Greenville, and the Worch Memorial Library in Versailles.
Marilyn Delk is a director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at email@example.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.