World Premier Play about Deportation, Family, and Patriotism performed by Nashville Children's Theatre

Return to Sender is adapted from the award-winning book by Julia Alvarez.

Nashville, TN – Nashville Children’s Theatre (NCT), the nation’s oldest professional theatre for young audiences and the largest theatre in Middle Tennessee, is excited to announce RETURN TO SENDER, a world premiere play generated from NCT’s Hatchery program. The play is co-commissioned by Nashville Children’s Theatre and Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American Studies.

With a story including ICE raids, border crossings, and developing cultural awareness, this new play, based on a book written in 2009, is front-page news.

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Eleven-year-old Mari Cruz is the Mexican born daughter of undocumented migrant workers. For generations, eleven-year-old Tyler Paquette’s family has owned the farm where Mari’s family is suddenly working. Tyler wonders how he can be a patriot while his family breaks the law. Mari worries about her mother who vanished during a dangerous border crossing. She also lives in fear that she will be separated from her American-born sisters – especially after her uncle is taken into custody.

It isn’t long before the local community makes their opinions about the new residents known. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?

Return to Sender is written by Marisela Treviño Orta, based on the novel Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez.

The cast includes Amanda Rodriguez, Lane Williamson, Lilliana Gomez, Erica Lee Haines, Denice Hicks, Cheryl White, Christopher Strand, Matthew Martinez Hannon, Claudia Quesada, Matthew Benenson Cruz, DéYonté Jenkins, and Galen Fott.

Scenic and lighting design is by Scott Leathers with costume design by Patricia Taber and sound design by David Weinstein. The production is directed by Crystal Manich and stage managed by Teresa Driver.


Return to Sender runs from October 10-27, 2019. Performances are Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm. (No performance on Sunday, October 13.)

All performances are at Nashville Children’s Theatre.

Tickets for all performances are now on sale. Tickets are $17 for youth and $23 for adults. To purchase tickets call 615-252-4675 or visit Ticket fees apply. Group rates are available.

Evening performance and discussion on Friday, October 18.

In partnership with Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American Studies, NCT will host a post-show panel discussion on Friday, October 18. The performance begins at 7 m, and the discussion immediately after. The discussion will include representatives from Conexión Americas, a local advocate for the immigrant community, and Vanderbilt’s Center for Latin American Studies.


Founded in 1931 by the Junior League of Nashville, Nashville Children’s Theatre is the oldest professional children’s theatre in the United States. A national leader in theatre arts and education programs for young people, NCT was ranked by TIME Magazine as one of the top five children’s theatre’s in the country.

Lead funding for NCT’s programs is provided by Metro Arts, Tennessee Arts Commission, The Shubert Foundation, The Memorial Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. For more information visit