Are the Crayons Quitting? Is Brought to Life by Newport Contemporary Ballet

The favorite children's book has been adapted into a live stage production full of music and dance that delights both kids and adults alike.

A group shot of the cast of Are the Crayons Quitting? Photos by Kimberly Fuller.

Newport Contemporary Ballet — formerly known as Island Moving Company — is staging a production that will make any child look at a box of crayons differently. Dancers are bringing the cherished children’s book The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, to life with a live stage adaptation of Are the Crayons Quitting?, taking place this weekend, March 24-26 at the Keats Theatre at St. Andrews School at 63 Federal Road in Barrington. Seating is still available for the four shows; March 24 at 4:30 p.m., March 25 at 4:30 p.m.; and March 26 at 2 and 4 p.m. Tickets for adults are $48 each; kids, students and seniors are $25 each; and family packs of four tickets are available for $118.

The show is Newport Contemporary Ballet’s newest Family Series World Premiere Production, which embraces Artistic Director Danielle Genest’s vision to put the crayon characters in motion while working with some of Rhode Island’s most talented artists, composers, dancers and designers.


I took my six-year-old daughter, Kinsley, for a sneak peek at the show’s dress rehearsal. We’ve been avid fans of the books for years. In fact, we own three of them, which she sometimes makes me read all in a row in one single night. She loved watching four-year-old Duncan on stage as each crayon in his box magically springs to life in scenes where they dance while expressing their various plights about working too hard on holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day (red crayon), not having any clothes (peach crayon, put some clothes on!), battling over who is the real color of the sun (yellow and orange, can’t you two just get along, please?) and more.

I recorded my daughter’s official review in the car on the ride home and she had a lot to say about Are the Crayons Quitting?:

Her favorite was the pink crayon: “Because it’s the silliest one. I like all of the colors because they are all silly. I’m going to talk to my crayons at school. I’m going to look for light pink, because that one is the silliest one. I am going to draw faces all over my crayons and then I’ll have silly crayons.”

She thinks everyone should like the color pink: “Why did the pink never get used? He thinks it’s too girly? It’s not girly. Anybody can like any color!”

She agreed that the red crayon is overworked: “I use my red crayon a lot, just like at the show. One time I snuck up on my crayons, and I saw their faces. They were starting to turn into a person. And then I said, ‘why are you turning into a person?’ Then they tried turning themselves back into crayons, but they couldn’t.”

She also liked the other colors: “I saw purple. Blue with no point because they used her a lot. I like pink, purple, blue, green. I like all the colors. They were saying silly things.”

She liked how the black and white crayons worked together: “They were right, they had to trace something that they were coloring that’s white on a white background, so you could see it.”

She was on team yellow: “Yellow is the real color of the sun. I agree with the yellow one, not the orange. Because when I wear sunglasses and I look up at the sun when I wear sunglasses at the beach, I see yellow. No orange.”

She noticed how yellow and orange disagreed, but then decided to work together: “They could switch and take turns. Yellow could be the circle and the lines could be orange. And the orange could be the circle and the yellow could be the lines. And they could change the shape.”

She was in disbelief about peach crayon’s lack of clothing: “Did he actually have no clothes? For real? He wasn’t actually naked. That was just another pair, and they gave it to him and pretended that he actually took it.”

She thinks crayons can come to life: “They are real. At nighttime, they talk. They turn on the light in my crayon box. I am going to try to catch them when they are talking. I’m going to try to find the light pink crayon, because that one is the silliest. I am going to see if he took off his wrapper and see if he didn’t have clothes. Plus, I always take off my crayons wrappers and put new ones on them.”

That night in bed, of course, Kinsley requested I read all three Crayons books by Drew Daywalt, all in a row. And the next day, I saw her sneaking up on her crayon box to see if they came alive.



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