Arts United Center


Social Story


Troy Webdell, conductor
Doug Peconge, narrator
Christopher J. Murphy, narrator
Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Heather Closson, choreographer

Featuring narrators, Christopher J Murphy, Doug Peconge, and artistic partner, the Fort Wayne Youtheatre, experience an original and imaginative retelling of Johnny TinCap as well as an Okanogan Indian story with composer Jerod Tate’s Spirit Chief Names the Animal People. Break out the pots and pans to wear your favorite hat in honor of Johnny!

Johnny Appleseed book summary: In this simple yet lively book, preschoolers will be introduced to John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Lyrical text and bright, appealing artwork capture the essence of this important American and early conservationist who traveled the country planting apple trees. Little ones will enjoy engaging anecdotes about Johnny Appleseed, beginning with the young John, who liked to walk barefoot in the cool, quiet woods. They’ll gain a clear understanding of the way he helped American settlers by walking a hundred thousand miles in his lifetime, for over fifty years, to plant seeds.  

Pre-concert activities will begin at 10:00am in the Arts United Center’s lobby.  Don’t forget to check out your favorite books from the Allen County Library Mobile after the concert, too! 

To learn more about the country of the United States, click here.

To take a virtual trip to the continent of North America, click here. 



CUSTER                             The American Frontier (8 minutes) 

TATE                                    Spirit Chief Names the Animal People (25 minutes) 
                                                  Doug Peconge, narrator

COLERIDGE-                     Danse Nègre, Op. 35, No. 4 (6 minutes)

MANN                                The Journey of Johnny Tin Cap  (11 minutes)
                                                  Christopher J. Murphy, narrator
                                                  Fort Wayne Youtheatre, Dance Troupe

COPLAND                          Hoe Down, from Rodeo (4 minutes)


Listen to our Johnny Appleseed Goes to the Symphony playlist on Spotify.

Fort Wayne Youtheatre has been an active part of the Fort Wayne arts community since 1934, when the Old Fort Players (now Civic Theatre) created a junior theatre branch dedicated to developing "poise, better diction and self-esteem for children through dramatic instruction."  Youtheatre became and independent organization in 1984 under the leadership of legendary Executive Director Harvey Cocks.  Today, Youtheatre produces a full main-stage season of plays and musicals, touring outreach shows, a wide array of summer camps, private instruction and weekend classes in acting, voice, dance and technical theatre for the young artists and audiences of northeast Indiana.  As the fifth oldest active children's theatre in the nation, Youtheatre is dedicated to its mission to "educate, engage and entertain." 

CHRISTOPHER J. MURPHY is Associate Director/Director of Outreach at Fort Wayne Youtheatre, where he directs, teaches and oversees Youtheatre’s diverse community outreach.  As an actor and director, Murphy's work is regularly seen on stages throughout northeast Indiana, including FW Civic, First Presbyterian and Arena Dinner Theatre.  He has also worked extensively with the FW Philharmonic; having written, directed and hosted numerous Masterworks, Holiday Pops and Family concerts.  Murphy is a proud resident of Fort Wayne, where he lives with the finest terrier known to man, Herbie Murphy. 

HEATHER CLOSSON has been a part of Fort Wayne Youtheatre since her captivating performance as “Baby Angel #4” in the 1999's “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever!” Now, she loves sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation of theater enthusiasts. Heather holds a B.S. in Dance Performance and a Master's in Organizational Leadership.  Active in the community, she is proud to have worked with many area organizations centered around the arts and youth education, including: Arts United, Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Arena Dinner  Theatre, First Presbyterian Theatre, Philharmonic, Dance Collective, Project READS, dAnce.Kontemporary, FAME and Middle Waves.   

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