ORLANDO, FL (July 2, 2012) – The Orlando Family Stage (The REP) invites families to attend the 6th Annual Target Family Theatre Festival in Loch Haven Park from July 20 – August 5, 2012 featuring performances by Grammy-nominated Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds, Pirate School!, Nels Ross, Katie Couric’s The Brand New Kid, magician Tony Brent, Davey Rocker’s Barnyard Jam, and the Youth Academy production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair.

All of the shows at the Target Family Theatre Festival are FREE, with the exception of State Fair ($15) and The Brand New Kid ($10). The REP is proud to partner with Target and Orange County Division of Art and Cultural Affairs to present the 6th Annual Target Family Theatre Festival, an event designed to promote cultural awareness in Central Florida, and to develop theatre for family audiences by producing shows, training young artists, and offering educational experiences in the arts.

Grammy-nominated children’s band Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could is one of the top talents in the independent family music scene today. Originally with the RCA Records band From Good Homes, Rymer ventured into family music with the CD Good Morning, Gus in 2000. Since then, he has released five other CDs, including the 2008 Grammy Award nominated Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could. Rymer’s rootsy, accordion-laced pop and rock music regularly wins critical acclaim and national awards. He is a featured performer with the Listen to Your Buds campaign to promote hearing protection with kids. His newest release is Love Me for Who I Am, which won a 2011 Parents’ Choice Gold award and national acclaim. Together with his Little Band that Could, Rymer creates rockin’ live music for kids and families across the country. As National Public Radio’s All Things Considered noted, “They might just be the best-sounding band in children’s music”. This will be the band’s second appearance at The REP!

Mr. Richard and the Pound Hounds, an Orlando favorite, has performed all over including the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. Mr. Richard plays over 400 shows a year for children and their families and has been recognized as one of the best children’s musicians by such publications as Parenting Magazine, Cookie magazine, and the New York Post. With the help of Jimbo Mathus of Squirrel Nut Zippers/Buddy Guy fame, Mr. Richard recorded his first children’s album, Might As Well Sing, in 2005. He has since released Tummy Talk, Polka Dot Puzzle, and just recently, Backyard Astronauts.

Pirate School! is the premiere family-friendly pirate act in America. The madcap, swashbuckling one-man family vaudeville show created and performed by veteran New York physical comedian and actor David Engel. Pirate School! satisfies children’s universal curiosity about the briny buccaneers of yore, but also boosts self-esteem and pro-social skills in subtle ways; prompting kids to “stand up for their mates” and “follow their hearts” and ultimately to be more empathetic, responsible, courageous corsairs. During the show the bumbling pirate professor Billy Bones, played by David Engel, teaches youngsters how to be good pirates with zany lessons on how to stand, talk, sing and laugh like jaunty Buccaneers. Audiences engage in boisterous competitions and learn the finer points of light-hearted mischief while cannons boom, skulls talk, cutlasses drop, bubbles pop and pets run amok. Creator and performer David Engel is an accomplished, award-winning entertainer performing over 250 shows a year at theaters, festivals, libraries, corporate events nationwide, and for twelve years as a ‘clown doctor’ with the in-hospital Clown Care Program of the Big Apple Circus.

Nels Ross is a performer, speaker, and “oddball” who entertains throughout North America and abroad, winning fans and friends wherever he goes. His gravity-defying “In Jest” comedy variety shows blend clean comedy, unbelievable flying objects, hilarious audience participation, incredible stunts, and amazing yet useless skills. Lauded as “truly incredible,” “a killer act,” and “side-splittingly funny,” Nels’ entertainment is guaranteed knock-your-socks-off, laugh-until-it-hurts fun. Whether he is juggling unpredictable props, involving the audience in comical antics, or performing an edge-of-your-seat stunt, his inimitable character makes every show unforgettable.

Rodger’s & Hammerstein’s State Fair comes alive on The REP’s stage, featuring some of Central Florida’s most talented youth. Set against the colorful backdrop of an American heartland tradition, State Fair follows the Frake family as they leave behind the routine of the farm for three days of adventure at the annual Iowa State Fair. Mom and Pop have their hearts set on blue ribbons while their daughter and son find romance and heartbreak on the midway. Set to the magical strains of an Academy Award-winning score and augmented by other titles from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook, State Fair is the kind of warm-hearted family entertainment only Rodgers & Hammerstein could deliver!

Fresh from performing in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, Katie Couric’s The Brand New Kid is presented at The REP on July 21-29, 2012 and is a co-production with Miami’s City Theatre and directed by The REP’s Artistic Director Jeff Revels. Adapted from Couric’s popular picture book, the musical proves that it is always best to be yourself. Lazlo S. Gasky is the new kid in school and because he does not look or speak quite like the others, the teasing and taunting begin. When Ellie McSnelly realizes how tough Lazlo has it, she risks being ridiculed herself to spend an afternoon with him. After playing soccer, eating strudel, and making new friends, the two teach their classmates a valuable lesson- the need to give others a chance.

Magician and Comedian Tony Brent, a star on the rise since the 1980’s, has performed to standing-room-only crowds in live concert shows, colleges, private events, and corporate performances. As a performer with the Walt Disney Company, he was tapped to star in the dinner show called “The Night of Wonder Show” (later renamed the “Outta Control Dinner Show”) and performed over 5,000 shows in one venue alone. He has since won the critical acclaim of local and international tourism industries alike and been named “Best Dinner Show” by WESH-TV and CW-18.

Davey Rocker started playing guitar and writing songs at the age of 11. He lead songs at youth groups in high school and joined the young widely popular band New Trend. As a solo artist, Davey opened up shows for artists such as Collective Soul and Paul Westerberg of the Replacements, as well as Jethro Tull with his original rock project Princeton’s Guff. Rocker has completed over thirty full length CD’s ranging from Americana with Terri Binion, Bluegrass with The River Bottom Nightmare Band, funk with Anthony Cole and Kow, rock with Bobby Koeble’s Junkie Rush and R&B with The Legendary JC’s just to name a few. Now a father of three, Davey Rocker has set his sights on a new musical and theatrical endeavor. In January, 2009, David released his latest CD, Barnyard Jam. Davey Rocker’s Barnyard Jam is packed with fun and entertainment for kids of all ages. Join Davey Rocker as he sings his original music around the barn introducing all of his barnyard buddies.

“This year’s Target Family Theatre Festival, hosted here at The REP, is overflowing with amazing entertainment for the whole family,” says Jeff, Revels, Artistic Director of The REP.  “We are especially excited to welcome back the Grammy-nominated band Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could whose songs are so catchy, I find myself listening without my children! With a great new partnership with The City Theatre in Miami, we are able to present Katie Couric’s The Brand New Kid.  In addition, we have shows featuring pirates, puppets, physical comedy and tricks, music, and magic! There are so many activities that are sure to delight the entire family, including our Youth Academy production of the great musical, State Fair.  We are thrilled to present these incredible shows to you.”

Since opening its doors, Target has given 5 percent of its income to organizations that support education, the arts, social services and volunteerism. Today that equals more than $3 million every week.

The festival kicks off with The REP’s Youth Academy production of State Fair on July 20 with a 7pm performance. There is an exclusive State Fair Benefit Performance on Wednesday, July 25th with pre-show wine and hors d’oeuvres beginning at 5:30pm. Following the performance, there is a coffee and dessert reception. Tickets for this event go on sale soon and may be purchased by contacting the Box Office at 407-896-7365.

The Target Family Theatre Festival’s Party in the Park is held July 28 & 29, 2012 in Loch Haven Park, from 10:00am to 2:00pm on Saturday and 11:00am-2:00pm on Sunday. This fun-packed afternoon features face painting, puppets, masks, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra’s instrument petting zoo, performance activities, balloon artists, games, sample Youth Academy classes, a costume dress up station, drum circle, strolling actors in costume, live entertainment, and backstage tours. The Party in the Park and all performances are FREE with the exception of The Brand New Kid, to which tickets are $10 and State Fair, which is $15. Tickets to all other indoor shows are distributed at the Info Tent beginning at 10:00am on Saturday morning and 11:00am Sunday morning, first come first serve. Limit 8 tickets per family, per show. Concessions are available for purchase, cash only. This is a rain or shine event.

All shows take place at the Orlando Family Stage at 1001 E. Princeton Street Orlando, FL 32803. Please visit www.orlandorep.com or call 407-896-7365 for complete festival schedule and information.

The 6th Annual Target Family Theatre Festival is sponsored by Target and funded in part by Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program. The Orlando Family Stage is a non-profit organization and is supported in part by United Arts of Central Florida, State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council and the National Endowment of the Arts.

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