The Elk in the Attic
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The Elk in the Attic — A Musical Play premiered on the stage of the historic Elks Opera House in July 2012 and received glowing reviews from theatre goers of all ages. The Elks Opera House Foundation will present the musical play again this summer at the Elks Opera House (July 25-28, 2013). Tickets are available now online or call 928-777-1367. Donations are always welcome!The Elk in the Attic, A Musical PlayFrom the author:

The musical play I adapted from my book The Elk in the Attic debuted on the stage of the Elks Opera House in July 2012 during Prescott's exciting centennial summer. Sponsored by the Elks Opera House Foundation and directed by Jody Drake, the play thrilled and delighted both children and adults. Don Charles wrote the lyrics and music for the play (additional lyrics by Judith Clothier). Don and his wife Deb Gessner played the music live at each performance in 2012.

(Visit our Facebook page to see pictures of last year's production and to learn about this year's creative team)

In July 2013, Don and Deb, in collaboration with music director Dino Palazzi, will perform the music once again, as Tiffany Antone directs a group of talented local actors. Everyone connected to this musical play (the only one on the planet that features Bill, the elegant and iconic bronzed elk currently enjoying a magnificent view of our city from his lofty perch on the roof of the Elks Opera House) hopes that the play will be repeated every couple of years and become known as “Prescott’s Play.” After all, all of the action in this play takes place inside or near the city limits of Everybody’s Hometown!

When you take the story told in the book The Elk in the Attic and add to it colorful and exotic costumes, beautifully played original music, cleverly designed sets, singing, dancing, special effects and superb acting, guess what? You get Prescott’s Play!

This is both a simple adventure story in which kids and wild animals are suddenly forced to become neighbors and friends under stressful circumstances; and it is a deeper story, too, a story for adults about the narrow border that separates Nature and Civilization…and what happens when that border disappears in the heat and dust of a prolonged drought.

About the book:

I hope you have read — or intend to read — The Elk in the Attic. It is an entertaining story about wild animals trying to survive a drought by moving out of the forest and into a small town. I wrote it for children but have discovered that many adults like it, too. Especially adults who can vividly recall the first time they encountered a skunk or a deer or a raccoon in their urban neighborhood and marveled at the rare sight. Or adults who wonder why some wild critters find it necessary to risk their lives just so they can live in or near civilization.


I thought about this story for many years before I wrote it. It seemed to me if an unusually large number of wild critters moved into my town, the first people to notice them would probably be children. For one thing, kids are not as distracted by work and responsibility as adults. And because they’re kids, I knew they would react differently from their parents to the presence of wildlife. I also thought it made a lot of sense not to present a predigested solution to the complex urban wildlife issue hinted at in this simple story. It made more sense to me to just introduce the issue in a fun way and then let readers — both adults and children — figure out for themselves how this problem could best be handled where they live … both now and in the future.

The beautiful and classic illustrations in The Elk in the Attic were created by Professor Walt Anderson - wildlife biologist, professional photographer, painter and illustrator. I think he captured the key scenes perfectly. If you would like to inquire about Walt’s art, you can contact him here.

All proceeds from the sale of The Elk in the Attic go to support the renovation of the Elks Opera House in downtown Prescott, Arizona. But that’s just where the money goes. My hope is that this story will go everywhere that people and wildlife find themselves sharing the same space. Like your town, for instance.

I invite you to read the first chapter of The Elk in the Attic.




The animals were in danger. It was the driest spring season in one hundred years. Day after blistering day,the sun pounded the ground like a red-hot hammer, beating every drop of moisture from the dusty soil. Normally full of rainwater, the creeks and streams were empty, littered with dead brush and leaves. In the forest, all living things were suffering from the absence of water.

In her long lifetime, Grandmother Owl had found it necessary to call only two meetings of the forest animals. Now she knew it was time to do it again. She was an old and exceptionally wise owl. When the word went out that Grandmother wished to speak to everyone at midnight when the moon was full, the animals understood that she had something of great importance to say. [more …]

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Illustrations Copyright © 2007 by Walt Anderson