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Bear Snores On Q&A with playwright : Jennifer Kirkeby

Get to know the CREATIVE TEAM of Bear Snores On with our Q&A as we Journey to the Cave.

Jennifer Kirkeby wears many hats at Stages, including: actress, educator and returns to STC as the playwright for BEAR SNORES ON!

Q&A with : Jennifer Kirkeby (Playwright)

Jennifer Kirkeby, playwright for Bear Snores On

Jennifer Kirkeby, playwright for Bear Snores On

Q: Please tell us a little bit about your working process

A: First of all, I read the picture book many, many times while studying the illustrations. Then I make a general outline with characters. We have several early meetings with Artistic Director, Sandy Boren-Barrett and Director of New Play Development, Jeannine Coulombe, as well as the composer, Blake Thomas, to discuss concepts, how many musical numbers we’d like, and dates the drafts will be do. Then I begin to write dialogue. There are generally three separate drafts, but I often write more. I always try to be mindful that while the majority of our audiences are children, there are always parents and extended family members there too. Consequently, I really try to make the play fun for the whole family. While I stay as close as possible to the original story line, I do tend to go in other directions as well. For me, the enjoyment really kicks in when the characters start to come alive as I write.

Q: What is a particularily interesting or unusual challenge on this project and how are you setting out to solve it?

A: The biggest challenge for me was keeping the role of the Bear engaging and relevant while he sleeps for a large portion of the story. I believe the “threat” of him waking up creates a fabulous tension with the other animals, and only heightens the wonderful payoff when he does wake up.

Q: What in your childhood got you to where you are today?

A: I was always a dreamer. I was the kid staring out the window watching the gold leaves twirl off the trees when I was supposed to be listening in class. Fortunately, I had a family that tried their best to nurture and encourage my odd behavior, I mean, creativity.

Jennifer Kirkeby (the actress) in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2015)

Jennifer Kirkeby (the actress) in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2015)

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job in this production?

A: There are many parts that I enjoy. The collaborative process of working with great people, discovering how to create this particular story for the stage, hearing the words and music for the first time, and seeing it in front of an audience. When I can tell the audience, especially the children, are enjoying the show, it’s one of the best feelings ever.

Q: Favorite Color

A: Red

Q: Favorite Quote

A: “Be yourself; everyone else is taken.” Oscar Wilde

Q: Favorite Book You Remember from Growing Up

A: The Wizard of Oz

Q: Favorite Winter Activity (either as a kid or now)

Building snow forts. I lied. It was really throwing snowballs at my brothers.



Jennifer Kirkeby has been involved in theatre for over 25 years as a playwright, actress, choreographer, director and teacher. She has worked with Stages Theatre Company for almost fifteen years, writing the memorable productions of Dot and Tot of Merryland, Twelve Dancing Princesses and Madeline’s Christmas, all published by Dramatic Publishing, as well as Aladdin and His Magical Lamp; Harriet and Walt; The Paper Bag Princess; Twas the Night Before Christmas; Click, Clack, Moo; Giggle, Giggle Quack; Duck for President; If you Give a Moose a Muffin; Llama, Llama Red Pajama; Llama, Llama Holiday Drama as well as the dance inspired productions of Owl Moon, The Mitten and this season’s The Snow Queen. She also wrote the play Eyes Wide Open, a touching play about a teenage girl struggling with anorexia, which continues to tour schools. Jennifer is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Inc., The Playwrights’ Center, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. You can learn more about Jennifer at

Come Jennifer’s words come to life in BEAR SNORES ON!

Bear Snores On

JANUARY 22, 2016 – FEBRUARY 15, 2016 • All Ages

Adapted from the book by Karma Wilson. Adapted for the stage by Jennifer Kirkeby. Music and Lyrics by Blake Thomas.

Bear-snoresWorld Premiere

Warm-up this winter as Bear and all his friends cozy up in our imaginative new musical! On a cold, stormy winter night, one by one, a whole host of animals venture into Bear’s cave to warm up. But even after the tea has been brewed and the corn has been popped, Bear just snores on! Come see what happens when he finally wakes up and finds them having a party!

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CAST: Teagan Bowar, Nick Cecchi, Nicholas Dekker, Sophie Farrell, Ki’Shaya Graham, Emma Kempf, Sara Magnuson, Greta Nackerud, Camille Norman and Brent Teclaw


ARTISTIC DIRECTOR – Sandy Boren-Barrett
MUSIC DIRECTOR – Sarah Hohenstein Burk
CHOREOGRAPHER – Stephanie Harmon
COSTUME & MAKE-UP DESIGNER – Samantha Fromm Haddow
SET DESIGNER – Tiffany Fier
STAGE MANAGER – Becca Buntjer

Based on the Book, Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson.  Adapted for the stage by Jennifer Kirkeby.  Music and Lyrics by Blake Thomas.  Copyright © 2002 by Karma Wilson
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