Interview with CORDUROY Director JAMAL HOWARD

Emerald City Theatre Artistic Associate Director JAMAL HOWARD on bringing the classic character CORDUROY from book to stage and the core message the story brings to young adults. Just in time for the holiday season, this beloved production will play at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse Theatre (175 E Chestnut) for a limited engagement from November 9, 2019 – January 5, 2020. Visit for tickets and more information.

Jamal Howard (Director) is the Artistic Associate Director at Emerald City Theatre and has directed and choreographed ECT’s productions of The Wiz, Magic Tree House: Showtime with Shakespeare, and the Chicago premiere of Corduroy. Jamal also is the Co-Artistic Director of the Chicago theater company, New American Folk Theatre (NAFT), where he most recently directed the original play, Scraps. Originally from San Jose, CA, his love of musicals began at age 8 when he started performing with Children’s Musical Theatre San Jose. Jamal also co-founded NAFT in 2012.


In this sweet adaptation of Don Freeman’s classic book, a small bear’s quest for a missing button leads to the friendship of a lifetime. After the lights are dimmed and the doors locked, the department store comes to life with circus elements and physical comedy. It’s up to Corduroy to outsmart the Night Watchman as he waits for his new pal Lisa to return with her mother. Along with exciting scenes of clowning and mischief, the story teaches the importance of empathy and unconditional love. Tailored for young imaginations, this playful adventure will delight ages three and up!

The play CORDUROY was adapted for the stage by Barry Kornhauser and is based on the Corduroy and A Pocket for Corduroy books by Don Freeman. Jamal Howard, the Artistic Associate at Emerald City Theatre will direct the production. CORDUROY is produced by special arrangement with Plays for Young Audiences. The show is licensed by CBS Consumer Products.


Emerald City Theatre (ECT) is Chicago’s largest theater for young audiences, reaching children 0 – 15-years-old through its three pillars of work: artistic, education, and community engagement. Serving an average of over 60,000 children and their grown-ups annually, the company has created over 100 productions in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Downtown Chicago. ECT also builds skills in children through its yearly camps, classes, and residencies – the largest theater arts education program in Chicago, serving over 64,000 students to date and an average of 200 schools annually.

ECT’s signature community engagement program, One Fund supports increased literacy among Chicago’s children by providing a free play and free companion book to low-resourced Chicago Public Schools students. In 2018, ECT provided 95,000 free books to CPS students in Kindergarten – 3rd grade as part of a partnership with Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House book series.

ECT’s lead supporters include ECT’s lead supporters include the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, KPMG, Illinois Arts Council, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.