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The humor, warmth and emotional intensity of Katherine Paterson’s Newbery Awarding winning novel, Bridge to Terabithia, unfolds on the stage January 18 through February 27, at the Coterie Theatre, level 1 Crown Center Shops.

Bridge to Terabithia tells the story of Jesse, a boy alienated from the pragmatism of his family and rural Virginia culture, who dreams of becoming something special. Leslie, the new girl from the city and the ultimate outsider, opens up a world of imagination, art and literature for him. Together they create Terabithia, a fantasy kingdom where they are safe from those who don’t understand them. The stage version is written by the author Katherine Paterson and Stephanie S. Tolan.

“I felt now was the perfect time to have this story on the Coterie stage,” said Jeff Church, producing artistic director. “Jesse, the main character, comes from a rural family where the dad has trouble finding work. The secret artist that’s inside of Jesse can’t develop until an outsider, Leslie, becomes his friend and brings out his imagination. I love the idea that a single friendship can be so life-changing.

“The ‘bridge’ in this play is not a literal one, but it is the emotional journey two friends take together. In life, there are certain things you can’t face alone, and friends serve as our bridges. They help us overcome difficult situations,” he said.

Every Friday night after Bridge to Terabithia there will be a free Something Fun experience: Audiences may enjoy an Opening Night reception, a comedy spoof by the Coterie’s teen comedy troupe (“The Culture Hacks”), or a backstage tour. The event will change each week.

Bridge to Terabithia is the second production in the Coterie’s Preteen/Young Adults Series and is funded in part by the Missouri Arts Council (MAC) and the ArtsKC Fund.

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