ACTORS’ PLAYHOUSE AT THE MIRACLE THEATRE
T TO BE ! E X T R A !
E XSEEMSR AHAVING SOMEWHAT OFABAD DAY
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible,
No Good, Very Bad Day!
January 13 - March 12, 2011
Actors’ Playhouse at the
The Story behind the show....p. 2
Author & Composer................p. 2
Audience Wanted....................p. 3
Typical Field Trip Day..............p. 4
Poetry Corner..........................p. 5
Prop Search.............................p. 5
Puzzle Page..............................p. 6
ALEXANDER during his horrible day. Read All About It!....................p. 7
Tell us your day.......................p. 7
Projects and Discussion..........p. 8
Welcome to Actors’ Playhouse Theatre for Young Classified Words......................p. 9
Audiences. We hope that you enjoy the show and Sunshine Standard Activities.....P.10-13
that attendance at live theatre will become a regu-
lar part of your entertainment activities. We have
prepared this Student Enrichment Guide to help in
your understanding and appreciation of the show.
We encourage teachers to meke full use of this guide
and to download, or print as many copies for your Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre
students as you wish. If you have further questions 280 Miracle Mile
about this, or any future productions at Actors’ Coral Gables, Fl.33134
Playhouse, please do not hesitate to call us at 305-444-9293
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 2
The Stor y behind the show.
The moment Alexander wakes up, his problems begin. He has gum in his hair. Next,
he trips over his skateboard, and he drops his sweater in the sink while the water is running.
Alexander thinks it is going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
At school, the teacher doesn’t like Alexander’s invisible drawing of a castle or his sing-
ing. Alexander’s friends aren’t nice to him, and his mother forgets to pack dessert in his lunch.
Alexander wants to move to Australia to get away from his problems.
At the dentist’s office, Alexander’s brothers have perfect check-ups. Alexander has a cavity
and needs a second appointment at the dentist.
At the shoe store, Alexander’s brothers buy shoes which make them happy. The store is
out of the shoes Alexander wants. He ends up with sneakers he doesn’t like. By now, Alexander
REALLY wants to move to Australia to get away from his problems.
At home, Alexander has even more problems. He hates his dinner and the programs on
television. His favorite pajamas are dirty, and his cat won’t sleep with him.
As Alexander is getting tucked into bed, he tells his mother about his terrible, horrible, no
good, very bad day. She sings a song about pleasant things, and tells him that life will get better.
She also tells him that bad days happen even in Australia.
Famous Author and Composer to have Musical produced by
Judith Viorst (Original Story, Book & Lyrics) was born and raised in New Jersey and has lived in Washington,
DC., since her marriage to political writer Milton Viorst in 1960. They have three adult sons whose names are the same
as those of the brothers in her play Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day. A graduate of Rutgers
University and the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose for
both children and adults. Among her 14 chidlren’s books are two other Alexander stories and two collections of poems-
If I were in Charge of the World and Other Worries and Sad Underwear and Other Complications. Her 12 adult books
include Necessary Losses, Imperfect Control, a comic novel, and six collections of poetry. Along with Alexander, Viorst
has also collaborated with Shelly Markham on an adult musical, Love and Shrimp, which has been performed around
the country, including the Pasadena Playhouse, the Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills, and The Ballroom in New York City.
Shelly Markham (music). As a composer Shelly trained at the Chicago Musical College, then moved to New York
City where he began studying with Lehmann Engel at the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop. He was chosen to partici-
pate in the ASCAP-Disney Workshop with a revue called Too Old for the Chorus, which opened to critical acclaim at
the Celebration Theatre in Los Angeles and the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In addition
to the two shows he has collaborated on with Judith Viorst (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad
Day and Love and Shrimp), he has scored the PBS production of Charley’s Aunt, composed shows based on family clas-
sics (including Tom Sawyer and The Prince and the Pauper) for producers Fran and Barry Weissler, written for Captain
Kangaroo for CBS, and composed a musical based on the book Flavia & the Dream Maker for the Access Theatre
in Santa Barbara, California. As he is also one of the most sought-after musical directors and arrangers in both Los
Angeles and New York City, Shelly has arranged and conducted for the diverse roster of performers, including Andrea
Marcovicci, Nell Carter, Ann Jillian, Marylin Lovell Matz, Gogi Grant, Margaret Whiting, Carol Lawrence and Bonnie
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 3
AUDIENCE MEMBERS WANTED!
The Director has requested that you, the audience, play the following important part in show!
1) Respect the actors and other audience members by listening quietly during the perfor-
2) Laugh (like crazy) when something funny happens--it's okay to respond to the show!
3) Show your appreciation to the actors and crew by applauding at the end of songs, scenes
and especially at the end of the show, they will appreciate it.
4) Remember any questions you might have during the show so you can ask the actors and
the director at the end of the play.
5) Stay in your seat until the play is over and the actors have taken their bows. Then, wait for
your teachers to tell you where to go.
6) Food, drinks and candy are for the intermission or for after the show. We don't allow eat-
ing or drinking in the theatre, only in the lobby.
7) Now that you know your part, ENJOY THE SHOW!
Earl Maulding, Director
P.S. The classroom is a great place to rehearse all of the above.
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 4
TRAVEL SECTION Your visit to Actors’ Playhouse!
1. Prior to the performance date, teachers receive pre-performance
Author & Composer biographies.
Theatre Etiquette Guide.
Glossary of Stage Terms.
Questions & Ideas for Pre & Post Activities.
2. Students enter the beautifully restored Miracle Theatre at 280
3. They are escorted to their seats and each child receives a program
with a cast list and actor photos to help them identify the performers
while they listen to pre-show music.
4. In a funny and zany Good Theatre Etiquette speech, Earl Maulding,
Director of Theatre for Young Audiences, reminds the audience to
respect the actors by sitting quietly, laughing, and applauding at the
5. Students view a fully staged professional production of a musical
directed, written and designed specifically with young audience mem-
bers in mind.
6. The actors and director introduce themselves after the show and a
lively question & answer session ensues where the students can ask any
questions at all that they might have.
7. Students return to school and utilizing the Student Enrichment
Guide further discuss and critique the morning's performance.
THE CLASSROOM IS A GREAT PLACE TO PRACTICE ALL OF THESE!!!
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 5
Judith Viorst’s poem “If I Were in Charge of the World”
is sung by Alexander and the cast in this production. An excerpt from the song is included below:
“If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.
If I were in charge of the world
There’d be brighter night lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty-eight inches lower...”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE “IN CHARGE OF THE WORLD”?!
Write your own “If I Were in Charge of the World” Poem, or take suggestions from the entire class and create
one terrific, humongous, really great poem! Then draw some spectacular pictures to go along with it!!
Look For These Props
The tools an Actor gets to use on stage to help them tell their
character’s story are called PROPS. During the course of Alexander and
the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day look for these PROPS
and try to remember who uses them!
Skateboard, Train Engine, Soccer Ball, Sunglasses, Jelly Roll, Mirror,
Baby Doll, White Sneakers, Gum.
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 6
Find the following words in the puzzle below and circle them. The words can go up,
down, across, diagonally or backwards. Good Luck!
ALEXANDER AUSTRALIA SCHOOL
BROTHERS KANGAROO KOALA
SHOES DESSERT VERY BAD DAY
SOCCER DOG SNAKE
GUM TERRIBLE HORRIBLE
NO GOOD GENIE
MOM CEREAL DAD
A E L B I R R E T B H
G U T R E S S E D R O
O N S O C C E R E O R
O V C T Q D A D Z T R
D S H Y R X N A F H I
A E O S N A K E G E B
L O O K X U L W J R L
A H L E G E N I E S E
O S L M O M U G A I L
K A N G A R O O T B X
G V E R Y B A D D A Y
M H K L A E R E C L I
NOTE: For even more fun, time everyone, compete head to head
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 7
Kids Speak Out
Tell us about your day! Fill in the blanks to create your very own day.
My _________________ woke me up this morning. I felt _______________! The first thing I did
was ________________________________________. My _______________ made a lot of noise.
I wore my ____________ shirt and my ____________________. I had _____________________
for breakfast with my _________________. We talked about ____________________________.
I could tell it was going to be a __________________________________________________day.
I rode in the ______________ to school. I had to sit in the ___________ seat.
I felt ____________.My teacher made us _____________________________, this made me
_____________________. I had _______________ for lunch with ___________, It was
______________! I played _________at recess with ________________. I didn’t
____________. My ___________ picked me up from school and we went _________________.
When I got home I____________________________. Then I played __________________. My
_________________tucked me in and I_____________________________________________.
I had a _____________________________________________________________________day.
Read All About It! More great stuff written by Judith Viorst.
Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday
Alexander, Who’s not(Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!)Going to Move
The Good-Bye Book
WEBSITES OF INTEREST
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 8
Projects and Thoughts for Discussion .....................From the Editor
1. The Musical version of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is based on
a book of the same title. How does the show that you saw at Actors' Playhouse compare with what
you imagined when you read the story? What did you like better and what did you miss? Did the
music help the story and how? Was there anything that you did not understand?
2. In the musical Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alexander’s best
friend chooses a new best friend. Why do you think he did this? Did you ever have a best friend
suddenly choose a new best friend and how did it make you feel when they told you? Did you feel
like you had done something wrong or did you feel angry? Were you able to eventually talk to your
friend and discover why they changed their mind? What would you suggest that Alexander do ?
3. As things go wrong in Alexander’s day he feels worse and worse. How would you help Alexander
look at things differently? What can anyone do to keep from feeling overwhelmed when things go
wrong? What did Alexander finally do? What response did Alexander’s mother have to his day?
4. Who was your favorite character and why? Which character in the musical is most like you and
why? Which actor do you think could have done better and why? Did you notice any mistakes
when you saw the show? Is there anything about the story that you would change to make it better?
Did the costumes, scenery and lighting do their job in helping to tell the story and why?
5. This show is an adaptation of a previously written story. Divide up into groups of four or five peo-
ple, chose an old, familiar story and create your own adaptation. It can be set in olden times, now
or in the future. Try to remember the main themes and lessons of the original story and make sure
they are still clear. Once you are ready your group can perform it for the rest of class.
6. An exercise to celebrate diversity. Have the students bring in music from their families cultural
background. Prepare by asking the students to write their name, a description of their family back-
ground and how it is their cultural heritage is celebrated by their family. Place 6-8 chairs in a semi-
circle facing the "audience." Play their music, softly, as each student reads or ad-libs what they have
written. Costumes may also be worn to enhance the experience. They might also dance to the differ-
ent styles of music presented.
7. Using the above idea have each student select another country or culture and also create a char-
acter when they read. This will encourage research and imagination. If costumes and props are not
available, make them from paper or materials on hand. Repeat presentation to "audience."
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 9
AD-LIB To extemporize stage business or dialogue. To make it up as you go
BLOCKING The plan for the movement and stage business the actors perform.
BUSINESS Any action performed on stage.
CHOREOGRAPHY The art of creating and arranging dances and the steps which make up a
dance movement in the show.The dancer's "blocking."
CONFLICT The basic struggle underlying the plot of the play.
COSTUME The carefully selected clothing worn by the actor.
CONDUCTOR The person who leads the orchestra. Sometimes we refer to the conductor
CROSS The actor's movement from one stage location to another. For example,
the director might instruct the actor (or "block" him) to "cross down
CUE The last words or action of one actor immediately preceding the lines or
business of another actor. To "cue" someone is to let him know that his
line, or perhaps his entrance, is next.
DIALOGUE The stage conversation between characters.
DICTION The clarity with which words are pronounced.
DOWN STAGE The part of the stage closest to the audience. At one time stages were
raked, or sloping, with the lower ("down") part closest to the audience,
and the higher (UPSTAGE) part away from the audience.
FLATS Canvas or wood-covered frames that are made to looklike the walls of a
GREEN ROOM A room near the stage where actors await entrance cues and receive
guests after the performance. There has been no satisfactory explanation
as to why this room was traditionally painted green, and, in fact, today's
green rooms may be any color.
MONOLOGUE A solo speech. Often, this takes the form of a SOLILOQUY, in which the
character reveals his personal, innermost thoughts when alone, or
unaware of the presence of other characters. Hamlet's "To be, or not to
be" monologue is perhaps the most famous soliloquy in theatre.
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 10
CLASSIFIED WORDS - continued.
MUGGING A derogatory term for exaggerated, uncalled-for, facial expressions or
ORCHESTRA The group of musicians who play the music. This also refers to the area
of the theatre closest to the orchestra "pit" where the musicians sit.
PIT The large, sunken area in front of the stage ("down stage") where the
"PLACES" This is called by the STAGE MANAGER when it is time for the actors to be
in their proper positions for the beginning of an act.
PROJECT To speak loudly so the entire audience can hear you.
PROPS All the stage furnishings, including furniture, that are physically used by
SCRIPT The text of the play. Although the script may contain all the words of a
play, it is considered in many ways an outline, or a starting point, for each
individual production of a given play.
SET The scenery--the walls, platforms, doors, etc.--which make up the environ
ment of the imaginary world of the play.
STAGE LEFT That part of the stage to the actor's left.
STAGE MANAGER The person who runs the show in production and calls the cues for the
actors and the technicians.
STAGE RIGHT That part of the stage to the actor's right.
STRIKE The dismantling of the set and the putting away of costumes and props at
the end of the RUN of a show.
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 11
SUNSHINE STANDARD RELATED ACTIVITIES
Arts and cultural programs reach students who learn through a wide array of learning styles.
* Visual: The students observing the play will experience silent reflections, emotional processing, concentra-
tions skills, and higher order reasoning during the Actors' Playhouse performance.
* Aural: The students will listen to live performances of musical productions providing the students with an op-
portunity to experience professional theatre.
Arts and cultural programs can teach students invaluable career skills and expose them to different career op-
* Career Development: After the performance, actors and the production staff discuss with the students the vari-
ous career paths in theatre as well as the main concepts in the production.
* Problem Solving: Actors' Playhouse productions present conflicts and resolutions and how the students may
relate these to practical life issues.
WITHOUT A WORD
Gr: K-5………Subjects: Language Arts, Theatre
Pre - Read the book, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE…. Have students perform a scene
from the story without words while it is being read aloud by other students or the teacher. Then have students
perform the story using improvised dialogue based on the story's plot. Discuss how dialogue and movement can
tell a story. (Fl. Standards - LA.C.2[1,2], LA.C.3[1,2], TH.A.3.[1,2])
THE CHANGING PLAY
Gr: PreK - 5 …….Subject: Theatre, Language Arts
Pre - Using a line from the book, ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE…, place emphasis on
different words to change the meaning. How many different ways can you say: Yes, No, maybe? Read a short
poem or story out loud changing your expressions each time. (try softly, creepily, comically etc) Ask the chil-
dren to react to the story as though they were watching it in a theatre and observe how a performer and an audi-
ence change as the style of play transforms from one to the other.
TH.D.1.1.3, LA.E.1.1.1, LA.A.2.2.7, LA.E.2.2.1, LA.E.2.2.3
Gr: 3-5……Subjects: Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Theater, Health Education
Pre- Have students stand in a circle. Each student must say their name, how they are feeling at the time, and
then add one ges¬ture that describes that feeling. The next person in line must introduce the person before
them, state their feeling, do their gesture, and them introduce themselves with a feeling and gesture. Continue
around the circle until the last person is reached. That person will have to name and imitate all the members
of the circle. (Fl. State Standards: LA.C.1.3, LA.C.2.3, LA.C.3.3, FL.A.1.3, FL.A.2.3, FL.A.3.3, FL.D.1.3,
TH.A.3.3, TH.D.1.3, HE.B.3.[3,4], HE.C.2.[3,4])
Gr: 4-10……..Subjects: Language Arts, Health Education
Pre - Have students write a story of a time when they overcame difficulties. Use a guiding question for-
mat to elicit details and descrip¬tions. (Fl. State Standards - LA.B.1.[2,3,4], LA.B.2.[2,3,4] HE.B.3.[3,4],
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 12
WHO? WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? HOW?
Gr: PreK – 5…….. Subject: Language Arts
Post - After watching ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE… talk or write, draw or act the sto-
ries that were performed on stage. Then answer the following questions…- Who were the main characters in the
story? What was the problem? Where did the story take place? When in history or in the character’s life did the
story take place? How did the characters resolve the problem? Now, write the answers to each question on sepa-
rate slips of paper placing them together in a hat (or caldron). Draw the sentences one at a time and have fun
guessing the story it describes. (Fl. Standards - LA.E.1.1.2, LA.B.2.2.1, LA.C.2.2 & 3 - (3-5) LA.E.1.2.(1,2,3 &
THINGS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM!
After watching ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE… gather together five everyday objects,
create a short play or scene that includes all five things. Make sure that each scene has a clear beginning, prob-
lem and resolution. After students have performed their stories, give each student a found object (something
really accessible like a comb or shoe). Tell them they are a sales person and they must sell this item to the class.
It does not have to be what it appears. For example a shoe could be a "neat spaghetti bowl"
(Fl. Standards - TH.A.1.1.1 - (PreK -2) TH.B.1.3.1 -(6-8) TH.B.1.2.1 - (3-5) TH.B.1.2.1 - (3-5)
TELL THE STORY
Gr: PreK-5 …..Subjects: Language Arts
Post - After watching ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE… have a student stand and deliver a
narrative describing one of the myths' characters and details. Encourage the class to corroborate this version of
the story by communicating their individual memories of the story keeping a list of the common details. Have
the students identify the characters that help the lead character when they need them most (Fairy Godmother
etc) - ask students to identify the real people that help them when they are in need.
(Fl. Standards - LA.E.1.1.1, LA.A.2.2.7, LA.E. 2.1. [1,2] LA.E 2.2.3)
WALK IN MY SHOES
Gr:K-5………Subjects: Language Arts, Theatre
Post - After seeing ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE…, have students retell the story (in
first person) from a particular character's perspective. Assign different characters to different students. Note as a
class how the story differs depending on whose perspective is taken. Have students create a visual to represent
their character and write a character biography. (Fl. Standards - LA.B.2.[1,2], LA.C.2[1,2], TH.A.3.[1,2])
Gr:K-5……..Subjects: Language Arts, Theatre
Post - After seeing ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE… guide a discussion about the conflicts
in each story and their social or personal significance to today’s society. Then have students form small groups
and write a different ending to the story. Have the groups pres¬ent their "new endings" to the class.
(Fl. Standards - LA.B.1.[1,2], LA.B.2.[1,2], LA.C.3.[1,2], TH.B.1.[1,2])
Actors’ Playhouse Student Enrichment Times Page 13
WHAT'S MY NAME?
Gr:3-5……..Subjects: Music, Language Arts
Post - Have students independently devise clues or riddles for the various characters from the musical and
turn them in to the teach¬er. Then play as a TV game show or divide students into teams; read the clues or
riddles and have students guess the characters. (Fl. Standards - LA.C.2.2, MU.D.1.2)
Gr: 4-12……..Subjects: Visual Arts
Post - Guide class in a discussion about the difficulties that one of the characters faced in ALEXANDER
AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE… and how they were able to deal with them. Discuss the character and
the quality of their spirit. Then direct students to make a drawing that represents that character’s spirit.
(Fl. Standards - VA.B.1.[3,4], LA.C.2.[3,4])
RETELL THE STORY
Gr:5-9……..Subjects: Music, History, Language Arts
Post - In small groups, have students use the following structure: Somebody…Wanted…But…So… to recon-
struct the musical's plot. Students will then create drawings to accompany their reconstruction and will orally
share their summaries with the class.
(Fl. Standards - LA.C.3.[3,4], LA.C.2.[3,4], MU.D.1.[3,4], VA.A.1[3,4])