The other difficulty with children's theater is creating a flexible cast with many parts that could fit either gender. Often, the girls outnumber the boys by a ratio of at least 2 to 1. But occasionally, the boys will not only outnumber the girls, but outshine them, too, in talent and ability. Since you never know exactly what the make-up of the cast will be for any given show, it is best to have a certain portion of characters that could be played by any age or either gender. So, I decided that the population of this cast would consist of the common fowl found in the typical English barnyard - chickens, ducks and geese with their chicks, ducklings and goslings. By using families of parents and children, that sets up familiar situation comedy to tap into.
In the youngest age group there will always be the children who want to be in a show because they love to sing and dance, but do not necessarily understand how frightening it can be to be up in front of an audience. Before actually casting a show for this population, I like to spend time doing acting games. Through observation of the childrens' improvisation, movement and interaction with each other I can usually tell which children will ultimately be too shy to actually perform and which ones are good candidates to actually come through with a performance. Then I can cast with confidence the main characters and put others into groups where they can feel more secure.
I think my favorite new characters for this show are The Bluebirds - Dotty, Betty and Patty - loosely based on the trio singers of the 1940's such as the Andrews Sisters. They have the songs that move the story along and provide the narration for the story within the story. They always stand wing to wing. They move together, sway together, sing together and finish each other's sentences. They are jazzy and sophisticated and besides they are my favorite color. I guess they are really based on my mother and her sisters (The Thompson Sisters), and me and my sisters (The Lee Sisters), as well. If there are any characters that I happen to know well, it would be the Bluebirds! It has been a delight writing for them!